Rick Reynolds, LCSW
by Rick Reynolds, LCSW
Founder & President, Affair Recovery

Failing to Recommit

When discussing the future of the marriage, the concept of recommitting eventually takes center stage. I’m reminded of a folk tale about a chicken and a pig trying to decide what each should bring to a big party they’re throwing. The chicken says he’d be happy to bring some eggs for the party and he suggests the pig bring some bacon. “That’s not quite fair,” the pig responded, “For you, it’s just a contribution, but for me it’s everything.”

Setting the Stage

Before I start let me make a few disclaimers:

  • First, those of us at Affair Recovery would never encourage someone to commit to a relationship that is unsafe or unhealthy.
  • Second, the steps provided in this article take place far into the recovery process - typically 12-18 months into recovery after both parties have shown an ongoing dedication to recovery and are following a process. It’s still a good idea to read this and  get a vision for where you are headed in the future. 
  • Third, this particular task of recovery isn’t always possible. In order for a marriage to thrive after infidelity, both parties have to put forth effort to achieve life’s potential.

Recovery and surviving infidelity is a long process with many components. Each individual has their personal recovery to manage along with the issues they have to address to heal their relationship.

From the beginning, I tell people this process will take anywhere from
eighteen to twenty-four months and for some, it might even take longer.
 

I also tell them that even if they take responsibility for healing both as individuals and as a couple, there is one last barrier I see that happens toward the end of the process:

Will they choose to be married?

At Affair Recovery, merely surviving infidelity isn’t the goal. Our goal is to help people find a new and extraordinary life of meaning and purpose. This is a critical step toward that end.

An Uncertain Future

Infidelity shatters the vows we once made and leaves us adrift with no sure direction. What is the nature of our relationship? Do I choose to love you “till death do us part” or am I going to have nothing to do with you? Are we trying to restore the old marriage, or build a new one? Even more, I have to decide whether I can ever fully give myself to you again and afford you the opportunity to hurt me all over again? To say the least, recommitting is difficult and uncertain, but when the right process is utilized and the right heart-approach is applied, it is well worth the effort.

However, failing to take the final step of recommitting can leave couples stuck for decades. Couples can remain in a position of being emotionally divorced while still living in a sham of a marriage. They settle for something neither of them wants. Additionally, without a vision for recovery and without a true example, many couples wrongly assume that sham of a marriage is all they can hope for.

Moving Beyond Confusion

In Western culture marriages are not arranged, they are based on decisions made by both parties because they choose to share their lives one with another. Vows are made expressing love and the intent to be faithful. Once these vows are broken, what is the nature of the relationship? In the beginning stages of recovery it’s difficult to know. Both parties are confused and hurting, and don’t know if they can ever trust their mate. The betrayed spouse questions whether or not their mate is willing to do the necessary work to prevent this from happening again. They somehow have to determine whether they matter to their mate and if they could ever feel safe with them again. They will ultimately have to grieve the pain and forgive the offense before they can even see positive traits in their mate. The unfaithful spouse worries about whether their mate can ever forgive them. Oftentimes, they fear that this will be held over their head for the remainder of their life and whether or not they will ever escape the shadow of their selfishness. Love is called into question. Feelings for their mate frequently disappear and doubts arise as to whether love could ever return. You can understand why it takes time for both parties to feel secure enough in their progress to begin considering recommitment.

Willingness to Recommit: A True Story

Years ago, at one of our first EMS Weekends, there was a Texas couple where the husband had multiple affairs with women at work. Somehow his wife found the grace to at least explore the possibility of saving their marriage, but the thought of his continuing to work with his affair partners was more than she could handle. He was of the same mind and desperate to leave the current job, and immediately begin searching for a new position. He finally found employment with a company in New York that allowed them to stay in Texas. After he was hired, the company informed him of a four week training trip in New York. He immediately asked his supervisor if he could fly his wife up to New York to spend some time with him while he was away. He was informed that was against company policy. He repeated his request and told his supervisor this was really important to him. When the supervisor asked why, the man told the truth about cheating on his wife during his previous job and expressed his concern about being separated from her for so long since he was afraid it would make her anxious and potentially make him vulnerable. His supervisor said he’d have to check it out with the boss and left the room to call the company CEO. The poor man’s anxiety went through the stratosphere as he waited for his bosses return. “What have I done?” he asked himself. “Are they going to see me as a liability and let me go?” There was a welcomed relief the moment he saw the smile on his boss's face as he walked back down the hall. “Not only has the CEO approved the trip for your wife, but he’s offered to rent a limo for an entire day for the two of you to explore New York City.”

