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For WSs Wanting to Earn the "F" #5038
09/20/10 09:18 PM
09/20/10 09:18 PM
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Looking4 Offline OP
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I was asked by Chrysalis to write an article (or start one at least) that we can post for WSs (wayward spouses) who come here wanting to end their affair, recover their M, and lead a life of honesty and integrity. They want to earn their "F" to become a FWS (former wayward spouse).

I am not qualified to provide all answers for everyone and have only my experience to draw upon. Every situation has its nuances but there are some basic steps that are likely universal and we want to offer those. (Where multiple answers might be acceptable, we can offer those too.)

Before I get to writing, I'd like input on the outline I have for steps to take. Further explanation will follow each item listed and I'll post that here for input too, when I'm done. Right now, I want to make sure I'm covering the essentials and hope you will chime in with constructive advice.

1.) Confess
2.) Accept 100% responsibility for and own your choice to have the A
3.) Commit to and practice complete and absolute O&H
4.) Write, have BS approve, and have BS send (or witness you send) the NC. The OP needs to know that the NC originates from you, not your BS.
5.) Quit job if necessary to ensure NC – move if necessary to ensure NC
6.) Answer any and every question from WS O&H -- zero omissions
7.) Turn over all passwords and terminate private access points shared with OP – email accounts, IM accounts, secret cell phone numbers
8.) Be checked for STDs and share results with spouse
9.) Submit to lie detector and paternity tests if requested by BS
10.) Determine what precautions you will take to ensure you are not ever again in the position to be tempted to have an affair. Write these precautions down and share with your BS. (HELP HERE PLEASE: I have my personal list that pertains to my H's and my lifestyle, but is there a list that is generally accepted by folks here that we can offer as an example? I don't want to copy and paste from elsewhere but would rather use a list that someone provides here and gives me permission to use.)
11.) Get rid of every item that carries any memory of OP – photos, CDs, emails, jewelry, clothes, notes, stuffed animals, tchotchkes, etc.
12.) Do not try to stop BS from telling whomever s/he needs to feel protected. Provide contact information for OP's BS if you know it and do not inhibit your BS from contacting the OP's BS
13.) Comfort your BS
14.) Apologize to your BS
15.) Meet spouse's emotional needs
16.) Get support. Do not expect or request this from BS but find it somewhere else. i.e. best friend of your same sex, family member, pastor, therapist, self-help books, write in a journal, etc.
17.) Take care of yourself - exercise, eat right, see doctor and/or IC, groom yourself
18.) Understand withdrawal and understand you will get through it more quickly by managing your memories. (HELP HERE PLEASE: Can you offer something here, Mark1952??? I'm thinking of your fantastic instructions found elsewhere for managing memories.)
19.) Provide a safe environment for BS to sort through what has happened.
20.) Take your spouse into account whenever you do anything at all.
21.) Do not ever tell BS to get over it.
22.) Work THROUGH it with BS on the BS's time-line
23.) Make yourself available for UA with BS.
24.) Participate in a marriage-focused recovery plan if your BS desires, such as MC, a marriage seminar, and/or a marriage recovery program.
25.) If OP is married, apologize to the OPs BS. It's recommended that this is done in written form. Have your BS send it for you.
26.) Be conscientious of triggers -- both yours and your BS's. Be supportive and non-judgment of your spouse's and do not dismiss them. Only share yours with your spouse if s/he asks you to explain what is happening. If you do share, share but do not dwell on what you're experiencing. Do what you can to remove triggers from your BS's and your life or do your best to avoid them as much as possible.
27.) Know that your actions, much more than words, will be what your BS uses to determine your commitment to recover your M.

Know that at around 6 - 8 months after D-day, it is common for your BS to become very angry as the reality of what you did becomes more clear. Stay committed to O&H, UA, meeting ENs, and taking complete responsibility for having the A.

Understand that if your BS determines that s/he wants to try to recover the relationship, it can take 2 - 5 years for recovery to take place from when s/he decides this.

-----

I'm of the mind that if a WS wants to fight for his/her M, s/he gives the BS space but does not leave the home for more than a few days. (The same was suggested to me by several folks.) Should that be mentioned here? To move to a guestroom or sleep on the couch, but do not abandon the common residence?

I am not mentioning anything about telling children. Some say tell the kids, others say don't. I personally think the BS should decide if the kids are told. I think both the BS and WS should decide together how they are told and the BS and WS should together tell the kids. But this thought is my opinion, not based on any professional study. Should there be any mention about telling the kids since there is varied opinion on this?

Should there be any mention at all of imposing boundaries after... 3 months? 6 months? 12 months? I mean where if BS threatens, belittles, or is emotionally abusive, the WS should impose a boundary that shows that is not acceptable?

