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Anyone else love their wayward but ashamed for staying married?

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brokenInDenver posted 6/7/2021 16:33 PM

For as long as I can remember, the only thing I really ever truly wanted was to be married to someone I adore. I remember on my 9th birthday I learned that I, myself, could one day be married and I couldn't wait to meet my future wife and hated the thought she might only be 6 years old or something. I didn't want to wait another day let alone the 25 years it would take me to meet her!

Then I found her and it was better than a dream. She was a lot prettier than I would have settled for, so smart, funny, great in bed and she really seemed to like me a lot. I knew she was the one almost immediately... within 3 weeks of meeting her I was sure. I mean first date I kissed her and she said "wow". Who doesn't love that shit!? Dating was a formality... but did it to be sure. Saved up for a ring... asked for her folks their blessing... got down on one knee. The whole cheesy thing and I loved it. When we got married and it was the best day of my life. Outdoor, casual lots of drink and the party went on until 3 in the morning. Even my mom san karaoke! Nobody was more beautiful than my wife was to me on our wedding day I promise you. Best part, I never felt so proud in front of my friends and family as I did on that day. No the best part was I had a wife and she was better than I ever dreamed!

She works very hard on R but things are different since she cheated. I feel ashamed that I stayed in the marriage. I am ashamed I still call her wife. Its not even that my friends and family know of her infidelity, I don't care they know. Its that I know she cheated yet I stayed married. I see pictures of her on the wedding day and no longer feel proud... I feel stupid. I love her as much as ever, perhaps more than ever before but I don't love being married anymore. She wants to renew our vows as a show how deeply she is invested in R but I can think of nothing I would rather not do than renew my vows with her in front of people. I would be so embarrassed to stand up there in front of everyone and say "I do" again. Even if no friends and family were there I couldn't do it! I don't want to renew my vows or discuss getting re-married with her. Maybe because my vows are still intact and hers were discarded so easily.

i know I still love my wife endlessly, I stay with her because she fulfills me like nobody has ever done before. i love being with her, I love making her laugh. I don't want to leave her i want to go on loving her will all my heart for the rest of my life, but I no longer wear my wedding ring. I no longer look at pictures of our wedding. I'm ashamed.

How can I feel both things? How can I love so very much and want desperately to stay with her but I am ashamed precisely because I stay. How can I love her so much and know I want to spend my life with her but be disgusted at the thought of renewing my vows. My heart is a paradox. Anyone else feel like this or am I alone?

Robert22205https posted 6/7/2021 16:45 PM

I'm sorry for your continued pain.

Is your wife financially dependent on you?

Generally, you'll get better advice with more information.

I suggest you put a summary in your profile of your wife's affair (e.g., length of the affair, your discovery, her immediate reaction when caught as well as subsequent behavior).

This0is0Fine posted 6/7/2021 16:47 PM

Not ashamed, but I definitely identify with the lack of pride. I identify with a mixture of feelings, but also knowing that on the other side of divorce is the opposite mixture. Yes I can feel a stronger sense of integrity and maintaining my boundaries on that side, but I don't get to love and be loved by my wife. No matter what there is a loss you have to deal with that you didn't choose as the result of your WS's actions.

I described it in my thread as being happy and married but not "happily married".

If you feel your are betraying your core values to stay in your marriage, you have to figure out how to change the core values (through honest introspection if those things are really that important to you), or leave your marriage. Otherwise you are putting yourself in limbo. To R, you must realize you are capable of a certain flexibility that perhaps you never thought you were or ought to be OK with. That doesn't make you weak. It makes you resilient in the face of injury.

Buck posted 6/7/2021 16:47 PM

I know exactly what you're feeling Denver. I know I'm not responsible for my WW's choice to cheat. Nothing I said or did caused her to make that choice. Her choice to cheat isn't on me.

But my choice to stay is on me.

