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#148605 - 08/20/11 02:10 PM How long does it take to get over an affair?
wiser_now
Member

Registered: 09/07/10
Posts: 2841
Something very surreal happened last week and I'd like to share it and see what you think - not about my situation in particular, but whether or not you think it is a general truth.

I was on both sides of infidelity in my first marriage. After my affair in early 1999, I was remorseful as anyone I've ever heard of... more-so, perhaps. My (then)H wouldn't forgive me and we divorced in late 2000. I rebounded and married my current husband in 2001.

Earlier this month, I saw my ex-H for several days (there was an emergency situation with one of our children). I guess it was day 3 or 4 that "it" happened. Two of our adult children, plus he and I, were watching television and started discussing something from the past. Out of the blue, ex says "I didn't appreciate it when you and OM were laughing at me"...

OMG! Did OM and I laugh at him? Was I that cruel? When did I do that? Do I want to ask more questions? No, I decided, no more questions, just apologies.

In front of the kids I said it was a horrible, cruel thing to do, that I didn't remember doing it, and the thought of OM makes me sick. (About this time, our son chimed in with "What about all your other women, Dad?") I told my son we were talking about me right now - it's okay - we're fine. I said I was so sorry - and I am!

You understand, I wanted to die after my choice to have an affair. (I felt like dying - they thought I had colon cancer.) My ex cheated before and after my affair, many times. We're divorced. I'm remarried. It's been 12 years. Tons of "water under the bridge"... but the triggers remain, don't they?

I don't know how ANYone gets over an affair. I think that's part of the reason I'm having trouble being here to offer support. I know *some* lucky souls seem to heal their lives and marriages - with the help of God, Goddess, Therapists, or just plain fortitude... but this just showed me that the hurt caused by infidelity never goes away - it may not be a constant thought - but it's there.

Not a very uplifting thought, is it?
_________________________
Married best friend in 2001 - Great marriage!
3 adult children, 1 grandchild
Been on both sides of infidelity in first 20 year marriage - both sides stink.
Here to pay it forward!

“Happily ever after is not a fairy tale. It’s a choice.” -Fawn Weaver

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#148614 - 08/20/11 02:31 PM Re: How long does it take to get over an affair? [Re: wiser_now]
SunnyD
Member

Registered: 10/12/10
Posts: 2211
Well, Wiser, it's not uplifting, but you know what - it's reality. There's a line in one of my favorite songs that goes, "Scars are souvenirs you never lose...the past is never far," and it's so true.

I can truly say that I feel nothing over my ExH's affair, but that was 22 years ago and I never had to deal with him again after we went our separate ways since we had no kids. I have zero triggers over it. OW's name doesn't even bother me.

With my now husband, it's way too early to expect to be healed being 9 months into recovery. But, I'm going into all of this with my eyes wide open. I know I will never just fully get over it where it will never sting - not with choosing reconciliation. Even after a great week I can trigger just like THAT over seemingly nothing.

Our marriage is in a great place right now. I expect our marriage to be fully recovered and better than ever. However, I don't expect to personally fully recover from infidelity. The hurt is too deep. But you know what? I feel like I can use that: it has made me a stronger person. It's made my faith stronger - in God and in myself. It's made my husband a better person, having faced what he's done and being willing to change (not the affair itself!) Doesn't mean I'm glad it happened - far from it.

I'm not surprised your Ex remarked as he did. Does it mean he's still reeling from it? I would say probably not - but people don't forget when you've wronged them in such a way, even if they've wronged you as well. I mean, if I were to have a conversation with Ex and something came up, I'm sure that even though I'm over it, I would probably still remark that what he did hurt me very deeply at the time.


Edited by SunnyD (08/20/11 03:21 PM)
Edit Reason: to fix the quote! :)
_________________________
http://www.marriageadvocates.com/ubbthre...read#Post107051

Me(45) H (42)
M - 20 yrs
D (19)
S (17)
S (15)
Recovering Well (since Nov '10) after H's affair (Discovered, Exposed, and Busted Oct '10)

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#148621 - 08/20/11 02:47 PM Re: How long does it take to get over an affair? [Re: SunnyD]
Danf
Member

Registered: 10/17/10
Posts: 4593
Loc: WI
Great song Goo Goo.
_________________________
Me45 - S13, D11
Disconnected 7/1/12

I'm a brand new sky to hang the stars upon tonight......

