I could use some input on an issue I have not been able to beat down. FWH and I seem to be closer than ever. I know he feels like we are closer and our marriage is better. Sex is better. Communication is stronger. I don't know what else he can do to assure me how sorry he is and that he will love me forever.
We have come so far, why in the hell can't I let my guard down? I still think about the A all the freaking time! Maybe I should bail from the message boards, my blog and anything else that deals with adultery?? Would that help? Infidelity cold turkey? I doubt it.
I have never worn vulnerability well. I am much more comfortable shielded in armor. I do not think I'd survive another DDay. If I go "all in" and FWH drops another DDay on me...Oy, Vey. (as my MIL used to say!)
So, I guess what I'm asking is...will I ever not be afraid that he'll hurt me again? I've never lived with this kind of doubt. I always had complete faith in him. The loss of that trust has left a crater size hole in my soul.
Other than that...our 30th anniversary is this month. We're taking a trip to celebrate. With all the trepidation in my heart, this anniversary seems a little phony, but 30 years is a big deal! It certainly warrants a vacation!
I understand just how you feel. I am in the same spot you are, I guess, as far as healing. My FWH and I are better at communicating and he does do a lot to make me feel loved. He is always working for forgiveness. He tells me he loves me and never expects me to say it back. He knows I am afraid to let my guard down.
I think ,just like every thing, it just happens in time. Slowly and maybe you never get it back completely. My H and I are still young. We are only in our 30s. I know part of what holds me back is knowing that there is plenty of life left for him to cheat again. I know part of me is just waiting. For what? i am not sure, some safe arbitrary time when I can feel like he won't cheat, maybe?
I do know that sometimes reading and voluntarly reliving the A by looking up OW or reading old chat logs does not help me let him in, but I understand not wanting to give them up. Often my H will say or do things that remind me of things he said or did to lure me into a false security while he was cheating and I feel like knowing these things helps me. I point them out to him when he does them and we work from there. I suppose this is our way of reshaping what "romance" is so that it does not resemble the cheap prattle of two people having an A. This helps, as we find our own ways, for me to trust him a little more and let him in.
In the meantime I do let him know I am guarded, but happy with his affections. I tell him that i appreciate him and what he does. I encourage him because I want him to know I am scared, but I don't want to discourage him.
As for anniversaries. We had our 9th this year and my H kind enough to let me direct how I wanted to celebrate it. Not that he was uninterested, just that he knew it would be emotional for me and wanted me to feel like I was not being pressured into being overly romantic when i am guarded.
Everything is bitter sweet. The only way I find to deal is to stay in the moment. Yes, you are celebrating 30 years and you know they were mared by infidelity. But think of it as celebrating that you are there together. That you took a rocky path and came out together. No, its not perfect or how we like to think of love. But anniversaries are about the resilience of a marriage and if you guys are getting stronger all the mor reason so celebrate, nothing phony about that.
You're doing great, Shawn. It all gets better with time and staying strong together.
You are stronger than you think.
There are no guarantees in life..
live today.. this minute.. you feel secure right now.. let that feeling be your guide. We don't know, nor can we control the future. You are seeing your H doing the work.. you trust him this minute.. that is your guide.. his actions are speaking to you.. we can not have complete faith in another human being because they are not perfect.. we are not perfect.. we try to do the best we can.. that is life.. Trust is a work in progress, as is marriage.. we buy a house .. we trust that house to keep us warm.. cold snap, furnace breaks.. it needs to be fixed.. we are freezing .. once fixed .. we are warm again.. but we watch to make sure that the furnace works, get it checked out , tuned up.. etc.. same with relationship.. communication, working on the relationship .. keeps the trust going..
Read or listen to Tolle's book The NOW... it helped me focus on this minute.. not the future. right .NOW I am happy, healthy.. tomorrow I don't worry about.. tomorrow I may not be here .. I may be ???? who knows.. but right now I am here and I am OK.. that I know.. that I trust.. my gut says my H is OK.. I see him working on our relationship.. his actions are telling me he is working so all is good right now this minute.. this has worked for me for the past 7+ years..
