False Reconciliation – Perhaps More Devastating than D-day

false reconciliationThere’s a devastating situation that we run into quite frequently when talking with other couples. In fact, some consider it even more devastating than the initial affair discovery.

OK, here’s the scenario (based on a true case story, btw)…You’ve discovered the affair and your spouse almost immediately breaks down and begs for forgiveness and promises that he/she will never do it again. They’re remorseful, open, honest, transparent, doting and really working hard on the relationship. Their actions are really supporting their words and you’re really feeling positive about the future and you’ve certainly reattached emotionally and physically with your spouse.

Then, for some reason, there seems to be a little backsliding. Your spouse is starting to act similarly to the way they did while they were in the affair. Kind of short tempered. Doesn’t want to talk about stuff. Thinks that maybe you’d be better off without them.

Your gut is telling you that something is up. You approach your spouse about your fears and you are greeted with anger, gaslighting and the proverbial “You’re never going to get over this, are you?”

Then it hits. It can hit a couple of different ways – either by accident or by confession – but when it hits, the devastation is immeasurable. The affair has either restarted, never ended, or believe it or not…another affair started with someone totally different this time.

This friends, is the anatomy of a false reconciliation. (Some may call it a false recovery.)

We can’t tell you how many times we’ve heard the story above (or one similar) from folks who we’re mentoring. Most of the time when we’re talking with them it hasn’t gotten to the point where the second D-day has hit yet. However, based on the story that’s being told, it is painfully obvious to us what is going on.

What is a false reconciliation?

Basically, a false reconciliation is when the wayward spouse (WS) purports to be committed to the BS, the marriage and to reconciliation, but has either taken the affair underground, reestablished contact with the affair partner in some way, started another affair or is otherwise still deceiving the BS.  It could also involve the WS deceiving the BS about their feelings toward the BS or the affair partner and/or about the reason the WS wishes to remain in the marriage.

Though we know of no statistics to support our assumption, we’re sure that many a promising affair recovery, has turned false. We did read somewhere though that false reconciliation is usually caused by the WS inability to withstand the symptoms of affair withdrawal. As mentioned, often the false reconciliation is more damaging to the BS, than the original affair.

Signs of false reconciliation or recovery include:

Difficult to contact, avoidance of sexual intimacy, lack of care and concern for the BS, crying, anger, continuing “affair fog” babble, continuing desire for ‘privacy’, has not apologized indicating a lack of remorse, still secretive, uses your hurt to justify not fully engaging in the marriage, attempts to set terms and conditions, continues to state the BS was the reason for the affair, blame shifts, slight changes in stories, continued dishonesty, coldness, distant, extreme boredom, changing work schedule, difficult to reach on phone, disappearing, still insisting on needing space, holds onto affair memento’s, discusses contacting the OP for ‘closure’, finding contraceptives, lack of commitment, a sense of insincerity, WS acts like they are doing the BS a favor, lying when confronted with evidence of ongoing contact.

While not all of these in and of themselves are absolute indicators of a false reconciliation, several of them going on at once should result in a huge red flag. And you’ve probably noticed that the list is quite similar to what you could expect as signs of an affair pre D-day. Sadly, a false reconciliation often brings back the entire wayward spouse mentality. Talk about devastating.

So what do you do when confronted with a false reconciliation?

The answer isn’t cut and dry, but there are options.

As the BS, you can…

  • Do nothing.
  • Start from scratch and repeat an attempt at the whole affair recovery process again.
  • Confront. Give ultimatums. Hope they work.
  • Kick your spouse out and file for divorce.
  • Get into therapy – either individual or couples – and try to work things out or prepare for a amicable ending of the marriage.
  • Get extreme and expose the affair in the hopes of forcing it to end and then take the lead in the affair recovery by establishing guidelines and non-negotiable conditions.
  •  Take your time.  Assess the situation and any progress and then evaluate your options.  If reconciliation is your goal, hopefully your WS will get his/her head out of their ass, end the affair and transform themselves into a healer.

A false reconciliation can be devastating and can be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.  This second (or more) time around for the BS may bring about extreme emotional reactions.  You may want to wait until those emotions settle down a bit before you make any life changing decisions.  That said, since the deception and betrayal has happened again (or never ended) it may be extremely difficult to maintain any level of patience.

If you’ve had any experiences with a false reconciliation, please share your story and how you handled it in the comment section below. And we know this probably isn’t a complete list, so if there are other options you’d like to add, please do so in the comment section. Thanks!

 

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29 Responses to False Reconciliation – Perhaps More Devastating than D-day

  1. Lynn September 5, 2014 at 7:26 am #

    My WS lied to his therapist, our MC, and me for over a year after the first DDay about his level of involvement w the OW. To the point that his therapist actually told him it sounded like I was emotionally abusing him by continually asking him to tell me the rest, bc I knew there was much more ! How do you like that?

