If you did nothing, intending to tread water" in the relationship for 18+ years and then D, maybe it is now time to start working through your feelings. Have you seen an IC, could you?
How do you stomp the memories and bury them so you can move on and be free of this demon?
You don't. You pick each one up, examine it, and understand why it causes you to feel the way you do. You learn what you can about yourself from the pain inflicted. When you feel you understand the first painful piece, you set it back down and pick up the next. After a while, you will probably begin to see a pattern in the pieces. What does the pattern show or tell you. The more you handle and understand the feelings, the less sharply they will hurt you.
What did your WW do after her A? It sounds like she rug-swept, and never answered your questions about a timeline, details. Did she identify and own her reasons for her A, her Whys? Did she go to IC or take other active steps to fix her issues, and to learn and practice new coping behaviors? Was she transparent with where she was and what she did after dday? Do you feel safe with her as a M partner, or do you fear another A?
I do not think staying in a M for 18+ years to then D is a very good or sustainable plan.
How do you eat an elephant? one bite at a time. You talk about it..cry..get angry..hold each other...and talk..and talk..and talk..until you feel safe again.
The average time to heal from infidelity is 3-5 years. And that's with a lot of hard work. It sounds like you and your WW rugswept her affairs...and that is why you are still in pain.
Yes,talking about it might hurt her. That's ok. She did a shitty thing. It's ok that she feels bad about it. But she will continue to feel bad about it..just as you will...until the two of you face this head-on.
What has she done to help you heal? What has she done to heal herself?
Welcome to SI. You will find a great deal of advice,support,and understanding here.
[This message edited by confused615 at 2:23 PM, September 25th (Wednesday)]
..that feeling you get in your stomach, when you heart's broken. It's like all the butterflies just died.
I am also over 7 years post dday. And today I started a thread entitled "I Hate my husband" vent.
I know the lonliness of not being able to talk about it. Keep trying to give her a safe environment in which to do this.
I wish for you peace.
I will not be vanquished. Rose Kennedy
You have had some excellent feedback on here. I will add some from my personal experience.
7 Years ago (same as your WW affair) I confessed to an affair with a co-worker (unoriginal - I know). At the time my H majorly rug swept as he took the blame for it and I went along with it, out of cowardice and also at that time, an inability to look hard at myself and my behaviours. So, we limped along for 7 years, but because I hadn't been held accountable or looked at myself I then had brief PA (kissed and flirted) with another co worker in my next job, that I cut off quickly and tried to forget about.
Now. Fast forward to February this year. I confessed to my H that the affair 7 years ago wasn't the only one. That there had been more prior to this. ONS with 2 men (one of them with his best friend 21 years ago) and various inappropriate behaviours with men over the years. Including the PA I mentioned. So shameful.
So all the feelings he pushed down 7 years ago after that first confessed affair, are now resurfacing. Hence his asking me for a timeline about everything. I can see it is overwhelming for him. Not just the one he knew about (although that is bad enough) but many. He is traumatised. We are struggling. But I have recently suggested that we set an hour aside a few times a week to discuss each one. He has told me this morning before going to work that he wants to talk about the first one with his friend. Of course this is not going to be comfortable for me, but that's the consequences of my actions. And I am glad he is bringing his hurt to me, rather than become depressed or project that hurt and anger onto our children. He is struggling with how and why I could do that to him. I have written elsewhere that when you don't care about yourself, then no one else stands any chance of being protected. Including those we are supposed to love. That goes for children as well, as they too are affected by the fallout. Whether people stay together or not.
You have every right to express your pain, hurt and anger about your wife's affair. And there is no moratorium on when that is. 1985 said he did this himself many years later. And is the better for it.
Back yourself WW43.
ETA for typo
[This message edited by ophelia24 at 6:05 PM, September 25th (Wednesday)]
Are you wondering when the pain stops?
The Pain Stops: when you stop looking at the person you love as the person you love, and you begin to see them, not as a partner, a lover, or a best friend, but as a human being with the strengths and weaknesses and even the core of a child.
The Pain Stops: when you begin to accept that what you would do in a circumstance is not what they would do, and that no matter how much you try, they have to learn their own lessons, and they have to touch the stove when it's hot, just as you did, to learn that it is much better when it is cold.
The Pain Stops: when your longing for them gets slowly replaced by a desire to get away, when making love to them no longer makes you feel cherished, when you find yourself tired of waiting for the moments where the good will truly outweigh the bad, and when at the end of the day you can't count on their arms for comfort.
The Pain Stops: when you start to look inward and decide whether their presence is a gift or a curse, and whether when you need them, they cause more heartache than bliss.
The Pain Stops: when you realize that you deserve more than they offer and stop blaming them for being less than you wish. When the smile of a stranger seems more inviting and kind, and you remember what it's like to feel beautiful, and you remember how long it has been since your lover whispered something in your ear that only the two of you would know.
The Pain Stops: when you forgive them for their faults and forgive yourself for staying so long. When you know that you tried harder than you ever tried before, and you know in your heart that love should not be so much work.
The Pain Stops: when you start to look in the mirror and like who you see, and know that leaving them or losing them is no reflection of your beauty or your worth.
The Pain Stops: when the promise of a new tomorrow is just enough to start replacing the emptiness in your heart, and you start dreaming again of who you used to be and who you will become.
The Pain Stops: when you say goodbye to what never really was, and accept that somewhere in the fog you may or may not have been loved back. And you promise yourself never again to lay in arms that don't know how to cherish the kindness in your heart.
The Pain Stops: When you are ready.
[This message edited by Chrysalis123 at 7:15 PM, September 25th (Wednesday)]
Don’t get to the end of your life and find that you lived only the length of it; live the width of it as well.
Are you saying that you're definitely going the D route, or would you want to R, if you could get through your pain?
If D is your choice, you have to heal yourself. Your W doesn't matter. After 7 years of hell, I strongly recommend IC, since you're having trouble healing on your own.
If you would R if you can get past the pain, well, you can get past the pain. Again, stop trying to do it on your own - get help. Get support for facing your pain, face it, and move on. Once you do it, you'll laugh at yourself for waiting so long.
But R requires effort by 2 people, and your W will probably have to answer your questions. If she won't, and you still want answer, R sound impossible.
But no matter what your W chooses, you can heal - but it sounds like starting IC is a good first step for you no matter what.
[This message edited by sisoon at 9:07 AM, September 30th (Monday)]