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Do you ever get the 'special' back?

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olwen posted 3/18/2014 15:27 PM

Hi all,

I have been feeling quite down today, angry and hurt at first, now numb and scared. I am grieving for our old marriage. I guess this is welcome to year 2.

Obviously our relationship wasn't great in recent years, we both knew that but we have come through so much together, I at least, thought we would bounce back. He even said himself that's how he felt too until she came along 'then' he started becoming dissatisfied with the marriage. She made it seem lacking more than it actually was.

Before our recent struggles we were the couple people envied, the golden couple, soul mates, best friends. We knew what the other was thinking without having to speak. We were totally two halves of a whole. We used to brag we had never spent a day apart. Even through our recent struggles pre A we still had ALL of that, I was just too ill to give him the attention he craved and our sex life was lacking due to my meds. I thought he would wait for me to get well. I had a new diagnosis and was starting on the right meds. It was too late. He was already gone.

This is what I am grieving for. The specialness. The feeling the other has got your back and will always put you first, would never hurt you. We always said we never looked at other people cos we had all we needed in each other. 18 years of sexual fidelity. It was us against the world.

We had so much love that I think that's why we are working so hard on R, even after the A there is enough there to keep us fighting and hoping things will get better.

My question is can you ever get that back? The feeling it's just the two of you and you're invincible. I am guessing not since I have learned through this that you never truly know someone else, that anything can happen. That no couple is invincible.

If not, what replaces it? at the moment we love each other deeply but I am worried cos it's not the same. He is desperate for me to love him the way I did before but I keep holding something back. He seems to love me more than before if that's possible. I love him so much but it's not complete like it was before, blind, nave, trusting and oblivious. I wish for that innocence back so much.

He had my whole heart and soul in his hands yet he decided to betray me in the worst possible way. My dad died last year, in the middle of tt and ddays and the pain of that was nothing to the pain of the A. I loved my dad to bits even though we had a difficult relationship due to his drinking and I fear I haven't even grieved for him I am so busy grieving for my old marriage, my old faithful husband.

Now I feel as though instead of two halves of a whole we have been split 3 ways and we are just left with two thirds of a whole and there is this space where the affair lived between us. That space is filled with mind movies, secrets, betrayal, lies. It's black and drains the happiness from the other two thirds. It drains me and haunts me. Him too. His guilt is palpable.

How do we close this gap? How do we become whole again?

How do we get the special back, or is it gone forever?

This is a bit of a ramble, I am so sad. I hope it makes sense.

[This message edited by olwen at 3:28 PM, March 18th (Tuesday)]

Edie posted 3/18/2014 15:42 PM

yes, absolutely you can get the 'special' back.

Have you considered seeing an IC? I am wondering whether it is useful for you to explore aspects of being a child of an alcoholic. there are three things needing 'healed' here: you, your FWH, and the marriage. The latter can't really heal without the first two being well on the way, and the first two are not dependent on the third, even if it feels that way.

Do have a look at some articles co-dependency, its a very healthy lens to look at things through, helps to frame things in a new way.

Hugs, congratulations, you've made it to year 2! It gets easier, even if sometimes it may not feel that way, especially in year 2.

ziganska posted 3/18/2014 15:44 PM

This totally makes sense, Olwen, and I wish I had the answers. You are not alone in mourning the old marriage, even if there were issues...I'm sure like with us, they were issues you could've worked out, but our Hs had to complicate things by doing this and making matters event worse.

You're mourning the safety and trust you had in the old marriage and the belief you had that everything was right with the world. Now, things have been turned upside down and you don't have that faith that what you had before or what you thought you had before can ever come back. I guess in a weird way, that particular specialness cannot never come back, nor should you want it to. You should work on wanting to create a brand new special with your H, something that actually might be more rewarding and sustaining than you ever imagined. I know for me, I was very complacent in my old marriage and didn't expect much from my H. Despite his A, we've grown closer during R and while I still mourn what I thought we were to each other, there's something exciting about creating a new us, a new normal, a new special and realizing that back then, I really was accepting less than I was worth. I HATE HATE HATE that it took this A to throw us into a tailspin and figure this out, but I guess that's the only way we would've confronted ourselves.