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#148625 - 08/20/11 02:54 PM Re: How long does it take to get over an affair? [Re: Danf]
SunnyD
Member

Registered: 10/12/10
Posts: 2211
Originally Posted By: Danf
Great song Goo Goo.


I'm surprised someone knows it! LOL
Yep - Name by the Goo Goo Dolls.

Just got to see them perform last week...great concert!
_________________________
http://www.marriageadvocates.com/ubbthre...read#Post107051

Me(45) H (42)
M - 20 yrs
D (19)
S (17)
S (15)
Recovering Well (since Nov '10) after H's affair (Discovered, Exposed, and Busted Oct '10)

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#148633 - 08/20/11 03:06 PM Re: How long does it take to get over an affair? [Re: SunnyD]
Danf
Member

Registered: 10/17/10
Posts: 4593
Loc: WI
Oh, I know LOTS of them. Glad you got to see the show. I saw them probably 10 years ago when they opened up for Bush. No Doubt was the first band in that show.

Scars are souvenirs you never lose. Something to think about.

I don't think the scars of infidelity can ever be lost. Can you get "over" it? Maybe to the point where it doesn't consume you, but I don't think I will ever be "over" it or able to forget. Or, maybe it is just still too fresh. IDK. Can't know until more time has passed.

X and I never tried to reconcile and I don't even know if I would be able to forgive her enough to try anymore. I wanted to for a long time, now, I'm not so sure.

I guess I'll just let her fly with her black balloon.

Glad to continue to read that things are going well for you and H, Sunny D!

Take care.
_________________________
Me45 - S13, D11
Disconnected 7/1/12

I'm a brand new sky to hang the stars upon tonight......

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#148636 - 08/20/11 03:17 PM Re: How long does it take to get over an affair? [Re: Danf]
wiser_now
Member

Registered: 09/07/10
Posts: 2841
Hi Sunny and dan,

"Scars are souvenirs...the past is never far"

So true!

My ex and I *did* try to reconcile... several times over an 18 month period. He moved out, in, out, in, out... all the time with a new girlfriend. At the same time, I knew he loved me, but he just could not (would not) forgive me. It was okay for him to have affairs but how dare I have one.

I am one of those people who knows for a fact that I will never have another affair because of what it did to my family, my ex and myself. I was so screwed up in the head because of the trauma I caused. I made HORRIBLE decisions during that time... and like those scars the Goo Goo Dolls mention... some of the results of the decisions back then remain today- and are a powerful reminder of what NOT to do.

I am always trying to move forward and my ex and I are good - we talked through it. I know some nasty, horrible divorce relationships - mine isn't one of them. Thank God!
_________________________
Married best friend in 2001 - Great marriage!
3 adult children, 1 grandchild
Been on both sides of infidelity in first 20 year marriage - both sides stink.
Here to pay it forward!

“Happily ever after is not a fairy tale. It’s a choice.” -Fawn Weaver

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#148639 - 08/20/11 03:19 PM Re: How long does it take to get over an affair? [Re: Danf]
SunnyD
Member

Registered: 10/12/10
Posts: 2211
Hey...another Goo fan...awesome!!!! I've seen them 6-7 times in concert. They are really good live and you can't say that about all bands these days. I know just about every song they've ever done! lol

Thanks for the well wishes, Dan. Recovery is not always easy but so far, very worth it.

There are times that you feel you will NEVER get over the betrayal. Then other times, it's like you feel you're pretty much over it. Two days later you most certainly aren't.

I'm wondering how this is different for women vs. men or if it is different in recovery than if you divorce. Personally, I'm fine as long as I'm busy, feeling good, and H and I are spending a lot of time together. As soon as hormones hit or I'm having an off day, I think about it more.

With my ex, I recovered more quickly from the affair when I started staying away from him and let go. Much easier to do without kids than with though, I'm sure.

