For those that are still around and trying to R, that scares the hell out of us.
I can understand why you, or anyone else would feel that way but it's the biggest challenge you face in reconciliation: do I commit or do I hedge? In my opinion, if you go into R then you have made the decision that your wife is a candidate for R, and there is a possibility that the a new marriage can be formed out of the ashes of the old. You don't know what it will look like, but you commit to it. Now, that commitment needs to be to not only your marriage, but more importantly to yourself. Reconciliation is more than your wife and marriage - it's the optimal time to make certain that the situation you are in is conducive to being pretty damn happy for the rest of your life. That was the question I had to answer to go into and continue R: am I happy?
So that's my standard. I'm 8 years into R. I ask myself often, am I happy? To date, that answer has been absolutely yes. The last few years have been some of the most awesome of our marriage,and that trend looks to continue based on what we have planned in the near and far future. At this point in my life, I'm extremely glad I decided to R. At 8 years out, I've got a feeling that WAL was too, but that's my opinion not his. But he was a one of the most important influences on me during my early years, and really challenged me to not heal my marriage, but heal myself. Spoiler alert: if you don't heal yourself, you *can't* heal your marriage. But, you can heal yourself and your marriage can still fail. And that's ok.
I'm not scared. It's no way to go through life, and I refuse to live that way. I accept that the success of my marriage is NOT in my hands. I can do everything right, be the best husband in the world and still be cheated on. The difference is when I found out the first time I didn't have the tools to deal with it. I was broke, devastated, treated for a couple of years for PTSD. I was in such a bad shape that I didn't want to make a decision. Just live another day. Once I finally realized what self care really meant, and started to take care of myself, my marriage began to heat. Now I am healthy, the marriage is healthy, and things are really good.
I'm not naive, I've seen enough on SI to know that no marriage is ever safe. Hell, I'm stunned, absolutely rocked by what WAL posted. I even talked to my wife about it tonight. She was as stunned as me as she is on here and has read and admired him as much as I did. WAL had some absolutely amazing posts about marriage and his journey and it was a success from what I read. But like the stock market, apparently past performance in marriage is no indicator of future performance.
So what to do? What to do when you can't be certain that your wife will never cheat on you again? There are 3 options: divorce, limbo, or R. All of those have consequences, and based on my standard of "am I happy" limbo isn't an option. That period in my life absolutely sucked, but I didn't know whether to go left or right so I stayed in the middle. Divorce, you may be happy or not. R, the same. But heal yourself to where you know you are happy? Then it shouldn't matter. That's where I am at now. If I were to find out that my wife cheated on my again, I would be devastated. I'm positive about that. Unlike the first time it happened, I now have the tools to deal with it. My wife doesn't complete me. She enhances me.
All I can suggest is get to the point where you aren't scared anymore, where you've let go of the outcome no matter whether it's D or R. Apparently the results aren't that dissimilar if you get healthy. If my marriage were to suddenly end tomorrow, I'd be ok, and most importantly, I won't regret any day up till that point, or after. I made a decision to be happy a few years ago, and that was a good decision. I'd really like my wife to be part of that, but she's not critical path.
I'm raising my Bud Light to the Menz. Dilly Dilly. And an extra Dilly for WAL.