TallGirl - I'm so sorry you are here. It sucks.
Your pain is heard and acknowledged.
How did you make that decision [to R] when your trust was shattered?
For the first few months, I considered myself in R to the extent that I wanted to try and save the M. However, I ultimately realized that I was nowhere near R bc (a) my WH was not doing the work he needed to do (ie he was not in a place to be considered "R material" ), and (b) I was still healing and processing - and nowhere near a place to make a decision to commit to R or to the M.
So - I had to begin to focus on myself. On my needs, and on how I wanted to live my life without my WH. If he managed to pull his head out of his backside and come along for the ride in MY life, we would cross that bridge if and when it arose.
You say your WH desperately wants to R... but what are his ACTIONS (other than saying I'm sorry). I think MC vs IC is a mixed bag here on SI. Personally, there is no way I would even think about R with a WH who was not in IC, esp if it was an LTA - and one could argue your WH has been wayward for 10 years... 5 years "playing on" dating sites (and I'm not sure what that means - would be very skeptical there was never a ONS or other NSA sex from that "play" ) and 5 years active PA. So, even with MC, I would insist that he also go to IC, as HE has to do HIS work to fix what is BROKEN in HIM that caused him to be wayward for a decade.
Have you (and your WH) read how to help your spouse heal... by Linda MacDonald? Not Just Friends by Shirley Glass? Those are pretty universal "go to" books.
What did your WH do to rebuild your trust?
And here is one big factor in a WS not being R-worthy. Trust must be earned. First, with absolute honesty in all things (not just A-related). Are you getting that now? You clearly were NOT getting it between dday 1 and dday2... how are you able to verify that he is being honest? Do you have access to all his electronics (that "transparency" will not stop a determined WS from continuing to cheat or to break NC, but I still insisted upon it).
Has he answered - fully and truthfully - all questions you have regarding the A?
Having a 2nd dday puts the trust back into negative territory.
Have you considered a polygraph? (yes, some can still pass them even if lying, so it's a personal decision)
Trust is only earned after CONSISTENT action over (the dreaded 4-letter word) TIME. He keeps his promises. He comes home on time. He always tells you his whereabouts. He NEVER deletes any browser history email, text, etc. without asking FIRST (some have keyloggers on the computers - given the online stuff with your WH, I would absolutely be looking into that).
My WH is not trustworthy - not one bit. Maybe he will be, but not yet. If I learned tomorrow that he was having sex with someone else, I would not be surprised. Cheaters are VERY VERY good liars... cheaters in LTAs are very good liars on steroids. Even if my WH were the poster child for remorse and empathy, it will take me years to trust him (and I will never trust anyone as completely as I trusted my WH - never ever again).
How did you not hate them for the shit they did?
This is a tough one. I have feelings of hatred, but I don't "hate" him... I unequivocally HATE what he did. And I have a tremendous amount of anger towards him for the A and his atrocious behavior after dday. IMO, the only way is to work THROUGH it. Don't ignore it, FEEL it and acknowledge it and then be the best person you can be. I have said some things to my WH that I am not proud of. Did he deserve it? Absolutely. BUT - that is not the person that I want to be, even to someone who deserves my venom. It's hard to balance. I have found that meditating and other mindfulness helps the most - not just with anger and resentment, but with all the pain and trauma associated with the kind of betrayal that comes with a LTA.
I’m a good person, but I don’t know how to start to forgive the asshat that is my WH.
Then don't forgive him. You don't have to. I recently read a book called "How Can I Forgive You" by Janis Spring. I HIGHLY recommend it (and wish I'd read it close to dday - could have saved myself a ton of pain). She speaks of the difference between cheap forgiveness, not forgiving, ACCEPTANCE, and "genuine" forgiveness. Obviously the 1st two aren't healthy choices. Acceptance is a process that a betrayed person does alone. Genuine forgiveness is (like trust) EARNED by the offender. The book is not very long (I got it from my local library), and looking at it as a way to heal myself w/o my asshat WH (bc he can't get his act together to do the work to EARN my genuine forgiveness) has been extremely helpful. The genuine forgiveness part has a section specifically for the offender (the WS) to read. It gives a sort of guideline for the reparations/ atonement a WS needs to do (and what the BS needs to do) to get to genuine forgiving.
I do know that I don’t want to stay in M because it is all I know or because I’m scared of being alone. I don’t think I would survive this again
Well amen to this! Don't stay in the M because of fear (of anything - alone, finances, kids, etc). I don't want to stay for those reasons either. But you need to heal yourself. It's about as f'd up as anything - the idea that YOU as a BS have to heal YOURSELF! But, IMO, it's the only thing that works. I've written this analogy before - but basically I got into the car with my WH driving. He was high as a kite and I had no clue - because MY husband would NEVER get high, and he would NEVER drive while high. But he was and he did. He drives the car into a brick wall. Every bone in my body is crushed. Organs are twisted and will never work the same. I will NEVER be the same as I was before I got into that car. So - what am I gonna do? I'm in the hospital, in traction, bruised and broken. I can either be angry and stuck in blaming my WH for doing this to me (which I did - for MONTHS), or I can get my a** out of the bed, and start doing the work I must do to fix myself. He can't do it for me. If he's a remorseful and empathetic WH he can help, but he cannot do the actual walking or take away the pain of healing all those broken bones... all those hours of physical therapy that are required.
Now that I'm focusing on MY healing (instead of his being an asshat), it's much easier to emotionally detach and focus on ME and not him.
And guess what? As I go through that, I get stronger and stronger. I'm a couple weeks shy of the 1 year mark. Divorce no longer scares me. It's still a very real possibility, and I'm not thrilled that 2018 may have been the last "family" Christmas for us, but I'm not freaked out by it anymore.
Folks talk about letting go of the outcome and I (finally) feel I understand what that means... that I recognize that I WILL be Ok, I WILL heal myself, and my life WILL go on - with or without my WH. Personally, this has been crucial. I KNOW that I will be ok if we divorce. It will be hard, but so is staying married to a man that spent years putting himself first, at the expense of our children and my dignity, sanity, and trust. Now, MY safety and MY sanity and MY dignity are becoming more and more important to me than my marriage. Doesn't mean I WANT a divorce, but it does mean that I will set the boundaries for how I will be treated and I will NOT accept anything less. I'd rather be alone.
Many here say that after dday, the BS heals BS, the WS heals/fixes the WS and then, AFTER that healing and work, the BS & WS work together to forge a NEW marriage. I believe that. You do NOT have to make any decision about R or D at this point. You can do the work to heal yourself w/in your marriage. It may turn out that your WH is not "R material" and you decide to stay or not. It may turn out he is perfect R material, but it's still a dealbreaker for you and you decide to D (and for some, this realization may be YEARS after dday). It may turn out that he's R material and you heal and then you two forge a new M that includes trust and vulnerability and suits you better than the M you thought you had before dday. No one knows. I also believe the 2-5 year timeline... and I suspect that those of us with the added bonus of an LTA tend to be closer to the 5-yr plan than the two-year.
We are all different and all have different needs from our spouses and our M. Only YOU can decide what you need from your WH and what you will tolerate in your M.
[This message edited by gmc94 at 12:06 AM, January 2nd, 2019 (Wednesday)]