We thought we’d share 10 elements of a successful marriage based on some experiences from our recent trip.

a successful marriage

Well, we finally made it back home!  Our trip was wonderful to say the least. We had fun.  We relaxed. We hiked – a lot.  We were also faced with some challenges. 

Basically, these past two weeks together were a microcosm of our entire relationship and marriage.  As a result, we thought we’d share some things that we experienced during our trip that demonstrate what it takes to have a successful marriage.

If you recall from our last post we wrote before leaving, we had some concerns that made us a bit nervous:

  • The thousands of miles that we would be traveling
  • Limited access to showers and bathrooms (a main issue for Linda)
  • Bears
  • Leaving our ailing 13 year-old dog behind
  • Wondering if our son and his friends would destroy our house
  • Our fitness level for tackling strenuous hikes at higher elevations
  • The fact that our daughters were in Europe at the same time
  • If  we would be ready to kill each other by the time our vacation was done
  • If we would want to come back home

Thankfully, none of our concerns wound up being an issue – except for one.  But we will get to that in a bit.

First of all, what are some of the essential elements of a successful marriage or relationship? We figure that most relationship experts would rattle off such things as:

  • Trust
  • Love
  • Being best friends
  • Practicing kindness and respect
  • Having a shared purpose
  • Managing conflict
  • Staying committed to one another
  • Effective communication
  • Patience

Without question these are absolutely essential elements for any successful relationship and we will address a few of them in this post.  However, we came up with some more that we will touch on from the context of our trip.  Perhaps a few you never considered…

elements of a successful marriageHave tolerance for one another.   

Being together literally 24/7 for two straight weeks – for really the first time ever – required us to tolerate each other to a higher level.  There was really no way for either of us to escape from the other so we had to make it work. 

Now, we both are normally pretty easy to live with but regardless of that or how well we get along in general, there will be times where we get upset or annoyed with one another for one reason or another.   When that would occur (rarely, by the way) we would express our displeasure, talk about it, resolve it and move on.  There was no build up of emotions or resentments.

Linda tolerated my crazy driving and my displeasure with slowpokes in the fast lane.  She tolerated my obsession with carrying bear spray and yelling “Yo bear!” every 2 minutes while hiking.  I would tolerate her requirement to get all prettied up to go on a hot and dusty trail.  Nothing major, but tolerance none the less.

Willingness to bare it all (Let go of your modesty).   

We’ve talked quite a bit about transparency in the past but this goes a little beyond that in our opinion. 

Even to some folks who have been together for ions and have a high level of comfortableness with their partner may have trouble at times with being exposed in potentially embarrassing situations.  There needs to be trust established for a person to completely bare themselves to another.

There is nowhere to hide when it’s just two of you in a small car or a two-person tent.

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We can think of two such situations that occurred while we were gone that demonstrate this.  Both sort of embarrassing, but we’re gonna tell you anyways.

Linda had the wonderful fortune (sarcasm) of starting her period the day we left on our trip.  As a 50 something woman, her periods aren’t exactly as predictable as they were when she was younger.  Well, this particular period was like the Colorado River.  It flowed long and hard!  She had to stop often to “take care of things” which often meant in front of me.  Even after 33 years together it was hard for her because she was somewhat embarrassed, but I surely didn’t think anything of it.

Similarly, after what I can only assume was a result of lack of proper hydration on my part combined with irritation from all the miles we hiked, I developed one hell of a hemorrhoid.   Thankfully, it was our last day, but it got so bad I could barely sit or sleep.  Combined with the insanely stupid act of eating fiery hot, mango-habanero chicken wings later that night, made the impending 25-hour drive home quite daunting indeed.

Now, if we were newlyweds or just dating I probably would have never mentioned anything, but we are beyond modesty for the most part and had to suck it up and make a pit stop for some Preparation H.  Besides, Linda says she can use what’s left to help get rid of her age lines!

a successful marriageWork together as a team. 

As is the case when camping and hiking, marriage requires a great deal of teamwork to be successful.  From setting up and breaking down camp, to fixing dinner and cleaning the dishes, we each have a part to play.