Sometimes you do need a break from the infidelity blog.. this site, to get some perspective concerning your feelings.. live your life.. focus the blog on the healing and good feeling that you are having..after 2 years you are feeling pretty good.. 3 years much better.. each year it does get better.. and then it is a distant memory.. small because you will never forget.. but you look at the big picture, focused on the positive things around you..and you feel good or great...content!
Enjoy the vacation.. celebrate the good in your lives..
"Time is precious, but truth is more precious than time."
Last year in July I found my H and OW together. Worst Day of My Life, last entry Sept, 2011. I followed my gut. I won't go into great detail, but a year later we are doing good...maybe better, but I, too , cannot let my guard down. We went on a fabulous 3 week vacation to Europe recently and really found a lot of what has been missing over the last few years. Do not lt your fears sabotage your celebratio. It is hard, at best, to not let your mind wander to the "Dark Days" (as I call last year). Itbwill happen, and your H HAS to understand that. We now go to the MC every few months for a Marriage Tuneup. Last visit both my H & I discussed hownit has been difficult for me to move on and "let go". He said something that was truly an Epiphany for me and H and I would like to share it with you...
We, on this site, have ALL had an event in our lives that has altered us. Sometimes events are changes that are wonderful...some, not so much. The pointnis that it happened...it did and, because of it we are forever changed. Try as myself and H might, we cannot alter what has happened to us...both of us. As my H explained in the session, he will forever have to accept that he caused DEEP hurt to a lot of our family, to me, but also to himself. Because of the events of the past we are FOREVER changed and the sooner we all accept that, the sooner we can move forward to a more positive state UNDERSTANDING that we move forward KNOWING that this has changed both of us. I hope this makes sense, because this realization has helped me so much.
What is that "prayer"....
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change me;
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.
Thanks, Friends! The encouragement from the members of this board always warms my heart.
I think I just need more time. At least, I hope my brain will settle down as time passes. That's what everybody says, right? That's what I preach to newbies. Patience. Never been my strong suit.
The fear and the brain worms. The fear because it is so foreign to me, and the brain worms because they SUCK! Just this morning, FWH and I are hugging in bed, cuddling, very gentle and loving. What am I thinking about?
Part of an email OW sent to him..."I was filled with joy at the sight of him in the morning."
UGH!! Why couldn't I just be in the moment? Nope.
Brain worms. Incessant. They do tend to hibernate more these days. But, during the quiet times, the parts of my day that should be relaxing, the worms wake up and torment me! Ugh.
This too shall pass.....This too shall pass!
I really gotta work on a few thought redirection exercises.
Hope you all have a happy, healing weekend!
You ask such basic questions. Questions I asked 12 years ago. You want to know why you can't let your guard down. Answer.. because you are not a fool! How long has it been for you ?? A little more than a year I think. Well, dear Shawn let's look at this objectively. If a good friend blindsided you and told you the most awful truth about how she really used you, never loved you, and then you decided to forgive her and accept her friendship would you consider your self a fool? What our husband's did was the worst thing imaginable. As a matter of fact we could not even imagine it. So we decided if this ever happened, but it would never, but if...we along with the rest of the world would throw his *** out the door sooooo fast.... and never look back. We would get over a life time of life, of dreams, and hopes in an instant and move on to life part two bigger and better without him.
Unfortunately we here have all learned the difference between it would never happen to me, so I would be strong, not weak like all those other people out there in terrible marriages who should have known better than marry such a creep.
Now, dearest Shawn we know the truth. Adultery happens in good marriages. It happens to people who have done nothing wrong but love their mates entirely too much. Adultery says everything about the betrayer and nothing about the marriage. Adultery happens when people do not know how to communicate with honest feelings. Instead they choose to problem solve by looking to escape. They find a fantasy and live it out. For me that fantasy would be chocolate , for others, drugs and for some it is adultery. It simply is a sexual escape with secrets that make the other person intoxicating and alluring... kinda like forbidden fruit.
