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Detachment and re-engagment

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tired girl posted 4/28/2014 11:18 AM

I just passed my second year anti last month. I have pretty much sat in limbo for two years as to whether I was going to stay in this M or not. I think I was waiting to make sure that the changes I was seeing in HL were going to be lasting changes and I also needed to know whether or not I could forgive myself for staying. That last one was actually the bigger one for me I think.

So since the passing of anti, I find myself more and more ready to re-engage in the marriage, and I sincerely want to create true intimacy in my M. Not what we used to have. I know that we have been working on many of these things all the way along even though I wasn't completely committed, but the whole thing feels foreign to me almost now.

Are there others of you out there that completely detached after Dday and then had to learn or figure out how to come back into the M once you knew that it was what you wanted? And how did YOU go about it?
Thank you TG

AFrayedKnot posted 4/28/2014 12:39 PM

I sincerely want to create true intimacy in my M

What would that look like to you?...to HL?

wert posted 4/28/2014 12:47 PM

I know that we have been working on many of these things all the way along even though I wasn't completely committed, but the whole thing feels foreign to me almost now.

I get that. I still at times look over and wonder who the hell my W is and then think to myself do I really want to open up to that? Harsh I know but it is day by day.

First off I will say I am still feeling and thinking my way through this maze or re-engagement. I have found it difficult to sort out the commonalities we have and the intimacy I seek.

That said, I have a few tips that seem to work for me:

- Don't be in a hurry. It's rebuilding and that flat out takes time. Make sure you both talk about it and engage when it feels right. It's OK to take breaks and have "me" time.

- I brought back the sense of wonder about my W. I need to learn her again and really watch closely this time. I listen more than I talk. I don't want the 7th grade lust of an A, but I do want to feel like I am dating again. This time my W. See a movie neither of you would choose and discuss. Pick a topic, like Fork Over Knives, what the show and then discuss. Get your spouse opinion on something you haven't yet.

- We have meaningful intimate conversations while shoveling snow. Meaning, a time when you are both partially engaged (walking, driving, etc) is a good time to talk about uncomfortable stuff. Has been for me at least.

- Get some "just you time." We have been failing at this miserably. It's important and we need a weekend away. Not of a HB session, but instead for talking about what you both want out of life from this point forward.

-- set some common goals. Do a project together - redo the bathroom. Start running together, whatever, just do it together.

- If you can...get it on in ways you haven't before. Might as well explore.

-- forgive yourself. Your worth it. Nobody kill me for this one, but, it was just and affair(small a). Believe me, I get the pain, but do you want to live in that pain forever? Put the A in it's place in your life. That has helped me want to know my W again, not out of fear, but out of the 10,000 other good things we had prior to the A.

Most importantly, and this is a thread that runs through all of the above...slow down. Slow down your busy life and make time for one another and to do the things you love to do...together. Keep trying them until you find them.


I think you know this, but I was really angry. I mean male scary angry. There is a slight undercurrent of that still present in me. I need to let that go...if you have it...so do you...

take care....

tired girl posted 4/28/2014 13:03 PM

What would that look like to you?

For me, the first words that come to mind are safety and vulnerability. I believe that if I can achieve that with him, I can have true intimacy with him.

I need to learn her again and really watch closely this time.

I have kind of had a sense of this, but didn't know how to put it into words, thank you.

Get some "just you time."

With our kids gone, this has been easy

Slow down your busy life and make time for one another and to do the things you love to do...together. Keep trying them until you find them.

We have been doing more things together, more than ever in our M. It has been really nice.

Put the A in it's place in your life. That has helped me want to know my W again, not out of fear, but out of the 10,000 other good things we had prior to the A.

This is good.

There is a slight undercurrent of that still present in me.

Ya. I have to be careful. It mostly rears up around certain dates. I am working on it.

Thank you for your input. There are times where this feels almost like a whole new marriage.

blakesteele posted 4/28/2014 13:24 PM

I, like many BS, went through a process of shattering after my second DD.

I am 21 months out....learning to re-engage my wife in new-to-me ways (meaning NOT codependent ways, but interdependent ways).

"It is healthier to act your way into feelings, then feel your way into actions."

I am not sure, but I may be where you are at. Read tons of books, lots of therapy sessions, a couple of weekend retreats....loads of prayer.....and here I am. 21 months after DD....not really feeling comfortable. Still feeling unsafe and vulnerable....but teetering on the threshold of full engagement.

Here is what our therapist said to that in our last session.

"Of course it feels uncomfortable to you....it is new and different. It will feel uncomfortable for a bit. It does because of your fear."


A bit of a shock as my wife and I realized months ago that much of our life was fear-influenced. Subconcious mostly, but fear was a driver for us.

Now we are learning to feel our feelings, like fear, and sit with them for a bit. Then we turn towards each other and reach out to each other...expressing our feelings (fears, hopes, etc.). Then we try to move towards a decision.

This is interdependence in action........and that IS new to us.


Picture a box.

