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Newest Member: Crushedafter46years

Reconciliation :
How to exit the polf

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 IAF7 (original poster new member #80719) posted at 5:05 AM on Monday, October 3rd, 2022

I have been in the POLF for several months (probably 5-6). I was pretty comfy there feeling a little depressed and numbing out a lot too. We are about 2 years from DD and I am ready to move on. My H is doing all the work and has been this whole time. I can’t ask for much more in a remorseful and contrite H, who himself is traumatized as well from his actions. And when I did ask for more, he is dutifully working on it.

But how do I get out? I am feeling like a movement away from focusing on the past and how sad I am about what has happened to me to focusing on the present and future is what I need. Practically speaking, how were others able to get there? What books helped? What did you tell yourself? What was your partner’s role? What did you focus on in therapy?

I know some might suggest better self care, but I am not really sure what that looks like for me given my time commitments elsewhere and lack of interest in things people find therapeutic like gardening, hiking, biking, friends, yoga, etc.

Thank you in advance for those who reply.

posts: 15   ·   registered: Aug. 25th, 2022
id 8758017
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The1stWife ( member #58832) posted at 12:04 PM on Monday, October 3rd, 2022

Are you looking to leave your cheating spouse bro find yourself and move to a happier place?

Or are you looking to just get to the happier place in general?

Survived two affairs and brink of Divorce. Happily reconciled.

posts: 12794   ·   registered: May. 19th, 2017
id 8758034
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 IAF7 (original poster new member #80719) posted at 12:23 PM on Monday, October 3rd, 2022

Not looking to leave. I’m looking to be happier and healed both individually and in my marriage.

posts: 15   ·   registered: Aug. 25th, 2022
id 8758036
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BreakingBad ( member #75779) posted at 1:42 PM on Monday, October 3rd, 2022

For me, some it was really facing and accepting: This happened. This awful and unexpected and shocking betrayal happened and no magic wand will change that.

Then it was refocusing on joy in "the now."

Since you decided to stay at this point, you might focus on the little daily things you appreciate about your H. For a while, my H and I would end each day verbalizing 2-3 things we appreciate about each other--large or small, past or present.

You might also try stopping to appreciate and find joy in the little things in life: a cool breeze on your face, the changing leaves, making that green traffic light, a gorgeous sunrise or sunset, snuggling with a pet, etc. When I pause to soak up those small moments and really be IN those for a bit, it improves my mindset in general.

Also, caring for yourself can take any form: buy a lovely scented soap/bodywash for yourself, play music &/or light a candle for your shower or bath, schedule a manicure or pedicure, watch a movie you love (at the theater or on TV), walk a couple of blocks to enjoy the neighborhood, make a great cup of tea or coffee and look out the window while enjoying it, etc.

[This message edited by BreakingBad at 1:44 PM, Monday, October 3rd]

"Don't you love it, don't you love it?No, I ain't happy yet.But I'm way less sad."[Credit to group AJR]

Me=BW; fWH=online affairs with 3 APs over 2.5-3 yrsBoth in IC & MCMarried 31 yrs now2 kids-both in HSAttempting R

posts: 291   ·   registered: Oct. 31st, 2020
id 8758043
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MIgander ( member #71285) posted at 1:44 PM on Monday, October 3rd, 2022

I too would like to hear tips for helping BH (in this hat) exit the POLF. Doing the work on myself, but... he needs some help too.

Thanks for starting the thread!

WW/BW Dday July 2019. BH/WH- multiple EA's. Back at it again- bantering w the younger woman. Lied about blocking phone calls and deleted texts. Carried on with her. Financial infidelity again- who says you only cheat with lovers?

posts: 895   ·   registered: Aug. 15th, 2019   ·   location: Michigan
id 8758045
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Want2BHappyAgain ( member #45088) posted at 1:46 PM on Monday, October 3rd, 2022

For ME...doing POSITIVE stuff is what helped me smile . I would CHOOSE something positive...looking at the sunset...getting on positive groups on Facebook...stuff like that smile . I also found that when I was feeling a little down...I would go to Walmart smile . When I smile at people...9 out of 10 will smile back...and just that little bit of positivity will keep me going with a smile all day smile . My H and I started doing a daily Bible Study which was the BEST thing that we ever did grin !! I am not a morning person...but we started getting up an hour earlier...and after doing our Bible Study...I feel so exhilarated smile !!