And I'm not sure what that says about me. I totally understand the shame aspect and the loss of pride to be with her. I sure as hell don't have the answers.

cf2018 posted 6/7/2021 20:05 PM

Completely relatable paradox. I struggle with this daily. I wish I knew what to say but just know you are definitely not alone.

Shockt posted 6/7/2021 21:04 PM

Me too. I get it.... right down to leaving my wedding ring in my drawer ever since d day now more than a year ago....

tarnishedring posted 6/7/2021 21:23 PM

Denver, I can definitely relate to your post my WH is truly my world. I love him with everything I have and thought he loved me the same way. We are now trying to reconcil after affair number two.

My heart is broken, I can't wear my wedding ring, but I still love him.
I feel like an idiot for staying some days, others, I'm simply fighting for what I want. (I didn't do the pick me dance, if he had chosen to leave instead of try to repair our marriage, I would have survived .)

I just try to get through each day the best I can and appreciate the good days we have, when we have them.

brokenInDenver posted 6/7/2021 22:09 PM

Robert: No the wife isn't financially dependent on me. We are both of us independently financially stable and have highly marketable careers. I don't stay with her for financial reasons, I stay because I adore her. I will do as you say and put some details in my profile. Thank you.

This is fine: dude what you wrote really resonated. I stay because I want to love and be loved by my wife and I too am both happy and married but not happily married. Also jesus I feel like I'm in limbo. clearly we've had similar thoughts. I like to think its resilience rather than cowardice that keeps me married to her. Anyway thanks for your post, gave me a lot to think about.

Buck: you and I are on the same page my friend.

Cf: it helps so much knowing I'm not alone. Thank you

Shockt: I put my ring on from time to time... but only for a bit and subconsciously I take it off and leave it without realizing. I keep it on my shelf now so I don't lose it. My hope is one day I'll be proud to wear it again. Or maybe it just collects dust where it is.

tarnish: this is one of the best pieces of advice: "I just try to get through each day the best I can and appreciate the good days we have, when we have them". Thank you.

Its comforting to know i'm not alone. Thanks for sharing. We'll get through this.

RocketRaccoon posted 6/7/2021 22:23 PM

BiD,

You are hurting because you have put your WW on high pedestal, and you you don't want to take her off it.

This is unhealthy for you.

You are in love with the concept of love. What I mean by that is that you seem to have devoted yourself to keeping yourself in a situation of what you perceive love to be like, and you are reluctant to take off your own rose coloured glasses.

A good lasting relationship should not be one where one partner is worshipping the ground on which the other partner walks. This is not healthy, as it can lead to contempt.

A lasting relationship will have both partners on equal footing. Sometimes one will take the lead, and at other times, the other partner will take the lead.

If you are not in IC, it would be good to get to talk to one. You will need to get out of this self-destructive behaviour, as you are keeping yourself in this depressed state of mind.


SisterMilkshake posted 6/7/2021 22:34 PM

Absolutely not. I love him and am proud of what he has done to redeem himself and reconcile our marriage. Didn't happen overnight and did question my pride a couple of times, but I know, for me, I made the right choice.

rambler posted 6/7/2021 22:45 PM

What you are feeling is ok. No question about your love foe her. What is unknown is her love for you.

The renewal of vows is for you, it is for her. Deep down you know this.

OrdinaryDude posted 6/8/2021 01:27 AM

I see myself as a fool for staying with my WW now.
Had I found SI before I committed to R, or better yet before I confronted her at all, I likely would have quietly filed for D after learning what our state laws are here.

I could have basically walked away from the M with little trouble, but my timing sucks as usual.

jailedmind posted 6/8/2021 04:37 AM

I hear ya. For awhile I was kicking myself wondering why I stayed. I felt ashamed of her, of our sham. But looking back i was having a hard time with the institution of marriage. The big lie I call it. For me it was you make a promise and you keep it. Never deviate never be disloyal. This worked for many decades. Then infidelity struck. My version of reality changes over night. She caused it so Iím ashamed of her. But whatís eating me? I thought my spouse thought like me. My belief in marriage was shattered. It took a long time to get used to the new normal. And to not have this naive trust in my spouse. So now I look at marriage differently . Before I would never of contemplated divorce. I get it now. Marriage isnít forever like I thought but can be if your doing the work. But you canít do it alone.

