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Accepting my own decision

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olwen posted 4/4/2014 13:14 PM

Hi all,

I am not sure whether this belongs here or in general but as it relates to my decision to R I am posting here. Hope that's ok.

Times have been tough lately. Right in A season still. Been very sad lately but today I am feeling more anger, resentment and confusion.

I have made the decision to R and I am not wavering in that decision. We are both fully committed and FWH is remorseful. I have been honest with him about my feelings and he is supporting me even though my thoughts worry him.

What I am struggling with is the fact I actually made and stand by this decision. I can't believe after what he has done that I still want to be with him. It makes me kinda ashamed of myself. I have this angry me inside shouting 'hell no! Where's your self respect! What are you doing!!!'

When I discovered his initial betrayal of an extremely flirty facebook private chat with an ex he brushed it off as harmless flirting. At the time he never accepted he had actually done anything that bad although he did apologise that his actions had upset me and his actions were wrong. He just wouldn't admit it was more than flirting. I told him after that I would stand no more flirting or anything else. He swore he wouldn't do it again.

Of course he did, that's why I am here. He never learned anything from the first time cos he wouldn't admit to himself that it was a betrayal and a foot on a slippery slope. So he did it again. Exactly the same scenario but with a co worker rather than an ex. This time it escalated into a full PA.

We have done a lot of work understanding why he did it. His MLC and 'need' for validation. Even he says it was basically him having a tantrum about getting older and wanting to see if women would want him or not. Low self esteem, fear of aging and plain immaturity and selfishness got him started then FOO issues, the feel good factor and conflict avoidance kept him going down the destructive path.

He now admits how dangerous his initial 'flirtation' was and how it could easily have gone the same way as his A if she had shown an interest. That he could easily have ended up following the same pattern if she had responded with interest - she didn't thankfully. He now sees how his pattern went and all the red flags and justifications he made every step of the way to down play what he was doing in his own mind. All the 'just friends' crap. How it could have happened with either of them. Or anyone else who showed an interest at that time to be honest.

We are both working on understanding all this and he is disgusted by his behaviour and looks back with total shame and disbelief. He takes full responsibility for both betrayals and I feel like I have my old husband back but new and improved. I can't believe the change in him. He has no interest in ow now. He has totally stopped flirting and I have a lot of examples where I have witnessed the change in his attitude. He liked the idea of being wanted by other women but when it actually happened he realised it was a grass in greener thing and he has now woken up to what he really wants, me.

My question is, even knowing all this, seeing all the changes, seeing his regret and shame, I STILL feel this person inside me shouting 'what are you doing! You told him if he did it again you would be done! How can you be with him after what he has done!'

You get the idea.

I know I want to be with him, I am as certain as I can be that there will be no more ow. I can list the reasons I am staying and it would be a mile long. BUT I can't shake that voice inside me telling me I am a mug. That I should have had some dignity and ended it on principle.

The only way I am managing at the moment is to tell myself I KNOW I won't stand for this again. That I am following my heart and refuse to end it out of spite or revenge. That I am being the bigger person in giving him a final chance.

How do you deal with the fact you are doing something you said you would never do? I expect a lot of us here all thought if it happened even once we would leave. I know I am doing the right thing but I feel like I have lost some self respect in making that decision.

forgivingnow posted 4/4/2014 13:39 PM

It's easy to say what you would do before something actually happens to you. People and relationships are dynamic and capable of change. It sounds like you have seen such positive changes. Our life experiences shape our thoughts and beliefs, it's ok to change your thoughts. And you sound very strong. I think it takes great strength to reconcile, of both of you.

rachelc posted 4/4/2014 13:41 PM

One of the hardest things for me to deal with in recovery. Forgiving myself for staying is my biggest challenge, according to our MC...

Good post. You do sound strong! The inner battle can be ruthless. Stay the course!

crazyblindsided posted 4/4/2014 13:47 PM

(((olwen))) I feel very much the same way. Thank you for your post it helps to know others struggle with this in R. I cannot believe I have stood by someone I probably should have left for so many Ddays, but here we are in R. Most days I am certain R is what I want it's those off days that get me.

ncharge posted 4/4/2014 14:09 PM

I am constantly reaffirming to myself that R is the right decision. I wonder if he can ever be the husband I need. I worry that I am just signing up for more years of the same old stuff. I yell at myself for being a doormat in this decision. But, I still love him and hope is still alive, so I'm still all in. There is still more love and hope than pain and despair.

