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A Message from Michele
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May, thank you. Appreciate your wisdom and your thoughtful and detailed posts. I think reading your posts, and speaking with my friend, are really good for me. It helps me to see my sitch from a different lens and challenges me to be more openminded. Have you read Ovrnbows threads? I think their process has been quite different as well ó I donít think his W started recon by being remorseful and owning her mistakes, rather they have slowly worked on their issues over time, and then he grew to trust her.

wayfarer, thank you for the book rec! Perhaps I need a step by step guide and not only to focus on understanding why/ where the reactions come from. I will purchase that today. And I agree with you that any long term R is complicated and challenging at times. I think for me, I have the additional challenge of not allowing my feelings about our BD time to creep into every argument and become the automatic wired response! Itís very strange how powerful those emotions feel even tho I know they are irrational and not productive.

Blu


ďForgiveness liberates the soul. It removes fear. That is why it is such a powerful weapon.Ē Ė Nelson Mandela
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Blu,

You mi girl Blu. Wow, I see your feelings. I haven't rationalized my Wife affair or minimalized hers like you have your husband.

I will add my feelings (maybe rational perspective here). My wife told me, after reflecting on her affair she did it, to make me feel the pain I was causing her. Is that possible, yeah. But, all I remember was seeing red. Like really bruh? But she was giving me her feelings. I can't control them.

My wife and I have been having arguments lately as well. She likes to do things her way, and I have to constantly remind her that, things will not always work out the way you plan them in your head. To her credit, she has been working hard on dealing with missed expectations and letting go of things she can't control, but that still leads to some disagreements.

I too sometimes blame her for things and project my feelings at the moment on her.

There are times, where I envy some of the people that walked away from their WW spouse and allowed them to deal with the consequences of losing their S. But that's me trying to project what consequences, and pain I want my wife to feel. I have always been a person that has to show people when they wrong me, or tell me I can't do something. I lived my life on proving people wrong and working to provide justice (in my own way) of when I thought a person didn't get what I thought they should have. So now, I'm stuck in this place, where, I'm learning that living like that has caused me miss out on a lot of happy moments and added unneeded stress and anxiety. But my need to show her the pain she caused me, drives me crazy some days.

Blu, I agree with you, the need for genuine remorse is needed for a Broken Marriage to start the healing process and for it to grow stronger. I have seen my wife break down and shake and her shame shine through. She has also talked to one of my friends, he has a WW and she gave he perspective of why she thought his WW was doing what she was doing. He's doing a lot betta now. That remorse she showed helps us moved forward.

Lastly, we also retreat to our habits when arguing and then come back and apologize, something we didn't do years ago, but in the moment she and I both have said, "why couldn't we do that during the argument".

Stay safe Blu, we are starting to see an uptick at work. We have a very strong policy on COVID so hopefully we get thru this without much interference. I stand next to your soap box in agreement.


M:37 W:37
T:11 M:10
S17, S13, S10, S4
BD:06/28/17
OM confirmed 07/20/17
Recon the M 10/29/17
Working hard:2gether

Onward and forward

This process is not a sprint it's a marathon! Patience, Patience, Patience.
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Joejoe, buddy, so good to read from you! Itís the best when people keep coming back over the years and update. I think we really get the most wisdom in just moving through these sitches over time ó I learn more about myself and this M with each year that passes. All the reading, self help and counseling is not a replacement for just going through it. Marathon, not a sprint.

I can relate to that feeling of thinking the grass would be greener on the other side ó what if we had Díd, a clean break from this mess and just started over somewhere else. No baggage. No betrayals. I thought about that more in the early years of piecing and much less in the last couple years. I donít think about it now tho. I have come to start appreciated what I have gained by sticking this out and doing the hard work.

- I appreciate that I have a partner that is also willing to do that hard work. Itís a more meaningful kind of love.
- I donít imagine my M is something better or that he could be a certain way, and Iím learning to accept what I actually have.
- I like myself more now than I did before ó I feel stronger and more confident. Being with him forces me to look at my flaws.
- I believe that if I ran off and started something new, that I would still bring my issues with me, whereas by staying with him, he knows how to challenge that.
- We are able to share our children, home and finances together. This brings me a lot of security about my future.
- Iím coming to a place where I think we can rewrite history again, but this time the memories donít have to look as painful but more serve a greater purpose.
- (insert more that I will discover in the future)

Blu


ďForgiveness liberates the soul. It removes fear. That is why it is such a powerful weapon.Ē Ė Nelson Mandela
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Originally Posted by BluWave
1. What are the tools to challenging our own limiting reactions/emotions that have become so habitual and engrained in us, including from childhood? (ie I retreat into feeling as if Iím a victim and feel hurt, unheard and defensive)

I struggle with this. The dirty spoon is an example. I feel guilty for leaving a dirty spoon in the drawer, immediately feel defensive (like what gives you the right to attack me over a GD spoon??), go into victim mode (he's such an a-hole, why do I put up with him), have some flashbacks to my mom yelling at me for being messy, feel like he should unload the DW if it matters that much, etc. I even feel, strangely, like my womanhood or ability to be a good mom is being challenged, because most women are the ones who care more about a clean house, is he saying I'm raising my children to be pigs, I'm gross because I left a dirty spoon in the drawer-- all of that would race through my head at a million miles an hour and my immediate normal response is to be defensive or go on the attack.

