seventy7
Sorry for the long backstory...but

We are about 1.5 years out from D-Day. My wife had an on/off affair for approx 2 years with someone in a different state (co-worker). She would travel for work every couple of months, and they would get together. What started off as a physical affair, turned emotional as well. We have done a ton of work these past 18 months, and I really started to focus on healing myself the past 6 months. I am in the best shape I have been in 20 years, work-life balance is much more manageable and I am beginning to feel much safer in our new marriage. 

I am sure that some of you can relate to the feeling of not being "in-love" with your WS in the immediate months after discovery. I would look at her and know that I loved her, but I didn't have that feeling of undying passionate love that I had prior to finding out. That feeling of being in limbo lasted for a solid year. Probably around Christmas this past year, I began to notice positive changes in her that really started to pull me in. She was much more affectionate without being provoked. She would walk up to me and just give me a hug, sometimes saying that she was sorry for all of the pain that she caused (taking ownership)...again unprovoked. She even made plans for us to get away on a quick trip without telling me (spontaneity was something she struggled with in our old marriage, and she knows it is something that I find extremely attractive) . All of these things have me pulled back-in. And when I say pulled back-in, I mean in the biggest way. I have let myself fall head over heels in love with her again. I used to wake up and dread the possibility of being triggered, now i wake up and look forward to what the day brings for us. She has told me the same.  

So now the question...Over the past 18 months the topic of Vow-Renewal has come up on a couple of occasions. She has told me that she has already recommitted herself and would have no problem renewing vows/etc. I told her if that is something that she wanted, then she will need to initiate it (ask me). As of today, she hasn't asked. When it first came up several months ago, she said that she felt ashamed and had a fear of being rejected if I were to say I wasn't ready yet. We haven't talked about it recently, and while I can understand her fear of rejection, I feel somewhat uneasy that she hasn't brought it up. We have been doing great for quite a while and I am beginning to think that maybe my feelings for her are stronger than hers are for me. I am sure most BS's have felt this same way after discovery, constantly battling the negative thoughts in your head.

Should I bring it up? Do I owe it to her to tell her that I am ready? I don't want it to feel like I am asking her to ask me to renew our vows. I want it to come from her, because she is the one that decided to wreck what we had prior. 

Thoughts?
Male BS
D-Day 11/1/2017
It gets easier as time goes, but the pain never goes away
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Keepabuzz
My wife wanted to renew our vows at about 6 months from d-day, I was no where near ready. Honestly, I was still not sure if I would still be married to her in 6 months. I didn’t say that, I just said to her that I wasn’t anywhere near ready for that, and that maybe I never would be. She took it pretty hard, but accepted my answer. She asked about it again at about a year, and got the same answer. She said she would not bring it up again, that if/when I was ready that she was as well.  She never brought it up again, and we are getting close to 4 years from d-day. I bought her a new wedding ring, becasue her old rings were a constant trigger for me, and that marriage was dead. About a year ago I bought myself a new ring, as I hadn’t worn one for many years.  That is enough for me. I know she would really like to renew our vows, but I just have no desire to do that. For me the original ones had no value, and were only words. The news ones would have no value to me. I also wonder what the vows would be if we did do it. We certainly couldn’t use the normal ones. I can just imagine how it would feel when she looked me in the eye and swears to she will be always faithful. I have interest in that. For me, I could say in here for better or worse, because I’m not. I’m only here for better, I have lived the worst, and I refuse to do it again. 

I can see why your wife may not be bringing it up, because if you say no, I’m sure it feels like a pretty strong rejection. Maybe you mention that you would be open to it, then let her take the lead?
Male BS, D-day July 2015, trying to stay out of the dark.....
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AnywhereButHere
I feel like Keepabuzz though the subject hasn't come up between my wife and I. The circle we move in, though, does vow renewal quite commonly so I dread that it may be on the horizon - especially as next year will be our 30th anniversary. I pray she doesn't bring it up and force me to tell her that, while I love her, my heart would simply not be into a public celebration of our privately damaged marriage.
BH, 5+ Mo EA, DDay 3/8/18
"...regarding all as God after God."
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seventy7
Thanks Buzz & ABH; 

I fully agree that I would not want anything public. I think it would be kind of obvious why we are renewing vows, and not something that I care to share with anyone. I guess its more just the mental games it is playing on me that she hasn't even brought it up. It was something that she seemed so dead set on after everything came out. Has her mind changed?...thoughts like that. 

