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Going through old love letters

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ThatGuyNoMore posted 5/20/2014 21:57 PM

A few days ago, a torrential rain storm flooded our basement. We pulled out old boxes of stuff stored down there and started sorting through what to salvage and what to toss. This evening, my poor BS came across a box of old love letters I sent to her from 20+ years ago. It was like watching her get punched in the gut repeatedly. She was sobbing so much as she went through them--all those words I earnestly meant then and so callously tossed aside later with my selfish infidelities. She said she had saved those love letters thinking that years later she might like to go through them and fondly remember how we were when our love was new. Then I watched her toss the letters one by one into the trash. It told me how utterly broken she is, and how meaningless our marriage is to her. It also felt like we were separating her stuff from my stuff, as if we were dividing property for an eventual separation. Just a sad, painful day today.

plainpain posted 5/20/2014 22:25 PM

We had a similar afternoon. I also had kept two years worth of love letters, and I burned all but one of them. My WH destroyed our marriage, and that love is dead and gone; I don't want to remember how much I loved him, or the man I thought he was.

We are building something new. One thing my H has done to help me heal, is he has committed to writing me new love letters. He writes me one every morning before he goes to work, and he has done this for almost a year now. He writes about what he is thinking, what he is learning, how he feels about me, words of encouragement - it helps us both.

Words of affirmation have always been important to me, and I have always been sentimental. This is one of the ways my H is working towards helping me heal.

heartbroken2012 posted 5/21/2014 06:59 AM

After WH told me about his A, I went through all the incredibly lovie emails that he sent me. He would sign them.."devoted husband"..."soulmate"...declaring is ever lasting loyalty and love.

It is so incredibly painful for a BS to read these type of things after knowing their "soulmate" betrayed them in the worst way.

I cant read them anymore. They are empty words that hurt so bad. I cant even look at old pictures anymore.

Please be there for your BS.

UKgirl posted 5/21/2014 07:08 AM

I understand what she is going through. I burned all our love letters and cards after d-day. Didn't keep a single one. When I told fWH what I had done, he just looked very sad. I also ripped my wedding dress to shreds and threw out all the wedding memorabilia I had kept - champagne corks, ribbons, place cards, order of service. The only thing I kept was the official wedding album. When my Mum died, I kept her albums of our wedding too.

You have to let her do what she needs to do, understand why she is doing this and be as gently supportive as you can.

When you feel she is ready, perhaps you can do what plainpain suggests and write her a love letter to represent how you feel about her now.

bionicgal posted 5/21/2014 13:28 PM

Oh, this post makes me sad. I get it -- I get the poignancy of the innocent letters. No one knew then the trial that they'd be going through now.

But I can't help but wonder, of the relationships that survive -- 10, 20 years from now. Won't those letters have an altogether different meaning then? Won't they be seen as the beginning of a long, real relationship, one with ups and downs? The "better and the worse?" Because that was the past. . .it wasn't a lie. If you throw away all the good stuff because bad things eventually happened, isn't that shooting yourself in the foot and rewriting the story pretending you know the ending, and that the ending is bad?

It just makes me sad. I understand the impulse, but it makes me sad nonetheless. You know, infidelity can be just a bad chapter in a largely good marriage. It can be the worst thing that we survive, together.

[This message edited by bionicgal at 1:29 PM, May 21st (Wednesday)]

Trying2LoveAgain posted 5/21/2014 14:15 PM

BS here...Wow!This past week or so has been a tough one for me..again!(Just about the time I think I'm doing some better, here comes that nightmare you keep hoping to wake up from).For me, it was pictures! I cleaned out two huge boxes a couple of months ago and came across a family picture.It was the entire dad, mom, all four of us kids, our spouses and children. So...Yep...The "former" sister-in-law, also AP was right there too!I ripped it to shreds right in front of hubby! Other pictures were just HUGE, holidays, graduations. I just can't escape her! I will NEVER be able to look at pictures the same again I'm afraid! However, I liked what someone wrote about the A being seen as "for better or worse" and a chapter in our lives! I hope eventually I can see some things differently! This post just made me SO, SO sad! Nothing in my life has ever hurt SO bad! I know you ALL know this feeling all too well and it breaks my heart for us all and for all those it affects besides us! I'm thankful I found this site! Blessings to all of you!