I think part of getting over it is realizing it truly was not about you - but about the WS trying to fix things for themselves and in the worst manner possible.
_________________________
http://www.marriageadvocates.com/ubbthre...read#Post107051

Me(45) H (42)
M - 20 yrs
D (19)
S (17)
S (15)
Recovering Well (since Nov '10) after H's affair (Discovered, Exposed, and Busted Oct '10)

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#148641 - 08/20/11 03:25 PM Re: How long does it take to get over an affair? [Re: SunnyD]
SunnyD
Member

Registered: 10/12/10
Posts: 2211
Something to add...

How does a person go about getting over an affair he or she had that they can't seem to forgive themselves for? I'm not in these shoes, but I know some on here are - and some here have dealt with it while others still beat themselves up about it.

My H doesn't talk about this at all. I think it's too soon. I'm afraid he's the type to just push it way down... but maybe that's a man thing.

I guess the point I'm trying to get at is, once someone realizes how wrong he/she was for having the affair, what does s/he do to make amends both to self and to spouse? Is it easier to forgive oneself if you reconcile with your spouse...or no?

_________________________
http://www.marriageadvocates.com/ubbthre...read#Post107051

Me(45) H (42)
M - 20 yrs
D (19)
S (17)
S (15)
Recovering Well (since Nov '10) after H's affair (Discovered, Exposed, and Busted Oct '10)

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#148645 - 08/20/11 03:41 PM Re: How long does it take to get over an affair? [Re: Danf]
Mark1952
Board of Directors
President
Member

Registered: 08/29/10
Posts: 4454
Loc: SW Chicago 'burbs
My take on this has always been that infidelity is something you never actually get over, but you can find a way to get past or beyond it.

A cold, we can get over. It gives us symptoms but eventually our body fights the bug off and our body returns to normal and things are just like they were before for most of us and nothing lingers until the next virus comes along to cause the same or similar symptoms. We get over the cold and it is gone entirely. Another might return later, but it too is soon gone completely and usually without much of a change in our lives once it is done.

An affair is more like that fiery crash on the highway that was the result of someone doing something out of negligence that we had no control over at all. It takes what seems like a long time to stop happening and once over, the after effects remain, some perhaps forever.

Trust is less easily felt than before and is now based on what is happening and not some belief that it is to be expected. It is now earned rather than granted and accepted as true.

The feeling of safety is forever changed. We feel safe only by vigilance since like that tornado that came by unexpectedly and destroyed so much, we know that we are not immune to disasters like that. We have lost our naivety and know now that the world, even our tiny part of it, does not insure our safety from being hurt. Safety is now fleeting and temporary. Signs of impending storm can cause us to flee for cover and withdrawal from life until we once more feel safe. We also see storms a lot farther away than before.

About 3/4 of marriages that experience infidelity remain together. About half say that the marriage five + years later is better than before the affair. Not one claims that the affair is forgotten, though many would say it was forgiven.

Memories of events with significant emotional content are more fixed in our brains than less emotionally charged events. An affair is one of the most emotionally intense events one can experience as the one who was betrayed. The memory lingers for a long time. It does not go away. The emotional pain might heal over and no longer be like a bleeding wound but like a scar from a serious wound it usually remains distinct, sometimes more tender than other areas and is often darker than what would otherwise be "normal.". The feeling of being wounded might heal and we might find ourselves no longer dwelling on details related to the traumatic series of events surrounding the affair, but the remembrance of those things that made us examine and abandon so many things we once believed but discovered were not will never go away.

Without arguing about which events in our lives turn out to be most traumatic and painful emotionally for us, I will say that I think that your spouse having an affair will be the most painful and emotionally traumatic event in the lives of most people if they are unfortunate enough to experience it. Other things might be as or more emotionally painful, but fewer experience those things. Those who have found themselves on the betrayed side of an affair seldom experience anything remotely as painful.

Things that change us at our core beliefs the way an affair changes us, never stop having an impact. The fact that it changes us makes it part of us forever no matter what the outcome might be for the marriage.
_________________________
mark1952.ma@gmail.com

I Was Thinking...

The secret to having a good marriage is to understand that marriage must be total, it must be permanent, and it must be equal.-- Frank Pittman

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#148650 - 08/20/11 04:39 PM Re: How long does it take to get over an affair? [Re: SunnyD]
GloveOil
Member

Registered: 07/17/11
Posts: 81
Loc: Virginia
Originally Posted By: SunnyD
...How does a person go about getting over an affair he or she had that they can't seem to forgive themselves for? I'm not in these shoes, but I know some on here are - and some here have dealt with it while others still beat themselves up about it.

