For those of us who have cheated and have been allowed to stay in and try to repair our marraiges, how long has it taken to get to a real comfortable spot? I mean the spot where the affair isnt the only thing thats talked about on a daily or regular basis?
Unfortunately, the affair or questions about it are a daily occurance around me. There are so many comparisons to the other woman that arent even practical.... there really is no comparison between my wife and the other woman. Now when I say a daily occurance, I dont mean that we fight about it every day...but just little questions like..."do you think that if I hadnt stopped the affair, would it still be going on?" or things similar.
Just any number of completely random garbage reminds her of the affair. I know that therapy is helping her/me/us, but we hardly ever go a day without some kind of discussion about it. For me, I immediately go on the defensive. I try not to go there, but sometimes the questions go from simple questions to an attack.... and when that happens, I cant behave in the fashion my wife wants me too. I am not too perceptive as to her feelings. I am confusing hurt and pain with anger and I end up missing my cues. When she is hurt or angry, she wants to be held and reassured that we are going to be ok. But if the safe environment to openly talk about the affair is not there, I go on the defensive....
Hi brice... I joined this group, specifically to respond to this post. I'll let you know up front, that I'll probably unjoin soon after this as I can't relate to this group... as it's titled and defined. Perhaps, this is why so few have joined. Or, perhaps, too many are unable to accept (own up) to the label... adulterer, adulteress, cheater! Anyhow, please... don't take offense if and when you see me disappear from here.
... I've heard the analogy that a breach of trust (i.e., an affair) is like a pristine piece of paper that's been wrinkled... and, once wrinkled, any and all attempts to smooth it out never fully restores it back to its original perfection and beauty. Does this mean that the marriage is doomed because of the affair? No. But, it does mean that the relationship will never be as it was before the affair. The affair wrinkled it... only time will tell if it destroyed it.
Why the affair even happened? I don't know... I'm not privy to the "whys" and the "how comes"... and, at this point, the reason may be moot. But, suffice it to say, people (men and women) typically "look" when one's (emotional and/ or physical) needs aren't being fulfilled. I'm not justifying affairs, mind you... this is just my observation of human nature.
With that said, I believe that time... mental distance... will definitely help in mending your wife's hurt and pain. But, who can place a time frame on how long that takes? Some people aren't that resilient and need a considerably long time to heal. Then, there are those who have a need to hold onto anger... because anger/ rage is a means to vent the inner struggle of tension and frustration. And as of now, anger may be your wife's only immediate and accessible emotional outlet... it helps her... or at least, she thinks it helps... to lash out. Anger is a display of her pain. But, being the recipient of such ire... on an ongoing basis... can and will take its toll. No one can take an mental beating on regular basis without consequence. She has to be made aware that the hostility, in the long term, will only polarize.
I think that you need to be maybe a bit more patient and less defensiveness with her. She, on the other hand, will have to have to learn to refrain from accusatory, counter-productive remarks that only fuel the fires of discontent... which, in turn, places you on the defensive. Then, comes the guilt. It's a vicious cycle.
You say that she wants to be "held and reassured"... what she needs validation! But, so do you! Who knows, maybe it was the lack of validation that led to the affair? Again, I don't know the specifics and the particulars of why it happened... I don't need to know... I don't judge and I don't look down on anyone for having had one. There's a reason why people "look"... and, it's not always about sex. More often than not, there's innate need for acceptance and approval, which often goes hand-in-hand with some form of physical/ sexual intimacy.
The thing is that you both have to find a way to transform the conflict into closeness. Therapy is a great start. And, I applaud you both for going that route... I'm sure it can't be easy for either one of you. I highly recommend an exceptionally good book... in fact, I think it's the paragon of self-help/ relationship books. It's titled, "High Conflict Couple," by Alan Fruzzetti. And, although it's mainly aimed at reactive couples who are prone to argue and play the blame game... it also delves into developing skills, techniques and ways to build better relationships through effective communication.
Thanks for posting, but I wish you'd reconsider unjoining. I found what you wrote to be very interesting, well thought and most importantly very informative.
I've read more self help books in the last 8 months than I thought I'd ever be able to read. I have found some to be very theraputic and most have brought me to a sense of enlightenment or spirituality, if you will. I will look for the book that you mentioned, as I have plenty of time to read with this being down time at work.
For the sake of things, we (therapists, my wife and myself) think there were numerous factors which led to the affair. Part of it revolved around my depression disorder and a bad parental relationship. (My depression disorder is compromised of unworthiness, no self confidence, lack of assertiveness with women, low self worth...etc.) Other contributing factors are a employment situation that is unfavorable, not being busy enough. Basically a perfect storm for distruction, and how you addressed the above statement was in line with what Ive been reading and learning with therapy.
My wife does need validation, but she also needs to be physically held/hugged, and sometimes doesnt create an emotional environment where this is feasible.
WE both are learning. I just want to have as much information as possible, and i thought the titling of this thread would elicit a few positive responses.
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