Good luck to you!

crazyblindsided posted 3/18/2014 16:21 PM

I am wondering this too and I am about to enter year 3. Our M is stronger than ever and I love fWH and I know now that he truly is sorry for the A's, but I feel very similar to what you said here:

Now I feel as though instead of two halves of a whole we have been split 3 ways and we are just left with two thirds of a whole and there is this space where the affair lived between us.

I'm not sure if this part ever goes away for all of us. My own father says he will still think of my mom's A from over 30 years ago, also told me things have never been quite the same.

I feel that I too will always have that little sore spot where the A memories reside. I can't get the 'special' back that I had pre-A, but we can make it 'special' since the A.

[This message edited by crazyblindsided at 4:22 PM, March 18th (Tuesday)]

Edie posted 3/18/2014 16:24 PM

NB There's some very nice stories in the positive reconciliation thread at the top of the reconciliation forum list.

lostworld posted 3/18/2014 17:13 PM

Yes, you can get the "special" back, but you can't change what happened and how devastated you were/are. You can't become invincible again either, but in reality, were you ever, or did you just have that lovely innocence of believing you were? I'm only asking because that was the case for me. I thought we were invincible, beyond the reach of infidelity or divorce and such profound betrayal and loss of security.

Now I believe that my H, and myself to some degree, are capable of many things; that marriage and life have the possibility of becoming almost anything...But now that the veil of innocent naivete has been horribly blown away, my H and I are so much more conscious of our relationship and one another. In realizing our vulnerability, we found our strength.

There's very little "coasting" in our M now. We've learned how to truly communicate. We've learned how to rebuild on a different, yet in some ways, stronger foundation. I think we have learned how to truly value and love each other in a healthier and more honest and mature way. Don't misunderstand, an A is never a "marriage builder." We could have improved everything in our life in a healthy, non-destructive way, and that would have been so so wonderful. But it didn't go that way. He instead selfishly and tragically chose to have an A. But given that we wanted to R, we had to play the hand he dealt. And it was hard, but I eventually got through the worst of it and began to look for the treasures among the ruin; and believe it or not, they were there.

I feel special again, but there are moments where I can get caught in a downward spiral of memories filled with sorrow, regret, and anger. Those are the times that I have to really concentrate on the present and where we are now. I don't think it's "fair" that this is how I have to sometimes force myself to think, but nothing about infidelity is fair. Once I do shift my focus to the present, I immediately find joy in recognizing that I am special in my H's eyes again--and in my own. I find comfort and happiness in the solid M we have rebuilt. I think it's been said very succinctly on this very board, that it's truly accepting what's happened in my M, and in incorporating that the grass is greener where I chose to water it. I wouldn't be honest if I didn't add that this perspective took me a very long time to see, and even longer to adopt, but it takes root in me deeper and deeper every day. At the beginning of year 2, and even the early part of year 3, I despaired that I would ever make peace with all that had happened, let alone feel loved, special, and irreplaceable again. Yet in time, it came...just so wish it hadn't come about the way that it did.

Lostinthismess posted 3/18/2014 17:36 PM

Following for insight. I feel the same way.

Now I feel as though instead of two halves of a whole we have been split 3 ways and we are just left with two thirds of a whole and there is this space where the affair lived between us. That space is filled with mind movies, secrets, betrayal, lies. It's black and drains the happiness from the other two thirds. It drains me and haunts me. Him too. His guilt is palpable.

So this. He's no longer special to me. I'm not convinced I love him enough to ever feel like there is anything special anymore.

broken313 posted 3/18/2014 18:52 PM

We were onlys. Whatever we rebuild that special isnt ever coming back for me.
Does It feel like the house fell down and now we get to rebuild a new one with the same old bricks. Sounds like you have good strong bricks, you can build maybe an even better house, a real one. Hugs.

hear-me-roar posted 3/18/2014 19:22 PM

I know I am greatly loved and special to my H, after over seven years since Dday. However, in my heart, I don't feel like I have My Special Spot back. I read something once, "life isn't what it's supposed to be, it's what it is". So, now, I just have to adjust my living in marriage to feel a different kind of "special". But, I still miss My Spot.

olwen posted 3/19/2014 03:51 AM

Thanks everyone for all your advice.