My H doesn't talk about this at all. I think it's too soon. I'm afraid he's the type to just push it way down... but maybe that's a man thing.

I guess the point I'm trying to get at is, once someone realizes how wrong he/she was for having the affair, what does s/he do to make amends both to self and to spouse? Is it easier to forgive oneself if you reconcile with your spouse...or no?
Maybe it's a man thing.

But my take on it is, it's not my job to forgive me.

It's my job to make amends as best I can to the person I hurt most (my wife) by being a better husband, and to the other person I hurt most (the other woman's husband, which I do in this case by starying the heck out of his & his now ex-wife's lives anyway, as no apology of mine would ever be seen as other than self-serving & as a trigger for him, I am quite certain), and not worry if I stay pissed-enough at myself that it's a little extra daily reminder to conduct myself better.

I'm not talking about wallowing in self-loathing. I don't go there. But I just don't feel I've got standing to "forgive myself" (whatever that even means). It just sounds & feels too self-serving to me.

My wife has forgiven me. I need to trust that my God has forgiven me. That's all I can do, and shouldn't that be enough for now?

Forgive myself? Who gave me the right? I've got an awful lot of years of being a better husband to put in before I can even start to wrap my head around "forgiving myself."

Maybe that's not going to be a popular stance, but that's how I look at it.
_________________________
FWH-47.
My BW-48, tall, beautiful & heart of gold
A: Oct'08-Jan'09
Recovered! Married 22 years & counting.
"I wear the chain I forged in life...I made it link by link, and yard by yard"
~Marley's ghost, A Christmas Carol

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#148679 - 08/20/11 06:34 PM Re: How long does it take to get over an affair? [Re: GloveOil]
GloveOil
Member

Registered: 07/17/11
Posts: 81
Loc: Virginia
[edit typo in above -- should've read "staying"]

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#148706 - 08/20/11 08:02 PM Re: How long does it take to get over an affair? [Re: GloveOil]
herfuturesbright
Member

Registered: 09/15/10
Posts: 17282
Loc: The Castle Aaaggghh...
From a faith standpoint....I wonder if it's not so much about forgiving myself....but about being humble and obedient enough to ACCEPT the forgiveness that is given...

Two or so years after the A, when I was still just....broken and at times in complete darkness over what I had done...H begged me to go back to counseling. And he said something that seemed insensitive at the time.....but it makes so much sense.

It went something like this: The God of the universe sent His Son - His perfect Son - to suffer just so YOU could have forgiveness. Who do you think you are wallowing in something GOD gave you the gift of forgiveness for....isn't that like throwing His gift back in His face?

Wow....it jarred me then. It makes me....clap my hands with joyful laughter now. THAT may not be a popular stance either because it is devoid of semi-permanent self-flagellation. But it was so wise. Jesus suffered for HOURS on a cross because God loved me that much.....and I am going to look at the one who said Let there be light and say "I know better. I'm too bad for you to forgive. You made a mistake"????

I don't think so.

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#148741 - 08/20/11 09:54 PM Re: How long does it take to get over an affair? [Re: herfuturesbright]
ohmy_marie
Member

Registered: 05/06/11
Posts: 1999
love can return. trust can return. respect can return. faith can return.

is that "over it?"

love, marie
_________________________
may came home with a smooth round stone
as small as a world and as large as alone. -- e. e. cummings

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#148752 - 08/20/11 10:39 PM Re: How long does it take to get over an affair? [Re: ohmy_marie]
Ace
Advocate
Member

Registered: 08/25/10
Posts: 3094
Originally Posted By: ohmy_marie
love can return. trust can return. respect can return. faith can return.

is that "over it?"

love, marie


For the most part, I would agree with Marie (I usually do) but I might go a step further in acknowledging that the fading of triggers and flashbacks would be part of the "getting over it" process, too.

And that might take time....possibly more time than some are willing to endure.

Ace
_________________________
We're overcoming decades of marital dysfunction including abuse, passive aggression, gas-lighting & infidelity (both of us).

