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Reconciliation :
If I feel happier when he's away, does that mean I won't be able to reconcile?

Topic is Sleeping.

 NoThanksForTheMemories (original poster member #83278) posted at 5:40 AM on Sunday, October 29th, 2023

Lately, whenever my WH travels, I feel this sense of freedom and relief. I'm starting to wonder if that's a sign that part of me is done trying to reconcile, and if we're destined to split up.

For further context, we are nearly a year past dday1. WS has only properly started to work on himself for the past 2 months. Prior to that, he was still pretty defensive and shutdown/shame spiraled a lot. We were in false R for the first 2.5 months. That ended with dday2, but after that came two big trickle truths, the most recent of which was via voluntary confession about a month ago, when he started doing more intensive therapy work.

We have been trying to reconcile, but it has been rough. He keeps begging me to give him more time to improve himself. I know a year is still relatively fresh, but I am really tired of the upheaval and the changing narratives around what's "really" going on, why it happened, etc. He had a nearly 3 year long EA+PA with another married woman. On dday4, he admitted to a brief EA/crush about 9 years ago that was one-sided until the OW turned him down for sex.

He seems to love me again, but it took him so long that I've gone numb. (He did "not in love with you but love you" thing during his affair.) The main reason I haven't walked away is because our kid (teenager) is already struggling emotionally. I don't want to add more trauma by way of divorce, but I'm getting to the point where I'm really wondering if I can ever move past WS's lies and secrecy and crappy behavior. I have dropped friends after they got involved with married men. I'm not sure I can truly move forward with my WS, and that fact that I feel a lot more positive about life when he isn't here really makes me wonder if I should give up.

Then I read these stories of successful R where it took several years, and I question myself. WS and I have been together for 30 years. I used to think of him as my best friend, but I can barely think of him as a friend now. I haven't wanted to wear my wedding ring since dday, and I don't feel like we are married anymore (even tho we legally are), but we have so much history. I wish someone could tell me if it's worth sticking around or if I'd be better off divorcing.

WH had a 3 yr EA+PA. Dday1 Nov-22. Dday4 Sep-23. 30 years together. Allowing space for R without commitment.

posts: 82   ·   registered: May. 1st, 2023
id 8813312

Dandylion ( new member #81112) posted at 6:40 AM on Sunday, October 29th, 2023

wondering if I can ever move past WS's lies and secrecy and crappy behavior.

Hello, I want to tell you, gently, that you probably will never move past WS’s lies and secrecy and crappy behavior. Not 100%. It will be with you daily although the pain’s intensity will diminish somewhat through the years. Then when triggers happen, it is as if it just all happened last week and the realization has sunk in. I know because 4 years later after so many phone EAs, I’m living proof. I stayed because I have two girls who have put him on a pedestal since they were born, and still had a girl home 4 years ago. This may be your new normal as it is mine. I have not forgiven all his lies, deceit, and cowardice, but I accepted what he has done. Since I accepted that I was dumped on by my husband and best friend of 36 years, it started our road to reconciliation. My new normal is that I’ve stayed because of our history of being together, although I can’t bear to wear my wedding ring as to me it was a symbol of unbroken vows. But, he is trying and he is a rug sweeper. I’ve accepted, but live daily with mind movies because it is a by product of deep pain.


posts: 15   ·   registered: Oct. 7th, 2022   ·   location: USA
id 8813316

SerJR ( member #14993) posted at 12:42 PM on Sunday, October 29th, 2023

I wish someone could tell me if it's worth sticking around or if I'd be better off divorcing.

Is your WH working on himself and the marriage?
What does R look like for you?
What does D look like for you?

Only you can answer that. Take some time and think about those questions.

You don't have to have an answer to those questions or what you should do if you're not ready to answer them yet. But it helps to explore those questions. Either way, you still need to work on your healing and rebuilding your sense of self. It's normal to have periods of numbness or flatness as a way to protect ourselves emotionally while we rebuild our strength.

