I posted a few months ago about our poly situation that fell apart after my husband confessed he had been cheating with said girl for 8 mos. The long and the short of it is that I tried to keep her involved. My thinking was that somehow since she was part of the problem, she could be part of the healing, and on one hand it did help. We had a tumultuous start, on again talks then off as I would just have horrendous backlash. I finally got to a place where I could go more than a few days without melting down and we negotiated a slow start. I explained that I didn't know how or where this would end up, because honestly it was navigating waters I had never been in. I explained to her that it very well might end in a fiery crash, she said she understood. During that time she and I were able to see each other as human beings, and much healing (at least for myself) happened....Much, not complete. After about 2.5 weeks I finally broke down and couldn't handle it, there was too much betrayal and lies between the two of them for so long, it was a total mindfuck. She was and is very much in love with him, as for my husband he said it was never more than good friends and sex. Honestly I don't know what to believe from either of them.
So here I am today, I am sad. I am really struggling with the thoughts of my husband lying and betraying me for so long over this. He was sharing secrets with her and not me. He was doing bdsm with her and not me. Why? I have asked him and asked him, and he just said it was for the thrill of the forbidden, having sex with a total stranger. Some days I do well, and things seem somewhat normal, other days I fight to hold back tears all day. I worked so hard to get to a place of trust with him, 5 years. And all thrown away for a thrill. :(
How do I get past the pain? How do I regain the trust, if ever. I love him yet I just don't know. There have been other transgressions in the past, nothing too serious (that I know of). I am obsessed with thinking about it all, it fills my thoughts constantly. He says this has made him a changed man, that he realizes how horribly painful this was for me. Uhhg...I just need some way to work this out. Most of my friends dont understand us anyway, and see this as a "well I told you so because you guys are "poly". I am willing to listen to advice. thanks..m
Also, I wanted to add, that I am feeling like somehow if we could find someone new and start all over again, slow and steady, that somehow this would wash out all the negative stuff...I know thats probably not a good idea, but it feels like it would clear my mind and give me a someone new to focus on...Sigh.
(((Hugs))) and my own experience
My DH and I have survived from an affair (of about a year or two *wow* I can't believe I'm forgetting how long it was :) plus other cheating events which led up to and included the longer affair. This was disclosed about 5 years ago (which I also had to calculate). We've been together for 18 years now.
The only thing I can really say is that it IS possible to heal the trust but it takes a lot of Time, openness and vulnerability from both of you. For me, I needed total transparency and a refocussing/rehauling on our marriage and family and my DH was willing to do so happily. This lasted about two years post affair disclosure. The other thing that I really had to evaluate was what *I* wanted out of the relationship regardless of any other possible people. The cheating ultimately revealed to my DH (and to me) that he would like an ethical non-mono/open to poly relationship and that while he was patient, and wouldn't consider leaving me, he felt this is what he ultimately needed for his own happiness.
During the refocusing time we spent a lot of time discussing and sharing what we both wanted out of our relationship. We discovered we have way more relationship/lifing overlaps than not. Plus, we love each other immensely- we just have some rough edges. With time and seeing how our relationship transformed for the better, and that we shared many if not most of the same goals, trust and confidence came much more easily.
For you, you might want to ask him about your needs for intimacy and BDSM. Since you brought them up in your post I imagine these are two very important things to you, and the deception around them while your needs were not being met add to your pain. It would be good to know now if these things are important and meaningful to your partner as well in your relationship and how he intends to make sure these aspects of your relationship will remain nourished and fed by BOTH of you. As well as any other things you feel are important or meaningful. All LTRs ebb and flow but if you both develop ways that you can re-center back to the agreed upon fundamentals w/o getting in a negative loop it goes a long way to smooth and soothe the relationship weather.
If you come to know that you are "on the same team" so to speak within the relationship you will begin to feel more secure and trusting- even in difficult times. Unfortunately, after an affair like this, it frequently doesn't feel like our partners are on the same team for our relationships. In fact, it feels like the opposite due to all of the lying and deception and emotional drama that backlashes from the affairs. Not just your hurt- but their hurt as well reverberating through the relationship post facto. It can be very confusing.
