I guess it's time to share my story so here goes. I posted it on another thread so I'm just going to copy it here.
After 17 years of marriage where my WH relentlessly cheated on me and gas lit me about it while also emotionally abusing me into a life of pure misery, I sat on the floor of my walk-in closet with a loaded gun in my mouth working up the guts to pull the trigger. For all of those who say that informing the OBS of an A only causes more pain, I disagree. Had anyone thought enough of me to tell me about my WH's cheating at any point in all of his years of cheating, I would have seen it as an act of compassion because doing so would have spared me the pain of being gas lit for all of those years.
Out of nowhere, my daughter's school called and said that they were letting out early for bad weather. I did not want her to be the one to find my body so I put the gun away and reached out for help instead. That day was my absolute rock bottom. I knew something had to give and unfortunately, I was all give out.
I soon started counseling. It took an entire year of intense counseling to claw my way out of the trenches enough so that I finally had the strength to confront my WH so that D-day could even happen. Even though we didn't know it at the time, my WH was a narcissist and he used emotional abuse as his weapon of choice. On D-day, my WH only admitted to what I refused to allow him to deny. Of course, any admission on his part was accompanied by an onslaught of blame shifting so that every selfish choice he made was all of my fault. According to him, I was the root of all of the evil he had inside of him.
Needless to say, the first year after D-day was completely horrible. During a joint counseling session, WH threatened to divorce me if I wouldn't do everything his way. By his way, I mean rug sweep his A's so that I never talk about it and so that I act as though they never happened. His way also included me accepting full responsibility for all of his cheating as well as acknowledge how horrible of a wife and human being I was by realizing that my imperfections gave him the right to cheat on me.
Both my counselor and I read him the riot act and let him know just how unrealistic and toxic his expectations were. WH toned it down, but refused to believe that he was the source of any of our problems. Like I said, the first year after D-day was pure hell. WH did only what was necessary to keep me from divorcing him while resenting every single bit of it. He put up with me talking about his A's and asking him questions about it, but was angry and defensive each and every time. He read "How To Help Your Spouse Heal From Your Affair" by Linda J. MacDonald, but dismissed every bit of it and refused to implement any of it because he truly believed that none of it applied to him because he and his case was "special" and unique.
He continued to lie to me about everything and would only admit to what I caught him lying about thanks to his ever changing stories and answers about it all. It infuriated him anytime I would tell anyone about his cheating. According to him, him cheating wasn't the problem and wasn't what damaged his reputation. Me telling people was the sole problem. I should add that after D-day, WH took his last A underground and it only ended when I outed them to their co-workers. WH had no intention of stopping his A until me outing them forced his hand.
Like I lot of BS's, I clung to every trace of hope that my WH was getting it. I wanted to believe that him not wanting a divorce was the same thing as him wanting to R. It wasn't. He had no desire to change anything about himself. He wanted our marriage to stay exactly how it was before D-day. He was merely riding it out until things went back to his kind of normal. WH continued to openly flirt with OW right in front of me and he was bent on getting even with me anytime I acted outside of his abusive expectations of me. He would lash out at me with hurtful statements just to get me to get off of his back and quit talking about his A's.
After a year of that crap, I couldn't take it anymore. I could no longer wear my rose colored glasses while trying to cling to hope that he was "getting it." I finally saw the token gestures of love and kindness that I got along the way for the cheap manipulation tools that they were. Our "R" was so far off of the rails thanks to my WH's dysfunction that I had no choice but to finally accept that our marriage was beyond repair.
My WH's ongoing lies and unwilling TT was the straw that broke the camel's back for me. I was finally DONE. That was at the beginning of Oct of 2014. Since it was just before the holiday season, I informed WH that I would be filing for divorce after the holidays were over so that our daughter could have one last holiday with her parents under the same roof. That gave him time to find another place to live while saving up for the move and impending divorce.
After that, I did a hard 180 while I waited for the holidays to be over. It took all that I had to even tolerate his presence. I stopped doing anything and everything for him. No cooking or allowing him to eat food that I had purchased. No cleaning up after him. No doing his laundry. I didn't bother with being polite to him and I darn sure had no interest in being his friend. If it wasn't about our daughter or our divorce, I didn't tolerate it being discussed. I would immediately end the attempt at conversation by telling him that if he couldn't respect my boundary about discussing only our daughter or our divorce, then he needed to move out immediately. That worked to shut it down.
I started making plans for life after WH. My daughter and I made plans for a vacation to celebrate the freedom I would have once we divorced. Since I was no longer slaving away at doing everything for my WH, I had a lot more time and energy to devote to myself and my daughter. I was really looking forward to being single again. I knew that it would be a while before I was ready to date again, but I was even excited about the prospect of doing so once I was ready to.
