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Newest Member: Crushedafter46years

Reconciliation :
Rules in place? Live together? Help!

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 isthisreallyhappeningaga (original poster new member #80901) posted at 2:42 PM on Tuesday, September 20th, 2022

Good Morning all,

I am fairly new to this forum, I posted a couple weeks ago about how I had just found out about my husbands 2nd affair while we have been married.

In the weeks since then, we have had lots of ups and downs. He's been in counseling (individual and group) for about 3 weeks now, and has come to the realization that childhood trauma led to various coping mechanisms, none of which were healthy. He has apologized profusely, is doing counseling to heal that trauma, and as he says he wants to be the person he's always wanted to be. He is doing literally everything (this time) that you "should" be doing as a WS. He is extremely remorseful, shares location, etc. I just started my own individual counseling last week (a totally separate counselor than him) and we have not begun couples counseling, yet. I think they're more concerned with healing his trauma for now.

I'd just like to know from your experiences, as I feel lost and don't know what to do.

I have set boundaries, which he is respecting, but as to not disrupt the lives of our children, am letting him stay upstairs on the sofa. He participates in all aspects (putting kids to bed, bath, dishes, laundry, cooking, etc)of our household and is amazing in that sense. This is where it is confusing because it's just like life was before.

I think since he IS still at home, we are having trouble on how to navigate life right now "not" as a couple. Or should we be acting as a married couple? Or do I tell him to find a place to stay for the time being?

This is all so incredibly confusing!!

What did you do, what was your experience? And are you still together?

[This message edited by isthisreallyhappeningaga at 2:45 PM, Tuesday, September 20th]

posts: 9   ·   registered: Sep. 9th, 2022
id 8756181
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smitty82 ( new member #80920) posted at 5:02 PM on Tuesday, September 20th, 2022

Hi,
I really struggled with the same things as you are. When my WH first told me he had come home from working away and had tested positive for Covid so we were able to use this as the reasoning for us sleeping in different rooms. Honestly, I found the time on my own like torture and all of the inevitable images and thoughts were magnified when I was on my own all night.
After a couple of weeks we were back in the same room as I have never told anyone about what happened.
It is almost too easy to fall back into the same old routines and I worry a lot of the time that he thinks because I chose to do this and to the outside world and most importantly, our children, nothing has changed that I am not thinking about it all the time. I am......
My instinct was that I didn't want anything to change for our children but also that I didn't want us to separate. It has been really hard when my thoughts and questions have built up and we can't talk about it until we have the right time and place to do it. Even after all the kids have gone to bed and we have closed the door I am hugely paranoid about one of them overhearing.
I think that what you feel is OK for you can change on a daily basis and it's super important that your husband understands and reacts accordingly.
DDay for me was 10th March and we are still together. Noone else knows so I suppose this dictated what I/we did but my WH would have done whatever I wanted him to do.
Everyone's situation is different and everyone's reaction is different. I totally get that you want your children to be happy but it comes to a point when YOU being happy has to take priority too. My kids are a bit older (my youngest is 9) and so it was maybe easier for me to cope with the madness without them being affected.
It is really tricky and I hope that you can find a situation that makes you feel as comfortable as you can.

posts: 11   ·   registered: Sep. 13th, 2022   ·   location: UK
id 8756212
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 isthisreallyhappeningaga (original poster new member #80901) posted at 9:12 PM on Tuesday, September 20th, 2022

@smitty82, I totally get it! My kids are 7, 4 and 8 months so it is VERY hard to not think of them in my decisions.

On the plus side, he is literally doing whatever I ask and is constantly reassuring me and finally talking to me about ANYTHING, so that helps.

posts: 9   ·   registered: Sep. 9th, 2022
id 8756244
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ChamomileTea ( Guide #53574) posted at 9:33 PM on Tuesday, September 20th, 2022

I'll be honest with you, your WH has no history of not cheating. Already, you're hearing sob stories about his traumatic childhood, and yeah.. I get it, people have trauma, life is hard, yada, yada, yada, not your problem. Lots of people have trauma, depression, anxiety, bipolar disease, what-have-you, but not everyone cheats. I've become convinced over the past eighteen years of study on the subject that cheating is about character. It's about a person's values system and what they actually believe rather than what they claim to believe. We see it in ACTIONS. A cheater stands up in front of family, friends, and even God, and vows fidelity, but when push comes to shove, they've got a "but..." in their values system, an out-clause. ie. "He believes in Fidlelity, but... not if he needs to cope with some difficult feelings". Their actions tell us that their values are weak or nonexistent. YOU can't fix that. Only he can.