The1stWife posted 6/8/2021 05:06 AM

If you feel your are betraying your core values to stay in your marriage, you have to figure out how to change the core values (through honest introspection if those things are really that important to you), or leave your marriage. Otherwise you are putting yourself in limbo.

Like you I struggled for 3 years post dday2 in remaining married. It went against my core value. I was caught in a warp of damned if I do (divorce him) and damned if I donít.

My thoughts were he was going to fix everything and we would be happy. He fixed everything yet I was still unhappy. Until I changed my mindset.

First I realized he didnít have the affair to hurt me. I was just the collateral damage.

Second it was up to me to create the life I wanted. So I did.

Third I changed myself. I was no longer a doormat and willing to give in to keep the peace. I no longer put my M first. I put myself first. I re-defined my role as a wife.

Fourth - and this is hard. I stopped caring about what others thought. If people think of me as a loser b/c I reconciled with my H - I donít care. I donít even think about it any more.

And Fifth I think what you are feeling is normal. Yes there are times I want to smack my H for the crap he put me through. While my H always treated me well fir the most part ó it was his need for validation from other women that was his own issue. Same for your wife. It wasnít that you were not a great H. You were. She just cheated anyway.

There will always be that piece of us BS that resent the cheater and their actions/choices/behavior. Itís understandable.

But you make a decision to R then you are either all in or not. And if you are not going to be all in, it may not work. If your core values are that you really cannot live with a cheater ó despite everything positive that has occurred ó you owe it to yourself to move on and divorce.

[This message edited by The1stWife at 5:07 AM, June 8th (Tuesday)]

BluerThanBlue posted 6/8/2021 06:13 AM

Your experience is normal. Thereís no escaping shame or humiliation when youíve been cheated on, even if you divorce, which I did. I walked around thinking that everyone was thinking I was a failure who couldnít make my marriage work and whose husband wanted other people more than he wanted to keep me. No one was thinking that (except my exís sicko family perhaps); it was just my own feelings of inadequacy.

As for not wanting to renew your vows, I completely agree with your sentiment. Itís one thing to do it for a milestone anniversary as a way of telling your spouse ďIf I could do it all over again I would;Ē itís quite another because a cheating spouse wants a do-over after fucking up the first time.

[This message edited by BluerThanBlue at 7:45 AM, June 8th (Tuesday)]

Butforthegrace posted 6/8/2021 08:45 AM

Hello Broken:

In dealing with infidelity, and especially if a BS is making an attempt at R, details and context matter. You have not posted your fundamental story as far as I can see. From a few tidbits, I gather you are a bit shy of 2 years post Dday, and your WW was a serial cheater with more than one AP.

From experience here, 2 years post Dday is the blink of an eye in terms of the long-term grind of R. You're in the time frame that, for many BS, amounts to what is called the "Plan of Lethal Flatness" (POLF). That period where the emotional roller coaster of Dday has settled down enough so that you can attain a bit of mental clarity but, alas, that clarity only leads to the realization that, as you look at your life stretching out before you, remaining married to your wife means that, for the rest of your life, you will be marred to a cheater, an adulterer, a woman who cheated on you by having sex with other men.

This is true. Everywhere you go with her, part of your mind will be cognizant of the reality that the woman with you betrayed you in a wicked way. Part of successful R is realizing this is a permanent "third wheel" in your marriage and learning to accommodate it (both of you).

Many men get past this. Although she will always and forever be a "wife who cheated", that's not the only thing she will be. We are all, each of us, the sum of our actions.

