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Reconciliation :
How often do positive reconciliation stories stay positive

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 Revenger (original poster new member #80445) posted at 11:08 PM on Saturday, September 3rd, 2022

I'm a few years post-DDay, and it's been an extremely long, hard journey, but my WH has done a complete about-face, taken full responsibility, is in IC and group therapy and we're in MC, has been NC with any of the many OW (serial cheater/SA from day one of our relationship and has never been faithful in any of his previous relationships), become a much better husband, father, business partner, person, etc. He owns his past feelings of entitlement and puts in the work every day. It seems things are going well and we are on track to reconcile completely and have a long, happy marriage. Right now, I believe he's my soul mate.

Then I come here looking for reinforcement. I read positive reconciliation stories from years ago, and I recognize our situation in many of the posts. I see the hopefulness that I currently feel, the comfort I currently feel, all the details that are very familiar to me. So I look to see if there's an update on each one. I can't tell you how disenfranchised I feel when I see that five, ten, fifteen years later, the H cheated again, left for a previous or new OW, or otherwise slipped back into being a jerk and instigated a D.

I know I'm looking for reasons for this to fail; I don't want to get blindsided again. I know I still have a wall up and issues I need to work through. I know there are probably many, many stories of reconciliation that last the next fifty years until the couple dies hand-in-hand Notebook-style, and I am only focused on the ones that don't.

I can google statistics for how often marriages survive after infidelity, but I just want to hear from this community--how often do positive reconciliation stories stay positive?

Married to an SA
Many DDays after discovering many, many EAs/PAs Working on R

posts: 48   ·   registered: Jul. 20th, 2022
id 8753762
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HFSSC ( member #33338) posted at 11:26 PM on Saturday, September 3rd, 2022

I don’t know about the statistics.

What I can tell you is that for us, our M has remained strong and (mostly) healthy and we are 10 + years into our true R.

The transformation of JM and me as individuals and the transformation in our M has been nothing short of miraculous. I have a close friend from SI who is not active here anymore and her ddays were very close to mine.

I think a lot of times when healing has happened people just drift away and the ones who remain here (or come back) tend to be those with continued struggles.

Me, 56
Him, 48 (JMSSC)
Married 26 years. Reconciled.

posts: 4942   ·   registered: Sep. 12th, 2011   ·   location: South Carolina
id 8753766
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Howcthappen ( member #80775) posted at 12:57 AM on Sunday, September 4th, 2022

It’s my fear as well…that he’ll cheat again and reconnect with the AP. I know how you feel.

Three years since DdayNever gonna be the sameReconcilingThe sting is still present

posts: 200   ·   registered: Aug. 30th, 2022   ·   location: DC
id 8753775
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Want2BHappyAgain ( member #45088) posted at 1:18 AM on Sunday, September 4th, 2022

how often do positive reconciliation stories stay positive?

That is a hard statistic to know. People like ME...no one else knows that my H cheated on me...so I wouldn't be counted in that statistic with any of my friends and family. I don't believe I am in the minority with not telling anyone else publicly about my H's cheating. I did the same when my 1st H cheated...and people were SHOCKED to know he was a serial cheater when I told EVERYONE after he left me for the 2nd adultery co-conspirator I caught him with.

I can only speak for ME and my friends and family's experience from those who HAVE told. It's been about 50/50 with the friends and family who I KNOW experienced infidelity. It has been 50/50 between me and my two husbands too.

A "perfect marriage" is just two imperfect people who refuse to give up on each other.

With God ALL things are possible (Matthew 19:26)

I AM happy again...It CAN happen!!!

From respect comes great love...sassylee

posts: 6604   ·   registered: Oct. 2nd, 2014   ·   location: Southeastern United States
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The1stWife ( Guide #58832) posted at 3:16 AM on Sunday, September 4th, 2022

9 years into R. Very happy. No evidence of cheating and since I have set boundaries, I am happier too.

Survived two affairs and brink of Divorce. Happily reconciled. 10 years out from Dday. Reconciliation takes two committed people to be successful.

posts: 13862   ·   registered: May. 19th, 2017
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fareast ( Moderator #61555) posted at 3:46 AM on Sunday, September 4th, 2022

Decades into R and going strong. Not a hint of wayward thinking.