Our Weird and Ongoing Story

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#148762 - 08/20/11 11:24 PM Re: How long does it take to get over an affair? [Re: Ace]
SunnyD
Member

Registered: 10/12/10
Posts: 2211
I can see the different points of "forgiving oneself" or accepting forgiveness as the case may be.

Speaking as a FBW, I have forgiven my husband and I don't want him to loath himself, that's for sure. Yet, I can't say I'm quite ready for him to just "be OK with myself" quite yet. I want him to appreciate and be grateful for the forgiveness he's been shown - and yes - to still want to earn back trust and not expect it freely. But...that's because I still have plenty of triggers.

On the other hand, I have a friend that cheated. Now - mind you, her H had already been prowling on the internet and yes, cheated on her as well. Two wrongs don't make a right and that's no excuse for her. But I want her to finally be able to forgive herself! Her H points daggers at her and says she ruined things but doesn't look one iota at himself. I want to be able to help her get over this. They are already divorced. She is still in agony over what she's done. She doesn't know if she will ever be able to forgive herself.

She's learned her lesson and I wish she could.

I hope this isn't off topic from what you started, Wiser, but I think it's pertinent: sometimes it's not just the cheated on person who carries the scar, but the cheater as well. Other times, the cheater never even admits he/she was wrong. That's a different case.

Glove Oil, I see what you're saying as very practical and what I expect of my husband: he can't take the triggers away from me, but he can work at regaining trust, provide security, and make the changes in himself that needing making.

As for "over it" because all those things return... I think that's as close to fully over it that you're ever going to get. I did get over it with my ex, eventually, but it took a long time. I tend to think the scar will remain with my H because it was a much bigger betrayal after 20 years, 3 kids, etc... We'll see!
_________________________
http://www.marriageadvocates.com/ubbthre...read#Post107051

Me(45) H (42)
M - 20 yrs
D (19)
S (17)
S (15)
Recovering Well (since Nov '10) after H's affair (Discovered, Exposed, and Busted Oct '10)

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#148798 - 08/21/11 02:18 AM Re: How long does it take to get over an affair? [Re: SunnyD]
LadyGrey
Professional Attorney
Member

Registered: 10/08/10
Posts: 4046
I think most traumatic experiences have an underlying element of surprise to them that causes one’s lizard to be distrustful of one’s ability to ensure safety.

I’m reminded of that scene where the Mafia boss is walking around the table and unexpectedly pulls out a baseball bat (Goodfellas?).

If you were sitting at the table and saw that happen, you will react anxiously pretty much forever if someone walks around behind you while you are sitting at a table, and likely have a baseball bat aversion.

If your life has been such that your lizard has been surprised A LOT, your reactions to having someone stand behind you or seeing a baseball bat may be more acute -- those triggers will cause a greater degree of panic than in someone who has had fewer similar surprises.

It seems to me that a significant part of the challenge of recovery is for each partner to evaluate how many tables they have sat at and how many baseball bats they have seen and reach a baseline level of understanding about their reactivity to those stimulus – i.e. triggers.

If one has experienced being hit by a baseball bat by someone trusted, that person’s reactivity is going to be higher.

Frank Gunzburg had an excellent article on this that I now cannot find.

From there, it seems to me that the most meaningful thing that one spouse can do for the other is give lots and lots of predictive information. I’m coming to the conclusion that there is no such thing as too much predictive information.

I am of the belief that the unfaithful spouse can make a huge difference by keeping an eye on the “on the ground” experience of the faithful spouse – i.e., keep the faithful spouse on notice of who might be walking up behind them and the location of all known baseball bats.

By the same token, the faithful spouse can make a huge difference by keeping the unfaithful spouse apprised of who they think might be walking up behind them and where they think the baseball bats may be hidden.

I don’t think this is limited to the infidelity context. I am of the belief that there are a multitude of experiences to which our spouse is privy that inform who we are and how we may react to stimulus that at first blush appear far fetched from the original event. For me, learning to evaluate those experiences as unique to me and how I process things versus how he would process that same experience would be a significant step forward.

For some traumatic events in life, there is always and forever a "Before" and an "After" and in the midst of the intervening maelstrom the way in which a person interacts with themselves and the world around them can be dramatically and irrevocably changed.

I can't actually characterize that as bad or good -- it just is.

