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Reconciliation
User Topic: The 3 H's for Successful R
Althea
Member
Member # 37765
Content  Posted: 11:19 AM, June 2nd (Monday)

This is my first time posting a thread with words intended to help others, mostly because up until now I have felt totally unqualified. For months I flailed in false R, then stumbled and stalled in true R. I fired MC's and IC's, but only after months of feeling things weren't quite right; and I got pregnant during HB. I felt like the poster child for what one shouldn't do after discovering your spouse's A. Without this site, I would be divorced and likely suffering from a nervous breakdown. But, lately things have been coming together a bit for me; and I thought if there is a chance that my journey could help even one other person here the way countless others have helped me, then my words are worth posting. So, without further ado, here they are:

1. Heal yourself.
2. Heal your marriage.
3. Hard, HARD work.

Simple, and I'm sure not original, but they seem to sum things up pretty well. I won't say they have to happen in a particular order, except that a commitment to a lifetime of hard work by both parties is the centerpiece to continued success in R. For me, healing myself had to come before healing the marriage, but that isn't true for everyone. Here are my thoughts on each.

Heal Yourself.

Affairs inflict trauma. Trauma requires immediate care. I strongly believe in the power of IC. It has helped me immensely on my journey. Yet, it is not an option for everyone; and there are other ways to heal. I believe that this site and the wise words offered here saved my life and offered me valuable insight when my first MC could not. Reading books has also been an invaluable part of my journey. Reading Not Just Friends is what finally ended my WS's fog when 4 months of MC could not; and a couple of amazing books recently pulled me out of what my old IC dismissed as "just" depression (I fired her).

Part of healing myself meant figuring out my needs and making sure they were being met. Some of them required action from my WS (e.g. he needed to be consistently trustworthy in his actions, working hard at healing himself, and caring for the marriage); but most of them required action from me. I first had to figure out that I had a right to needs in the first place and then had to go about the hard work of identifying what they were. Once I knew what they were, I needed to look at whether they required action from my WS. If they did, I needed to communicate that to him, and then WATCH his actions. If he could or would not meet my needs, I had another choice to make. A much harder choice. Many of my needs, particularly during this second difficult year, ended up requiring changes from me. I was cycling back to old pain over the A, obsessively checking on my WS when he wasn't giving me reason to be doing so, and unable to enjoy the progress we were making. It was easy to blame the A for this; but the truth for me required a much more uncomfortable course of action. I was expecting my WS to enforce boundaries for me, heal himself the way I wanted him to so I could feel safe, and provide me with indisputable proof I would never be hurt so deeply again. In short, I was trying to control the uncontrollable, and I needed to stop. I reached a point where I needed to stop blaming the A, and return to my focus of healing myself. This time I needed to heal the wounds that predated the A.

I want to stop for a moment and say that if you are 4 or 6 months out from DDay and reading this to say that you should be able to "get over" the A and trust your remorseful spouse again, PLEASE STOP. This is not a sprint, it is the most grueling marathon imaginable. You must allow yourself to feel every single painful ounce of this journey. There are no shortcuts. What I am saying is that at some point, if you have been feeling the same feelings without forward motion for months; and you have looked at your needs, you have communicated them to your WS, and he or she has met those that he or she can, and you are STILL stuck, then go back and take a second look. It could be the changes need to come from you. However, if you have a spouse that is not stepping up, or pressuring you to "get over it" that is an entirely different ballgame...

If you communicate your needs to your WS and he or she cannot or will not meet them, you need to be prepared to act. This is the most terrifying hurdle for many of us. What if I push too hard and he leaves me? How will I raise three children on my own? How will I protect them if he tries to force OW on them? How will I ever trust another human again? So many fears and all of them need to be faced. I firmly believe that only when you have faced each of those fears can you make a reliable decision about whether you should stay in your marriage. As for the fear that if you push too hard your spouse will leave? If your WS can cheat on you, destroy your marriage, and destroy your soul, the LEAST he or she can do is be there 100% to help you heal. Seriously, if after shoving a knife in your back, he or she can't be bothered to pick up a book if that is the action you need to see to feel he or she is doing the work, you need to ask yourself why you don't believe you deserve better. Many of us have found that we have to be willing to walk away from the marriage before it can be saved. If we are too frightened to leave, many WS don't have the incentive to lift the fog and start the heavy lifting.

Heal Your Marriage.

