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Newest Member: May28

Reconciliation :
Release or hold it in?

Topic is Sleeping.
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 Howcthappen (original poster member #80775) posted at 7:51 PM on Thursday, January 19th, 2023

For those BS and FWS I have a dilemma-

We are reconciling. My husband is doing the work. The real hard work. Ie because AP works one street over from him, I told him I would not feel comfortable with him leaving the office at all for lunch. So it’s been almost a year and he doesn’t. If he feels the need for lunch he calls me and I come down. He also sends me itinerary and makes all work trips day trips or he brings me with.


However whenever I’m triggered I want to tell him exactly what I know and how hurtful what he did was. For example,

On our anniversary a few months before discovery in the morning I had Alexa play a list of songs for him with the main one being a pop song by Rihanna that says I’m the only girl
In the world. Cute song ——

Well I now know that he was having the affair when I dedicated that song to him and I also know he CALLED the AP to say hello on his dog walk.

So the song comes on and it makes me sick to my stomach that he listened to me make a fool of myself. It meant nothing to him.

There are love songs that used to remind me of my love for him but since the affair I feel disgusted by them.


BS how do you handle these triggers even when the WS is working hard you want them to know how awful what they did was and dirty and deceptive and evil it was. Do you release it or hold it on?

WS what does it do to you when your spouse triggers and want to share it to you?

When I ask my husband- "Do you know how horrible you were and how hurtful the things you did were!" He says yes and that is why he’s working so hard to make me know he is safe and it will never happen again.

Three years since DdayNever gonna be the sameReconcilingThe sting is still present

posts: 217   ·   registered: Aug. 30th, 2022   ·   location: DC
id 8773915
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DaddyDom ( member #56960) posted at 8:28 PM on Thursday, January 19th, 2023

Early on after D-day, when my BS would say things like that to me, what I heard/experienced was her trying to berate me or beat me down, by reminding me what an awful and horrible person I am. I was still in that headspace where everything was about me. I wasn't really able to comprehend that I was the one making the judgements on my own self-worth... the truth is, she was simply relaying her experience and emotions to me. Once I eventually got a space where I could stop spiralling in shame, I was able to actually "hear her" and empathize with her feelings and what she was trying to convey to me. I stopped being defensive and instead felt compassion for her suffering.

When I ask my husband- "Do you know how horrible you were and how hurtful the things you did were!" He says yes and that is why he’s working so hard to make me know he is safe and it will never happen again.

I'm just curious since you asked... how do you feel when he says this? Does it comfort you? Or do you need something else from him? What outcome were you expecting?

IMO his answer is a "correct" one, in that yes, he should absolutely be working towards being a better person. But what might be missing from his answer is an acknowledgement of your ongoing pain and the trauma that you still deal with. Has he ever said something such as, "I know I was really awful to you during the affair and said and did things that really hurt you. I'm so sorry for that, and looking back, it disgusts me that I was able and willing to do that to you, with no concern for your feelings. I hurt you, that will never be okay with me, and I'm sorry that I am the cause of your pain." Maybe what you are looking for is simply an acknowledgement?

Following up on that question, what do say back to him when he tells you that he's doing the work? Do you acknowledge his efforts or let him know they are appreciated? Or is that the end of the conversation?

Sharing feelings and experiences is important for both the BS and WS to do when healing from infidelity, however, acknowledging those feelings that were shared with you is also important. When both or either of the spouses doesn't acknowledge what was said, then it can leave the other spouse hanging, feeling uncertain or unheard.

[This message edited by DaddyDom at 8:53 PM, Thursday, January 19th]

Me: WS
BS: ISurvivedSoFar
D-Day Nov '16
Status: Reconciling
"I am floored by the amount of grace and love she has shown me in choosing to stay and fight for our marriage. I took everything from her, and yet she chose to forgive me."

posts: 1436   ·   registered: Jan. 18th, 2017
id 8773920
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sisoon ( Moderator #31240) posted at 8:59 PM on Thursday, January 19th, 2023

I was taught in therapy to start with what I'm feeling.

