Kelaine53
Today I am truly at a place that two and a half years ago I was convinced I would never be. I have given myself the gift of forgiving my husband for his affair. This is no small thing. I will not go into the depths of what it entailed and all the things that happened. Everyone is welcome to read my profile and my posts. Suffice it to say that WE have survived his 6.5 year affair and are building a new life together.

This did not come easy. We have both walked through the fires of hell to get here. I resisted coming here for so long despite all the changes and transformation that have occurred. There were several episodes of false forgiveness along the way. I believe they were necessary to be able to know that this is different.

We both had a path to walk to get to this place. Either one of us could have chosen to walk the other way. There were overwhelming reasons to walk away - more than there were to stay. My reason: I had been cheated on, lied it, betrayed, treated with cruelty (the list goes one) everyday for well over 6 years. My husband's reasons: I was more than vile to him. I left. I belittled him for his choices. I threw him out. I exposed his betrayal to our closest friends. Yet, he did not leave. He stood, took it all and HE CHANGED.

All of his changes would not have been enough to stay had one thing not occurred. Life had to show me a way to see that forgiveness does not and will never equal condoning or accepting. I am not less for forgiving. I am more. It is not forced on me. I am not bound in this marriage for eternity by this choice. And there is the key. I have chosen forgiveness. I have chosen to see more than the broken, sad parts of this man. Forgiveness has given me freedom. 

Freedom:
I am separating sadness from anger. I am freeing my identity from my husband's actions and choices. I have chosen not to sentence him in my mind for the rest of my life to only being the person who made those horrible choices.

I had read over and over that forgiveness and reconciliation are not synonymous.  That is true. Whether his actions opened a path to building a new relationship with him or not, I needed to lay down my sword and walk away from the anger. 

I was still locked in indecision about embracing true forgiveness. That deep, down take away it's power over every moment in my life forgiveness. This past week when I was traveling with a friend the path to true forgiveness was laid before me as clear as day. A conversation about the struggles in her life gave me a perspective on my life and my marriage that would not have happened otherwise. She does not even know about the affair. She gave me a gift she did not know she was giving. Insight and understanding.

I have chosen to take my life back and move it forward. I have chosen to do this with the man I am married to now. I can make that choice everyday. I am not bound by the past or even today. I can choose.

We are all in the same arena but have different paths. Most of us are not sure where we are headed. I know where I am headed today. It feels good. It feels free. And, I like the man that I am walking beside.

We all have the freedom to choose. We have the freedom to live the life that brings us joy - AND - we have the freedom to define what that means.

I wish everyone here peace, clarity and joy in their own hearts. That is where it can all begin again.

Happy Thanksgiving,
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hurting
I’m so glad for you. It gives me hope to read this. I am not there yet. The anger and rage is still there. It’s less frequent than it was... but when it surfaces, it’s still truly there and overpowering. 

Maybe one day...
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Kelaine53
Hurting, I hope you find this place. I hope everyone here does. For me that were so many pieces that had to come together. The main one was that I had to accept that the only thing I have control over in this life is myself - what I think, what I feel and how I act. The second was that who I am in this life is not defined by others - not my husband, the rest of my family, my friends - just me. When that began to happen I was able to see the transformation that was taking place in my husband and appreciate the change. I know that I was not the cause of the choices he made, but I do believe that I am the inspiration for the ones he is making now. Had there been no change I would still have needed to get to a point of forgiveness to release myself from the agony.

I was not patient. I wanted the pain to end and for all of it to go away. I attached the pain and fear daily which meant that I constantly attached what I saw as the source of the pain - my husband. I was vile in the words I threw at him. I repeated tried to force myself to leave to try to escape what I was feeling. Along the way I changed. With the help of a very good therapist I grew stronger. I quit defining myself by the actions of others.

Had my husband not changed I would not be with him but I would have forgiven and given myself freedom.  I made the choice to stay. I do not have to stay. That was huge for me. I chose. It was not chosen for me.

This journey is not for the faint of heart. Remember, that which does not kill us makes us stronger. There were many times I did not want to wake up. I saw no hope, no possibilities. I was letting his terrible choices to rob me of joy.  I took that power for myself.

