seventy7
Living a life in Peaks and Valleys...unfortunately that is my new normal. I am beginning to become more comfortable with always feeling uncomfortable, but some days/nights the thoughts and visions flat out get the better of me. I really thought I would be further along at 21 months post D-Day. I try to talk to my wife about how I have been feeling, and she does her best to try help me through the dark times, but days like today I just want to curl up and be done with everything. 

For those that are a little further out in their recovery, does the sense of loss every fade? I try not to focus on what our marriage once was (because I know it was much different than what I thought it was), but last night I was laying in bed looking at my wife, and I couldn't even remember what she used to be like. The only thing that I can relate the feeling to is when I think of my mom. My mother died from cancer 13 years ago, and when i think about her I sometimes i have trouble seeing her face, or trying to hear her voice. Looking at my wife last night while she slept, I would have given anything to talk to the "old version" of her. The one that I fell in love with, the one that I thought would never let me down. I know I will never get that chance, just like I will never get the chance to talk with my mom again. 

The pain is excruciating right now, just really struggling. I went from feeling like we were going to get through this, to feeling like I am wasting my time and will be forever broken... 
Male BS
Married 17 years
D-Day 11/1/2017
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midwestgirl
Seventy7

We are just  ahead of you..D-day 9/17...and I know well of what you speak. Your emotions are right in my wheel house...becoming comfortable with feeling uncomfortable. While I no longer feel everything as intensely as I first did, I still sometimes do have those low feelings and doubts. I can usually rouse myself out of them, but there are times when I am just down about it all. 

My job is much less busy in the summer and  it is no coincidence that I find myself pondering alternative outcomes for our marriage, find myself on this site, find myself with more time on my hands...which is not always a good thing...especially for me. I have learned this about myself  since D=day and try to keep myself in a more engaged world. 

It is funny, I will have stretches when I barely give the affair a thought, but then something happens ...a lyric from a song, a comment by someone regarding affairs, even news (I should say sensational news) reporting about actors/politicians etc. ..sometimes it just skids off of my surface and I keep going, and other times...whammo, a punch to the gut. They all seem to have less of a hold on me, but yet, it is still there.

Our marriage is closer, more intimate, and stronger over all, but there  are times when I wonder. I think that he is 'all in'. But I thought that he was 'all in' before all of this. He is 'all in', Right?  And that is where I end up on the merry go round.  My Spidey Sense didn't tell me something was up before D-day, would I sense something if it ever happened again? But it won't happen again, because he is 'all in'.  Fortunately, that loop has faded significantly.

Sending you, and all the others on this ever so helpful site, joy. I'm sending joy.

BS, D-day - 9/2017
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ThrivenotSurvive
I've talked to a couple people about this in private messages.  I think it is a fairly common occurrence.  I certainly experienced it and I know others that have as well.

Here's what I have observed:

- In the first 12-18 months you are reeling - any good days are a triumph because your pain is so intense that you see even the slightest movement forward as a sign that it is getting better.  As the good days get more and more common (or a least non-BAD days) you begin to get hopeful.  If you can keep healing at this pace - maybe the end is in sight!  But somewhere in here (12-36 months) it starts slowing down.  It's not that you aren't still healing, but the pace is slower.  You are in rehab now - not in surgery.  And this period can feel excruciating because when those bad days hit, you are more taken aback by them.  You question if this is your permanent "normal" now.  If this has been worth it.  

I am three years post DD now.  The bad news is that I still get these occasional setbacks - sometimes for a day or two but usually just for minutes/hours.  The good news is that they are few and far between and I can often move myself out of them on my own.  If not, a conversation with my husband always does the trick. 