We are happy as we approach the 50th anniversary threshold.

Never bother with things in your rearview mirror. Your best days are on the road in front of you.

posts: 3877   ·   registered: Nov. 24th, 2017
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Seakinglight ( new member #80624) posted at 4:58 AM on Sunday, September 4th, 2022

I’m in a weird spot right now as technically I’m 10+ years in R, but recently suspected my WH is cheating again. I remember though when I was a few years out from DDay and we had put in ALL the work, the IC, the MC, the boundaries,etc. I finally got to a point where I accepted that there was a chance my WH would cheat again, but I was willing to stay in the relationship because of all the work we had both put into the ‘new’ relationship. I have a strange sense of calmness right now that regardless of what happens next, I don’t regret for a second that I stayed. My WH gave up drinking, went to IC for years, continues to work on himself and he’s a great dad. We have a great life together. At some point you may need to move on from this site and focus on what you can control. I would likely not be back on this site if not for my recent suspicions. I don’t know what will happen next for me, but I don’t regret my decision to R.

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jb3199 ( member #27673) posted at 4:56 PM on Sunday, September 4th, 2022

I know there are probably many, many stories of reconciliation that last the next fifty years until the couple dies hand-in-hand Notebook-style, and I am only focused on the ones that don't.

There are many happy endings; there are many sad ones. If you just wanted to used probabilities, it is much more likely that a marriage after infidelity will fail as opposed to succeeding. Even more so with your WH's history. But does that really matter? Isn't the ONE story that is most important your own?

Here is my take on reconciliation--its definition varies from person to person, but mainly boils down to the couple being happy with each other in the marriage. You only know that the reconciliation was 'successful' when one of the partner dies. Up to that moment, one of the partners could fail the marriage, and it would be deemed 'unsuccessful'. It's kind of an unfair statistic, like half the marriages in the US wind up in divorce. So, after, for example, a 45 year marriage that wound up in divorce, it would be viewed as an unsuccessful marriage. But was it really? Does it have to be 'all or nothing'?

Reconciliation can be viewed the same way. If a couple divorced many years later, for whatever reasons, it is not unsuccessful if the participants don't view it that way. We are a sum of our parts, and our life has plenty of tapestry in it prior to intimate relationships. If you are enjoying the ride right now, then enjoy it. If your aren't, seek the changes that will bring that joy back, or look at ending the relationship. But in my opinion, the MOST important thing about attempting reconciliation is that fear is NOT a primary driver in your decision. For the record, the fear I'm talking about can be in any form--fear of breaking up the marriage; fear regarding children; fear regarding pride/embarrassment; fear of the unknown; fear of (fill in the blank).....

It's okay to be concerned of the future. It's not okay if those fears are making your decisions. If you are comfortable enough in your own skin to walk away if necessary, that's a good place to be. If you are accepting enough in your decision to reconcile to understand that the blinders are off, and there is a good possibility for your partner to revert back to old habits(statistics rearing their ugly head), are you prepared to handle the fallout? ARE YOU OKAY WITH YOURSELF IN TRYING AGAIN? Too many people try to reconcile for the wrong reasons. Being honest with yourself is paramount. I would consider myself reconciled, and am happy in my marriage. I also know that when I stayed after infidelity, I stayed for the wrong reasons. Because of that, I made a lot of extra work for myself, but (1) I can not undo the past, and (2) I am finally comfortable enough in my own skin to know that I am good where I am at today. If I discovered that my wife was cheating again, I am sure that I would be hurt, but I wouldn't be the trainwreck that I was the first time around. I am confident enough to know my worth....and what I will and no longer will accept.

And I wouldn't call my reconciliation attempt a 'failure' because I chose to attempt it knowing the risks....and am comfortable with that decision.

BH-50s
WW-50s
2 boys
Married over 30yrs.

All work and no play has just cost me my wife--Gary PuckettD-Day(s): EnoughAccepting that I can/may end this marriage 7/2/14

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 Revenger (original poster new member #80445) posted at 4:58 PM on Sunday, September 4th, 2022

Want2BeHappyAgain, same, very few people know about the infidelity, and the ones who do were completely shocked by the news (plus judgmental). WH had us all conned.

