So...I haven't been here for a while. I'm right at 3 years

So...I haven't been here for a while. I'm right at 3 years in from discovering an affair. It's been a rollercoaster of emotions. Lots of PTSD. Not much fighting, ya know, but an overwhelming sense of loss and grief is the best way I can describe it. It took a while for us to get on the same page, but we decided to stay together. Even got married about a year after d-day.

Thing, things are better (different), I suppose. We're 3 years into affair recovery. We've both had individual therapy, but not together... which is probably needed.
I'm feeling really frustrated lately. Pretty low at times. I don't think he's cheating, but there is this nagging voice in the back of my head now that says like, "Well, you never know for sure."
I don't know what to do with that.
And as much as I've been able to forgive and move on about that period in our relationship, I'm still haunted everyday by things he said and the way he treated me during that time. The whole thing really destroyed me. When I ask him about things he said then, he says things like, "I wanted you to hate me." So he said and did a lot of hurtful things to get me to hate him so I'd move on, but now says he didn't mean any of that stuff... I don't know what to do with all that either. I don't fully believe anything he says anymore...even when he says he loves me and wants so much for our future and happiness...blah blah blah. I just can't accept it like I once did.
I'd just like to know if it stays this way or if this is just kind of a rut in the recovery.

1 Heart

I don't think any of us can answer if it will always be that way for you. I think couples counseling would be good so you can have someone help you process these feelings together. Having him express those feelings in counseling might help you believe it. But, ultimately it is his actions more than his words that will have the biggest impact.

1 Heart

@Leahzan you are so right! I know none of us can predict how things will play out.
I guess I’m curious about how others are handling these struggles.
I really appreciate you taking the time to chime in here. It truly means a lot when a person takes a moment to support another in time of need when they don’t have to.

I’m on the fence about couples counseling, honestly. It could be one of those things that makes or breaks us and I guess I need to swallow that fear. I also fear that even with a professional mediating, it’s not going to change that deep seeded trauma surrounding this situation. Def have to try and keep an open mind there. Thank you again. :slight_smile:

staying together after an affair has many challenges. He has not earned your trust back yet. If he is late you wonder who he might have been with.
If he doesn't act in ways to raise any flags, you will trust him more with time.

1 Heart

@Inmylittleroom You absolutely pegged it! Anything that deviates from normal predictive behaviors sends the mind spinning and creates all this doubt…I once would have said “unnecessary doubt”, but that simply isn’t the case anymore. There’s plenty of reason to doubt, ya know.
That’s the scary part of it. He showed me just what he is capable of and I don’t like that person one bit and I just can’t turn a blind eye to it anymore. We definitely need to work on trust building. I think neither of us really know how to do that.

I’m 4 years in and have similar struggles. I don’t know what to tell you. My husband has done a lot of self work. But it doesn’t take much to throw a lot of doubt onto my decision to stay. Sometimes I feel very positive though. Like you I hope that if we both keep working at it and moving forward it slowly continues to improve. But I worry that the deep hurt and trauma his choices caused will always be with me holding me back.

4 Hearts

@devastatedinptbo Thank you for replying here! Your situation sounds very similar to what I’m going through. I have the good feels quite often, but when that doubt comes in…man, it seems to chip away at all positivity and is a real struggle to climb back out of that dark place.
I have felt, and still do feel at times, that we are right eachother for forever, but that dark cloud rolls in and I’ll have one foot out the door. Lately, that cloud in lingering and I feel like running as fast I can to start a new life in a new place and cutting all ties, but I just don’t think that’s very realistic. That feeling tugging on you is tough to bear and stuff down though. Thank you again for supporting me here. :heart:

I’m sorry you have been experiencing these ups and downs for such a long time... swaying precariously back and forth between love and terror is so very painful and exhausting. Your experience seems to share some commonalities with mine, so I wondered if this article might be helpful for you, as it started a big shift for my husband and me. It describes attachment styles, and how when two people have different attachment styles, they can both want the relationship to work out, but they keep approaching it in two different ways, often using seemingly opposite strategies. One combination of these strategies is “if you could just be consistently close to me, I would feel safe and then I could count on you”, and the other is “if you could just give me plenty of space and some closeness, i would feel safe and thenI could count on you”. My husband and I work with a counselor who does emotionally-focused therapy, which has been eye-opening and supportive for both of us. A good EFT counselor provides “relentless empathy” for both people, which has been life-changing for us to each feel validated while also being gently supported to gain insight about ourselves and each other, and to learn new strategies. We have a lot of work to do but seem to be on more solid ground lately. If this article is helpful, there’s also a part 2.

1 Heart

@sunfloweraf Thanks for sharing all the recent attachment articles. I’ve found them really helpful. It’s been quite a while now since we did our counselling with our EFT and read Sue Johnson’s book. This past few weeks I’ve been struggling. After spending a week away visiting my husband’s family for the first time in 5 years, and seeing the avoidance and dismissive traits played out repeatedly amongst most of them, I came home emotionally exhausted! We’ve had a tough couple of weeks processing that visit. I saw him regress into some old avoidance and dismissive habits, and found myself falling back into anxious and angry patterns. These articles have helped me see the cycle of detachment happening more clearly and we’ve actually had some good discussions about it all the last couple of days.

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