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Still feel shame after 8 years

WS is an Addict posted 11/30/2019 19:12 PM

Coming up on the 8-year anniversary of Dday. WS and I are expecting our first child, a baby boy. I posted an announcement on Facebook and several people who I havenít seen since sh*t went down posted congratulations. That coupled with the date triggered all kinds of feelings, sadness for sure but also shame. I still feel shame that I stayed with him. Weíre happy now, but with the exception of the recent pregnancy announcement, I have never posted a picture of us together for the past eight years. Itís just...forgiving him is one thing. Owning that Iím willing to accept it...I donít know why thatís so much harder. I just donít know if the shame will ever go away. Advice?

landclark posted 11/30/2019 19:28 PM

First, congratulations on the baby!

Owning that Iím willing to accept it...I donít know why thatís so much harder.

I donít think staying is the same as accepting it. You donít have to accept it. Iím not even sure you have to forgive it. If youíre reconciling, I think you have to find a way to move forward, and sounds like you have, but to me thatís not the same as acceptance.

cocoplus5nuts posted 11/30/2019 20:28 PM

You donít have to accept it.


Actually, you kinda do. It happened. You can't change it. Ypu can't erase it. All you can do is accept it. I guess you could refuse to accept that it happened, but I imagine that would eventually make you crazy.

Accepting something is not the same as condoning it. The first step to healing is acceptance. Once you fully accept that your partner cheated, you can decide what to do about it.

I understand the feeling of shame that comes with staying with a cheater. I always said that I would be gone so fast it would be like I had never been there. But, when faced with it, I did not do that.

I stayed. I didn't stay for love or to save my M or any other romantic notion, but I stayed, nonetheless. I'm not ashamed about it with my family and very few friends who know. They have been nothing but supportive.

We move every 2-3 years, so I'm constantly making new friends. I don't tell them. I don't want to deal with having to explain.

landclark posted 11/30/2019 20:50 PM

Accepting something is not the same as condoning it.

Thatís true. I guess I look at accepting it as saying youíre ok with it, so yeah, I guess condoning it.

rebplay posted 11/30/2019 21:06 PM

Congratulations on the baby boy! Itís such an exciting time. I understand your feeling of shame. I never dreamed Iíd stay with a cheater after dday and wondered if I didnít think enough of myself and things like that. Iíve come to accept that people and relationships donít fit one mold. Theyíre very in depth, with different levels and imperfections and a variety of levels of understanding. We have to make choices and decisions to make relationships work. If yours is working, thereís no need to apologize. Youíre doing whatís right for you. If you feel good about where youíll are at, thatís a truly wonderful thing.

WS is an Addict posted 11/30/2019 21:14 PM

Yes, I suppose tolerate might have been a better word than accept. Iíve accepted the situation I think. Iím just ashamed that by staying with him, It means that I am willing to tolerate that it happened. I try to present as a strong woman in my life and in my profession. Staying w a cheater seems like blatant evidence to the contrary - I must be weak, persuadable, foolish, gullible, desperate, someone to be pitied...the judgment words just keep coming. I donít know why I stayed. It wasnít for love. It wasnít for money. Basically, I read not to make a decision in the midst of things, so I waited a year. And by then, things were better and there wasnít really a reason to leave. And maybe shame motivated me again. I didnít want to be married to a cheater, but I didnít want to be divorced either. Maybe a good question is why I care what others think so much anyway. Weíve moved twice in the past 8 years since it happened. I havenít talked to those people in 8 years and probably never will again. It really shouldnít matter to me what they think. Iím thinking of going back to therapy in January. Since I know Iíll be meeting my deductible w the delivery, it seems like a good time to revisit that support system. Still so many feelings, even after all these years...I wish we had a ďnormalĒ marriage with a ďnormalĒ history. But maybe the idea of ďnormalĒ is a facade, too. Thanks for listening and responding as I try to sort this out - it means a lot.

thatbpguy posted 11/30/2019 22:03 PM

I donít think staying is the same as accepting it. You donít have to accept it. Iím not even sure you have to forgive it. If youíre reconciling, I think you have to find a way to move forward, and sounds like you have, but to me thatís not the same as acceptance.

Great response.

How does your WS feel about it all? Do they feel shame as well, or have they moved on?

psychmom posted 12/1/2019 00:28 AM

I reasoned with myself that I am in this M with my former WH ONLY because he's no longer a cheater. His job is to prove his worth to me. Seeing this makes a difference to me, and I post pictures of us together without feeling any shame.

