When you get “there”…
I need to share this because today I feel like I have arrived to a destination I have set towards shortly after dday and because of dday.
6 years ago, right about this time, I had my dday. From a reconciliation perspective you can find my update in my other thread.
But from a personal, individual, non relationship perspective here it is: on dday I had an full time job in a low managerial role and it felt to me that my biggest achievement in life was my family.
When it all came crushing down, it floored me to levels where I had no clue if I would make it on the other side alive. I had two ddays 4 months apart and was diagnosed by my IC with severe ptsd. Each time WH would exit the room or go to work I would have a panic attack and my heart would explode out of my chest.
And then one day, in counselling, I understood: somehow I have allowed myself, during my marriage, to become fully reliant on my WH and put him on a pedestal. Whilst I had a full time job, he took all the important decisions, including the financial ones and his betrayal didn’t feel "only" like betrayal, but like discarding and abandonment.
I have set myself a plan then, the mighty plan B that we all talk about, my healing and safety plan, and the two key elements below:
I will not become my WH’s warden. He’s free to decide if he wants to be in my life or not, another affair meant he’s out of my life, I will not waste my life trying to prevent it.
I will not remain married for the sake of financial reason, kids, assets etc. My WH earned, at the time, 3 to almost 4 times more than me. In order to know that I am healed I wanted to get to the point when a man’s existence in my life (reconciliation or not) is just because I want him there, not because I needed him.
The second element required me focusing on my career. Oh have I mention that I got sacked a year past dday? I’ve started chasing job after job since then, lost jobs to Covid, got jobs that I have no clue how I’ve held down with all the anxiety and panic attacks, lack of concentration we all experience following dday and those moments when you feel like you barely want to get out of bed.
And today I have arrived to my destination: I have interviewed last week for a role that is my dream job. A Head of Department at a very high profile institution with a team reporting into me and a salary to match. I didn’t expect to get it. I’ve just had the call offering me the job.
I cannot explain how overwhelmed I feel and how happy I am. It took me such a long time post dday focusing on my Wh, his actions, his whereabouts that this point where I’m now felt impossible. It was not. Today is day when I’m proud of myself!
Thank you all for the support back then on this journey!
16 comments posted: Friday, October 27th, 2023
It’s been 6 years since the rug has been pulled from under my feet and my life turned upside down in a matter of minutes. The memory of the day itself still brings me goosebumps.
If you would have told me 6 years ago that I’d be where I am now, still married, I would have been confused. Because I was THAT woman, the one that would NEVER stay with a cheater. My view on cheating was pretty black a white: people only cheated when their marriage sucked (lol) and I was convinced that I was able to prevent it by being the perfect spouse who compromised a bunch (lol again).
One thing I did definitely know though: I knew that cheating was never a marriage or a betrayed spouse issue because divorce is legal and we live in a different society than the 1800s therefore I never took any responsibility of his cheating (and WH did not try to claim it was my fault).
So with that in mind dday floored me. I was convinced that my marriage was good (regular sex, ILYs, constant communication) and my WH actually believed that too. He didn’t serve me the ILYBNILWY script but, in true modern fashion, he loved us both.
Initially, once I decided we should try and mend things, I thought R was a simple process. He would apologise, I would accept it and we would move on. We all know how wrong I was.
After a second dday 4 months later and my acceptance that WH didn’t appear able to understand what it takes, he finally decided to take his head out of his backside and "win me back". Just as I checked out pretty much and started focusing on myself. 6 years later and we’re still married, happily may I add.
We’ve done hours of IC and later on MC, hours of talking about the A, endless crying sessions, dealing with ptsd, panic attacks, emotional flooding and the list can go on and on.
Here we are today: I almost forgot it was dday anniversary and only noticed it when someone mentioned the date in a meeting and it felt familiar.
We are happy. The A isn’t the centrepiece of our marriage anymore. I’ve built a nice career that enables me, should I need to, to fully support myself if I decide to divorce at any point. We openly communicate and have a much more authentic relationship than we ever had. We both have hobbies, common and individual.
I trust him as much as I would trust any man following the trauma of an affair. He is still my best friend and we laugh through life even when we want to cry because we’ve been through so much in the last 6 years (including losing my brother, WH was my biggest support), there is very little that can bring us down day to day.
Overall I have grown immensely and I realised that the way I have trusted and relied on WH prior to this was never healthy in any relationship, affair or no affair. Pedestals should not exist in marriages and I definitely demolished the one he was on.
If I would be to give one piece of advice that helped me post dday is this: for me, reconciliation post A was all about "what’s in it for me". I felt like I was giving up a major moral principle, not ever remaining married to a cheater, therefore I needed to understand how it would benefit me. I wasn’t willing to just forgive and forget, I needed to know what I was forgiving and see a better man emerging and a better marriage.
So if you are at the beginning of a R process maybe ask yourself, taking the emotion out of it for a second, what’s in it for you?
If like me, you can only remain married post dday if it becomes better than before (it was the only way I could come to terms with it) then identify what that means. Where are the required changes, what would you expect your spouse to do in order to achieve that? What do YOU need to do to achieve that?