Now when I sit and think through all this stuff (note this isn't something that happened yesterday... understanding my own reactions to this kind of interaction is something I've been thinking on and working on for more than a year, part of my 180s from originally reading DB and Gottman stuff) I was able to parse out that just about all of that baggage... was on me. It wasn't from my H. He's never said any of that. it probably comes more from my FOO and myself than anything he has said to me.

So the first step that worked for me, at least in this situation was... stop. Don't say ANYTHING. Just listen. Even if I was fuming inside and dying to say something back, I zipped my lip. That both prevented me from going to my usual reaction but also forced him to respond differently. And, for the most part (yesterday being an exception) he's become much better about this kind of thing-- says it nicely, like hey, looks like the dishwasher isn't doing a good job, I found this spoon. (I'm just using the spoon as an example-- it isn't always the dishwasher, it could be just about anything in this category.)

Then I noticed.. I had that same response NO MATTER HOW he said it to me. Because he started saying it more nicely and I *still* felt guilty and defensive. That helped me realize that this was my issue, more than his.

Taking that beat has really helped me in a lot of ways better interpret what my H is actually saying or doing from an intellectual space, without going immediately to the ingrained emotional response. Alison helped me with this a lot too, seeing where my own behaviors were actually aimed at getting some response out of H and it was a form of trying to maintain control.

Sometimes that beat is enough. Sometimes it needs to be three deep breaths. Sometimes I say, I can't really do this right now, I'm sorry, can we pick it up in a minute? And take the time I need to think through what is going on, what I'm really hearing from him and what blanks I'm filling in from my own experience and emotional response.

This has helped me in my interaction with my mom, too, quite a bit. She can say some nutty things and my immediate usual response is to get frustrated with her, and I know she thinks I jump all over her for taking the smallest misstep. Now I take that same beat with her and try to separate out what I'm hearing vs what me just reacting to her or the context.

Naming your own emotional response in the moment helps too. Rather than just feeling defensive and that huge spurt of adrenaline fueling your response, being able to say wow, I feel defensive right now, helped me at least to calm down. And if you get to the point where you can also name that to your H-- I'm sorry, I'm feeling kind of defensive right now-- that also can help him understand what is going on for you in that moment.

Once you can take that beat and control your initial emotional response, then another step you can take is to listen carefully to what it is that your H is saying. What is he really trying to communicate to you? A lot of times it isn't in the words he's using-- those are often the same old retreads as well. Be curious. Ask deepening questions. (Another very, very serendipitous thing that happened for me at the same time as this whole crisis was that I had the opportunity to participate in this incredible 18 month leadership fellowship, a lot of which was about learning how to be a better listener/communicator, and I had an executive coach also who helped me with a lot of this in a work context.) See where he's coming from. I think a lot of times it can defuse your own emotional response to understand where he's really coming from, because it is often not about you (something you can be defensive about) but rather how he feels, which you can probably empathize with.

Later, spend some time parsing through what happened. How did you feel? What did you say? What might you have said instead? What is really at the heart of your regular emotional response? If you were a fly on the wall and observing another couple having the same conversation, what would you think?

Anyway, just some thoughts that helped me.

Originally Posted by BluWave
2. At what point does our own belief system, including the lies we tell ourself, become harmful and when does it no longer matter? (ie I have believed that my Hs A with X-OW was not as meaningful as it may have been in order to accept it happened)

This is a tough one. I think we all have our own realities in our heads, and any two people who have a shared experience will have somewhat different interpretations of that experience. That is natural and normal. I think we all color our memories and beliefs about certain facts to help us make better sense of the world and our places within it. I think you can also choose to have a certain view of the world-- for instance, the cashier in the store is kinda rude, you might think wow, that person really doesn't like me. Or you might think wow, that person is having a bad day. I wonder if he's okay. I choose the latter, always. I could be totally wrong-- the guy could not like me. But what I don't know doesn't hurt me in this instance.