You're here in the Reconciliation section, so obviously, you want to try, but all you can do at this point is to assess whether or not you've got something you can work with. His mouth is moving and he's saying all the right things. You've got some actions from him in terms of going to therapy and participating in family life (something he should have already been doing). So, there's that at least. But you've got no way of knowing what the end results are going to be and whether he can achieve actual change or not.

In my own situation, I swung for the fence on D at my dday. I was done. It was everything my fWH could do to stop me, so he was coming at it from an extremely motivated perspective. Like a lot of BS's, I got bogged down for awhile in sympathizing with him. In retrospect, that's largely about control and pain avoidance. If I could step back and look at my WH's cheating clinically, I didn't have to sit in my own feelings and I had the illusion of "fixing" to stave off my insecurity. Even though I had been prepared for divorce though, I very quickly reinvested in the relationship, which in hindsight, I believe slowed my progress. I didn't even start IC for myself until two years later when I felt like I was hopelessly bogged down.

My advice to you would be to stop focusing on your WH and on R. That's a really tall order, I know. It's like your coffee table burst into flames and I'm saying "ignore it". But your healing is going to come from within and while you're worried about making the best decision for your kids and your family as a whole, you're putting YOU on the backburner. It's too soon to know if your WH is going to make it or not, and frankly, his track record is terrible. If it was me, I'd leave him on the couch and work on healing my own injuries until he had had time to prove he's at least starting to get it, and you've had time to think about what you really want for your one and only life.

((big hugs))

[This message edited by ChamomileTea at 9:37 PM, Tuesday, September 20th]

BW: 2004(online EAs), 2014 (multiple PAs)Married 38 years; in R with fWH for 7

No one can make you into a liar but you.

posts: 6169   ·   registered: Jun. 8th, 2016   ·   location: U.S.
id 8756245
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Want2BHappyAgain ( member #45088) posted at 2:22 PM on Monday, October 3rd, 2022

What did you do, what was your experience? And are you still together?

We are empty nesters...married for 28 years when Dday happened. Immediately after my H confessed to his A while working alone overseas...I told him the M was over. I had been cheated on in my 1st M...did that STUPID "pick me dance"...and got into R with my 1st H...until I caught him about 2 years later with another adultery co-conspirator. I was NOT going to do that again!!!

However...withing an hour after saying I wanted a D...we were discussing R. This time though...it was going to be on MY terms. I gave my H ULTIMATUMS. I told him he didn't have to do ANY of them...but if he didn't do EVERY ONE...we were done. What I didn't know at that time was that my H was thinking to himself that if I gave him another chance...he would do whatever it took just to stay in my life. If I had known that...I would have given him MORE ultimatums laugh !! It has been 8 years since Dday...and we are very HAPPILY in R smile .

We stayed together in the same bed from day one...and no one else knows about his A. I often write that whatever HELPS the BS to HEAL...as long as it is legal...DO IT grin ! Although A's are pretty much all the same...healing from one takes many different approaches. It depends on our core values...what we want to accomplish...etc. There is no right or wrong way...so whatever feels right to YOU...go for it smile . We ALL have different paths to walk...so take the advice you NEED on here...and leave the rest. We are all here to HELP smile .

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: 6324   ·   registered: Oct. 2nd, 2014   ·   location: Southeastern United States
id 8758052
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The1stWife ( member #58832) posted at 2:39 PM on Monday, October 3rd, 2022

Only time will tell what his progress will be. Will he continue with counseling or stop after a month or 2 or 6. Time will tell.

I suggest moving slowly for the first 6 months after Dday to ensure this is not temporary behavior from him. You know, the "doghouse" model of "I’ll
Do whatever it takes" until I’m out of the doghouse and I have me freedom back lol.

You don’t want to jump the gum here. Then you find yourself starting all over.

If he’s truly remorseful you will see permanent changes after 6 months and longer. You will also see when he starts trying to push back on agreed upon boundaries too. That’s usually the first sign that the "doghouse" model was his MO all along.

Stick to your guns. Do not make it easy for him. You will regret that.

Don’t take pity on him. No matter how "hard" he says this is.

Survived two affairs and brink of Divorce. Happily reconciled.

posts: 12794   ·   registered: May. 19th, 2017
id 8758054
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IAF7 ( new member #80719) posted at 4:21 AM on Tuesday, October 4th, 2022

My husband has been contrite and remorseful and doing all the work consistently for over two years now. I am still struggling to heal despite this. We did not separate either in house or out at all. To be honest, I often still wish we had separated, even if in house, to allow me some space and for there to have been a real message that I was not just letting him back into my heart and whole life. I agree with moving slowly and if you are finding any peace or strength in your current arrangements at home or feel you might find it with him moving out, it might be helpful for you to stay that course for a while until you are completely sure you are ready to progress to living more as couple and he has earned that by continuing to work on himself. I hope this helps you some.