I believe I understand this feeling. I was a wreck after my DH came clean to me mostly from the abandonment I felt from him checking out of our relationship over the previous years and my recent belief that I was not respected/supported at all by him. He was a wreck as well. I needed constant reassurance and loving actions in the beginning to forge a new pattern of believing his words and believing he was really committed to our relationship and our family again.
I gave it time, so did DH. We are much better for it now. We love each other completely and I believe we have a strong foundation. Stronger than we ever had in the past. It's not always easy. We still have some moments when we trigger each other and then have to dig ourselves out of it but we recognize the pattern and we are both working on it. It is not as distressing anymore but I (we) would like to be able to move past it or at least improve it.
I finally started reading a book (after a classic trigger snafu) that I bought after the last time we had a trigger-fest emotional breakdown. It's called "How to Improve Your Marriage Without Talking About It," by Patricia Love and Steven Stosny. It is pretty heteronormative and geared towards a general monogamous audience but the fear/shame cycle is what I experience in my relationship and I have found it very helpful in better understanding BOTH of our POVs. I believe it is primarily about rediscovering compassion for and with each other and believing we both primarily want the same thing- connection. Many of the points they make we had already started to do on our own in our relationship. I am still finishing it but it has a very strong start that I am happy to have found. Maybe it can help you as well.
I read this article which ultimately led me to buying the book:
If it resonates at all with you give the book a shot. It was eerily similar to our relationship conflicts.
P.S. I think you were very brave and open to try and work things out with your partner's OSO. Especially right away. I am glad that your were able to experience some healing with her. That is really great and will be helpful to you in the future I believe. However, I think having emotional breakdowns every 3-4 days is not a good place to start making huge relationship changes from. That doesn't give you enough time to reach center, process, and start fresh and stable within your relationship. That can be more damaging in the long run because of the pattern up upset and drama that frequently follows.
We realized that a slower pace was much better for us to maintain more stability and happiness in our life and our family. If anything, I hope you are able to look out for your own emotional needs as you both move forward. Small challenges are good, IMO. Frequent large ones can have a tendency to backfire in our faces if we are not compassionate towards our own needs.
As for your obsessive thoughts happening right now- If your partner, from now on treats you with respect and good faith, the obsessive thoughts and distrust will fade with time because they will be replaced with new positive memories. If he does remain consistent and several months later you still feel frozen with obsessive thoughts perhaps focusing on yourself and your own individual happiness is in order. If he doesn't treat you consistently well, there will be good reason they don't fade. It took me about two years to settle my anxiety and obsessive thoughts so that weeks or months could go by without them bothering me significantly.
Mag- it takes awhile. Have you ever smoked? I ask because getting past this is a lot like quitting smoking.
Think of all the negative thoughts and feeling as cravings. Cravings are a desire for 'a quick fix', just like we all long for 'a quick fix' when processing pain.
The longer you resist the quick fix, the more frequently you engage in a healthy activity during a craving, the stronger you become.
I suggest writing out all of your feelings, frequently. A blog or a diary works well.
End each post with something positive about that day, a small reminder for yourself that its getting better.
Also, take breaks from processing. Go do something silly, fun, playful.
Both of you work on putting the fun back in to your mutual relationship.
But, be honest, when the hurt pops up suddenly, speak it,
'It hurts to be here enjoying this so much knowing you lied to me...and you did it for so long.' then, like a craving you acknowledged, move on after you acknowledged it.
Most important, write to yourself everything about you that is awesome, wonderful, valuable, meaningful. You are those things. Remind yourself.
Thank you both for your responses. I will check out the references Katrpiller, I do want to heal. The moments I forget for a minute feel so good. LR I have quit smoking and quite frankly it was much easier than this :) But I totally get the reference. I am working on delving more into my spirituality and writing again. We are working on our house together and that seems to help as well. I should also mention that he is doing a wonderful job allowing me to work through my moments and not letting it take over the whole day....He breaths through it with me. Thanks so much to both of you, just knowing you made it gives me hope. m
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