BrokenwingBird posted 4/4/2014 15:03 PM

You sum up this inner turmoil we experience perfectly. I deal with this on a daily basis. I always considered myself to be a very headstrong person and feel that although I love him and want him, I am a complete idiot for staying. For me the difficult thing is that I have that voice in my head also saying "he is a LIAR and a BAD MAN. He will do it again and probably is still doing it!" I don't know how to quiet that voice...or if i should.

This is a painful process. Just remember all these things we are thinking are normal (as my MC says). I try to take comfort in the idea that regardless of my anger, suspicion and hurt, I obviously still feel that my path lies with him for the time being. It sounds that we both consider ourselves strong, smart people and will not allow ourselves to be doormats again. If the time comes when you feel like the relationship no longer serves you, you will know and it will be time to go. Right now, we feel the need to stay. . .and that is OK. Go with that feeling for now and don't pressure yourself otherwise. The relationship will continue to improve over time and you will eventually feel better. If it doesn't, and you don't, you will know what to do.

SadFlower posted 4/4/2014 15:39 PM

What I am struggling with is the fact I actually made and stand by this decision. I can't believe after what he has done that I still want to be with him. It makes me kinda ashamed of myself. I have this angry me inside shouting 'hell no! Where's your self respect! What are you doing!!!'

Wow, does this ever resonate with me. FWH has been great. We're in R, and it's going well. I look at him and see the man I fell in love with 22 years ago. He looks at me, and I see love in his eyes, and I feel warm inside. Yes, I think, this feels right.

Then I suddenly remember that that man is the same man who was capable of lying and cheating for almost a decade of our married lives. What kind of a weakling puts up with that? And I feel ashamed of myself.

But at other times I also feel strong--strong for confronting him, for pushing him to confess, for setting conditions for R, strong for working through the most difficult situation I've ever faced in my life. Strong for offering the gift of grace. That's what I try to focus on, but the other feelings are not easy to let go of.

blakesteele posted 4/4/2014 15:46 PM

(((Olwen))) thought of copying the parts of your post that resonated with me....but couldnt figure out where to stop!

You are experiencing some very real results of some very real trauma. You are normal.

That forgiving of yourself? That is still a hurdle for me. I still struggle with how I reacted and the choices I made upon my initial very unkind to myself, opened me up to be hurt even deeper by my wife.

I think it will be like that time in High School where a girl I liked noticed I was aroused when I talked to her in the hall way (thought I had my book hiding it)....was sooo embarrassed I never talked to her again. I think about that NOW, at 43, and still feel the embarrassement of that situation. Times that by 10 and I get kind of close to how shamefully I acted upon my DD. I am finding more courage than I had in high school, so I am still engaging my wife.....leaning into all my feelings, including those of shame.

It is never know how you will react once you actually expderience something. But I am pretty darn sure my offer to R with my wife is a one time offer. Adultery, or adultery related interactions, choosen by my wife will be the end of our union.

I sense in your post a similar sense of urgency that I have "Okay, that is, lets get on to healing!".

It just doesnt work that way. Making the choice and offering R is the first step....but many more are needed, including some steps backwards (or at least sideways).

You got this Olwen. I continue to see courage and the ability to lean into the pain longer then you think you can.

I am sorry for your pain, but thank you for sharing your journey with us. It is encouraging.

God is with us all.

[This message edited by blakesteele at 3:48 PM, April 4th (Friday)]

Teach8 posted 4/4/2014 16:59 PM

Hey Olwen. I feel ya. My husband cheated for 7 YEARS. I've beat myself up and down over staying. I beat myself up for not finding out sooner, for ignoring flags I should have dealt with, for accepting a marriage all along that I was only in. These feelings get less and less as I learn more and he learns more. I think it really is just another part of this journey. We can't change what happened. We can't do it over. Now we know. Now we get to decide. Now you both know you will never accept this treatment again. There is no shame in reconciliation. And I have to remind myself of this too!! But it is true. Your husband has been given a gift, and if he treats it as such, and when you are willing to put 100% percent into it (I'm not there yet, but I'm working toward it) you can be happy again.

sisoon posted 4/4/2014 17:27 PM

Have you imagined yourself on your own and seen yourself thriving? I did this to some extent at least, and believing I could say 'no' to r helped me say 'yes'.

also, there's pride and righteousness and justice, but for me, getting what I want seemed more important. I think she'll heal an become a good partner. both r and d are moral choices, and choosing what I want seems like a good way to decide - for me. maybe you're choosing on the basis of what you want, too.

rachelc posted 4/4/2014 18:02 PM

I think Sisoon touches on a valid point.
What life is better for you - one with him or one without. In some cases, reconciliation may be kind of a selfish? decision for the BS?