    It has been quite a journey, to say the least…..he has done a 180 since coming clean and we are doing well, but the damage he did to his character added insult to injury and has prolonged our recovery, and it will take me much longer now to fully trust him.

    Even if I get to that point, I will never forget what he was capable of.

  2. Jeff September 5, 2014 at 8:23 am #

    My wife did the same thing. I was even told by our MC that I needed to trust her again. Shortly after that I found phone #4 and had found they had been talking and meeting up for almost 2 months, while I had moved on to trusting her. Complete break down for me. After this we separated for a few weeks. She broke it off with him. She even fooled our counselor big time. Now a year later I am no where near being able to trust her and I am not sure I ever will. The pain of this was much more devestating than the original D-day!
    To this day I don’t know if I will ever trust! She is trying to regain my trust and she understands it might be a long road. I’m just not sure I will be able to make it.

  3. Broken2 September 5, 2014 at 9:18 am #

    Basically this is my life right now. Good article. My husband cheated on me 4 years ago with a coworker. He fundamentally changed who he was and how he acted. I couldn’t believe it! He was the man I always dreamed of. I kept waiting for him to turn back into what he use to be. He didn;t and I took a chance and trusted him again. We worked so hard for 4 years to rebuild our marriage. Then 6 weeks ago he started to be a little cocky…said I was driving him away because he had to be to transparent.So I looked at his email and low and behold he had gone on Craigslist and answered 3 adds to woman seeking men. One ad had a running detail of their conversation much like what is running in my head right now. It said (him) I would love to meet you and talk with you, heres my work number, call me on Monday. She very kindly sent him pics of her topless to which he replied that he liked them. The other ad was for a threesome and the girls kindly sent him a pic of themselves naked. I couldn’t believe it. He says he was JUST curious and that he would have never met her but does that really matter. When we talk about it he acts like it was no big deal and again he is back to the “new” husband with constant I love you and your so beautiful all day long. It sickens me really. I don’t want him to touch me and I even feel repulsed when he does. Underneath I feel angry on the outside I feel nothing. He cries alot because he thinks when I graduate from college I am going to leave him. Maybe I will. I have made an appointment with a counselor and I told him if he wanted to go he could be that I don;t care one way or another. His actions will answer my question. I now have NO self esteem….I had worked so hard to get it back the first time. I am so repulsed by myself that I avoid mirrors and certainly dont even hear the beautiful part of his compliments because if I was so beautiful there would be no need to seek out others…ever. I am studying to be a counselor so I know that this is his problem within himself, not mine but the pain is still there. I love him and always will but I hate him for hurting me yet again. Maybe I am using the counselor to leave him but I think it is more to understand why he does what he does. I truly dont understand because without this miserable behavior we have a great relationship. We had our best friend here for a week right after I found out about the Craigslist thing and they brought their daughter. SHe blurted out one one mom and dad why cant you act like they do towards each other? I thought if she only knew…and where is my academy award? I can’t help but wonder what my life would be like if I didn’t have to endure this pain and I wonder if I would be happier away from what is dysfunctional behavior on his part. He is making me into someone I don;t like. I am cynical, bitchy, needy, possessive….his friend hates me because I act like this. I said the other day maybe you should tell him why I act this way. Maybe if he knew what he did to me he may not be so judgmental or maybe I dont care. I want me back. My classes are so hard and I find myself drifting off to the Craigslist conversation and it makes me angry that his behavior is making it hard for me to do the one thing that means anything to me. Yes this time around is awful but my body has numbed itself.

    • Lynn September 5, 2014 at 10:02 am #

      Broken2-You don’t deserve this! Clearly your husband has not had the personal growth occur that is needed in order to have a healthy, mature committed relationship. HE is broken! I am sorry for your pain-it comes through loud and clear.

      Keep seeing your counselor, and start believing that you deserve better, please.

      ((hugs))

      • Broken2 September 5, 2014 at 11:11 am #

        Thanks Lynn……no one does. Crazy life I live.

    • tryinghard September 5, 2014 at 2:59 pm #

      Broken2
      I so feel for you. I am so sorry this happened. Yep my husband has done a 180 as well but I constantly worry what he’s doing, thinking, behind my back. You know. YOu said his “actions” will tell you. Well I think he’s showing you by his actions what he’s going to do and that is to continue to lie, deceive, and pretty much continue to cross those boundaries that he is well aware of again, and again.

      You need to start believing yourself and what he is trying to show you. He can’t be honest.

      But here’s my thought. YOu have bigger fish to fry than your relationship with him. You have to finish you school. Is there ANY way you can just focus on that and put his sorry ass on the back burner? You’ve given him plenty of chances. Did the whole MC thing, are years past DDay, there’s really no much else you can do for the relationship if he is choosing to continue going down this very destructive road because these are only the ones you KNOW about!! Who knows what else he is doing.