I have to admit that at first it was a little awkward. It felt like I was rugsweeping. I had spent so much time going over every detail of my H's A for the first 18 months. To turn my mind from looking backward to moving forward seemed like I was doing something wrong look . But after a bit I realized that there was NO rugsweeping at all. All the DIRT was swept OUT!!! I had done everything I needed to do...as did my WH...and now it was TIME to move on 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 8758047
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This0is0Fine ( member #72277) posted at 5:20 PM on Monday, October 3rd, 2022

If you haven't already read "The Body Keeps the Score" I recommend it. Also "How Can I Forgive You" by Janis Spring. In your case it might help you piece together a more complete meaning of both how your WH has made amends, and remind you that even if you are forgiving something, it doesn't mean you are condoning that action. The real change that has happened being spelled out and recognized is very helpful for me when I have wave of feeling some loss. Being able to bring it back to the current reality and the positive change that has happened.

All that said, I have my own POLF thread that I started not that long ago. So take it with a grain of salt. :)

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

posts: 2173   ·   registered: Dec. 11th, 2019
id 8758075
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sisoon ( Moderator #31240) posted at 6:13 PM on Monday, October 3rd, 2022

I think we all need to feel our feelings pretty much all the time. Our feelings drive a lot of our behavior, and monitoring feelings gives one a higher probability of acting the way we want to act.

One theory is that we either feel the emotions in the here and now or stuff them someplace in our bodies. The feelings that get stuffed often come out in nasty ways. Feeling the feelings lets them go

So, by that theory, feeling your anger at your friends and WS are part of healing, as is feeling your grief over being betrayed.

Feelings and the process of feeling them can't really be put into words. The best we can do is to use a metaphor. The above metaphor works for me. I hope it workss for you.

ANother way of saying this is to go with your flow. Feel the dissatisfaction, discomfort, anger, fear, grief, and joy. Have faith in yourself to get through this.

After all, you can exit the POLF only after you go through it....

(signed) sisoon, wearing his Chan (Zen in Japanese and English...) student and therapy client hats

[This message edited by SI Staff at 6:14 PM, Monday, October 3rd]

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 8758087
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 IAF7 (original poster new member #80719) posted at 4:31 AM on Tuesday, October 4th, 2022

Thank you all for this advice. This forum has helped me a lot with first identifying and then navigating the POLF.

Breakingbad-I think I do need to focus on acceptance and bringing myself to the present, as well as appreciation. There is lots to appreciate in my H and my life that I am tuning out at present.

Want2bHappyAgain-I like your suggestion of essentially "faking it until I make it". Going through the motions of positivity is not something I have been doing.

MIgander-Glad this will be of help to you and that you are thinking about how to help your BH.

This0is0fine-I started How Can I Forgive you so am glad to know it was helpful. I will also read the Body Keeps Score.

Sisoon-You are on to something with your comments because I have always been someone who avoids feelings. I avoided a lot of them early on in recovery. Hence my dive into the POLF when it happened and a recent wave of anger I didn’t even know I still had. I think I am almost through it and ready to exit.

posts: 15   ·   registered: Aug. 25th, 2022
id 8758137
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Chaos ( member #61031) posted at 12:56 PM on Tuesday, October 4th, 2022

The only way to exit the POLF is to traverse it in it entirety. And that's a bitch.

The funny thing about the exit - you don't know you've actually made it through at first. There is no magic EXIT sign or lights flashing showing you are at the 1,000,000,000th mile. No tape like at the end of a marathon. No referee making a "goal" sign. It not like that. And this is coming from someone with multiple DDays [same LTAP] and thus a few trips through the POLF. And that last one was a doozy.

Basically you realize that things [despite your personal situation] just look a little clearer, a little brighter. Like you've donned those reading glasses you've been avoiding and all of the sudden realize that print is just in a bit more focus. You don't really see that you've made it until it shows in full in your rear view mirror. Strange place the POLF.

Things that helped me traverse it:

* Recognizing it for what it is. So simple yet so huge.
* Do the required self reflection. Examine your situation from all angles. R, D, Limbo, rugsweeping. Take a cold hard look at what life would be like should all those situations play out. Now - if you do that you will realize living in Limbo or being rugswept aren't really solutions and prolong your torture. But take a long hard look at them.
* Take care of yourself. Drink the damn water. Go for the damn jog (or whatever exercise works for you - can be anything)
* Find a hobby - IDGAF if it is a word find book from the dollar store. DO IT. It refocuses your brain. Take time to find something even if you've never had a hobby before. Find one. Try new things until you do.
* Get out of the house. Even if you aren't a "meet friends for lunch" kind of person. GET OUT. Even if you force yourself to get a cup of coffee and wander down every isle of Target. DO IT. Minimum of 20 min. Go to a home improvement store and mentally imagine a home repair, mentally redecorate a room in your house, mentally design a garden. Get out and refocus your brain. Even for 20 min.
* Renew your faith - be it religion (whatever one you wish) or spirituality in general - find something meaningful and peaceful and practice it [be that in a house of worship or by a local lake]
* Find someone to vent to. SI is a great place for that. Look at you being awesome and already doing this step.
* STOP the negative self talk
* Document your feelings so you can then let them go (knowing you can revisit them if you need to and won't have to keep that head space just to remember something). Can be journal, notes, bullet points, power point or spreadsheet. But your feelings and fears are valid. Documenting them preserves them. And you can release them from your brain. Don't feed that Lizard!
* Burn the candle, use the luxury lotion, wear the good undies, wear your favorite shirt and shoes, put on that lipgloss even to go pump gas. Be your own special occasion.