Something big, like how serious your H's A was... I think... it depends on you. I think sometimes, you can choose to feel a certain way because it helps to to make sense of the whole thing and better accept where you are now. It could be that your H participates in this too, even-- maybe he said ILY to her, and now he thinks, I can't believe I said that, I wasn't ever really in love with her. or whatever. You're both able to label the A as not so serious and part of how you're able to handle it and move on together.

The question is-- does that gnaw at you? Do you worry about it? If it bothers you-- and I think it might because you are bringing it up here-- then I think it is worth thinking through. Roll the idea around. What would it mean to you NOW if you accepted that your H had a more meaningful relationship with the OW than you had accepted in the past? What does that change? What does not change? What feelings does it bring up for you? Honor them, feel them, think them. Give yourself time to be okay with this new knowledge. (Also... how sure are you that this was a lie? Do you need to open up the conversation with your H to understand, more? Will he be able to be open and honest to you or will he be scared of upsetting you? if so, how do you set the stage for a conversation where he can be open and you can believe him when he says how he felt, or didn't feel, back then? It may even be that his truth is now that it was just a fantasy or whatever, no matter how real it seemed to him then... if he says that to you now, will that make a difference in how you view the objective "truth" of the situation?)

I don't know if all these questions help or hurt... just some thoughts that have been rolling around in my head, contemplating your question.

HUGS to you. xoxo M


Me (45) H (41)
M:13 T:17, D8 & D11
4/19 BD #1 ILYB
8/19 BD #2 Long-distance EA
12/19 BD #3 Actually 2 year PA
2-5/20 R attempt #1
6/20 limbo again, back in contact with AP
9/20-present R attempt #2
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May!

As usual, you have given me soooo much to think about. I am going to really think on this. I need to. Thank you for always pushing me to dig deeper!

Blu


ďForgiveness liberates the soul. It removes fear. That is why it is such a powerful weapon.Ē Ė Nelson Mandela
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Blu, I can't remember reading your original story. I only knew the pieces you shared here and there on threads. It just guts me because I can feel your pain and understand it. This is all so hard and confusing at times. I second guess myself constantly about how I should handle something or how I did/didn't react. I am amazed at your strength and ability for such resilience through so many hard hits in the past few years. I agree it can be so difficult sometimes to...know what to do with our spouses. To figure out how to reconcile all of the junk. Which slots in your brain or heart do you shelve these things in while trying to figure out how to process and make sense of it all. I feel like I do well for awhile and feel so freaking great about myself and then crash and burn for a bit. Thanks for sharing your journey.


me: 46 h: 49
m: 24 T: 27
DD1:20 DD2:17 DS:12
BD1: PA for 2 yrs 08/2016
BD2: OW is one of my closest friends 12/2016
BD3: H wants a D 11/2019
Now: He is in the same house, but has filed for divorce.
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BluWave Offline OP
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Hi everyone,

Missing some of my friends here. I look for updates but not everyone sticks around. I feel like I should update, but canít think of much to add. Coming up on 6 years since H has been back. We really donít talk about the past much or what happened, no reason to anymore. I recall years ago hoping and wondering if I would ever get to a time when it didnít occupy so much real estate in my mind, and it seems I have arrived.

It feels strange to even talk about it. Far more things I would like to talk about ó Covid, politics, social inequities, our schools, college planning for kids ó but this is not the place. Work is still busy ó Iím generally over worked, patients are sick & dying patients. Itís what we allowed to happen, so sadly no surprise there. ... Had both vaccine doses, so Iím incredibly grateful for that! All things considered my kids are doing well. Very fortunate for that. Still distance learning only where I am. But I understand the reasoning and our teachers have a strong union, which they deserve. You see, there I go, not talking about my M. Who would have thunk it 6-7 years ago?!? Lol.

H and I are doing well. Uneventful. We enjoy one anotherís company. Love having a nice yard and hot tub. Itís nice to destress after work. I think before Covid, I was still driving kids around too much. They had a lot of activities and I was volunteering more. Itís nice to be present with the family and home for dinner.

In terms my my GAL, this last year has made that harder in some ways, but also easier in important ways. I miss travel and being able to spend time with people. I have made the best friends I could imagine at my age. I also have come to love my alone time and exercising. Who knew? Iím also studying for a test right now for critical care. Trying to keep the body and brain healthy! Ha! Planning some wonderful trips for next summer and fall. I hope it works out. Travel feeds my soul. It also needs to be safe and feel morally right.

Drop in and say hello. Wish I had more to offer. Iím rather boring most days tho and I welcome a drama free life.

Stay healthy everyone! Mask up! Stay safe.
Blu


ďForgiveness liberates the soul. It removes fear. That is why it is such a powerful weapon.Ē Ė Nelson Mandela
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Blu,

What's up? Good to see you and the fambam is doing good. I have received both of my COVID shots as well. My wife and I have reached normalcy as well. And my mind isn't filled with 3 1/2 years ago either. We really don't talk about back then, And I have ran my course of asking why. I have been helping out a friend dealing with a WW. He's is doing a lot better. But when I talk to him sometimes, I have some flashbacks, but they go away so fast, I'm thankful for that.