If I made a graph for you of the severity, length of time between these "episodes" and their duration over the past 3 years you'd see what I see - that it is continuing to get better and better.  I actually started tracking them around the 24 month mark during a down time like you are currently having.  I decided to see if I was actually getting better and just couldn't see it because I was "awfulizing" (a psychological term for making everything worst than it really is) or if I was in fact, stuck. I found that the truth was actually really good - the valleys were getting farther and farther apart and far less deep when looked at in 6 month increments.  I can be a bit analytical at times and it helped me to SEE firsthand that I was improving - even if, on the bad days, I couldn't feel it.  

- I think it is really two main things that cause this peak and valley approach to healing (that eventually, slowly flattens out to a straight line.) 

The first is that I just think our hearts and minds MUST break this thing down into manageable pieces.  We were in the equivalent of a head-on collision.  If our injuries were physical we'd likely need more than one surgery and corresponding physical therapy to fully recover.  I think our spirits do this with us.  We heal to a point, take a breather - and then the subconscious offers up a new helping of crap to look at.  And in some cases - you are re-looking at some things you thought you'd resolved.  But now you are seeing them from a different perspective... going deeper.  And hopefully your spouse is on a journey of self-discovery as well - so now they are sharing things about their childhood, your relationship and themselves that you need to incorporate into this whole new view of your life as well.  it's a lot - and it does not happen in a straight line or nearly as quickly as any of us would like.

The second is a survival mechanism gone a bit awry.  Brene Brown calls it "foreboding joy" and a lot of people experience it without having been traumatized.  But it is almost always present in some form after major trauma.  it's that part of you that gets really worried when things have been good (or even just calm) for too long.  It says - "Hey!  Stay hyper-vigilant.  The last time we weren't we got sucker punched!"  And so suddenly, for what appears to be no good reason (no outward/noticeable triggers, your spouse hasn't done anything, etc.) you suddenly start cycling up, feeling anxious, fearful and upset.  Between 18-36 months I started noticing this trend a LOT.  I could almost count on some sort of psychological backlash after my husband and I had a period of time that felt really connected, happy and safe.  

As I began to recognize it for what it was, I could just feel it - and then let it go like a passing storm.  And it came less and less.  Though interestingly, I found myself having one of those episodes this very morning.  My husband noticed that I seemed a little melancholy and asked me if I was okay.  I said I was fighting some fear and sadness.  We talked about it without him getting defensive (he's finally become really good at this over the last year and it has helped us both sooooooo much. I wish I could impress on WS how much this alone can help their marriage recover.) In about 20 minutes I went from feeling blue to happy and peaceful.  I often don't need his help to find this within myself... but sometimes I do - and being able to ask for, and receive that support - reassures me that I made the right decision in staying (one of the very things I am anxious over.)

- One last thing I've noticed.  This experience acts a bit like an old physical injury for me.  You know how you can have an old knee injury that almost never bothers you but then you wrench your back, or bang your head - and somehow it will start to hurt for a couple days?  It's weird but it seems like any pain "wakes" that old injury up? 

Well, I've noticed that if anything else makes me feel bad about myself or hurts my self-esteem - suddenly I start noticing that triggers for THIS start happening.  It doesn't matter if it's physical (I notice that I've gained a few pounds) or at work (Maybe I didn't excel at a project as much as I had expected) or or emotional (my relationship with a friend or my mom hits a rough patch.)  It seems that my subconscious tries to link anything that diminishes my self-confidence and self-acceptance back to the affair.  So I have found that I have to challenge that thinking when it happens.  Plus, I do everything in my power to maintain and increase my self-confidence and self-love.  I take care of myself and focus on doing things that I value and make me feel good about myself (which are often helping others and expanding my knowledge base.)  

Hoping some of this helps... 
Thrive
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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seventy7
Thank you both so much for your replies. Yesterday was a tough day, but today is much better. 

Thrive - I have seen the special on Brene Brown, and I am definitely a "Foreboder". I usually notice it a little sooner now that I am a little further along in recovery, but still will sabotage happiness every once in a while because I begin to feel "too comfortable". Still working on getting through that. 

