I'm in R.
My H told the OW upfront that he would never leave me. It was supposed to be a FWB A, but she was a partner predator. He unwittingly fed her information about me, about what he wanted, about how he was unhappy, and she used it to manipulate him into catching feelings. About six months into the A, he invited me to start MC thinking that I would say no and he'd have an easy out, but what MC did was help me gain personal strength and helped both of us start looking inward instead of at each other to fix what was wrong. And he couldn't handle the juxtaposition of being unfaithful and starting to get real with each other. It was very, very lucky for me that we already were already doing the work before he confessed. ANd it was very, very lucky that the MC that he picked randomly out of the phone book was excellent, and specialized in sexual addiction, so he was well-versed in infidelity recovery.
The #1 thing that helped me personally was MC giving me a reading assignment: The Four Agreements. I don't remember if it was before DDay or after. I read the whole thing in one sitting, and then I immediately flipped back to page one and started over with a pencil to underline and take notes. It's about learning to examine the "agreements" that we've made and adhered to from society and from our FOO about who we are. This is an excerpt from the author's site:
As little children, our true nature is to love and be happy, to explore and enjoy life; we are completely authentic. But then we learn to be what others think we "should" be, and because it’s not okay for us to be what we are, we start pretending to be what we are not. By the time we are teenagers, we’ve learned to judge ourselves, punish ourselves, and reward ourselves according to agreements that we never even chose. The Four Agreements help us to break self-limiting agreements and replace them with agreements that bring us freedom, happiness, and love.
These are the Four Agreements that help one break the agreements that aren't working for us. To this day, I have found that I can literally solve any problem by applying them, especially the second one:
1. Be Impeccable with Your Word. Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.
2. Don't Take Anything Personally. Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.
3. Don't Make Assumptions. Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.
4. Always Do Your Best. Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse and regret.
So, when DDay happened, it was quite difficult for me to NOT take what he had done personally, but I kept on applying the 4Agr, which really helped me to not accept shoddy treatment.
#2: On day one, I told him that I wanted to R, but that my boundary was that he had to end the A. He refused, and we decided that we would live under the same roof for the kids until we divorced. On day two, I decided that wasn't going to work for me. I was not going to have him bear witness to my pain while he was still with her, and I asked him to leave. He moved in with his mom. Not taking any shit from the WS is a VERY IMPORTANT part of recovery for the BS, IMO. It's paramount, whether you R or D. I 100% believe that letting the WS who refuses to end the A feel the consequences of their actions is necessary in order to R.
#3 is a requirement for honesty, authenticity, and transparency, and owning our shit. I demanded the truth from H in order to R and he gave it. I demanded details. I didn't want the AP to know more than I did. I didn't want him to have any more secrets from me. I asked everything. Sometimes it was very hard to hear and very hard for him to say, but he gave it. And then we learned to be transparent with each other. Transparency isn't just the WS letting the BS check their phone and know of their whereabouts. It's sharing feelings and thoughts in real time. It's baring your soul to each other. It's letting your partner have a peak inside to how your brain works.
#4 was doing something that spoke to my soul. I went away for the weekend by myself (before R) to prove to myself that I didn't NEED him. I took a creative writing class. I laid in the grass and looked at the sky. I spent more time with my girlfriends. I went for long drives with the windows down and cranked up my music. I did things that helped me feel good and feel connected to the universe.
And #5, and this is a very important one, and relates to #1, was telling him that I was done with being criticized for not being who he wanted me to be. This one happened a few years in. I told him that this is who I am and he can take it or leave it, and I meant it. I was prepared emotionally for him to decide to leave. But he didn't, and now credits this action for truly starting the change in dynamic that made our marriage happy and relaxed.
#6 is IC. We both didn't start digging into at our own FOO stuff until this year. It's made a huge difference. I discovered that I likely have ADHD and that hypersensitivity to stimuli, which I have, often goes hand in hand with ADHD. Knowing this helped my H to stop taking my aversion to certains types of touch personally, and helped me stop feeling like a freak. We now have workarounds and I've learned to advise him on HOW to touch me in ways that feel good and don't make me freak out and want to run away.
This is a great thread. Thanks for starting it!
[This message edited by SacredSoul33 at 10:36 PM, Tuesday, September 26th]