Upper left corner is independence.

Upper right corner is codependence.

Lower left is false intimacy.

Lower right is true, mature intimacy.


My wife and I bounced back and forth between the upper two corners, dipping to the lower left corner. That was our pattern since childhood.

Now, we are aiming for the lower right corner.

It is scary....but the few times we have visited there we liked what we saw.

The alternative is to go back to our old, stale marriage. An option that is no longer available to me.....

I am still afraid at times, but being able to sit with that fear, express it...without acting on that fear is a HUGE step for me/us!

We havent figured this totally out yet....but we are gathering and fitting together the pieces to this puzzle. A process that is foreign to our family of origins.....

Peace.

[This message edited by blakesteele at 1:25 PM, April 28th (Monday)]

DixieD posted 4/28/2014 13:31 PM

There are times where this feels almost like a whole new marriage.

Is that scary or surprising or both?

We have done pretty much everything Wert mentioned, right down to that specific movie.

I was talking to a friend the other day regarding about how differently I reacted to a situation recently. Things which would have derailed me previously on this rollercoaster, no longer are. Where was my anger? It's an odd feeling to be finding more peace when there had been so little. I'll see Wert's male scary angry and raise him with my female scary angry.

Anyway, I was questioning myself, if my reaction was closer to acceptance or detachment because I was calm about it. I think it's closer to acceptance and interdependence now vs the codependency and dysfunction of the past. That is very new for me. The reason even I questioned it is -- Will I know healthy when I see it? And wouldn't it be automatically a sense of detachment for me because that's what I was always more used to and comfortable with.

I think we've reached that new normal stage people talk about and the thing to also watch out for is complacency. Don't want that.

Note: I get this all typed out and there is Blake talking about interdependence again, and explaining it so well.

TG, I've missed this interesting questions you pose.

tired girl posted 4/28/2014 13:41 PM

It will feel uncomfortable for a bit. It does because of your fear."

Yes, this.

Anyway, I was questioning myself, if my reaction was closer to acceptance or detachment because I was calm about it. I think it's closer to acceptance and interdependence now vs the codependency and dysfunction of the past. That is very new for me. The reason even I questioned it is -- Will I know healthy when I see it? And wouldn't it be automatically a sense of detachment for me because that's what I was always more used to and comfortable with.

I think we've reached that new normal stage people talk about and the thing to also watch out for is complacency. Don't want that.

And omg all of this. How do I know healthy??? I haven't seen it, it has never been modeled to me. How will I know it when I am feeling it? Isn't this calm feeling just detachment? Arrrgg, lol.

I have missed talking to all my old friends on here and getting all of the great perspectives that you guys offer.

tired girl posted 4/28/2014 13:41 PM

Oh, and the answer to your question Dixie is both.

rachelc posted 4/28/2014 13:42 PM

Put the A in it's place in your life

yep good, but so very difficult.

tired girl posted 4/28/2014 13:47 PM

(((rachelc)))

I know that you have been stuck. Do you feel that there is one specific thing he could do for you that would help?

rachelc posted 4/28/2014 14:03 PM

TG - I don't wanna t/j and we've talked about this before - he just makes choices I would not, as a WS.

which makes this:

to know whether or not I could forgive myself for staying.

really tough.

I'm glad you're working on re-engaging though! That must feel so very new and exciting with two healthy ppl.

tired girl posted 4/28/2014 14:12 PM

I know that it has remained very hard for you to stay in your M.

Have you thought about working on accepting that he is a very different person than you? Can you accept that he may not do things the way that you would?

He may show you in different ways that he cares. I don't know what all he does, but maybe he feels that he is giving all he can.

I wish that you were getting all that you needed, so that you could feel totally comfortable with re committing to your marriage. Big hugs.

jj21 posted 4/28/2014 14:17 PM

to know whether or not I could forgive myself for staying. That last one was actually the bigger one for me I think.

This is what I am struggling with right now. I betrayed my own moral principals by staying. I'm just over a year past Dday and have come close to ending things recently - mostly because of this.

So the question I have is: Can you ever forgive yourself, and if so, how?

tired girl posted 4/28/2014 14:23 PM

Yes. I pretty much have. I have realized that I love him more than I am angry with myself for staying. I have more invested in my life with him, than I have invested in this anger for staying. So I have been letting go of the anger, and I have started re-investing in us. That anger in the end will not serve me well. As much as it feels that it is well deserved, and it was, and still is at times, it does me no good. It is hurting me in the long run, it is keeping me from what I really want.

So it is time to let go of it, because my true self really does want this life with my husband.

wert posted 4/28/2014 14:41 PM

And omg all of this. How do I know healthy??? I haven't seen it, it has never been modeled to me.