If it weren't for people treating us differently and it impacting our lives for the worse--business and personal-wise--I'd tell everyone. That's how I've always gotten through events in my life that caused me embarrassment or shame. I'd talk about it openly until it became a big joke. But this I can't talk about and it eats me alive.

Ultimately, I hope to be part of the secret success stories that don't get factored into stats, like you.

Everyone else who responded, thank you for your encouraging stories. I need the support to not assume the worst and slip back into anger and hopelessness. D is a self-fulfilling prophecy when I treat WH like an enemy. And for my very young kids' sakes, I want this to work.

Married to an SA
Many DDays after discovering many, many EAs/PAs Working on R

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id 8753840
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sisoon ( Moderator #31240) posted at 8:18 PM on Sunday, September 4th, 2022

It took me 3.5-4 years of consistent R behavior to get comfortable that we had succeeded in R and that we now had to keep our M going in a healthy way. I suggest that you'll get more comfortable with your R decision as time goes on, whatever happens.

I'll also suggest that if your go down into the rabbit hole years after you've R'ed, it's because of only a few possibilities. Maybe the issue comes up again because you rug-swept years ago. Well, one theory (obviously not SI's) is that rug-sweeping is the way to go. If you accepted that and it's not working, you made a reasonable mistake, and you can stop rug-sweeping. It's harder years after the fact than when it first happened, but you can still heal yourself, especially if you forgive yourself for making a mistake - after all, no one is perfect.

Maybe the issue comes up again because you didn't heal as much as you thought you did years ago. Same approach - forgive yourself, do what you need to do to heal.

Maybe your fWS is cheating again. Back to square 1 - you aren't failing; your WS is. Heal yourself. Give up trying to control the outcome. Heal yourself. Do what's best for you.

Above all, if you R, you're accepting the risk of not completing R. If it doesn't work, you have to again choose between doing the work of healing and not doing it - but if you don't get inyour own way, you'll probably choose to heal.

After an A, you can lead a good life whether you R or split. If you choose R and there's another A down the line, you can lead a good life after you R or split. It may be easier, and it may be harder, but ... you've already done some healing work already, and you can do it again.

Keeping an M healthy is simply not easy. My W's A hit late in life, just a few years before our life expectancies when we were born. It did a lot of damage to a good long-term M for a few years. It did a lot of damage to me for a few years. My W was already damaged, predating the A, and she's still working to heal from that.

We rebuilt our M - just as our physical capabilities went into decline. In our late 70s, we both have lapses. Did I forget to do something because of a minor memory glitch, probably because there's so damned much in my memory, or did I forget it because Alzheimer's is staring to make itself felt? And what the hell do I do about my partner's lapses? Our whole way of life is changing, which means our M has to change.

Life is risky.

But just as that means there can be more shit that will get dumped on me, it means there can be more joy. I feel joy from being with my W every day. I guess life will get more and more painful as I age, but ... I am confident there will be a lot of joy, too. And I'll go for the joy even though I know it's not guaranteed.

I don't know if you read my post as a positive or negative view of life, so I'll say this about our M. We love each other. We show it a lot of ways. We both feel loved. Sex remains a joy for me and has become a joy for my W, though we have to deal with some physical pain. We're both physically and mentally active. We both feel all the feelings some of the time. We are glad to be together.

Have you seen the old commercial of a young couple walking in a park and overtaking and old couple who are walking on the same path? It's a commercial for God-damned diamonds. We are the old couple - and we know that love and joy come from within, no diamonds needed. We hold hands walking to the post office.

Sure, we both wish my W hadn't conducted her A, but we're both happy we were and are together. Hell, my W thought she wanted to be M to me even during her A, which is crying and rolleyes and barf and laugh and a whole lot of other emojis.

I understand you're uncertain. I know that's uncomfortable. I'll ask, though: How much of your uncertainty comes from life itself, and how much comes from seeing the posts form long-term BSes who are hit by newly assertive pain coming back into their consciousness.

Not BTW: I do not mean to appear to criticize folks who have come here years after the A(s). My view is that you did the best you could when it first happened and you're looking for something else to do to heal now. I'm sorry you're here, but I admire the courage that allowed you to recognize a problem so it can get resolved.

