Too often when BS's first come to SI they are desperately looking to reconcile (R) with a WS who isn't as desperate as the BS.
True reconciliation is about far more than agreeing to stay in the marriage, but this gets lost to many BS's trying to regain their footing after D-day. The Pillars of Reconciliation have been posted here before, and veterans cite them often.
To that end, I thought I would make a simple contribution that highlights the difference between true R and rugsweeping (i.e., just staying married without healing).
I hope that as new BS's come here, they can see the difference and take stock of where they are. Doing so will go a long way toward avoiding a false R, a lot of unfulfilled expectations, and multiplied pain.
INDICATORS OF REMORSE
* Actions match words.
* Accepts full responsibility for the affair without blaming the BS, a bad marriage, or other outside factors.
* Expresses sorrow for hurting the BS and the M.
* Shows compassion and actively assists the BS with handling triggers.
* Does not become defensive or shut down when BS brings up affair-related emotions, issues, or questions.
* Answers questions honestly and completely.
* Does not avoid the BS or become frustrated that the BS is not “healing fast enough.”
* Contributes at least 60% of the joint effort at rebuilding the marriage.
* Actively works to understand why he or she made the choice to have an affair and shares insights with BS.
* Does not think solely about himself or herself. Considers how actions impact the BS.
Remorse is so important to R. It's the conerstone that everything else is built on. Without it, the M can not heal.
Remorse involves far more than just saying "I'm sorry." It's conveyed through consistent actions. The above list is not comprehensive, but it is meant to be an example that the FWS's behavior should be clear sign that he or she understands the pain the A caused and is committed to healing the M. Simply hanging around the house is not remorse. And it is not R.
7/20/11 ETA: I don't want to give the impression that a BS is stuck in limbo if a WS doesn't agree to abide by these conditions for R. Staying stuck means the A continues. If a WS won't agree to R under these necessary conditions, I encourage the BS to:
* work the 180
* use the Tactical Primer here on SI
* and see a divorce attorney to feel out their legal options
Living in limbo while an active A is in progress is tacitly agreeing to share your spouse. Operate from a position of strength. If the WS says no to R, you can not love them out of the A or wait for it to end (it won't end).
Below is a list of threads that are recommended frequently to new members. These threads provide more information about the 180 and how to deal with an unremorseful WS while attending to your own healing:
Boundaries and Consequences 101:
Setting Healthy Boundaries:
Understanding the 180:
Great Posts for Newbies to Read:
Emotional Detachment: What is it? How is it accomplished?
Codependency in the Marriage: A BS’s common mistake
20/20 Hindsight: What I Should Have Done When I JFO
eta: 6/8/13 to include more links.
[This message edited by Fighting2Survive at 9:01 PM, June 8th (Saturday)]