However, from my own experience I think there comes a time when R is as good as it is going to get in the marriage, months or maybe years later. I wonder if there is true R as opposed to just learning to live with the ws in a whole new life of the now tainted marriage. In my situation, I am sure I have reached the level of R with my fwh (10 years out now) that is more of a settling level rather than a so called "true R" or what we strived for pre a. Get what I mean????
What true R to me isn't going to be what true R to you is (or anyone else). I believe there comes a point and time where healthy, positive change has been made, established and is now "normal", with the continual tweaking (not major crap, just life crap) and awareness.
What is true R to you? What were you striving for then that you don't have now? Is it acceptable and a place where you can be happy and content?
I think that R is achieved when certain levels of acceptance, forgiveness, and trust are reached. Creating a happy satisfying relationship is a journey separate from R.
I'm currently trying to figure out if mine CAN be great.
4 kiddos in lower 20's
ôSlide the weight from your shoulders and move forward. You are afraid you might forget, but you never will. You will forgive and remember."
In my case, my H and I communicate better and are closer than we ever were before the A, but this is one case. (8 years out now). I think more often it is probably as you described, at some point couples settle on living with what happened, maybe even considering the marriage "tainted." I do not look at my marriage that way, 8 years later. I look at us as a couple who have survived many ups and downs, a couple committed to continuing our lives together until death parts us.
I look at R as more of a decision than something you describe as "true R". If I were to try to describe what I think you and others mean by this "true R" I don't really go along with the concept of levels of R though I do understand there are levels of happiness, security and other good (or not so good) things in any given marriage. I guess I think people feel there will almost be a magical day when you wake up and it is as if the A never happened.
No, everything and all experiences in life become who you are, how you grow and change, for better or worse, throughout your life. Events don't just go away as if they never occurred at some point in "healing" IMO.
Back to my own view of R being a decision, rather than some point on a timeline, I feel my H and I were R'ed within about two months, not 2 or 5 years. This is because we were both committed to staying together, we were planning our futures together, sharing intimacy, living life as any other married couple with daily ups and downs. Of course, I always had the option to change my mind if new information or continuing A related behaviors occurred but based on the information I had, I made the decision to stay with him and his commitment to me was also obvious.
And the fact that there was an A, and even the fact my first H was a serial cheater whom I divorced are part of who I am today. I don't expect to ever "forget" that though most of the time I am not living in the pain of the past. Certain songs and events can take me back there, and bring sadness. But I embrace this all as part of life rather than hoping some day I will hear the same song or experience the same events and they won't have that effect (of taking me back there).
So some do settle and feel their marriage was tainted. It is still a choice to stay married. Others actually end up with an improved marriage. Still others may have a marriage that is about the same in many ways as it was before the A occurred. (And some divorce, of course). But this is just life, people and the specific dynamics and details involved, not something that follows a pattern.
In the beginning I easily and significantly enhanced my efforts and played harder my world view and beliefs. It provided me with instant life improvement.
Roughly 6 months later, understanding my original game plan would not carry me forever, I started researching and learning about psychology, FOO, etc, etc., and it provided me with additional comfort. It changed my world views and beliefs. It was intriguing. I learned a lot. Ignorance truly is bliss.
Now, 5 years post D-day, the drive to learn is gone. I feel like an elder. I'm not sure what more I can do or learn. I continued hanging around here validating my new word view and beliefs. It was great for a while, but now I become annoyed with the ignorance and results. My emotions are dull. Life seems predictable. Peace is boring. I need a new chapter in life.
I have been thinking that I would like to capture my experience, like in a diary or autobiography, or something to pass to my kids and grand children, but it's still too embarrassing right now. Another option is to volunteer and help troubled people. Also thinking about investing in organizational and industrial psychology because my engineering work environment drastically needs it.
I'm not sure yet, but the flame, drive, spark of marriage, sex, and building a ginger bread house isn't there anymore. At the same time, I'm not complaining.
As for the time it takes to heal, it depends on the extent of the trauma, where you start, which paths you choose, the help you get, and how hard you face it. It's not the time you need, but the work done during the time. Some choose to walk and do nothing. Some choose to ignore and never heal. Whatever floats your boat.
[This message edited by still-living at 2:18 PM, April 26th (Saturday)]
My dog farted, startled himself, wondered where the noise came from. I wish my life was as simple.
Yeah, maybe we stay together in some sort of R, but will I always wish it was better?
For my WS, true remorse, full disclosure, vulnerability and the ability to explore and share the process of looking into FOO issues didn't come all at once. It was a slow gradual process. As we come through these and as she realizes the depth of what she did and the consequences of it how we interact and communicate has changed over time moving us further along in R.
Similarly my struggle with the pain of the EAs and the damage added to them by TT, gaslighting and blameshifting has impacted how we move toward R. Everyone has a different way of moving through these things, and it's not linear. So cycles of pain, anger and hurt interact with the WS's ability to receive and respond in a loving, humble and compassionate way. My ability to express what I'm feeling at appropriate times, communicate in a way that is constructive and work toward what I need to do for the relationship (because although I agree that the relationship issues are separate it seems to me that not adjusting to some of the needs of the WS with regard to them as you move toward R can impede progress, depending on the actual issues) also impact her ability to move through the realizations she needs as a WS.
IMHO, given all the extra influences, the situation, the nature of the A, the relationship issues pre-A and the path of disclosure, there are definitely different levels of R that occur uniquely or in varying ways among couples.