When you think you're ready to make a decision, ask yourself - five years from now, will I be happy with myself for making that decision? If you can be confident in that, then you can be confident you're doing the best thing for yourself. Be patient with yourself. smile

Me: BH - Happily remarried.
Hope is never lost. It exists within you - it is real. It is not a force in and of itself - it is something that you create with every thought, action, and choice you make. It is a gift that you create for yourself.

posts: 18627   ·   registered: Jun. 15th, 2007   ·   location: Further North than South
id 8813325

sisoon ( Moderator #31240) posted at 3:07 PM on Sunday, October 29th, 2023

First, you're a work in progress, as we all are. What you think and feel today is not guaranteed to be what you'll think and feel in 2, 4, 8, 16, etc. years. You just can't predict what you'll feel. After 12+ years of no lies, I have to dig for memories of what my W was/did during her A, even though I'm on SI almost every day.

Second, you most definitely can R, if you and your WS do the necessary work. Don't underestimate what you can do.

But feeling happier when your WS is away may be an indicator that you don't really want to R. It may mean you want to choose D. The key is figuring out what you want.

When I was close to a year out, I was a wreck. I wanted R, but I couldn't see how it was possible. My life seemed like all A, all the time. I focused on healing myself, with help, and that's my recommendation to you. Focus on your healing. Focus on figuring out how to live the best life you can. Make living a good life your goal. You can do that whether you D or R.

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: 29800   ·   registered: Feb. 18th, 2011   ·   location: Illinois
id 8813336

HurtinMan ( member #15695) posted at 3:16 PM on Sunday, October 29th, 2023

I second SerJr’s response.

I think the fact you don’t know means there’s still work to be done and time to be taken. I think you’ll know when your gut says the same thing pretty much all the time instead of flip flopping.

You describe WH doing the work, so to speak. For me, what was what kept my focus on R… that my FWW was doing the work to better herself. It took her seeing me resolved to end the marriage and putting divorce papers drafted in front of her and getting out a suitcase before she had her aha moment and truly committed. She then began investing in herself and the marriage. The BS have work to do too, in listening and learning to build trust again, if possible. Looking back, personally, I was co-dependent and the A broke me off of that and I became more independent while remaining just as committed to our M.

It could be that when your WH is away, you get a mental break from the reminder of the difficulties you face. A break from wondering what will come up and make for a difficult conversation. I remember feeling like even a simple conversation could feel so heavy sometimes. To even have sort of a PTSD about hard, emotionally draining conversations.

Sometimes that feeling when the other side goes away for a bit is a good thing, like a short vacation can help you feel refreshed when you go back to work. Hang in there.

DDay - 8/2007 BrokenNC -11/07
BH with 2 kids
Committed to R

posts: 1620   ·   registered: Aug. 8th, 2007
id 8813339

 NoThanksForTheMemories (original poster member #83278) posted at 7:13 PM on Sunday, October 29th, 2023

Thank you, all. "Hang in there" is what I feel like I've been doing the past 3 years - hanging by fingernails, and damn my arms are tired.

What does R look like for you?
What does D look like for you?
Make living a good life your goal. You can do that whether you D or R.

Here is where I get stuck. WS *is* finally doing the work. I don't know that a 50yo person can truly change who they fundamentally are, but he is trying.

That said, I can tell you exactly what D looks like. I have it figured out. I can picture myself living in peace in my own little place.

Where I'm confused is R. In the first few months after dday, I had lovely visions of us coming back together. Of romance. Of watching sunsets in our old age. Now? I can't see it anymore. His lack of passion for me was so apparent for so long that there is I can't receive it now. All I can see is lies and secrets and pain.

I know how to build a good life for myself if I'm on my own, but I don't know how to do it while I'm living with this person who has hurt me so badly. It seems wrong to ignore his needs if we're trying to be a couple.

As for the usual advice to throw yourself into exercise/work/hobbies/self-improvement, my situation is complicated by the fact that I developed a disabling chronic illness a couple years ago (about a year into his affair!), so I really can't do much. I have to spend a lot of time resting in bed, and guess where my mind goes?