[This message edited by IAF7 at 4:23 AM, Tuesday, October 4th]

posts: 15   ·   registered: Aug. 25th, 2022
id 8758135
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sisoon ( Moderator #31240) posted at 3:19 PM on Tuesday, October 4th, 2022

Gently, it takes 2-5 years to recover. Reconciling is a separate task that takes time and energy, so feeling grief, anger, fear, shame, whatever when you're 2 years out is par for the course.

You can't rush recovery or R. They take as long as they take. And they almost always taker more than 2 years.

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.

posts: 27878   ·   registered: Feb. 18th, 2011   ·   location: Illinois
id 8758164
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Bor9455 ( member #72628) posted at 5:04 PM on Tuesday, October 4th, 2022

You asked us for our experiences in this and mine is more complicated as a MH. So in September 2019, my wife says that she is done and wants a divorce. I don't remember the exact time, but I had been NC with my EA AP for a few months at that point, but on Labor Day weekend I had taken a trip to a friends place for a concert I had been really drunk and I broke NC (not an excuse, but I didn't remember doing it at all). So when I came home, she confronted me about the NC break and I didn't handle it well and I'm sure I tried to lie or minimize it. For me, as a WH, that was the wake up that I was done with this whole thing. Made all the wrong mistakes. I had a business trip for later that month and so I pushed us hard to get into a couples counselor and I heard some things that I really didn't want to hear, but they were true and I thought we were making some progress.

Fast forward to a Friday night in mid October 2019 and after being invited to hang out with our neighbors after we put our son to bed, she stays around there for only a little while before she stormed off to the house. Predictably, I chased her home, not knowing what was going on and confronted her. She once again gave me the, "let's go our separate ways and divorce" speech and I didn't understand that, I had been really working hard on myself, I had maintained NC and I had been lurking here and learning about what my betrayal had been doing. As I remember it, when we had this second divorce conversation deep into the night, We were about two weeks from a 15 day trip to Europe for my work and then a little just us time in Paris and Barcelona. We were leaving our 9 year old son with her sister, who lived with us at the time. I was really looking forward to that trip, a chance for us to get away from everything at home and find a way to reconnect. The first few days of the trip went good, while I worked up in central Italy, she got to tour around Rome and the Vatican for a day and I felt good about our direction.

Our last day/night in Barcelona we did "how to make paella" class and it came with a "how to make sangria" class and we had a lot of fun with a few other couples eating and drinking. We ended up with another couple in the class going out to a couple of bars late into the night. We were having fun at the club dancing and enjoying the night when her sister back in the US reached out that there was an issue with our son not listening to his aunt. I'm a little fuzzy on the details, but next thing I know she storms out of the club and didn't want to be anywhere near me. She walked at 3:00 AM from one side of Barcelona to the other and it was cold. I hailed a taxi and got back to where we were staying before she did. I was very worried because she didn't respond to any messages, calls and I had no idea where either of us were in a foreign city. When she got back and we got to our room, she once again told me that it was over. This time she meant business and wasn't going back. She was at that moment putting a $1200 plane ticket in her cart and going home at sunrise and leaving me to spend the next few days in Paris alone. I took her phone away from her and kept her from making that stupid decision and when we both sobered up in the morning, she was still looking to go home, but I was able to talk her off the ledge and to relax, that things were going to be fine with our son. I had back in September 2019 closed my Instagram account, because while I wasn't using it to have any affairs, she didn't like that I followed mostly women and most of the women were local from the gym I worked out at. So on this trip, her reasoning for being done was that when she went through my phone she found that I was still looking occasionally at a few women's Instagram. So again, she was right to call me on it, as it was going back on my word of being done with Instagram, if I'm finding a way around it. At this point, it was the week before Thanksgiving when we got back home to the US.