On the other hand, many men can't. A year or two of the POLF is when many men realize that being happy, and married, but not happily married, is not enough. If you can't look at her again with that look of unvarnished love and adoration, then perhaps for both of your sakes, it's better to move on so that both she and you have an opportunity to find it from somebody else.

I will say that, in recent months, there have been a few threads here where, years after Dday, the WS thought that they (the couple) were well into healthy R, while the BS was still roiling with unspoken resentment. R is really hard, and even with the best of good faith efforts, it can't always work. My own opinion is that, to make it work, you (the BH) need to be nakedly honest. That means telling her how you're feeling.

As to renewing the vows, it's way too early. Maybe after year 5 or 6, if you're still married then.

[This message edited by Butforthegrace at 10:26 AM, June 8th (Tuesday)]

hikingout posted 6/8/2021 09:10 AM

I think what you are describing is very normal for where you are in the process. 2 years out feels like a long time, but it's not long enough to have fully healed. It's not long enough to have full trust, or to feel the marriage has been restored.

I do not have a crystal ball, but that doesn't mean you won't get there in time. The fact you feel the love you do at this far out says to me that so far so good. And for a long time, that's what R feels like. Eventually I imagine (I can't tell you for sure, but this is what I project) that pride returns for a different reason than it was before. Pride of making it through something so tremendously difficult and traumatic. I am talking more about pride in yourself. And, if done right two people who rebuilt a marriage from the ground up that is better and healthier than the one before it. It's hard to have that feeling two years out for sure.

I am just past 4 years since my affair. I think a good deal of trust has been mended, but there is more to go. There is love, there, a lot of it. I am 8 months out from H's affair. I don't feel shame in staying because I was the WS first. I do feel alot of things that I hope will eventually grow based on my own healing and his actions moving forward. Life is not static, it's always changing, we are always changing. Anyone telling you that it will always be this way just because that's where you are now do not have a crystal ball either. Think of where you were and where you are now.

Just make sure that you do not settle out of comfort. But, if this is what you want and you see her earning her way back, then that's a really hard fucking thing to do and if you actually do it the pride will come back. R is nothing short of a miracle with a lot of work that created that magic.

HardKnocks posted 6/8/2021 09:32 AM

Sounds completely normal to me.

I had to reconceptualize my entire marriage after DD2, but this journey was revolutionary in how I felt about myself and my FWS (separate journeys), and I'm in a very good place because of it. I love my FWS, and I love our 30 years together (on aggregate, lol). But I reserve the right to change my mind about staying married to him at any time I feel things are not working FOR ME.

I highly recommend a qualified, trauma-informed IC to help you navigate your journey. I'm also of the opinion that most WSs can't heal themselves *by themselves*, despite their best intentions, and "shock and awe" is insufficient for making fundamental, lasting change, so I would insist on ongoing IC for my FWS. IC and then MC. Skipping, or half-assing these steps (for both of us) is the mistake I made years ago, and I won't make it again. YMMV, of course.

Best of luck to you!

grubs posted 6/8/2021 09:57 AM

I will say that, in recent months, there have been a few threads here where, years after Dday, the WS thought that they (the couple) were well into healthy R, while the BS was still roiling with unspoken resentment. R is really hard, and even with the best of good faith efforts, it can't always work.
This. I think early on the BS suppresses some of their anger and resentment. To really get to an effective R, they have to get this out in the open. brokenInDenver Your wayward should know how you are struggling with this. That you aren't, and may never be, ready for this step regardless of how she feels. You still have healing to do.

hikingout posted 6/8/2021 10:30 AM

This. I think early on the BS suppresses some of their anger and resentment. To really get to an effective R, they have to get this out in the open. brokenInDenver Your wayward should know how you are struggling with this. That you aren't, and may never be, ready for this step regardless of how she feels. You still have healing to do.

I agree, don't keep anything bottled up. R requires a level of communication that most of us do not experience prior to DDAY.

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