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20/20 Hindsight: What I should have done when I J F O

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katherine41 posted 2/24/2012 23:42 PM

I'm now 7 1/2 years post d-day. I first posted this thread five years ago, when I was nearly divorced. I am re-posting because a friend urged me to. Here are my perspectives given 20/20 hindsight. I still believe them, even now.

This applies for the foggy, unremorseful, and cake-eating WS's:

1. Reconciliation is ONLY possible with a WS who is quickly and consistently remorseful.

2. How quickly?

In retrospect, I wish I'd given my foggy WH ONE MONTH and no more. Yes, there are stories on SI of WS's de-fogging months and months later. I read those stories and held out too much hope for my own WS. Some WS's never de-fog. And if they are still gaslighting and justifying over a month later, folks, I'm sorry, but it's not looking hopeful.

3. What do you mean by consistently remorseful?

Some WS's act real sorry in brief spurts. Or they get a dose of de-fogging (usually by an outside source) and promise everything. For a few days. Or sometimes even a week or two.

My hindsight rule of thumb? Before a BS should believe that R is happening, a good solid month of remorse, without lapses of justification and gaslighting, needs to pass. I often leapt at the "opportunity" to R with stbxh on the barest of efforts on his part.

4. I wish I'd not given a damn if I made WS angry.

I ran around after d-day scared of making stbxh angry at me. Scared that he'd leave me. Ya know what? A remorseful WS isn't going to "leave you" just because they caught you snooping at the caller id on the cell phone. But a lying, still-cheating WS surely will bluster and get all up in arms.

5. Define your minimum standards and stick to them sooner rather than later.

Minimum standards? These are the MUST-HAVES for your marriage to continue. YOUR must-haves. Think hard. We BS's will have a lot of wants. Pare away the wants. Get down to the core. If these core issues can't be met, the rest is pie-in-the-sky anyway.

My minimums were: NC with OW; firing coverupper; honesty, especially financial, and MC.

My wants were many, including apologizing to my parents, curtailing "guys' nights" out, getting rid of some loser friends, more intertwined activities, . . . and so on. I found my core by working really hard and honestly, "If he doesn't do XXX am I willing to stay married?" The "wants" would have made my marriage a helluva lot better, but I was truthfully willing to stay with much less.

I needed my "minimum standards" because I twisted in the wind so much. When I finally defined my minimum, well, it was a lot easier to gauge when stbxh was bullshitting.

For example, stbxh offered to move to a new town and "start over." Sounds great, right? But when I said, "yes, but first you have to fire coverupper," he wouldn't do it. He wanted to take me on vacations. "Yes, but come to MC this week." He wouldn't do it. Or the times he wanted to move home. "First send all the bills to our home address and give me your passwords." [The honesty issue]. He wouldn't do it.

6. Never reveal your sources

Listen to me. Never reveal your sources. An unremorseful or foggy WS will lie to the bitter end. They will swear on their children, their parents, on the Bible, etc. Just believe in yourself and your evidence. If you are confronting the WS, don't reveal the way you got your info. If they lie, just keep repeating, "You are lying and I know it."

7. Gather up your army

You are at war for your marriage. Don't namby-pamby around. Depressed? Get anti-depressants sooner than later. Not sleeping? Get sleeping aids sooner than later. Hell, yes, go shopping and update your look (men and women). Get to IC. Vent away here. Out the OP to their spouse, their job, their friends.

8. The strategy

Given the above, I wish I had done the 180 for two months and no more. In month one, I wish I had defined my cores. I wish I had not reasoned, argued, pleaded. I wish I had just done the 180 for that time. Each time I failed, I wish I'd dusted myself off and plugged away at it again.

Then, if WS had not de-fogged or was breaking NC with OP after two months, I wish I had proceeded to . . .

9. NC

No contact for months three and four. I wish I hadn't called him to cry. To hear his voice. To get my fix. To check up on him. I wish I had stuck to e-mail about the kids and finances ONLY. If this didn't de-fog WS, by month four or five, I should have:

10. Finalized divorce preparations, maintaining NC.

By getting finances and paperwork in order. Retained a lawyer.

11. By month six, if the WS was still in the A, still breaking NC, still not remorseful. . . well, it's just my opinion that their actions are screaming volumes. They aren't gonna change.


12. File

File for separation or divorce. And let your lawyer play hard and fast. Don't interrupt the process. Don't be scared of making the WS mad. Please, he or she has been cheating on you. I don't know one of us down in separaton and divorce whose WS "did right" by us in the divorce.

Yes, it is possible to R, even after a divorce. Is the divorce making them de-fog? Don't stop the process, but refer them to your core issues. Hell, my stbxh has asked to R with me right up to this day. But you know what? He has NEVER done the four things all at once.

Comments? Fire away.

hard_yards posted 2/25/2012 01:24 AM

katherine41, I'd just like to thank you for this post, I believe it is one of the most important ones for newbies to read, especially if they are dealing with an angry, remorseless WS, who can't see the light.

I have directed others to your post many many times, again thanks

chocolatte posted 2/25/2012 14:38 PM

I don't like reading it, but I agree with it, somewhere in my gut. I'm only 2 months from D-Day but have done a full 180 consistently from day one. I have moved home with my son (and am pregnant) with my parents, I communicate only about my son and finances. I have seen a lawyer etc.