      If you’re really so hell bent on making this work I suggest you get a GPS on his car and see if he’s going to prostitutes or strip joints as well. I put nothing past and incorrigible unrepentant cheater. And pretty much this is what he is showing you he is.

      Good luck to you and please stay in school and let the jerk think yes you might leave him once you graduate!!!

      • Lynn September 5, 2014 at 3:12 pm #

        Hear hear! I second what trying hard has said, Broken2.

        Keep in mind also that a relationship is a two way street, and it seems you are doing all the “heavy lifting” while he is going around acting like Peter Pan. You know, never wanting to grow up!

        Not sure if you have kids w him and that may factor in why you are still w him. He is afraid you will leave him after school? GOOD! He knows you will not be dependent on him financially then and have no good reason to stick around.

        FWIW, my CS told me that when I went back to school he felt threatened, not that I would leave but that I would be smarter than he, he did not share this w me at the time.

        I was baffled b/c my going to school was for the common good, for us. I had no idea he felt that way until 10 yrs later!

        Poor communication or what??

        Keep us up to date, Broken2, and perhaps one of these days you will change your name on this site to something more fitting of you-like, UNbroken2, or Superglue gal-know what I mean? 🙂

  4. Shifting Impressions September 5, 2014 at 1:39 pm #

    Such a good topic. I think this is one of my biggest fears. If someone can live a lie for over a year….they are capable of doing it again. This is the fear that haunts me and keeps me watching. It’s part of what makes rebuilding trust so very very difficult. I don’t think that’s whats happening in my situation but…..and it’s that but, that haunts me.

  5. tryinghard September 5, 2014 at 3:20 pm #

    Enough would be enough. I would be broken hearted again and I would be even more furious with myself for giving him that chance knowing what he was capable of and what he did. For believing in him and all those shit sandwichs I ate for our relationship and him and our business.

    But I would NOT fall apart like I did the first time. I would divorce ASAP without a second look back. I would drag him and his family and the business through the courts just for the sport of it all.

    It would be Scorched Earth philosophy. All the kings men would fall. Including the king!!!

    • Lynn September 5, 2014 at 3:32 pm #

      looking for the “like ” button Tryinghard-me too, should Humpty Dumpty fall off the wall, so to speak, all the Kings horses and all the kings men would never be able to put him together again-at least not w me!

  6. tryinghard September 5, 2014 at 3:23 pm #

    Yes what Lynn said!!

    And start looking at your beautiful self in the mirror and loving that beautiful, giving, smart woman. Protect her and love her. You are all you have girlfriend!

    New name–I love NotBrokenAnymore!!!

    • Lynn September 5, 2014 at 3:28 pm #

      🙂

  7. Tabs September 6, 2014 at 1:08 am #

    Three months after Dday, the bitch I thought was the OW turned out to be the second OW. My H had already tried to end his first affair so he could have a younger girl. The second affair didn’t end quietly since they worked & traveled together. However, I forgave my CS (well, more like stopped yelling at his face) and stayed in my marriage. If anything… “anything”… I feel is inappropriate ever happened again, I’d put Trying’s “Scorched Earth Philosophy” into full swing. Thanks Trying for giving me new philosophy!

  8. Broken2 September 8, 2014 at 11:33 am #

    Thanks Lynn and Trying…..I am just taking it day by day. Trying to stop thinking about it and study. Oh I will graduate….7 classes left and then I have to get 2000 hours to get my license. I intend to work hard and support myself by this time next year. He keeps saying you dont have to support yourself…I’ll always take care of you and I think really?….just like you take care of me emotionally? No thanks. Lynn I do have 4 children with him ages 17 to 32 and 2 granddaughters. If they knew about his latest thing…I think they would leave him! I don’t want my marriage to end but as I become more and more independent I feel less and less like getting dumped on forever. I still can’t look in the mirror. I feel old and wrinkly, fat and ugly. I hope my new counselor can help me overcome these issues. It is suppose to be marriage counseling but I think I just want me there for awhile. I dont think he sees himself as having any real issues other then he screws up occasionally. The craigslist thing was just out of “curiosity”. Anyways thanks for the support I have got to get back to study mode

  9. theresa September 8, 2014 at 1:24 pm #

    I honestly don’t know.
    But
    First thing will be the “Serenity Prayer”
    Next, look in the mirror. Is this me the same as the old me?
    I like and respect this me.

    So, Who was that?

