stormyshay
I am a WS that is 110% committed to rebuilding my marriage.  For more detailed information on my situation you can read this topic thread: http://community.affairhealing.com/post/when-you-live-in-the-same-town-as-the-ap-what-do-you-do-8225780?&trail=15. But for those of you that don't want to take the time I will give a very brief synopsis.

Met AP at work when we were working in the same office.  He was 10 years older than me and served as a mentor to me.  We attend the same church.  We have kids in the same schools.  And our kids play youth soccer at the same complex.  I no longer work with my AP but do still work for the same governmental agency.  Moving is not something my BS wants to do.  I support his decision and defer things like that to him.  I feel as though I gave up my right to decide those things when I had an affair.  Every action and decision I take is 100% with my husband and his wishes, feelings, etc. in mind.  I will do whatever it takes to make him feel safe and regain his trust, if that is even possible.  If he felt the need to move I would ask "where to and when?".  But my husband is very happy in his job and since he is the primary bread winner in our family he would like to remain in our hometown, which is also where the AP and his wife live.

My marriage had been in trouble for quite a while.  My husband and I have never had a very close relationship and we were both terrible communicators.  I am not excusing my behavior.  I own my mistakes.  I have been in IC for 8 months now to sort through my issues.  My husband also acknowledges we had some very real problems present in our marriage before the affair.  We are both committed to rebuilding our marriage into something much better than it was before.  

Years ago I came across the concept of a Marriage Encounter and Retrouvaille.  I asked my husband to attend a Marriage Encounter back 5 or 6 years ago and was immediately shot down.  He did not like the idea of going and discussing his feelings.  However, after DDay we both knew we needed help.  I approached my husband again and this time he agreed.  I immediately registered for the closest location of the Retrouvaille program.  Unfortunately it was going to be about 3 months before we would attend.  If you are still struggling in the aftermath of your affair or you just want to make your marriage stronger I cannot recommend this program enough http://www.retrouvaille.org/.  

It has been 3 months since I ended my affair and disclosed all details to my husband.  These have been the hardest months of my life and I am sure my husband would tell you the same.  I knew immediately that I wanted to save my marriage which was why I ended the affair in the first place and decided full disclosure was the only way to rebuild.  I did not want to rebuild our marriage on a crumbling foundation of lies.  The first 6 weeks were hell.  We both struggled with anger and said a lot of hurtful things during that time.  I was experiencing some serious withdraw from my affair partner.  It was very hard to focus on my BS when I was hurting so much.  But slowly things started getting better.  And by month 2 I felt like I was ready to focus all my energy on my husband and helping him heal.  I purchased every audio book and kindle book on the subject of affairs.  I read them cover to cover.  I found Shirley P. Glass "Not Just Friends" to be one of the most helpful on the subject.

As we got closer and closer to our Retrouvaille weekend I began to feel hope.  I felt like this could be the answer to our prayers.  I had no idea what to fully expect from our weekend but I hoped it would put us on the right path.  Three days before we were supposed to attend I got a text from the wife of my affair partner informing us that "just to give you a heads up we are attending a marriage retreat in (name of town) and suppose we might see you there."  I was devastated.  I had no idea how she found out we were going.  I was angry and heartbroken.  I had been looking forward to this weekend for nearly 3 months.  Was it not enough to live in the same town as this other couple but we could not even go 3 hours away without seeing them too?!!! 

My husband and I struggled with what was the right thing to do.  My initial reaction was to not attend the weekend.  I did not think I could sit in the same room as my affair partner and his wife.  But my husband felt defiant.  Already this couple had told us not to attend church.  His wife had threatened to tell everyone what I had done as she phrased it.  In what little interaction we had with her it appeared she blamed me for the situation.  We chose to attend church at times other than when the AP and his family went but once were in attendance at the same time.  The following morning my AP's wife sent a text to my husband wanting to know why we attended church.  Both my husband and I felt like this other couple was trying to control us.  

We immediately went into battle mode.  I tried to figure out how my AP had found out we were attending.  And then it dawned on me.  My AP's supervisor had contact me the same day we received the text informing us of their attendance to the retreat.  The supervisor had contacted me out of the blue and asked if I was working the weekend.  I informed him I was not and he specifically asked me what I was doing.  I told him I planned to attend a marriage retreat with my spouse.  It wasn't 10 minutes after I got off the phone with this supervisor that I received the text from my AP's wife.  I could not believe I did not put that together.  I think I was so shocked it did not even occur to me that my AP would enlist someone else to pry into my life.  I was disgusted and even more determined to go now.  My husband and I felt like this affair already took enough of our time and energy and we refused to let it take more from us.