Again, thank you all for taking the time to respond and offer support. I'm sure part of the angst is the upcoming 1 year "anniversary" of our dday1, which is also 3 days after our wedding anniversary. My feelings are a mess.

WH had a 3 yr EA+PA. Dday1 Nov-22. Dday4 Sep-23. 30 years together. Allowing space for R without commitment.

posts: 82   ·   registered: May. 1st, 2023
id 8813353

HellFire ( member #59305) posted at 8:00 PM on Sunday, October 29th, 2023

You've hung in long enough. He has continued to abuse you. I don't see your indecisiveness as you not being done. I see it a mom,who doesn't want to be the one to file for divorce, despite the reprehensible behavior of their WS.

It's OKAY to be done. It's ok to make YOUR happiness, and YOUR mental health a priority.

You've done enough. Sure, he seems to be doing the work now. I bet if you were to tell him you were done,and filing for divorce, he'd suddenly stop doing any work on himself.

A truly remorseful ws would recognize they have serious issues that need to be addressed, regardless of marital status.

He knows he's pushed you to the edge. Maybe he suddenly gets it. Or,maybe it's more manipulation on his part.

But,really, it doesn't matter. What matters is what you want,and what you need. What matters is your mental well-being. It's ok to be done,and save yourself.

I will be everywhere you look,but nowhere to be found. And that will be my revenge.

posts: 6628   ·   registered: Jun. 20th, 2017   ·   location: The Midwest
id 8813355

Saltishealing ( member #82817) posted at 11:53 PM on Sunday, October 29th, 2023

I could have almost written your post myself and am struggling with the same feelings. I am 19 months since dday but had false reconciliation for two months and then some other big revelations over the last year. I finally got the truth when I told him I would only continue of he would get a lie detector test once a year for as long as I ask. So of course everything came out. He has been a wonderful partner since all the truth came out, doing therapy, very empathetic. I do think he is truly remorseful and desperate to stay together. His affair was not love it was typical cake eating and he had no intention of leaving. And of course he said the whole time" he still loved me". Bleh. I also don’t wear my wedding ring or feel like I want to say he’s my spouse. I cherished our M, this has brought me to the lowest I’ve been in my life. My WH cheated while I was dealing with a very mentally Ill child that was causing me tremendous stress. So while I was in the trenches with that he was cheating. I feel like I’ll never forgive that.
I know I do not love him or romantically feel for him. I am pretty doubtful that will come back but I’m so hesitant to separate and not try.
I wonder if I can be happy with us being companions and not upset our life.
I do miss him when he’s gone but also feel some relief and I think that I miss the companionship more than it actually being him. I work from home And have a child that is struggling with a personality disorder so I’m pretty isolated. I do have a few close friends but I feel like everyone is so involved in their own lives. I understand but I think it makes me more afraid to be alone.
I also have a teen that struggles with anxiety and is in her first year of college. Knowing about his cheating and us separating could possibly cause her to be hospitalized. She’s doing well in school and I almost think trying to stay is worth it to try to get her to at least a more stable place. Big hugs to you and I hope you feel clarity with time. That is what I am hoping for and working towards.

posts: 75   ·   registered: Jan. 31st, 2023
id 8813371

BluerThanBlue ( member #74855) posted at 1:03 AM on Monday, October 30th, 2023

First, even if he’s doing the work now doesn’t mean you owe him reconciliation. This is especially true considering that he has put you through multiple DDays and I wouldn’t be so sure that you even have the whole truth now. Even if he somehow becomes a dramatically different person, that doesn’t change the past or undo all the harm that he is done. He can try his best to be deserving of reconciliation, but there is nothing he can say or do that entitles him to it.

Second, you mention that your teenager is going through emotional turmoil. How much of that might be due to the stress, conflict, and toxicity that is going on in your home? Even if you’ve kept your cards close to the vest, your child might know more than you think or might be picking up on the tension in your marriage. Also, it’s entirely possible that your kid is suffering because both you and your husband might be less emotionally and physically available— your husband because of his affair and you because you’re trying to cope with it.