Having been together for so long, we both know who plays what part so we never have to discuss it or anything, but the point is that to get things done and to avoid conflicts while camping – and in marriage – requires working together towards a common goal.

Live in the present. 

Accept the fact that you can’t go back to the way it was when you first met and realize that what you have is more meaningful and special.  The feelings of infatuation are great, however the peace and security you feel when you are with someone with whom you share a long history displays what real love is.

This trip is sort of a precursor to what our future together will be like.  It will be just the two of us here very shortly as our kids move on with their schooling and their lives.  We feel our relationship is special and can weather anything that is thrown at us.

Be prepared to make compromises.   

Marriage, as in life, is all about compromises.  You can’t have your way all the time.  Most of the time, if you just talk about things and the issues at hand, you can come to some sort of mutually acceptable solution.

On a vacation, you’re constantly compromising.  From what you’re going to do during the day, to where and what you’re eating, to what time you’re going to go to bed at night.

We saw many families that were obviously dragging their children to all of the observation points at Yellowstone and it was apparent that the kids had no desire to be there.  They could care less about staring at some hole that shoots water in the air every 90 minutes. I’m guessing many times the kids had no choice in the matter.  It was the parent’s way or no way.

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Be aware of and acknowledging each other’s needs.  

As much as you try to escape “real life” and responsibilities, they will follow you wherever you go.  Dealing with this requires a sense of humor and knowing that you are not alone.  You have someone with you who completely understands what you are going through and what your needs are.

Have a sense of humor.   

Hemorrhoids and menstrual cycles aside, we laughed a lot on this trip.  We laughed together, we laughed with other people we met, we laughed at humorous things or people we observed, and at times we laughed at each other. 

Not only do you have to not take life so seriously, you can’t take yourself or each other so seriously either.

One thing that we really noticed on this trip was how friendly everyone was.  We met and talked with many cool, happy and friendly folks of all ages which really made things even more special.  It did make us wonder though if these people are usually like that, or are only temporarily that way because they were on vacation.

After a particularly grueling 8-mile hike, we decided to have a celebratory “happy hour” by drinking a few cold beers in the parking lot of the trailhead.  One couple walked by and made a comment that what we were doing was a good idea and the next thing we know, they ditched their teenage kids in their truck and joined us for a couple of beers, some good conversation and some laughs.

It helps to complement each other’s strengths and weaknesses.  

One thing we sort of knew all along but confirmed on this trip is that Linda is great at starting things, while I’m better at finishing them. 

Linda always has a list of to-dos and routinely plans or starts projects around the house or when it comes to family stuff.  I on the other hand, work better under pressure and can be a bit of a procrastinator.  Consequently, she often plans projects for me to finish.

This came more to light as we planned our daily excursions.  Linda tended to overestimate our fitness level and would regularly plan strenuous multi-mile hikes in the mountains.  I’d kind of poo-poo the idea as being too tough for us, but would eventually give in. 

We’d start the hike and go gang busters for seven or so miles but then start to get to that hitting-the-wall zone.  Linda would start to second-guess things but I would pick up the pace or suggest more food and water breaks to get our energy level back up so we could complete the hike.

Basically, Linda was stronger at planning, getting us to the trailhead and getting us started, while I would be stronger at getting us back to the car.

Don’t’ give up. 

We had a discussion on the way home about how many couples these days are so quick to give up on their relationships and just get divorced.  Obviously there are instances when this is the right course of action.  But if you want something bad enough you have to fight for it.

One day we were hiking up a mountain.  It was a strenuous altitude adjustment hike.  It gained a few thousand feet over a relatively short period of time. 

It was only after our second or third day at Yellowstone and we were struggling with the altitude on this hike.  We had to stop frequently to catch our breaths and rest our weary, wobbly legs.  To top it off, there was a storm starting to brew off in the distance and we could hear some thunder.  We were a lightning bolt away from quitting the climb and heading back down the mountain.

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Then we heard people talking.  We look up and there was a group of folks hiking back down towards us from the peak.  As they came upon us we talked to a few of them and discovered that it was a group of twenty two people in their 70’s and 80’s who had already made it to the top and were heading back to their bus.  They were members of Elderhostel and were on a wildflower observation hike.  Pretty awesome stuff.