[This message edited by SI Staff at 8:26 PM, Sunday, September 4th]

fBH (me) - on d-day: 66, Married 43, together 45, same sex ap
DDay - 12/22/2010
Recover'd and R'ed
You don't have to like your boundaries. You just have to set and enforce them.

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 Revenger (original poster new member #80445) posted at 4:09 PM on Monday, September 5th, 2022

Sisoon,

Rug sweeping is, in fact, the opposite of our problem. I have been stuck in an endless loop of rage—demanding every detail and his groveling remorse—since Dday.  Things will be fine for a few days, then I get into my head… and I light into him with the fire of a thousand suns. 

For most of this time since DDay 1, I have gone deep into self-destructive mode, trying to burn down his life, the mistresses’ lives—risking my and my kids’ lives too, out of spite. I felt all the effort I had put into building a good life with him, the sacrifices I made, were for naught. Worse yet: the possibility of a committed, healthy relationship never existed since he had been leading a double life from the moment we met. I didn’t know what unhappiness D would bring me, but R was also miserable. So I was straight up nihilistic.

Our continued issues stem from the long, winding road that is TT and the two times he contacted one of the OW post DDay. That happened in the early months before I found out enough about their maliciousness to turn my rage onto them. Since then, both WH and I have attacked all OW from every angle, turning any fond memories of the As into war zone flashbacks and any joy they took in watching me find out into the beginning of their own public downfall. At this point, I think it’s unlikely any of them could ever reignite something… though not impossible, of course. 

I never healed. I never tried to heal. I never forgave. I’ve always been one foot out the door. I want him to never stop proving himself, and I worry that after the rage ends, I’ll be vulnerable to going through the death of a dream all over again. I am also pissed I was a naive doormat for so long.

Even so, things have improved significantly since my ragiest days, and the fights are few and far between now. We are so connected. He never goes out or wants to go out without me, he installed spyware all over his world for me to monitor him (which of course does me no good since he obviously knows how to bypass his own systems, but I guess it’s the thought that counts) and he has fundamentally changed himself in every aspect of his character, which is noticeable to all. But could it be another con? Who knows.

As you can see, I constantly teeter back and forth between accepting the man I see in front of me and worrying if something terrible still lies beneath. Basically, the uncertainty comes from both real life (his long pattern of lies, pre and post DDay) and searching for stories of BSs twice screwed over on SI. I actually tested him recently and he passed with flying colors, so maybe he truly has changed. Maybe…

Ultimately, I do want to heal and forgive and have a healthy marriage. I just need to hear positive stories like yours to help me get there.

Married to an SA
Many DDays after discovering many, many EAs/PAs Working on R

posts: 48   ·   registered: Jul. 20th, 2022
id 8753974
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Oldwounds ( member #54486) posted at 5:09 PM on Monday, September 5th, 2022

I never healed. I never tried to heal. I never forgave. I’ve always been one foot out the door. I want him to never stop proving himself, and I worry that after the rage ends, I’ll be vulnerable to going through the death of a dream all over again.

The honesty and awareness is great. Although, I think we all have to heal some in order to really choose our path forward.

Getting to vulnerable — that’s the part many BS never get back, regardless of the outcome of their M.

Ultimately, I do want to heal and forgive and have a healthy marriage. I just need to hear positive stories like yours to help me get there.

Forgiveness isn’t required for a healthy R, but for me, it was a starting point for MY healing.

At this point now, seventh year after discovery, I don’t have certainty my M will always be as strong as it is now, but I do KNOW I will be fine either way.

I’m all in, because I can’t be in a relationship with one foot out the door, I did that for a while and it’s miserable.

Again, getting to vulnerable is the hardest part of any us, but it has turned out to be high risk, high reward here at home.

There have to be hundreds of better ways to get to a better M. Maybe thousands of better ways. However, despite it or because of it, we found a way to rebuild this thing into the M we should have had in the first place. No games, no masks, just two people being kind to the other.

There are positive R stories I have found out in the world away from SI as well. It can happen. It’s hard work and seemingly rare. Yet, again, it can happen.

Married 35+ years, together 41+ years
Two awesome adult sons.
Dday 6/16 4-year LTA Survived. M Restored.
"It is better to conquer our grief than to deceive it." — Seneca

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Want2BHappyAgain ( member #45088) posted at 9:31 PM on Monday, September 5th, 2022

D is a self-fulfilling prophecy when I treat WH like an enemy.