  10. Lost33years September 9, 2014 at 11:13 am #

    3 days ago I wrote Brian and his spouse to say I am at the end of 3 years of gaslighting TT omissions lies denial hiding all this wasted time . I have found such disturbing and self destruction I have been educated to not only see hear listen and watch but to put all the pieces together and the different mental illnesses my husband has shown obvious signs of his whole life are so hard to know we have all paid the price of his untreated undiagnosed mental illnesses . I wrote I am at the point I have been denied my husband being my partner I’m ready to call it over I did everything possible. I can’t make him see how unhealthy and unbalanced his lifetime of decision making has been I have been praying for decades for the man I love. Last night we watched an old show on Netflix and my husband turned to me and said I realize to you I was a monster I never tried to be. So I asked him just what was he trying to be to me by breaking every word he said to me , by abusing me mentally emotionally financially and sexually(by risking my life with prostitutes and who’re she’s even while I was pregnant) by abusing our marriage our children and our grandchildren . I am not sure what is going on in his head or heart but I am seeing cracks into this stranger I am married to. Can he read my mind?is this another game or is he really ready to face his own internal demons? I don’t know . I have lost so much of my feelings / respect / trust= loss of love for him .I am tired of the constant battling my own knowledge and my own instincts . My husband is an abused abandoned child a child who probably watched his father molest little girls including his baby sisters he has ADHD he was hard to handle as a child he was taught by example to abandon those who love you. My husbands father had him committed as a 9 yes a nine year old to a mental hospital (yes my husband had done psychopath actions) he was abandoned there for 3 years all those years his mother fought her own mental illnesses to get him out of there( even though he turned all the gas on the stove and told his mother when she asked if he knew his sister and his mother could have died he said he knew and he didnt care) I think he was 7 maybe 8 he nevver got any help all he got was an even bigger excuse for anything he ever did that was not how most people would act or react. I no longer know what to dont husband is a sick person. If I stay or go I am forever tied to this man by my heart and by my vow to GOD and by our 8 children and by our 7 grandchildren . I have done the 180 to help me see clearly in spite of the pain . I have given all I am and I feel beaten robbed raped abused and used all for a serial cheater who is sick enough to use other abusive sick no moral no character less than human beings and sick enough to do this and lie to my face everyday for two decades makes me doubt he will ever help himself. I just don’t know any more. I don’t know if I can take any more .

    • Strengthrequired September 10, 2014 at 7:58 pm #

      Lost33years, I hope all works out for you, I’m so sorry your h has done this to you, I will never ever see the fairness of it, it is just completely wrong, and we are the ones that suffer. It’s hard to believe that the person you marry, can turn out to be someone so different to what you know. You never expect them to betray you or hurt you in any way, it doesn’t happen to you, it happens to someone else, then reality hits, no one is safe, everyone marriage can be vulnerable, and your whole life gets turned upside down and never to be the same as you knew it. Hugs to you….

  11. Sarcaz May 21, 2015 at 7:52 am #

    I’m really sorry you have all been through what you have…
    I am here as the person who cheated. When my partner took me back she wanted total honesty, transparency etc. i wanted to be and give her all of that. However – I gave her a false reconciliation as I withheld details of my affair. I didn’t want her knowing the beginnings of the affair purely because I had done more than enough damage to her. I have since told her everything which has devastated her further due to the deception and because I broke my promise to be honest and transparent. I fear now that I have totally destroyed any reconciliation with her. I really don’t want to lose her – but it’s not my choice to make.
    If this thread is still active is anyone able to offer any form of advice on how I can save my relationship. Obviously I have destroyed all trust she could have had.

    • TryingHard May 21, 2015 at 12:10 pm #

      Hi Sarcaz
      I’m a BS so you will get my experience through that filter. Just wanted you to know.

      Anyway, I get how tempting it is to only give so much information. I get that in your mind you are think altruistically wanting to “protect” her from TMI. Maybe even judging whether or not she can handle it. If your partner is asking questions it’s because she needs the truth on some level. She’s an adult. Trust me there isn’t too much else you can tell her that will hurt her any worse than the main fact that you cheated. What happens is in the begining and mostly on DDay we get information overload and when we go over the conversations we question whether you indeed said something or meant what you said ie did we really get the answers to our questions. And we forget. Plain and simple. Also we will ask questions later on to see if the answers change. For instance: “Did you love her?” “Well yes I did” ooo that one always hurts. But later we may ask the same question and given some therapy and time your answer most likely changes to “No actually I didn’t love her”. See what I’m saying? One of the reasons for the never ending and repetitive questions, we are trying to sort it out and unfortunately you’re the one with all the answers

      I asked lotssss of questions and repeated them, still do 🙂 4 years later, yeah it ain’t easy pal, but not as much as the first 18 months in. It’s all so overwhelming. I needed to know lots of details about her. I wanted to know my enemy which BTW is easier to pin on the OW than the CS because well we love you. If we did indeed pin all the onus on you I doubt there would be many reconciliations. And in my case I know for a fact the OW went after my husband, relentlessly. Doesn’t mean he shouldn’t have said NO, but regardless she played her role. I asked for NO details regarding the sex. I did not want any details on that and I made that clear in MC and in our conversations. But some women want those details. I think my husband would have rather cut his arm off than discuss the details of the sex!

      So what you have done any progress you made in the beginning brought you all the way back to step one with each new truth you give her. It’s called trickle truth and it is exasperating.

