Q&A How Should the Betrayed Handle Multiple Discovery Days?

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Question: 

The one year mark is approaching of my first discovery day, which also happens to be during the holidays. The second D-Day will be about a month and a half later. And the third D-Day will be about 5 months after the second. Could you tell me what I may experience and how to handle what comes? Does each D-Day bring its own baggage? My husband and I completed EMSO about 7 months ago. He moved out shortly after that and we are still separated, largely because of his lack of empathy and continual justification and blaming. I have completed HH and continue with regular individual therapy. I feel a great amount of progress in myself. My husband attends a weekly men’s group, but is still full of shame and guilt.

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Trickle Down D Days

Good evening,
My relationship differs from other couples in AR. Although I am not married (yet) my fiancée shared multiple D Days. The first one wasn’t so bad because although we were close, she made it clear that we were “just friends” then. She reached out to me in November, 2018, telling me how here heart was broken by a man who did not respect her. She knew that I had a broken heart form another relationship earlier that year and I sympathized. We planned to take a long vacation together in April, 2019 because we realized again that we cared for each other. Then, suddenly, in mid February, 2019, she called me, cancelled our trip (even though we were just about to buy our tickets) saying that because of her faith, she needed to be with a man who shared her faith. I was angry and send a short but angry email to her but a few months later, I apologized. She really appreciated my apology and we gradually rebuilt our friendship and developed a romantic relationship.
We decided to celebrate New Year’s Eve and ring in 2021 together for a two week long vacation. However, one month before our vacation, she told me that the reason she ended our plans in February, 2019 was because her former lover (a wayward spouse from another marriage) suddenly appeared at her door, wanting to resume their relationship. The wayward spouse had not spoken to her or seen her for 4 months. He emailed her ahead of time saying he wanted to see her. To give her credit, she told him, “No,” and she was planning to see me soon. Instead he suddenly appeared at her doorstep that night wanting to continue their affair. She chose to return to him, a man who had injured and taken advantage of her (a single mom) and push me aside.
This new information troubled me so much over the holidays with my parents and the first 3 days during our vacation together. I was so mad and it was clear that she still felt considerable guilt. She told me that her timing for telling me was perfect. But I told her that it was not because this was completely new information and I felt even more betrayed and rightly so.
We managed to enjoy our vacation together and committed to our new relationship. She assured me that the relationship with the wayward husband was over before the end of 2018. She had not heard from him or seen him since then and she guessed he may even be dead. She also blocked all communication with him via email, cell, WhatsApp, Skype, and Facebook. She told me very much about him but refused to tell me his full name. (It’s unlikely that I would know him or in our vicinity).
Then, a few weeks later, she shared more details. When he arrived at her doorstep, she would not let him in but they (and her daughter) went to stay in a hotel to spend time together (in separate rooms and she insisted they did not have sex). She said he was sick with pulmonary fibrosis and felts “obligated” to care for him. Fortunately, after 3-4 days, she realized that he was indeed still married and loved his wife. He wanted my fiancée to be his mistress. She refused and took her daughter with her and returned home. After that he was gone.
This new information alarmed me even more! Not only did she cancel our plans to see each other, she returned to this wayward husband and stayed in a hotel room with her daughter for 3-4 days! Even after he used and injured her, she put herself and her daughter at even more risk.
She insists that she was over her pain and guilt and really did not want to discuss it with me. But I needed to talk with her for understanding, trust, and closure. I was also bothered because she said she cried alone, to her friends and family, and with her daughter, but never to me.
I read more materials from AR and realized that she was still feeling guilt. She also shared that she indeed felt guilty around me and was nervous about sharing more, fearing my anger. One time, I sent a video apologizing again for my anger and also forgave her for injuring me. Ironically, she did not respond well, saying she was “concerned” that I was focusing on the past. She did not really accept my apology and became more defensive.
This was the most turbulent time in our entire history knowing each other. If she had told me months ago, I would have responded much better. However, to my surprise she changed. I told her that I was going to seek counseling and review AR materials. Soon afterwards, she offered to enroll in HH with me and see counseling together. She also reviewed more materials about guilt, healthy relationships, and affairs on her own.
I was surprised in her change. I never expected her to offer to take HH with me let alone see counseling together. We also had a heartfelt talk recently. I had already decided to Love her through the trauma/pain, showing only love and affection, no judgments. She then shared that she learned that guilt must be discussed and shared together if couples truly want empathy, intimacy, and a happy marriage.
While she made some very bad choices in her relationship with the wayward husband, I still regret my initial, angry email to her. Although she and her friends assured me that I was completely justified to be angry, I believe that my angry amplified her guilt. She also shared that she doesn’t want to say the wayward husband’s full name because she doesn’t want to hear my say his name with my voice. I later told her that she does not need to tell me anything more that she doesn’t feel comfortable saying. But then, she said instead of “No, I won’t tell you his name,” she said, “Someday, Maybe I will share with you.” The unfortunate part of this is it’s more trickle down details. But at this point, I can handle it. I’ve also noticed a considerable change in her behavior once I changed my behavior. Without me even asking, she’s being forthcoming, nothing blocked on social media and even offered FindMe on our iPhones. She also admitted that her bad choices caused me and others tremendous pain and needs to take responsibility and not feel defensive when asked questions for discovery/clarification. We’re doing much better now. I’m choosing to hold onto the mast and Love her through the pain for now as recommended by AR. Thank you.
Most Sincerely,
Mr Prince Needs Help