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PeaceLily210

Me-BS Him-WH (Razorbyrd) DDay1 2/10/15 EA-he was in love DDay2 5/29/15 TT still emailing OW & others 4/21/16, 10/3/17, 11/3/17 SO much TT 11/30/18 TT - Admits PA with ExGF in 2014

Another installment of "This is what healing looks like"

Hi all, it's been a long time. I just had another moment of encouragement that I thought I'd share here, as an example of what this process can be.

We hardly talk about the As now. If something comes up I will mention it, but there really hasn't been much need to talk about it lately. Sometimes a name will pop up on TV, or the subject will come up in a movie we are watching. He remains aware and mindful of those moments, and is always reaching out to take my hand, or offer yet one more apology for making these things an issue in our life. But really, as far as this all goes it's been very quiet in our world for the most part. Yesterday that all went out the window as he came home for lunch and shared some news. His supervisor has hired a woman to work in his dept. FWH will be responsible for training and daily overseeing of the new staff. Years ago I wouldn't have cared that he had a woman working so closely, but we all know how our perceptions and reactions change after the As, and well 1 of the women he was inappropriate with was in his dept back then. She'd left shortly after DDay and he was surrounded by all men in his dept since.

I was pondering this morning how differently this looks in our life now, as opposed to how it would have a few years ago. This is in direct relation to all of the work he has done to become a man of integrity. I was honest with him yesterday about my gut reaction of "UGGGHHHH", and later last night poured out all of the crazy stuff that is now running through my head, and will continue to run through my head as we move forward through this. (closed door meetings, a woman having access to his phone/email, not knowing what kind of a person she is, his former need to connect with everyone and be liked by them... etc etc) He listened so intently and talked it all through calmly with me. He completely understands that it is his prior behavior that has us here, and owns it. He also talked through his own current personal boundaries at work, and how he intends to implement those boundaries in this new situation. He is open to talking through anything and everything that pops up, and explain how he's handling things. His entire focus during our conversation was "What do you need me to do to show you daily that we are ok, my boundaries are in place, and I'm here for you to help you get through this?" THIS is exactly what healing looks like. There was no yelling, no exasperation or defensiveness. Not once did he blurt out that I should just trust him because he's not that guy anymore. This situation was a complete surprise to both of us, but I'm so grateful for where we are in this process. I'm so grateful for all of the hard work he put in with his IC. I'm so grateful for all of the work we've both put in to the communication in our M which has led to this level of healing. I'm grateful for the transparency we've built into our lives. Mostly, I'm grateful for his daily devotion to his faith and to being a man of integrity.

So, for those new to this, (and I guess also those not so new, cuz man we aren't new to this and are still working at it), It really IS possible, by the Grace of God and a LOT of hard work (REALLY HARD work) to continue to heal. We continue to move forward with a loving and beautiful marriage despite our history.

Wishing y'all peace.

7 comments posted: Thursday, March 24th, 2022

It's been so long - wanted to share some encouragement

Gosh y'all, it's been so long I almost forgot my login info.

I've thought of this site so often and how much it helped me navigate this infidelity mess. I've referred many here when I realized they were dealing with infidelity in their relationships as well. I don't know where we'd be today if I hadn't seen some positive reconciliation stories here, with all the brutal and raw honesty regarding what real healing and reconciliation looks like. So I came on back for a minute to share that healing continues and it IS possible to reconcile a M after an A.

I've posted in the past that we were doing well, and we continue to. We grow, we struggle, we learn, and we grow some more.

FWH continues his Individual therapy. Mine stopped due to Covid at first, then I realized I just didn't want to go back to her. I felt that she did not respect our attempts to reconcile. She often would interject derogatory comments toward men in general being untrustworthy and dumb when I was trying to navigate some issue we'd come up against. I'm now looking for a different therapist as I realize I still have issues unfolding for myself, mostly from my childhood but which continue to affect me now.

Overall however, we are doing really well. We're a team now. Unlike before, he's there for me when I struggle. He listens to me when I'm dealing with things. He no longer dismisses feelings he doesn't understand, he hears me and has actual empathy for me. If you'd have told me a few years ago that he would truly learn empathy, I'd have laughed. Yet here we are. It's not fake, it's not mimicry, it's real honest to goodness empathy in his eyes, his voice and his heart.