Midwest - I can totally relate about something simple throwing what I thought was going to be a good day, into the gutter. One example of this was this past weekend a couple of my buddies decided to have a poker night. We hadnt done this in a while and it was great to catch up with everyone. Well, a conversation got started about a professional baseball player whose wife got caught cheating on him, and how shocked everyone was (the wife is a fairly prominent singer in the christian music scene). All I could do was sit back and listen to how everyone at the table seemed so shocked about the story/etc. My best friend, who knows everything, was at that table and thankfully steered the conversation in a different direction. He made eye contact with me to make sure everything was ok. I excused myself to the restroom for a couple of minutes and it took everything I had not to burst into tears right then and there. I was able to gain my composure, and then went out and took all their money playing poker ðŸ˜Ž
Male BS
Married 17 years
D-Day 11/1/2017
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Bgreen
I thought the same, we had a really good stretch for about three months, and then this week the wheels fell off again. I can’t even pin point what happened, but suddenly I’m overwhelmed again with dark thoughts just like the first six months. It’s so disheartening. It’s actually comforting to know that others who are 18+ months out are in the same boat. 

I agree that anytime something diminishes my self esteem I tend to crumple and go right back to the early days. It’s still hard to talk to WH sometimes without him getting overwhelmed with shame and shutting down. Back to counselling I go. 
Female, BS 18 months post DDay
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midwestgirl
Seventy7 ...way to take them down and clean up in poker! I am glad that you had an ally there when the conversation wandered to infidelity. Even something as simple as knowing eye contact can make the difference between feeling isolated  and feeling connected (and alright). Keep it up!

Bgreen...take heart, you are doing just great! I know if feels disheartening, but it is part of this post D-day roller coaster ride.  Two steps forward, 1 step back, three steps forward, sometimes 2 steps back...but sometimes not.  As time passes the wheels fall off  less and less frequently, sometimes they are just wobbly. Hold your head up high and take good care of yourself.

BW, Dday 9/17
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MC
The pain is excruciating right now, just really struggling. I went from feeling like we were going to get through this, to feeling like I am wasting my time and will be forever broken... 

Short general answer, yes it gets better. Slowly.

Specific to your question does the sense of loss ever fade, yes it fades. Slowly.  

For me, I had to separate what I had lost from what I wanted to gain.  The marriage that I knew, or thought I knew, was over.  It was lost.  I wanted to gain something different and better, and I wanted it ASAP.  I felt like I deserved it, and I was going to work on myself emotionally, spiritually and physically in order to gain in the wake of loss.  My first choice was to gain a better marriage with the same woman.  My second choice was to gain a better path without her.  Either way, I told my self I am going to come out of this better off.

I wrote this at 23 months "I have also noticed that I started out going 1 step forward, 2 steps back.  Then 2 steps forward, 1 step back.  I feel like now I am 5 steps forward, 1 step back.  My point is that there are still setbacks.  But looking at the past 23 months overall the gains are winning over the setbacks."

Give yourself credit for everything that you have done to heal yourself.  One step back is just that, one step.  Here's to you stepping forward.  Be kind to yourself, and be patient with yourself.  Healing takes time.
    
________________
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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MC
seventy7 wrote:

For those that are a little further out in their recovery, does the sense of loss every fade? ......
The pain is excruciating right now, just really struggling. I went from feeling like we were going to get through this, to feeling like I am wasting my time and will be forever broken... 


Short general answer, yes it gets better. Slowly.

Specific to your question does the sense of loss ever fade, yes it fades. Slowly.  

For me, I had to separate what I had lost from what I wanted to gain.  The marriage that I knew, or thought I knew, was over.  It was lost.  I wanted to gain something different and better, and I wanted it ASAP.  I felt like I deserved it, and I was going to work on myself emotionally, spiritually and physically in order to gain in the wake of loss.  My first choice was to gain a better marriage with the same woman.  My second choice was to gain a better path without her.  Either way, I told my self I am going to come out of this better off.