So we took the next step we contacted the hosts of the weekend to ask if there was anything they could do.  They told us they had never had this problem before and wanted to discuss it.  They got back to us the following day only 2 days before the retreat and told us that it was really our decision.  I suppose I had hoped they would see who registered first and ask the last couple that registered to attend another time but they did not.  Since we were staying at a retreat center and it was dorm style I certainly did not want to stay on the same floor as my AP and his spouse.  So I asked if we could at least be housed in a separate area and they agreed. 

I decided an emergency meeting with my therapist was in order so I went in for a session.  He informed me that the therapeutic benefit of the weekend would be greatly diminished with the other couple in attendance.  But he did not see anything wrong with my husband and I deciding to go anyway.  He thought if for not other reason we could go to show we are a united front to my AP and his spouse.  He even went to far as to say that if we went for no other reason than to annoy them it was okay.  We could look at the situation as a bonding activity.

So we set out on a Friday after taking half a day off from work to attend our marriage retreat 3 hours away from home.  We set out to spend the weekend with my affair partner and his wife.....
    
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neslon
[smiley-angelic001][smiley-think005][smiley-angry002][rolleyes][eek][crazy]

I just went through 6 emotions reading that...good lord I hope you all lived to see the other side of the weekend!
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stormyshay
We all did survive or at least I think we did. To be honest at times I have to laugh at times concerning it all to keep from hysterical crying.

Sometimes I wonder if I am on some kind of hidden reality show.
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neslon
I have to believe that the hosts will be coming up with a way of dealing with that from now on.  

I have had that fear driving to counseling for the first few months that I would walk in and my husband's AP would be there.  Luckily that has not happened....ugh.  


I hope it was healing for all of you.  Signs that both couples are working on their marriages and looking forward to a future of little connections besides seeing each other in church.

I can't quite remember your viewpoint of your AP at the point.  Did it change how you felt about him if you don't mind me asking?  Did him prying through a third party change your image of him?
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stormyshay
neslon wrote:

I hope it was healing for all of you.  Signs that both couples are working on their marriages and looking forward to a future of little connections besides seeing each other in church.

I can't quite remember your viewpoint of your AP at the point.  Did it change how you felt about him if you don't mind me asking?  Did him prying through a third party change your image of him?


I will say this weekend was life changing for our marriage.  I am so glad we went and my husband is as well.  While it was annoying having my affair partner be in the same vicinity it was only a minor distraction.  We were really able to work through and process many issues that were present in our marriage prior to the affair.  For the first time we were able to share our feelings and the other person felt heard.  We both walked away thinking the affair could have been the catalyst we both needed to really evaluate our relationship.  And while I don't like thinking of it this way the affair could be the best thing that has happened to our marriage.  My husband also agrees with that assessment.  While we both hate that it happened we refuse to let it define us and our marriage.  We both regret that it took nearly losing one another to really see just what we had.

Unfortunately I am not sure the weekend seemed to go as well for my affair partner and his spouse.  While the majority of the couples present you could watch grow visibly closer it did not seem to have the same effect for he and his wife what little bit I noticed.  My husband thought my AP looked tortured and miserable to be there.  I am praying for them and I hope they find the love and healing they need.

As for how I feel about my affair partner.  In the beginning I idolized him.  I thought that he was the greatest man on earth.  I thought he was perfect.  I thought he was the love of my life.  But as our affair progressed I began to see things that made me question that.  Just one small example was when he saw nothing wrong with telling his boss to contact me so I could fill in and work his shift so he could go away for a weekend with his family.  He could not see why that might bother me.  I slowly began to realize how selfish he was, of course affairs by their very nature are selfish.  I speak of my own selfishness as well.  I also began to question his honesty.  In the beginning I naively believed while he may lie to be with me that he was not lying to me.  I know now that was absolutely not the case.  Ultimately the relationship ran its course.  I did not like the person I was becoming in the relationship with him.  I have never considered myself a dishonest or selfish person yet I was all those things.  When we met for the last time and ended the relationship I told him firmly he was not the person for me that while he may have many nice qualities he had a great many that I did not like.  I realized his true selfishness when he told me I was the love of his life but we could not be together because he didn't want to lose his rental property (his wife is very well connected and helps his family out a great deal with money including giving he and his wife a house to use for rental income).  In many ways I have a great deal of sympathy for his wife.  I think he is a very selfish person and not very self aware.  I think because they have 5 children, including a 16 month old she feels stuck and like she has no other options.  I think she is scared to do it alone.  I am hoping he finds growth as a person and can be the father and husband his family deserves and needs.

Initially after ending the affair I began to doubt my decision especially when my BS shut down emotionally and was not communicating with me.  I worried we would never get to a place where we would have the emotional connection I have always wanted.  But seeing the AP this past weekend really solidified that I made the right decision.  Initially I was worried I would see him and feel all the feelings of love I felt for him.  But I did not.  If anything I felt almost apathetic toward him which tells me the feelings I thought I had of love for him were not genuine at all.