6 years later we are in a much more balanced marriage. This wasn’t a power struggle. But it definitely was an opportunity to balance the power (previously sitting with WH) and ensure our partnership is more equal.
I could write about it forever but I’ll stop here. I hope everyone finds their healing path and their peace.
18 comments posted: Saturday, September 30th, 2023
5 years Dday anniversary
So it’s been 5 years. I only remembered because I saw Strugglbus’s update below and I knew we were pretty much a year apart in terms of ddays.
We are in a good place. Very good place I’d say. The affair is still there and it will always be a mark on our marriage history. But it isn’t as poignant as it was in the past. It became an event in our life that we dealt with and still do if anything comes up but that’s that. We all learn to deal and cope with traumatic life events and the affair feels like such a(nother) event.
We’ve put in a lot of work, a lot, to be where we are. I can totally say I am proud of how my WH chose to use this as a change catalyst. He’s not perfect by all means but he’s now a new person who is able to work on any area of growth identified.
A few days ago he said something that will remain with me for a while "being given another chance to remain married to you is the best compliment anyone could have paid to me. I know I’m not on a pedestal anymore and I don’t need to be. But the fact that you gave me another chance meant that you believed in me, believed that I am not the jerk who cheated on you at my core and that I’m capable of change, that is very humbling".
I’ve changed a lot too. I’ve reorganised my life in such a way that if anything else comes up I will not become the wreck I was on dday.
And that’s the beauty of it, we, WH and I are not together because we need each other anymore. Financially we could both live independently comfortably. The kids are 15 and 21 so not a reason as such. We are together because we want to. Because we turned our lives around and it is pretty fun. We have individual hobbies and joint hobbies. We paint and draw together. We travel. We discover new places. We still discover who we are and who we can become.
Not everything is perfect of course. I do trigger sometimes if I feel like perhaps my WH did not work on certain traits that led to the affair, we usually discuss those areas.
I’m also still working on my abandonment issues. Last November I lost my brother and he was pretty much my last connection with my FOO (my mum is in a different country and has mental health issues). This means that from time to time I do get panicky feelings of being almost alone in the world and feeling that if my WH does something again I WILL be alone in the world. I do have mental chats with "little me" during those moments and I remind myself I am an adult capable to protect the little girl I once was. It seems to work as a coping mechanism.
So if you are just embarking on this road know this: true reconciliation is possible. Your life will change forever and if I may say so, this is an opportunity to turn it around and build the amazing life and relationship you always wanted.
On dday (or thereabouts, perhaps once I woke up from the shock of my life) I knew that the only way I could remain married was if my life and marriage will become what I always wanted it to be. No more compromise, no more conflict avoidance, no more power grabbing, an equal partnership where we discuss each arising issue with an aim to resolve it. And we do all that whilst also having fun, life is short.
You do need a willing participant to build that though, don’t compromise on that, define your boundaries and requirements and stick to it. Good luck to all of you and I hope you all find peace.
9 comments posted: Tuesday, September 27th, 2022
Is 5 years out some sort of milestone?
We are coming to 5 years since dday. In fact this is now affair season till September (A started May).
We are in a good place. I don’t think there is any stone left unturned in terms of doing the work on both sides. Our life is actually pretty amazing. I have a WH who still does things to show me he hasn’t forgotten, who acts grateful for being given the chance, who is in love with me and I believe it, who actively works to show his commitment to me and our family.
I worked hard to heal myself too and I feel safer than ever, not necessarily because I don’t believe my WH will ever cheat again (although I do believe he isn’t that person anymore and he wouldn’t even dream to go there again), but because I remembered who I was, what I’m capable of and I know now more than ever that I don’t need my WH to make me "whole". I love my WH and I do not regret my decision to stay.
Together we have a fantastic relationship now, we talk often about how we feel and have lots of fun together.
And yet, in the last month or so, the A is back actively in my mind. I trigger through the day like during "good" old days when I just sit there and memories of what I know about the A (facts) come and bite at me again. The anger is returning. I feel like I want to snap at my WH several times a day. The little sarcastic silent voice in my head is back. I wake up in the middle of the night again. I even dreamt of ow.
This time last year I didn’t even remember it was affair season. Now I’m fully aware that, because I don’t know the exact date when the affair technically started, 5 years ago he was flirting and moving towards his decision to cheat. And my mind actually imagines it, the jokes, the smiles, the loving eyes…
I don’t have anything else left to process. I’ve been through everything with a fine tooth comb. We’ve spoken about everything on and on and on. In fact I didn’t even tell him I’m triggering now because I don’t think it’s his fault and it isn’t anything he did (now).
So… is there something in the water at 5 years out? Should I be aware of anything?
PS please don’t tell me we BSes never get over it and I should divorce because I am clearly unhappy and I can’t heal, because that’s really not the case. This time last year I couldn’t care less about dates and I was pretty much over it. In fact my WH was reminding me of these A anniversaries such as ddays by apologising and I was feeling bad that I didn’t even remember.
22 comments posted: Tuesday, May 24th, 2022