On their trip to the city, he took his wife to ground zero. There he got down on his knees, held out a new ring and told the story of his failure and explained how his actions had the same effects as the terrorist who flew the planes into the twin towers. He told her that he certainly understood if she didn’t feel it was possible for her to do this, but told her there was nothing he wanted more than for her to join him in building a new life for the two of them. She said yes. At that moment, surviving infidelity was transformed into recommitment.

If your recovery has allowed you to find a new respect and appreciation for your mate, but you still feel stuck, you might be struggling because the relationship has never been redefined. Certain questions have to be answered:

  • What are we and who are we?
  • Are we happy with just surviving infidelity or do we want something greater?

Action Task: Begin to consider what are we doing and are we ready to recommit in our journey together? Are both of you willing to put in everything you’ve got?

Overcoming the Barriers

Here are some tips on overcoming the barriers to recommit:

(Again, I want to say this is not for those of you in the beginning stages of recovery. This is for those couples who’ve been walking the path at least 12 to 18 months and are ready to take the next step.)

  1. Seek Community: Talk with other couples who are three to four years down the line in their recovery from infidelity. Find out from them specifically what’s worked and what hasn’t worked. How did they work through the issues of recommitment? What’s been helpful for them?

  2. Consider whether you're willing to be all in: What do you need to get to that point? What are your barriers to doing those things? How would you be different if you were to come to that point?

  3. Explore Symbolism: Consider getting new rings to symbolize the new relationship. Setup a ritual that puts a mark in the sand, a stake in time. You might even want to consider a ceremony to renew your vows.

  4. Safety and Forgiveness: Demonstrate recommitment through actions for a safe relationship. Allow the betrayed spouse to be the one who invites the mate back in for recommitment. Pray for guidance on recommitment.

One final note: If your mate says no or they are not ready, don’t lose heart. Open up the discussion and see if they are at least willing to discuss what needs to happen as the two of you move forward.

Last but not least, if you are struggling to find community (no matter what stage of recovery you are in) we’d love to help. Consider attending an EMS Weekend to find guidance, expert help,  and community to help you through recovery. Of course we’d also love for you to utilize the AR community right here in the Free Resources of the Recovery Library.

 

 

 

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Comments

Frustration

Excellent article. My problem is that the AP is still in the picture as she works for my husband. Unfortunately it's not so easy for my husband to move jobs so while we're trying to pick up the pieces of our relationship, it will never fully heal until the AP is off the scene. She's a complete narcissist too which makes it difficult as she has no remorse for what she did despite being married with two children herself and I have heard about her flirting outrageously with other men. I know that's not my problem but I'd hate for someone else to go through what we did.

timely

As always, a timely article. D-Day was more than 30 months ago. I've reconnected on the surface and all appears to be getting better, but emotionally I have remained uncommitted to my spouse. She betrayed our marriage and family, and I hold this deep and quiet resentment that fades, but easily resurfaces. It's not healthy and this article was a good reminder to work on that issue.
I do fear that my lack of committment will lead to a separation or me eventually wandering. It feels as if I don't commit now...then I'm creating a self-fulfilling prophecy of divorce.
For me, RESPECT is the issue. I'm not sure how someone can respect themselves after such betrayal. I'm not certain that I feel respect for my marriage or my wife. I do respect who she is, but I don't respect what she has done. I mentally label her as a liar and adulterer. Clearly, I don't feel forgiveness. I understand the "why" of the lies and sex, but I don't feel as if I will ever truly forgive her for it.
If you cannot find respect or forgiveness, how do you truly choose to commit? Do both need to exist before restoration?

Forgiveness For You

It's been about 15 months for me and the pain of what was done to me still haunts me, but I've had to let go of a lot of anger. That anger was literally tearing me up and ruining my present (I didn't really care at the time). I had to consciously, and subconsciously, monitor my thoughts and feelings to weed out that anger.

I still wonder what her and her AP were thinking breaking up a family, but I can honestly say that they weren't thinking about that. They weren't thinking about the damage they've done to two wonderful children or if they can ever respect themselves or each other again. I believe that they choose not to think about this stuff because it's painful and would send them into a depression.