Once they passed, we both almost immediately said “You’ve got to be shitting me!” “If they can do it, surely we can!” 

We suddenly found more energy and scrambled the mile or so to the top.  After a few minutes of looking around and taking some photos, a bolt of lightning strikes the mountain so close to us we could feel it.  Needless to say, we scurried down the mountain rather quickly.  In fact, we caught up with the Elderhostel folks! 

After the hike we both felt better about ourselves for not giving up when it was easy to do so.

Support and comfort one another during tough times. 

Finally, two days before we were to begin our drive home, we were sitting outside of Moose Junction in the Grand Tetons eating some lunch.  It was one of the few places where we had cell service.  Suddenly, my phone rings and it was our son.  I thought, “This can’t be good.”

One of our fears became reality.  Our beloved 13-year old Labrador passed away earlier that day.   

The whole time we were gone she wasn’t acting right and wasn’t eating.  The vet visited a couple of times and eventually did a blood test that determined she was experiencing acute kidney failure.  Together, our son and the vet determined that it was time to put her down.  

As the vet was returning to administer the drug to put her to sleep, she lifted her head, wagged her tail and then passed away on her own.

It killed us both that this happened while we were gone.  Both because of the stress it put on our son and Linda’s parents and because we were not able to be there with her before she died.

That night we cried and were heartbroken and relied on one another for comfort.  Once home, the reality of her death sunk in and there has certainly been a period of mourning at our house these last few days.

Like marriage, this trip was an adventure – a journey.  We both realized that our lives and our bodies have changed throughout the years but essentially we are the same couple we were when we got married 27 years ago.  Our first anniversary involved a camping trip and in many ways this journey felt the same as being on that first one. 

There was the comfortableness with each other, the excitement of seeing things for the first time together, the partnership, the compromises, and all the laughing

 It was almost like being back all of those years ago but both of us now much wiser, still best friends and more in love than ever.


    52 replies to "10 Elements of a Successful Marriage (How We Survived Two Weeks of Vacation Together)"

    • chiffchaff

      Oh my. your post made me cry. But then again anything that involves a story where your beloved dog dies does that for me as I miss our old labrador Heinz dog so much. she was our first dog together. It’s so hard when it’s your faithful friend.

      I think your article hit the nail on the head about what it takes to have a good marriage. Thanks for sharing. maybe not about the hem… but it’s a good example of how you need to share all aspects of yourself with your partner, not just the nice bits.
      I can sympathise with Linda – my cycle always chooses the start of holidays and so my H is quite used to me being monged out on drugs on the plane there, the ferry and the first few nights. we don’t even allow each other in the bathroom during ‘functional times’ so I’m not sure how we’d cope with the inevitable needs during a long hike with no shelter. it will have to happen though as we have plans for a 3 day mountain hike next year which will involve camping out in the wilds of scotland. no bears thankfully but the odd grumpy gamekeeper (groundskeeper willy but with a shotgun).
      it sounds like you had such a great adventure and I’m sure you’ll keep the spirit of that adventure going for many years

      • Doug

        Yep, it’s still kind of weird around are home with out our dog. She would follow us everywhere. I’m still finding myself wanting to toss that last bite of food to her. I guess our cats wouldn’t mind a bit if I did!

        Sorry about discussing the roids, but had to make a point 😉

        • Strengthrequired

          You know Doug, there is one thing that having a long term marital relationship, and that’s, all sense of dignity is thrown out the window, you know each other inside and out, they have seen each other in the most undignified manner, and for a woman, the most vulnerable of position and the most bloodiest is during child birth.
          When you give yourself to somebody else for so long, you are literally one, there are no surprises (apart from ea’s lol)
          I don’t think there is anything more valuable than to have that one person you grew up with, whom you still love so deeply, being by your side for the rest of your life.
          Why anyone would want to risk that is beyond me.

    • Strengthrequired

      I can’t think of a better way to become even more closer, more tolerating of each other, more respectful to ine another, when there is no escape, where thereisnno where to run, then in a hiking trip.
      You both are an awesome couple, you prove to all of us that even through the tough times, that we all have had here, there is hope for a more stronger marriage.
      You both are proof, that not all marriages are doomed tom fall apart after an affair.
      You both give me more strength to face the future head on with the belief that my marriage isn’t doomed for failure.

