It shouldn't feel like losing. (1 of 2)
You are a very brave woman!!!
Your message compelled me to come out of lurkdom to share my experience with healing deeply broken trust with my DH. I am pretty verbose so this will be two messages. I hope it is helpful to you. I read up on some of your earlier threads from last year and you are doing the best you can with what you have been given. In fact you have done more than what many women would do. Myself included. I am not in the same situation as you but there are some similarities. My DH had a 1.5-2 year affair with a woman. I had known her but not super well. I knew my DH was good friends with her so I went out of my way to let them socialize, etc... During this time our relationship deteriorated and my DH seemed to grow very bitter and cold towards me. I didnít put two and two together. There was so much other stress in our lives I figured it was that and I hoped it would pass as the stress lifted. I knew this new version of him- of us was all wrong!
I was gutted when he finally opened up to me. He was spiraling into a bad mental place and it finally burst open. Then came all the details and disclosures of the past years. I was so completely destroyed emotionally. The lies, the deceit, the meanness in how he treated me, things he had saidÖ Iím still working through some of the insecurities I developed. The power imbalance!!! Anyhow... that was years ago. That is part of our past. He brought up polyamory and initially wanted to try to salvage his affair relationship. This wasn't going to work for me. Hell, I didn't know if poly was going to work but I damn well knew it wasn't going to work with her. There was too much disrespect! Ongoing disrespect and willingness to be deceptive even after all was spilled. No apology. No remorse. The survival of our marriage/family was not her issue or concern and that was all too clear to me. I had well over a decade of rich loving history with my DH and wonderful young children. These are the reasons I was able to give him the benefit of the doubt about his ability to change- to return to treating me with love and respect. He was lost. I think we can all get lost sometimes.
Now we are VERY happy and loving!!! Our relationship has blossomed and has overcome many difficult times and emotions. We've seen each other at our worst and we are still here showing up each day. Making room when the other needs it. Both of us are open enough to look inside ourselves to see what negative things we bring to the table and we support each other as we grow into better versions of ourselves. We are always adjusting and getting real about our expectations, wants and needs. We are very respectful to each other and work on owning our own feelings. We have an open relationship. Monogamy does not define our strong commitment to each other. We can each pursue outside relationships if we'd like and they can be poly relationships or not. Neither of us have ongoing romances now (besides our own) but it is a reality that I am aware of daily. I've done my own research and continue to do so. I have been reading BB boards for years. And I've made peace so far with altering the model of our relationship. Though the proof will be in the pudding.
So how did we get to this place of peace and renewed and (dare I say) stronger trust and love? Firstly, he did break off contact with his lover. This was necessary for us. Perhaps it's not for you in your situation. I can see how it might be possible if trust is repairable with the 3rd person. But w/o trust I really don't think it can work- at least not well or happily. There will always be those thoughts in the back of your head. When there is long term deceit as a foundation of an outside relationship it is HARD not to view it as your partner intentionally choosing someone else as more important than you due to the lack of respect and consideration. It takes a lot of work and effort to re-level the playing field. Is your DH up for it? Itís not worth it to me (and my wellbeing) to be continuously subjected to people I donít trust in my most private and intimate sphere.
In the aftermath we broke it all down. We dissected everything. We shared all of our feelings and emotions- especially if we didn't want to or were scared to. We had so many convos - and I knew that they might make me sound needy or unattractive or way emotional or overly sensitive. You name it I felt it (a lot)! Triggers were all over the place! I really needed these talks. To have him be compassionate and loving towards me even in my darkest, most insecure moments. If he couldnít do that how could we build a strong foundation? In the first few months I really needed for him to be accountable to me ALL the time. I would panic if he was out of touch. I was constantly looking for signs of lies. It was really hard for him but he kept with me. As he kept with me I loosened up. When I was triggered I would tell him ASAP. We had conversations over and over again. Even months later I needed him to walk through different timelines or re-address past lies. Or tell me positive stories about us during the cheating era. I needed to rebuild what my reality was from the sham it had been. For the present and future- I needed to have things be EXACTLY how he said it would be. He also asked for things he really needed and with time and some new positive history to work with as a foundation I kept loosening my need of him. Testing myself here and there. Letting him make his own choices to do well by me rather than me dictating what that meant. Who wants a coerced love? Do you? Of course we did take it in bite size pieces so I wasnít a wreck. This wasnít about me being controlling I donít think. This was about me taking care of my wellbeing. Making sure I was well enough to actively participate in life in a positive way. Nowadays he can go out for lunch dates or meet people I donít know and my heart feels secure and happy. Now I ask about his day from a place of genuine curiosity but no anxiety.
(see next post)