I am in the midst of reconciliation. Wife read How To Help Your Spouse Heal... by Linda MacDonald, and thankfully saw the light. Things have been very positive, and she is doing many of the things that are suggested in the book. It has been really great and I feel hope for the first time in a while!
Unfortunately, the nature of her betrayal makes the whole wedding band trigger take on new meaning. Here's the short story: Her very soon after our wedding (less than a month), she emailed her EA partner some of our wedding pics, but with me cropped out of them. The one that was particularly hurtful was one where we are at the altar (on a beach, actually--married in Jamaica) and it's just the two of us holding hands, looking like we are exchanging vows. Well, she cropped me out of that picture and sent it to the OP. Yeah, that hurts like a mother.
The weird thing is that even though things are going so much better now, I find the ring more and more reminding me of that moment. Actually, it goes like this: I feel/see the ring on my finger, I see us at the altar, her putting it on my finger, then I see her at her computer cropping me out of the pic and sending it to him. And it still hurts.
I don't want to screw up our R by letting this haunt me. It's a trigger that's always with me. Anyone else ask for a new ring? And what about renewing vows? I really feel like if I'm going to get a new ring that symbolizes our renewal, then I want some new vows to go with it. Thankfully, after her reading the book, I think she will understand why I don't want to wear it anymore, and do what it takes to make things right.
I don't want to screw up our R by letting this haunt me.
Honey, it's going to haunt you from time to time, and there's not a lot you can do when the trigger hits. Please don't look at it like you're screwing up R. There comes a point where we are in better control of our attitude and response to things, but at a year out you just can't be expected to let it all go and not be affected anymore.
Good for you for wanting to move forward - I think that it will help your goal of R tremendously. Just be gentle with yourself when the waves of feelings come, and hopefully your wife will have compassion when you need to deal with them.
“I can see the sun, but even if I cannot see the sun, I know that it exists. And to know that the sun is there - that is living.” - Dostoyevsky
My WH lost his wedding ring five years into the marriage. This coincides with what he now says is when he started feeling distant. He hasn't admitted it yet, but I would bet he lost it because he was removing it when he was out at bars. I don't think he was cheating yet but I'll bet he started flirting.
He never replaced it claiming he hated wearing jewelry and it was only a ring that everyone knew he was married and it was not important. The point was it was important to me and I should have insisted but I let it go. I let it go but he knew it bothered me. It was just another way I shoved my feelings under the rug trying to make peace with this man who I now learn is very troubled. I really did not think he would cheat.
Fast forward to 17th year of marriage and DD #1. The day I confronted him about his text messages to OW at work. He runs out and buys this ring, which I now refer to as the infidelity ring. Actually this one action by him was the biggest clue that his claims of text messages only was not the end of his story. The ring was a clue for me to keep digging and asking questions. That is when I found out that there were several OW over a 5 year time period.
He still wears the infidelity ring. We are in MC and IC. And he has many issues he and I are working on. I have not insisted he replace the infidelity ring yet. I have suggested it and he says he will if I want him to. The reason I think I am waiting is that he still acts angry at me for his infidelity and he still has not owned everything. My MC says it is a process and he is improving. I guess I am still waiting to see what happens. I no longer feel secure with him and the trust is gone. I don't feel like the ring should be replaced yet. I am not feeling myself like i am committed to him yet. I am committed to him for as long as i see improvements. I am committed to him for as long as we are working on figuring out what went wrong. I am committed to him for as long as it takes for him to be completely honest and stop getting defensive. Or not.
The or not is why I am not insisting yet on wedding rings. I think I am still waiting to see what this man is capable of first. Is he capable of hitting a stage where I am no longer the reason for his failures and he takes responsibility for his anger and where it comes from. I am waiting to hit a stage where I feel safe. I am waiting to see first what is he capable of in recovery and second what can I live with. I will know when I feel like we have hit the stage where the commitment is back and then I will offer him a new symbol of my love and fidelity.
So for now, I look at this new ring as a transition ring that he wears while he and I are doing the work. The next ring is for a new phase and i have resigned myself to the fact that this process will take years. It also may not work out. until i 'm sure i am not pushing for a new ring.
We both rug swept our feelings, that in turn became hidden resentments and caused both of us to dwell in our irrational thoughts and assumptions.
Anyway... Back to the rings...
Both my WH and I would take our rings off at night when we went to bed, showered, or went swimming. (There's a point to my saying this)
Yes, I trigger with our rings. After D-day, I refused to wear mine for awhile. My WH quickly noticed this and he actually came out and said... "I noticed you're not wearing your rings. I don't blame you a bit and I understand why... But it really hurts that I've caused this much pain for you to get to that point." I asked him if he took off his ring when he was with the OW, he said he didn't. I told him the fact that he didn't even take his ring off while he was with her was not just a slap in my face, but a damn punch in it!