I don't happen to believe rocky marriages make for affairs; but I do believe they make for two unhappy people. Whether you believe the old marriage is dead, or want to reclaim the old happy memories as part of moving forward, it is necessary to find a new way to relate. MC is incredible, if you have a good MC. If you have a bad one it is at best a waste of time and money. There are a number of great books that can be every bit as helpful, if both parties are willing to put in the longterm work. And there we are at the last H.

Hard, HARD work.

It never stops. Marriage is work, healing is work. It is a lifelong journey. Both of you need to work tirelessly for a successful R. If you are working and your spouse is not look at what his or her actions are telling you. If your WS is telling you to "get over it" or angry at you for being in pain, look at what his or her actions are telling you, Then make a decision about what you are going to do to take care of yourself.

There you have it.

I guess it is probably clear that in my journey healing myself has been at the core of R. For all of this YMMV. As those wiser than myself say, take what you need and leave the rest. I don't claim to have all of the answers; but remember well so many days where I prayed for some kind of a road map along this winding road. This ended up being mine. I wish you all the best on this difficult journey.


Taking it one day at a time.

Posts: 457 | Registered: Dec 2012
ItsaClimb
Member
Member # 37107
Default  Posted: 2:03 PM, June 2nd (Monday)

Brilliant post Althea!

I was cycling back to old pain over the A, obsessively checking on my WS when he wasn't giving me reason to be doing so, and unable to enjoy the progress we were making. It was easy to blame the A for this; but the truth for me required a much more uncomfortable course of action. I was expecting my WS to enforce boundaries for me, heal himself the way I wanted him to so I could feel safe, and provide me with indisputable proof I would never be hurt so deeply again. In short, I was trying to control the uncontrollable, and I needed to stop.

This is the hard part! I battle with it all the time.


BS 46
Together 29 yrs, M 25 years
2 daughters 24yo(married with a brand new little daughter) & 19yo
D-Day 18 Aug 2012
6mth EA lead to 4mth PA with CO-W. I found out 8 1/2 yrs later

Posts: 966 | Registered: Oct 2012
Althea
Member
Member # 37765
Default  Posted: 2:43 PM, June 2nd (Monday)

Thanks ItsaClimb. I think our struggles are similar. I read your post about questioning your love for your husband and thought: "man, I JUST came out of that AND I was stuck there for about a year." It was a busy year, with a lot of external forces that kept me off center and unable to really sit with my feelings, which is why I think it went on for so long. But it was that question that kept me searching for more answers. For me, the start to answering that question came from my therapist who said something to the tune of, "we know you are good at running, but since you've decided to stay for the time being, why don't we see what needs to happen in order for that to work." It turned out that I needed to make a number of changes.


Taking it one day at a time.

Posts: 457 | Registered: Dec 2012
DixieD
Member
Member # 33457
Default  Posted: 2:53 PM, June 2nd (Monday)

Great post Althea.

I won't say they have to happen in a particular order, except that a commitment to a lifetime of hard work by both parties is the centerpiece to continued success in R.

IMO, R is never really over. I'm not just here to heal from my husband's affair. I wanted a better marriage and more importantly a better life. I spent too many years settling and I won't do that again. That put the focus on more than just his affair and moving on from that particular event. That was just part of it. It was the starting point.

I first had to figure out that I had a right to needs in the first place and then had to go about the hard work of identifying what they were.

Same here.

If your WS can cheat on you, destroy your marriage, and destroy your soul, the LEAST he or she can do is be there 100% to help you heal. Seriously, if after shoving a knife in your back, he or she can't be bothered to pick up a book if that is the action you need to see to feel he or she is doing the work, you need to ask yourself why you don't believe you deserve better.

Well said.


Growing forward

Posts: 1767 | Registered: Sep 2011
callmesteph
New Member
Member # 43595
Default  Posted: 2:56 PM, June 2nd (Monday)

Thank you for the post Althea! Good, solid advice that I also agree with. I'm 6 mths post dday. I also wrote my first post yesterday & it feels really good and liberating!

I am so sorry for your loss...I too had a miscarriage during HB so I know the pain of it all.

I found SI several weeks after dday.,,and just reading about individual experiences from people who unfortunately have gone thru it first hand was very soothing and empowering in a way because being a very private person I did not open up to anyone except 5 friends including relatives.

I too have come to realize and accept the fact that I can only control my own actions and no one else, including my WS.

Best of luck to you!