Should there be any advice about what to do if the BS become physically abusive? This is not something I'm comfortable advising on at all (I know what I want to say but am not professionally qualified) yet physical violence is a reality for some WSs.

What else? Or what should be changed from above?

Last edited by Looking4; 09/20/10 09:27 PM.

Married 19 years
Two children - DS12 & DD10
Re: For WSs Wanting to Earn the "F" [Re: Looking4] #5043
09/20/10 09:27 PM
09/20/10 09:27 PM
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Lifechoice Offline
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Great list L4!

I would like to address this issue though.

Quote
5.) Quit job if necessary to ensure NC – move if necessary to ensure NC


Yes, it's important, but thought needs to go into it and the effect on the entire family, including the children (especially if teenagers are involved).

IMO, a BS needs to think first then react. Flat out statements to up and leave a job without follow up plans is not a very good idea. I have seen cases where teens are uprooted and completely rebel.

Re: For WSs Wanting to Earn the "F" [Re: Lifechoice] #5049
09/20/10 09:55 PM
09/20/10 09:55 PM
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Looking4 Offline OP
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Excellent point, LC. And this is what I meant by providing varied ideas because people have different situations from one another.

Do you want me to change what I've written (I can) or by "I would like to address..." do you mean that you would like to write out that part of the article?


Married 19 years
Two children - DS12 & DD10
Re: For WSs Wanting to Earn the "F" [Re: Looking4] #5051
09/20/10 09:58 PM
09/20/10 09:58 PM
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SoCal
Chrysalis Offline
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L4 and LC, Thanks so much!


Chrysalis
Re: For WSs Wanting to Earn the "F" [Re: Looking4] #5070
09/20/10 10:57 PM
09/20/10 10:57 PM
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Lifechoice Offline
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Originally Posted by Looking4
Excellent point, LC. And this is what I meant by providing varied ideas because people have different situations from one another.

Do you want me to change what I've written (I can) or by "I would like to address..." do you mean that you would like to write out that part of the article?


ICK no I don't want to write that part of the article because I hate writing articles. smile (I'm teasing, but will say I'm not a good writer, I tend to ramble, but I will help)

I do think we need to explain the importance of changing jobs and/or moving if the AP is a neighbor. I think it is equally important for people to get their ducks in a row and do it ASAP. Putting yourself in financial ruin and/or your kids in total crisis in NOT the way to do it.





Re: For WSs Wanting to Earn the "F" [Re: Looking4] #5077
09/20/10 11:22 PM
09/20/10 11:22 PM
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Lifechoice Offline
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I also think adding something about going for individual counseling might be something to think about. IMO, waywards need to find out what is missing in them that allowed them to make the poor choices they did.

Why do they need outside validation, why do they need attention from the opposite sex, why do they feel the need to flirt with people, or what is it that made them feel so darn entitled, etc, etc?

If waywards don't learn to take a hard look in the mirror and fix whatever it is that needs to be fixed I could see how someone could easily do it again even if all their needs were being met.

Re: For WSs Wanting to Earn the "F" [Re: Lifechoice] #5087
09/20/10 11:42 PM
09/20/10 11:42 PM
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With regards to jobs, in this economy jobs are getting hard to come by, many skilled workers are facing the possibility they may never work again, and many companies are advertising that those without a job need not apply.

Has anyone thought about the implications of extended unemployment on this scenario?


**Formerly known as Cuthbert Calculus**

"There is enough sadness in life without having fellows like Gussie Fink-Nottle going about in sea boots."

Glad Tidings

Gladstone's Sucess Story
Re: For WSs Wanting to Earn the "F" [Re: Gladstone] #5103
09/21/10 12:52 AM
09/21/10 12:52 AM
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I'll tell you... the affair I had was with a co-worker and neither my (now ex)H or I wanted me to quit. We wanted OM to quit - he didn't. We needed my income desperately.

I will never have this experience again so I won't say what I'd do 'next time' but I will tell you that I regret not quitting right away. It would have solved two very looming problems.

1. It would have shown my (then)H that I was serious about saving our marriage, no matter what.

2. It would have shown the OM that I was serious about ending the affair.

Instead, I had a crazed, stalking husband and a mooning, lovesick OM to deal with. Of all the muck and crap I created with the affair, this was by far the easiest to change - and I didn't.

I sincerely believe that God (or whatever Higher Power), my (then)H or I would have found a way to survive without the income. It is one place where I am very black and white.

That said, I know some have POJA'd staying at the employer and trying to change departments or that kind of thing. Too many memories just being anywhere near the place, I think... but again, that is me.

Last edited by new_beginning; 09/21/10 12:52 AM.