Third, speaking from personal experience, I think the fact that you feel happier when he is away means that you might very well be done with him. I remember telling my best friend that I actually felt lonelier when he was around than I did when I was by myself. Although I was desperate to save our marriage— and only filed for divorce as a last-ditch attempt at a wake-up call— I was amazing at how much lighter and more relieved I felt once I was no longer under the same roof as him.

Based on what you’ve written, I quite honestly think that the hardest part of splitting with him will be simply making the decision to leave. I think if you’re honest with yourself, your heart is already there.

BW, 40s

Divorced WH in 2015; now happily remarried

I edit my comments a lot for spelling, grammar, typos, etc.

posts: 1894   ·   registered: Jul. 13th, 2020
id 8813375

crazyblindsided ( member #35215) posted at 7:26 PM on Monday, October 30th, 2023

It's OKAY to be done. It's ok to make YOUR happiness, and YOUR mental health a priority.

^^^This. How do you want to live the rest of your life? That is what determined D for me.

Sometimes too much damage is done with multiple D-days and False R ask me how I know duh

Also I am 50 now and there is life and dating on the other side of it. My life is peaceful. I have a boyfriend whom I feel attraction and passionate about (something I didn't have for years if ever with the xWS). So don't let age scare you to D. My life was stagnant with xWS. Even if he were to change and put the work in I was DONE.

fBS/fWS(me):50 Mad-hattered after DD (2008)
XWS:53 Serial Cheater, Diagnosed NPD
DD(20) DS(17)
XWS cheated the entire M spanning 19 years
Discovered D-Days 2006,2008,2012, False R 2014

posts: 8736   ·   registered: Apr. 2nd, 2012   ·   location: California
id 8813448

 NoThanksForTheMemories (original poster member #83278) posted at 5:05 PM on Tuesday, October 31st, 2023

Saltishealing, I'm so sorry you're are dealing with such a similar situation and challenges.

BluerThanBlue, you make some very good points, and I think you are right - I know what I want in my heart, and that is to D.

It's OKAY to be done. It's ok to make YOUR happiness, and YOUR mental health a priority.

Hellfire & crazyblindsided, thank you for this. It brought me to tears.

My greatest fear is for my kid's mental health. Even if she is picking up on the tension in the household, the level of upheaval and trauma from D could be worse. At the very least, I feel like I shouldn't take any action until I get her settled with a good therapist. She has thoughts of self harm, and I am scared to make things worse for her. I struggle with those feelings myself, but unlike me, she doesn't have anyone depending on her continued existence. I will keep living for her sake, and I'm trying to hold myself together so I can support her needs. I don't know if I can prioritize myself over her. It's so hard to know what's the right/best thing to do.

WH had a 3 yr EA+PA. Dday1 Nov-22. Dday4 Sep-23. 30 years together. Allowing space for R without commitment.

posts: 82   ·   registered: May. 1st, 2023
id 8813553

The1stWife ( Guide #58832) posted at 1:46 PM on Wednesday, November 1st, 2023

I was always happier when my H traveled for work. And it was all the time. Different countries. East coast vs west coast.

I like my independence. I always had relationship issues (prior to marriage) b/c after awhile I could not do the 24/7 thing and be with the BF all the time.

Since COVID he’s been home almost 24/7. Big adjustment for me lol. But it works. We each have our own "things to do" and it’s ok. We have a routine that makes it work.

And when he does have brief periods of travel I enjoy my alone time. One day last week it was cold and rainy so I stayed in my PJs and binge watched Netflix. Win win!

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

posts: 13858   ·   registered: May. 19th, 2017
id 8813642

Chaos ( member #61031) posted at 11:38 PM on Wednesday, November 1st, 2023

Pre DDays I liked when WH traveled - it was some "me time"

Post DDays I don't like it at all.

However, as dust from DDays settled, when I had some alone time, I made sure I did something self-care related for myself. Sometimes I enjoyed it, sometimes I white knuckled myself through it and sometimes I was totally numb.

Looking back - I realized it was in those moments (the good, the bad and the ugly) I did a lot of healing on myself.

