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A Renewal of Vows?

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36yearsgone posted 11/4/2019 16:14 PM

I know your WW has signed over her rights to.your companies and such. But what else has she been doing to better herself to help prove to you that she IS a safe partner for you again?

She is doing IC and we have squeezed in a little MC. She is more open, kinder and a tad more supportive of me. She is also more informative. We aren't living together, but she still calls and/or texts me constantly to let me know what she is doing, where she is, who she's with...I have asked for none of that.

The gift of forgiveness you gave her earlier is fine and dandy. But without her putting in the work to make you feel, being together will not be possible for the long haul. You said it yourself that you are still not sure.

I still claim to be unsure.

Question is, do you accept her as a safe partner to grow old with?

Probably not yet.

NoOptTo posted 11/4/2019 19:09 PM

With your responses, the prudent decision would be to wait til your on board with her. Accept her for her for who she has become through her behaviors and actions. Once your on board with her hoping if not knowing that she is a better and safer spouse, then you can renew your vows if you'd like to. You do have a choice. You can continue with or without the renewal. Is it important to you too?

Oldwounds posted 11/4/2019 19:37 PM

I do understand the desire for the fresh start, but it does take a while for both people to get to a similar place on the recovery timeline.

I know many couples here opt for the 'new' marriage, the old marriage is 'dead' approach.

Personally, for me, it's all one life, one timeline.

We just try get better at understanding that we constantly have to re-commit to those original vows and reconnect and build the relationship, focused on giving and not taking from each other.

I may yet do a 'renewal' at some point, but the day to day effort of being kind to each other keeps us busy. I don't need the grand gesture, but I understand it could be a way to celebrate overcoming the horror show of adversity that is infidelity.

Butforthegrace posted 11/4/2019 19:45 PM

Have you ever discussed with her why she chose to have an A with such an abject piece of shit? Even if she were a single woman, getting involved with a human turd of that caliber evidences a giant lack of judgment and discernment. Or possibly something else. It strikes me that there are three possibilities:

1. She really is that dumb and gullible.
2. She was plagued by low self esteem or even a sense of self-loathing and plunged into this nether world as a result of succumbing to that.
3. She was angry at you, or harbored hostility toward you, and this was her subconscious way of lashing out at you and injuring you.

It gets to what people here at SI call her "whys". I think it is generally agreed here that one necessary element of R is that the WW get to the root of her "whys" -- figure out why she did what she did and solve the root problem. That's one of the two elements of fixing herself and making herself into a safe spouse (the other figuring out what is broken in her moral compass that would lead her to decide that cheating on her spouse is an appropriate way to address her problems).

[This message edited by Butforthegrace at 5:17 AM, November 5th (Tuesday)]

SMSA925 posted 11/4/2019 20:25 PM

My WH mentioned this a few years ago. I just cant imagine what he would say as vows. "I know I promised this before, but this time I really mean it"? Pathetic and sad and really for his own benefit. We were not children the first time, he understood what he was doing. Fool me once.

rambler posted 11/4/2019 20:56 PM

It is not a substitute for not doing the work. Your wife is trying to rugsweep.

squid posted 11/4/2019 21:39 PM

Sounds like rugsweeping to me.

standinghere posted 11/5/2019 01:35 AM

It only holds water if the buckets are sound. Think of it like the old shoulder yoke with a bucket on either end, the yoke is the marriage, the buckets are the two of you.

It is a gross oversimplification of the problem you face.

Infidelity has already happened.
Secrets have already been kept.
Dire betrayal has happened.
The marriage is not a clean slate, the old marriage has been destroyed and you are trying to build a new marriage on ruins.

I would liken it to the end of apartheid in South Africa, then comes "truth and reconciliation", and the work that must continue on for years upon years.

It can be a part of the process, but it is an extremely minor thing. Some people have the idea that you put in the work to get a relationship started just to get married and everything will be ok afterward and you can stop working. The real work starts after the ceremony.