As for him prying about my plans that seems to fall in line with other things I have heard since the affair ended.  In the communication between his wife and my spouse my AP does not seem to be accepting responsibility for his role in the affair.  He has lied about details such as how invested he was in the relationship, how often we met, etc.  He told her I was going to church to be closer to him and I told him I believed we would ultimately be together because true love would win out.  I never said those things.  Initially I wanted to correct his wife's knowledge but I decided ultimately no good would come of it.  If he wants to continue to lie let him.  I am done worrying about him and have devoted enough of my energy to his actions.  I feel like the best thing I can do going forward is to focus on my marriage and live a life of love, peace, understanding, and most of all integrity which was not something I did for the time during my affair. 
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Guiltguilt
What an experience. I hope above all you maintain gratitude for being given a second chance. Some of us aren't that fortunate.
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neslon
Thank you for the answers. My husband does not share much which at times drives me insane.  I hope to one day get some answers but right now he's very internal in his process.

Your husband seems like a really good guy by the way.  I feel for your AP's wife.  

I hope to get to the place where I at least see the affair as a catalyst for us and our marriage.  I need something positive to come from this experience.  My husband isn't ambivalent but he seems to want to avoid the subject at all cost.  
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stormyshay
neslon wrote:
Thank you for the answers. My husband does not share much which at times drives me insane.  I hope to one day get some answers but right now he's very internal in his process.

Your husband seems like a really good guy by the way.  I feel for your AP's wife.  

I hope to get to the place where I at least see the affair as a catalyst for us and our marriage.  I need something positive to come from this experience.  My husband isn't ambivalent but he seems to want to avoid the subject at all cost.  


How far are you past DDay? We are 3 months out. For quite a while my husband did not want to talk about things. While he got the highlights about what happened in the affair he did not ask for details. He much like your husband did not want to talk. He processes things internally. I would notice him quiet and ask what he was thinking about. The reply I would get was nothing. I would try and try to get him to talk but he would not.

Maybe it is because I am a woman, I don't know, but talking about things is how I process them. It was very important to me that I understand the why. It is vital that we work through the issues we had prior to the affair. For a few months following DDay I worried we would not make it. He shut down and would have angry outbursts over mundane things. But slowly we started communicating. And this past weekend and attending the weekend I firmly believe saved our marriage. I know we will be ok. And better yet I know we will be better than we were before.

And my husband is amazing. He has shown me unconditional love and forgiveness. I have been met with a level of understanding I never thought I would see in my marriage. I think it took the near destruction of our family for us both to realize what we had in one another.

And I feel a lot of sympathy for my AP's wife. If her level of hurt and pain has been anywhere close to what my husband has felt then she is devastated. It has been one of the hardest things I have ever witnessed. Someday when I truly understand the whys I would like to apologize to her. I don't expect her forgiveness because what I did was unforgivable. I just want her to know I deeply regret my actions-the lies, lack of respect for her marriage, the pain I caused her and her children, and so much more. I want her to know I will never do that to another human being again. I want her to know not a day goes by I do not think of my selfishness.
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neslon
We are 5 mths out from Dday.  The questions are behind us.  I forgave him a month ago.  He immediately ended the affair and went NC on dday. He said the fantasy popped instantly but he HATES to talk about it.  He also found out that it wasn't her first affair as he assumed so some of the glitter came off right away.  He also said their last conversation was not what he expected from her.  He won't tell me much about that but I'm guessing he saw a very unattractive side of her.

Our marriage counselor feels like we are doing well.  At times I agree and other times I feel like my spouse is trying to move past it without getting to his why.

Our communication has improved but I think it's the empathy and compassion to walk in each other shoes that we sometimes are missing.

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Survivingbyfaith
Neslon, I'm a WS. It's been 13 months since my BS discovered that I was a cheater. We too had the discussion of the "why". There are so many levels to the "why". Often times, it's a combination of several things. Things like self-esteem issues, being weak spiritually, curiosity, communication, feelings of inadequacy, and so forth. I agree with you that not knowing the "why" can be a recipe for disaster.
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neslon
As I look back at the letters we wrote following dday he instantly knew some of the why. I think I fight this as I want/need reassurement on a grander scale. This is due to the insecurity and I know for me to be okay I need to find this from myself. He was able to list out fairly good whys and when I look back at them, they are not justifications or blaming me. He says he was working on ending the affair at that point in time and I can mostly believe him so maybe he was able to process the why faster. I think at this stage I need to work on my self esteem more than anything. This time of year sucks as this was the apex of the affair. I felt abandoned during a major knee surgery. And he's currently busy traveling this the abandonment feelings come back. I need to remember self care and to be honest with him about what I'm feeling.
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