      • Strengthrequired

        Ohh and I would like to say my sympathies for Lossmof your beloved pet dog.

      • Doug

        Thanks for saying that, strength. We’re just trying to provide some hope and guidance as best we can. Thanks for all of your contributions as well!

        • Strengthrequired

          Thank you too, for tolerating all my spelling mistakes lol. I really do know how to spell, the iPad keypad keeps adding letters lol, user fault . Lol

    • Broken2

      Doug and Linda…..so very sorry for the loss of your beloved pet. They are a member of our family and their loss a deep one. I am happy for you both that your trip was a good one and culmination of all you have been through these past few years.

    • Blue

      So glad you had a good trip!

      Wow, you had me giggling and then all choked up, just like a really good movie. No ‘shallow love’ could ever give you the laughs where “rivers & ‘roids” are concerned or the real understanding comfort of the loss of a loved one. No shallow love will ever love your children or your dog as much as you both. This is one bond that couldn’t be broken by ego and lust.

      I am truly sorry for the loss of your beloved pooch.

    • Patsy50

      Welcome back Linda and Doug. Glad to see you didn’t have a run in with any bears or kill each other! haha
      You are so right on about having tolerance with each other in every aspect of your relationship, without it, it can become a problem.
      My husband is almost at full retirement age and I often think, how will we fare in this time of our lives ( being together everyday) and it’s scary.
      We will try to ease into it as he will be working part time in order to help me take care of our twin infant grandsons a few days a week. So it will be a challenge indeed with babies and husband but looking to see and hope that what we had in our relationship from 15 yrs old to 64 years old and what we have learned going through this EA period will be the best time ever.

      I am so sorry to hear of the loss of your dog. They truly are our best friend, always there with love unconditionally.

    • Redemption

      Being a dog lover I cryed my eyes out when reading about your loved labrador. Cryed like a baby.
      I am sure you will have many wonderful memories of your time together.
      It’s also nice to hear your son was mature enough to deal with the vet and situation. Had to be agonizing on him also.

    • forcryin'outloud

      This post may be the best for those of us who are several years out into this post EA journey and a beacon for the newbies. Plus, your “adventure-cation” would make a great Nancy Meyers movie (wrote Something’s Gotta Give, It’s Complicated).
      I can say i agree with the statement that everyone bails on relationships too quickly and that we can’t take ourselves too seriously. Adventure/marriage is messy, literally as you pointed out :-), but well worth the time spent even when tragedy is in the mix.
      I want to say thank you to both of you for sharing a wonderful story that lifted my spirits and brought my dog lovin self to tears. You two are a blessing by sharing a morsel of your life with us all. RIP to your beloved black lab and may y’all meet again on the Rainbow Bridge. Btw-loved the pics!

    • Doug

      Thanks to all of the kind remarks and condolences for the loss of our dog. If you’re not a pet owner, you may not realize that they are indeed part of our family.

      I didn’t mention this, but it was quite weird that later that night after we got the news of her death, both Linda and I had dreams about her. Mine was like a review of her life and then the very last thing I remember was her licking my face – and then I woke up. It was like she came back to say goodbye.

      She was a very smart, loveable, freindly and sometimes stubborn dog that will be greatly missed.

      One other quick story that reflects how intuitive dogs can be…Before this dog, we had another black lab that we had to put down when she was ten. She is buried in our back yard. A month after her death, we got our new 16-week old puppy and when we got home we let her out in the yard. The very first place she went was to where our other dog was buried and sat down on her grave. We’re convinced she new what was beneath her.

      Thanks again. You all are great!

      • overwhelmed

        Thanks for very much for sharing your story. Intimate details and all.

        Very sorry to hear about your pup.

        I’ve missed having a dog for years and the kids want one badly, W won’t have it though. If things continue as they are now, we’ll finally have a new family member in a few months and the kids will be overjoyed!!!! 😉

        • Strengthrequired

          Overwhelmed, at leas that family member won’t be quick to betray the love of her family. A reliable love.