The more I think about it, I realized that me feeling this way is likely just some of my insecurities coming out. Fear of getting hurt again, but knowing that if it ever happened again she would be out like yesterdays garbage.  
Male BS
D-Day 11/1/2017
It gets easier as time goes, but the pain never goes away
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anthro
New vows are something that I think could work for me if a lot of circumstances were right. Certainly not right now though.

seventy7 wrote:
We have been doing great for quite a while and I am beginning to think that maybe my feelings for her are stronger than hers are for me. I am sure most BS's have felt this same way after discovery, constantly battling the negative thoughts in your head.


I guess this is never really going to pass. The only way you could avoid ever having that feeling would be to switch your own positive feelings off, always be a 3/10 so she only ever has to be a 3.1/10 to be the one with stronger feelings. Clearly that's not a good way to live though. 

Realistically - there are going to be times during the wax and wane of a normal life where one of you has stronger feelings than the other. That is something I am sure you would easily accept and be happy enough living with if it were not for the affair history. The question is maybe... how do you live with this perfectly normal possibility when there is affair history? I don't know how or whether it's possible. 

seventy7 wrote:
Should I bring it up? Do I owe it to her to tell her that I am ready? I don't want it to feel like I am asking her to ask me to renew our vows. I want it to come from her, because she is the one that decided to wreck what we had prior. 


I have often felt this way about various things and have noticed two things. Firstly, when I do voice something like this, it doesn't end up feeling fake if she does follow up on it. (If you say, "do you want to go to the movies?" you don't spend the whole movie thinking, "she's only at the movies because I asked her to be!"). Secondly, sometimes when I have voiced these kinds of things it has not had any immediate effect but it has changed things some time later, so it has by then clearly been her idea.

From what you are describing, she has voiced something and you have been a little ambivalent. It was probably hard for her to mention it the first time and now she doesn't want the feeling of getting another "no".  If you re-read what you wrote you will see that there is nothing suspicious about her keeping silent about it now; she's clearly expressed a fear of rejection. To me it reads like this is now something you both want. Good communication is king, right? So I think you should take the plunge and communicate. You'll have to find your own style I guess, for me, I would make light of it a little and just tell her that I remember what she mentioned, and that having thought about it I've decided that if she wants to propose to me, that's fine but she needs to do the whole kneeling thing, buy me dinner, and just generally treat me like it's my birthday. Then I would put it out of my mind because experience suggests that it might be something that happens months after that. (We are slow movers around here).

Anthro
Formerly known as Anthropoidape... male bs, long affair, d-day Feb 2017.
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ThrivenotSurvive
I agree that it is likely that she is scared of rejection.  

I know that as the BS it is often difficult to be vulnerable about our wants/needs with our spouses.  However, to create this new, closer, more intimate relationship that is exactly what is needed.  Not in the beginning certainly, but later, after they have shown commitment to becoming a safe partner and consistent  emotional growth.  

I would let her know that you are open to it but that it is important to you that she only asks if, and when, she truly feels inspired. That you don't want her to feel that it is required. But that she should know that you are finally at the emotional place that it would feel enjoyable and genuine.  
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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hurting
We are on a similar timeline, though not quite as far along as you. I’m very glad to hear about your experience though- it somehow helps put my own experience into perspective, though of course each of our journeys are going to differ. 