I know and how hurtful what he did was.

I certainly understand that. When I did that, though, I let of steam but didn't feel better. What did work was telling my W

- I'm furious that you did _____.

- I'm grief-stricken When ______ comes to mind, and it' always comes to mind.

- I'm scared because _____.

I don't know why that works, but it often does. IOW, I'm agree with DaddyDom on this.

ETA, based on posts below: The feeling statements don't work well if they are said sweetly. There's nothing sweet about anger, grief, or fear. The tone of voice needs to match the emotion - when I was angry, rest assured that I showed it.

*****

Also, and perhaps more important, sharing your feelings will give you some insight on how good a candidate for R your WS is.

After all, if your WS balks at hearing you express your anger about being betrayed, what kind of a partner are they likely to be?

[This message edited by SI Staff at 5:25 PM, Friday, January 20th]

fBH (me) - on d-day: 66, Married 43, together 45, same sex ap
DDay - 12/22/2010
Recover'd and R'ed
You don't have to like your boundaries. You just have to set and enforce them.

posts: 29954   ·   registered: Feb. 18th, 2011   ·   location: Illinois
id 8773924
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 Howcthappen (original poster member #80775) posted at 9:00 PM on Thursday, January 19th, 2023

DaddyDom

He has said what you have written but not so eloquently. He will sometimes get really quiet and just acknowledge how stupid it was. Still, sometimes it doesn’t happen right then. Sometimes he acknowledges and goes silent. Maybe I need more.

Tbh I usually don’t just share as sweetly as it’s written here. I will keep talking and say horrible things like how could he have treated someone he loved like this…. and the thing I know hurts him I say it- "you weren’t even being a friend to me?!? What kind of friend are you? You deserve to be with that POS"

I can’t believe that I’m still making revelations about what was going on with him.

I guess it’s the shit sandwich I’m supposed to be eating with chips on the side.😞

[This message edited by Howcthappen at 10:19 PM, Saturday, January 21st]

Three years since DdayNever gonna be the sameReconcilingThe sting is still present

posts: 217   ·   registered: Aug. 30th, 2022   ·   location: DC
id 8773925
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 Howcthappen (original poster member #80775) posted at 9:04 PM on Thursday, January 19th, 2023

This is what I needed.

Something to think about (DaddyDom)
and some tools to get across more effectively my feelings (sissoon)

Three years since DdayNever gonna be the sameReconcilingThe sting is still present

posts: 217   ·   registered: Aug. 30th, 2022   ·   location: DC
id 8773926
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emergent8 ( Guide #58189) posted at 9:26 PM on Thursday, January 19th, 2023

I could have written this EXACT post in my first year post-D-day.

I would trigger and get angry (because everything made me think of the A and he was seemingly unaffected), he would retreat or wouldn't have the right thing to say because my anger seemed to come out of nowhere to him, I'd get mad about the fact that I was hurting and he was saying the wrong thing and it was just a vicious cycle of . We spent some time in MC trying to see if we could break that cycle. She kind of gave us a script for when it would occur.

When I'd trigger, instead of immediately going to anger or snarkiness, I worked on first explaining to him what I was feeling and why (it seemed so obvious to me, but it wasn't always to him). He would ask questions to clarify what the trigger was and ask if there was anything he could do to make it better. Typically there wasn't anything (i often just was feeling shitty and wanted him to wallow with me). In that case, he'd hug me or tell me he loved me and say something like "I'm so sorry I ever did something that caused you this much pain. I am so grateful that you're willing to work with me on our marriage." For me the thank you mattered because it made my efforts feel acknowledged and seen.

Did it stop me from triggering? No. But it did help us better understand one another and de-escalate those moment from things that would escalate into arguments and hurt feelings into moments of closeness, which is about as good as you can get, in my experience.