A happy marriage is a long conversation which always seems too short. --Andre Maurois

Re: For WSs Wanting to Earn the "F" [Re: Looking4] #5108
09/21/10 01:32 AM
09/21/10 01:32 AM
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right here waiting Offline
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L4, I commend you for taking this on.

I would add this, when the WS and OP are coworkers:

While the economy is surely a deterrent to up and quitting a job, there are other factors that could prevent you from mindlessly jumping on that train.

My H was 60 years old, with a position that would have been hard to duplicate in a good economy. Terrified of being unemployed, he was also painfully aware of my distress at him being in that building every day (OW worked on another floor). She DID approach him a number of times after he broke it off. He called me every time. Fortunately, he was NOT in love with OW, or if he was, he got over it. This would NOT have worked if they were "soul mates," and you can't know that till you see how WS is going to play it.

The way we resolved it was for him to press for, and get, a work-at-home arrangement. This has worked beautifully for us. Other options might be transferring to a different company location (we considered that too).

Anyone who attempts this, though, should be warned that it is VERY wearing, particularly on the BS, and the BS should be able to check up on (F)WS regularly during the work day (or have someone else do it). Unbeknownst to him, I spied regularly, and was never disappointed. Had I seen hanky panky, I'd like to think I would have moved to Plan B. (Steve Harley knew about this arrangement and expressed great concern for my emotional wellbeing. He said to do it "as long as you feel you can handle it." I did it for 18 months, so it IS possible.)

I never dared post this over there, because I knew what would happen. But guess what?

We are recovered.

Last edited by right here waiting; 09/23/10 09:42 PM.
Re: For WSs Wanting to Earn the "F" [Re: right here waiting] #5115
09/21/10 02:07 AM
09/21/10 02:07 AM
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Ace Offline
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Originally Posted by right here waiting
(Steve Harley knew about this arrangement and expressed great concern for my emotional wellbeing. He said to do it "as long as you feel you can handle it." I did it for 18 months, so it IS possible.)

I never dared post this over there, because I knew what would happen. But guess what?

We are recovered.


Wow, RHW. It's amazing that you could get counsel and make it work but feel like you could not share this part of your story 'over there' due to what might happen. I'd love to see your story on a blog where it can be referenced and referred to easily and often.

I'm glad to see you weigh in from the BS perspective. I have some thoughts as well but our scenario was faaaaaaarrrr different from most every poster on these forums (and on that other one, too, for that matter).

Why?

WH and OW never met in person; she lives across the country.

They were interconnected via their senses (words spoken/heard and written/read as well as gifts given/received) but they were just trying to figure out how to meet IRL when WH accidentally left his email account open.


Six months and 4 D-Days later, we, too had to find creative ways to overcome their attraction/addiction. I DID share this 'over there' and fortunately had no idea what was being said by various posters at that time. We, too, however, are also on our way to recovery.

I'll quit for now and work on putting this on my blog but regarding the topic of this thread, I would suggest including something about how some things work differently for other couples. It's not necessarily right or wrong, just different. That's one of the biggest benefits of this new discussion forum. We can safely share how we used the parts of MB or any other program that worked for us. But it's not wrong to say that not all of it was appropriate for all of us.

Thanks for all your work L4, LC, NB, and other FWSs. I look forward to seeing how this develops.

Ace





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

Our Weird and Ongoing Story
Re: For WSs Wanting to Earn the "F" [Re: wiser_now] #5119
09/21/10 02:20 AM
09/21/10 02:20 AM
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Lifechoice Offline
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I worked with my FOM for 2 years after I ended the A, so I get what you are saying, NB. We didn't get busted, I confessed due to the overwhelming guilt 14 months after it ended, my DH was clueless. Not long after I confessed my DH confronted FOM and he gave his notice. Unfortunately FOM agreed to stay until they found a replacement for him. It took 8 more months and they were not fun.

I don't think it's a good idea at all for XAP's to work together, but I don't think it's a good idea to up and leave your job without another job lined up. I also know that all A's don't rekindle because the XAP's still work together, but who wants to chance it? It's a lose/lose situation

I was too stubborn to quit and actually still work there.

The A was so long ago, there have been many changes to the physical makeup of my department and FOM has been gone for so long I honestly don't have any reminders

Re: For WSs Wanting to Earn the "F" [Re: right here waiting] #5136
09/21/10 03:38 AM
09/21/10 03:38 AM
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Lifechoice Offline
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RHW,

Thanks for sharing. I'm glad you are safe to post that information here. There are so many factors some don't consider. For some the entire focus gets placed on quitting the job to assure NC. Quitting the job and moving away doesn't assure NC, having a spouse willing to step up to the plate and protect the BS is what does it.

