MC
I read a quote this morning, and as with many things the past 23 months, I related it to affair healing.

"Courage is the mother and father of every great moment and movement in history.  It animates us, brings us to life, and makes possible what seems impossible."

I haven't thought about how courage relates to affair healing much until now.  But as a BS I can see many moments where I have had to be courageous.  I have had to be courageous to trust again.  I have had to be courageous to work through MC to better my marriage.  I have had to be courageous to work through IC to better myself.  I have had to be courageous to avoid lashing out at the AP.  And my wife has had to be courageous as a BS also.

Turns out courage has a remarkable role in affair healing.  I suspect that my friends here are very courageous as well.

What are ways that you see courage having a place in affair healing?
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Male BS
D-Day 3.15.2017


Taking care of myself, as we all deserve to do.
Encouraging all to bolster their: Emotional Health, Physical Health and Spiritual Health
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BorealJ
MC wrote:


Turns out courage has a remarkable role in affair healing.  I suspect that my friends here are very courageous as well.

What are ways that you see courage having a place in affair healing?
I like how Brene Brown traces the origin of the word courage to mean something along the lines of telling your story with your whole heart.  I take that to mean being truthful about your feelings and to be genuine in your pursuit of yourself.  After my wife's affair, my identity was shaken and it was very difficult to step back into myself because that person got hurt.  I wanted to reject the person I was but did not feel comfortable in my new shoes.  It wasn't who I really was and the new traits I was exhibiting were not the ones I valued.  But it was scary to reclaim the old lost parts of myself and it was also scary to step into growth and redefining myself.  There were times when I stayed stuck because movement toward anything was too scary.  But I learned to look at my values independent of the circumstances swirling around me, and decided who I wanted to be for myself.  Those are the things that allowed healing.  When I was at peace with myself and my values I was able to move towards my goals. 
One of the goals I chose to move toward was my marriage.  The idea of courage plays a big role here.  Before grounding myself, it was too easy to measure my words or actions against hoped for responses from my wife.  I would be either too scared to share my true feelings, or too willing to express something I thought would get a positive response from her.  I think most of us keep our cards close to our chests in these stages.  But once a decision is made to work on the marriage, I think courage in the sense of being truthful about your feelings and intent is important.  It's a choice to be vulnerable and a difficult one because that truthful information can be used to manipulate you.  I think though if you've made it to the point of choosing your marriage, being courageous is an important step as it allows your spouse to also act in good faith. 
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arizons
Yes, it certainly takes Courage to heal yourself and your life, regardless if you choose to save the marriage or walk away.
Female BS, D-day 1/03/2017, 
I'm going to rebuild me like a remix,

and raise my soul like a Phoenix 
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Jennifer
Well said MC...Courage plays a huge role in healing from any trauma and especially the trauma of affairs for all the reasons you listed above. There is nothing easy about the path to healing, in the relationship or as an individual. Courage is required in every single breath and step along the way.
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Allthatremains
I think after two years I have learned alot and am still learning. What I have learned is that an affair is about a connection lost and it takes courage by both parties to find that connection again and to believe in it. For some unfaithful spouses who fail at reconciliation I think it is for a lack of courage to face the damage caused and to face what caused the affair. A breakdown in a marriage is never just not enough this or that from a spouse. An affair is more of trying to fix something inside and an inability to be courageous enough to ask for help from their spouse or to show their weaknesses. From the betrayed spouse side, it takes great courage and resilience to build self-esteem after such devastating betrayal and to open yourself up again to a person who gave away your intimacy but if you want your marriage to work you have to have the courage to go "all in" without the "all in" approach the connection is still not complete. Both parties have to want to go all in and show warts and all. That means being completely honest about what went on during the affair (up to where the betrayed spouse wants) and while in recovery. If either party holds back then the connection is still broken and the marriage may survive but it will still be vulnerable. If you can't share all of your love and fears with your spouse then something is missing. Use the courage you have to go "all in" and ask the same of your spouse. Anyone else feel the same?
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ThrivenotSurvive
I have thought a lot about this and I couldn’t agree more.  I have had many opportunities, personally and professionally, to display courage - but this experience trumps them all.  To open up, to love and even slowly begin to trust the person who’s hurt you the most - if that isn’t courage, I don’t know what is.  