I understand that you might feel on edge waiting for her to ‘ask’- to you, it’s another sign of her owning what she has done and trying to take steps to address what she ruined. For her, I too think the fear of rejection is probably what has held her back. OR she fears you might not be ready yet. From what you are describing, she ‘gets it’ and is moving in the right direction. Part of that is her becoming more in tune with what may or may not upset or trigger you... and what you may or may not feel safe doing. It might not be a trigger per day (though it could be for others of us elsewhere along this painful road), but if you are not ready as she fears, and it takes the BS a LONG time to be ready to move forward with their WS (this is one of those ‘signs of trust’ afterall) then she will undoubtedly be rejected again. Which will play onto her feeling ashamed and not good enough. She may be happy to wait and give you more time because she respects that you NEED a lot of time to get to the point where you are ready for such gestures, given how much destruction she has caused.

If it is something you feel strongly about, I would bring it up and mention it as anthro has said. It’s great that the two of you have already talked about it in the past. At least it’s not just you as the BS bringing up the possibility of vow renewal (which would feel WRONG to me too). My WS has never brought it up. I’ve brought up my rings (or lack thereof) and TOLD him that if I am to ever to wear rings representing our marriage again, it needs to be a 3 stone ring for its symbolism... but that’s about it. 
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JORGE
It's on her to ask IMO. The risk you have taken to reconcile with her dwarfs the risk of rejection she's concerned with asking you to renew vows. The two aren't even close. That fact wouldn't be lost on me and would tick me off a little to be frank.  If anyone should fear rejection, it would be you. After all, you're 18 months away from your wife sharing herself with another man for two years. THAT'S rejection. She has NO IDEA what rejection is until she's been on your side of infidelity. She should ask every six months until you say yes, however long that may be. 1 year or 10. And if she stops asking, so be it. 

Additionally, vow renewal is not the end all, be all, so I think it's important both of you keep it in perspective. Real marital re-commitment and renewal happens daily, weekly, monthly and yearly. An official vow renewal should not instill greater or lesser confidence in you, although she may feel less secure about her prospects of a future with you, which isn't a bad thing in my opinion.

Remember, it's only been 4-5 months since she's demonstrated positive changes. She has to earn her way beck into your heart and then ask for permission to reenter the heart she had abandoned.  I think if she continues to ask even within the face of rejection, that it will reveal a lot to you because she would have done so at the her own risk. In my opinion this would reveal a level of commitment from her that you'd never know if you had asked. Bottom line. She has to earn you back.
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seventy7
Jorge-
thanks for your response. To clarify a couple of things, my wife’s affair actually ended 3 years ago, I just discovered it 18 months ago. Regardless, I complete get and agree with your point. She will never know rejection like that, i would rather walk out the door than put someone through what I have went through the past 18 months. 

She is doing all the right things and have been doing so for over a year. It just took me a while to see it (dealing with the immediate trauma didn’t allow me to see the changes she was making also)

i know now it probably sounds like I am defending her, and in a way I am, but don’t take that as me being OK with what she did. I have learned to accept what happened and forgive her for the affair. The vow renewal is not something I necessarily want, it just popped into my head that she had brought it up prior, then nothing since. I would rather have my wife’s honesty and faithfulness shown in actions rather than hearing words anyway 🙂
Male BS
D-Day 11/1/2017
It gets easier as time goes, but the pain never goes away
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notemanj
I’m a little tender here on this point, right now. So try not to read too much bitterness into my reply. 

We renewed our vows last September. I found some great ideas online for what new vows after betrayal should look like. We did not have a huge ceremony. We did not have a pastor/priest etc. it was very informal. Just us and our kids. We exchanged new rings that had never been on someone else’s body. It was beautiful and I cried. 

Now, on Tuesday, I learned a whole crapload more about his affair. It was a year and a half long and continued after I discovered it. Which, to me, right now, feels like he has broken 2 sets of vows. The secrets were supposed to be over at that point. I don’t mean, “hey, I just remembered something.” I mean the gaslighting and lying outright was supposed to be over. But it wasn’t. I took his new ring back. 

The vows are meaningless. It’s a nice gesture. Makes for pretty pictures of you two that are current. But saying any set of words doesn’t make for a new marriage, new beginning. It is just another bunch of words. The actions of your WS are what makes for a new relationship. And that is ongoing. It must be. The vows don’t mean anything. 
Wishing everyone here peace and healing!