We did it, it was planned to be a ceremony to mark 20 year of marriage, but not due to this affair shit, then the affair shit confessions happened, and it was later that same year we had the ceremony, so it became a mixed sort of thing. I nearly divorced my wife a year or so later because she was not "doing the work", and like any marriage, at any point in any marriage, you have to do the work.

Catwoman posted 11/5/2019 04:02 AM

A renewal of vows will be just like starting over. No secrets. No infidelity. No grudges. We would reenter marriage with a clean slate. If we have a clean slate it will be much easier for us to move on as a couple.

To me, this smacks of rug-sweeping with a generous dose of "grand gesture."

I could see a vow renewal after considerable work as individuals and as a couple to heal the wounds. In this scenario, it would be a celebration of healing and a declaration of dedication after a lot of work to get there.

As we all know, gestures of this nature mean nothing without sustained behavior to back them up. I'm concerned that this is all sizzle and no steak.

As I am fond of asking, "What's going to be different this time?" It doesn't seem that much has really changed yet.

YMMV.

Cat

jb3199 posted 11/5/2019 05:52 AM

It's too early to tell exactly what I feel in my gut.

Your words; therefore, your answer.

Jorge posted 11/5/2019 06:02 AM

I think it does provided she renews her commitment to initiate and sustain actions that demonstrates she's a remorseful wife. Per your posts, I've yet to read anything over the two year period that indicates remorse.

Bobbi_sue posted 11/5/2019 06:13 AM

My H and I renewed vows 11 months after D-day, and it was wonderful for us.

When I have read the discussions about this here on SI over the years, it seems like many are hoping the renewal will "fix" something, or help them "heal." I would not look at it that way and don't think it will fix anything if something needs to be fixed.

I look at it more like our original marriage vows; in addition to committing to each other, it was a celebration of our love and commitment. And by 11 months out, that is where my H and I were in life. Ready to celebrate our love and continuing commitment. There is no such thing as being "100% healed" as all parts of life, good and bad, become who you are, and who you are as a couple, so nothing is going to erase that part of our lives. My thoughts are if you are in place ready to celebrate that you are together and still committed for life, then go for it. If you are still navigating whether you even want to be with this person, then I would not recommend it.

deephurt posted 11/5/2019 06:44 AM

No that logic would never work. Renewing your vows doesnít erase your memories or the pain.

Mine said he wanted the same. To renew view but so that he was recommitting himself to me as he broke the original vows.

I told him I would if he arranged all of it. That was three years ago I think and nothing. He wanted to do it but I guess itís too much work to plan on his own so it will never happen and Iím not the one who broke the vows so Iím not doing the planning.
I told him just saying the vows in our living room would be good but still nothing.

Maybe I should see that as a sign of how much effort he is willing to put into our m.

36yearsgone posted 11/5/2019 08:16 AM

No that logic would never work. Renewing your vows doesnít erase your memories or the pain.

What does? Can anything do that?

Mine said he wanted the same. To renew view but so that he was recommitting himself to me as he broke the original vows.

I told him I would if he arranged all of it. That was three years ago I think and nothing. He wanted to do it but I guess itís too much work to plan on his own so it will never happen and Iím not the one who broke the vows so Iím not doing the planning.
I told him just saying the vows in our living room would be good but still nothing.

Sounds like a separate problem.

Maybe I should see that as a sign of how much effort he is willing to put into our m.

I hope not.

Catwoman posted 11/5/2019 08:29 AM

Nothing erases or "gets rid of" the pain.

I look at it like an enormous stain on a beautiful piece of fabric. You wash, and you treat, and you wash again. You work at it. That stain is going to fade, and maybe it isn't always apparent at first blush, but it is always there.

That's the way I look at infidelity. It's always going to be woven into the fabric of your life. There is no getting around that. But with work, you can minimize it. It can become something that you know is there, but it isn't glaring at you 24/7 like a fresh stain would.

Some couples who have successful reconciled report a much, MUCH improved relationship. But those couples have put in the work, gotten help and perspective from professionals and have made the commitment to go through the hard work in order to have that improved relationship.