Re: For WSs Wanting to Earn the "F" [Re: Lifechoice] #5137
09/21/10 03:50 AM
09/21/10 03:50 AM
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Looking4 Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Lifechoice
I also think adding something about going for individual counseling might be something to think about. IMO, waywards need to find out what is missing in them that allowed them to make the poor choices they did.
I grouped this in #17. I can separate it and make it it's own item.

I was thinking about not numbering these as many of them, I think, can be weighted the same in importance. I am going to break them up into groups. Maybe five sections: D-day, The OP, After D-day, The OP, Yourself.


Married 19 years
Two children - DS12 & DD10
Re: For WSs Wanting to Earn the "F" [Re: Lifechoice] #5139
09/21/10 04:04 AM
09/21/10 04:04 AM
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right here waiting Offline
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Originally Posted by Lifechoice
For some the entire focus gets placed on quitting the job to assure NC. Quitting the job and moving away doesn't assure NC, having a spouse willing to step up to the plate and protect the BS is what does it.


Amen. You just can't know up front whether the WS will step up to the plate. Gotta pay your money and take your chances, or walk away. I chose not to walk.

My point was, "Optimal may not be do-able." So consider the options and play your best hunch. Worked for me.

Re: For WSs Wanting to Earn the "F" [Re: Looking4] #5170
09/21/10 01:04 PM
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Lifechoice Offline
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Originally Posted by Looking4
Originally Posted by Lifechoice
I also think adding something about going for individual counseling might be something to think about. IMO, waywards need to find out what is missing in them that allowed them to make the poor choices they did.
I grouped this in #17. I can separate it and make it it's own item.

I was thinking about not numbering these as many of them, I think, can be weighted the same in importance. I am going to break them up into groups. Maybe five sections: D-day, The OP, After D-day, The OP, Yourself.


Oops sorry, clearly I missed it.

Great idea to break it into groups. I also think we need to keep things short and too the point. I remember having a hard time comprehending things when I first started posting to get help.

Re: For WSs Wanting to Earn the "F" [Re: Lifechoice] #5177
09/21/10 01:53 PM
09/21/10 01:53 PM
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Excellent job L4, will have a closer look and think


Married 22years (this year) ~13y since dday(?)
DD17 DS14
Which way do you like yourself? ~ Stosny
Re: For WSs Wanting to Earn the "F" [Re: Squeaky Tree] #11776
10/18/10 09:36 PM
10/18/10 09:36 PM
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Originally Posted by looking4
1.) Confess


Might want to include something about having a plan to ensure personal physical safety.


Bidden or not bidden God is present.
Re: For WSs Wanting to Earn the "F" [Re: LadyGrey] #11839
10/18/10 11:14 PM
10/18/10 11:14 PM
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The Castle Aaaggghh...
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These are great, L4. Very clear and to the point. I am glad you added apology. I cannot imagine anyone actually felt remorse and any sort of empathy for the BS NOT apologizing.

Something that seems very important to me as well - cause I'm a motive kinda girl - is attitudes of a WS on the way to the F - like humility, patience, etc. I know for a fact if DH had sensed any sort of pride or entitlement from me he would have been out the door.

Re: For WSs Wanting to Earn the "F" [Re: LadyGrey] #11842
10/18/10 11:32 PM
10/18/10 11:32 PM
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Originally Posted by seekingbalance
Originally Posted by looking4
1.) Confess


Might want to include something about having a plan to ensure personal physical safety.


Maybe a statement like:

If you feel unsafe to confess, do so in the company of a therapist.

In fact, something about timing should be there, too. My H's ex-wife confessed only moments before he left for work. He was utterly blindsided and then had to go to work like that.


A happy marriage is a long conversation which always seems too short. --Andre Maurois

Re: For WSs Wanting to Earn the "F" [Re: wiser_now] #122096
06/16/11 07:46 PM
06/16/11 07:46 PM
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Looking4 Offline OP
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Okay, peeps.

I've been asked to finish this up. There was discussion above last fall and I applied some of those comments. You have two weeks to comment and recommend edits before I submit the final version. Your feedback is much appreciated.

Oh... And I want a title other then "looking to earn your f" because newbies don't know the terminology we use here. It needs to be clear what this information is and who it's intended for. I'd love to hear your ideas.

--------------------

If you've had an affair and you want to end it and attempt to recover your marriage (M), there are certain things that many spouses who were betrayed and many who did the betraying agree need to happen in order for a couple to consider reconciliation. We call this process for an adulterer (or wayward spouse, aka WS) the process of earning your "F" as in "former"; becoming a former wayward spouse (FWS) or former adulterer.

Please note that ideas and actions can work differently for different couples. The steps given here are not absolutely right or wrong. They are steps based on experts' recommendations, much discussion on this and other marriage forums, and opinions based on trial and error. How you, your spouse, and your M respond to these recommendations may vary. Every situation has its nuances.