Since D-day he hasn't taken his ring off for any reason. I noticed this and mentioned that I noticed it. He said after what he's done to me and our M that he's thankful that I'm giving him a second chance instead of telling him to pound sand... That he is never taking his ring off again. Personally, I think that is sweet, but at the same time knowing that he wore it while with the OW makes me sick! We will eventually re commit with new vows, and new rings. I refuse to 'renew vows' since I feel it's pointless to renew the same vows that were broken! I'm still on the fence on divorcing him and re-marry him when I'm ready to start the M over. (His Online EA turned into a PA 2 days after our 11th Anniversary).
[This message edited by LdyD at 7:48 AM, May 5th (Monday)]
I find it is so easy to re-experience the hurt, so hard to reconcile the old WW with the new. I mean, they are the same person. I can't help but have this sinking feeling in the back of my head of "If it happened then, at the supposed height of our love and relationship [wedding/honeymoon], what's to stop it from happening again?" I've got to believe that is pretty common for BSs, though.
It doesn't help that I still feel like the whole story is untold, that she is afraid that if I knew everything that I would leave. Up until this point, my gut has been right on almost everything. I'm afraid that it is right on this, too. But I'm prepared for the worst, and still staying with her, as long as she shows remorse and NC, changing her ways and protecting our marriage.
D-day 14 June 2013
I'm smart, good looking and gosh darn it, people like me!
I know she feels terrible for it now, but she doesn't know what the ring does to me. I guess I need to just be open with her about it, but she has been so willing in the last couple of weeks to do what it takes to make things right, and is starting to show some true remorse, that I don't want to hurt progress there. On the other hand, I'm having panic attacks! I only wear it around her for now. With the way things are going, I'm sure she will understand, to be honest.
I hope you don’t mind a WS weighing in.
Not that long ago during an intense MC session my BH read me a letter he had written at the direction of our C. She had him write out the meanings he saw in my ring, the one he chose for me, the one he gave me, and the one I love more than anything. It started with the meaning it once held, and the meaning he now sees within it. At the end he then stated two things: 1) he cannot wear the ring I gave him because it is a trigger, and 2) he will never again wear a ring I give him because, “It doesn’t mean anything.”
Of course, what he means is that because of my As the ring doesn’t hold any of the intended meaning it should. KWIM? That has been a bitter pill to swallow. I do not at all object to him taking off his ring. It makes me very sad, but he needs to be ok. I would not ask him to continue wearing it knowing it was causing him panic attacks, anxiety, or anything. If he wanted a ring, I would move heaven and earth to find one he deserves. But, he has clearly stated he will never again wear a ring from me. If that changes at any point the ball is firmly in his court.
Acknowledging the pain it causes you cannot put R at risk. One of the things both partners must do is be present, and open about their emotional states. She should be receptive. At the early stages, while deep in fog, I knew that his removal of his ring was something I could not and should not make about me. It was about his deep pain. Yes, I caused the pain. But wanting something that is not tainted by your WW’s choices makes perfect sense.
Please communicate with her about it. Do what feels right to you. And hopefully, she will jump right on board. You never know, she may already be thinking along the same lines.
It brings up a completely different issue: She's been sick a lot lately, her dog of 13 years is close to the end with cancer, she just quit her job for various reasons (it was a sucky job, but it was also the place where her OP was at and she quit for the sake of R) without having a new job in place. Basically, she is in a rough place, and somewhat fragile. And that isn't just me being gaslit or something. She really is having a tough time.
Is there a good timeline to stuff from the BS side? Of course, the "timeline" method hasn't worked out too well for me! I've gotten my best results from just bringing things up, and mutliple things. I tend to be a people pleaser, and rug sweeping has played into that in R. When I've just put a lot of crap out there that I've been struggling with, it's worked out for the best. Maybe that's my obvious answer!
I'm really just afraid I'm going to crush her too much, but at the same time, the continual triggering is becoming a real roadblock to the success of rebuilding our marriage. It's gotten to that point where I can't stop those images coming up. I can't live like that, having continual emotional breakdowns and anxiety attacks. Not good for me, not good for us.
Just got a response back, and she is totally on board! No caveats, no saying that I'm hurting her feelings, no but's. She wants to pick out a new ring that would symbolize our love and commitment (her words). I think this is a big positive step for us in R. She has had a completely changed attitude since reading How to Help Your Spouse Heal... Highly recommended!
I am very happy and relieved right now!
Wife got me a new wedding band, and kind of gave it to me unexpectedly with not a lot of fanfare. I was hoping to have done it with a focus on a renewal of vows of some sort, but she kind of sprung it on me out of the blue, saying that it signifies how dedicated she is, or something like that. I can't even remember. It's a nice ring, and doesn't trigger me anymore. I just wanted to have a conversation with her first, before she gave me the ring, that I needed to have it all out in the open before I was ready to accept her recommitment. I didn't want new things trickling out after the new ring, and then having it be an all new trigger altogether. I still just fear that there is something big she is holding back that will make this gesture of a new ring feel less significant. She's been dragging her feet on full transparency. Been 3 weeks since I asked for passwords and all access to all devices, but all I've gotten is her facebook password as of yet...