Female BS Married 18 yrs
DDay 3/7/2017 through 4/2019 and counting. 
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ThrivenotSurvive
If it matters to you, do it.  But at the end of the day, I do agree with notemanj - it's the every day actions of your spouse that make a marriage.  Not the vows, not the piece of paper.
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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Keepabuzz
For me it’s just words, and words have no value. So I have no interest in it. 
Male BS, D-day July 2015, trying to stay out of the dark.....
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seventy7
notemanj wrote:
I’m a little tender here on this point, right now. So try not to read too much bitterness into my reply. 

We renewed our vows last September. I found some great ideas online for what new vows after betrayal should look like. We did not have a huge ceremony. We did not have a pastor/priest etc. it was very informal. Just us and our kids. We exchanged new rings that had never been on someone else’s body. It was beautiful and I cried. 

Now, on Tuesday, I learned a whole crapload more about his affair. It was a year and a half long and continued after I discovered it. Which, to me, right now, feels like he has broken 2 sets of vows. The secrets were supposed to be over at that point. I don’t mean, “hey, I just remembered something.” I mean the gaslighting and lying outright was supposed to be over. But it wasn’t. I took his new ring back. 
The vows are meaningless. It’s a nice gesture. Makes for pretty pictures of you two that are current. But saying any set of words doesn’t make for a new marriage, new beginning. It is just another bunch of words. The actions of your WS are what makes for a new relationship. And that is ongoing. It must be. The vows don’t mean anything. 


very well said...and I am very sorry that you are going through this all over again. I guess I never really thought of it in that way, but it is very true...Actions speak way louder than words. 

I hope that that you find the happiness you deserve and I hope your husband has finally cleared the fog (aka, pull his head out of his a**). 
Male BS
D-Day 11/1/2017
It gets easier as time goes, but the pain never goes away
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MC

I decided that for our first wedding anniversary post d-day I wanted to do something big and new.  So we spent a 4-day weekend in Vegas.  Neither of us had been before and we both wanted to go.  So I booked everything and told her we were going.


D-day March 2017
Told her our anniversary plans June 2017
Anniversary trip December 2017

A few days after I told her about our upcoming trip, she asked me what I thought about renewing our vows on our trip.  I had mixed feelings.  I felt like we were each committed to our new marriage, but hesitant about the idea of renewal of vows.  Our original marriage was a huge event in a church.  The renewal had to be different.  I landed in a spot where I felt like it would kind of mark a commitment to our new marriage.  So I said yes, but it had to be at a typical Vegas chapel and that a neon sign was a must.  So in a way it was just one of several fun things on our Vegas list.  We carried an open bottle of champagne with us, both drinking from the bottle.  We both dressed nice, albeit in cowboy boots.  It was just us, the chapel director and a "minister" of some type.  Nothing was planned except us being there at a reserved time.  I had no idea what to expect.  We gave the minister our rings.  When we got to our vows, I was forever changed.  I don't know how this supposed minister in a cheesy Vegas wedding chapel nailed the vows as well as he did.

"I once again give you this ring, as I give you all that I am, and I accept from you all that you are."

I was happy.  We had committed to our new marriage.

________________
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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hurting
MC, those words encompass post affair vow renewal if real change has occurred in the marriage pretty well. Acceptance seems to be the big thing here. I accept that you are flawed and have done some awful things. I am giving you myself, complete with pain and scars from the wounds once inflicted. 

It steers clear of any ‘for better, NOT for worse’ sentiments the BS may still harbour, which are likely not helpful or constructive in such a situation. 

IF I ever end up in such a position, those words are pretty much perfect. I think i just have something against the word ‘vows’. As we all know, those are easy enough to break and nothing special. It’s easier to think of it as a symbolic acceptance/forgiveness/moving forward type ceremony. Anyone have a good alternate name for this, that doesn’t involve the words vow or renewal? 
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