These are basic steps that many at Marriage Advocates (MA) agree a wayward spouse (WS) should take to show their betrayed spouse (BS) they are sincere in their desire to end the affair (A) and save and improve the M.

CONFESSING TO AND ENDING THE AFFAIR

• Accept 100% responsibility for and own your choice to have the A. Only you control your actions and your choice to be with someone else is solely yours. Your marriage may have been a bad marriage, but even if you believe your spouse treated you poorly, your choice to not be monogamous was made by you, not your spouse or anyone else. You can deal with marriage problems in ways other then having an A. Do not ever blame your BS for your decision to commit adultery.

• If your spouse does not yet know about your A, confess. If you think your BS will be violent or do harm of any kind during your confession, have someone your BS trusts with you, such as a pastor, therapist, or family friend.

Consider the timing and location of your confession as well. Do it as soon as you can but at a time when the two of you will not be interrupted. (Turn off telephones and have someone watch the kids away from where you will be disclosing your infidelity.) Do it in a private place where s/he will be able to ask questions and respond however they feel necessary without physical injury to you, him/herself, or anyone else.

• Commit to and practice complete and absolute openness and honesty (O&H). Affairs thrive in secrecy so this initially may be very difficult for you. You may convince yourself that you need withhold the truth in order to protect your BS from further hurt and harm. You may think you are doing what's right by not sharing the details about what you've done. But that could not be farther from the truth.

You do not get to determine what your spouse needs to know about his/her M. Your spouse gets to decide what s/he wants to know about your relationship with someone else -- a relationship that directly impacted your BS's M.

Not being honest only adds fuel to the problem. Every time your spouse discovers another lie, it's like s/he is discovering the affair all over again and this chips away at the chances to recover the M. Many BSs have said the fact that their spouse was with another person (AP) hurt deeply, but the fact that their spouse repeatedly lied to them hurts even more. You need to prove you are no longer that liar. You cannot change your past but you can change who you are today and going forward. Stop the lies.

• Write, have your BS approve, and have your BS send (or witness you send) a no contact (NC) letter to the other person (OP). The OP needs to know the NC originated from you, not your BS, so the best way is to hand-write the letter and have it sent certified mail or delivered by a trusted source. If you must send it by email, copy your spouse on the email so the OP sees that your spouse knows about the A as well.

Any contact that's necessary between you and your spouse and the OP and the OP's spouse or significant other should only be conducted between the BSs. You cannot break NC with the OP nor should you ever insert yourself into the OP's BS's life in any way ever again.

• Do everything you can to ensure you do not see or have contact with the OP for the rest of your life. This might require changing your cell phone number, closing your email account, or ending mutual friend relationships. It also might require making drastic lifestyle changes.

If you work with the OP and the OP will not resign, you and your spouse will have to get things in order so that you can quit your job as soon as possible. If leaving your company is absolutely not an option (and only if this is agreed to by your BS), seek a job transfer or find another work arrangement in another location (other campus or a home office) to ensure you will never have to meet with, correspond with, or see the OP.

If your BS and you determine staying with your company is the only option for your family, understand that your BS has the right to check up on you during the work day in whatever manner makes him/her most comfortable.

If you live near the OP and the chances of running into him/her are likely, you and your family may need to move to another location.

Putting yourself in financial ruin and/or throwing your kids in total crisis in NOT the way to do it but NC is critical in getting you through your withdrawal from the OP quickly and it's essential for recovering your M. You need to do what you can to establish NC right away.

COMMITTING TO RECOVERY

• Answer any and every question your BS asks. If you or your BS find this dialogue difficult, find a way to make it as comfortable as possible. You may need to assign certain days/times to talk about it and otherwise it's not discussed. You may need to ask and answer questions in writing, utilizing a shared journal, email, or instant messaging. Some couples find it easier to talk in the dark or even with each other on opposite sides of a door or curtain. Perhaps a third-party will make it easier. The point is the BS needs to know all that s/he feels s/he needs to know and you have to do your part to make this possible.

• Turn over all of your passwords and terminate the private access points you shared with the OP: email accounts, IM accounts, secret cell phone numbers, etc. There is a difference between secrecy and privacy and you need to show you are not keeping secrets from your partner. If your spouse can see all that you're doing, it keeps you in check and it gives your spouse transparency.

• Determine what precautions you will take to ensure you are not ever again tempted to be with someone else. These actions are referred to here on MA as Extraordinary Precautions (EPs). Write these precautions down and share them with your BS. Read the thread titled "Extraordinary Precautions (EPs)" for more details on EPs.

• If your affair was physical, get checked for STDs right away and share the results with your spouse. Do this even if you had protected sex. Protection is not 100% full-proof. Be responsible and learn now if you need to deal with health issues. Get re-checked 6-months later.