Very profound thinking...and so TRUE smile .

What helped ME was writing down what I WANTED my life to look like. I wrote down EVERYTHING...then tweaked it a bit to be more realistic. I mean...having a body and money like Halle Berry just wasn't EVER going to happen laugh !! What I came up with was that I WANTED a happy and healthy M with a loving and faithful spouse. I told my H that IF he wanted this too...GREAT! If not...I would find someone who WOULD!!! My H happily agreed that this was what HE wanted to. So we set down this path together smile .

I am not sure which one of these great posters on this thread wrote it...but one of them wrote once that a successful R only works when BOTH parties are ALL IN. That meant that I needed to be ALL IN for this M as well. Treating my H like an enemy was NOT going to get him to be the HUSBAND I WANTED.

What you are doing to your WH is not an uncommon thing on this site...for BOTH sides. The more you read on here...the more you will be able to spot those who are treating their spouse...BS or WS...like you are. You will also see that treating each other like this will NOT lead to a successful and happy R. It is understandable because they are still in so much PAIN crying . The thing is...our HEALING is up to US...not our spouse.

A "perfect marriage" is just two imperfect people who refuse to give up on each other.

With God ALL things are possible (Matthew 19:26)

I AM happy again...It CAN happen!!!

From respect comes great love...sassylee

posts: 6604   ·   registered: Oct. 2nd, 2014   ·   location: Southeastern United States
id 8754015
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sisoon ( Moderator #31240) posted at 9:57 PM on Monday, September 5th, 2022

I never healed. I never tried to heal. I never forgave. I’ve always been one foot out the door. I want him to never stop proving himself, and I worry that after the rage ends, I’ll be vulnerable to going through the death of a dream all over again.

What are you feeling when you think this way? If I said the above, I think I'd be feeling very scared.

Think of your strength, Revenger. If you take a risk in your relationship and it blows up in your face, I think you'll still be able to function. But what if you take a risk, and it pans out? Suppose your WS really has changed and will give you the love and support you really want?

It's win-win. If you open yourself up and your H crushes you, you can conclude he's faking it and respond accordingly. If he supports you, that's positive for R.

A couple of thoughts:

First, how can any of us be truly 'all in'? We all know that D is an option that is always open to us, although the cost might be very high. We can commit ourselves to one course of action, but we rarely shutdown every option that's open to us. I just shrug my shoulders at that - I'm not going to give up D as an option, but I'm committed to R.

Second, if your H is committed to R, he will naturally never stop 'proving himself'.

There's no way a WS can make up for what was taken from you by cheating. All a remorseful WS can do is their best in making the process of R work. But real R is between people who want to give to and get from each other. A good match pretty much requires lots of yeses and few noes. When - if -a post-infidelity M gets healthy, both partners give and get some 'things' only to and from each other, and the give and take is, I think, proving love, and it never stops.

We are all vulnerable. And we are virtually all able to recover when our vulnerabilities allow us to get hurt.

fBH (me) - on d-day: 66, Married 43, together 45, same sex ap
DDay - 12/22/2010
Recover'd and R'ed
You don't have to like your boundaries. You just have to set and enforce them.

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id 8754018
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secondtime ( member #58162) posted at 2:00 AM on Tuesday, September 6th, 2022

Well, the answer to your question rests with the sobriety of your husband.

My husband is a recovering SA.

Was sober for 3 years, had a nice 7 year relapsed and lied about it.

Dh has put together a nice 5 year stint of sobriety/recovery.

He's stayed sober when I was diagnosed and treated with breast cancer. He stayed sober through covid. We had 3 kids at home doing online school for a year (minus summer break) while we were trying to work and managing a toddler. My dad died, and I had to lean more on DH. He stayed sober for that, too.

SA is a tough addiction for folks. The numbers aren't good for decades upon decades of sobriety. My husband with 8 years under his belt, is a bit of a rarity. I don't remember the numbers, exactly. Half relapse by 1 year. Most don't see 5 years.

When we had recovery v1, my husband was a model remorseful spouse. There was no way for me to see that 1)he was still carrying a lot of shame and 2) he hadn't surrendered to the fact that he was an addict. Don't get me wrong. He "did the work." It just wasn't enough.

