It's rare that I agree with NYC but in this case I do.
Poly after an affair is hard. And it take A LOT of work. Karma and I are a little more than a year out from me finding out abot all his affairs. It took a lot of work to get where we are now.
What worked best for me was expressing how I felt. And it changed everyday, every hour at times. I was okay and moving forward and then I was 30 steps backwards. Karma listened, everytime. Even if it was just going over and over the same things. He got frustrated, but he never made me feel bad for not healing fast enough.
That allowed me to really look at things and start taking the action I needed to take. To learn my boundries. Sometimes what I thought I could handle turned out to be more than I could handle, so I told him and we worked through it.
None of it was easy. I was full of raw emotion for quite awhile. So many nights I cried. And then I started boxing so I could work out the anger.
Do not hide your emotions, you feel them for a reason. But you also need to know that they feel theirs as well. Karma was frustrated a lot of the time. He had a right to be. I kept going up and down like a yo-yo. But I had never dealt with this before, not only his string of affairs, but also him dating one of them. We had to rebuild our marriage, while he was in another relationship.
The best thing I did was realize I was only responsible for me. I was so caught up in the fear-"what if he lies again, what if we went through all of this and he still can't be honest and cheats again, I'll be such a fool." No I won't be a fool. It is my love for him and us that allowed me to forgive and try to work through it, if he screws that up, it's on him. It was the most freeing realization I made.
Once I got there, it was all about moving forward.
Red Pepper told me in the begining of my journey that it was up to Karma to make it up to me and prove to me he wanted this to work. At first I balked at that, thinking we had to do it together. But she was right, I wasn't the one who betrayed the trust of our marriage.
So in a nutshell, don't hide your emotions, own them, learn from them and move forward. Don't allow anyone to make you feel like you need to apologize for those emotions. Go at your pace and ask them to respect that, that doesn't mean stand still, and they may not respect that, but if either way you'll see their true colors. Be flexable. Some boundries you may need right now, may need to change in the future, that's okay. Some may not, that's okay too.
And some advice for You and Charlie-Some things I needed to do, like see Karma and his then g/f hug, kiss, hold eachother, hurt me. But I needed to see it to make it real in my brain. Karma felt that the pain meant we were going backwards or that I was changing my mind. I wasn't, I knew it would hurt, but I also knew it had to happen. It's like pulling off a band-aid. You know it's gonna hurt, but in order for the wound to heal it needs to be cleaned and open to the air at a certain point. Somethings you need to experience will hurt, but that doesn't mean you are going backwards.
I hope that all makes sense, I'm on pain pills at the moment and tend to babble.
I just wanted you to know it can get better. Karma and Cricket are no longer together. But Karma and I are stronger than ever and I am encouraging him in his new love interest. This journey was painful and difficult, but I can look back now and say without it we'd be nowhere near as strong or as happy as we are now. I trust him more now than I ever have. After 9 yrs of lies and affairs, that's huge for us.
Good luck to you.