          My children want a dog too, we had to give our gorgeous dog away whe we moved and they miss him terribly. We have no room or yard for a dog right now. When cousin it wax at our old home when we used to have our dog, she was scared of him, I kept him from jumping on her, I should have let him eat her before she had a chance to destroy our lives.

          I should have let him loose on her, although he wouldn’t have hurt her he was still a pup, it would have given me a good old laugh. I guess all I have to laugh at is seeing her running, and seeing her trying to get my 1yr old baby to like her, yet funny how young children sense bad in people, she wanted nothing to do with her. Lol.

        • Doug

          Thanks OW. In my opinion, the time to get a dog is when the kids are young. It’s a great companion and a true friend that they can grow up with. I think you should go for it regardless of W thinks. 😉

          • Strengthrequired

            I. Agree Doug, overwhelmed get your kids the pup, what a shock your wife will have when she is replaced by a new family member. At least you will see a smile on their gorgeous faces, after all you ad your boys deserve some happiness, you will get that seeing your kids smile.

            • overwhelmed

              No, I really do have to wait. If somehow, she ends up with the house and kids, the dog will not fare well. I’m not going to do that to my kids or a poor animal. We’ll be getting one from a shelter when we do though.

            • Strengthrequired

              I see what you mean, you are better off waiting.
              Lol, about your next comment, funnnnny.

            • Tryinghard

              Ok so I think we should start taking Las Vegas bets on this. You may have to sell the house but I will bet she won’t get it. She abandoned the house. Since she left, depending on what state you live in, your lawyer can put a restraining order against her from entering the home. I live in Illinois. There was a restraining order against my H because he left the marital home. Of course there was one against me too because I went to the office and threw her out and threatened to beat the shit out of her. That was fun:)

            • livingonafence

              That’s awesome that you’ll adopt a rescue. We have three rescues, and they are truly some of the best dogs I’ve ever had, and I’ve had dogs my whole life.

              Doug, I’m so sorry about you losing your family member. I too cried reading your story. It does show us in a very real way that even when things are seemingly wonderful there are other things that are crushing. We can’t control everything in our lives. Bad things will happen, but that doesn’t mean there will be no more good.

              Welcome home. Thanks for sharing your vacation with us.

            • livingonafence

              OW, one more thing – I don’t trust anyone that doesn’t like dogs 🙂 That should have been clue #1 about your wife-ish.

              Dogs are happy, loyal, protective, caring and just want to be around you. Who doesn’t like that? I’ll tell you – someone that doesn’t want anyone or thing bothering him/her.

          • overwhelmed

            I agree totally. I always had dogs growing up.

            Funny story: Years ago, my brother-in-law got a puppy. Mom said either the dog goes or I go. Guess who went? Heh heh heh

    • Strengthrequired

      I wad just thinking, we only just purchased our gorgeous boy pup a couple of months prior to my h ea. Funny thing is he never wanted a female dog, so we agreed to a male.
      Funny thing he never consulted me about bringing a female bitch home, I thought he didn’t want one.
      Talk about a mess that bitch left behind, how come we didn’t get the chance to give her away when we had to move, she seemed to follow us. Probably no one smart enough would have taken her off our hands, they probably would have smelt the shit looting off of her.

      • Strengthrequired

        That was supposed to say falling not looting.

        • Strengthrequired

          I guess having one pup jumping all over him wasn’t enough, he needed a bitch jumping all over him too.

      • overwhelmed

        Nobody paper-trained his bitch, eh? 😉

    • Strengthrequired

      Nah, nobody trained her to be loyal and obedient either, or if they did she was a stupid bitch, I guess that’s what happens when you get it from somebody else’s yard, you don’t know what type of bitch your getting. Lol

