Q&A How Do I Find Hope for Our Relationship When It Feels so Hopeless?

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Question: 

Each story I read about on AR is different, but the themes of pain, destruction, and betrayal seem to be very universal. My situation included my husband of 24 years abandoning our marriage due to a secret affair, a subsequent divorce, bullying behavior during our six month separation, recent revelations of three visits with prostitutes earlier in our marriage, pornography use, even unprotected sex with his AP, and sex with her in our home while we were still together. D-Day was six months ago. His affair is now over. He has emerged from his “fog,” and is taking ownership for all of his mistakes. He is working hard to become a better, more honest man. He desperately wants to make amends and restore our relationship if possible. We have been working on recovery together since D-Day. Even so, it feels like so much to forgive. Based on what we are learning in recovery we know that numerous couples have been able to heal from this kind of thing (including divorce) and that they report better relationships than before. Part of me longs for this kind of restoration. However, another part of me wonders if I will be able to get to that point. I am hurt that he has already had 24 years to figure out how to be a good husband to me and he blew it. He squandered our beautiful marriage and family and gave so much of himself to his AP during their 7-month affair. On top of that, I worry that family and mutual friends will never be able to look at him with respect again, which would likely interfere with my own relationships with them. The mountain feels so steep. At times I don't even know if I want to pursue life with him again. We are already divorced so a fresh, clean start would be easy and has a lot of appeal sometimes. I feel so conflicted. How do I find hope for our relationship when it feels so hopeless?

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