[This message edited by emergent8 at 9:28 PM, Thursday, January 19th]

Me: BS. Him: WS.
D-Day: Feb 2017 (8 m PA with married COW).
Happily reconciled.

posts: 2104   ·   registered: Apr. 7th, 2017
id 8773932
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Hannah47 ( member #80116) posted at 2:14 PM on Friday, January 20th, 2023

During the time (few years?) after DDay I would often hold it in. I believe it was because I was so afraid of the possible consequences – biggest being losing him, losing our relationship, but also losing the life I had. I was afraid of changes – what will I do, will I make it on my own, and so on. Like, due to the betrayal, he already felt distant, so what if I push him away even more by expressing my anger? In reality, what happened is that I would hold it in for a week or two or three, shit would accumulate, I would snap, and all hell would break loose. I’m not one of the people who can hold it in and "do their crying in the rain". I believe it is because I was raised in an effusive family, meaning I learned to feel comfortable expressing emotions, both positive and negative.

Then at some time I stopped being afraid of the possible consequences (a shift in my mindset that I mentioned in one your threads) and since then nothing is holding me back from expressing how I feel. To borrow your words, I did tell him exactly what I know and how hurtful what he did was / is. Stuff he did, thoughts he had, choices he made, stuff that triggers me now – every single instance of that is shitty, and I have no problems telling him that. I want him to know how shitty XY was, and how much it hurts me. The only way to do that is to tell him. It helps me because I don’t accumulate things in my head anymore. And, like sisoon wrote, his reaction is insightful. I realize expressing my feelings is hurtful to him. He didn’t care about my feelings during the betrayal – I care about his feelings now, but I don’t try to shield him from my negative feelings.

And just so you know, I also usually "don’t just share as sweetly as it’s written here". I am aware of the usual advice for the effective communication. However, it seems to me only emotionally charged sentences actually got through to him. I guess it’s because in those you can literally see the pain. It’s not just comprehending on a rational level, but really getting it, seeing it, feeling it. Sometimes plain sentences such as "I’m sad that you did XY" just don’t have enough power when it comes to hard problems such as infidelity. Especially if the WS still didn’t reach sufficient level of remorse.

Ofc, this is just my experience.

Fate whispers to her, "You cannot withstand the storm."
She whispers back, "I am the storm."

posts: 369   ·   registered: Mar. 21st, 2022
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 Howcthappen (original poster member #80775) posted at 12:38 PM on Saturday, January 21st, 2023

Hannah47

I haven’t figured out how to quote yet- but you speak the language that really gets right to my stuff. Lol thanks for that.

I guess I was afraid a little that he could run off if I called to the surface all that I was feeling.

In a MC session I said

"this pain you caused is so deep that he could never get to the bottom of it in this lifetime."

I immediately regretted telling that truth because I felt like he would stop trying if he knew that this mission, if he chose to accept it, was going to be way harder than what he thought he was escaping in our marriage.

But he has stayed. No matter how ugly our arguments get he never leaves the house anymore. He stays.

Three years since DdayNever gonna be the sameReconcilingThe sting is still present

posts: 217   ·   registered: Aug. 30th, 2022   ·   location: DC
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Fof9303 ( member #70433) posted at 1:11 PM on Saturday, January 21st, 2023

I am so glad your husband is doing the work and making you feel safe. I get what you are saying... I am 12 years out and I would be lying if on occasion there is not a thought... a vision.. or a feeling that reminds me of it... The difference is now is there is no real pain associated when that happens... it just like a memory... but it does not cause me trauma anymore.. And no, I do not tell him about.. rarely anyway.. I hope he continues to do the work needed and that you are the brave warrior that you are... God Bless.

posts: 179   ·   registered: Apr. 27th, 2019
id 8774192
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Oldwounds ( member #54486) posted at 10:01 PM on Saturday, January 21st, 2023

As to your original question, I think we have to share — but maybe not every minute of everyday if we’re trying to give the M one last chance.