BS: me (41) WS: him (42)
M:12 yrs T:23 yrs 3 kids (4,7,9)
DDay: 12/3/2013
OW#1- 2 1/2 yr A; OW#2-2mth A; +escorts
In Reconcilation

Posts: 50 | Registered: Jun 2014 | From: USA
Althea
Member
Member # 37765
Default  Posted: 5:00 PM, June 2nd (Monday)

IMO, R is never really over. I'm not just here to heal from my husband's affair. I wanted a better marriage and more importantly a better life. I spent too many years settling and I won't do that again. That put the focus on more than just his affair and moving on from that particular event. That was just part of it. It was the starting point.
DixieD, Yes!

It came to me tonight that I spent R up to this point reacting. Watching WH's actions waiting for him to do or not do something so that I could react. However, that behavior didn't start with his A. Just the simple act of choosing to act vs. react is so empowering. We lost so much due to our WS's A's. Why hand them more power by waiting for them to act a certain way so that we can react?

callmesteph, you sound very grounded for 6 months out. Keep hold of that. I'm sorry for your loss. I actually didn't lose my daughter (but they believe she had a twin who was lost). The pregnancy was traumatic for a number of reasons including the fact that I did not want another child, and we had some very difficult trials with WH's highly dysfunctional FOO at the same time. Things were so hard during that time that I tend to separate all of that from my daughter who I feel very differently about if that makes any sense at all.


Taking it one day at a time.

Posts: 457 | Registered: Dec 2012
hopefull77
Member
Member # 43221
Default  Posted: 8:00 PM, June 2nd (Monday)

Thank you for this topic!! The 3 h's are like a triangle...without the hard work I can't heal myself or the marriage! They all work hand in hand ....in my opinion....
we are 18 months out and our conversations are better everyday....
I am one of those people who will not mourn my marriage...we have been married 37 years...I'll be dammed if I am going to let his choices take away the beautiful and tough times we have had AND survived...
books..IC and this site have been HUGE in our journey...and OF COURSE our faith in a forgiving GOD goes without saying...
Of all the books I have read BEYOND BOUNDARIES and Dr Scot Haltzmans book THE SECRET TO SURVIVING INFIDELITY have been very helpful...
Thanks again to all who posted...


me-BS
him-WS
3 adult children 1D 2S
married-1977
LTA 09-2010 - 11-2012
D-day - 11-11-2012
status - reconciling and very hopeful
"Let Go of Control; Let God's Life Flow" ...Richard Rohr



Posts: 516 | Registered: Apr 2014 | From: sunny california
karmahappens
Member
Member # 35846
Default  Posted: 8:07 PM, June 2nd (Monday)

Great post ♡

R's that work are so rewarding.

Can I add my favorite H?

Hope, for times when the other H's take their toll.♡


“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom”
Anaïs Nin
Me: 45
Him: 47
Dday 8/2007
We have R'd

Posts: 3800 | Registered: Jun 2012 | From: Massachusetts
Althea
Member
Member # 37765
Default  Posted: 6:37 AM, June 3rd (Tuesday)

hopeful77 - I like thinking of it as a triangle, they are all certainly interrelated, aren't they? Although I never considered myself particularly religious, this journey has shown me that I am very spiritual. These days I often finding myself placing things in "God's" hands even without an officially recognized definition of who or what that God is.

karmahappens. Hope. Beautiful. The only H that many of us have in the beginning. When I chose my username when I first started lurking around here it was hopeful. I had absolutely nothing to be hopeful about except that life would get better, one way or another; and it has. It will for all of us, even if things get uglier first.


Taking it one day at a time.

Posts: 457 | Registered: Dec 2012
brokensmile322
Member
Member # 35758
Default  Posted: 7:08 AM, June 3rd (Tuesday)

Awesome post, Althea! So spot on. I so believe in healing yourself first although it is not the knee-jerk reaction that many of us have.

Congrats on making your first 'helping' others post. Growth! Doesn't it feel good?

Hope, for times when the other H's take their toll.♡

Love this, Karma! Perhaps the most important H or all!


Me BS 42 Him WS 44
OW Coworker DDay April 7, 2012
EA on a slippery slope...

When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves. ~Viktor Frankl

"When you are happy, you can forgive a great deal."


Posts: 1476 | Registered: Jun 2012
Althea
Member
Member # 37765
Default  Posted: 10:32 AM, June 3rd (Tuesday)

Growth! Doesn't it feel good?

Yes! I wish I could make that heart right here.


Taking it one day at a time.

Posts: 457 | Registered: Dec 2012
Rebreather
Member
Member # 30817
Default  Posted: 10:45 AM, June 3rd (Tuesday)

Great work Althea. You've come so far.


