This is basically a rewritting of my profile plus some added new material :)
I can't believe it's been 10 years. I found out she was having affairs online and maybe for real - I couldn't find out because of how stupid I was*. She was really careful and stopped everything she was doing so I did not get to know for sure if this was really everything. She kept saying this was it but I caught her in lies after lies so I obviously didn't trust her anymore.
I thought deep down that I would end up doing what she done to me just as a form of revenge. I never did it. During my worse moments I actually thought about trying it out and went online but I just could not do it. I am really glad I did not do anything like that. But I only use instant messaging nowadays for work and for the occasional family buy milk discussion.
I was able to crack down on all forms of communication and as far as I know nothing has happened since then. I told her if I found anything else we were history and I found nothing so far. We did not have kids at the time.
A lot has happened since then. First the good news: we have two beautiful children (a girl in 2002 and a boy in 2004) and she has never done it again - as far as I know - but I am pretty sure since I have a lot of control in what she does. Our life is as good as it could be.
The bad news is actually what happened to me for a while. I had become extremely cynical and numb to life. With the exception of my kids whom I always loved dearly everything else didn't bring me too much happiness or sadness. It is really strange. I was in a point that the only reason I would care if she did it again would be because of our kids but not because of our 'love' – I actually did not care anymore. I didn't believe in love anymore and I didn't think I would ever love someone like I did (you know in an innocent soul mate-crap way :). I trust no one and I think humanity sucks :)
I didn't commemorate my birthdays or our wedding anniversaries. I still bought flowers on valentines though it always felt like I was just going through the motions. Even if I ended up divorcing in the future (not likely now) I felt that I would never trust anyone the way I trusted her.
In 2009 I realized that now I was the one with the problem and then I started counseling again. It's been too much time and it's not fair to us (or to our family), not fair to me. I wanted to live life and be happy again. I managed to heal, forgive her and we are now the perfect couple. As happy as ever. We wouldn't be able to make it if (1) she hadn't stopped or if (2) she wasn't remorseful. Luckily she did everything right.
How did we do it?
We don't hide anything from each other. We know all our e-mail passwords and we both agreed to have a permanent software to record what we did online in case we need it still. We still have the agreement though in truth we do not have it installed for years now. But we still ask the other one to check our e-mail and look for something when on the road. We both have full control of our cell phone list and credit cards and bank accounts. Our life is transparent for both of us. Although she could still do it (or I for any reason) the price would be too high – our kids.
In 2010/2011 I had several breakthroughs and I finally forgave myself for being such a fool. She used to find this amusing - i.e. that I managed to forgive me but not her yet at that time. Later, I finally managed to forgive her and we are finally past the affairs.
How did I forgive her?
It took years. But I realized what was bothering me: she was still blameshifting, even if a little. She was still minimizing. I used to call that her "I'm-not-Hitler defense". There was always someone that did something worse than what she did. So I called her on that. She loved someone else for 6 months, she can't deny that. She can't say it wasn't real love. She can't say it was a fantasy. It was real, she did it, she would have to own it. I also had a lot of help from SI when I was in this stage, writing my forgiveness letter, etc.
So I offered forgiveness but IF AND ONLY IF she stopped blameshifting and she stopped minimizing. She accepted the conditions. Still, forgiveness is a process you have to do it every day, but it gets easier every day. She also sometimes back pedaled and so did I, but we soon set things straight and we were able to move on.
What I have learned and what are my values/beliefs now:
- Don't sell yourself short. If your SO has an affair and you still want to R demand unconditional surrender: full remorse, no "I'm sorry but"s and full accountability. She must be by your side and supporting your decisions. Fuck the OMs. If you don't value yourself nobody will. 180 is your weapon of choice. It can lead to divorce but you'll have to live with yourself forever and that's the best way to do it.
- For me, there will never be a "fence". If you are on the fence you have already decided. I'll move on. If you are not NC, if you are still doing and hiding things that's it. This is not R and you have to do a full 180 in the direction of divorce until there is proof this is not happening again.
- I can snoop her whenever and however I want. I won't feel guilty about this. I felt a little guilt at the beginning. Not anymore.
- She was my first and only. I only had sex with her (online or otherwise). I don't feel the need to go and try someone else. Don't get me wrong, I love sex. I believe I am (at least now) an "alpha" male and I had opportunities during all these years. I just don't think it is worth it. She is and always will be enough for me. We have a great sex life, several times a week and sometimes twice a day. I will never hurt someone like I have been hurt, especially someone I love. When I die, I'll have in my grave "always faithful" :)
- There are no second chances. I am not a forgiving man and it was very hard for me to forgive her in the first place. But no matter what happens I will always love our years together and I will always respect and treat her right because of our kids. I won't jeopardize both our relationships with our kids even if she has a new affair. In my view kids always come first. I wouldn't stay married though that's for sure.
- We have our daily time together. Every night we spend at least one hour with each other - hugging, snuggling. It's the best time of the day.
- Tell each other your feelings. Don't hide whatever you feel. Be specific in how something hurts you. You must solve every little issue if you want to get better. Do it again and again if necessary. Some things take way longer than others.
Do I still hate the OMs?
It's been more than a decade. Of course I still hate them and always will.
Well, it's 2012 and it doesn't hurt anymore. IT DOESN'T! WOOHOO! I'm so happy!!
[This message edited by nuance at 6:49 PM, January 28th (Saturday)]