So much to say and no way to say it …. I’m becoming a pretty good tapdancer.
_________________________
Find the real world, give it endlessly away, grow rich flinging gold to all who ask. Live at the empty heart of paradox. I'll dance there with you -- cheek to cheek.

Rumi

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#148799 - 08/21/11 02:28 AM Re: How long does it take to get over an affair? [Re: LadyGrey]
Orchid2
Ambassador
Member

Registered: 09/09/10
Posts: 5331
Loc: HI
Forgiveness is a part of the healing, not the end. Death is the end of life but forgiveness is part of the journey.

Attitude plays an important part in healing. It is also what continues after the healing has run it's course and purpose.

Where does it end? There is no end, it's a journey. The path the journey takes comes back as a joint effort in the M or separately after a D.

The difference between preA and post A with forgiveness is that there are next steps that can be taken to improve one's self and the M.

Which road will you take with or w/o your spouse? Each spouse needs to ask and honestly answer that question.

JMHO,
Orchid

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#148800 - 08/21/11 02:37 AM Re: How long does it take to get over an affair? [Re: LadyGrey]
LadyGrey
Professional Attorney
Member

Registered: 10/08/10
Posts: 4046
Originally Posted By: GloveOil
But my take on it is, it's not my job to forgive me.


I do not agree with this statement AT ALL.

Under this rubric, what becomes of the unfaithful spouse who gets kicked to the curb? Are they never to forgive themselves because their spouse is unwilling or unable to forgive them?

How is such a person supposed to earn forgiveness? Sackcloth and ashes? Monastery? Nunnery? Depression? Cutting? Suicide?

Originally Posted By: GloveOil
I'm not talking about wallowing in self-loathing. . . I've got an awful lot of years of being a better husband to put in before I can even start to wrap my head around "forgiving myself."


If not self loathing/deprecation/punishment/declaring yourself unworthy, what are you talking about?

What I hear you saying is that you have decided to live a man down for an "awful lot of years" until you earn your way back to ????, dependent upon your wife's munificance in maintaining your sense of self worth.

If she says tomorrow "sorry, buddy -- changed my mind -- you are OUT of here, NOW", then what?

I don't see a path where I can work towards not hating myself and not forgiving myself at the same time. Logically, it is one or the other.




Edited by LadyGrey (08/21/11 02:48 AM)
Edit Reason: reconsidered
_________________________
Find the real world, give it endlessly away, grow rich flinging gold to all who ask. Live at the empty heart of paradox. I'll dance there with you -- cheek to cheek.

Rumi

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#148804 - 08/21/11 04:45 AM Re: How long does it take to get over an affair? [Re: LadyGrey]
Orchid2
Ambassador
Member

Registered: 09/09/10
Posts: 5331
Loc: HI
Originally Posted By: LadyGrey
Originally Posted By: GloveOil
But my take on it is, it's not my job to forgive me.


I do not agree with this statement AT ALL.

Under this rubric, what becomes of the unfaithful spouse who gets kicked to the curb? Are they never to forgive themselves because their spouse is unwilling or unable to forgive them?

How is such a person supposed to earn forgiveness? Sackcloth and ashes? Monastery? Nunnery? Depression? Cutting? Suicide?


Orchid: LG, Glove's next line indicated he needed to 'work on making amends'. He also addressed 'forgiveness' in the self-righteous sense was not of benefit for him and his family.

To forgive should be an action but often it is an excuse if true repentance is not seen. Making amends, now that shows a plan. Forgiveness from his W is important to him and to her. He chooses that to be his focus and by his conduct her forgiveness is going to help his personal healing. His self-worth/value to the family will be earned and returned with love. True kine love. wink

JMHO,
Orchid


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#148805 - 08/21/11 08:26 AM Re: How long does it take to get over an affair? [Re: Orchid2]
peppermint
Member

Registered: 02/20/11
Posts: 1129
Loc: Carolina Blue Heaven
What is so confusing to me is that your ex still cannot get past your one mistake, but did worse multiple times and accepts no responsibility for it. And why on earth would he want to hurt not only you, but your children by bringing this up in front of them?

Unless he is jealous of your relationship with them and wants to somehow lessen you in their eyes. And good for your son for his question! You are so much better a person than me, because I would have said "yeah,what about them?".