• Submit to a lie detector and/or paternity test if requested by the BS. Or consider offering yourself to take one or both of them. To some, taking tests is the only way to prove you're telling the truth. You've been lying throughout your affair and you need to respect that your BS likely will not believe what you say for a long time. Taking a test will show you're willing to prove you're not hiding anything.

• Get rid of every item that carries any memory of or relationship to the OP: photos, CDs, emails, jewelry, clothes, notes, stuffed animals, iTunes songs, tchotchkes, etc. Any material item you have that in any way triggers you to think of the OP needs to be disposed.

• Avoid situations that remind you of the OP. If a certain restaurant or radio station has associations with the OP, do not patronize the restaurant or tune to the station. Share these things with your BS and you two can work together to address how best to handle those situations.

• Discuss with your spouse what actions you will take if you are ever contacted by the OP or if you ever cross paths with the OP. Knowing ahead of time what your spouse's expectations are and what you will do will help you deal with the situation more effectively in the moment and immediately after. It will help both you and your spouse, knowing there is a plan if unexpected contact ever happens because you'll have already thought it through.

• Do not try to stop your BS from telling whomever s/he needs to tell in order to feel protected. Provide contact information for OP's BS if you know it and do not inhibit your BS from contacting the OP's spouse or other people in the OP's life who can help keep NC intact. You also should tell whomever you need to in order to keep yourself honest with NC and protective of your M.

FOR YOUR BETRAYED SPOUSE

• Apologize to your BS. And "buts" are not allowed. Sometimes, "I'm sorry," is all that's needed. But other times you will need to clarify what you're sorry for so the BS knows what you are sorry for, which makes it more sincere. For example, "I'm so sorry for lying to you about taking our son to the park when I was going to see the OP instead. I apologize for deceiving you and for using our child in that deception. It was wrong."

• Comfort your BS when they want it from you. There may be times when your spouse does not want to be around you but other times s/he may want you right at his/her side. Be ready whenever your spouse needs you to lean on, talk with, or simply wants you to hold him/her.

• Understand and practice sincere humility, patience, and remorse. Your BS needs to see this over and over to believe your re-commitment to the M.

• Meet your spouse's emotional needs. It's believed by some professionals that people are tempted to have an affair when they feel their spouse isn't meeting their needs while someone else is. (You may have experienced feelings like this during your own affair, thinking your OP fulfilled needs that your spouse couldn't or wouldn't.)

Right now, it is not about you getting your needs met. You have to show your spouse you want to be their partner and you can fulfill their needs. S/he needs to see you as his/her spouse who will do whatever you can to protect and care for them. You need to show you have learned from your betrayal and you are no longer selfishly caring only about what you want. Your spouse has to see you not only as wanting to help them work through the current crisis but also as the person who want to create a new and recovered M.

• Remove all LoveBusters (LBs). LBs are a Marriage Builders term from Dr. Willard Harley, explained here. LBs are behaviors that make your spouse feel disrespected, angry, and/or annoyed, which makes him/her want to stay away from you. Get rid of the LBs and keep them out of your M forever. You need to do what you can to help your spouse feel comfortable and safe around you.

• Allow for an environment that's conducive for your spouse to sort through what has happened. This may mean letting him/her go to a family member's house for a while. You may need to move your bedroom items into another room of the house. (Do not move out if you want to stay married!) Your BS may feel a need to journal or post on a marriage support website without you reading their words. They may call you three times while you're at the grocery store or call your mother after you've had lunch with her to confirm the meeting. You are trying to earn back trust so allow your spouse to reach out, process, and do what s/he thinks will help make that possible again.

• Do not ever tell your BS to "get over it". Neither s/he nor you will ever forget your infidelity. Don't expect him/her to forget or "move on". Your partner will hopefully move through the devastation and learn how to deal with the triggers from your A –- including those triggers that may last a lifetime. But they will never forget. Do not ever -- not today or tomorrow -- dismiss how your spouse feels about the affair.

• Work through the fall-out of your infidelity with your BS on the BS's time-line. Some BSs may feel they've worked through their spouse's infidelity and have a handle on things in a matter of several months. For others it takes several years. People process differently and your spouse may be similar to or nothing like other BSs.

• Take your spouse into account whenever you do anything or go anywhere. If it's not something your spouse would approve of, don't do it. Your actions, much more than your words, will be what your BS goes by in measuring your commitment to recover the M.

FOR YOURSELF

• Get support. Do not expect or request this from your BS but find it somewhere else, like a close same-gender friend, a family member, pastor, or therapist. Work through why and what you did by reading self-help books, writing in a journal, posting on MA, or utilizing other resources. Your spouse may be able to help you with some of your pain and self-analysis but do not expect it as s/he will be trying to deal with their own emotional roller-coaster.