Only you can know if your enjoyment comes from the healing happening within yourself or if you are truly happier and better off without him. There is no shame in either.

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: 3771   ·   registered: Oct. 13th, 2017   ·   location: East coast
id 8813715

Ladybugmaam ( member #69881) posted at 1:25 PM on Thursday, November 2nd, 2023

Is it worth it? I think that is the crux of any human relationship.

A year out, we were definitely still struggling. No new A stuff, but just trying to find a new normal. Actually, "normal" hasn’t occurred until recently. A year out things were still very intense.

Only you can decide if it is worth it to you. I’ve been wrestling with the same now, and I’m nearly 5 years post DDay. I’m still surprised that people don’t spontaneously combust from the pain of R/R and staying around the person who is the cause of so much pain. It IS worth it for me, most days. And, some days, not as much.

As far as travel is concerned. A year out, I was a mix of relief - as it could be me time. It was a glimpse of what things might be like if I was single. A little bit of relief that I didn’t have to work on me, or see us working on R/R, or have to do mental gymnastics over everything. I could just be safe in my own space. And, also, anxiety over what he might be doing while away. Now, it is me time….because I know I have no control over what he chooses to do. I have to be my own safe space. There will always be someone willing to be an AP. There is always a possibility that it could happen again. Honestly, there is a possibility that I become a mad hatter. What matters is what we choose to do with those possibilities.

EA DD 11/2018
PA DD 2/25/19
One teen son
I am a phoenix.

posts: 467   ·   registered: Feb. 26th, 2019
id 8813743

The1stWife ( Guide #58832) posted at 2:36 PM on Thursday, November 2nd, 2023

I think your statement that it’s been 3 years and you are hanging in by your fingernails is the most telling statement.

It looks like R is not in the cards AND THAT IS OK.

That is the risk the cheaters don’t consider - that the betrayed does t want to remain in a relationship or marriage any longer.

Your child will be fine — as long as you are strong and stable and both parents support the child in the best ways possible.

Too many posters in the past here at SI wished their parents would have D.

I no you probably don’t want to be the one that institutes a D but I think that you are trying to make this marriage work, but you know it cannot.

Sometimes you have to put yourself first.

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

posts: 13858   ·   registered: May. 19th, 2017
id 8813752

 NoThanksForTheMemories (original poster member #83278) posted at 10:41 PM on Thursday, November 2nd, 2023

Thanks, 1stWife. You might be right. I'm feeling it in my internal compass more and more, but it is hard to pull the plug when WH is finally doing the work. I hate living in limbo like this. At the same time, the way Ladybugmaam describes the feelings around the one year mark track pretty well with mine - "relief that I didn’t have to work on me, or see us working on R/R, or have to do mental gymnastics over everything" - so maybe I need to give it more time?

WH came back from his trip with covid, so now I have more "me" time while he isolates. Yay?

WH had a 3 yr EA+PA. Dday1 Nov-22. Dday4 Sep-23. 30 years together. Allowing space for R without commitment.

posts: 82   ·   registered: May. 1st, 2023
id 8813808

Grieving ( member #79540) posted at 10:23 AM on Friday, November 3rd, 2023

You seem like a stable, thoughtful person who is approaching this wisely and well, and who cares about her daughter very much. You will find your way, and there’s nothing wrong with taking things slowly and carefully if things aren’t volatile or miserable.

That said, you mentioned two things in your original post that I’ve always thought of as key barometers in my own willingness to try to reconcile: whether I enjoy my husband’s company and am happy to have him around, and whether he feels like my good/best friend. I’ve always felt like if I’m happier when he’s gone, that probably means the relationship is too broken and reconciliation isn’t worth it.

Obviously there are lots of other factors, and you want to make sure the feelings are not just a temporary stage, but I think you’re right to see them as an important sign of where you’re at.

Husband had six month affair with co-worker. Found out 7/2020. Married 20 years at that point; two teenaged kids. Reconciling.

posts: 622   ·   registered: Oct. 30th, 2021
id 8813838
Topic is Sleeping.
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