      So now what? Give her what she needs. Answer the damn questions. Don’t pretend you want to protect her when in fact you might just be trying to protect yourself. It’s her decision what she wants to do with the truth. The more honestly you answer the more likely she will try to rebuild trust. It’s when we KNOW there’s more you are hiding and trust me, we know.

      I hope I’ve helped. Good Luck to you

      So we get the initial bomb drop, tsunami of hurt, pain and endless conversations. We want to trust, soooo bad and we start to. Then we ask another question and more info comes out. Bam we are back to another DDay. Everyone here has had multiple DDays.

  12. Sarcaz May 21, 2015 at 1:13 pm #

    Tryinghard – thanks so much for taking the time to respond to me and revisit your own pain in doing so.
    Yes… I did want to protect her – I’m so tired of hurting her – but I was also extremely ashamed, riddled with guilt and embarrassment for what I had done. I had promised transparency and honesty during a time she should true strength of character by even being willing to try trust me again – and what do I do? I blow it completely. My intentions are very much transparency, openness and honesty – however when she asked questions I answered as truthfully as I could within the information she had. Obviously – that’s hardly being truthful. That’s what hurts her more than anything now – is that I allowed her to allow herself to vulnerable again. I also didn’t give her a fair opportunity to make a correct, life changing decision when she wanted me back as she didn’t have full disclosure. I took that right from her – yet claim to respect her.
    The worst of the entire sordid affair was initially I was swept up in the flattery, attention, friendship, closeness. I liked the idea of something different as our relationship hadn’t been good. The first mistake I made was not having respect for my partner at the time – or the courage to actually tell her I was unhappy etc. thin crossed the line. And the worst – most despicable thing I could have done? I married her! I have wanted to marry her for so long. But I also knew – the timing was wrong – we had too many problems before and of course… I was having an affair. I tried putting a stop to the affair on two occasions. However, the OW was so manipulative and controlling and I’m a coward and weak that when she threatened to expose I did what I needed to do to stop her. She wanted me – I allowed her to believe I wanted her – PURELY to save my partner the devastation of what I had done and whilst I towed the line – the OW got to dictate. I tried ending it again then she started threatening physical violence against my partner. Now I was trying to deal with the other place I had put her without her permission – in physical danger. From that point I did whatever I could to appease the OW in order to protect my partner. Yes, sounds absolutely sick and the whole situation is beyond disgusting. Basically I played the OW – conned her into thinking I wanted her when I didn’t. I didn’t even like her much.
    Another unbelievable truth – I didn’t even like the sex. It was demeaning and damaging to me – never mind the damage to my partner.
    Anyway… My partner and I eventually separated for 5 months – with me actually telling her I wasn’t sure who I wanted. I also told OW that I wanted to be on my own. I knew damn well who I wanted but had become so loathsome of myself and firm belief that my partner needed better than me – so I tried pushing her away. She never let go of me. Anyway… The OW Got back in touch and said I owed her an explanation on how I could play her the way I did. She always always blamed my partner for getting in the way and resented the hold my partner seems to have over me. Anyway… Once again – the deceptive lying con hat came on and I decided to con the OW again – to prove to her that my partner was not to blame for anything. It was like I wasn’t allowed to make a decision that I didn’t want the OW. So I entered a relationship with her – moved in with her so she could see – I was no longer with my partner and her and I were still not going to work. I figured this would be good and the only way I could stop the OW from threatening my partner – as she would have no one but me to blame. I lasted a month before I unravelled. OW got violent – I left. Eventually I had to get police and lawyers involved to get her to back off. The good thing though – her physical threats were directed to me and no longer my partner. Mission accomplished.
    My god… All of this is absolutely horrendous… I should be locked away from society. I’m vile. But I absolutely love and adore my partner. I so don’t want to lose her but when I mess up… God do I mess up.
    I will more than understand if you can’t respond to this – but I guess I just wanted the world to pretty much know how disgusting I’ve been to my partner.
    Am I expecting another try at reconciliation? No… Do I want that chance? Most definitely. Everything is out now… No more secrets – no more lies – but the damage is done.

  13. TryingHard May 21, 2015 at 2:47 pm #

    Sarcaz
    OK first YOU are NOT vile. You made some vile choices but YOU are not vile.

    My husband could have written your story with the exception of the OW becoming violent. He was scared shitless she would tell me everything. Said he stayed with her much longer out of fear. He was a PRO at compartmentalizing his life just as you were. But it all catches up with you and all hell breaks lose. I get the shame embarrassment guilt, he has all that too but you have to push all that aside and go for it. Let it out. Of course you’re ashamed, embarrassed, guilty, you acted a fool and made horrendous choices. Own it and learn from it and make amends. Your case with your partner is not hopeless BUT you have to be honest, you HAVE to be transparent in everything and honest in everything otherwise she will think if you try to hide something little you are hiding big shit as well.