I will always be sad that this is part of my history. There will always be pain associated with the memories. I will always hate the fact that it happened. But you know, that is true of other things that have happened in my life. In everyone's life.

Hurting, taking back the power to control what you think and how you feel will not happen quickly.  It is a process with no set timeline.

Don't judge yourself for what you feel, but then don't give those feeling more power over you than they should have. That is not about the affair or your spouse. It is about you. The more you take away their power to control you, the more clearly you will think and be able to make the best choices for yourself.

For me it was kind of like Dorothy at the end of the Wizard of Oz. The power has always been within me. I just had to get to the place where I was ready to use it.
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ssix6pack
Beautiful! Thanks for sharing. 
Betrayed female
Feb 10th husband had ONS
Feb 11th was d-day 
Heartbroken, but healing.
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Keepabuzz
I travel weekly for business. Some trips are just one night, some are up to 4 nights. My wife would see her AP when I was gone, so every time I leave, the anxiety builds. I get almost no sleep the night before I leave, and little sleep while I’m gone. There are no indications that she is doing anything nefarious, quite the opposite. It’s just triggering for me. This is more then three years out from d-day, it has definitely gotten better, but it is still there, every time.

This past Sunday night I slept well. I got up, took my youngest daughter to school and headed to the airport. It’s about an hour drive. As I was driving, it hit me. I felt “good”. Like really good. I had slept well, I had no anxiety. I wasn’t sad. I wasn’t angry. I just felt good, I felt like better than I had felt in many years. Well before my wife’s affair. I haven’t worn a seatbelt in years, unless one of my kids called me on it. I had just figured that wouldn’t be a bad way to go out.  Before even recognizing how well I was doing, I snapped that seatbelt. I had actually had the thought “I better put this on, I sure don’t want to die today”. Once I recognized and validated how I felt. It got even better. Like holy shìt! I have missed this feeling. The pain, sadness, misery, hurt, anger, etc were all still there, but just not very powerful. My “good” feeling or mood was stronger. 

When I parked my truck in the airport parking garage, I thought I should tell my wife. I tell her all about my pain and misery. Not constantly, but when it’s really bad.  She knows I don’t have any easy days. So before I got out of my truck, I sent her a text, and told her I how I was feeling.  That’s only fair I thought. She was very happy, said she had tears rolling down her face as she read my text. I told her I don’t know how long this will last, but it’s was welcome relief. 

As I walked into the airport, I had a pep in my step that I had all but forgotten. My shoulders were back, head held high, and a friendly smile on my face. As much as it sucks to travel on the week of thanksgiving with all the people who rarely travel, nothing bothered me, not the screaming kids, not the guy who wanted to argue with TSA about why he couldn’t bring his bottle of water, etc, nothing.  Then when I got to the gate I got upgraded to first class!  I enjoyed my flight, and my free beers!  

The feeling didn’t continue at the same level into the next day, but I was still doing pretty well, and today I’m doing pretty good too. At least I got to peek at the light at the end of the tunnel.  
Male BS, D-day July 2015, trying to stay out of the dark.....
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Kiki
Keepabuzz,
i am so happy for you. Your post has made me cry.   Happy tears for you! Sad for myself.   I fear I will never get to where you are.   I recognize we are rwo different paths, you have reconciled and accepted, I am divorcing.  I just want the pain to go away. I wish I could get there. 
D-Day#1 Dec 19, 2017
D-Day#2 Jan 13, 2018
5 year “on/off affair”

Married 25 years, together 35 
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Kelaine53
Keepabuzz, I am happy for you. I believe the li lightness in your step comes from finding a way to look forward more than back. Everyone here has lost something precious they can never fer back. When we think about the loss we feel sad. We miss what we lost. But we get to decide hiw much power to give the loss today. Congratulations on finding that power. 

Kiki I am so sorry that you are on this path. Give yourself all the time you need to heal  Don't let anyone but you judge how long that will take. I am confident that you will find joy in your life again. Remember we are all here for you.
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ThrivenotSurvive
I had missed this entire thread during a time when I was taking a break from the forum.  Beautiful.  
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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