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The Logic of Reconciliation

Butforthegrace posted 11/7/2019 05:39 AM

There is an old saying in business: "Fuck me once, shame on you. Fuck me twice, shame on me." It goes to the notion that if a business associate cheats on you, it's a wicked act, but if you thereafter continue to do business with that person and trust him, you're a fool, because a person who cheated once is likely to cheat again.

There have been many threads here on SI around the question of: "Once a cheater, always a cheater?" I think many here use drug or alcohol addiction as a metaphor: a "dry drunk" versus a person who is actively in recovery from alcohol addition as a litmus test for whether that WS is a candidate for R. But let's face it, if that is the test, we all know plenty of people in AA who fall off the wagon multiple times in life.

Yet married couples do reconcile and live lives free of adultery after R. Ephemeral.

In my case, my WxGF's relationship with her AP only lasted a year or so after we separated. We encountered one another regularly in life because we were co-parenting her son and we ran in similar social circles. At some point she began making overtures about possibly re-starting our relationship. I thought about it long and hard, but finally said: "I will not give anybody a chance to do that to me twice."

I said it that way on purpose. When we get married, we make ourselves vulnerable to our spouse in ways we are not with others. A spouse who exploits that vulnerability to cheat is a person with a character flaw. It is illogical to trust that person at that intimate level.

I realize it was somewhat easy for me to say that in my case because by then I had established a life of my own outside of the relationship, which leads me to a corollary thought: once a couple physically separates and becomes comfortable with that arrangement, R becomes less likely. Maybe I'm wrong about that, but it seems to me that the fear of the unknown -- in terms of what life is like after separation -- is what keeps couples in the R process, at least at first.

I don't actually know where I'm going with this. Just some ruminating.

Walloped posted 11/7/2019 06:11 AM

That is why the 180, when implemented properly and with the right mindset, is so important. It is not about trying to manipulate your cheating partner into coming back to you or anything like that. The purpose is for the BS to untangle from the relationship and eliminate any co-dependent tendencies. They need to find happiness and fulfillment from within, not from their WS, and see that D is not as scary as they might have thought and they will be fine if they choose that route.

Then, they can make a decision about R vs D from a place of strength and not fear.

It is illogical to trust that person at that intimate level.

Nothing about relationships, in my view, is really very logical. Itís mainly emotion driven. I didnít marry my WW for logical reasons. Of course I understand what youíre getting at, but you always open yourself up to being vulnerable when you enter a relationship. A decision to R has many different factors that come into play and logic should play a role, but not by itself.

I donít know if that came out like I wanted it to, but basically in addition to the various factors that went into my thought process about working at R was the fact that IF my WW was doing the work and I saw real change and behavioral differences and actions, then that shared experience to me would actually lend itself to her being less likely to betray me again. Might be naive or simplistic of me, and Iím being brief, but after all weíve both been through, I believe the chances are less than an unknown person who may or may not.

Obviously, if she does, Iíll be the biggest fool on earth and of course weíll be done in a heartbeat. I just donít believe she will. Not because I have blinders on, but because Iíve paid close attention over the past 4+ years.

[This message edited by Walloped at 6:12 AM, November 7th (Thursday)]

cocoplus5nuts posted 11/7/2019 06:44 AM

Not to minimize your relationship, but a BF/GF relationship is not the same as a M. I would not even consider R with a BF. Things are more complicated when you're married, especially if you have children together.

I'm going to disagree with walloped about the logic vs. emotions. I married my fch for logical reasons not just because I loved him. The idea of marrying for love is a relatively new concept in human history.

The decision to R should be based on logic, as well. Take any love you feel for your CS out of the picture and decide whether or not it makes sense to attempt R. And, by makes sense, I mean evaluate, logically, whether or not the person is R material. I, personally, think love (emotions) is the worst reason to stay with a cheater.

ibonnie posted 11/7/2019 06:48 AM

As much as I love and enjoy being with my WS, I don't know if I'll ever want to fill out the paperwork to undo our legal separation. If I need to, I can walk away and everything from which years we can claim the kids on taxes, to who gets the kids for Thanskgiving and Christmas, to who pays for college has already been decided.

