Here's to another saved marriage!! Congratulations, lovehopefaith!!
I haven't been back here in awhile. A long while...
But I want everyone to know that I think this site and the books saved my marriage -- as well as myself.
About a year ago, I discoverd my H was having an emotional affair online on Second Life. When I confronted him he basically said our marriage was over. That's it. Done. No hope, at all. He actually sat in our only marriage counseling session and stated he wanted to work on dealing with separating and how to tell our child.
That first week after the bomb was excruciating. I knew we had some issues, but I never, ever, ever, expected that to happen. I knew he was online alot, which bothered me, and I didn't like Second Life. But the night the bomb dropped, he kissed me good night, went up to bed early. I picked up his laptop to check my e-mail -- which I had done before -- and found a strange e-mail account and click on his inbox. I saw an e-mail from the OW and immediately charged up to the bedroom and confronted him.
That was it.
He moved into our basement family room, where he stayed for four months. He "broke up" with OOW and moved on to a second. I spied on his e-mail constantly, fell apart, picked myself up again and tried to carry on. I bought Michelle's books, read them and re-read them and highlighted passages and marked pages with post-it notes. Each night before bed, I would read them and re-read them and convince myself to follow the advice. I found a therapist, and after one failed marriage counseling session, I went to therapy with her alone, and she encouraged me to continue what I was doing.
I believe my H had a mid-life crisis. He also went through a surgery at the same time, which I think triggered his crisis. He seemed to suddenly not want to deal with anything in his life, and actually abandoned his old hobbies and said he only did things like home improvement projects because "it was something to do" -- a complete lie, because he seemed to take much satisfaction in his hard work and woodworking talents. We have a wonderful 6-year-old daughter, who suffered through the process, but in many ways I think she was a driving force to reconcile. He knew he would lose so much by abandoning our family (and that's what he was doing -- abandoning, for sure.)
My H started to come around when I stopped pushing him to talk to me and when I started focusing on myself. I started making a plan to go back to work. I started reading self-help books and looking after myself. I spent hours on this board journaling, and wrote in my own personal journal to get my frustrations out! I even rearranged all the furniture in our bedroom to give it a fresh feeling unlike our failed marriage.. I made a "vision book," which lists of how I could personally improve, reasons why I loved and married my H (a good reminder during the rough times) and photos and inspirational quotes. I went to church with my daughter.
My H kept threatening to leave, but didn't. After I stopped confronting him all the time, he just existed in the basement and I let him, because I didn't want him out of the house because I was afraid then I couldn't DB. He would come home from work, and I would pretend like nothing was wrong, that I was the happiest gal on earth, etc. I set goals -- really small baby steps -- like "I want him to play Wii bowling with him" and when that happened, I would set another goal, like "I just want him to watch a DVD with me" and when that happened, I would set another one... I tried to create "family" opportunities for us to do things with our daughter and during those times I tried to show him how much fun I was.
Eventually, his so-called wonderful online women would get needy and crazy and it would fall apart (just like I knew it would) and he started to open his eyes again. He started to see that I was the woman he fell in love with -- because that's how I acted. I knew in September, after four months, that he was coming back to me, and on our anniversary, we went out to dinner. He returned to our bedroom and hasn't left since. He has re-committed to our relationship and to our family and I believe him.
So, is life perfect? No way. Believe me, we have had some blow-outs since then... Am I still hurt by what happened? Yes, definitely. Has he completely discussed it through and through? No. But I will tell that although I had some things I needed to change, it was truly my husband's own internal turmoil and inability to communicate that led us there. It was not all about me, which is how he presented it to my therapist -- that was a bunch of excuses and lies to feed his own internal struggles with life. And now, I am much more "on" him when he shuts down -- I want the real story to make sure he is telling me what is really wrong. And we still argue. I don't like it when he has a few drinks -- that is a big thing. But I work hard at my marriage, I try to make time for him, address his needs and emotions, and listen to what he is saying. About 97 percent of the time, life is pretty good. And as we get farther from the sitch, life improves. He tells me he loves me, he reassures me that he's not walking out the door.
I stayed in therapy until this month and it helped tremendously. Marriage counseling can still happen without your spouse -- it did for me. And those wonderful books and this forum definitely, completely, saved my marriage. Without them, I would have run for the hills and abandoned my husband and my sitch and just accepted what he was telling me. But I believed in my marriage and vows and fought for them. Luckily, I didn't have to go on as long as some people on this board before my sitch was resolved.
So now, I hope my marriage gets stronger. I don't want to be the couple that slacks again. I want to be a success story so I work hard on keeping the love alive.
So that's it. I wanted to give a spot of hope on these boards, since I know I craved that last year. I wish you all the best. You are in good hands here, and I hope you will all find yourself in a good place soon.
And I thank all of you who followed by thread for months, especially Mules. You were a rock and I wish you the best.