Rugsweeping doesn't get you there. Pretending that a single act automatically makes everything a clean slate doesn't get you there. Looking at the big stain on the beautiful fabric and deciding to work to see what can be done about it is the first step. It's a huge investment of time and energy, and there will be times when it seems impossible to one or both parties. Those are the times when, if you persevere, you can get results. Those are the times where you need to start to use your new skills instead of falling back on your old and very broken coping mechanisms.

Cat

deephurt posted 11/5/2019 08:35 AM

What does? Can anything do that?

I suspect nothing can do that. Its like any other trauma, its there for life and we have to learn how to live with it as part of our history. But what your WS is saying sounds like rug sweeping. If its approached as a new m knowing that the trauma of infidelity is still there and affecting your everyday, then yes that is something to work with but how you stated it, sounds like rug sweeping.

Yes, my situation is definitely a separate problem. Apparently he has tried to set something up and feels like its never enough and gives up, tried again, gets frustrated and gives up.

Butforthegrace posted 11/5/2019 08:39 AM

What does? Can anything do that?

It will be a third party in your marriage, for life. The most successful R threads here on SI involve couples who acknowledge this and talk about it freely and whenever itanifests itself, for as long as its needed.

sisoon posted 11/5/2019 10:06 AM

What does? Can anything do that?
Having seen my MIL succumb to Alzheimer's, the last thing I want to do is forget, even though I wish my W had never cheated.

Likewise, my W vowed fidelity to me. Nothing she did absolved her from that vow. I see no need to renew our vows.

But I have to believe the people who say renewing the vows was a moving, meaningful experience.

IMO, it's way too early for you and your W to do a renewal. If you both are people for whom it would be meaningful, perhaps it is in your future.

36yearsgone posted 11/5/2019 16:39 PM

I shall ponder your advice.

M1965 posted 11/5/2019 17:25 PM

Hi 36,

I am a great advocate of listening to your inner voice, or trusting your gut. And the fact that you have uncertainty about your wife's proposal suggests that it is not 'right' for you as things stand now.

Maybe a renewal of vows can work for people who have achieved a dynamic that is positive and reassuring, where the betrayed spouse genuinely believes their wayward spouse has grown significantly and appears changed and fully committed.

I get the feeling that a dynamic like that does not exist between you and your wife currently, which is why my gut says a renewal ceremony may not be right for you.

Having followed your story from its beginning, and having heard you repeatedly say that your wife has really made very little effort to work on herself, identify the mechanism that enabled her to cheat in the aggressive way that she did, and demonstrate that that mechanism has been pulled apart and replaced by something better, it is hard to have confidence that she is any different than she was when she had the affair.

So when I read...

A renewal of vows will be just like starting over. No secrets. No infidelity. No grudges. We would reenter marriage with a clean slate. If we have a clean slate it will be much easier for us to move on as a couple.

...I may be a weary old cynic, but I just see someone who wants instant total absolution, followed by no obligations to do any work or demonstrate any changes.

That may be great for her, but what does it achieve for you? If it happened, would you be expected to say nothing more about the affair, your pain, or any of the issues related to that?

To me, it seems like she wants the prize of reconciliation combined with total forgiveness and an erasing of everything she did without doing any of the work that would make that an appropriate step to take.

And I see that as counter-productive. If she wants those things, she has to do the work to convince you that she is changed enough and committed enough that you will feel like making the suggestion of a renewal of vows yourself.

And she has not done that, so you do not feel this is an appropriate point in your journey to be going through such a ceremony.

The other thing that strikes me about the way the it was couched is that there was no focus on making things better in the future, and working to avoid anything like the affair happening again. The emphasis seems to be entirely on erasing the past and all of her accountability for her actions. Which is all about her, and not at all about you and the damage and issues you are still working through.

Maybe one day such a ceremony will feel right for both of you, but you are still processing and trying to heal, and your wife has done virtually nothing that she should have done, so both of you have some ways to go before any vows should be renewed.

Those are my thoughts, for what they are worth. And as ever, my thoughts are with you.

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