5 years post DDay 1
I remember when I first arrived here. That 2-5 year healing timeline seemed like it was WAY too far in the future. Yet here I am at a little over 5 years from that first DDay that changed everything about my world. Now, I do have a caveat, in that my 2nd DDay was over two years later and that sucker reset me negative years! However, today, I can say that things are still moving in a positive direction.
My actual DDay was almost two weeks ago. About a month prior to that, my WH was planning an overseas trip for work. His first since DDay 2 and his first trip of more than one night since the pandemic. He gave me some weeks to pick from, and I chose the week following DDay (it was a Saturday, he gave me the Monday date). A few days later, he sent me his itinerary. He had booked a flight out on the afternoon OF DDAY! I responded with a ? about the date, and he told me he had been wanting to make sure he got in with enough time Sunday to get a night of rest so he could be functioning on Monday morning. Which I get - but I was pretty non-plussed that he didn't make the connection still. When I again told him that date wasn't a great choice, it finally clicked. He then offered to move the flight, but at that point, the damage of not being cognizant of the date was done and I told him to keep it. Not a great start to the lead up to DDay. (He did end up moving it to a red-eye so that we'd be together the whole day.)
About a week prior to DDay, my body started reminding me what was happening. Unexplainable heaviness in my chest, a flat state of dissociation, and my house was freaking SPOTLESS.
Day of DDay, WH offered up taking a hike together, having dinner, and me taking him to the airport (I get triggers about the airport). When I was dropping him off, the emotional floodgates cracked open and I cried. He held me, reassured me, and told me that he'd left a letter for me by the bed, and headed off. (Letter was sweet and reassuring and gave me some suggestions on what positive things to focus on when I felt sad or angry.)
Once he was gone, I closed those gates back up. Did my work, my kids, my house, and was a superstar at distracting myself from feelings. About three days into the trip, he called from his hotel at the end of the day (since he was overseas, communication was kind of hard but he was consistent about texting throughout the day, calling from his office prior to dinners/events, and FaceTiming as soon as he would return). I started to talk about my day and he interrupted me and said - "I have something to tell you." That sounded ominous, so I got quiet really fast. He then told me that he was supposed to meet a couple of co-workers for dinner but they went ahead of him. When he got there, they had ordered him a beer. So he started to drink it. Then, another co-worker came and had brought a woman from the office with him. Now, our deal is no alcohol in mixed company if I'm not there. So he stopped drinking that beer when she came in and switched to water.
This may sound minor or silly, but to me it was HUGE. In the past, he's gone along with the drinks or whatever, in order to fit in. In the past, even post DDay, I would have to ask questions about who was at functions or whether he had a drink. But that one story, and his insistence on making sure it was the first thing he said to me, showed me how much he has changed. And how much he respects our marriage and me - in a way that he never did before his A.
This whole long story is just a way to say that although there are always hiccups, we now have the tools to move past them. Together. I am not afraid to tell him what causes me anxiety or what I need. He doesn't get defensive or angry and searches out ways to ensure I feel safe. His work doesn't come before family anymore. We check in every night about our feelings and what we are grateful for (this has been really awesome just to center us back to the little things that we do for each other and our family).
Obviously, I will never forget what he did. I still have triggers that I am just now beginning to feel strong enough to tackle. Our sex life is NOT healed and may never be. Our life is forever altered in awful ways (and good ones), but we are working on all of these things together.
I used to want to follow a playbook of those who came before. I needed to KNOW what I had to do to heal. To feel "normal" again. But time, grief, loss and growth have taught me that "normal" doesn't exist as a place to return to. I will never be the same. I will never truly trust him again. He told me the other day that he will always be a little bit afraid that I will leave him, just as I will always hold just a little bit back and not feel 100% safe.
I've said this before, but we choose each other every day. We don't have to, and we know that. Knowing that we each can walk away, but choose to stay and do all of the hard work (that will probably never end!)? I think that is real love being lived out and I am glad we both keep fighting for it.
Thanks to all of you who share here, who have offered laughs and comfort and advice. This place is truly special and I most definitely would not be in such a good mental space without the guidance, references and support from all of you.
5 comments posted: Thursday, April 14th, 2022
Can we talk about sex?
Especially interested in those of you who feel positive about the direction of R or your WS' work.
A little backstory for those of you who don't know me, my WH had an affair in 2017. I discovered and was told the physical extent was a kiss and the EA had been happening for a few months prior. We hysterically bonded mostly daily or multiple times daily for the next two years. It was the best sex either of us we'd had together. (And prior to his A, I was his only, he was NOT my only.) In 2019, he confessed to sex (occurred over a 4 day conference, a BJ on the way home from the airport and a quickie the following week in the parking garage at work).
Since his confession, we've had sex maybe a dozen times. Not a single time was it connective (TMI, but only twice did I face him.) I've cried every time. I also can only be physical if I have headphones in as a distraction. I can't take being silent with him (or hearing him talk to me bc then I wonder what he said to her).
I think I partially I cannot stand the idea that he still gets to have sex with me after the lies and gaslighting, partially that he (and I) feel tainted and disgusting (he gave me an STD that I will have forever bc he had unprotected sex), and partially I am just not okay being vulnerable in that way with him anymore - after two years of completely trusting, that was also destroyed with his lies.
My question ----- has anyone had these issues? I think relationship wise, we do well. Great communication, have fun together, spend a LOT of time together (thanks COVID!), etc. I do think he is honest and tries to be a better man every day (poly confirmed his timeline and since that 2nd DDay there has been no lies).
Is it possible to get that loving feeling back AGAIN? I have started IC up again, and a new BTrauma group, but I am kinda wondering if I need a sex therapist, drugs, or a lobotomy. (I've read a lot, and we've tried sensate touch stuff, which helps but maybe I'm just being impatient).
I always get the sense that while mind movies and triggers happen, many of you are still connecting physically, and I just feel grossed out by my own sexuality these days, much less my husband's.
Thanks in advance for any advice. Infidelity sucks.
25 comments posted: Tuesday, June 8th, 2021
"Team Bonding" Events/Trips - Thoughts?
Many companies, especially startups, love to do "team bonding" events. In my experience these have ranged from happy hours in/out of the office, team dinners, actual "team" building at places made for such things (like ropes courses/games) and trips solely for "fun".
Post DDay 1, my husband has not engaged in ANY of these events. Post DDay 2, he hasn't even traveled much and since COVID, has been working from home for almost a year.
Recently, there has been the possibility of working for a different company. (This would not be a choice to "change" jobs but a shift in company ownership.) He would have a different CEO, would have a different position himself (currently he has a lot of freedom to make his schedule/say no to any conferences/events/travel, etc.) and may be asked or expected to engage in this new company, and with his new employees that would work for and with him. This new company is very very young and does many of the above things, including a weeklong company "retreat" where they travel internationally and do things like water sports together. They are also almost 70% females. (I think that it is awesome, btw, but seeing as how his A was with a female peer, it is a trigger point.)
Obviously, nothing is set in stone and my H is confident that any obstacles will give him a chance to prove he's putting our marriage and his values first. I'm just curious how others would/do feel about these kinds of activities for co-workers.
I tend to personally think that alcohol and vacations should be done with your spouse or same sex friends, not people you work with. I find it somewhat of a slippery slope to be TOO close to those your work with (even if you aren't having sex with them). Friendly, yes, but in drinking in bathing suits with them, no.
So what do you guys think? Am I on an island to think this way? (For the record, my WH is on the same page I am now as he sees how easily boundaries get pushed in those situations.)
13 comments posted: Wednesday, January 27th, 2021