Trying2LoveAgain posted 5/21/2014 14:17 PM

ThatGuy...I'm SO sorry for you too! You, like my H, sound VERY remorseful and heartbroken over the infidelity. Just keep supporting and loving her and give her time...My prayers for both of you!

TrulySad posted 5/21/2014 15:08 PM

This is such a painful part of being the B. I've gone through those moments where I needed to destroy the reminders of a past that was now changed in my eyes.

When I saw those reminders, it made me think of how innocent and naive I was. In my head, I knew that if I could go back to those moments, with the information I now have, I'd never have formed a life with the man who hurt me. In a way, destroying those items helped me to move forward with the new life I was having to accept.

I never regretted destroying anything. I learned to leave those things in the past. As sad as it was, it was therapeutic. When people say adultery is like a death, it really is. And it's been my experience that just like we mourn the loss of a loved one....those of us who have been betrayed have to mourn the loss of our past, the future we thought we had planned, and the person we thought we were partners in life with. It's a HUGE painful loss, and one I'm so very sorry your BW is having to go though.

It sounds like you see her pain, and you are also experiencing your own share of it. Hang in there. Clearly your marriage isn't meaningless to her. Her sobbing over those letters, says so much. Maybe what she's saying by throwing away those letters is that she can't base her marriage and the love you have for her, by what was written on those papers anymore. The marriage means something to her, it's those words and memories that are useless now. Now, it's up to you to give her what's needed for her to find reason to hold on to new memories...or even give them a chance.

ThatGuyNoMore posted 5/21/2014 15:21 PM

Thanks to all of you for replying. Plainpain, I did send a note to her a few days ago. Honestly I don't know how well it was received since she was in a deep dive on her emotional roller coaster. (If you saw a previous post of mine, you'll know why.) UKgirl, I am supporting her do whatever feels right. We've done a lot of redecorating these past few weeks. I sullied many rooms of the house, including the marital bed. No expense is too great to help her heal. Heartbroken2012, I am sure my BS feels just as you did. I wanted to be there for her, but she wanted to be alone. Sometimes I don't know what the right thing to do is, whether to give her space and wait, or to come back and check on her periodically (and perhaps annoyingly). I just want her to know that I care for her so much and I deeply regret all the pain I've caused. Bionicgal, I tend towards optimism, and personally I would want to retain those letters until and if we decide to D. But to her, that marriage is dead, and she wants no reminders of it. T2LA, family photos are painful for my BS, too. She won't have the pleasure of enjoying the smiles on our childrens' faces without seeing me there too. She just sobbed and sobbed as she looked through them last night.

ThatGuyNoMore posted 5/21/2014 15:37 PM

I'm sure there will be other triggers that we'll stumble upon. Who knows what the next one will be. I'm sure it will hit her unexpectedly-- WHAM!--and there goes that tiny sliver of calm she had forged for herself.

Grieving is hard.

painfulpast posted 5/21/2014 17:02 PM

These are some of the hardest moments.

I threw out all of my letters. They were constant reminders that I was a fool, and he was a liar. He kept what I had given him, and it hurt him when I threw mine out. Odd, given that his actions screamed he didn't care. Mine only screamed I didn't believe him.

Anyway, the marriage is now very different for you and your BW. For you, it's something you want, and are fighting for. You remember all the good things about your wife, and why you love her. She remembers all the things she believed that were lies, or now seem like lies. To you, she is your faithful wife that you want to see happy. To her, you are the man that gutted her. I'm sorry - I'm not trying to insult you. I hope you'll see where I'm going in a minute.

I'm not saying this to hurt you, at all, and please, forgive me if I have. I'm hoping you'll see a bit of why those letters hurt her to see. Her DDay was very recent - VERY. She's still trying to figure out which way is up. She's still putting the whole puzzle together in her head. Seeing those letters-well, I've been there. As you can see, lots of us have. It's hard. It's harder than I can describe. What once was a source of great happiness is now a reminder of hell.

As I said - lots of us have been there. Almost all of us have reconciled. You can get through this. As others have said, just be there for her.


[This message edited by painfulpast at 5:02 PM, May 21st (Wednesday)]

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