I will be much better of financially, emotionally, and parentally if I stay with my husband. Those are valid reasons to stay, for some.

I've gone over staying a million times. Sometimes I want to leave and it's not just because of what he did. I want adventures, to spend money and not have to discuss it with anyone else, to have the first 6 months of new love when it's all mushy and stuff. But you know what? What I have now is 100 times more meaningful.

[This message edited by rachelc at 6:02 PM, April 4th (Friday)]

eachdayisvictory posted 4/4/2014 18:17 PM

What a great thread. I think about this all the time.

For me, I can manage it differently on different days.

Some days it's as simple as remembering that this is MY decision.

Other days I have to analyze and think about thoughts like you describe;

BUT I can't shake that voice inside me telling me I am a mug.

And I have to think, where is that voice coming from? Is it from the media? My FOO? Is it really my voice? Is it external validation from my friends? Do I really care?
I can usually find my way back to my decision from there.

And then there are the days when, like you, I can't shake it. When I find myself in those days, I can only rely on what I've learned through this experience, from SIers, from IC, and from my marriage. I remember that these are feelings. Simple as that. Feelings that are probably going to change. WSs lost sight of that and devastated us. I know I don't want to make the same mistake and give up on my family and what I REALLY want because I can't shake a feeling one day.


sunvalley posted 4/4/2014 19:41 PM

Olwen - I could not have written what you wrote any more perfectly to sum up how I've been feeling as well. It brought tears to my eyes, but also a sense of not being alone...I feel R is where I have always been meant to be, yet I'm disgusted with myself when I think about the things he did and that I chose to stay. I always thought if someone cheats, I'm gone. but I saw how much it broke him too, to realize what he's done. I have to believe that he has truly learned from his mistakes until he proves otherwise, and I do believe him when he says he doesn't want to ever go down this road again. He feels shame, guilt, embarrassment and disgust with his actions more than I could possibly ever make him feel. He has been so committed to getting help and I did see him hit rock bottom, it wasn't pretty. I know in my heart that R is what I want, but I'm so hung up on the fact that he knowingly chose to do this for so long and never stopped himself and I allow that inner voice to nag at me a lot.

Like yours, mine started with having this need to have 'friends' in his life, but he had many males friends around he was blind to - the attention had to come from women. He's always felt very lonely because of esteem issues and like he was an outsider, extreme introvert and it did start with what I passed off as casual flirting/female friends he had knows his whole life or even dated in the past...but even back then I think it was the start of this now that I know the whole story, a form of him looking for validation even if it "never crossed the line" and wasn't as extreme as where we ended up... He got into a rough depressed stage of his life a few years ago, and he turned online for attention/validation instead and it was all downhill from there.

I think the inner voice is your fight or flight in a sense.. your brain knows you've been hurt and wants to protect you from it happening again so it's yelling 'danger, danger' because in the past this person has caused you life altering pain. I think it's perfectly normal to have it, and I think many of us in R are going through the same thing...what they did to us was hugely devastating and our bodies are trying to convince us not to expose ourselves further to the person who caused the pain. And that would be very important and true if they were to repeat these actions after this point. Plus our self esteems are low, and we start to question why we stayed even if we know deep down it's cause we love them and want to give them a chance to prove themselves. I'm starting to learn to live in the moment more - I don't know what will happen tomorrow, but today I am here and tomorrow I would like to be - as long as he continues to prove he can be and is worth it. Are you having a hard time not taking it out on WS when you do get these inner voices? That's what I find frustrating (I suffer from PTSD) and the second my inner voices start chirping at me or I get a mind movie, I'm still taking it out on him by being snide or starting a fight.

toughernow posted 4/4/2014 20:13 PM


Can't add anything insightful that hasn't already been said here.
The voice in your head must get around because it has periodically taken up residence in mine as well, and by the sound of it many of us.

Thats why almost two years after D'day it is still vital for me to have this tremendous resource of SI to turn to ....It lets me know I'm not going crazy, What I'm feeling is normal, and I'm never alone when I am here

FixYou71 posted 4/5/2014 00:10 AM

I think your dignity comes from the fact that you laid down your requirements for R to happen and stuck with them. You took control of the situation and corrected it and at the same time exhibited love and compassion. That is pretty classy. It took a lot of courage to do what you did. I can't imagine your H finding a better wife and I'll bet he knows that. You are the hero to your marriage! Being hurt and not running doesn't mean you're weak. You stayed to fight the battle. It takes a strong woman to do what you did.

olwen posted 4/5/2014 05:47 AM

Wow, I guess a lot of us feel the same way. That's sad but also reassuring.

Thanks for the lovely comments but I don't really see myself as strong, more like stubborn lol.