    • Paula

      Thanks for that share, Doug and Linda. Sounds just fabulous. I have never had any problem whatsoever with the idea of being with my partner 24/7. Not long after we moved in together, he asked me if I would come and work with him – I was fiercely independent, and wouldn’t hear of it, but HATED work hours away from him – pathetic, much? It made for wonderful reunions at the end of a working day, though! When our first child was born around five years later, I did work with him, 24/7, just the three of us – mostly just two when really busy, as a nanny was employed for our busiest times of the year. We worked side-by-side for the next 17 years, and we both LOVED it! We ran our farming business as a family – with the children having a nursery built onto our farm dairy, and their own tiny wet weather gear, etc. It was the happiest time of our lives. When he decided to sell and do something different, I felt like he had “sacked” me – that there wasn’t a place for me – he didn’t feel this way, assuming that I would find a place in the new farming venture, but I just felt lost, and grieved the loss of our herd of stud Holsteins, my other babies! So, I got my first paid job in seventeen years. And I loved it. But it was not the 30 hours per week in the job description, as I proved apt at the position, more and more responsibility was piled on – and it probably fed my ego – I was GOOD at this – and the hours piled into 70 hours per week. That is when it all imploded.

      Dogs, well, I grew up in a very dog-centric house. My mum bred from our dalmation bitch, and we had labs, a beautiful British bulldog (her mother and grandmother bred these in her home country.) Of course, we also had fabulous working dogs, the most loyal and intelligent animals. So, we have five dogs at present, just the one indoors (also 13 years old) chocolate bitch, our family darling, Willow – after we lost our daughter’s miniature wire-haired dachshund, Otis, the family comedian, although I think we laughed at him more often than with him – and she is definitely in the twilight of her life – who we have bred four litters from – kids and puppies – what better? Also a black lab boy, Flint, and a huntaway “lad” Mac (loud, working sheep dog) and two heading (move sheep with their eyes) bitches, top bitch Tess, and her daughter, Chilli. Willow was a top gun dog in her day – the third gundog my partner has had since we first got together. First was a weimaraner, then a black lab, – all have lived long lives, the black lab lived to 17, this is his first hunting bitch, he always hunted dogs before her, and she was outstanding. Without Willow, I don’t know whether I could have lasted this long – she is soft, kind, and loving, all the things I lost in the journey from people. OW, I agree, you cannot bring a puppy into your life at present, you need stability, at least in where you will live, but if you do get this sorted soon, do get one, the kids and you will never regret bringing smiles, cuddles and unconditional love into your home xx

      • overwhelmed

        Thank you Paula, I was reading your reply and thinking how utterly wonderful it would have been to have a dedicated friend throughout all of this. A friend who loves you no matter what, who can feel when you’re low and does everything in their power to comfort you. How wonderful that would have been. I miss having a companion like that. I had dogs my whole youth, two at one time, brother and sister.

        Funny story; I learned young about “Let sleeping dogs lie”. I was about 8 or 10, one of my mutts was dreaming. I woke him, he jumped and his claws hit my lip. Ripped off 50% of my top lip. It was held on by only a thin piece of skin. I heard my sister yelling at him, screaming. I tried to get to her telling her to stop. Stop!!! It wasn’t his fault. Poor Dusty. Gentle, loving little mutt. I miss him and his sister Sandy.

        Yeah, me and the kids need a dog. When it’s time.

        Love the stories of your friends!

        • overwhelmed

          Oh gosh, that reminded me of another one. Dusty escaped once. They were leash dogs. Loved to take off even though we had acres of land. I chased him down and found him in a neighbors yard a few blocks over. Trying to say hello to their German Shepard. Bad idea Dusty. The Shepard was on a chain, and once Dusty got close enough he bit Dusty in the chest. I have no recollection of how I got them apart, my sister was there too, I will have to ask her about that. All I remember is crying and carrying that 30-40lb dog all the way home. I slept with him on the floor every night while he was on the mend. God, I haven’t though of that in years.

          And that’s how he repays me? Ripping my lip off? 😉

        • Paula

          OW, similar, I have a scar on my jawline, one of our trusty working dogs was dozing in the sun, and eighteen month old (appprox) me thought I would give him a body slamming “hug.” Poor old Roy jumped up and bit me on the face, and was absolutely mortified. My mum was nearby, and she said, although her only baby was bleeding profusely, she felt more sorry for the poor dog, he was so upset that he bit me! I love my scar, runs just barely above my jawbone from the point, to halfway along my chin – about 5-6 cm long, quite deep at the time, still a quite noticeable crevasse out of my face. Reminds me of the same saying, “let sleeping dogs lie.” :-0

          • overwhelmed

            Mine has been covered by a mustache since I was old enough to start growing one. I’ve been thinking of shaving it to see what it looks like. I literally have not seen the scar since I was about 14-15.