TG and Blake - Believe me I get that stuff....I didn't have the best models in my life either. That said, some of this can turn into mental masturbation after a while. Moreover, on some level, well there ain't a thing call healthy. There just is. Letting go of that lack of trust, letting go of that fear or not knowing what is "healthy" can hold you back by just doing. My advice? Start living it and stop over thinking it. I mean if you are at the part in R (or whatever) where you are saying to yourself I am in and I want to fully engage, well than do it for christ sakes. Enjoy it. Let me put it like this...if you ain't having fun most of the time them you ain't healthy. Healthy smealthy. Engage passionately. Forgive yourself (and your spouse) when you hose up and then start again.

Maybe it's just the place I am at in life or something, but I want a good healthy relationship with my W, but I don't want it to be a part time job. I don't want it to be work. Don't get me wrong, I know you need to focus on it and make it priority, but that needs to be what you want to do most of the time, not something you have to.


Can you ever forgive yourself, and if so, how?

I don't think I betrayed myself for staying. I have come to terms that life is not a series of black and white, yes and no's. We live in a complicated world and enter into adulthood with a whole bunch of stuff we didn't ask for, but where given through our childhood's. This doesn't absolve you from hurting people, but given we are imperfect, always learning and are to a certain extent products of our conditioning, I find it pretty easy now to cut myself slack. Life is too short to be kicking yourself....besides I just don't see choosing what I have deemed is best for me and my family as being a betrayal of myself.

I have realized that I love him more than I am angry with myself for staying. I have more invested in my life with him, than I have invested in this anger for staying

That's beautiful TG...

take care...

[This message edited by wert at 2:47 PM, April 28th (Monday)]

tired girl posted 4/28/2014 15:40 PM

I mean if you are at the part in R (or whatever) where you are saying to yourself I am in and I want to fully engage, well than do it for christ sakes. Enjoy it. Let me put it like this...if you ain't having fun most of the time them you ain't healthy. Healthy smealthy. Engage passionately. Forgive yourself (and your spouse) when you hose up and then start again.


I think this is exactly where I am at. I like this!!

AFrayedKnot posted 4/28/2014 17:49 PM

And how did YOU go about it?

These are things I did.
I made a list of reasons that I love her. I carry it with me every where I go and look at it often.

Many nights I try to list the ways that I have seen her try to honor me throughout the day. I ask her to tell me the ways she tried to honor me that I did not see.

I will try to find ways to honor her throughout the day. and ask for new suggestions for the future.

I shared with her my deepest darkest secrets the things I have never told anyone.

I share with her the parts of our family that were typically my role like finances. I try to take part in what were typically her roles in our family. The divide and conquer mentality dissolved.

I encourage and take part in her hobbies.

I choose to sit next to her on the couch instead of across the room.

Lots of communication. The good. The bad. The ugly. The beautiful.

Althea posted 4/28/2014 18:12 PM

The thing about fully detaching is that you are, well detached I spent months in the ready to walk, wait and see, take it day by day mentality. The hardest part for me in re-engaging is taking away that "out" or safety net of being able to walk at any point.

When we hit a stumbling block, I am quick to go back to the place of "I don't know if I can be with someone who hurt me so deeply" or maybe we are better of apart, I should think through life once we divorce. I believe this type of attitude serves a BS well in the beginning, particularly with a wayward who is slow on the uptake; but after a while it prevents taking the next step toward intimacy.

I was recently called out by my therapist for going to this place of "what if he can't change, maybe it is better to be ready to leave." My WH has shown me over the course of two years that he can change and that the change is real. It sounds like HL has done the same. If he has shown you that the change is real, I think you have to get rid of the safety net. Go all in. I've relapsed a few times, actually just today; but at least at this point I'm aware of the harm it causes and working on changing it. It isn't easy re-engaging in the marriage.

918Mama posted 4/28/2014 21:55 PM

I also needed to know whether or not I could forgive myself for staying

Omg yes...this...party of, um, how many of us are there struggling with this EXACT thing?!? Because, really??? What kind of person STAYS and what does that say about us and why?????

I am so, so, so stuck here. I don't have any advice for you but I'm exactly in that spot and how in the heck can I forgive myself for even attempting this with someone who obliterated my life and where is my self respect and strength and...and...

(Sigh)

I keep saying in therapy that I am staying because I don't want to break my family up. My therapist keeps calling bs. There has to be more to it. But if I say all the great things about him, and he does this again...and I stayed knowing what he did..

It would just be too much. So how can I forgive myself for staying, knowing what this path has led to and what's possible?

Let me know if you figure it out TG...

20WrongsVs1 posted 4/28/2014 22:40 PM

Maybe this is a total t/j because I'm not qualified to weigh in on your questions, but I just about fell off the couch.

I have pretty much sat in limbo for two years as to whether I was going to stay in this M or not

Wait, what?! Really? I've always regarded you and HL as a completely R'd team of SI superheroes. And I'm too embarrassed to look back at my early posts, but I'm sure you gave me really pivotal advice. Not meaning to imply that being in limbo diminishes the quality of your advice! TBH I don't have a point, per se, but I can't PM you, so apologies for the t/j, and I'm so sorry to hear that you're experiencing this struggle, but thank you for sharing.

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