I really must look to the future and work on rebuilding a new 'special'.

Also I have a lot of work on acceptance to do. It's just such a hard thing to accept.

It's lovely to hear about those of you who have rebuilt a new life with your partners and I hope I can learn from your example.

To those of you who are still struggling, like me, I send hugs and hopes things will get better.

blakesteele posted 3/19/2014 05:48 AM

Before our recent struggles we were the couple people envied, the golden couple, soul mates, best friends.

Hi wrote the above, but both my wife and I either one could have written this.

In many ways our M would support that statement.

Unfortunately, we had intimacy blockers in place that would not allow all of that to be 100% true. And that "missing percentage ", although small in size was large in importance.

We were "only's" too. THAT "special" is NEVER coming back.

But I firmly believe the "special" we are going to get out of this trial will trump any "special" that was given away or taken from our M as a result of my wife's A.

Those intimacy blockers? Finding, facing, and dispelling them now. What will be left is a soft, supple heart that is open to bonding......that is something that we lost in our respective childhoods.

We lost a key "specialness" as children.....we didn't realize it because of the lie that "children are resilient all on their own".....that our FOO, while dysfunctional, did not harm us. I mean, we aren't on drugs, never sexually abused, have good careers.....we are fine, right?

By all surface level indicators we were a great couple....and on the surface we were! The problem is, deep down we were walled off....we had a toughened calloused heart. No, we weren't jaded people, that shines through even at the surface level. What we were were two people doing the best we could, intelligent enough to recognize the "good " of our M AND that something was "just not right", but not able to do more than that....very much like we felt as children. Why? Because we grew up fast and missed "maturing" some parts of ourselves.

So what did we do? We honed and polished our coping skills.... Skills that were established in childhood, beautifully polished as adults, but still just a way to cope with life....not process life. Doing this did nothing but keep us blind and propagate the charade of "a completely matured, developed couple".

Bonding is a process and requires vulnerability. My wife and I are learning to be more vulnerable, to be radically honest, and to live within an "intentional marriage". Much of our M was one crafted by "default"......we knew what we didn't want. We are now crafting what we do want. Actually, learning what Gods design for M is is a more accurate way to put it.

To do this we can no longer remain ignorant and immature in those key parts of what is the foundation of mature intimacy.

I absolutely believe what I have with my wife is special. We married for a reason. God allowed us to marry. This is painful, exhausting work.... But we are called to do it and are up for the trial. YOU ARE TOO!

That specialness your friends noted? That was not a lie. Take comfort in the "realness" of that. But it was not a "whole description" of your M either.

Yes, your husband intentionally deceived you. My wife intentionally deceived me. But as I look at my own heart I see clearly how I deceived myself long before my wife's A....and how that deception hurt our M, how I deceived my wife too. I know the "intentionality" matters with regards to the level and type of pain felt.....but it doesn't change the fact that ALL deception interferes with bonding and intimacy. Wholly intentional or wholly subconscious.....deception is an intimacy blocker that prevents deep intimacy from occurring. And THAT is the specialness we never had and we will gain from this trial. Not keeping the "only's" trait of our original M seems a small price to pay for that.

This singular fact alone is why I believe 90% of all relationships started as a WS chooses an AP fail.......those relationships, unlike our marriages, were started on a bed of lies and blatant deception. Rest assured that there was no specialness to your husbands adulterous relationship, nor mine.

Your husbands fAP had at least two other guys at the same time performing different roles for her. My wife's fAP reportedly had at least one other woman before my wife and found another within 2 months after dumping my wife. That type of "specialness" is cheap and easy. Cheap and easy doesn't last. Sin doesn't last. Sin is instant gratification. Sin is destructive.

What we are doing is constructive in nature. We are finding and using new tools by which to construct a new M. We (all involved in true R) are building something special.....I just know it.