Now, if he were still wayward and I stayed, that would be something completely different. If your H has made positive changes in himself and has earned his place back in your life, what do you think is behind your shame? What does this represent to you?

The1stWife posted 12/1/2019 02:35 AM

When you are in a relationship you accept all kinds of things.

Doesnít mean you agree with it - you just accept it.

You accept certain friends are always late. You accept certain friends are never going to pay for anything. You accept certain friends are selfish or donít agree with your political or religious views.

I accept my H was a cheater. I donít agree with it. I donít like it. But heís not that guy anymore (thankfully). But I have to accept it if I choose to stay married to him.

cocoplus5nuts posted 12/1/2019 08:22 AM

I guess I look at accepting it as saying youíre ok with it, so yeah, I guess condoning it.


IME, most people do this. I used to. My dad does it. He wonders why he's miserable as he sits there and says, "I just cannot accept that!" You're miserable because you are denying the the truth, the facts.

Acceptance is the key to all my problems.

Tolerate may be a better word. Did you R or did you rugsweep? That can make a difference in how you feel about staying with your cheater.

Definitely look at why you feel shame. There is nothing in this situation for you to be ashamed of. You didn't do anything wrong. You did what was best for you at the time. That's all any of us can do. It doesn't matter what others think of that. They aren't you living your life.

landclark posted 12/1/2019 10:04 AM

You're miserable because you are denying the the truth, the facts.

I guess I donít see not accepting it as denying the truth. I get that he cheated. Itís the truth. I just struggle with saying Iíve accepted it. I think acceptance is probably the right word, it just rubs me the wrong way. To me acceptance is a good thing, but I guess it canít all be good.

Nolife posted 12/1/2019 17:59 PM

Gosh itís not easy but your doing so good and I commend you. Just try hard to be happy for how far youíve come and donít let the past spoil your future. Keep reminding yourself how far yíall have come and now youíve got this beautiful child coming donít let nothing spoil it..

WS is an Addict posted 12/1/2019 20:21 PM

If your H has made positive changes in himself and has earned his place back in your life, what do you think is behind your shame? What does this represent to you?

Thatís an excellent question. Imperfection? I know I struggle with perfectionism in other areas of my life. I look around my family, and Iím the only one (that I know of) who has experienced this. I feel like the loser, like I was a bad picker. But their marriages, though not involving infidelity, are certainly far from perfect, too. This is a really interesting question.

Just try to be happy for how far youíve come...

Yes, it is rather miraculous how far weíve come. It took A LOT of hard work and patience and vulnerability and strength from both of us. We should not have been able to bounce back from the terribleness that went down. Maybe thatís why I fear the reaction of those who know the details. They saw the terribleness but did not witness the years of recovery. It really shouldnít have been possible for us to reconcile, but with the right therapy from a CSAT and the commitment of WS and the patience (or indecisiveness of me), somehow we made it through into what is now a pretty healthy relationship - not perfect but still pretty darn good. I can tell WS will be a good dad, involved and unafraid to show affection toward our little boy. We really have come a long way. It is...the only word I can think of is miraculous.

Now, if he were still wayward and I stayed, that would be something completely different.

Yes, it is not like I stayed with him while he continued to act out. He did change. Things did change. That is an excellent reminder. Thank you.

cocoplus5nuts posted 12/1/2019 21:32 PM

Accept as a verb


c: to recognize as true


One definition according to Mirriam Webster.

I guess it depends on how you are using it. There are things that are acceptable and unacceptable. There are also things that have happened. Not accepting that they happened is denying the truth. Accepting that something happened is not the same as saying it is acceptable.

I had to accept that my fch cheated. I didn't have to accept him continuing to cheat.

Nolife posted 12/3/2019 17:13 PM

I think itís wonderful you made it to eight years and a baby coming yíall have truly been blessed donít let anything take that away from you.. Continue to be strong and remember why your own this journey. Someday you will be older and giving advice to younger people on these issues and they wonít hurt so much then.

sewardak posted 12/3/2019 17:39 PM

I will never say that phrase - I've accepted it. It's unacceptable. I guess, to me, I've moved beyond it being impactful in my life. You could say that about many things ppl go through. you don't have to say it OP.

deena04 posted 12/3/2019 18:10 PM

Congrats on the baby boy!! I hate to say it but time and a lot of deep reflection are what really help people get to a better place. Hugs to you!!

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