Brandi
I am looking for info from both sides-the ws and the bs. What helped you move forward after finding out about the affair? BS what was one thing that your ws did that made you feel safe again? WS what was one thing your bs did that made you feel you could be 100% truthful? Looking back what steps do you wish you had taken earlier?
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Kalmarjan
Brandi wrote:
I am looking for info from both sides-the ws and the bs. What helped you move forward after finding out about the affair? BS what was one thing that your ws did that made you feel safe again? WS what was one thing your bs did that made you feel you could be 100% truthful? Looking back what steps do you wish you had taken earlier?


I don't know if there was any one thing that my wife "did," except maybe she was just talking to me without a lot of screaming, yelling, or blaming. It was more like she was genuinely curious about where my head was at, and how I felt.

With each telling, each talking session, it seemed like we were rebuilding, not trying to be right, or winning. But more like we were talking about what to do next, how we go from there...
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MrsJMW
As the BS I can tell you the most important thing the the WS could have done was make himself available emotionally to answer all of my questions from the start instead of waiting tell I broke down and had to freak out to get answers I needed. I also needed to know when and where he was at all times. It took him months to realize the trauma I was experiencing after Dday. Now he knows and I can see his genuine pain when he realizes I am having a trigger and need to talk. He is hurting because he hurt me. It makes me not want to live in it anymore knowing that he is so remorseful... so I try to stop myself knowing his affair was a mistake that he has admitted the worst thing he has ever done. So important to let BS know the regret is real!
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EAM
Being asked to leave the family home, moving into a crappy room, away from my wife and family helped me realize what i was in danger of losing, made me open my eyes.

Then, research and reading- how to honestly approach my spouse, how to listen without reacting defensively, how to raise my own issues honestly and gently. Reading and understanding and using information and concepts about being resilient, reasonable and respectful. About honestly reviewing why I was straying, what it meant to me, why i think i did it and how I justified it and, most importantly, gaining perspective on how it affected my partner.

Then applying lessons, and sharing info- like this resource, back in the days when we signed up for the "Affair Healing Kit".  Lots of listening, still.

We're approaching 10 months after DDay, and we still raise issues from the affair days (for example, i just recently asked my spouse if I baked bread, if that would upset her, since I had given my AP a loaf of homemade bread...).

I have to be open to her raising issues. I've learned to be braver when I hear "We need to talk" and realize that my instinct is to hide and avoid conflict, that it will be better if I listen, try to understand, speak my piece honestly and gently, if it's not wounding.  Incorporating values and intention into my life; I became aware of my own rationalization of chronic dishonesty.

I've been in AA and SLAA recovery almost since Dday too. Recovery urges one to focus on oneself, healing one's inner pain and understanding self. It's important in this situation to recognize that the self-focus promoted by AA doesn't jibe with Affair Healing perfectly. Affair healing is about re-building trust, keeping communications open and proving that I am worthy of a relationship- sometimes AA focuses on fixing yourself above all other things in one's life. Some aspects of AA (step 4 for example) encourage one to write out one's fearless moral inventory, the litany of harms and errors in your life, and share that only with your sponsor and God.

That has been a challenge, because it's a secret. Secrets caused problems and dishonesty, so Step 4 seems opposed to relationship healing. I've read some comments from spouses of addicts who promote "No Secrets At All" policy: if there's things I still need to keep secret, then I haven't divulged enough info and i'm still acting dishonestly... but I digress.

One resource I read early on suggested that it would take at least 18 months for full healing from the affair, and even after that,  ongoing check-in to confirm trust and safety.

So, for me, for us, there's still a ways to go, but I've made a personal commitment to growth, development of intentions and values. I have committed to stay away from sources that trigger or encourage sexualizing others, especially the internet, since temptation and the ubiquitous world of online porn is always only 1 click away. I'm saving all my sexual thinking for my spouse alone.

We've instituted regular check-ins, shared gratitudes, regular date nights... I wish it was all going as smoothly as i make it sound- it's still hard, i am still guilty, though not shameful, and through my acceptance of my hurtful behaviour, i'm able to own it, and change my ways as i learn from this painful experience.

Most important: Listen openly and hear fully. Tonight, I'll go home and check in with my spouse about this issue:"What's helped you most and what will help today?"
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