    Like I said if she asks the question, you answer it. Don’t try to explain that you are trying to protect her because she won’t buy it. She knows you are protecting yourself, whether that is true or not. As I said my words come from the other side of infidelity not your side. I will say be careful about offering up some information. There may be some she doesn’t really want to know as in my case the sex details–DID.NOT.NEED.TO.KNOW. some women want to know and well you will have to put your big boy pants on and deal with it. It may be too much but not telling is really too much. At least if you tell she will make the decision and that decision is for her to own. I know a lot about my husbands affair and I now own my decision to stay. I can always leave and I may or I may not. That’s my choice. He can leave too. But not telling especially when asked is not a good choice. Lay all the cards out and let her make her own decision what is right for her. And quite frankly it may or may not be with you. You at least owe her that. Quit trying to control everything. You did that with the OW and well how did THAT work for you. Try being vulnerable, honest, with her and see what happens.

    Yes the damage is done and as my wise friend on this site says “That donkey can’t be unfucked!’ but you can do better going forward. You are NOT hopeless or vile. Neither is you relationship hopeless but doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result is the definition of insanity.

    Let me know 🙂

    • Sarcaz May 22, 2015 at 5:58 am #

      Thank you for your response.
      Unfortunately, I was a person who was consumed and driven by fear. A complete coward whereby I put my fears first – not my partner – and in doing that – that put the OW first – even when I didn’t want to be with her at all. I have been working on those parts of me that helped me make such vile decisions as those parts of me need to drastically change.
      I have now told my partner everything. To my knowledge – there is nothing else to say about the whole sordid thing. However, because I said the same thing a couple of months ago – and then now tell her otherwise – how is she to believe I am actually telling the truth. I know she can’t trust me – I know she can’t actually believe a word I say due to what I’ve done – but I also don’t want her thinking that I’m playing her now. I don’t care about my guilt, shame, embarrassment and horror at what I’ve done to my partner. My feelings were self inflicted – hers weren’t. I just want to be able to try come up with some plausible, possible, real solution that she will be able to cope with and I’m just not sure what. She has been reading articles and forums on the net and recently mentioned one wherein it was stated that if I am serious about what to save the relationship then I have to take the lead. I’m not sure I quite understand that at all. How am I supposed to take the lead. I am the offending party and my partner is the one who now calls the shots. Decisions are hers – when and how she needs to make them. The only way I can take some sort of lead is try come up with some ground rules or something she can gauge my words again – but I have nothing as I’ve broken all those before – so I just worry that she would like me to take the lead and if I don’t know how – she will think I’m not serious. Funny thing is – I’m more serious about wanting to save this relationship than anything in the world. Her and our relationship is the most important thing to me. I know I have pissed all over it and showed over and over that it wasn’t important – but it is. If she finds that she can’t continue with it – then I will have to respect that – but I will never give up trying until the day she actually says to stop trying.
      She also read on the net that “once a cheater, always a cheater”. Obviously, I disagree with this. I know some people are serial cheaters. I have done this once – and just seeing the damage and devastation it has caused my partner is more than enough reason for me to know I will NEVER do this again. I know my own feelings don’t really come into things being the WS, but it has marked me. It has made me question the person I am etc and how the hell was I capable of being like this towards my partner. I don’t think I will ever figure out the how – as there is absolutely NO excuse to cross the line.
      I think perhaps if I say to my partner that I understand she cannot make any decision right now and that I fully understand that – but if I do everything in my power to show her that I am deathly serious about her and our relationship – that I will never ever again do something like this to her, if she perhaps observes to see whether my words and actions match up etc – then maybe her and I should weather the storm – and if, when the storm clears, she decides that she does want to be with me, then I will be with her – and if not – then at least she will know she has at least made a decision based on full disclosure. I don’t want to sway her decision – but I want her to know that I’m serious, I love her more than anything and I am willing to do whatever it takes. I know I have said this before and that my words are pretty much meaningless now – but I can only show her by the person I am now evolving into.
      If you have any thoughts on anything I may be able to present to my partner on ground rules – or anything like that – then I would love to hear it.
      Thank you so much.

  14. antiskank May 21, 2015 at 6:36 pm #

    TH – Well said! I agree completely. This is an issue I am still dealing with, too. the trickle truth is so frustrating and sets back all the progress to square one. You get to a point where you no longer believe anything that the CH tells you after so many lies. Are they just telling you what they think you what to hear, trying to keep the waters smooth? I don’t know if I will ever be able to trust him again.
    I have never really made a clear decision to stay or rather to let him stay, I guess because I still don’t have all the questions answered. He is an avoider and keeps hoping that given enough time, it will all go away. I feel like he tiptoes around conversations and tries to avoid alone times in case the subject comes up – NOT cool! If only they understood that the ONLY way to rebuild a marriage and be forgiven is to come clean and answer ALL of the questions and be open to any discussion the BS feels is necessary for their recovery.
    No kidding they should be embarassed and feel guilty – they have destroyed the life of the person that loves them most in the world. It takes someone with some major issues to do such a thing!