I had to learn to forgive them in the sense that I forgive a thoughtless driver or an inconsiderate person at the grocery store. I didn't forgive them in the sense that I wiped the slate clean, but I forgave them in the sense that I didn't want to spend anymore time on them.

It's still tough, but I can catch myself relapsing. We have a lot to be angry over, but I would rather put the effort into being happy (which is hard enough!).

Good luck!

recommitting

thank you for this article. I find that #2 barrier is my biggest one. Until I know all that I am forgiving, I am unable to completely forgive and be "all in". I still do not (after 18 months) feel that I know everything, and I am one of "those people" who NEED to know everything and have absolutely no dishonesty between us. As Liz mentioned in the mentor video, she couldn't forgive until she knew what all she was forgiving. that's me. As much as I want this marriage to work, this is my greatest stumbling block. I am very frightened that it will happen again and I am not yet feeling safe. It has already happened twice. I don't know his heart, what he is really feeling, or if he has truly closed the door on his affair and his AP-- and it is difficult, with all the events that happened in this recent affair, to discern what he truly thinks and if he wants our marriage for the right reasons. We do not know anyone where we live who has gotten through the nightmare of infidelity and can help us with the stumbling blocks. Our EMS phone group has disbanded. No marriage counseling in our area has helped. I am listening for God's directive to guide me in what to do. I appreciate your insight on this and have forwarded it to my spouse for reading. thank you, Rick.

i know exactly how you feel

My situation is so simular to yours. I love my husband but i can't get over three not knowing or believing him. I to pray bit it seems as though this pain will never go away.

recommitting

This article was very enlightening. My husband and I are about 13 months post affair. I think I have resigned myself into thinking that though we will stay married that I will always feel I am holding back some. I guess I am not at a point of recommitment yet, but I am praying that in time I will get there. We have come so far since the day I first found out and I am hopeful that in time with work I will feel "all in." One major stumbling block is that both my husband and I are dealing with consequences of the affair which are affecting his job. The AP made a complaint against him and because of the type of work that he does, he may be removed from his job. This has put even more pressure on both he and I and our two children who are college age. It has been a nightmare the last 13 months and I think that once the job issue is resolved we will be able to move forward again.

affair with long term friend and sexual partner

My husband admitted to being in love with the woman he tried to have a relationship with while we were separated. They both stated they considered each other best friends as well as sexual partners on and off for over 11 years. My husband keeps saying he's let her go. Recently he found that she is with someone new he is hurt by this. He still contacts her, he said they both agreed that they crossed the line when they tried to be more than friends. He keeps saying nothing will change with us all we do is argue and he's not happy. He forgets that i was hurt i forgave him but it still hurts. He says he loves me but he just don't know, but i believe he is more hurt by his actions and now she has moved on so quickly. I want to save my marriage how can i put the past behind and move forward start new without looking back.

Infidelity & recommitment

Being almost 3 yrs out from d-day, it is good and is not. I was to the point of really just giving up on him. He talks the talk of being over affair ( i think it went on for many years) and while we are getting along better, spend time together, communicate some (never in depth feeling talks) - i can't seem to let that feeling in my gut go- it keeps haunting me. He only admitted to the one affair and (supposedly) never met in person. I finally thought i would see if he really means it when says want to stay together, so i asked him if he wanted to get married again, he did say yes to renew vows on anniversary ( in a month) and did actually purchase me an expensive ring. But when i asked about how we were going to do this other than he wanted it to be private (take me to dinner where he proposed the first time and give me ring) - i had hoped for a simple small beach ceremony with like 6 people. Then he picked up ringand wanted to give to me now. I asked if he still wanted to recommit and he said he hadnt thought much about it. I now am wondering if im making a mistake. He has never fully shared thoughts and feelings with me about any of it, and because of his job has every opportunity to "do as he pleases" and i would never know. So much circumstanial evidence points to his further "steppin out" (not same woman) although could be her as well as others. I love him and want to continue towards our life together but i am still so afraid of what is out there i don't know about. I wish i had a crystal ball. I think his covert narcissistic traits will never fade away. He simply gets better at lying bout them. Thx for listening

Infidelity Hurt Me

My husband cheated because he did not know how to deal with our problems. He had a child with his AP which has left me devastated and it has torn my kids up. My 18 year old daughter can't stand him we don't speak because I chose to work it out. GOD hates divorce and our 8 year old loves her dad. I am torn at times because he did this and I don't know how to feel about him at times. How do you heal when your spouse destroyed the family?