Be open to seeking individual counseling and if you find yourself depressed, talk with your doctor about taking anti-depressants.

• Take care of yourself as best you can -- physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. You may feel like crawling into a ball and hiding forever. But secluding yourself and wallowing in what has happened will not change what you did and it will not help anyone -- especially not your spouse and family. You need to be fit for the hard work ahead, and your body and mind need exercise, basic grooming, and proper nutrition. Do all you can to practice healthy habits for your own well-being.

• Understand what happens during the withdrawal period and make a plan to help get through it. (Withdrawal is that time immediately following the termination of your A.) You may find yourself tempted to renew contact with the OP and questioning your decisions. You may become depressed. One key to getting through withdrawal is to learn how to manage your memories. See Mark1952's "Mark's Managing Memories thread" to learn how to do this.

• Be honest with yourself and respect yourself. This may be the hardest thing to do because it's likely you feel you do not deserve anything positive now (or ever) because of your A. But there are people who are counting on you. Your spouse, your kids, and/or your parents need you. And the fact that you want to change things is a big first step toward repentance and redemption. Use your desire for change as motivation toward healing and recovering yourself and your M.

• Read "The Lighthouse" board in "The Way Station" forum here on MA (viewable only to registered users) and see how other wayward spouses became former wayward spouses. Learn from their journeys.

FOR THE MARRIAGE

While it can be said all of the above recommendations are for the marriage, there are things you and your spouse should both do as you move toward marital recovery.

• Make yourself available for undivided attention (UA) time with your spouse. In order to fall in love with or strengthen your feelings for someone, you need to spend time with them without distractions. Where your focus is on each other. This may be time playing a card game or dancing. Perhaps it's reading a book or having dinner together.

Dr. Harley recommends spending a minimum of 15 hours a week together to keep an M healthy. If you're trying to recover from adultery, he recommends you increase that to 25 hours per week. So call the baby-sitter, arrange a camping trip, spend time in the garden, and buy the ingredients for a special dinner so you can make that time happen.

• Participate in a marriage-focused recovery plan such as marriage counseling (MC), attending a marriage seminar, and/or enrolling in a married couples program.

• If OP is married, you should apologize to the OP's BS. It's recommended this is done in written form because hearing your voice may be too much for the other BS and s/he may not listen to what you say. A letter or email allows the BS to read it if/when they are ready – on their terms and not yours. It also allows the BS to re-read it if they want to.

Be clear about for what and why you're apologizing and have your BS send it for you.

You may also consider apologizing to your BS's family, his/her friends, and your own family and friends.

This process is similar to step 9 in a 12-step program: "Make direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others." Addressing what you did to others will allow you to put those issues aside and focus on your M.

• Be conscientious of triggers -- both yours and your BS's. Be supportive and non-judgmental of your spouse's and do not discount them. Only share yours with your spouse if s/he asks you to explain what is happening. If you do share, discuss but do not dwell on what you're experiencing. Do what you can to remove triggers from your BS's and your life or do your best to avoid them as much as possible.

• If you have children, there is debate about whether or not to tell them. Some say to tell the kids regardless of their ages. Others say telling depends on the length of the A, who the OP was, and/or the children's ages. Still others say do not tell and keep it a matter between the spouses. Whatever is decided needs to be fully and enthusiastically agreed to by your BS.

If recovery is under consideration and it's agreed to tell your children, both of you should be there when the kids are told in order to show them you two are working as a team to get through what has happened.

• At around 6 - 8 months after the day your spouse discovers your A (this is called Discovery Day or D-Day), it is common for your BS to become very angry as the reality of what you did becomes clearer. You will need to show your resolve to work through this by remaining committed to O&H, UA, meeting ENs, avoiding LBs, and taking complete responsibility for having the A. You may have to carry most of the load through this extreme time of recovery which can last between a few days to several weeks.

• If you and your BS determine to try to recover the M, according to Dr. Harley it can take 2 - 5 years for recovery to take place from the day when the decision is made -- not from the day when the affair was exposed. (ON THIS... Can anyone cite any other sources for time it takes to recover???)

We hope this information helps you do the right things for your family, your spouse, and for you. If you have any questions or if you just want to "talk" through things, consider starting a thread in "The Lighthouse" and people here will help.

You can do this.

------------------------

I'm second-guessing adding the info about it taking 2 - 5 years to recover. My thought is if the person is questioning whether or not to do this, that info might be so daunting and seemingly unbearable it might discourage them from doing any of this. Then again, having the proper expectations is, I think, a good thing so you know what will be involved.

Thoughts? On any of this?