OTOH, my WH was thrilled with the 180 at first. I was no longer bugging him with my feelings or about his A's. He was as smug and selfish as ever. I didn't care. I wasn't doing the 180 for him. I was doing it for me. After a while though (when he ran out of clean clothes and grew hungry for a home cooked meal), WH snapped. He demanded that I clean up his mess at his desk, demanded that I cook him something real to eat, and demanded that I wash his laundry because he was out of clean clothes. I laughed at him and told him to do it himself because kissing his butt was no longer a part of my job description.
WH threw a massive hissy fit and threatened me with leaving to go to one of his OW's house. I told him that was a great idea because I was sick of putting up with him and I suggested he gather up all of his dirty laundry to take with him so that she could wash them for him too. While he was throwing his laundry in a trash bag, I was quite snarky about it and quipped "It's about time your OW has to do more than just spread her legs. I'm sure scrubbing your shit stained underwear is really going to put her in the mood for some thrilling romance so you two lovebirds have fun."
I guess that took the wind out of his sails or something because he started crying big ole tears as he took his clothes out of the trash bag and started shoving them into the washing machine. I did break the 180 a little bit by showing him how to turn on the washing machine after he begged. After that, he spent a lot of time moping around and crying while begging me not to divorce him. I ignored him and just kept doing the 180.
I didn't know it (and truly didn't care), but WH went back and read "How To Help Your Spouse Heal From Your Affair" again and he contacted my counselor for IC. I found out about it when the counselor asked me if I was okay with him helping my WH. I agreed to it because I didn't wish ill will on my WH despite everything that had happened. During the IC, he was diagnosed as NPD. This coincided with him meeting another guy who was NPD who treated WH the same way he treated me and our kids. It really opened his eyes and became a turning point for him. He knew he didn't want to be anything like that guy while acknowledging just how much he was like him.
Two months after I started the 180 (right after Thanksgiving), WH begged me to talk to him about our marriage. During Thanksgiving, I deliver meals to people in our community who are alone on the holidays so I had a little bit of a soft spot going so I agreed to listen to what he had to say. WH completely poured it all out. Everything. And I mean everything.
He finally came clean with everything he had been lying about and admitted to why he had lied about it (he was being a coward). He admitted to everything he had done wrong both before and after D-day while taking full responsibility for all of it. He told me that he knew that I had no reason to believe a single word he had to say, but that he would spend the rest of his life proving himself to me and making it all up to me regardless of whether I divorced him or not. He begged me to watch his actions.
It was a pretty intense conversation. I didn't budge on divorcing him, but I did start watching his actions while I thought things over. Over those three weeks, I didn't see a trace of the selfish guy I once knew. I decided to give it a try, but on my terms. I had no interest in being in limbo ever again so if we were going to do this, it was either going to be all in on both of our parts or I was going to be all out. On Dec 21st, I made that decision but did not tell WH. I put a rush order on new rings for both of us. The rings arrived Dec 23rd and I wrapped them and hid them under the tree. It was WH's only present.
We have a tradition that each person is allowed to open one present on Christmas Eve. WH wasn't expecting any presents at all so he was a bit shocked when I tossed him his tiny present. When he opened it, he asked me "Does this mean.." I opened my matching box, put on my ring, and held it up for him to see. I had never seen him cry like that ever. Poor guy got so worked up that he went to the bathroom and puked. When he came back, I told him that if we were going to do this, we were going to do it right this time. He more than agreed.
In the year since then, WH has not let me down even once. He did a complete and total turn around with his attitude and his behavior. To me, he has become and has been the model fWS since then. He leaves no room for doubt that I am his number one priority and that he does not take me for granted at all. I have had a lot of healing to do not only from the 18 years that he cheated on me, but also from the disastrous first year after D-day. He has consistently been my biggest supporter in that bar none. I truly have the husband and marriage of my dreams and I have no regrets about having given him this one last chance to get it right. He has surpassed my expectations day in and day out for over a year now.
I can tell you that I am the last person on earth who would have ever thought I would still be married today or that our marriage could actually be a healthy and productive one. My WH busted his ass to pull our marriage back from the ashes and I'm glad he did. I have hesitated to share my story on the Positive Recon Story thread because I guess I wanted to make sure that WH wasn't just putting on a show to win me over. After a year, I can say with confidence that it is no show and that it's for real. My WH has changed for the better since D-day, but I have changed for the better too. While I wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy and I darn sure wouldn't go through a repeat, but I can say that this journey has been worth all of the hard work that it took to get us here.