1. The biggest healer is time.
2. Healing is not a straight line. I wish I could draw it but basically it's like the stock market!
3. You can forgive, accept, whatever. You will never forget or completely get over infidelity. It's like a death. It's the death of the spouse you thought you had. You have a D-Day and wake up with a stranger. You will always mourn the death of that spouse.
4. Healing is really in our hands, but so affected by the betrayer's behavior toward you. If he/she is loving and shows remorse, you feel there is hope for the marriage. If they act like a jerk, you lose that hope.
5. The betrayer will never tell you everything. Maybe that is good, maybe that is bad. But you will never know the WHOLE story. They do it to protect you and protect themselves.
6. Guilt makes the betrayer do crazy stuff. As much as being betrayed evokes craziness in us, the betrayer has their own craziness, and triggers, probably too.
7. Fear of losing your spouse makes us do or not do things. We need to lose that fear and do what we need to do to heal or feel better.
8. The betrayer will never understand how much they hurt us. They don't understand the pain and the length of time we need to heal. I'm not sure if time spent trying to make them understand this is as valuable as investing in healing ourselves.
9. Men and women don't think and react and behave the same. So if a BW does something and the H doesn't get it, that doesn't mean they aren't trying to heal the marriage. They just don't process things the same. And vice versa. I think this is why it so important to spell out and be very clear with what you need to heal at that moment. Assuming the H or W will react to your moods and actions appropriately will only make you more frustrated. Spell it out the way you would direct an employee or a child.
10. Triggers are incredibly weird and sudden. Some things you can predict or assume, like I will NOT be watching this new series coming on TV called Mistresses! LOL.
11. You can see themes in the betrayers. There's a definite deficiency or inability to deal with something in life in each of our stories. It's sad that people are so insecure that it would lead to the ultimate selfish behavior that has eternal consequences on someone who probably would have been there for them, or woken up from something they were or were not doing in the marriage, or helped them through whatever it was.
12. The OP is one selfish heartless person. When I've read some of the things the OW/M have done in the relationship, it's just unbelievable. But I wonder what made them that way. What makes someone think they are entitled to someone else's spouse? My IC told me she considers infidelity a form of theft. The betrayer gave something that belonged to us to someone else. They had no right to give it, because they promised not to. The OP accepted stolen merchandise, even pursued it.
13. The betrayer wants us to get over it. They get mad when we don't. They hate to keep talking about their transgression over and over but it's what we need to heal. We just need to talk it to death, and most betrayers just cannot take that. They also don't understand how healing from infidelity works. They think if a lot of time goes by and things are good, and then we have a trigger, we are TRYING to bring it up and destroy the healing. I've read this over and over last night. Things are said like, "Why do you have to bring this up again?" "Why can't you let this go?" "It's been ___ months/years, what are you doing this for?" Things like that. Again, because healing from infidelity is like the stock market, this is normal. But the betrayer doesn't realize this.
14. Healing does not speed up if you leave the marriage or if you stay. You have to go through what you have to go through either way. However, I looked at situations where the betrayer was not remorseful, continued the A's and even there were some stories of violence (I read where one man punched the wall during a down period of the BW, another where the H involved the kids and said really mean things - I considered both abusive situations.)
15. The less people you tell about your A the better it seems to be. People who have not been cheated on absolutely cannot fathom the pain, the shock and the horror of what happened. They think, if my man ever cheated, they would be gone. HA! It is SO NOT THAT SIMPLE. Those same people will pass judgment on you for staying. This will not help the marriage if you want it to work. The only people that should know are those who support you whatever you decide. It might surprise you though, who those people are and are not.
16. Arguments you may have whether there was infidelity or not seem to always lead us back to the A. We need to learn to separate these issues and realize life with all its craziness needs to go on and it doesn't mean the marriage will fail. In fact, I believe it's how you get through the normal every day issues after the A that might give us insight into if the marriage is worth saving or not.