anthropoidape
Because I don't sleep as much as I used to, I found myself thinking some questions that have been asked on this forum recently, like that question that comes up a lot: whether it is really possible to have a better relationship than ever after an affair. And: what it means if a WS is still engaged, to some extent, with the affair itself. 

I don't know any answers obviously and I still think my wife and I are about 50:50 to make it at all. But something I was thinking about is that these two questions might be linked together in a way.

We often say, "it's not the sex it's the deception and betrayal", and that is true of course. Being deceived and having your wellbeing gambled with is deeply wounding. I haven't heard this as much though: it is really hard to accept that your spouse has had a deep, complex, life-changing emotional experience that completely excluded you. It's tied to the deception but it is also a thing in itself. (In fact, I imagine it causes difficulties in marriages where there's been no affair.) 

One facet of this is that a WS might take some time to disengage from it. So as much as we want to believe a WS can just wake up from the dream and forget all about it, it is normal that they are going to have to do some processing to disengage from it (in fact it would be extremely odd if they didn't have to do that), and one reason that is so hard to deal with is that it emphasises the fact that they had this huge experience without us.


Rebuilding the marriage has to mean embracing your spouse in their entirety. Surely it does. I mean we can pretend otherwise and say that the fog just lifted and so the whole experience of the affair was unreal, or we can say that god has deleted all that unpleasant stuff from our relationship, but that is not really rebuilding it is just putting a thing veneer over the whole thing. The reality though is that there are these great big facts, things that really happened, and they have revealed whole continents of our spouse to us that we wouldn't have known about otherwise. So we know that there's a whole world of a person there with jungles and swamps and cliffs as well as those nice green pastures. 

It is all hard to take but (I am just thinking, I am not sure) perhaps it is also part of the pathway to that "better than ever" marriage. Because if you know your spouse more completely then perhaps you do have a better marriage than you had when you were only seeing a small part. 

This is really only a half-formed idea but I wonder if it is worth exploring. 
Maybe it is okay, maybe it will be okay.

BS, d-day Feb 2017, 16 mth affair.
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Fionarob
It's an interesting idea that knowing every part of our spouse, all the flaws as well as all the good parts, can lead to a better marriage.  Unfortunately I would need a lot of convincing to agree that it is true.

My ex husband's affair revealed to me many parts of him I had never seen before, sadly most of those were aspects of him that I did not like one bit.  His affair, and the way he behaved towards me, showed up many undesirable characteristics and things that made me lose most of my respect for him.  The 'new' person that I saw and that developed over the years of his affair was not somebody I wanted to know.  I found it increasingly hard to love this person, and eventually it caused me to end our marriage.  I realised how selfish a person he was, to betray me, our children and also to 'use' this other woman (the AP) for his own personal happiness.  He was making no promises to her, giving her no real commitment. 

Others may have a different story.  The WS might take responsibility for the affair, they might commit back to the marriage 100% and make that monumental effort to fix things and support the BS in their healing.  They may show remorse for the choices they made and the pain they caused.  This would probably create a different feeling.  If my WS had made those choices, then my respect for him might have returned.  I don't know, because he never did.  I think I would have still found it hard to forget that person he was for years, but if he had begun to take responsibility and offer a sincere apology.....well that would have been a good start. 
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Ginger
Fiona, your 2nd paragraph is truth, even for those whose spouses stayed and by all means are "doing the right things."  It's the stark, cold realization of what theu are capable of that changes you, changes how you see them.
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imogen
The tangled web they weave when having an affair.
I believe some end up in a place they never intended some just don’t care!
Their effort certainly over the first year is a huge indicator to if you may make it.
Most don’t get the depth of the casam of deep sorry we suffer the bereavement of what we thought we had together and who we thought they were.The shattered dreams and promises of ‘we were the one’ only to find actually we weren’t.It takes a year just to download ,process and absorb the gulf of disappointment and shattered dreams.To gain a new reality of a person a stranger who we shared our minds and bodies with our hope ,loyalty and trust.Someone who’s children we had who we stayed by their side through bereavement,redundancy,illness ,changes of career.All this was taken as an entitlement and our loyalty was not reciprocated.
Time is a great healer a comforter and finally a decider wether to stay or go and that’s if your partners working hard!!!Take your time be kind to yourself grow yourself nurture yourself like never before become strong become wise only then can you make your decision.
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Keepabuzz
imogen wrote:
The tangled web they weave when having an affair. I believe some end up in a place they never intended some just don’t care! Their effort certainly over the first year is a huge indicator to if you may make it. Most don’t get the depth of the casam of deep sorry we suffer the bereavement of what we thought we had together and who we thought they were.The shattered dreams and promises of ‘we were the one’ only to find actually we weren’t.It takes a year just to download ,process and absorb the gulf of disappointment and shattered dreams.To gain a new reality of a person a stranger who we shared our minds and bodies with our hope ,loyalty and trust.Someone who’s children we had who we stayed by their side through bereavement,redundancy,illness ,changes of career.All this was taken as an entitlement and our loyalty was not reciprocated. Time is a great healer a comforter and finally a decider wether to stay or go and that’s if your partners working hard!!!Take your time be kind to yourself grow yourself nurture yourself like never before become strong become wise only then can you make your decision.


Well put!
Male BS, D-day July 2015, trying to stay out of the dark.....
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arizons
Fionarob wrote:
and the way he behaved towards me, 

I can identified with this one as well, as I am sure most all BS can! Before D-Day when the affair was of course in full swing but I didn't know. I did notice my husbands just plan nastiness towards me...and I didn't know why (of course I do now). Two months before the affair was revealed he would get mad at me for no reason, yell at me, try and start fights and agreements....was so critical...no matter what I did or did not do...it was never right or good enough...he was verbal abusive and horribly mean and cruel. Once the affair was revealed for a few months he got even worse, often throwing a rage out of nowhere, throwing things, breaking things and windows...it was awful. It was until a few months after the affair ended that this behavior stopped. I honestly believe it stemmed from his own guilt. But the sweet loving husband I knew for 16 years suddenly turned into a Mr. Hyde because of the affair.
Female BS, D-day 1/03/2017, 
I'm going to rebuild me like a remix,

and raise my soul like a Phoenix 
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BorealJ
I think the idea of the whole person is paramount to the repair of the relationship. If the BS can't see the WS as the true person they are, including the vulnerabilities of that person that led to their decision to be unfaithful, they are not going to truly enter into an intimate relationship.  I'm not sure you can trick yourself into seeing only what you want to after a trauma of this sort. Perhaps your subconscious self does it to protect you, but I bet that subconscious will forever have your body in high alert mode.  From the WS's perspective, they would know that they have vulnerabilities and imperfections as part of their whole self, if they aren't able to let the BS see that part of themselves, they are likely to be guarded and shut off to true intimacy. I imagine that if they can't accept their whole true self, they wouldn't expect their spouse to either. In this case, you'd be stuck in a relationship where the WS is just expecting to be found out as a fraud and that you are going to leave them when all is revealed.  How can either partner invest in the relationship if that is what is going on underneath?
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