I could go on - but you get the point.

You are sick of the journey and that is a start. This is a journey that takes time. There are no shortcuts in the POLF.

BS-me/WH-4.5yrLTA Married 2+ decades - Children (1 still at home) Multiple DDays w/same AP until I told OBS 2018 Cease & Desist sent spring 2021"Hello–My name is Chaos–You f***ed my husband-Prepare to Die!"

posts: 3575   ·   registered: Oct. 13th, 2017   ·   location: East coast
id 8758150
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Want2BHappyAgain ( member #45088) posted at 4:12 PM on Tuesday, October 4th, 2022

Want2bHappyAgain-I like your suggestion of essentially "faking it until I make it". Going through the motions of positivity is not something I have been doing.

I apologize IAF7...I don't explain myself very well...sorry!! There is ALWAYS something POSITIVE to look at and to think about...no faking any of it smile . We always have a CHOICE Dear Lady...we can look at a rose bush and only see the thorns...or we can see the beauty in the flower grin . I chose to look for the POSITIVE...in all things smile . When a negative thought came into my head... I would have a positive thought to think about instead...mostly it was my Grandchildren grin .

I am feeling like a movement away from focusing on the past and how sad I am about what has happened to me to focusing on the present and future is what I need. Practically speaking, how were others able to get there?

YOU are definitely on a path to HEALING by thinking this way smile . What does focusing on the present and future look like to you...in a positive sense? Maybe it could be y'all finding a new hobby to do...together? Or is it some other dream y'all had before...that y'all can implement now?

We bought a motorcycle grin ! My H drove it...and I sat back in the "Queen's Seat" and enjoyed life...HIS words to me smile . You want to talk about gaining TRUST...that was an exercise in trusting that my H would bring us bring us back home safely laugh . They now have helmets with speakers and microphones in them...and we just rode and talked...and ENJOYED the smells...until we came by cow pastures laugh !! We had the occasional alligator cross our path...or just stay by the side of the road...looking at us just as warily as we looked at it! We even had a deer run alongside us...until it decided to bolt in front of us shocked . My H slammed on his brakes...and saved us both. Looking back NOW...it was quite an adventure...but my heart was BEATING almost out of my chest!!!

There was this one time though...when we drove to Galveston, TX, for the Lone Star Rally. I didn't realize that Galveston is actually an island. The adultery co-conspirator's town was on an island. I remember my H writing an email to me...telling me he was on an ISLAND...in all caps like that...he was so EXCITED...but I didn't understand WHY at that time. When we drove over the bridge...and I realized we were on an island...I LOST IT look . I was cussing and fussing...STOMPING my feet...just RAGING at the trigger I wasn't expecting to happen. Thank God my H was able to keep us steady!!! Then I came back to my senses and realized that it probably wasn't a good thing for me to be gyrating like I was laugh !!! My H asked if I wanted to leave...and I adamantly said NO!! I was going to OWN this trigger!! We got out...walked around...and after a while I actually found myself ENJOYING the rally smile . The POSITIVE I got out of it...I now OWN islands now grin !!

It may take baby steps...and it may not be the right time right now either. That is perfectly fine smile . But for ME...that was how I was able to get out of the POLF. I knew what it was from reading about it on here. But being IN it just plain SUCKS!!! Here's to YOU finding your own way to get OUT of that stage grin !!!

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 8758171
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 IAF7 (original poster new member #80719) posted at 11:32 PM on Tuesday, October 4th, 2022

Chaos-This is great guidance, as always. Thank you.

Want2bhappyagain-No need to apologize as I think you are clear, but my gloomy ind interpreted it different. I see it as even if I am feeling down and negative and not wanting to be positive, if I keep choosing the positive (faking it) I will feel the positivity and it will become a more constant thought pattern (making it). I definitely need to work on this!

posts: 15   ·   registered: Aug. 25th, 2022
id 8758226
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