Nice if both spouses are willing

My husband cheated on me to the tune of $80,000, a marriage full of porn, an STD, and prostitutes. He tells everyone who will listen that he is "committed to us" but his ACTIONS have taken him on vacation with my stepdaughter and left me home alone with our younger kids (another 5-7K). For 2 months I begged him tearfully not to do this, and he left Monday. But 3 years after finding out, people want me to "try." He shot my life apart like the destruction of the twin towers, and then sneered like a terrorist at my pain.

This article came in great

This article came in great timing. It has been about 21 months since I told my husband of my affair. I believe my husbands forgiveness is a huge step in the healing of our marriage as well as my respect for him. I really like the idea of recommitment to show my husband my true rededication to him and only him. Thanks Rick!

Not sure what to do

I really enjoyed this article and realize it is a process and there is a need to recommit in order to make a marriage work. I had an affair 3 1/2 years ago and we have been to two marriage therapist, 4 clergy members and participated in a group for 1 year for people who have had affairs, addiction to porn, internet affairs etc. We have 3 kids ranging in age 20 - 13. The problems in our marriage began the moment we were married. From there sex was once or twice a week it then dropped to 3 - 5 times a month when my wife said we needed to "compromise" and asked how often I would like it, I said daily she said well I can do it once a week. That was how it was for 20 years. On our ten year anniversary I arranged to have a cabin and the kids babysat She has never initiated sex, didn't seem to have a problem saying no. Didn't reach out to touch me and didn't want to be touched either sexually or non sexually except that time once a week. I didn't express my feelings, I didn't express my needs (as I saw them as carnal) and I allowed myself to become frustrated, angry and resentful. Then came the affair. It really opened a whole new world to me, being wanted, loved, touched, allowed to touch. Now here we are over 3 years later and we have not had sex, she continues to have issues about touch, the therapist, clergy and myself have asked her to be more affectionate but she continues not to be willing or able. She says she wants to be but what I have done (affair) is difficult to get over. I DO NOT want to go back to the old marriage. She said she does not want to go back to the old marriage. The kids are suffering, the relationship is suffering and each of us is suffering. I don't know which way to go, I don't know how long to wait... we have separated twice but I come back.

Unsure

Great article, but still unsure. Been cheated on too many times to remember, last affair (I am aware of) was revealed in Feb of this year. I want my 3 children (11-1) to have both parents, that love them dearly, in the home, but I am emotionally divorced from my husband. Please pray for us.

Question about recommitting

I appreciate this article. We are now only 13 weeks past D-Day, and 6 1/2 weeks removed from my wife's last contact with AP. We chose to temporarily separate a week and a half ago. There is a condo in the family that was furnished and available, and I decided to take advantage after reading an article Rick wrote about creating space if the unfaithful wasn't in a headspace that was safe for me and my recovery. We still communicate daily, and see each other on weekends. She is struggling with everything an Unfaithful struggles with, and I get that. I made the decision to separate in order to give her the space she needs to gain some clarity. I'm sure many betrayed have felt the same fear that I have now, and I'd really like to hear some feedback on how you handled it. My great fear is that, while she is gaining clarity during the separation, she will decide NOT to recommit. That, to me, would hurt almost as much as the affair. As Rick points out time and again, she is in no mental condition to be making a decision like that at this stage of the process. It's not possible for her to see me, and our marriage, in a positive light this soon after ending her affair. According to the Recovery Timeline, it will be many months before either of us has a proper perspective to make a decision regarding the continuation or ending of the marriage. My question is this - what can I do during this separation to insure that my marriage will get the chance it deserves? Do I not talk about it, and hope she comes to the correct conclusion? Do I talk about it and gently mention the reality of the recovery timeline? I honestly don't know what to do or say right now...

Hit the nail on the head

Reading this article moved me to tears. To know that there are men out there who sincerely want to move forward and recommit including the ceremony and new rings, wow . I am five years into "recovery" of the most recent of six affairs over 43+ years. I feel like I am emotionally divorced. He wants to sweep things under the carpet and forget about them. Nothing has really changed. I am 63 years old and have a gut feeling that there's more to life than walking around under the same roof with no real marriage. As a Christian woman I take my vows very seriously as a promise I made not only to him but more importantly to my Heavenly Father.