That crater size hole dear dear Shawn, is wisdom. Cory used to write here never again blind trust... He was the senior member of our family here. Blind trust is what got us. Now it is trust that grows stronger with each passing year, but never ever again will it be blind trust. At 12 years past, I do trust my H. He knows the horror of this hell he has put me through. I now trust him about 95% . That is because he has done everything right for 12 years. He even signed an agreement giving me everything, no questions asked. He has earned the right to my love and trust but it took TIME. I stopped beating myself up to forgive him. I can not, and never will. Instead I have settled for acceptance. It has happened. It has left a crater. I have chosen to go on with life and stop beating either one of us up. However, that took years. Each day trusting him more based on his actions not his words. Trusting me more. Knowing that I would never ever ever not trust me or put him before me. I believed in him so much I could NOT imagine the unimaginable.
I had to let go of it, and forgive ME, for doing the unimaginable and not kicking his sorry *** out for good. Instead I chose to live each day and see how it went. I was not going to make a decision for as long as I was unsure. Year one was only about survival for me. Year two and three I started to heal. It was at about 3 1/2 years I felt safe and secure in me and him and knew this was totally where I wanted to be. Each day I grow stronger in that belief. I had to stop questioning ME.
I had to accept not forgive what had happened. I had to accept that I love him enough to allow him to EARN a second chance. I was not some needy love sick teenager. I could survive if I needed to without him, but having him in my life was what I wanted. Time dearest Shawn and lots of therapy and lots of readig and even more writing.
Healing happnes, slowly day by day. You are doing the necessary wrork. Your blog is beautiful! It is a place for you to write about the pain that only the betrayed know, it is unimaginable.
Healing happens when you get the poison out. That takes work. Marraige works when time and hard work are an effort that both make. Your H is doing everything right and you don't know what more he can do. That is so good. I remember those words too. That is when I learned it was no longer about survival, but about me, learning to take better care of me. Before that, he was my first priority.
It is kind of learning to walk again after an injury. You will always remember but you become strong in the broken places.
You dearest Shawn have earned my respect and admiration.
You're back! Missed you!
All I can say about your wonderful reply to my question is....Wow.
I truly hope I can find the "zen" place of acceptance that you have now. I want that. I REALLY want that. I can live with never having blind trust in my FWH again. I can live with not ever forgiving him and being OK with that. But the fear...the feeling of leaving myself open to playing the fool is so not my style!
Guess I'll learn to accept that little gem, too, with time.
The brain worms are no fun, but I am able to beat them off better these days. Tiny steps, right?
So glad you're back. Thank you for writing to me.
It means so much.
Shawn loving hugs to you!
You write the fear of being hurt again is what holds you back. It is so nice to say I don't remember how I let that go! It seems little by little. Logically I do remember that horrible fear, but emotionally the feeling is gone.
Maybe it is like after having a car accident, and you are so afraid of driving. Afraid that you will not be safe and the other drivers are unpredicatble. However, one day your need to be somewhere overcomes you. You tentatively put one foot on the gas. Then finally you are free... you can go where you want to go. You are in control of your destiny once again!
There is unfortunately no better answer then time and hard work. It is mostly about learning to trust YOU again. Not just him. He has been doing everything right, there is nothing more you can ask of him. So now it is about trusting YOU. It was YOUR gut that let you down. You are afraid that you will be hit over the head once again... surprise he is having another affair.
I guess for me, it was when I truly FELT my husband's remorse. I knew he got it. That was when I BEGAN to feel safe. You have to stop pressuring yourself, to want to live life as you knew it. Instead baby steps. Find comforting soothing things to do each day. You are on hyper alert, and need to calm you down. It is no longer about him, and the relationship. It is about finding YOUR inner peace so that you can enjoy the moments in life that are good.
