First I am so sorry that you have reason to be here. This is an unbelievably difficult road and I wouldn't wish it on anyone. But you will find a lot of support and help here. In the early days after DD I just read a lot of threads and didn't interact a lot... I was still in shock. But this place was very healing for me and I hope it will be for you as well. Keep in mind as you read and hear our stories, that while there are tons of commonalities, there are also TONS of differences. Whether you marriage will (or even should) survive this experience, whether it becomes a shadow of its former self or even stronger in the aftermath will be effected by many, many things - only some of which are in your control. There are so many factors that come into play - your husband's actions and intentions, your emotional resiliency, the strength of your marriage before the affair and a million other things. There are marriages that not only survive, but actually rebuild on an even stronger footing. I feel that mine has (for reference, tomorrow will be three years after DD) But that was largely due to one thing I had control over (me and my own healing) and one thing I did not (a husband who was committed to growing, changing and become the man he thought he was, but discovered he wasn't when the moment of truth arrived.) Rebuilding a marriage to one that is highly satisfying and fulfilling after a betrayal is difficult to say the least. And is a TWO person job. I don't think you will find one person that has been through it that will tell you differently. You can be 100% committed and do everything in your power, but if you partner is unwilling to make changes you will never feel safe - and there is no healthy relationship that can survive that long term. I agree with Anthro - it is completely inadvisable to even attempt to begin any form of reconciliation until your WH has ended ALL contact. If he is having trouble sorting out his feelings, he (and you) may want to consider discernment counseling. Discernment counseling is specifically meant for couples who are are trying to figure out if they want to try to save their marriage (or if they aren't on the same page with one wanting to and the other uncertain). In my opinion (and that is all it is, an opinion) - the best thing to do in this stage is to do the following: 1. WAIT TO MAKE BIG DECISIONS - Make no firm decisions about your marriage one way or the other (you are likely still in shock and definitely experiencing trauma.) No one asks someone that was run over a by a bus a month ago to figure out the direction of the rest of their life. So don't do that to yourself. You need to be on firmer ground and let the dust settle before you decide anything. 2. PRACTICE SELF-CARE - You are going to have to practice self-care even though everything in you will want to do the opposite. If you can't eat (few of us can), try to get veggie juices or healthy smoothies so you are at least getting nutrition in your body - it DESPERATELY needs it right now. Try to use any healthy means of getting to sleep you can find (Valerian Root, Passion Flower etc.) If they don't work, don't think twice about getting short term help from your Doctor. Sleep may be hard to come by right now - and you/your body need it. You will likely not feel like exercising at all. Try to find some way to talk yourself into it - it will help your body burn off some of the adrenaline and stress hormones that are pumping through your system . It will help take the edge off (though nothing will make you feel better right now, unfortunately.) This is more about saving your health long term, giving you the strength to get through this and most importantly - making you feel "less bad". 3. CREATE BOUNDARIES. This will look differently for every person and don't feel bad about adjusting yours to something different than you see posted here. There is no way to do this "right" - only the way that helps you. For me, once I decided to give my husband a chance (initially I went straight to wanting a divorce), I told him that I would not attempt to reconcile unless he went no contact because I would in no way "compete" for his love. It was demeaning to me and the 25 years we'd been together. If he wanted to continue to see his AP it was certainly his prerogative - but I would take that as my cue to get on with my life. I would begin planning a future without him and accept invitations to begin my own explorations outside the relationship. As I had already begun to do so during the 10 days of separation before I considered reconciliation, he knew I meant it. Suddenly the ramifications of his actions had become a LOT clearer. This wasn't just about what he was going to gain (feelings of being wanted by someone new, a chance to start fresh, etc) - it was also about what he was going to lose - his wife and his family. He had to think about what it was going to feel like watching me move on without him - seeing me with another man, etc. Once I had decided that I wanted to see if we could make it work, I made it clear that I still loved him (it was true), that I would do everything in my power to try and find our "good place" again but that I could give him no guarantees (also true) and that if I saw him cross any boundaries I was leaving. I suggest being as honest as you can be about what you want and what you hope for (there's little to be gained by trying to "hold back" at times like these) - but make it clear that you also have enough self-worth, self-love and self-confidence to move on if that is what you need to do. That YOU know you deserve to be someone's #1 - and while you want that someone to be him, if it can't be, than