Me BS
Him WH
2 ddays in '07
Recovering.
"The cure for the pain, is the pain." -Rumi

Posts: 6442 | Registered: Jan 2011
Althea
Member
Member # 37765
Default  Posted: 11:58 AM, June 3rd (Tuesday)

Thank you Rebreather.

I want very much the healthy interdependent relationship that is finally seeming to be within my reach. Catching myself in the self destructive thought patterns, and now working toward not needing to go there in the first place. I just didn't realize how quick I was to blame my WH's past deeds for my current feelings despite no actual relationship between the two (e.g. he didn't start dinner when I thought we agreed he would, see? he is still unreliable and untrustworthy and cannot be trusted with something so small, blah blah blah). I see it now, and stop myself, and ask myself 1. why am I upset? and 2. what do I need to do about it? In the case of the dinner example, I told my husband I thought he would be making dinner at x time so we could get the kids to bed early, so I was frustrated when I came downstairs from bathing them to find he had not started dinner. He thought he was starting in time for them to still get to bed early. I pointed out that it was impossible to put them down at the time I had planned (but did not communicate to him), he agreed. It was a miscommunication. I was frustrated, but no one was at fault; and it certainly had nothing to do with his A. I communicated my frustration in a healthy way and then disengaged and it felt great. I know it will feel even better when I don't start spinning around in that cycle in the first place.


Taking it one day at a time.

Posts: 457 | Registered: Dec 2012
KatieG
Member
Member # 41222
Default  Posted: 1:04 PM, June 3rd (Tuesday)

Great post and I love your example about Dinner! Small things like that cause conflict and set me back, negative thinking and my own shit.
Gets confusing doesn't it?
Your post really conveys the clarity you now have after all the mess and set backs. I hope I get there one day. Great when you read the books and get the theory and so much harder to put into practice and live every day.
Thank you.


DD#1 - 6th Oct 13 - TT
DD#2 - 9th Nov 13 - Full disclosure
DD#3 - 12th May 14 - FOG lifted and in R
7 week A, 2 weeks together, rest phone and email - PA and EA

Posts: 441 | Registered: Nov 2013
Althea
Member
Member # 37765
Default  Posted: 3:00 PM, June 3rd (Tuesday)

KatieG, it is hard; but it sounds like you are more self aware than I was at a few months out. I think I spent a solid year in some form or other of the cycle where every conflict would lead to me questioning whether I should be married to someone who would cheat on me. It wasn't working, but I couldn't get past looking at what HE should be doing to make me feel better, rather than what I needed to be doing for myself.

It is hard because WS's need to do the heavy lifting at the beginning, but somewhere along the line we as BS need to look inward for our own changes. Where that is varies so much depending on the situation and people involved.


Taking it one day at a time.

Posts: 457 | Registered: Dec 2012
meplusfour
Member
Member # 38958
Default  Posted: 3:17 PM, June 3rd (Tuesday)

Thank you for the insightful post. DDay was 14 months ago and I have been struggling with feelings of inadequacy and bringing up old issues without knowing why. Almost like a reminder of how badly I was hurting and might be hurt again.

It helps so much that you were able to pinpoint and verbalize exactly what I am feeling. I know now that I need to continue to focus on healing myself and enjoy how far we have come. Until now, I did not realize that I was connecting every single marital issue back to the A, and that these issues predated the A. I need to refocus and gather my strength and address these issues independently of the A.

I hope you continue to post about your journey. Your thoughts and reflections are valued.

[This message edited by meplusfour at 3:18 PM, June 3rd (Tuesday)]


BW (me)42
WH 44
3 daughters, 1 son
Married 10 years, together 13
DDay 3/14/2013, four year PA
In R
"Sometimes you have to accept the fact that certain things will never go back to the way they used to be."

Posts: 365 | Registered: Apr 2013 | From: Canada
Althea
Member
Member # 37765
Default  Posted: 6:35 PM, June 3rd (Tuesday)

Meplusfour, thank you for your post. I called that the snowball dilemma for a long time. Every time WH hurt me it snowballed into the A. At the beginning, at least for me, it was impossible to separate. That pain was just beneath the surface waiting to be unearthed. Lately though, WH's behavior just didn't warrant my reaction and I had to take a hard look at why exactly I was going there.

I wrote the post with the hope that my journey could help at least one other; so thank you so much for letting me know it has.


Taking it one day at a time.

Posts: 457 | Registered: Dec 2012
mashiara
New Member
Member # 43619
Default  Posted: 12:42 AM, June 4th (Wednesday)

Thank you for this post. We are just starting. Is it possible for you to pinpoint 1 book that specifically helped you the most and maybe 1 that specifically helped your marriage the most? We are beginning to look for counselors but I'm not feeling very hopeful with our options. I'd like to start reading in the meantime.