On December 3rd or 4th, 2019, that is when my world came crashing down. I came upstairs to bed and tried to make a move and get closer with her and she freaked out on me and told me not to touch her. She then proceeded what felt like the longest conversation of my life. She told me that she had made her final decision and that I wasn't talking her out of it this time, she was done and we were divorcing. She cited my cheating as the reason, and while I had been NC and was not in any active affair, in retrospect I was keeping secrets from her and not being true to my word. At the time, all I could think was, this makes no sense, I've been NC for 3 months, I haven't even thought of my AP and I don't want any other partners, the timing made no sense of it. That night she went downstairs and slept in the guest bedroom. She began sleeping downstairs and wanting her space and she was dead serious. I started doing then what we call around here as the "pick me dance" but I didn't even know that is what it was called and I didn't know that I was "in competition". In our initial discussions, because my brother and his new bride were coming to visit us for Christmas that year, a trip we were all excited about, we agreed to wait to start the process after the first of the year. We spent a lot of time in December trying to figure out the future and how it was going to look. I joined SI at some point there and began to get my suspicions as I read more and more here. I was already at that point in full on save the marriage mode. When my brother and his wife came to visit, she returned to the bedroom but this woman erected a barrier of pillows so massive. It was miserable. My brother and his wife picked up on things pretty quick, and ended their trip early and bailed because of the awkwardness. To this day I feel awful and like I owe a debt to both him and his wife for this shit.

When my wife had been sleeping in the downstairs guest room, our son woke up with a night terror and came looking for mommy and what made it worse is that she wasn't in bed with me like she always had been and he was inconsolable at first, couldn't understand where she was. Her sister woke up with me that night and when we both told her about it that next day, she relucted and came back to the bedroom. But after my brother and his wife left, she went into full agenda mode. It was NYE 2019, she forced me to tell our son that we were going to be sleeping in separate rooms from now on and that he wasn't going to see us together anymore and that eventually we were going to move to separate houses. This broke the poor kid, but he had been seeing the boiling tensions over the previous weeks and probably knew it was coming. She did this so that she could justify moving out of the master bedroom completely. In the weeks before, she had gotten to the point where she started locking the bathroom and bedroom door when she showered because "you don't need to see me naked, you got your AP for that" blah blah blah. I was pissed because the bedroom and bathroom were mine as well and when I need something, I will be damned if I'm going to let a locked door stop me. I just grabbed my tools and removed the locks on both doors, replacing them with a handle that couldn't be locked. She moved out of the bedroom and in part of the pick me portion, I bought her a TV and a bed for that room. I even went to the lengths of hanging the TV on the wall for her.

Why is all this important? Well, she wanted space apart from me and I didn't want her to leave. I was so stunned when I came home from work one day in early January and every trace of her from our master bedroom was gone. She had moved to another room in the house and she was completely gone. The next month was hell, but I was really at at total loss, I even followed the advice here and went and saw a couple attorneys. I broke down with the one attorney and was a ball of tears, because none of it made any sense. I was in twice weekly therapy at that point, had really been doing work on myself. I remember it well, there had been a guy a few years prior that she had an EA with when we first moved to Florida. His name had come up in recent conversations and it was really bothering me. I was deciding to take back my power, from a therapy session, I met up with my wife and son at a school function on a Saturday afternoon. There her and I stood in a light rain talking and I told her that if she was going to live under my roof any longer, she had until the next day to end conversation with him or move out that I was not going to have my own wife disrespecting me like that under our roof. I made it clear that she was out on her ass with almost nothing at that point and I didn't care where she went, but our son and I would be fine. Things got heated, but she even agreed to move out. So later that evening, deep into the night she finally came clean that she had been having not only an EA with him that never stopped, but some 15 months or so prior it had gone from EA to PA. One of the first things that I learned was that that Dec 3 or 4th (I'm not remembering which day it was), lover boy had been in town and he came by the house that day for an afternoon romp session in our bed. If I took myself back to that night, I remember noticing that the bedsheets were freshly washed, which was a little strange for my wife to do midweek, we typically did that on a weekend because our king sized comforter took multiple cycles and constant babying to get fully dry.

Suddenly, months and months of things made sense. Sure, I had been a bad WH, but all along, I was a BH as well and I just didn't know it. It was still a few months before she moved back into the master bedroom. We moved here in July 2022 and when we moved out of that house, there were still a number of things that she had left in the other side of the house that she never even brought back, partially because during the pandemic I used the bedroom as the home office and she used that other room to get ready for work and so she kept clothes and stuff in that room to not disturb my work meetings and not risk also being on camera, etc. However, it wasn't until we had everything kind of back in one place in our new home that I felt like my wife moved all the way back in. So it can certainly take time, and do it at the pace you feel best suits you.

Myself - BH & WH - 35 years (05/24/1985)Her - BW & WW - 34 years (05/25/1986)<P>D-Day for WW's EA - October 2017D-Day no it turned PA - February 01, 2020

posts: 269   ·   registered: Jan. 21st, 2020   ·   location: Miami
id 8758182
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