you love yourself enough not to settle. Some have had good success with in-house separations, out-of-home separations and some have had no separation at all. You will have to figure out what can work for you. About four days after DD, my husband had a business trip that he had to go on for his job back to the city he'd had the affair in (he'd be working side-by-side with the AP). I was still in the divorce mindset and told him to go - he could consider himself single and that I would as well (I'd taken my wedding ring off at this point). He was gone 10 days. This time is still a painful memory for me - and yet I believe it was a critical turning point for us. Without the source of my pain and anger in front of me, I was able to reflect on my marriage - it's strengths and weaknesses - and what I really wanted going forward. During this time was when I realized that I might not be ready to walk away. And he had to face the reality of what he'd done and what it was about to lead to. He'd never really allowed himself to believe that I would find out. Suddenly everything looked different. He realized that he was on a road he didn't want to travel. There is a lot more to the story, but suffice to say, we both went on a journey of self-discovery in those 10 days. We both came back from it committed to TRYING. I don't think either of us was sure that it could ever be good again, but we knew we had to give it a shot before walking away. And in our case, I am so glad we did. We are in a really, really good place But please understand, it was a LONG, HARD road to get there. It has been suggested that it might be easier to just get a divorce and start over with someone new that you have no history with BECAUSE this road is so difficult. And frankly, it may well be in MANY cases. You will need to carefully consider this for yourself. We all know people who were devastated by divorce and think they will never love again - who later meet someone they feel was destined for them. So, give yourself the space mentally to really, really look at all your options and do not settle for less than you deserve. That might be saving your marriage and it might not. Give yourself time to see what you really want - and what your husband is prepared to do to save this marriage. Because he will need to do the bulk of the work in the beginning to rebuild and if he can't or won't - you will be wasting your time. 4. WORK ON YOU - There is only one thing in your control right now. YOU. You can't control your WH, or his AP. So stop even trying (this will be soooooo hard, but try as best you can.) Instead, focus on you (and your kids). Possibly the most unfair thing about the aftermath of an affair is that your healing will be 100% your responsibility. Yes, your WH can make it easier or harder by his actions as can that of all of those in your inner circle. But they can't make you heal (even if they want to) and they can't stop you from healing (even if they want to). So while it is entirely unfair that you have to help yourself recover from a wound you didn't ask for or deserve - you are not as powerless as you feel. Because YOU can heal whether or not your marriage does. And if it does, great. And if it doesn't, that's okay to - because YOU will be fine. So focus on that during this time of of uncertainty. I found that counseling, EMDR, reading books focused on rebuilding yourself after major trauma, etc. REALLY helped me. Check out some of Tim's resources and a personal favorite of mine (Living and Loving after Intimate Betrayal by Steven Stronsky.) 5. THINK LONG AND HARD ABOUT WHO YOU WANT TO TELL. Make sure you don't isolate yourself, but don't give in the the urge to immediately tell every person you see. You will find that everyone has an opinion. But they don't have to live your life, or face the consequences of the decisions. So tread slowly here. You can always share more later - but once said, it can never be unsaid. 6. The single best advice I ever received was DO NOT LET THIS MAKE YOU INTO SOMEONE YOU ARE NOT. If you have never been a vengeful person, don't become one now. There will be times where it may take everything you have not to sink beneath your own standards. But if at all possible, DON'T. And if you do, pick yourself up, forgive yourself and try harder next time. This has nothing to do with what anyone else deserves. Right now, you probably feel like your WS and AP deserve to have the world crash down on them. And you are right. But this is about YOU. And no one - NO ONE gets to make you something you are not. So make a list of all the attributes that you like about yourself and you want to keep intact (I am kind, I am a good mother, etc.) and post them on your mirror. Every time you think about doing something - look at that list and ask yourself if it fits who you are. If not - don't do it. I did this and it was soooooo hard (I am a redhead and Irish - I have a temper and mouth that can go for miles.) But if I had done something that made me feel ashamed of myself - I would have betrayed my own self. I'd already been betrayed by my husband and his AP, why would I let them take the one thing I had left - my self-respect and dignity? Three years later I can tell you that I do not regret not taking all the actions I dreamed up in my head. They felt good to think about - but I love more that I was strong enough not to act on them. There's so much more I could say, but these are good starts. And come here - to vent, to ask questions, to get perspectives, to feel less alone. None of us have the all the answers - but in sharing and interacting, you may find some of your own.
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