To tie this to another post, do you think your ex feels remorse for his affairs? It does not sound like it to me. For sure he does not get it.

And let's not forget that, whether we are the WS or the BS, we need to forgive ourself. As a BS I spent a lot of time beating myself up for being a fool, not seeing what was going on, choosing a partner that would cheat on me, etc. When it comes to cheating, there is a lot of blame going in both directions for both partners and not all of it is logical.
_________________________
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

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#148811 - 08/21/11 09:13 AM Re: How long does it take to get over an affair? [Re: peppermint]
ohmy_marie
Member

Registered: 05/06/11
Posts: 1999
pep, regarding W_N's ex, i think some people just can't see past themselves... wink

W_N-- kudos to you for remaining calm!

as to baseball bats and table circles... if the bat came out only once in 17 years, and hasn't reappeared in 12 years since, i'd say i'm feeling pretty comforable sitting at the table.

(i feel blessed)

personally, i do think i'm over it. it's one of many chapters in the book of our marital history. i noticed that when i first joined MA, and began posting about my H's A, it initially raised my dander. but, that was before i started to remind myself that the thoughts/feelings being stirred up were in the past, were no longer impacting my current life, and did NOT need to scare me, anger me, or sadden me.

blessings, marie
_________________________
may came home with a smooth round stone
as small as a world and as large as alone. -- e. e. cummings

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#148817 - 08/21/11 10:18 AM Re: How long does it take to get over an affair? [Re: ohmy_marie]
crazed student
Member

Registered: 08/31/10
Posts: 815
WN, IMHO you're not doing your ex-H any favors by being continually apologetic.

I guess I'm a bit puzzled that he chose to bring something up "out of the blue" in front of your kids during what you describe as an emergency situation. Could you see yourself bringing up his infidelities in front of your kids after all this time?

He's getting some payoff and quite frankly the dynamic as you describe it does not sound good. He sounds like he's trying to avoid personal responsibility and you sound like you're assisting him.

I know that you're sensitive so please understand that I'm not trying to be critical.
_________________________
The artist formerly known as penaltykill

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#148822 - 08/21/11 10:51 AM Re: How long does it take to get over an affair? [Re: crazed student]
wiser_now
Member

Registered: 09/07/10
Posts: 2841
Oh my gosh, such wonderful feedback. Thank you!

Quick note to CS: No worries!

All right, a little clarification.

It WAS an EXTREMELY SERIOUS emergency situation. My son was in a car crash and it is a miracle he survived. I don't want to discuss it any more deeply than that right now.

My ex's comment was totally "out of the blue" and completely inappropriate, I agree. I did not want to add any further stress to an already deeply traumatic situation... even though my son clearly had no problem doing so.

My ex-H is problematic under the best of circumstances. It's why I brought this up in the first place. I want to process through it (and will continue to do so through therapy).

Note: If you want to feel sick, keep reading. It will give you a little insight into his personality.

We were in the hospital waiting for our son in surgery. Our oldest daughter witnessed this conversation.

Ex mentions his emergency appendectomy from in 1983 or so. He says: "I remember..." and proceeds to tell me about the nurses shaving him "down there" more than needed, holding his penis and bringing more nurses in to "see"... all the while giggling like school girls. Did they need to do that, he asked? He said one of the nurses brought him brownies the next day. Do all nurses do that, he wondered out loud? It was just irritating and unnecessary. Maybe a little hurtful, but seriously, not that much.

I sorta remember this from the time... I was pregnant with our second child and worried because his appendix had burst. He could have died. I probably just put it out of my mind. Or normalized it. I was pretty good at that. Perhaps, still am.

Our daughter buried her nose in the book she'd brought with her. She's going through a divorce from her cheating H and it was very triggering to her, too.

Yes, he can be an insensitive clod.

Plus, it's like he wants me to know he's always been desirable. That has never been in question. Sigh.


For this situation with our son, though, there were several things at play.

1. We were all staying together in the same home because it was an emergency without planning. I had to get help to pay for the ticket, never mind a hotel. I was grateful he allowed me to stay there.

2. I rebounded into my current marriage and while I had years to process through his infidelities right in front of his face, he didn't. Don't get me wrong, he had a couple of years, but I give him some leeway processing through my affair with me. Maybe this is unhealthy - but it is truthful.