Those brain worms... for me this is what worked. One day we were in the car... I remember it so well. On the dashboard were movies of THEM.. I felt so sick. I was so tired, so weak I could no longer fight them. So I just said go ahead do your worst, and sat back and watched them with an emotional detachment. I allowed them to play through start to finish on their own with no emotion from me.
Lo and behold they lost some of their impact. I tried that technique deliberatly again. Just sit back and not think, not feel, just be. It worked! The movies became less dramatic, less frightening and less powerful. I had to truly learn to let go. For a woman who needs to be in total control of the world this was NOT easy! I am the one on every plane ride emotionally guiding the pilot to safety.
However, this was the most important technique I had to learn , just stop the emotional fighting when the movie started. Just sit back and go limp... AND IT WORKED!
This is why healing takes time, and our sharing is so important. Each one of us has a healing piece to contribute from our eperience.
This is why YOU are such a valuable member of our family. You write so lovingly and so succinctly with such humor of love and healing. Reading your posts always make me feel so good! I hate that any of us are here, but so grateful when any of us can help all of us.
It has been years but reading here still gives me comfort. Give up this board I don't know if I ever will. It is a place of love and healing. This trauma has changed each of us, but together we find we are not alone and healing happens.
But the fear...the feeling of leaving myself open to playing the fool is so not my style!
In the beginning, and for far longer than it should have I lived in fear of being played the fool also. Like you, it is not something that I take lightly. In order to let go of the fear of being hurt again and of being played the fool I had to accept the concept that their was absolutely no guarantee that the man I am with, be it my husband or someone else, would not cheat on me in the future. There never was that guarantee, I just naively believed that there was. So now I am trying to hold onto a fairytale, that I now know is a fairytale, and that certainly was not going to work.
While watching an episode of Oprah dealing with infidelity and Dr. Phil as the quest host I heard something that struck a cord. Dr. Phil told the BS, which happened to be a woman, that if she was to move forward in her marriage she needed to believe in her own ability to get hurt by infidelity again and be able to heal from it again. Now, the last thing in the world I wanted then was the prospect of being run over by the 18 wheeler called infidelity, AGAIN! But, I had to admit the truth to what he was saying.
I like to think of myself as a strong willed, strong minded, and capable woman. If this is so, then the power to deal with a repeat performance of the individuality dance is indeed within my arsenal of coping skills. This does not mean that I will not be completely and utterly devastated again, only that I will heal again. I know today, without a doubt, that I have and I will again survive infidelity. In an odd way, this makes me feel proud.
Accepting these things in no way means that I will stand for another affair from my husband. If he decides to become intimate again with some other woman, be it emotionally, by getting naked and doing the nasty, or both, our marriage will cease to exist. End of sentence. I say this with certainty. I have been taking steps since my D-day to make sure that this is something I can and will do. I do not just merely think of it as some abstract concept, I know the reality of it.
>>>I have been taking steps since my D-day to make sure that this is something I can and will do. I do not just merely think of it as some abstract concept, I know the reality of it.>>>
Be prepared. This is good. I had not considered this. I actually think this could work for me! Take back some control...that's my happy place! Doubt FWH will like the plan, but, he is a family law attorney. He certainly knows how important it is to have a PLAN before you bolt.
Gonna have to wait until after our 30th anniversary trip to bring this up. Could put a damper on the potential romantic festivities discussing preparing for another A and possible D! :-P
If you wouldn't mind sharing details of your plan, I sure would appreciate it!
As I read the responses.. about a plan if an A happened again.. I do know that I am so much stronger right now, MC helped me.. not that I wasn't strong before .. but different.. I know that I will be OK.. H will be gone .. There will be hurt.. but I will be OK..
I think that some of the plans that I have seen happen on this board is that if the BW was a SAHM... she has returned to school and found something to study that gives her an income if.. something were to happen..developing interests ... not being totally wrapped up in WS life..developing some independence in a good way.. there are some W's who have had a post A... pre nup agreement.. that if this happens again the W will get XYZ.. it is small stuff that makes you feel secure.. House, car.. being put in the BS name..