    Sarcaz – You may have done some foolish things in dealing with your situation, but it sounds like you get it now! That’s a huge step forward in repairing the damage. Take the advice given by TH. As someone who has been betrayed, she can completely understand what you need to be doing now. Be open to what you need to do and DO IT!!! Good luck:) We all love a success story

    • Sarcaz May 22, 2015 at 6:17 am #

      I’m sorry to read a bit of your story and that you are going through this….

      Yes, trickle truth is worse than the actual deed itself. In my experience – my partner’s reaction to what she has now learnt is worse than me actually having an affair. And that is because I promised to be transparent, to not bullshit any more etc – but I went ahead and broke all those promises – and why? Simply because I didn’t want to hurt her any further – and also to cover my own shame and guilt – so once again – this put me first and not my partner. It has set her back further than the first time and it is more than understandable. I wasn’t trying to say things to keep waters smooth – I have more than learnt that I cannot keep the waters smooth and I have also learnt that I cannot protect her from what has already happened – so in me withholding the whole truth in order to try and protect her from more hurt was as stupid and vile as me actually having an affair.

      Perhaps you should give your WS an ultimatum of some sort to gauge how serious he is.

      For me, my partner said that this was now my last chance – very last chance – to tell her the truth and if I’m incapable of respecting her enough to actually tell her the truth – then that’s it.
      That for me was the scariest thing because I know I love her deeply. No, of course I didn’t want to hurt her more and I knew it would – as it has made an absolute sham of our marriage. Our marriage has been based on lies from the word go – but because I lacked the courage back then to actually say we could set a date for a later time as I could marry her then – and then told her everything – things would in all likelihood be very different now.
      I don’t know why I have done all the things I have done – I have questioned and soul searched – and I don’t think I will ever know why. In trying to answer the why – it makes it sound like mere excuses to me and there is absolutely no excuse whatsoever to cross the line.

      I really really hope you are able to find a way forward – but I do believe you have to put yourself first until such time as there is a little more trust – without trust – there is nothing. With the intention of wanting to build trust again – that is hope.

      The mere fact you are still currently together and the fact that you have yet again shown that you are allowing yourself to be vulnerable – shows you have an inner strength – shows you have a strong character – so when you start doubting your self worth – try remember this.

      He should not be trying to avoid conversations with you at all. I have learnt than in order to take full responsibility – I need to see the damage, I need to hear and see the hurt, witness the loss that the betrayed person experiences, they experience a loss of self – and that is ONLY because what we have done to that person – so in order to take full responsibility, we NEED to see exactly what we have done.

      I wish you well – and I really hope you find a way forward that is good and safe for you.

  15. Sarcaz May 22, 2015 at 6:44 am #

    Something else I would like to say – what I have done to my partner has changed us both as people – and technically, we don’t know each other the way we once did – so I feel that we need to also be spending time on getting to know each other again.

    Tryinghard and Antiskank –
    I would like to ask you something else and I’m not sure you are able to answer – and if it’s too painful for you then I understand. What I’m struggling with is not knowing how to be around my partner currently. Clearly, I can’t just be how I was a couple of months ago – little things like sitting watching tv together – I would always hold her hand or place my hand on her lap – I can’t do all the little things now to show I love her. If she cries – more than anything I want to just put my arms around her – to try give her some sense of how hugely sorry I am and to offer some sort of comfort – if that is even possible. If I don’t do any of those things – I feel like I’m still a fraud – but in doing any of those things I feel like I may, again, be putting her in a place she doesn’t want to be in. She has never ever rejected me in any manner – no matter what I have done – and if she did – she would feel horrible – so I don’t want to be taking advantage of knowing that for my own selfish gain – and at the same time – I don’t want her thinking that if I don’t do that – then I don’t care. I do not want to appear as uncaring in the least.

    Are you able to offer any sort of advice on what you think is best I do so I do not screw up again. I know she needs space – but I don’t want her thinking that I’m ready to bail on her because I’m not prepared to do that. I also know that she won’t be able to tell me she loves me etc – but I still want her to know I love her. I have said to her that I know and understand she can’t tell me she loves me – but I still want her to know that I love her.
    If you have any advice on this – I would so appreciate it.

    • TryingHard May 22, 2015 at 10:35 am #

      Sarcasz
      I really don’t know the inner workings of your relationship so all I can give is my personal experience. All I know is my husband and I spend a lot of physical touching time. But we are almost 4 years out. However this started very early in recovery. Yes when I cried he would hold me. I would fight him but he would still gently hold me.