            I ended up with 20 or 30 stitches across 1/2 of my top lip. The next morning, I woke up with dried blood stains running down both sides of my neck. I thought it was the coolest thing ever. I looked like a vampire. heh heh heh

      • Strengthrequired

        And then your h found a two legged untrained bitch. He needed a different breed of bitch, it’s a shame he didn’t realize a the time he didn’t need to down grade he had a beautiful loving woman already at home.

    • Strengthrequired

      I just realized something, when my h and I took cousin it out, as she wanted to ” get to know us” better. She kept pointing out all of these women, and saying ohh look how nice this ne is, look how nice that one is, ohh this one is pretty. She was trying to find out what my h liked, so she could try and become that. Because of course his wife (me) isn’t what h e could possibly like or want.
      It has only just dawned on me, that was what she was doing. I kept finding it strange at the time, that this woman would be checking out other women and expecting my h to look at what she was pointing out. What an idiot I was, to not see it.

    • Tryinghard

      Doug and Linda.
      Your trip sounded great. I thought about you two often and prayed you were faring well. Egad Linda I would have been awful doing that in front of my H. Pre affair very immodest now thank God for menopause:). My H never sees me “conducting business”. The door is shut and locked. Not him though I even get the graphic details. I tell him we don’t know each other well enough to talk like that:)

      I learned early in this mess what a metaphor hiking was to me. Yes you are in scary places, slipping, animals, snow up to your bare knees, alone and yet you meet and face those challenges to receive great rewards. We are planning to go to Colorado in September and do some more. My H is totally flabbergasted that not only do I love doing it, I’m good at it..yes I’m scared most the time and tired but I never show it. Sometimes I’ll be ahead of him praying for God to give me the strength I need both physically and emotionally or singing one of my favorite hymns (my version of ‘yo bear) and he will yell for me to slow down. I’m always quite shocked I am so far ahead of him. We always laugh that neither one of us get too close to the side of a cliff for fear the other would take advantage of an opportune situation!

      I’m so sorry about your pup. This is the worse part about owning pets and yet we go out and get another knowing our hearts will be broken again.

      Great post by the way. We are there on every point except the trust part but its slowly coming back. For both of us. We have had some very productive talks.

      Welcome home

    • Gizfield

      I’m actually a Dog, myself, lol. In Chinese astrology, I mean. My husband is a Dragon, and we are supposed to Avoid each other. The personality desrciptions on this stuff are eerily accurate. Dogs are loyal, and protective. Actually kind of boring.Dragons, not so much, lol.

    • Paula

      Giz, so funny, I did a Chinese astrological “match” and get this – I am a Monkey and my partner is a Dragon, like yours: 90% compatibility

      “You are an ideal couple that adds radiance and beauty to each other. Both of you are very rational, romantic and good at communication. You will build up a warm and harmonious family and advance shoulder to shoulder. The male dragon is enthusiastic and resolute with exceptional abilities, while the female monkey is shrewd, clever and charming. You are attracted by each other.”

      Then I did the same search on the OW and my partner, get this, lol:

      50% compatibility! So funny, this has really cracked me up!

      “You are a couple lacking appeal for each other. You have totally different temperament and you are unwilling to make concession to the other. The male dragon is smart, brave, decisive, adventurous and independent, while the female sheep is a good housekeeper who is passionate, fragile and sentimental. The female sheep needs frequent and persistent comfort. The male dragon may help an unfortunate woman because of his strong sense of justice, but it’s hard for him to behave so patient and sympathetic as what the female sheep desires. Both of you have to make great efforts and try not overdo a thing in order to live a harmonious life.”

      What a laugh!!