You will get thru this .. baby steps.. you are healing.. measure where you were a year ago and where you are now..
"Time is precious, but truth is more precious than time."
Shawn, my dear friend Tom helped me to deal with the logical side of affair recovery. I asked my H if he would be willing to sign everything over to me, no questions asked, no reason needed. He said absolutely. It was not about IF he had another affair, it was simply I wanted everything because I needed to know he was serious. No conditions, no questions. He did. I held on to that document for a few years. Then one day I handed it back to him and asked him to rip it up.
Ami and Pat as always gave you wonderful insight. It is about finding out what will make you feel safe,nothing more nothing less.
As for the anniversary. Our d day was 3 weeks before our 3oth anniversary. Today 12 years later I know with my whole being the best years are ahead of us, and I can buy any card I want!
Happy Anniversary dear Shawn, and I wish you both a lifetime of loving honesty together. Surviving infidelity can bring a stronger more devoted marraige, because you realize what you truly mean to each other and you are worth the work!
Pat & El have both given you great answers to your question.
For me personally it is both a psychological and hands on approach.
I have learned to accept that my husband is indeed capable of infidelity. While he has proven his remorse, desire to atone and to do the soul searching to find the cause for his misdeeds, the fact remains he is able to do the things necessary to have an affair. I trust, but I adamantly reserve the right to check when something does not feel right to me and to question him as my need dictates. I try to be reasonable about these things and considerate of his feelings but I will not ignore those nagging feelings EVER again. He knows and accepts this.
I have cut myself some slack on the issue of being made a fool by my husband. If anyone was made a fool of it was him and not me. I had a lot invested in our 20 year (at the time) marriage and letting go of it lightly would not have been wise. Had my husband considered what we both had invested in our relationship and not what felt good in the moment, an affair might have been avoided; I repeat he was the fool and not me.
Getting back to my husbands remorse, desire to atone, and to understand why he would commit such heinous behaviors. These were non-negotiable requirements, among others, for me to even consider remaining with him. Again, he completely understood this and still does. Not only did he have to understand this, he needed to make me believe that he understood this. Again, non-negotiable.
Toward the hands on approach I decided to go back to school. I was a SAHM with no degree and a part time job working for family. I wanted, needed, to be self-sufficient. So with 2 years of healing under my belt I enrolled in junior college and started the long road to a degree. I had no college credits at the time, and could only do 2 courses a semester, so this has been a very long journey for me. I will finally graduate with my Bachelors in psychology in the spring of 2013 and then begin working on my masters the falling fall. Going back to school has done wonders for me. I am now an advocate of lifelong learning, and will always be taking classes of somesort.
Thank you all. I get it.
Fear is just a crutch, an excuse that I have been using like armor to prevent me from going "all in".
There are no guarantees at anytime, with anyone. I have always been a control freak. And, if you screw me, I'm like a dog with a bone...I will make you pay. To me..it was always a sure thing. I would run the show and it would be my way or...you'd get yours.
That really makes me sound like a bitch! Actually, my friends will tell you that I am the most loyal person they know, but for the love of the Lord, do not piss me off! LOL!
It ain't an easy way to live! It requires dedication and tenacity!
I don't have to forgive him. I'm OK with that.
But...can I learn to let go of the control issue? Can I let go of the dream of payback? Eventually.
This is gonna make me a better person. I will learn from all of this pain. Not I chance in hell I won't control at least that much!!
I love this board.
Besides there is no way you can get him back for what he did. You would have to be able to lie and cheat over time and you have stated this is not who you are.
I have found comfort in the fact that I am not capable of infidelity. As much as I hated being a BS, (By the way I stopped feeling like a BS about 3 years after the affair) I would not in a million years want to be a WS. In a way that is my payback, the knowledge that I would never do this horrible thing.