I have been thinking about politics, the stock market, and traveling. My wife bought tickets for my FIL and I to go to NY last year in March, but we had to cancel those plans because of the Pandy, but she still has the AirBnB credits, so she has planned a new trip for us in September. My FIL want to waits until it feels a little more secure and safe and after he gets the vaccine. So hopefully we are able to make it to the Big Apple.

My wife is doing a lot, she's a stay at home mom, defacto teacher, and Mommy Uber to our boys. We have been working hard staying safe throughout the last year. And keep our boys involved to elevate the stress on their mental state. Not going to school has none been good for our boys. Can wait to get them back in school.


M:37 W:37
T:11 M:10
S17, S13, S10, S4
BD:06/28/17
OM confirmed 07/20/17
Recon the M 10/29/17
Working hard:2gether

Onward and forward

This process is not a sprint it's a marathon! Patience, Patience, Patience.
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Hi Blu,

Thanks for posting an update. I've been thinking of you and your work and am so very glad to hear you've received both doses of the vaccine. I'm also really happy to hear also that you guys have reached a place where the past doesn't occupy much real estate and you can enjoy your lives together, the kids, the silver linings of this crazy time, the hot tub. (I want a hot tub!! But I think I will settle for a soaking bathtub... emailed the contractor today.)

I wanted to let you know just how important your words have been to me. One thing you have said from the start is that true remorse needs humility. That word really stuck with me, partially because I wasn't seeing it in my H but also that I didn't know, truly, if he was capable of it given his personality. So this has been something that sat in the corner of my mind even as I have dismissed my desire to see my H choking on his remorse, the rending-of-the-clothes version of R as a fantasy.

We had a number of conversations over the past week and weekend, and lo and behold... the humility has finally arisen. That word is the perfect description and it hit me in the face like a slap when I realized what I was hearing and seeing, finally, was what you said all along was a very necessary part of the process. It is excruciating in a way to have to watch this process unfold right in front of your eyes, oh-so-slowly, and of course I'm also looking for actions on top of words. But I just wanted to share with you how meaningful your posts have been for me, how helpful it is to have the guidance of someone who has walked a similar (though not the same) path before.

The other thing that has really stayed with me and helped me so much was a long post you gave me right at the beginning. I copied and pasted it to my phone and read it over and over every day. That I was the queen of my castle and should hold my head high. I have a notes section of my phone and was going back over things and saw it... it still rings so true today for me, and your words really got me through a very difficult time.

Fingers crossed for travel when the time is right!

xx May


Me (45) H (41)
M:13 T:17, D8 & D11
4/19 BD #1 ILYB
8/19 BD #2 Long-distance EA
12/19 BD #3 Actually 2 year PA
2-5/20 R attempt #1
6/20 limbo again, back in contact with AP
9/20-present R attempt #2
Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 1,164
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BluWave Offline OP
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I want to reply to you better and update soon. Itís been a challenge because I canít use a computer for this at work (nurse life) and now on my days off, my kids are home and on the computers! So mostly Iím trying to post from this little phone. Annoying.

JoeJoe, I am so happy to read your updates! Please keep coming back and update here or on your thread. It gives people so much hope to read about success stories. Itís also important for Newcomers to see how long the process takes and that time/patience are everything.

May, I canít even begin to express clearly how much your words mean to me. You and your story are one of the main reasons I keep coming back and checking frequently. Iím so happy to read that you are turning these corners. I also want you to know how much I learn from you. I have often been stubborn in my belief that my H was wrong and that perhaps I am justified in my own hurt/anger. And while that might be true, I can see more clearly as the years go by it has also been a hinderance in our intimacy. Your approach to your sitch ó which has been far more patient and understanding ó is something that I have tried to learn from and adopt. So thank you.

And on that note Iíll add that we had a talk about the past recently. It has been so long that we talked about what happened. Iíll revisit this when I have a proper keyboard (eye roll) but I will say, this is the first conversation we have had about his affair and our separation where I didnít feel emotionally triggered. Itís taken 6-7 years, but for me that is progress! I donít think there is much to be gained by dwelling in the past, but by having rational and nonemotional conversations, I can see how much easier it is to be open, honest and forthcoming about details. I can also see how over the years his own perspective of himself and his A is shifting. It helps me to understand him better and accept what a mistake if all was.

Blu


ďForgiveness liberates the soul. It removes fear. That is why it is such a powerful weapon.Ē Ė Nelson Mandela
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