3. He knows my vulnerabilities - I get that. I will never NOT feel shame for my affair. Did he take advantage of that? Yes. Was he punishing me, still? Most likely.

4. I worked very hard to keep a civil relationship because of our children, one of whom has some special needs. We (ex and I) get along better now than we ever did while married.

Now, all that said...

I agree his original comment and the "sharing" were both slaps in my face - they felt like slaps, believe me.

Had I gone along with our son's question, it would have turned into a nasty verbal brawl, and our son, in particular, did NOT need that.

It was asked if he ever felt remorse for his affairs. Yes and no. "Yes" that he got caught and helped to erode the foundation of our marriage that led to my choice to have an affair (which he considers the ONLY reason we divorced). "No" that he had inappropriate relationships, including sex, though I have never, ever gotten the whole truth. At this point, I don't care what he did. That hospital conversation was enough to remind me of the years of confusion and gas lighting I endured.

So, I have to maintain some kind of relationship with him. I care about him. He's not a bad man. He was a HORRIBLE husband. He does feel bad, but I think it's about me leaving him more than his own actions.

But we have reached a precipice... a critical point... though he doesn't know it.... which is (again) why I am here discussing it.


Edited by wiser_now (08/21/11 11:32 AM)
Edit Reason: clarity
_________________________
Married best friend in 2001 - Great marriage!
3 adult children, 1 grandchild
Been on both sides of infidelity in first 20 year marriage - both sides stink.
Here to pay it forward!

“Happily ever after is not a fairy tale. It’s a choice.” -Fawn Weaver

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#148824 - 08/21/11 10:53 AM Re: How long does it take to get over an affair? [Re: crazed student]
herfuturesbright
Member

Registered: 09/15/10
Posts: 17282
Loc: The Castle Aaaggghh...
I tend to agree with CS.

I have never been cheated on, so forgive me for using a non-marital example....but my boyfriend was killed by a drunk driver in HS. It was...awful.

That was in 1983. Even now, if I see someone who has drawn attention to themselves and seem tipsy leave a place with car keys in hand....it triggers me. If I do drink something at a restaurant and I am driving....it is one small thing and I try to draw out the meal just to be sure. The day after Thanksgiving it always crosses my mind. Heck, a few months ago for some reason I dreamed about Bryan and it made me cry.

BUT......it does not define me. What I experience are natural responses to a memory being triggered. I'll never forget it. But I don't wig when I see a beer or a club. I don't yell at random strangers when I see them drinking. It's a sad memory, and one I have called on before when talking to people about drinking and driving.....but it isn't in any way a focus. As a matter of public record, the man who killed him is named Terry. I know people named Terry, and I don;t think about Bryan dying every time I talk to them.

Did I get "over" it? Well...Bryan will never come back. Did I get through it and is it now part of the very complex fabric that is my life? That is probably the best way to describe it.

Now I could make it a focus. I could join SADD and MADD and go from school to school talking. I could frequent drinking boards and talk about it. I could vow not to socialize with anyone who might order a drink. And if that was my choice there wouldn't be anything inherently wrong with that. But that was not my choice.....and choice is a factor.

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#148835 - 08/21/11 11:23 AM Re: How long does it take to get over an affair? [Re: herfuturesbright]
Ace
Advocate
Member

Registered: 08/25/10
Posts: 3094
First things first:

(((((((((((((((((((((Wiser_Now)))))))))))))))))

I just skimmed your thread but something else came to mind.

Without being specific, is your life perceived by him to be better than his is now?

If so, by making such an insensitive comment at such an inappropriate time, he could be trying to make himself feel better by attempting to make you feel bad. This dynamic could even be in play if your lives are now similar.

Sometimes when we are hurting immensely and the causative circumstances are beyond our control, we may do/say things subconsciously that are difficult to fathom. Not sure if this might have been that case but it's one scenario to consider.

Regardless, I'm so sorry you've had to endure this and I hope you get the input you need to process it positively.

Thanks for sharing your pain and seeking even more wisdom than you have now.

Ace

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We're overcoming decades of marital dysfunction including abuse, passive aggression, gas-lighting & infidelity (both of us).

Our Weird and Ongoing Story

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