Many have angrily uttered "I'm gonna give them a piece of my mind."
Unfortunately, I did that too often and over the years I gave away too many pieces.
Not only did I nearly lose my mind, but we nearly destroyed our marriage.
Mark has started a How to Recover your Marriage
thread in the Construction Zone and inspired me to start my own Recovery thread. Because many relevant parts are already posted on page 3 of my blog I'll provide links instead of reposting them here.
My story is nearly unbelieveable. In fact many question if I've made it up for whatever reason. What's important, however, is that WE get to live it
so I don't waste much time trying to appease the naysayers.
My hope is that by sharing our heartaches and successes, at least one couple might be inspired to make the effort to put the broken pieces of their marriage back together. Comments and questions are welcome at any time.
Here is one of Mark's posts that inspired this thread:
Originally written in June of 2008, this is a general list of advice for those wishing to restore their marriage after an affair. Some of it applies to the cheater and some to the cheated. Some aspects apply to both sides of the marriage. It is based in part on an article that originally appeared on WebMD.com and since I lost the specific link long ago, I don't know if the article still exists.
Ten Steps to Recovery:
1) "You have to stop the affair," says Jamie Turndorf, PhD, a couple's therapist in New York. "You can't reinvest in the marriage if you have one foot out the door."
2) Remember that there will be ups and downs after an affair. "The road to recovery after an affair is jagged, and that is completely normal," says Michele Weiner-Davis, author of Divorce Busting, The Divorce Remedy and The Sex Starved Marriage.
3) "The person who had the affair needs to be willing to discuss what happened openly if the betrayed spouse wants to do that." (Weiner-Davis)
4) "The person who had the affair has to be willing to be accountable for his or her whereabouts, even though he or she thinks that may be unfair." (Weiner-Davis)
5) "There needs to be a willingness to make promises and commitments about the future, that an affair will not happen again." (Weiner-Davis)
6) The betrayed person should set the timetable for recovery. "So often the person who cheated is eager to put the past in the past, but he or she really has to honor the other person's timetable." (Weiner-Davis)
7) "The person who had the affair should examine the personal reasons for straying and what needs to change to avoid temptation in the future." (Weiner-Davis)
8) As for moving forward, both people in the relationship should take responsibility for building a new foundation. "Both people in the relationship should ask the other what he or she can do to rebuild the connection and what actions should be avoided because they are breaking it," says Turndorf. "Even the person who was cheated on should say to him or herself, "What role did I play in driving you away and what can I do to make you more connected to me in the future?"
9) Try marriage therapy or take a marriage education class. "You really need to find a counselor or therapist who is pro-marriage, and can help get your relationship back on track," says Weiner-Davis. "Steer clear of therapists who see infidelity as a marital death-sentence "it isn't."
The original article had the above nine steps to recovery listed. I add this one:
10) Develop a plan to restore the love to the marriage. It needs to be a plan to improve intimacy and passion and not just commitment. It will be what happens from now on rather than what you do with the past that will matter most. You can't fix what happened, but you can fix the relationship so it doesn't happen again.
It is the discussion of developing this plan to repair the marital relationship that I am hoping for in this thread.
After 32 years of a dysfunctional marraige, 2 years of progressive disconnection (how's that for an oxymoron) and my H becoming a WH when he chose to have his needs met via OW, I was actually glad I had my "get out of jail free" card.
But I changed my mind when challenged to fight for our family.
After 4 false recoveries, my H decided to change when I finally gave up. He said he'd do anything to help me heal.
I asked my H what made the difference in his choosing to want to begin recovery and how we got started.
Learning about Emotional Needs
and Love Busters
gave him hope that I could change so that made him want to make changes he needed to make, too.
IMVHO, the book Fall In Love, Stay in Love
by W. F. Harley, Jr. provides the best plan for beginning and continuing recovery from a marital dysfunction with or without infidelity. In fact, FILSIL barely mentions infidelity.
The first and third statements I've bolded could be answered by FILSIL.
The second is where we were lucky; we have had an awesome MC who we originally sought help from about 25 years ago but lost touch with him for about 10 years. Coincidentally (or by divine intervention) we reconnected with MC about the time we really needed IRL help with beginning rebuilding trust and beginning recovery. (Details in my blog on page 3 mostly.)
It's been 4 and a half years since D-day #1. In piecing our marriage back together, our sitch is unique in that we had many broken pieces on the day we married and they shattered even more during the decades.
The Marriage Builders books helped us begin to recover but I received additional support when I discovered the MB discussion forums in January 2007. The subsequent history will be posted eventually and I hope to chronicle future accomplishments on this thread.
Although we've had many ups and downs like others on this Recovery Rollercoaster, we are building a better marriage than we ever dreamed of having before. As I mentioned, comments and questions are welcome at any time.
Thanks for reading,
ETA Please check out Mark's developing thread The Road to Recovery; Getting the Marriage You Want
Ace's Blog spACE cadet gazette page 3