    • Paula

      Especially because he is an undemonstrative, stubborn, practical, conservative, “I’m in charge,” earth sign Capricorn, and I am a fiery, passionate, romantic, enthusiastic (over?) dramatic, also “likes to be in charge,” fire sign Leo – if you can believe any of that stuff! Kept me laughing this fine Sunday morning, that’s for sure 😉

      However, I do believe the personalities described here are pretty close, and that I have subdued my desire to “be in charge” over the years, kept a lid on it more, and tried to only fight the battles that were worth it, in order to live more harmoniously. In the early years I recall throwing things at him, having tantrums, stomping my feet, generally trying to let him know I was always going to have a say, and stand up for myself, followed by mad, passionate makeup sex, it was a whirlwind – of course, thinking I was doing the mature thing, in eventually calming it all down, all this did was let him eventually think he could walk all over my apparently more submissive self!!!

    • kelbelly

      Welcome back Linda and Doug. So glad to hear that you guys had a wonderful time and saddened to hear about the loss of your furry family member.

      We lost our 13 yo Chocolate lab Bell as well two weeks ago and it was devastating for our whole family. It still is hard to come home or get up in the morning and not have her there to greet us. i hope your hearts heal with time.

      • Doug

        Thanks Kelbelly. Sorry to hear of your loss as well. It is indeed difficult for us when we do things that remind us of her. I’m sure it will get better with a little time.

    • strengthrequired

      My h Dog, his ow dragon, apparently not a good love match, one site said, they should not be together, as friends they can make it work for a while, as long as they live apart and do not spend a lot of time together.
      They should not be a couple by any costs. If they do go out on a date it has to be somewhere lively and public, and that is where they will get under each others skin.

      Maybe if I read this earlier, I could have sat back and watched them throttle each other.

      Me – rat, apparently a dog and rat are quite a love match, lol

    • hanging-in-there

      thanks for sharing. This article was like a breath of fresh air after a grueling day.

    • Heather

      Wow…just what I needed to read to remind me that John and I could and hopefully will find our way back to happiness together! We always get on so well when we go away and even whilst in the midst of his affair we had a wonderful 15 night tiny caravan road trip in wales ( uk) from north down to south in Sept 17 . We had mostly great weather and some amazing scenery and adventures climbing Mount Snowdon which had long been on our bucket list and visiting Port Merion which was every bit a wonderful if not more in brilliant golden autumn sunshine ( made famous by the hit show THE PRISONER in the 60s), thrill seeking on zip wires and high ropes in the forest and visiting the slate mines deep in national park. The trip was by far one of our best trips with no arguments or friction and just sheer enjoyment and happy times, or so I thought until I discovered bit by bit, 6 months later that he had been in an EA with a woman he had known for 30 years or so who he had never ever mentioned. During our wonderful trip he was sending her views of the day each and every day of our trip so actually in a sense there were 3 of us in that trip and I was unknowingly sharing him ! It breaks my heart to look at any one of the many many fantastic pictures we have of our trip because I now know she was very much on his mind then too… perhaps why he was so happy, because he was having a great time with me, but also had his AP giving him the boost of ego and excitement that made him feel so good! Now all my memories of that once fantastic well connected trip are tainted with her, gut wrenchingly painful to come to terms with. We bought our little touring retro ERIBA pan to have these sort of adventures and even called it HAPPY DAYS as we did just that each and every time we went away in her for over 2 years and all the while he was involved with her… little did I know! We are now selling my beloved little HAPPY DAYS because I can’t bare the realisation of what was really going on behind my back. We have bought a new vintage caravan and are now trying to create new adventures and happiness together with Margo our vintage 1969 DIGUE CORONETTE and with the wonderfully healing magic f our little Cockerpoo puppy Poppy Who we have now had for 6 months who is really helping us to heal and reconnect through her loving and calming nature. She is a great focus for us both and we are both so happy with her, she is teaching us both about real love and bonding ! I will share this post about your trip with John as it is a very powerful reminder of how much can you can grow from something as traumatic and damaging as an affair. We have a trip to Belgium With our Retro Caravan Club on a Rally in May this year and I truly hope it will give us some of the positive and happy experiences to help us move forward together that your trip did for you! I’m so sorry about your dog passing while you were away and although it was a long while ago now, that sadness to the end of your trip will always stay with you just as the painful reminders of an affair does even if the pain gradually weakens! Thank you so much for sharing that post… it really helps as does having the AR JOURNEY to help us all !

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