WH is still with the OW. He is more than happy to have two, three hour visits a week with our son (and that is all). He is mostly concerned with how much stuff/money I want from him... not about how I am doing, coping with being pregnant, or looking after our son :(

All in all, I don't think he'll ever de-fog. I don't see R ever being realistic. Even the chinks in his armour (he won't stay in our marital home, even though I've left, because he feels 'weird' about it) just seem like more avoidance behaviour, and refusal to face reality.

I think the part I really agree with on some gut level, is that if he was going to ever stand a chance of getting remorseful in a way that would have saved our marriage... he would have started by now. And I *know* it's only been 10 weeks. But they have been the longest weeks of my life, and seen my whole family ripped apart. So, I'm gonna try and stick to my own plans now... and get on with preparing to file. Probably after baby arrives, in 5 months time or so. Sad, but right now it seems inevitable :(

Gipper posted 2/25/2012 16:04 PM

I am sorry that you find yourself here. Your H sounds like he is in permanent fog. At least you did not waste months or years begging and pleading for him to stay. Even while pregnant, your strength from Day 1 is amazing to those of us who stumbled around blindly until we found SI.

Pippy posted 2/25/2012 17:16 PM

Katherine, I am 7 years out too and I whole-heartedly agree with all your points. I wish I had known about the 180 and that the newbies here would believe us veterans when we tell them about it.

Thank you for reposting this. Well said!

[This message edited by Pippy at 5:17 PM, February 25th (Saturday)]

Ostrich80 posted 2/26/2012 00:51 AM

Katharine: I remember reading this thread when I first joined. Unfortunately I joined months after DD#1. I kept thinking, I wish I had seen it earlier. Well I might mention after the first DD I did the exact opposite which may be why I have just had DD#2. This could not have come at a better time..thank you a million times. Im not kidding every thing you said, I was ass backwards. Especially the part about trying not to make him mad or he might leave it makes me sick how mamby pamby I was, oh luv me please please, ugh!!
This is one of the best posts. Hope your life is going fabulous and thanks for thinking of us still struggling. Its always nice to see someone make it out of the pit. Peace

[This message edited by Ostrich80 at 12:53 AM, February 26th (Sunday)]

Broken1Again posted 2/27/2012 16:21 PM


Crushed1 posted 2/27/2012 22:17 PM

Spot on list Katherine!!!

brokeninfl posted 2/28/2012 11:51 AM

One of the best posts - ever.

at 3 1/2 years from DD - I couldn't agree more.

I didn't follow it - but I sure wish I had. Same journey -- WAY shorter, and less painful.

sandy78 posted 2/29/2012 17:03 PM

I'm so glad to be reading this now when I'm right at the beginning of it all - thank you.

Lucky posted 2/29/2012 17:19 PM

I am also 7 1/2 years out.
And sucessfully R'd.

The one thing we oldies try and try to impress on the newbies;

5. Define your minimum standards and stick to them sooner rather than later.

Minimum standards? These are the MUST-HAVES for your marriage to continue. YOUR must-haves. Think hard. We BS's will have a lot of wants. Pare away the wants. Get down to the core. If these core issues can't be met, the rest is pie-in-the-sky anyway.


Think of this as a chess game, war has been declared on your marriage and your WS is going to try and scoot around as many of your demands as possible.

You WANT access to passwords, you GET passwords, or you hefty bag his/her crap to the porch.

Stick to your guns and don't back down to what it is you need.

[This message edited by Lucky at 5:19 PM, February 29th (Wednesday)]

AttemptStrength posted 3/7/2012 13:05 PM


leakingheart85 posted 3/7/2012 18:16 PM

I found out in February of 1985. Twenty seven years ago.
Factoring in the long unhappy life of our marriage to date--what I regret not doing was to throw her out that night and divorce her the next day.

Read my profile and find out why.

She had a revolving door between her legs.

Fighting2Survive posted 3/10/2012 17:23 PM

LifeIsBroken posted 3/10/2012 17:58 PM

katherine41: You are correct on EVERY point you make. I, too, wish I had read this (and known about SI) right after I discovered the affair. Things might have turned out differently - or not - but one thing for sure, knowing all you wrote and responding accordingly, I would have saved myself and our daughters a great deal of heartache. Every item - and comment - you list is necessary for survival mode.

sri624 posted 3/10/2012 18:29 PM

this is so true..every last point. i wish i had known about SI and your post. i think we may have been in r a lot sooner. but, i was scared and insecure...and afraid to risk losing him...i regret that so much.

luvhimso posted 3/10/2012 18:36 PM

If there were a Like button, I would have hit it several times!

I, too, am over 7 years out from Dday #1. What I have learned is not easy to hear.

1. If they are not consistently remorseful and refuse to stop gaslighting, the A is still on!

2. When you catch them, they go underground. BIG time. It will be harder to be vigilant. And..they will try to make you feel like you are crazy.

3. All too often, this is not the first A. They have gotten away with it before and not been discovered.

4. You are not married to the person you thought you were married to. You have believed you were married to the person you WISH you were married to.

5. You are not prepared for the Journey you are embarking on against your will, but you are going to be fine when you make up your mind to be!

Blessings and strength to my SI brothers and sisters who have yet to discover these truths.

courageouscat posted 3/12/2012 21:44 PM

I need to commit this to memory. I am just over 4 months out and your post rings so true! Thank you.

sad/madtothebone posted 3/18/2012 09:07 AM


OnTilt posted 3/20/2012 05:59 AM

Katherine, good post that I need to read over and over.

Sad, thank you for bumping!

Luvhimso, Your list strikes a chord, especially 1 and 3.

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