Butforthegrace posted 11/7/2019 07:12 AM

Nothing about relationships, in my view, is really very logical.†

I think when you boil it down this is the heart of it. Marriage is illogical because it involves making yourself vulnerable to another human, and you can never fully know another human (never mind that (a) most humans dont even fully know themselves, and (b) humans evolve and change over time). Yet we do it. It's a leap of faith.

As qto the bf/gf versus h/w distinction, in my case we considered ourselves to be committed lifelong partners. We had a ceremony, with witnesses and vows. The only thing we didnt have was a license from the government. There were political reasons behind that.

[This message edited by Butforthegrace at 7:27 AM, November 7th (Thursday)]

AbandonedGuy posted 11/7/2019 07:25 AM

We generally stick with the devil we know, for better or worse.

Getting shitcanned so harshly and so seemingly abruptly was like tearing the bandaid that was my shitty relationship off and one year out, I'm glad she did it because I would've stayed and tried harder to fit the square peg through the round hole (no sexual innuendo intended).

Neanderthal posted 11/7/2019 08:50 AM

Maybe I'm wrong about that, but it seems to me that the fear of the unknown -- in terms of what life is like after separation -- is what keeps couples in the R process, at least at first
This makes sense and I'll go a step further with this question....

Those that do separate and attempt to reconcile, are they more likely to succeed? Hypothetically, you worked past the fear of the unknown and still decided to give R a try.

Also it seems easier for a wayward to just white knuckle it if still living together. Separation requires more work, possibly even improvement.

Or the WS just decides to continue to act selfishly, making the decision for the BS easier to make the separation permanent.

I am very very new here. So my theory may not make much sense.

We generally stick with the devil we know, for better or worse.
This to makes sense too. I see a lot of BS's feel they no longer know there WS. I disagree. I know my WS better than I ever have. Unfortunately she isn't what I wanted her to be, but I do know her. There is no guarantees that if you divorce, the next person you fall in love with won't hurt you. Based on the averages of second marriages failing at an even higher rate, it's likely infidelity is higher too.

Darkness Falls posted 11/7/2019 08:51 AM

once a couple physically separates and becomes comfortable with that arrangement, R becomes less likely.

This is one reason our remarriage is not working. I think it was OVER-over for both of us and we were trying to put an apple back on the tree but didnít realize it.

[This message edited by Darkness Falls at 8:52 AM, November 7th (Thursday)]

hikingout posted 11/7/2019 09:15 AM

I don't know, Butforthegrace, it's a fairly dim view of R. And, maybe it's because you see a lot of people struggling in the forum and the ones who are not are quieter or gone. If you read Positive R stories, there are ways through, and many are glad they chose the path of R.

H will never be okay with what I did, nor will I. We had over two decades together of a pretty good, functional marriage. I think we have a couple of decades together of an even better marriage. I don't credit the A for that, it's more like despite the A. And, like Walloped kind of said, you know anything can really happen in life and if I cheated again it would be over no questions even asked. But, I don't believe that will happen and I think he also feels it's unlikely. There are no guarantees in any relationship, but having been what we have been through I think that in many ways we are much more self aware, and much more educated on topics we previously weren't. I know I am the WS, and that I may not deserve the second chance, but sometimes when its given it can bring a new beginning.

hikingout posted 11/7/2019 09:17 AM

Also, you guys did have a kid involved, so I can see how that was a traumatic event. All in all, some people should not reconcile. There are more reasons I suspect that you didn't go back in addition to the cheating, you have told us all how wild she was. At the end of the day, you may have decided that you liked a safer bet and were probably right about that.

Butforthegrace posted 11/7/2019 09:19 AM

Those that do separate and attempt to reconcile, are they more likely to succeed? Hypothetically, you worked past the fear of the unknown and still decided to give R a try.

DF, I was gonna cite your example. But there are others. I have a family member whose WW cheated, got pregnant, and had the APs baby. They divorced. A couple of years later they remarried and he raised the child as his own. They've remained happily married for decades. There are threads here where couples get divorced but continue living together as a family. Etc.

