I have been reading the forums from the sidelines for some time now, and I am ready to be more actively involved.
D-Day was about 5 months ago, and I am struggling to try to R with my BS.
I started my A several years ago with the OP that I worked with at the time (no longer). After much self-reflection, I know that I chose to have an A as an inappropriate way to escape the stresses of life. In retrospect, this was absolutely the worst possible coping mechanism, and has led to so much more hurt and stress and heart ache, and I am so sad that I chose to do that to my BS.
Unfortunately, D-Day occurred when the OP sent a message to my BS. I had shortly before resolved that I needed to tell my BS the truth about it on my own, but I wanted to wait until after a trip my BS and I were on to come clean. My BS was rightly shocked and saddened by this discovery, but after I begged for her to give me a second chance, she did allow that we could try to R.
The issue that I then ran into was that I had spent years artificially placing all of the stress in life onto my M. I was coping with life by blaming my M for making me unhappy and thinking that my A was making me happy. After D-Day, I was saddened by the hurt I had caused my BS, and I was so embarrassed that I let myself act in a way that I know is wrong and hurtful. I wanted more than anything to support my BS and to work on R, but I again found it very difficult. I was not expecting an easy course, but what I realized was that I had to work on fixing myself before I could honestly work on R. I was unable to do things that should have been helpful in working on R because I was still sabotaging our relationship with my clouded emotions. Therefore, I set out to start fixing myself. I talked with friends and family about my A and how it was wrong. I spent lots of time in self-reflection, and I also began to go to IC.
With the work I put in to fix myself, I honestly realized how I had been projecting all of the bad or stressful things in life unfairly onto my M. I was making M intolerable to my BS and myself because I was unhappy in general and inappropriately blamed it on my M. It really did take me a long time to begin to see the truth in this and how I had been actively destroying our M for many years. On the positive side, this realization made me feel so hopeful for R. I knew that if my BS is willing to work on R, I can make myself a better and more whole person who can deal with emotions and stress in a more grown-up manner and that we could have a healthy M in the future.
The problem lies in the fact that during the time I was working on understanding my personal problems that led me to have an A, my BS decided that not enough progress had been made towards R, and filed for D. I love my BS, and I do not want to get a D, but now things are so bad that my BS has only agreed to talk to me once since filing. I have always wanted us to be able to R (knowing that this is all my fault and I have to accept responsibility for my actions and that my BS may not be able to R). I am desperate to try to R. I honestly think my BS wanted to try, but now "too much time has passed." I regret that I was unable to fix myself immediately after D-Day (actually, I wish I had been able to long before then), but I let myself get very broken, and I needed time to fix that before I could give my M the honest attention it needed for true R.
Now, my BS has told family and friends about the D and the A, so my BS says that now R is even harder for both of us because they hate me currently (which I understand). I am desperate to try to R, but I don't know what I can do. My BS says "actions over words," but I don't get to see my BS (let alone talk to her), so I don't know how to try to continue an attempt at R. What actions am I able to perform when I can't see my BS and when there is a D proceeding to show that I am steadfast in my wishes for R? Thank you for listening to my story, and I look forward to any comments or suggestions.
I don't know that anything you do will change her proceeding forward with divorce. So I would suggest you continue to work on yourself regardless of the outcome with your marriage.
Striving to be a better person is always an excellent route to take
It's good to have you with us...we'll help support your efforts
My tolerance for stupid shit is getting less and less.
What actions am I able to perform when I can't see my BS and when there is a D proceeding to show that I am steadfast in my wishes for R?
I was in your shoes almost exactly. My XH divorced me after D-day and we had very limited contact at work for the two years following D-day before we began to reconcile. I'll share what I did, and maybe some of it will be helpful to your situation.
First and foremost, I worked on myself. For several months post-D-day, if I wasn't at work, I was doing SOMETHING to better myself---emotionally, psychologically, mentally, spiritually. I went to IC (individual counseling). I went back to church regularly---I had lapsed while I was married. I spoke nearly every day to a trusted (female) friend and my family about the terrible choices I had made, and my goals & plans for recovery. I wrote personal letters to XH's family and friends, who had all written me off after D-day, expressing my remorse and apologizing for my horrible behavior toward their son/brother/friend. I began to analyze EVERY cumulative thought, emotion, and behavior pattern of my then-28 years, figuring out what was healthy and could stay (verrrry little) and what was toxic and had to go (lots and lots). I became very intentional, once I had identified all the enmeshed and entangled bits of toxicity, about changing it. Rebuilding myself from the ground up, if you will.
When I did happen to see my XH: well, for many months, I avoided him completely. There was a time or two that I would literally turn around and walk away if I were about to cross his path at work. I didn't mean to be juvenile, but I was hurting so badly and I'm sure he was hurting infinitely more. Eventually, though, those feelings passed; the more work I did on myself, the more I changed inside, the more it showed on the outside. From that point on, when I saw him, I always tried to portray an attitude of sensitivity and respect, but also of confidence and positivity. (It wasn't an act.)
I became more responsible. He noticed that I was never late for work anymore, for example. I became kinder, gentler, and had a more positive attitude. (A major pre-A bone of contention between us was my sour and grumpy disposition.) He knew that I confessed my infidelity to far more people than he "outed" me to, and knew that I took complete responsibility and never ran him down to anyone.
I will add that I did also pray frequently for God to change his heart.
These were the only "actions" I could do, and show, while we were apart. Like you in your situation, I was not around him to "show" him. But, really? I wasn't doing it "for" him. As DS said, maybe she won't change her mind. In the end, though, the one person you will ALWAYS be in a relationship with is yourself. Make it a good one!
Married 2.5 years
Nope. I'm sorry, looks like you have missed the boat.
Once a BS starts telling all & sundry about it, it's over, she's building the walls to make sure there's no going back even if she has doubt in the future.
Please continue to work on yourself for yourself, so you will be a safe partner in any future relationship.
"Do not say a little in many words but a great deal in a few." Pythagoras
There are two kinds of people in the world.
Those who can extrapolate from incomplete data.
I appreciate your candid thoughts on my situation. I do maintain hope for R at some point (maybe not until years in the future like heartbroken), but I agree with your recommendation that really the only thing I can do at the current time is to focus on making myself the best person I can possibly be and to ensure that I extinguish the parts of me that allowed me to cause such hurt to my BS. There's plenty of work for me to do on that!