Circumstances are different for everyone but (at this point)

Circumstances are different for everyone but (at this point) I’m trying to move beyond the betrayal and rebuild this relationship. But in doing so, two of the MANY issues I’m wrestling with are:
1. How do I know if by doing this I’m undervaluing myself… I know people work through these things but I didn’t deserve this. So how is it ok for to move ahead.
2. How can it be both be true that my wife had an affair and that she loved me the entire time.

Staying with my spouse after his 4 year affair has been a difficult journey. No one deserves the trauma that infidelity causes. You need to try and understand that your wife’s infidelity is a reflection of her, and her personal voids that she was trying to fill, not you. Cheating is typically an easy answer for emotionally immature people who haven’t realized that no other person or relationship can make you feel happy or fulfilled. That has to come from within. From making choices and putting in the work to live your life in a way that aligns with your own values. I struggled with the same questions though. Staying and rebuilding the relationship takes huge strength. Over several years I kept asking myself why I was staying. Was it for convenience? Was it out of fear? Was it financially motivated? Etc, etc. In the beginning, it was perhaps as simple as I was not in a stable mental place to make good choices as I was just dealing moment by moment with the trauma. I then started putting pieces in place to ensure I could move on by myself if I needed to. I had a secure job. I had a support system outside of my husband. I then looked at our relationship history and we worked with our therapists to see what it was we valued annd enjoyed about each other and our relationship. Together we decided we had enough love and admiration for each other outside of this trauma to give rebuilding a real try. A big part of my decision to stay was based on the work my husband did and continues to do on himself. He fully owned the responsibility for his choices. He didn’t try to justify or blame shift. He put in the hard work to understand what was lacking in himself that led him down the path of infidelity through therapy, books, online resources, I could see the genuine shame and disgust that he had for what he did and the hurt he caused. He has continued to work with his therapist over the last 5 years to grow further and really delve deep into embedded unhealthy patterns of thinking and behaving, rather then falling back into old patterns as the immediate crisis of the infidelity passed. We as a couple continue to work on our new relationship by exploring various books, podcasts and other resources. We continue now to make our relationship a priority and not something that we take for granted. We enjoy being together. Relationships are not static. They are or should be continuously changing and evolving. Lastly I would say the there are no guarantees in relationships. They are inherently risky. You can decrease many risks through communication and respect.

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Great questions and ones I also asked myself. The mental stress and trauma you go through has been likened to PTSD. You feel taken advantage of, personally attacked, stupid for staying. I am still with my husband after finding out about his 4+ years affair, and devestatedinptbo pretty much summed it all up in her post extremely well. I will also add cheaters compartmentalize their lives and therefore can cheat but love their significant other.

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@Kas1966 Exactly! Compartmentalization and dissociation. Affairs aren’t typically about love of the affair partner they are about escape and fantasy and ego boosts.

Thank you. Some days are so hard. One week I’m 100% into making this work and sympathetic to everything she must be going through to have gotten to such a low point that she could make this stupid terrible decision and the next day I’m lost and feel like I’m an idiot or in denial for staying. Thank you. Friends aren’t helpful either because until you’ve experienced this you don’t understand the level of complexity to sorting this all out.

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@Sdav Just keep swimming! lol That’s been my mantra since d-day ( discovery day). I would say your doubts and ups and downs are 100% normal. You will eventually feel more confident in your decisions if you are seeing what you need to see in terms of progress in your spouse and in your relationship. There is no quick fix or easy answers. Lots of ups and downs and steps backward sometimes. Time and work will get you where you need to be. It’s definitely a difficult process when you choose to work through the trauma and build new personal and relationship dynamics. But worth it I think, even if just for your own mental wellbeing Don’t forget to allow yourself to enjoy moments with your spouse during this recovery process. Remember why you want to persevere with this person!.