Me: WW, 30s, BP2
Her: BW, 30s (Aftershockgoldfish)
Committed since 2006, married in 2013
6 month OEA (sexting & phone sex)
DDay1 went underground: Nov 18, 2016
DDay2 ended A: Mar 26, 2017
Was offered R: Oct 2017
Dday3 no more lies: Sept 8, 2019
5 years ago today
5 years ago today was dday1. 5 years ago my BS found my blog and asked me "who is AP?". 5 years ago I lied and went underground continuing my affair for several more months until dday2. A little over 2 years ago was dday3 when I stopped carrying the last few lies.
But 5 years ago was the first time I shattered BS's heart. And it was the first time I lied to her about something of huge significance. Dday1 is always the hardest.
They say healing takes 2-5 years. We have officially hit that point in all respects. Are we healed? No. But we are healing. We are moving forward together making huge life decisions that will bind us together forever even if our marriage fails. For the first time in 5 years I feel confident that it won't fail. Now I feel like we can do anything we put our hearts and minds to.
I have undergone a mass transformation over the past 5 years. I am not the person I used to be. I am a better person. I have begun to stop carrying around the deep hatred for myself that grew exponentially with my affair. I have a handle on my mental health. I have support outside of BS. I can hear and receive BS's feelings even when she hates me. I am authentic and dependable. I can finally look at myself in the mirror.
We have been through so much. The past 5 years have been a special kind of hell journey I wish for nobody. If you need to take the journey of reevaluating your entire life and sense of personhood, pick a different jumping point than having an affair.
Because I would give all of my self growth up if it meant I could take away the damage I caused BS. She is also a different person now. She is healing in her own way, but she will never be the person she was 5 years and 1 day ago. I killed that person.
We talk sometimes about how life would have been had I not cheated. I wasn't a great person. I was lying about little things and was building a sexual basement while icing her out. I was stagnate and aloof as a partner. I didn't carry my share of the weight in our everyday lives. I was undiagnosed and had scary fits of rage and long bouts of depression. Our marriage would have fallen apart eventually without her knowing anything of who I was underneath. She says she is glad that at least now she knows and can make an informed decision.
After my affair I had to face all of my shit head on and change it if I wanted any chance of staying married. And I did that. I'm still learning and healing too, I don't think that will ever stop.
But there are a million ways I could have recognized all of this and made these same changes without cheating. I could have spent the past 5 years doing the same things without having destroyed the woman I love. I feel guilty that over the past 5 years I have been able to grow and evolve into something better at the expense of her. She's spent the past 5 years putting herself and her sense of everything back together in a way that doesn't fit like it used to. She's a resilient human being, to say the least.
Today she called me a "recovered wayward". It was the first time she's said that. I felt like I had won a prize. Everyday I wake up next to her I feel like I've won a prize. I am so lucky she has chosen to stay and try with me.
So yeah. 5 years later and we are healing. We aren't there yet, but we keep marching forward together hand in hand. We are stubborn as hell and refuse to give up.
7 comments posted: Friday, November 19th, 2021
Mental health, addiction, and compassion
Shame has been a big road block for me over the years of trying to R. It has kept me stuck in an ugly pattern of not being able to see BW and only see myself. Over the past several months I've been working with my therapist on self compassion and healing old wounds. It felt selfish at first but I'm realizing it is the only way to get unstuck.
One of the biggest things that has helped me not get sucked into shame is the reality that my A played out during a time of a severe mental health crisis. I was undiagnosed bipolar 2 and put on a medication for depression that can trigger hypomania and mania. It was mere months after we lost a second pregnancy and I was avoiding the overwhelming grief by withdrawing from my life. Then I got hyopmanic (or possibly full blown manic - we've not figured that out) and hypersexual and reached out to a stranger online and had a 6 month overtly sexual online A.
I can now look at this and know the perfect storm of circumstances that led to my A will never happen again. I am medicated properly now. I have coping tools and an awareness of when I am not doing well mentally. I have a therapist that I feel good about who holds me accountable and always has a suggestion or tool I can use to not fall down the spiral.
Having compassion for my circumstances then helps me to not look at myself like a monster, even though I behaved as one. It keeps me from getting stuck in shame.
The same goes with looking at my porn use and obsessions with other women that were frequent before we got married. There was a period of time where I thought I was a sex and love addict. That I was inherently flawed as a person and a slave to my compulsions. I can now look at it as I was addicted to the brain chemical wash those things gave my chemically unbalanced brain.
I haven't watched porn since my A ended. I had one obsession after my A after diagnosis but it was before I started meds. And I had the awareness that it was related to me not being in a stable place and I stopped. If I were truly a sex and love addict I don't think I'd have been able to stop those things. But I can have compassion with myself knowing that OCD tendencies and hypersexuality are a part of bipolar disorder, and I can manage them now with medication.
However there is still a part of me that worries I am making excuses or trying to justify my behavior. "It wasn't my fault" is something I don't ever want to feel or communicate. It feels like a thin line to be walking. The truth is that my disorder didn't create things out of nothing. It took underlying character flaws and exploded them. Which is why I am still looking at myself and acknowledging where I can do better. I still struggle with doing better in my actions, even if my internal processes are better. Things are not great in my marriage right now. I'm learning not getting sucked into shame shouldn't be my base line. But I guess it is a starting point.
All of this being said none of this lessens the pain and trauma my A caused BW. And it doesn't undo the self inflicted trauma from the things I consented to during my A. Looking at things for what they actually are doesn't fix anything. My overtly sexual A was especially hurtful to BW because our sex life had been nonexistent for years prior. I gave AP something I was withholding from BW. Same with porn and obsessions. I was using sexual things and the high of the chase as distraction, keeping it all a secret. BW married me not having any idea those things were going on. She signed up for a life with a liar. We are still working through all of that on top of my A.
Has anybody gone through this experience with self compassion? How do you keep the voice away that you aren't just evading responsibility? And how do you maintain that compassion when there is so much shit to dissect that spans the length of a 14 year relationship?
7 comments posted: Saturday, June 5th, 2021
Grieving the old marriage
How does one grieve the idea of something?
The old marriage that was destroyed by infidelity. The notion of your ideal self who never would have done the things you did. The time lost.
Grief is part of the healing process and it must happen. I know this and I want to allow myself to go through it. But I don't know how. I've not ever let myself grieve something I loved that is now gone. My inability to grieve the loss of our babies was a huge factor in my affair happening. Underneath all of this I know I am just terrified of breaking down and getting swollowed in the grief. I'm afraid I won't get back out.
So I am looking for tips from those who are in/attempting R. How did you grieve the loss of your marriage after infidelity? What actions did you take to allow yourself to process the pain of the loss? What did you do to make sure you didn't get lost and buried in the grief?
After your grief process was over (if it ever ends), how did you feel? Did it give you more strength and determination to build a new marriage? Were you able to rebuild your own sense of self as well? How long did it take to get through to the other side of your grief? Did you grieve alone or with your partner?
Basically in a nutshell - I am wanting to hear anything and everything about your experiences dealing with grief in the context of infidelity.
18 comments posted: Sunday, January 10th, 2021