      A BS will vacillate from wanting to pummel you to taking you back to the bedroom and ripping your clothes off. It’s called hysterical bonding. All that calms down. Look her emotions are right there front and center. I don’t know what she’s doing to heal. You say reading etc. and I am sure you don’t know what to do or say next. Let her take the lead. As far as instigating a conversation one thing that is recommended by therapists is to set aside a time of day where both of you know you are going to discuss the 500lb gorilla in the room. This takes the pressure off you knowing when to instigate a conversation or not, and her ruminating about a question or thought. In the beginning those conversations are about an hour and that hour goes by very quickly. The more she hears and gets it and gets the information SHE needs to make her decision the shorter and fewer those conversations will be.

      She will ask the why, and didn’t you think of me. My answer to the why, because there is NO good answer. Plain and simple you did it because you could, you felt entitled, and you were sure she would never find out and no you did not in fact think of her and how she would be hurt because it was all about you. There will be questions that are easy to answer who, what, when, where. It’s the “how could you” questions that are hard and only she will be able to figure out.

      I believe “once a cheater always a cheater”. My husband cheated, and lied, and betrayed me, was disloyal, gossiped about me, gave her marital assets, etc. I won’t for one minute deny he did that or excuse it. I know he is perfectly able to do it again. Only he can control his behavior, not me. I can only choose to try and forgive and move forward. I watch is actions not his words.

      Look you cheated. You will therefore always be a cheater. Doesn’t mean you will act on it again if you do the work to figure out WHY, for yourself, you cheated. For women the lies and the betrayal and the scheming is always worse. For men it’s always the physical act of sex that’s worse. The fact that you continued to lie after disclosure only further eroded your integrity. One thing you can do is don’t lie–ABOUT ANYTHING. She may very well have a GPS on you. She asks where you went, be honest. She may very well have a key logger on your computer watching everything your are typing, be HONEST. She may very well have cloned your phone, be HONEST. There’s many ways to catch a person lying these days, and if someone is hell bent on finding the truth it’s pretty easy to do. Just be honest, open, transparent and caring. Tell her you are sorry, over and over again if need be. Sign a post nuptial agreement with her that if you cheat, she gets it all. Do whatever it takes to make up to her and prove you are worthy. She still may not accept it and well too bad so sad for you.

      One thing else. Put all you self flagellation aside. This is NOT about healing you, it’s about healing her. Put your embarrassment, shame, guilt, self loathing aside. This is not helping her. It just pisses her off that you were that stupid to do that to yourself. Own it and apologize for it and do better.

  16. Cotton Candy June 21, 2015 at 1:33 pm #

    Sarcaz,

    I hope that you can work out your problems with your wife. It sounds like you know what to do but are just afraid to do it.

    Your story touched me as Im going through something very similar with my boyfriend. Ive had 3 ddays. All involving the same woman-he insists that it is over but I have found out that they are still having contact and he says they are just friends. We all know what that means and I am just devastated.

    I almost thought you were him in disguise, except you seem to love your wife. I don’t think my boyfriend really loves me-why would he continue to do the thing that hurts me the most if he did?

    Ive become a permanent private eye. I hate that about myself. I decided last night that im no longer going to check and verify. I know that our relationship is going to end because I don’t see how he could ever prove to me that they aren’t having contact anymore. Im so sick about this loss-it is so unnecessary. Why didn’t he just leave me for her? We aren’t married, we have no children, why torture me?

    I thought he was such a good man-I know im sick now because I still believe in my heart that he is. He just doesn’t love me enough. He cant humble himself -he is very prideful.

    I wish you luck-my advice would be humility and honesty. Why is that so difficult? Don’t you have any respect for her as a human being? She obviously loves you-why cant you love her in return by giving everything to her. Fight for her-bare your soul-don’t hold anything back.

    I think that the thing that hurts me the most is that my cb wont fight for me-he wont humiliate himself with the details-its not really about me not being able to handle it -its about him revealing the truth.

    She was humiliated repeatedly by you-do the same for her and she will pay attention. I guarantee she is thinking-why cant he just love me? I know that’s what I always come back to.

  17. TryingHard June 22, 2015 at 10:21 am #

    Cotton Candy
    I have two words for you that I’m pretty sure you know but don’t want to hear.

    GET OUT!!! Get out NOW before it’s too late and you have too much invested in this idiot. No he is NOT a good person. He may love you he may not, doesn’t make a difference, he loves HIMSELF more.

    Seriously GET OUT while you still can without children or financial loss, just GET OUT!

  18. Webbgurl October 9, 2015 at 12:38 pm #

    This is the truth.
    Wayward spouses are like teenagers or animals in heat. I believe Anyone can change, BUT WHAT ARE YOU WILLING TO DO, or BE?
    If you want what Trying Hard says about Cheaters to NOT BE TRUE, get in touch with YOUR INNER MESS.
    Stop all two faced behavior, STAT.
    Get help, and FO WHAT your therapist, pastor, or whomever tells you.
    Don’t look at it as being on good behavior to win her back, BUT CHANGING WITIN, so YOU LIKE WHO YOU SEE.
    If you do that, even if she leaves, you’ll be better.
    Maybe, she’ll see the new, improved person and love you all over again

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