AHMember44
I am the BS and I am trying to work on fixing my marriage, forgiving and trusting my wife. She is trying to make amends for the affair. The place I am stuck is the impact the AP still has on her. There are many good things my wife is doing, but when I see the effect the AP still has and how he ilicits such strong emotions in her I start to question everything. I do appreciate the work and steps she is doing, but seems like 1 of those events (no matter how small) can erase 10 good things in my mind. I bring this up to her and am told I just focus on 1 negative and not all the positive things/actions. Am I normal?
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Grace
AHMember44, 

There is no doubt that in order for healing to take place, your wife must let go of the relationship with the AP.  It is not possible to continue any healthy level of communication... there is absolutely no such thing.  Once a friendship has crossed improper boundaries, there is no going back.  She will have to do the work of healing and replacing those layers of relationship with ones that are proper, with you.  From that perspective, it is very difficult to do this when you (her husband) are in a place of bitterness and resentment.  If she is anything like me, she has a desire to create positive memories with you once again, but is finding it hard because you are struggling with believing that she really wants to be with you.

On the note of forgiveness, I am no expert as I am the WS and I have not yet been forgiven... but I can speak to the fact that I have respected the rule of no further contact.  It has helped my heart to heal more than anything else.  In addition to that, I have forgiven myself and realized the miracle that needs to take place in our relationship. The problem I am running into is the lack of forgiveness and therefore lack of trust that feeds a lack of intimacy... which was what was lacking in our relationship before.  I am currently loving him in a one-way road sense... As a result of the affair, my husband feels that he can treat me any way he wants to, and I have to watch my step or else he is again at the point of asking me to leave.  That is a lot of pressure for an imperfect person, coming from another imperfect person.  So, speaking from your wife's perspective, I would suggest that you try to recognize the positive steps she is taking, while exercising grace and patience for the things that she does not do perfectly.  Also, realize that you are not perfect, and remain humble.  If she wants to make amends, and she is trying, she needs to know that you need time to heal, but that you are trying to see things from her perspective too.  

Forgiveness is not excusing what she did, but rather allowing yourself to close the book on it and not hold it over her.  She does not deserve to have another chance, in reality, but the fact that you would consider opening your heart and giving her another chance is called grace.  Forgiveness is not really as much for her as it is for you... you need to let go of the desire to punish and judge as much as she needs to feel that you have let go of that desire.  

I hope this is helpful... we have definitely not arrived at the place where I want to be on the other side of this, but rest assured that you are normal, and to recover and make something beautiful out of something so terrible is the grace of God for sure.  I pray that you and my husband will find the same peace and come to a place of forgiveness.


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AHMember44
Thank you Grace for your comments, you have given me some things to think about. Altough I do think you are making some assumptions of me ( bitterness, resentment, judging and punishing ) as i mentioned none of those feelings in my post above. I do believe i have shown levels empathy and patience towards her considering the affects the affair has had on me, her and our family. I also want to make new memories with her, just am finding some difficulty with him not being gone 100% from her heart. If I may ask, what does your AP mean to you now, and when it ended whose idea was it ( yours, his, mutual?)
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Grace
AHMember44,

First of all... I certainly didn't mean to make assumptions, but speaking only from my experience as those things have been the response I have received. I hope that makes sense to you... Difficulty in forgiveness in my situation has been expressed in all those ways, at least from my perspective.  It is very easy for someone who has been faithful and yet betrayed to feel that what happened was unfair.  It was not my intent to make that your experience... so I take responsibility for not communicating that very clearly [smiley-greet025]

AP and I had determined that this was not going anywhere, but for me especially I felt entangled in something that I was unable to get free from.  The discovery for me was a point of permission to be free from it, although my heart was still entangled to a degree.  The determination to stay the course in my marriage and get my own heart right and truly commit myself to my family overpowered any desire I had to continue any communication at all.  I knew that no matter what, I had to cut it off... but it was highly motivated by the fact that I was discovered and this was the only way that our relationship had a chance of getting reconciled. So in answer to that question, it was mutual, but I agreed wholeheartedly.  I'm not saying it was easy, but it was a decision that I have stuck with and has honestly been a relief.

I truly believe and can see that continued communication would only complicate things, and I believe it would have been a death warrant for our marriage without a doubt.  I will pray that your wife will let go, and that she will give her heart that opportunity to heal, and to truly reconcile with you. What you probably need to realize is that the memories she has will never be completely gone, so for him to completely disappear is impossible.  What you can hope in is this:  She is choosing you. At the end of the day, she is choosing you and your family.  Not knowing the complete story and having the full picture, I don't know what that looks like exactly, or what she has experienced in your marriage, but I do believe that healing is possible for you and for her, and that something even more beautiful is on the other side if you are both committed to it.


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AHMember44
Grace,
I do appreciate your insight. I am not saying I have not felt those emotions, but they no longer drive me. The choices you speak of is another area of struggle for me. When the affair was discovered by me, she chose her AP. We started process of separation. When his wife found out, he decided to stay. So the feeling of being 2nd choice is still there. I do not believe they communicate but I know that remains a struggle for her. And I believe that struggle is why she cannot fully let go of him.
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Grace
I admire your desire to reconcile even in light of her choices. Letting go when emotions have bonded is not easy. A book that I read in the wake of discovery is 'The Love Dare'... It helped me tremendously to love even though the tables are turned in who is invested in our relationship. No part of this is easy, and yet I have seen my own character grow as a result. Don't give up on her... All things are possible.
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