Hit the nail on the head

Reading this article moved me to tears. To know that there are men out there who sincerely want to move forward and recommit including the ceremony and new rings, wow . I am five years into "recovery" of the most recent of six affairs over 43+ years. I feel like I am emotionally divorced. He wants to sweep things under the carpet and forget about them. Nothing has really changed. I am 63 years old and have a gut feeling that there's more to life than walking around under the same roof with no real marriage. As a Christian woman I take my vows very seriously as a promise I made not only to him but more importantly to my Heavenly Father.

Exactly where we are right now

It's been nearly a year since I exposed my wife's 2-year emotional affair with the youth pastor at our church. During this time, we have been going to marital counseling almost weekly and she is seeing an individual counselor about twice a month on the side.

She is still in the marriage by being physically at home, but the disconnect is still so huge in our relationship. And even though she is the one who stepped outside the marital boundaries, her issues with me have left her with walls up that are constantly going up at every little slight or mistake on my part, so it feels like we are just spinning our wheels.

She says she is staying in the marriage, "out of obedience to God," and says she hopes that someday she will "fall in love" with me again. She says she loves me but is not "in love" with me and she offers no words of affirmation (which has been a huge thing throughout our marriage with her critical and negative nature) and doesn't allow me to hold hands, cuddle on the couch or in bed, kiss on the lips or hug. All the balls are in her court and I feel like I am daily walking on pins and needles not to tip the apple cart and start back at square one.

It has been frustrating to say the least. I know I am not perfect in any way and am working on behaviors that helped drive her away in our marriage and led her to disconnect over the past 5 to 6 years, but I still love and cherish this woman and want to spend the rest of my life with her. I feel like the shoe is always about ready to drop and she will just pack up and leave when she no longer feels she can remain "obedient" to God to stay in our relationship and feels she can't be happy.

She has been working on pressing into God in her personal relationship with Him over the past 3 years (ironically it was the youth pastor who was helping her discover God at a deeper level -- while they were both stepping outside in emotional intimacy) and I am working on my relationship with God, too. She says all she wants is for me to just relax in Christ and that will be the man she desires.

But the disconnect hangs around and the tension remains and there is very little joy or happiness where our relationship stands right now. Please pray that God can soften her heart to some day cherish, respect and fall "in love" with me again. I really don't want to lose this woman that I love so very much!

I am merely surviving. We

I am merely surviving. We have been married almost 38 years and Dday 1 was 3 and a half years ago. Dday 2 was almost 2 years ago, Dday 3 was a month ago in which another detail emerged, one that could adversely affect my health. I would say that, for my part, I am emotionally divorced. I am only staying in the marriage because I am 60 years old, too old to start over, and frankly, I will never trust another man in a relationship again, so why bother to leave the marriage and go through all the lawyers and court fees to get a divorce? I have been the one driving our recovery for the 3 and a half years ( he has only joined in reluctantly and half-heartedly) and I am too exhausted both mentally and physically to go on trying to make things better. He is only doing the very least he can do to be able to say he is "trying". He is not helping me heal because he doesn't want to talk about the affair or my feelings. He shuts me down. As far as I'm concerned, we can just live as roommates. I am good at faking it. He will never have my whole heart, my trust, or my respect ever again, but I can pretend normal indefinitely. I have tried to let it go, hand it over to God, tell myself that I forgive, but deep in my heart, I really haven't forgiven. How does a person forgive the fact that over half the marriage and a third on her life is now one big lie??? I guess if he would have worked the programs with a true heart instead of begrudgingly in the first place, I might feel differently, but now I'm past the point of caring and I'm just trying to get through until he cheats again or one of us dies. I know this sounds all sad and unnecessary, but I can't change how I feel and this is my choice---one that I did not ask for or ever envision that I would one day have to make. I am just trying to get through each day with the least amount of pain possible. This is my new normal. I think that after 3 and a half years, I should be doing better, and to the outside workd, I DO look better...but my heart is NOT better. I still hurt terribly and some days am still in disbelief that this ordeal is truly real and not a night mare I can awaken from. A life of extraordinary meaning and purpose flew out the window with his last deception. I will survive, not thrive. Sad way to live out the final decades of your life, isn't it....but it is what it is. I am trying to find happiness elsewhere with grandkids, travel, church, etc. and sometimes I am able to put the affair crap in the back burner for a while, but it never goes away, and the hurt and anger never go away.