We share our hearts now like we NEVER did before. We thought we were close and intimate, but now we look back and realize that our M was pretty shallow. Today we have such a deeper, more honest, and authentic connection. FWH has experienced so much growth and change that he's simply not the same person who betrayed me so brutally. This came to light once again today as we hit a major bump in our road and I saw how differently he responded now vs. how he would have a few years ago. Today he slipped. He shared with a trusted group of HIS friends something deeply personal that I shared with him over the weekend. It's something I've been struggling with and as a Christian praying about. He's become a Christian also and has a group of men who support each other and hold each other accountable. So today as he was sharing with this "Men's group" and asking for prayer, he brought up "us", and asked for prayers for that personal struggle I mentioned. He really thought he was doing the right thing until I lost my sh*t after he told me. I was crushed and felt so betrayed. I shared something in confidence and he threw it out there to men I do not have that trusting relationship with. Years ago he'd have angrily defended his actions. I mean, c'mon, how bad is it to ask for prayer, right? But instead, today, he stopped himself, he heard my pain, and he apologized. Now even a few years ago he'd have thought a hollow apology via text was enough. I'd have heard a lot of "How many times do I have to say I'm sorry?" Today however, even though we were texting, I could feel his horror at hurting me and betraying my trust. Next thing I know he's walking in the door. He'd abruptly left his office and came back to our home to look me in the eye, apologize again face to face and admit how much he'd screwed up. We talked about how any betrayal of trust brings me emotionally back to those old feelings. He explained why he felt safe sharing with his men's group, but not as a justification. He made sure to let me know he was not justifying the behavior, just explaining. He let me know he heard me and acknowledged how wrong he was. Again, the differences are astounding to me. Before he'd have stopped with the first apology and then become defensive and angry if I kept trying to explain and discuss the situation. He even called his therapist to talk about his decision to share the information without considering how that may affect me. We discussed it for about an hour before he had to go back to work. When he left I knew that he had a new level of understanding about me, my PTSD, and how he'd disrespected all of that. That my friends is healing. I don't expect perfection from him. I do expect continued growth as we work together to heal our Marriage.

People told me to expect healing to take anywhere from 2-5 years. We're only a bit shy of 3 years from the final D-day. I can say honestly that I no longer fear infidelity. He's not that guy anymore. Gosh that sounds so cliche... but it's accurate. He's worked so hard to develop a stronger character. Being a man of integrity is important to him now. As a Christian he is open and honest about his determination to "Die to self" and put me, us, our family before himself, and we all see the changes. That old guy tries to pop up every now and then, but the strategies and safeguards he put in place catch it and he's also open and honest about those instances. For example, he tells me about most email interactions with the women he works with. It's just something he started a couple of years ago to hold himself accountable. Emails and conversations stay impersonal and work related. He tries to keep any conversation to a "3 comment rule" which would normally consist of a response to "Hi/Hello", another generic impersonal response to "How are you" and a closing comment like "Have a good day". Emails are strictly work related conversation, despite the women in his CS Dept. trying to be friendly or funny in their responses. Well he recently was telling me about an email exchange and realized as he was talking that he'd shared personal knowledge. It wasn't flirty or even personal information about himself. The CS rep was commenting outside of a group email, in an aside email just to him, that another rep in Canada was awfully chipper that day. He responded with a comment about their hockey team being in the playoffs and it being a Canadian National holiday. I didn't say a thing right away. I thought about it for a while to determine if my feeling twitchy about it was appropriate. One of his APs was Canadian, so I was wondering if that was why it was bothering me. Before I could bring it up though, he came to me and said he had been thinking about it. He felt that he'd overstepped the boundaries he'd created for himself (and me). He wanted me to know that he realized he shouldn't have responded to that "aside" email just to him. He realized it was an open door to becoming friendly with a female co-worker, which he avoids due to his past. I was grateful because I told him long ago that I will not police him. He either becomes safe or he doesn't and my decision to stay would be based on the work he does to that end. His introspection is also of his own doing, and his desire to reassure me of his focus on character and integrity helps this healing process.

So, here we are. As I said, we are growing, learning and growing some more. I would definitely consider us fully reconciled at this time, though I hesitate to say fully healed as those wounds can still open at times. We just try to air them out and talk it through to continue the healing process.

I just want to end this with the acknowledgement that this is simply not possible if you have a WS who is not willing to do the really deep deep work inside themselves. We almost didn't make it here. I was so ready to walk away 3 years ago, and I'm not sure anyone would have blamed me. The real change happened when he started a real deep effort to walk a Christian life AND we found a really healthy church that believes in discipleship. Since then I've seen his character changing in front of my eyes.

And to be clear, I'm not saying you can only heal if you follow Christ. I'm simply saying I cannot deny the changes in my FWH as he does. I believe it's the deep introspection and desire to be a person of integrity that change a person.

I had a friend tell me once "Once a cheater, always a cheater". To me that is like saying "Once a drunk, always a drunk" when the truth is, you may always be an alcoholic, but you can live in recovery as a new healthier stronger person who understands their demons and chooses to beat them.

If you're still reading, I hope you find some encouragement in our journey. And yes, I will be posting this to the Positive Reconciliation Stories pinned thread.

Take care y'all and thanks for being there when I needed you desperately.

6 comments posted: Tuesday, July 13th, 2021

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