Long post......wanted you to know in your heart that real specialness awaits those who preserver. That some of that original specialness remains.

Keep the faith.

[This message edited by blakesteele at 6:15 AM, March 19th (Wednesday)]

Angel177 posted 3/19/2014 06:33 AM

I don't think you can get the special back you are talking about. It's nice that so many people found a different kind of special...I want back what we had. I want to be his only sexual partner again like he is mine. I don't know if I will ever be able to accept that I can't get it back :(

Sorry. I'm struggling lately (again...)

blakesteele posted 3/19/2014 06:39 AM

Our original M was special.

Both spouses may have realized something was missing, work was needed, desired change and growth....but neither knew exactly what to do.

At some point a spouse decides to gamble and they step out of the M. The choose to have an affair....emotional infidelity or full on adultery. In either case THAT attempt to attain "specialness" fails miserably. This is a key component to the "fog".

This is a spouse not wanting to face the truth of the accept that they destroyed "some real specialness" for "zero specialness". The fog is the time when they try very hard to make specialness exist where there is none.

The friendship my wife and I shared, the children we created, the extended family and friends interactions pre-A....that was REAL specialness. There is more to M than those real components, but those components are still a real part of our marital relationship.

While in the fog a spouse tries, in vane, to rewrite history so that those real facts don't exist.........but they do.

My memories of doing and interacting with my wife pre-A are still very real and very special to me. It was just her and I in the room when our daughters entered this world, it was just her and I when we bought our first home, it was just her and I remodeling our home.

Don't allow your husbands affair to lessen the value of that pre-A "specialness".......even though he may have tried or you may have tried in a vane attempt to lessen the pain of adultery.

SOME pre-A marital specialness is lost forever....but not All pre-A specialness is lost. Lose sight of that fact and hope is jeopardized.

(((Angel177))). I still have nightmares of my wife and the fOM having unprotected, teenage-intense sex shortly after dropping their respective kids off at school. The pain is very real. It took me over a year to fully accept that this actually happened, wife intentionally chose this action (not tricked or raped), nothing I could have done would have stopped her, and nothing I can do since will change the facts. But I have accepted all of this. I have forgiven my wife. I pray all couples can heal and grow through this toughest if tough marital trials.


[This message edited by blakesteele at 7:20 AM, March 19th (Wednesday)]

olwen posted 3/19/2014 09:11 AM

Thanks everyone,

I guess it is possible to create a new special. I can usually see it but right now I am pretty down and struggling not to dwell on what we have lost.

I think it is the lost innocence that is hurting so bad.

I had nothing when I met H, an alcoholic father was only the tip of the iceberg. I was miserable when I met H. I was fresh out of an abusive first relationship and I was still only 17. I was so insecure and jealous of his previous partners and I clung to him like a limpet. I would always worry about other women or him leaving me. I loved him passionately and completely.

The irony is that just as I was feeling safe and loved, felt better about myself and relaxed with him, that then he decided to cheat! I feel back to square one now, jealous of every woman he sees, constantly comparing myself and doubting everything.

I often wonder if he couldn't cope not being the centre of my whole world anymore. In truth our relationship took a down turn when we had our son and later when my health took a turn for the worse. I didn't have the time or energy to fawn all over him so he went elsewhere for it.

Now the tables have turned and he is pouring love and attention on me but I am just not feeling receptive right now. Once upon a time it would have really meant something. It would have made me feel safe and special. It would have changed my life, I wouldn't have been so damn insecure for so long.

It feels like if I am insecure and worrying then he is faithful and happy but as soon as I let go of that and focus on other things he realises that's what he likes and misses and will do anything to get it back.

Suddenly I am the centre of his world and it's a strange place to be. I wanted it for so long and now I have it I would rather go back to our old relationship of mutual love and trust despite my insecurities.

I am not explaining this well. I felt insecure and scared he would meet someone he preferred but deep down I never 'really' believed he would. So I was insecure but trusting at the same time. After so many faithful years I started to believe him and feel safe in my marriage. That's when it all went wrong.