The pain and disappointment I

The pain and disappointment I am battling us indescribable. I have NO GOOD REASON to believe ANYTHING my husband says. He has lied to me for years. His lies and pornography addiction ended up putting him in strip clubs, and we all know what happens there (more than lap dances), and after all that was revealed and I decided we would get through it, he had a deeply emotional affair with someone half his age, which included gifts, daily lunches or breakfasts at work, dinner, and lots of other stuff.
Truthfully, I have NO INTEREST in ever trusting him again. This betrayal business has been going on for years, and I am still angry with him. I don't see how we could ever make it work with all the lies. If he told me I was typing this right now, I wouldn't believe him.
And if I decided I would give him another chance, he would return to his ways. As soon as I say I'm willing, he'll involve himself in something all over again.
I want to walk away. Counseling is too expensive and we can't do this ourselves.

I feel the same way as you do

I feel the same way as you do. Not sure if guarding my heart is wrong but it's what I need in order to get by. Letting my husband destroy what's left of me by "giving him another chance" seems dumb on my part. I hear your pain and can relate. I am sorry for your heartache. I too have half our marriage, half my life taken from me. How does one just let go of the past and all the memories? I am afraid it will always be too scary to recommit.

I am merely surviving...

Hi Karen58,
I can totally relate to how you feel as I'm in the same shoes. 62 years old and five years out from when my husband asked for a separation, one week before our 28th anniversary. He denied there was someone else, which was a bald-face lie. A week later he said it was a terrible mistake and he wanted to stay married. A month later he got very ill and lost his job. DD came a year later, on December 23. Turns out, he had been planning to leave me for someone he had been involved with for five years. I thought we had a good marriage, but no, it was all a lie. The man I thought I knew and loved was leading a secret life. The man I thought was impeccable with his word was very skilled at deception. It shatters what you believe when the very hand you hold as you navigate life is an illusion.
I too have decided to stay. Our marriage at this point is a legality. I explored divorce at one point, but realized, aside from the fact that it's extremely expensive, that economically, I was shooting myself in the foot. We are roommates, nothing more. I work on my own recovery, but he doesn't work on his. Forgiveness is illusive, but a goal. Finding joy and hope in life is a goal. Being myself is a goal. That had gotten lost in a lifetime of putting others first. How can anyone else love me, if I don't love myself. As flight attendants say, put the oxygen mask on yourself first!
We travel similar paths, you and I. You are not alone and I know how you feel. It makes me sad, but a little relieved to know we aren't alone in our experiences and decisions. Others may not understand or agree, but I do.You will be in my thoughts and my heart as I do my daily forgiveness meditations (I use a guided meditation cd from the Stanford Forgiveness Project) and walk. Walking helps clear my head and reminds me to keep moving and breathing, don't you agree?

Bless you and sending you a hug.

Whew..."Emotionally Divorced"

This is my street address, I am afraid I have been here for years now before discovering about my husbands many affairs! Inwardly I got so tired of the constant "corrective thinking" my unfaithful spouse has issued to me, I was not confrontational at all and saw all the signs of inappropriateness with other women. My heart is broken as I have just started recovery with harboring hope and tommorrow my husband and I will have our second marriage counseling EVER in 2 years. We have agreed to "living in peace" until we can decide with a counselor is reconciling is possible. I have great anxiety about tommorrow and not sure what to do in the marriage session.

Wow... truth in the post, but the rubber meets a rocky road

I am touched and can agree with Rick's article, but sadly I can relate to aspects in all 3 of the comments written. I won't bother to share my version of the devastation. I so appreciate the authenticity of each broken / burned heart that shared. I am doing all that I know to do, and trusting that God will either give me what I need or show me when to leave. It's a journey I never chose to take, but I "do have choices" as I walk forward. I want to make decisions prayerfully and carefully, because I know that every choice has consequences - not just for me, but for many. I also know that every choice I make is a reflection of what is inside of me.