Me - BS
Him - WS
Together 8 years, married 10 months
4 yr old & another on the way + teen step-daughter
D-day May 27, 2014 (2 days after birthday)
7 month EA with close friend

Posts: 8 | Registered: Jun 2014 | From: US
FixYou71
Member
Member # 42654
Default  Posted: 2:25 AM, June 4th (Wednesday)

Mashiara, (t/j Althea, sorry)
A while back Obliquestrat gave the response below to another poster. I think it's excellent advice. Hope it helps on your quest to find a good therapist.


"When I started, I went to someone from the "Find a Local Counselor" section. They were very kind and understanding, but I didn't feel like they were anything like an infidelity sharpshooter - and that's what I wanted.

I found a winner by "phone screening" a dozen or so local/insurance-covered ones with some questions including:

- what % of your practice is individual versus couples? 
- how much experience and training do you have with infidelity? 
- what books THAT YOU'VE PERSONALLY READ align with your infidelity philosophy? 
- how do you feel about a BS' need to know on details? 
- do you agree that the BS and WS share the marriage, while the WS owns the A?

the most revealing, by far, was the book thing. Some couldn't even name infidelity-specific books. I think the part that tied them in knots was the bit about them reading it - I think many take the, "I recommend this one to my clients and they seem to like it..." type of line, without actually studying (or even reading) the material themselves. Or maybe they read something 10 years ago, and basically forgot about it.

Our counselor lit up when asked the question, immediately naming Not Just Friends, How To Help Your Spouse Heal From Your Affair, and After The Affair. And on our first visit to their office, they had copies of those and many more on their desk, filled with color-coded bookmarks."

[This message edited by FixYou71 at 2:26 AM, June 4th (Wednesday)]


BS: 43
H: 49
Dday #1 Oct 2007 (Porn for 2 yrs)
Dday #2 May 2013 (Porn for 5 more yrs))
Dday#3 May 2014 (finally admitted to drunk kissing OW in 1994: the 2nd drunken kiss with another woman during our M)
DD 21 and DS 17
Married 1993

Posts: 451 | Registered: Mar 2014
BrokenheartedUK
Member
Member # 43520
Default  Posted: 2:40 AM, June 4th (Wednesday)

Althea, this is an awesome post!! I also really liked your follow up "dinner" example.

Yes, I am the 4-6 month "get over it" demographic that you refer to so thanks for the reality check. Got it.

The dinner example is a good one and when we've recently had miscommunication I totally lose perspective and descend into an "all is lost" view even though it really isn't. I have to get a grip but as you say, it's a long haul.

Thank you again for this.


Dday: 4th of January, 2014
WH 50
BS 49
18 years of marriage...three children
One affair PA/EA
"You didn't see me I was falling apart, I was a television version of a person with a broken heart." The National

Posts: 186 | Registered: May 2014
Althea
Member
Member # 37765
Default  Posted: 7:42 AM, June 4th (Wednesday)

mashiara, someone else actually pm'd me this same question. As far as infidelity books and books to help the marriage, I have some suggestions, and FixYou and Obliquestrat's suggestions are good ones. As far as individually, I think that is something that depends very much on each individual. I can suggest some books that I think are incredible; but I come from a dysfunctional FOO and had codependency modeled to me from an early age. Here are the books I loved.

For Infidelity:

Not Just Friends, by Shirley Glass

For reestablishing intimacy as a couple later in the journey:

Hold Me Tight, By Sue Johnson
7 Love Languages

For me, if I had to choose one it would be Changing Course by Claudia Black. Followed closely by Healing the Shame That Binds You by John Bradshaw and Codependency No More.

I have seen books by Brene Brown suggested a lot too, for women in particular.

I got on Amazon and read the summary for the books and then read some of the comments people leave, it will give you an idea of who it worked for and who it didn't.

Good luck!


Taking it one day at a time.

Posts: 457 | Registered: Dec 2012
mashiara
New Member
Member # 43619
Default  Posted: 8:44 PM, June 4th (Wednesday)

Thank you so much Althea & FixYou. I will do as suggested!


Me - BS
Him - WS
Together 8 years, married 10 months
4 yr old & another on the way + teen step-daughter
D-day May 27, 2014 (2 days after birthday)
7 month EA with close friend

Posts: 8 | Registered: Jun 2014 | From: US
Topic Posts: 22