Everytime I felt the fear rise - the overwhelming desire to just get in my car and drive away rather than face this pain and my vulnerability - and didn’t act on it, I felt courageous.  When I was able to calm myself - and share how I really felt with no expectations of how he might respond, I could feel my strength and resilience begin to grow.  Every time I was able to state my needs, my hopes, my feelings without feeling needy or as if I was asking for too much, I became more empowered.

And as I have been able to own my own vulnerability, my husband has slowly been able to open to his.  You are so right - this healing asks for great courage of both the BS and the WS.  Typically the WS got in this mess because they had trouble being comfortable with their negative emotions, their neediness, their fear or pain - but through it is the only way back to a shared connection.  Not just with us, the BS, but with themselves.  My husband has said many times he was being just as dishonest with himself as he was with me - because he couldn’t deal with his feelings.  

We, the BS, have to choose to have faith and at some point offer love and support to the very one who hurt us.  It’s possibly one of the most courageous things we will do in this life.

Truthfully, love is always courageous.  To love something that can be taken away, or chose to hurt you, will always make us vulnerable to pain or disappointment. But in these situations we are so much more aware of our vulnerability because we have so recently experienced the pain of betrayal.  So we are not unlike the fighter, who after being knocked out, pulls themselves up to finish the fight.  Yes, COURAGE.   
BS - Female
Married 27 years, one adult child
DD May 2016

“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.” - V Frankl
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Allthatremains
The greatest gift we can give someone we love is to share our vulnerability, because in that complete exposure and trust lies the deepest love. That being said, it sure ain't easy. I have been trying to understand forgiveness, from both sides, forgiving myself and him, and I couldn't quite understand it but as I begin to see my husband show his weaknesses and vulnerabilities I can feel what forgiveness means and the connection becomes real, anything else is just playing house.
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MC
  ...an affair is about a connection lost and it takes courage by both parties to find that connection again and to believe in it ... but if you want your marriage to work you have to have the courage to go "all in" without the "all in" approach the connection is still not complete. Both parties have to want to go all in and show warts and all.


I could not agree more.  This is so well put.  Looking back, I can see where I played a role in us losing our connection.  The affair certainly was not my fault, but it was a symptom of our lost connection.  That does not in any way, shape or form excuse my WS behavior.  But it puts a "why" to it.  And with that we know "how" to protect our marriage from becoming vulnerable again.  

For me as a BS it has taken tremendous courage to go all in, but that's what it takes to find the connection.  And after all, if we can't find that connection again than what is the use in trying to stay together anyway? 

 
________________
Male BS
D-Day 3.15.2017


Taking care of myself, as we all deserve to do.
Encouraging all to bolster their: Emotional Health, Physical Health and Spiritual Health
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Allthatremains
Agreed but there is no doubt that going all in requires a tremendous amount of strength. I still struggle with the forgiveness aspect. It's hard even knowing the why and how best to fix it, to remove the emotional baggage attached to the disrespect and disregard that my husband displayed for three years while his 'connection' was to another woman. There are days I grieve for the man I thought he was, the marriage I thought I had and the future that I had envisioned. To put those behind me and reach out for him takes an enormous amount of compassion and courage. I am still working on it but I am getting there. For those getting to this point it is two steps forward, one step back but 'forward' is winning, slowly, but it's winning.
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MC
...For those getting to this point it is two steps forward, one step back but 'forward' is winning, slowly, but it's winning.


I have reminded myself of this so many times.  The steps back are so hard, but 'forward' is winning for us too.

Through all this mess I envision a better marriage than I thought I had.  Maybe the hope for something better helps me cope with losing that which I thought I had?
________________
Male BS
D-Day 3.15.2017


Taking care of myself, as we all deserve to do.
Encouraging all to bolster their: Emotional Health, Physical Health and Spiritual Health
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