Emotionally Divorced recently

I have been fighting to save my marriage since the day of discovery on March 9, 2012. With a whirlwind of emotions, I knew it was not the right time to make any decision that would impact the rest of my life one way or another. At that time I thought I had all the information, but it was one of these cases where he only gave me bit by bit, as he felt I needed to know. I was at a point where I didn't know where the "disconnect" was coming from. Was it me? Was it the financial pressures? Was it having his mother living with us? Was it just in my head - I even thought it was me going thru menopause (which I was not). So many things that could have been putting pressure on our marriage, but then I found the phone calls. And texts. All there on the Verizon detail page. The alarm went off when on the previous month Valentines day he had a 1 hour long conversation with someone. And text messages during our Valentines Day dinner out. After not much research (he didn't do much to hide things), I connected the dots and it all came to the surface. A former coworker that he had an affair with during his previous marriage (a very recent admission). Kept in touch with her after his divorce and kept in touch with her after we married. They would see each other during the day for extended "lunches". Things continued to escalate until I was out of town at which he took advantage of that and spent the day and night with her. All of this being revealed a little at a time of course. At the initial confrontation he proclaimed his "friendship" with her and at first did not want to break it off. They had worked together many years previously and had remained in contact with her. Initially he told me it was only a friendship. Couple months later he then said they had gone out, but nothing happened. He continued with that defense for about 4 months. Couple months later he admitted to it having been a one-time sexual encounter and he said he was going to let things fall where they may. His actions continued to resonate the message of disconnect by his lack of effort to fix things and move forward. I even went as far as providing a book, website, a personal list of things I needed from him, a casual post nup agreement. Nothing. He read maybe 30 pages of the 400+ page book, don't think he researched the website, only did one thing on the list. Flash forward 3 years, little to no effort being made. He wanted to pretend it never happened and when I would need to discuss things due to triggers, he would become very defensive. I finally decided the only way for me to move forward is to take care of myself. It has now been 4 years, 2 months since the initial discovery and he still thinks that just by being here all should be fine and there is nothing more he can do. We moved out of state, however his job has him traveling all over, which doesn't help our situation. He fails to see why I need him to be transparent and communicate everything to me. He is now about an hour away from her. Do I think he will or has contact with her? Yes. The trust has not been rebuilt and he fails at making the effort. I have no more energy to put into this and feel I am now 6 months into the emotionally divorced state. I can say I have given this every bit of time for him to heal. For me to understand both sides. And for some effort (like the story of the ground zero proposal) to have been made. I would have given our 20 year marriage one more chance. Given him the trust. But his continued minimal efforts are just not enough. I am now just ready to let go and heal myself. I feel I have to forgive myself first for allowing this to happen, to happen for so long, and I have to set the example for my grown daughter so she knows this is not acceptable behavior from a husband. Affairs don't just diminish your self esteem, they erode any love and respect in the relationship. So yeah, can't help but feel emotionally divorced.

Emotionally Divorced

I've read everyone's comments, and the article was very touching. I was in the position the gentleman was in while in New York. Wanting new rings and remarrying. My wife stepped out on me, while I was going through the process to have Open Heart surgery. 7 months I waited for this surgery, and not a concern from her. To find out about her affair only after the surgery, a stroke and realizing I knew the person who is also married with 3 kids. They work together, and the other coached and taught our daughter in school. Real personal to me and towards me. It's been 2 years now, and I've been going through the Gautlet so to speak. I didn't tell his wife, the job or even make a threat to. I gave them both to God. A new problem became more trouble with now the involvement of a girlfriend, taking her in and out of house to bring her home in the wee hours of the morning. I trust nothing she says or do, and it's just where it is because of her actions and involvement with girlfriend and him. They still work together and in close company with each other. So, as it stands, this marraige was over a while back. I honor and love GOD, and know that His plan is for no one to live unhappy and surely not be lied to and mistreated. I've turned the other cheek after lies and deceit. Now, I must move forward and live my life as best I can and pray that I will one day be able to give myself over to another without the pain of this creeping back in. "New Heart, New Me," I'd rather not be still married and emotionally divorce with someone I don't rust with my heart no more.

Not Worthy

I am the one who stepped outside. Had a 3 month affair that included the words 'I love you' to another man. After he discovered and I confessed all, he struggled and chose to let me stay. We went to couple's counseling for almost a year immediately after. He no longer felt it necessary for him, but I have continued now into my 4th year of individual counseling, once a week. After 2 years he said he needed us to legally divorce so he could feel financially secure in order for us to stay together. I signed over all finances including our house to him, after 15 yrs of marriage, both of us working full time. The legal written custody agreement is 50/50 with no child support from either of us for our daughter. We remain living together as a married couple working on our issues. Our 11yo daughter does not know were are divorced. I am living in a house that is no longer mine, for which I have contributed 1/2 of the mortgage until the month of our divorce. I gave up everything to show him I am committed to him, in a no-fault 50/50 state. I am no longer allowed to tell him 'I love you' because I confessed those words to someone else. So he no longer says it to me except on a very few occasions. He says he wants me to stay but remains very distant. To him we didn't have any major issues in our marriage. After years of counseling I realize I stepped out due to my own weaknesses, of not being able to face our problems or address the negativity, criticisms and conflicts. I always hid behind a wall and it finally collapsed when I cheated. I truly regret what I've done and try to let him know how much I love the romantic, caring and loving side of him. But 4 years out, I don't know what else to do?? He says I will never be the same, I say I realize that and don't want it to be the same, but better. I don't know how to reconnect, I don't know how long to keep trying????

are we really really committed…?

