I am 4.5yr post discovery, 3.5 years since he left the house and 3 years divorced (on the 14th!!).
My first relationship was a rebound, sadly. It was hard for me to take that step back and be alone, work on myself. I had a hard time because I have NO family support and no kids so I was very much alone in the world. Not an excuse, just the reason why in looking back.
It was a good relationship, a friend I had known for 5 years. Very safe but very much we were the wrong people for one another. He was crushed when it ended, I was ready to move on and to this day I feel badly because I should have known better. No hard feelings towards one another. It started about 4 months after my exH left and lasted over a year.
The next 6 months I tried OLD (oh the stories!!), was probably a little too eager and definatley willing to accept people I should not have.
Met another BS (a friends brother) who was trying to figure out his life/leave or stay in bad marriage (read broken attracks broken or I was trying to save him, either way BAD!!!). He was not a very kind person, very very self-centered and I would bet controlling. Then he was "confused" between myself and an ex-girlfriend (pre-marriage) whom had cheated on him (RED FLAG!!). He dragged me around then I finally had enough (6 months after meeting)/he chose to try it with the ex-cheater (want to guess how that turned out??? Yes, history repeated itself, and he came back .. but I had already met someone else).
In an effort to just move on (I was pretty attached to him, we were a lot alike in some personality traits/how we grew up/what we experienced in life), I went back to OLD. I would just try to figure out how to date, look for people to just meet and maybe go out with casually (not FWB, not my style). It isnt easy dating, takes a while to figure out what you really want and to find someone.
The second person I met (VP), just a year ago, we hit it off. Partly because I was not really interested and by having that attitude (for myself), I was able to be myself and not care so much how he felt. I wasnt worried about being who he wanted me to be,I was just me. He either liked me or he didnt. I was not worried about making any imporessions, being "cute" or whatever else I might "feel" I needed to be to get his attention. I didn't care if he called, texted, if we had contact every day, or even at all. I just wanted to spend the rest of the year gathering some experience just dating, developing my outside friendships, enjoying my life at home, my horses, my alone time.
VP and are I are getting married on Thanksgiving morning this year. We developed the best relationships I have ever had. We are open with each other, there is no power struggle, there is not one of us "getting our way", there is no one in "control". We respect each other. Do not think it has been easy, we have had a number of obsticals tossed in our path but we have worked things out. Never once have we broken up over anything, nor have we fought. If I need time to sort things out, he gives it to me and in return I talk about it later (the openness!).
I was NOT the one who wanted to get married, it was all him. I had orginally thought that was what I wanted but when faced with it, wow, another story!! I went back to my IC to talk about it. Even she thinks it is a great relationship. I am just having a tough time going back to a place that cased so much pain and disappointment. Nothing to do with him.
So it can be better, but it does take time. Mine happened when I had not cared so much. It was because I just let it happen. I didnt push it (like happened with the other BS who couldnt decide!).
I read a LOT about what it takes to make a good relationship and thought about what one might look like, for me.
It was all about time and what I put into it.
It is about us being there for one another because we care for one another. Not what we can get, not to raise kids (he has a daughter), not to live off another, not to have someone to come home to. Because we really enjoy each other and get along (we have lived together since the beginning of the year). We have become very good friends.
I was very lonely for a very long time. I turned it around and started to enjoy my time. I did some deep soul searching about what went wrong in my marriage, what *I* did wrong and what *I* need to do to be in a great realtionship (not just good, GREAT!
There are happy endings. This relationship for me is far better then my marriage ever was or could have been.
In the end I am not sorry about where I ended up or what I went through because it all formed me into the person I am now.
Turning my situation around to a positive has been very helpful. Even the "bad" things that happen can lead to something very positive that might not otherwise have happened. I look for the positive outcomes. (It isnt always easy!!!)