Addicts focus on one day at a time. Just for today. That's your marriage too. You never had guarantees of a long one in the past...no guarantees in the future.

Of course the hope is that you string enough just for todays together that you get to a long marriage.


DH and I will likely remained married. We've already got almost 21 years in the books. Hopefully, there's at least 21 more. It isn't all happy.

But I am happy, generally, regardless of what's going on in our marriage.

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NotMyFirstRodeo ( member #75220) posted at 2:01 AM on Tuesday, September 6th, 2022

I thought we were good starting about 3 years after my first DD in 2007. Then 2019 came and I got rocked again even harder.

If I had to say what factor plays the biggest role in recidivism of a cheater it would be if they did the work for true R or not. Any measure of rug sweeping at all and the odds are atrocious. They do the real R work? Odds are probably still not great but they're better than the former.

Every lie we tell incurs a debt to the truth. Sooner or later that debt is paid.

posts: 362   ·   registered: Aug. 19th, 2020
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IAF7 ( new member #80719) posted at 4:54 AM on Tuesday, September 6th, 2022

Thank you to the OP and everyone who replied here. Your insight has been very helpful to me.

posts: 21   ·   registered: Aug. 25th, 2022
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numb&dumb ( member #28542) posted at 7:55 PM on Thursday, October 6th, 2022

So first don't google that stats. First not a lot them are accurate and second they can be depressing.

So I am further in my journey than yours. I am still happily M'd our lives don't focus on infidelity near as much as five years ago.

I'd say we are enjoying the mature love we've worked hard to establish. She still does things that bug me (and I am sure I do plenty to bug her too). That is any relationship. I would say one of the main differences is the things that bother me don't get added to the "should I stay M'd," list anymore.

We've learned to accept each other as we are and not as we were. We both had to learn to love ourselves and not be in a M where we have to be a part of. It is a M we both choose to be a part of and that is the difference. It is a choice based on honesty, mutual respect and companionship.

Look if you want to find R horror stories there are plenty out there. The world is inhabited by lots of different people. Some are capable of R and some are not.

I think one thing to think about is that we as BS live with heavy emotions for so long it is almost like train ourselves that those heavy emotions are normal. In turn that can manifest in pain shopping which brings back to a place we don't really don't want to be in, but we forget to be happy and that feels normal by default.

I 100% understand that and it took me a long time to see it and change my behavior. Everyone just assumes that being happy is easy. "Just go be happy." (BTW I hate people that tell other people that)

If you are like me you have to choose to be happy and then work towards it by making choices to further that plan.

Happiness for me is as much of a choice as it is a state of mind. I think you will get there. Sometimes it just requires more time.

FWIW I gave R a chance for very practical reasons and it was not always fun or easy, but it gave my W time to understand herself more, make amends and grow into a better person.

So I choose R for practical reasons way back then. I stay today for the reasons I mentioned earlier. It is not naive googly eyed puppy love. It is a friendship that overcame one hell of a lot of hurt and still manages to make me smile more than frown.

I am not happy how I got to this point, but that matters a lot less to me than it used to. If I am happy today that is what really matters to me.

Dday 8/31/11. EA/PA. Lied to for 3 years.

Bring it, life. I am ready for you.

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The1stWife ( Guide #58832) posted at 4:19 PM on Friday, October 7th, 2022

I don’t fear my H cheating. I survived it once or twice already, I’ll be just as good the next time too, should that happen.

I have an exit strategy. Yup - I had one for the last affair and I have one if another affair pops up.

I refuse to let that fear rule my life. Because then the cheaters have robbed us BS of just one more thing - the opportunity to be happy.

Survived two affairs and brink of Divorce. Happily reconciled. 10 years out from Dday. Reconciliation takes two committed people to be successful.

posts: 13862   ·   registered: May. 19th, 2017
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This0is0Fine ( member #72277) posted at 6:18 PM on Friday, October 7th, 2022

I think staying happy is beating the odds.

I've read some studies. Seems like the failure rate of post infidelity M's that don't immediately split are about three times higher than the average.

Love is not a measure of capacity for pain you are willing to endure for your partner.

posts: 2598   ·   registered: Dec. 11th, 2019
id 8758636
Topic is Sleeping.
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