If we hold it in, that’s where resentments live, and that’s never healthy for a relationship.

Well after six years, I still share if I am having a tough moment. Hell, I did that this morning.

I also let my wife know how much I appreciate the work she is doing on herself and the help in rebuilding the M.

There is no justice, there is no way to balance the scales.

There is no way, but I love how my wife keeps trying anyway.

In that sense, I give her the room to grow and know that I let go of the debt she can’t possibility repay.

As for those music reminders and triggers, I eventually found new songs, new moments to build around.

Married 36+ years, together 41+ yearsTwo awesome adult sons. Dday 6/16 4-year LTA Survived. M Restored."It is better to conquer our grief than to deceive it." — Seneca

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 Howcthappen (original poster member #80775) posted at 10:27 PM on Saturday, January 21st, 2023

Oldwounds I really like that——new songs.

There is actually a song that came up and it reminds me of him as the WS by U2.

I made him listen to it. It described what he did when he decided to cross the line.

Three years since DdayNever gonna be the sameReconcilingThe sting is still present

posts: 217   ·   registered: Aug. 30th, 2022   ·   location: DC
id 8774238
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gainingclosure ( member #79667) posted at 11:44 PM on Saturday, January 21st, 2023

Early on after D-day, when my BS would say things like that to me, what I heard/experienced was her trying to berate me or beat me down, by reminding me what an awful and horrible person I am. I was still in that headspace where everything was about me. I wasn't really able to comprehend that I was the one making the judgements on my own self-worth... the truth is, she was simply relaying her experience and emotions to me.

The above perfectly sums up where my WW has been, and has been stuck, since R began in earnest, 18 years after the actual A. Its the one thing that has delayed R significantly. But I have no control over how she chooses to react or respond when my insecurity comes out and I feel the need to talk about it.

There is a fine line between talking about it in a respectful, authentic, non judgmental sort of way, and coming off as angry, mean hearted, berating or attacking. In fact, we've pushed each other to the brink of divorce over this exact issue this last year. I will bring up some facet of her affair (typically brought on by a trigger), and her reacting like she is the victim of what she deems "emotional abuse". Often it's been her who storms out the angry one. For my part, I dont feel like I initiate conversations from a mean hearted place, but when she responds with stuff like "it was so long ago" etc, its easy to start becoming frustrated and then the conversation takes a turn for the worse.

When we are in a more loving and positive space, she has a much easier time showing empathy and affection (go figure). So for me, bringing it up from a place of insecurity and negativity is just never a good idea.

Reconciling BH. Full story is in my bio."The soul is dyed with the color of its thoughts" - Marcus Aurelius

posts: 103   ·   registered: Dec. 9th, 2021
id 8774243
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Notmine ( member #57221) posted at 3:10 PM on Sunday, January 22nd, 2023

I am a person who tells it like it is. Good or bad, it is who I am. That being said, I try really hard to temper the impulse to blast off with some empathy and thoughtful consideration of the feelings of others. I also was a child in an angry, critical home and have some PTSD as a result. The A and SA exacerbated my childhood trauma and added yet another layer of trauma to it. I had never engaged in therapy to deal with PTSD issues. I did not realize PTSD was a part of my make-up until therapy as a result of the A. Therefore, the discovery of the A and SA and resulting trauma PLUS my own personality made it next to impossible to "hold it in". It was not a pleasant time for anyone for the first two years.

Now that I am aware of how I can act out of trauma, I am able to pause before "releasing" to think about whether it is productive. I use a thought process I learned in recovery (Does it need to be said, does it need to be said by me, does it need to be said now?) to help me decide it it is something I need to "release" . I still believe, as I believed then, that I am not alone in the process of healing. If a trigger, upsetting thought or question comes up and I cannot get past it using the tools I have learned in therapy, my husband gets to help. It is part of the consequences to his actions.