This really made me think… Hard..are we really real recommitted? God I hope so. But I'm scared to put too much hope into it. How can a man – my promise keeper faithful husband be having all of these affairs for nine years.... But actually the discovery of his disgusting behavior for me – in the long run – turned out to be a blessing still not fully realized. I have been in abused spouse for the entire marriage off and on vicious verbal fighting disgusting Name-calling and physical abuse, ending in sexual abuse, to which I said that's it! No one will ever treat me like that again. The verbal abuse never stopped but he went on to find other females with which to act out his sexual fantasies. My recovery didn't start until the EMS weekend February 2016. Even though the discovery DDay was late December 2014. That was 13/14 months of pure living hell – I completely lost my mind. I behaved in ways I never thought possible – and I believe to this day I am still suffering the consequences physically and mentally as well as emotionally from the devastation. Working hard to try and recover… But I can't seem to pull out of this nosedive of depression and out insecurity and fear. Oh I have my moments where I seem to be OK… But it never lasts. Try to keep God on the forefront of all things Christ Jesus is my Lord and my savior – how long Oh Lord?? … How long will this desperation and fear anxiety, And sense of hopelessness last? We're doing the program we're answering the questions were doing what we're supposed to do, some days it's OK - but when I am alone… The weight the darkness the overt sadness the crushing blow a betrayal seems to get bigger I have avoided taking antidepressants – because they kill your sex drive… Well if your whole marriage depends on getting laid… Then is it really a marriage? Being in our mid 60s sex is just not a priority – At least that's how I feel at this moment. Maybe it's his priority - it's not mine. Right now… I just want to survive…at least suicidal thoughts are gone and the overt presence of The evil darkness is gone.... Now it's day by day sometimes hour by hour – all of this heavy emotional garbage has made me physically ill – fibromyalgia is starting to reemerge after being gone for many many years… How deep does this rabbit hole go…?

are we really really committed…?

This really made me think… Hard..are we really real recommitted? God I hope so. But I'm scared to put too much hope into it. How can a man – my promise keeper faithful husband be having all of these affairs for nine years.... But actually the discovery of his disgusting behavior for me – in the long run – turned out to be a blessing still not fully realized. I have been in abused spouse for the entire marriage off and on vicious verbal fighting disgusting Name-calling and physical abuse, ending in sexual abuse, to which I said that's it! No one will ever treat me like that again. The verbal abuse never stopped but he went on to find other females with which to act out his sexual fantasies. My recovery didn't start until the EMS weekend February 2016. Even though the discovery DDay was late December 2014. That was 13/14 months of pure living hell – I completely lost my mind. I behaved in ways I never thought possible – and I believe to this day I am still suffering the consequences physically and mentally as well as emotionally from the devastation. Working hard to try and recover… But I can't seem to pull out of this nosedive of depression and out insecurity and fear. Oh I have my moments where I seem to be OK… But it never lasts. Try to keep God on the forefront of all things Christ Jesus is my Lord and my savior – how long Oh Lord?? … How long will this desperation and fear anxiety, And sense of hopelessness last? We're doing the program we're answering the questions were doing what we're supposed to do, some days it's OK - but when I am alone… The weight the darkness the overt sadness the crushing blow a betrayal seems to get bigger I have avoided taking antidepressants – because they kill your sex drive… Well if your whole marriage depends on getting laid… Then is it really a marriage? Being in our mid 60s sex is just not a priority – At least that's how I feel at this moment. Maybe it's his priority - it's not mine. Right now… I just want to survive…at least suicidal thoughts are gone and the overt presence of The evil darkness is gone.... Now it's day by day sometimes hour by hour – all of this heavy emotional garbage has made me physically ill – fibromyalgia is starting to reemerge after being gone for many many years… How deep does this rabbit hole go…?

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