As soon as he wasn't the centre of my attention 24/7 anymore he went and got it elsewhere. That makes me feel that what we had couldn't have been that special to him. It was all about me having him on that bloody pedestal. So he went and found someone else to put him back up there.

Now he wants to put me up on a pedestal and I don't want to be there. I would rather go back to how we were before, when I could look up to him and respect him for being a faithful and honest man. That's gone now and I am having a hard time accepting it.

I am so angry with him for taking that husband away from me.

Edie posted 3/19/2014 09:24 AM

Before our recent struggles we were the couple people envied, the golden couple, soul mates, best friends. We knew what the other was thinking without having to speak. We were totally two halves of a whole. We used to brag we had never spent a day apart.

The rhetoric here is very co-dependent, as is your discussion abut insecurity being your comfort zone. Sorry to keep banging this drum, but I do recommend looking at co-dependency articles, as well as those aimed at adult children of alcoholics.

olwen posted 3/19/2014 09:34 AM

Thanks edie, I have bought a book called Codependence - the dance of the wounded souls, and codependent no more. Something someone said in another post made me think. I haven't read it yet, maybe now is the time.


[This message edited by olwen at 9:55 AM, March 19th (Wednesday)]

sadone29 posted 3/19/2014 09:46 AM

I've read the list of ACOA traits and I have so many of them, even though my dad was an extremely high functioning alcoholic. It's been very eye opening.

As for specialness, I can only speak in terms of my own experience. I feel that specialness with H now. For us, our marriage was in such a horrible state before DDay that I don't ever want to go back to that. I can't imagine how difficult it is to deal with this when the M was in a good state.

Although, even with the state of our M in the past, I still did have a feeling of safety and security, which was completely stripped away on DDay.

H has been very remorseful and has done everything that I have needed. That special feeling didn't come until I let his love in. I'm not sure I could have forced it though. It happened quite naturally and was a bit of a shock to me. When I couldn't let anything in, I felt stuck, and I had no idea what healing would look or feel like.

blakesteele posted 3/19/2014 09:58 AM

recommend looking at co-dependency articles, as well as those aimed at adult children of alcoholics.

Edie is into something here Olwen.

Your early posts were like mine. Your husband reacted like my wife did. The intense nature you engaged this trial resonates with me.

My wife is a COA. Codependent is me. I have learned healthy marriages start with healthy, whole stand alone people.....of which my wife nor I were.

Not "perfect" people.....but "whole" people. That means able to process life on your own.

Does not mean a "passionate" person marries a "reserved" person.......hoping that the other will supply what they desire to have, but would require internal growth (discomfort or pain) to attain for themselves.

I NOW see my wife's "reserved" nature as a teaching model for me to learn to be "reserved " on my own. My "passionate" nature is a teaching model for my wife to learn to be "passionate" on her own. One of our stumbles was that we both kinda relaxed once we got married....never grew in areas we should have. Codependently interaction rather than Inter-dependably interaction occurred.

Easy to do with the "praise from others" that you referenced in your opening post.

People saying things like "you guys are so well suited for each provides the energy the other provides the calm."

Not that blunt but that is the jest of it.

We both are learning we need to balance OURSELVES out.....

Our childhood unbalanced us, or we never learned healthy balance?

Our unbalanced natures worked well together.....until they didn't.

God is with us all

[This message edited by blakesteele at 3:54 PM, March 19th (Wednesday)]

deena04 posted 3/19/2014 10:01 AM

Does the special come back? Hmm...I think a new special would be in order. It has changed, so adjusting and making "new special" is probably what occurs if R happens. I hope for that for us, but know it will NEVER be the same if we make it.

sadone29 posted 3/19/2014 10:04 AM

Exactly blakesteele! That's why I love coming here. Everyone else is so much better at explaining my own inner thoughts than I am. But I'm learning to try to put my feelings in words. It's difficult when I've held everything in for so long.

I say that our M was in a horrible state, but we weren't completely conscious of it during that time. Everyone used to say how well we suited each other. In reality, our wounds fit perfectly.

Now we are growing together. It's an incredible journey.

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