I appreciate that my husband has worked, and continues to work 7 years later, very hard to become a better person and a partner I can trust (although trust is relative as a result of his actions) and rely on. I admire his dedication to his internal transformation. However, the damage he inflicted continues to live in me and in our marriage. The marriage is not defined by the devastation that he wrought, but it is and always will be present and impactful in some way. I am not defined by his actions, but, as another poster in this forum so eloquently said, I will always walk with a limp.

Part of being a functional adult IMHO, is to accept and take responsibility for your character defects and actions. This means that you continue to bear witness and try to make restitution for the pain you have caused another person. If this means that it is uncomfortable sometimes, it is what it is. I am not going to hold anything in if I feel like I cannot bear it alone. He did what he did and must shoulder the consequences for as long as it takes.

When you're going through hell, for God's sake, DON'T STOP!

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Hannah47 ( member #80116) posted at 9:59 PM on Sunday, January 22nd, 2023

I guess I was afraid a little that he could run off if I called to the surface all that I was feeling.

Let's be honest – thinking like that is completely legit. In the past 4-5 years, I've read so many stories, both here and on other Internet places, where exactly that happened – WS gave up. However, there are several things to keep in mind here:

1. People are different, situations are different. Humans like to categorize things, it’s a good evolutionary strategy, and we are good at it. To a certain degree though. When it comes to categorizing people’s minds, we suck, no matter what psychology tries to sell us. This is because we all have unique personalities; we are a unique mix of different personality traits. Not only that, but our traits exist on a scale, and their manifestation is dependent on the situation. And, most importantly, people can change.
For these reasons, it is not always good or useful to compare your situation to some other betrayal story. There are some very broken WSs out there, who use their BS’s post DDay behavior as an excuse for giving up, while the truth is they themselves are just too weak to face their own problems. There are some very toxic BSs whose WSs have every reason to leave. You can never know the full story behind someone’s post. Point: just because some WSs gave up, it doesn’t mean your WS will do so. You know your husband and your situation the best, and I’m sure you realize infidelity is one of the experiences that can truly change a person. Point: just because your husband ran off in the past, it doesn’t mean he will run off now.

2. If I understood correctly, your husband’s affair was an escapism from whatever hardships he encountered in your marriage. Here’s the deal – your husband didn’t cheat because there were hardships. He cheated because he was too weak to deal with those hardships in a healthy way. If he’s doing the work like you say, he is working on improving himself. That is, he is no longer that weak person who can’t handle shit. Alternatively, he’s not doing the work, and he’s still that shitty person who can’t handle hardships in a healthy way. In that case, you’re not really losing if he stops trying. Who wants a husband who is good only when things are peachy? This is a win-win situation for you. Either you get a husband who is worthy of you, or you "lose" someone who isn’t worthy of you anyway.

3. Communicating your struggles doesn’t mean just releasing all that you’re feeling about the betrayal. He has to know you are afraid he will give up. I remember a particularly difficult discussion after which my husband just sat there, defeated. All it took was me saying: "Please, don’t give up on me". And he didn’t give up. I know it’s very hard to be vulnerable after betrayal, and probably not the smartest idea immediately after DDay. However, you are long past that and it is ok to be vulnerable. On the other hand, my husband told me many times it is hard to stay motivated if the perceived chance of succeeding is small. Nevertheless, I feel WSs need to take a leap of faith for us to start seeing they are in this for real. Like you wrote:

But he has stayed. No matter how ugly our arguments get he never leaves the house anymore. He stays.

Sometimes, when things are really tough, this is the only thing that keeps me believing in him. It counts, big time. I did and said some horrible things, and he is still here. Just keep in mind it goes both ways – he did a horrible thing to me, and I’m still here. A remorseful WS is aware of that, and he will not make you feel bad about yourself if you say some nasty words, even years later. He will understand it is your pain talking, and he will do his best to show compassion.

Fate whispers to her, "You cannot withstand the storm."
She whispers back, "I am the storm."

posts: 369   ·   registered: Mar. 21st, 2022
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Topic is Sleeping.
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