sabalias
We went through D-Day nearly 8 short months ago and since then my wife has given me no reason to suspect anything at all. Her life is an open book to me (as mine is to her). Since she came out of the fog our marriage has been very different and getting stronger and stronger (as Esther Perel says in her Ted talk, our first marriage is over, we have started a new one together).

The trouble is that occasionally something quite innocent will trigger a memory or embed a tiny grain of doubt in my brain (fortunately the frequency is slowly reducing). More often than not I can deal with this internally by reminding myself of the promises and commitment that my wife has made and telling myself that I need to accept that she is her own person and if everything goes awry then it won't be for lack of trying. Unfortunately that grain sometimes grows into a rock and I can't dislodge it without engaging in some heavy duty conversation. I should point out that my wife understands that I need to do this and wants to reassure me by accepting these (sometimes painful) conversations. However, my perception is that we are both a bit fragile afterwards and I really don't like that at all; I sometimes fear that such interactions might push my wife away rather than bring us closer.

To the question then (and I think I know the answer). Is this normal? We realise that the time since D-Day has been comparatively short for us to be where we are now but we are both totally committed to each other and look forward to the time when we can truly say this is behind us.
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Heidi
Hi Sabalias. I think what you're going through is very normal. You're definitely way ahead than I was at 8 months. A trigger would usually send me off into a ranting rage, or a deep depression, and often I'd feel the after effects for days. As time went on, they have become less frequent and less impactful, but like you we talk them out. Feeling fragile afterwards is normal, I know I always do. But in a strange way these conversations also bring us closer, as we both allow our vulnerabilities to come through.

8 months is such a short time. It sounds as though you're both doing the hard work. And try not to worry about pushing your spouse away, instead tell her of your fears, you may be pleasantly surprised by her response.
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Jennifer
Hi Sabalias,

I want to encourage you as well and let you know that what you are going through is completely normal. In fact, it sounds like you both are on the right track and are committed to your marriage.

I can really relate to you saying "Unfortunately that grain sometimes grows into a rock and I can't dislodge it without engaging in some heavy duty conversation." I know that feeling of not wanting to bring the topic up, of knowing that the fear that triggered the conversation is probably based on something seemly insignificant, and of being unsure of my partner's response. Going through affair recovery can be much like the symptoms of PTSD where certain events and situations can trigger all those painful memories and no matter ho hard you try to not say anything, you feel compelled to do so.

I am 6 years post DDay and here is what I have learned about that during this time. This has been my personal experience. My partner said that when I approach him in an accusatory way this usually leads to defensiveness and then arguing. When I come to him from a place of telling him how I feel and what I am worried about, this gives him the opportunity to reassure me and this becomes healing for both of us. Secondly, I hear you when you are saying that you both feel fragile afterwards and of course you do! You are discussing one of the most painful events in your lives and this brings up a lot of painful emotions. Try to view this time as a normal part of the process and see this as a way to connect with each other. This can only serve to bring you closer together if handled in a positive way even if the topic is hard. Lastly, be patient with yourself and your spouse. You are navigating these hard times together and there is no time line for when things get better. It sounds like you are doing great!

It does get better over time and these triggers do fade and become less emotionally involved over time. Six years later and every once and a while it still happens to me but they are much fewer and far between. When they do happen, they are usually less intense and we have learned to navigate them together.
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sabalias
Hi Heidi and Jennifer,
Thank you for the responses, they really have helped me to come to terms with the latest episode which has been the worst since the big collapse of Sep/Oct of 2015. Even so, I do still find myself imagining that she might be up to no good and have to work those demons out.  Recently, when I've imagined the worst, I've replaced that thought with one of her doing something completely innocent (like working at her desk in the office) and it seems to help.
Thanks again.
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