I do know I am giving him a gift and he sees that too.

I think a big part of it for me is the sexual betrayal. We both had partners before marriage, him much more so than me, but I believe once you marry it's the two of you and that's it. He threw that away and that's the major reason I get the voice saying 'what are you doing?!' 'you took him back after that!!' It was always my worst fear and I have to deal with the fact it came true.

Other than that I can see how he is changing and am coming to terms with the other aspects of the affair. I am just stuck on the physical part and it pushes my buttons and makes me think I deserve better.

But as I said, it's him I want so I have to play the cards I have been dealt. I am trying to separate who he was then and who he is now but it's bloody hard.

I said some hurtful things to him this morning about how nasty and dirty what they did was. He got defensive and said it sounds like I hate him when I say how disgusted it makes me. I had to explain that's how I view him looking back, not now. That he was disgusting then because of his behaviour but I don't see him that way now or I wouldn't be with him. Sadly I do see him as soiled though sometimes and trigger when he touches me, but it doesn't stop me loving him.

I sometimes wonder if I am more like a man. Sorry for the generalisation but I read everywhere that women struggle most with the emotional betrayal and men with the sexual. For me it's definitely the sexual side that's hardest. Probably cos I have been through sexual assaults and had sexual problems.

I think sex is sacred in a marriage and that to do that with her he may as well have put my wedding ring on her finger. It can be just sex, romance and fun before you marry but once you have married it should never be cheapened in that way. It's a huge leap for me to trust someone sexually, it's taken years for me to be comfortable with him even. Now it all seems sordid and dirty again.

I mean sex was what gave us our precious son! You don't throw that powerful act around like it's nothing.

Sorry, got side tracked a bit cos I am really feeling it and hurting from it today.

blakesteele posted 4/5/2014 06:45 AM

I said some hurtful things to him this morning about how nasty and dirty what they did was. He got defensive and said it sounds like I hate him when I say how disgusted it makes me.

I wrestle a bit with this too Olwen.

There is a line here.....where you cross from stating facts to intentionally hurting a fWS.

The facts are.....what they did WAS dirty and nasty. A BS thinking and talking about that is a healthy part of processing. A healthy fWS will not get defensive and accept these facts. After all, when they were in their A, they justified and lied to themselves about the "dirty and nasty" facts of their affair. To continue to do so shows little growth on their part.

But.......if you use these facts when you get defensive , that is unhealthy too.

It is tough to discern when healthy processing and healing is taking place and when it is just hurtful destructive actions. Spent lots if $$$$$$ on professional help in this area.

IMHO.....a fWS must be more forgiving during these times. Don't need to be a door mat.....but need to realize they have inflicted trauma level pain into another person. This is not "oops, I forget her birthday" mistake. KWIM.

I have found it EXTREMELY beneficial to reach out to others during the really tough times. I see you doing this too.

Keep posting. You got this and we have your back.

Keep the faith.

JustShine posted 4/5/2014 07:01 AM

Add me to the list of people who could have written this post. Thank you for articulating it so perfectly, olwen.

Check out the article I just posted in Portraits of Forgiveness. Those women don't look pathetic or weak. They look strong. They look very deserving of respect for being able to forgive.

I'm trying to learn to respect my own decision to R. It's a(nother) difficulty in this that took me by surprise.

olwen posted 4/5/2014 07:49 AM

Zengirl - where can I find that please?

Blakesteele - thanks Blake, I know what you mean and I do try not to throw this stuff at him.

The reason I got upset with him was I was telling him how I feel like I have a gremlin on my shoulder constantly sniping in my ear 'don't forget he screwed her!' and how it upsets me. I asked if he had any ideas to help me get rid of the gremlin and his response was to ask me not to use that terminology as he thinks it's making me feel worse to use crude terms.

A very confusing argument. I got upset cos he wants me to think of it as him having 'been' with another woman and using disgusting terms shows i am still disgusted with him now.

I am not doing it to hurt him I was trying to explain my feelings. His response really hurt me. He says it's cos he thinks I am better than that. That it upsets him to hear me use crude language about them and that I am lowering myself.

I can't help feeling this way. What they did was disgusting and I don't like using the same terms we use with each other, or even innocuous terms, for what they did.

He says it makes him think it's how I view him now. I keep trying to explain it's how I view what they 'did', past tense and that I don't see him that way now. That I hate what he did but I don't hate him.

[This message edited by olwen at 8:14 AM, April 5th (Saturday)]

JustShine posted 4/5/2014 07:54 AM

Oh sorry, olwen. It's a new thread in Reconciliation.

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