I wrote this at 23 months "I have also noticed that I started out going 1 step forward, 2 steps back.  Then 2 steps forward, 1 step back.  I feel like now I am 5 steps forward, 1 step back.  My point is that there are still setbacks.  But looking at the past 23 months overall the gains are winning over the setbacks."

Give yourself credit for everything that you have done to heal yourself.  One step back is just that, one step.  Here's to you stepping forward.  Be kind to yourself, and be patient with yourself.  Healing takes time.
________________
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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TheFarmGirl
Gosh, I feel so much the same. To look at my husband... I was so deeply in love with him for so many years. I thought he was incredibly attractive. Now I guess my rose colored glasses are broken, and looking at him is like seeing a ghost? He looks like the person I loved, but I now know I will never live him again. I have told him many times that it would have been more humane to have killed me, than put me through this ongoing agony. He thinks that is a dramatic statement, he has no idea the pain he has inflicted with his repeated betrayals. (I have tried hard to stay because we have a child and I want him to have a real family). 
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Fionarob
TheFarmGirl

It really makes me sad reading your comments, I suppose because it all resonates with me and how I felt during my ex's affair.  I also have children, and for a long time I stayed with my ex despite his on-going affair, because the idea of hurting my children was just inconceivable.  Every time I imagined telling them that we were separating, I just felt sick and I knew I would not be able to do it.

However, I was in a constant battle with that versus being in a permanent state of misery, trauma and pain, knowing that my ex was still seeing his AP, and would probably never end the affair, because he had it all!  He had an AP who was crazy about him, a wife doing everything to try and keep him happy, and the image to everyone of a doting husband and father.  He got to be in a normal, happy family and have his bit on the side as well.  The fact that it was destroying me and my happiness didn't seem to matter to him.

I am not sure what the turning point was.....it was probably very gradual.  But I realised that I was sacrificing my own happiness just so that my children could have their 'normal' family, with both parents.  I realised my ex was getting to keep everything as it was, because ultimately he knew I didn't want to hurt our children.  I realised that at some point my children wouldn't be children anymore, they would be adults with their own relationships, children, careers, futures.  And where did that leave me?  Yes, I might have given them a 'normal' childhood - but at what price?  Why was my own happiness secondary to theirs?  As Mums, I think we find it so hard to put our children's happiness below ours.  We love them so unconditionally, we don't want to see them hurting.

Now here's the thing - I did somehow find the strength to end the marriage.  What I hadn't anticipated was all the good things that would come from it and benefit my children in a different way.  Mainly, I was able to be happy again.  I was able to get back to being me - the person that had disappeared a long time ago.  I was free from pain, free from the affair, free from the daily worry, anxiety, resentment of the man who had done this to me.  I was able to laugh again, have fun with my kids, be silly with them........something I had stopped doing because I just felt permanently miserable.  I know it's a cliché, but I was a much better Mum.  Of course it was upsetting for my children, but we both did everything we did to make it as easy for them as possible.  Yes it has changed some things for them, but they are still very happy children, and I love our little family of 3.  Of course, if they had a choice, they would choose the 'normal' family and so would I.  I didn't have children with the plan to put them through this.  Although, I think when they are older, they will understand the reasons why that just couldn't continue.  I dread to think what my mental state would be like today if I was still living in that situation.

So, I suppose my message to you is not to think that your child couldn't still be happy, even without the 'real' family.  And don't forget about your own life and your own happiness. You deserve that too.  You don't deserve to be in a relationship with someone you don't think you will ever love again, and whose love for you is also in question.  Another cliché, but we do only get one life.  Is this how you want to live it?  Don't forget about yourself.  I think I read on another thread that you said you live in chunks of 6 months, waiting to see how you feel at the end of each one.  How long are you going to do that before you look back and realise that years of your life have gone by where you have not been happy?  I hope this is not coming across as me judging you for your decisions.........I did the same for two and a half years.  But you shouldn't do it forever.
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