I think that each betrayed must find his or her own truth. I do think separating creates clarity. However, it also creates distance.

[This message edited by Butforthegrace at 10:14 AM, November 7th (Thursday)]

hikingout posted 11/7/2019 09:21 AM

Neanderthal,

We did in house separation for a while around month 9 into 10. We even drew up divorce papers. I think my growth was happening by that time, but not enough yet to show. The separation clarified a lot for us. I know this is a huge decision for you, and the coming days are going to be harder for you than they are for her in many ways. I am sure you feel a lot of confusion, trepidation, and even guilt that you should not have to bare.

But, to answer your question there are a lot of people in this forum who separated, divorced even who did come back together. And there are a lot that are not. The odds are not stacked against you either way, you just need to give yourself some time, and keep doing the things that feel right to you. In time more answers will come. I am sorry you are going through all this, it really sucks for all three of you. Take good care.

Butforthegrace posted 11/7/2019 10:19 AM

I don't know, Butforthegrace, it's a fairly dim view of R.

If Sumofone said it, could you say it was a dim Sumofone?

Sorry.

I think Walloped hit the nail on the head: marriage itself is illogical. Crazy even. Making yourself vulnerable to that degree, often to somebody whom you may not know very well. It augurs for a system of Yentes or such.

In a way, it could be said that R in some cases is less illogical/crazy than marriage, because the catharsis, confrontation, raw exposure, etc. means that the partners know one another very well.

[This message edited by Butforthegrace at 10:25 AM, November 7th (Thursday)]

Oldwounds posted 11/7/2019 10:30 AM

In a way, it could be said that R in some cases is less illogical/crazy than marriage, because the catharsis, confrontation, raw exposure, etc. means that the partners know one another very well.

Maybe not less crazy, but yes, R does allow for a far more informed relationship moving forward.

Our marriage was burned down to the foundation. It was a complete reset and while it was a horribly painful way to go about 'being real' with each other. Ground zero of the pain and shame we carried around obliterated any need for either of us to bullshit the other about anything ever again.

I hate how we got to this point, but I do love the level of communication we have now.

Pre-A we seemed locked into roles we despised, walking on eggshells, holding back feelings, making shitty compromises and it was almost more of a competition for attention than a real marriage.

It's a bit like the horror show has shown us how to properly build a giving relationship rather than the 'what's in it for me?' marriage we had.

I'm with Walloped, not much logic in this at all, but we find a way through.

[This message edited by Oldwounds at 10:31 AM, November 7th (Thursday)]

hikingout posted 11/7/2019 11:00 AM

Dim meaning Grim, not Dim meaning silly or trite. I realized after I wrote that how it might sound. I misused the word, sorry I was definitely not meaning to call it dumb.

Sumofone is one person (ironically with the moniker) They may have a grim view of it based on experience. That's how all of us color the view of R, based on our own experience.

[This message edited by hikingout at 11:01 AM, November 7th (Thursday)]

Trdd posted 11/8/2019 06:34 AM

Apologies up front for this but I can't help myself....

The saying is "fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me". Exact origins of it are, like most proverbs, unkwown. However, it was quoted in text as early as 1651.

The modern version quoted in the original post here made me chuckle.

[This message edited by Trdd at 6:35 AM, November 8th (Friday)]

cocoplus5nuts posted 11/8/2019 07:31 AM

As qto the bf/gf versus h/w distinction, in my case we considered ourselves to be committed lifelong partners. We had a ceremony, with witnesses and vows. The only thing we didnt have was a license from the government

Ah, so you were more like common law spouses? That makes things maybe a bit more sticky. The legal crap that comes with M is what makes it more difficult to dissolve the relationship, not the feelings. We can have very strong emotions for another person without having to marry them.

I'm finding this emotional view of M very perplexing. M is a legal business contract. One may choose to marry because of "love", but you don't have to. And, you don't have to be in love to marry.

We are not ruled by our emotions.

[This message edited by cocoplus5nuts at 7:32 AM, November 8th (Friday)]

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