Married 19 years
Two children - DS12 & DD10
Re: For WSs Wanting to Earn the "F" [Re: Looking4] #122146
06/16/11 10:04 PM
06/16/11 10:04 PM
Joined: Sep 2010
Posts: 3,611
wiser_now Offline
Member
wiser_now  Offline
Member
Joined: Sep 2010
Posts: 3,611
How about Ending Your Affair and Mending Your Marriage? Or Ending and Mending?

I think you've done an awesome job, L4!


A happy marriage is a long conversation which always seems too short. --Andre Maurois

Re: For WSs Wanting to Earn the "F" [Re: wiser_now] #122180
06/17/11 12:27 AM
06/17/11 12:27 AM
Joined: Aug 2010
Posts: 5,690
SoCal
Chrysalis Offline
Global Moderator
Chrysalis  Offline
Global Moderator
Joined: Aug 2010
Posts: 5,690
SoCal
pretty amazing, L4. Do you think the WS needs to be prepared for some pretty ugly PTSD triggers? Maybe as part of the 2-5 year warning?

Thank you so much for working on this.


Chrysalis
Re: For WSs Wanting to Earn the "F" [Re: Chrysalis] #122240
06/17/11 02:48 AM
06/17/11 02:48 AM
Joined: Sep 2010
Posts: 5,381
Texas
Larry Offline
Member
Larry  Offline
Member
Joined: Sep 2010
Posts: 5,381
Texas

How to remove the Scarlet A.

For much of mankind's history on this planet, men and women have had flings, affairs, engaged in infidelity, or call it what it is, Adultery. In spite of all attempts to minimize the very real negative impact that Adultery has on the participants, the spouses, children, immediate family and society itself, Adultery continues to infest and infect marriages.

For those who have done the deed, call it what you will, and wish to join with a betrayed spouse to recover what once was, there is a path available. In other words, how to remove the Scarlet A from both the body of the marriage and the soul of those who have decided that having an affair was not the smartest move they ever made.

How about that for a start?

Larry


It's often the truth we hide from ourselves that causes the most damage in life.

My old email address no longer works.
Re: For WSs Wanting to Earn the "F" [Re: Chrysalis] #122247
06/17/11 03:02 AM
06/17/11 03:02 AM
Joined: Oct 2010
Posts: 4,658
L
LadyGrey Offline
Professional Attorney
LadyGrey  Offline
Professional Attorney
L
Joined: Oct 2010
Posts: 4,658
Ok, I don't get it.

What is the big deal with the No Contact letter? It always seemed to me (1) a big old fat lie in that it is a REQUIREMENT by the faithful spouse - nothing authentic about it - not like the unfaithful spouse woke up one morning and thought "hey! Think I'll write the Guy a No Contact letter! (2) meaningless and formulaic - if the unfaithful spouse is not committed to no contact, some stupid letter their spouse coerced them into writing is not going to be much of an impediment.

Then again, why not start out recovery by adding one more lie by the unfaithful spouse? They are getting ready to be called upon to lie to their spouse about pretty much everything about their daily lives in the name of "recovery" for the next 2 years/5years/rest of their natural life/afterlife. Excellent idea to start that process with a lie.

I'll stop there.

If anyone cares, I will NEVER, EVER sign off on a recovery plan that requires a polygraph ... unless we add tea leaf readers and psychics to the list.

Preposterous. There is a REASON polygraphs are inadmissible in all 50 states and on the federal level.

Where am I anyway? Just scrolled up and saw no red.

This thread makes Lizzy NUTS, so I probably won't be back. But I'll be there when some of this stuff starts getting thrown around as gospel with an actual person.



Last edited by LadyGrey; 06/17/11 03:11 AM.

Bidden or not bidden God is present.
Re: For WSs Wanting to Earn the "F" [Re: LadyGrey] #122261
06/17/11 03:19 AM
06/17/11 03:19 AM
Joined: Oct 2010
Posts: 4,658
L
LadyGrey Offline
Professional Attorney
LadyGrey  Offline
Professional Attorney
L
Joined: Oct 2010
Posts: 4,658
Just saw the dreaded 2-5 year thing.

I am getting divorced. I do not have five years -10 percent of my life- to devote to this crap.

Bet I'm not the only unfaithful spouse who sees those numbers and says "screw that. I'm out."

And they are absolutely correct to do so - who in their right mind would sign up for that joyless, loveless, guilt driven, forever on probation, genuflecting in the general direction of your spouse five times a day plan?

No one with a particle of good sense. Small wonder no new unfaithful spouses show up or stay here or in what I non-affectionately call the red zone - bears a lot of resemblance to Stalinist group think or you are out so I submit it fits.

F the F. Not worth it. Not even close.

Last edited by LadyGrey; 06/17/11 05:09 AM.

Bidden or not bidden God is present.
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