Choosing to Reconcile

19 Jun

I have been so caught up in the codependent characteristics list the last few days that everything else has been pushed to the side.  Today I read some questions posed by Samantha Baker of Repairing Shattered Pieces on the forum After the Betrayal that got me thinking in a different direction, though.  Here is what she asked:

What made you choose to reconcile with your spouse?
Are you glad?
Are you fearful of another affair in the future?
Do you think that choosing to reconcile was the right decision?
Do you wish you had done anything different?
Do you ever think your spouse got an “easy out”?
Do you ever wonder if you appeared “weak” by choosing reconciliation in your spouses eyes?

So, that is a lot to try to answer, but I decided to take a shot at it.  Rather than use a question/ answer format I’m just going to write down some of my thoughts on the topic and do my best to hit on each of these questions.

Why I chose to reconcile is a complicated thing.  At the beginning of this I would have told you I stayed because I really love him.  He has a kind heart, a positive attitude, and a lot of energy.  We are total opposites in many way, which means that he added things to my life.  He taught me the joys of being spontaneous, introduced me to new foods, and made me cut loose and not take myself so seriously.  I got to know him, as you should with your spouse.  I knew he had faults, and I loved him despite those.  I was able to see past what he did to all of those other things that I didn’t want to cut out of my life.

We were also recently married (the last discovery was only 6 months after our wedding), and I believe in following through with commitments.  I didn’t want to just throw him away, and our marriage along with him, without knowing that I had done everything I could.  I made a promise in front of my entire family, his family, our friends, and everyone who is important to me.  I made that promise to him, but I also made it to myself.  I promised that I would love through thick and thin, better and worse, richer and poorer, and all of that other stuff.  He had betrayed me, but did that mean I should betray him, that promise, and myself in return?  I wasn’t there.

All of those things are still true, but now I have some additional insights.  I’m not a quitter, I hate admitting defeat, and I didn’t want to be a failure.  I didn’t want to be divorced at 26.  I didn’t know what I would do without him, I couldn’t let go of the “ideal marriage” in my head yet, and I couldn’t picture life without him in it.   I was in so much pain, but I felt like making myself the main priority was selfish.  How could I just walk away from everything I had put into this relationship?  From him?  What would he do?  Plus, I told myself that I had done things wrong the last few times I found out about his infidelity and lying.  I should have set firmer guidelines, I should have checked up on him more… I should have, should have, should have.  I felt like this problem was my fault.  I couldn’t walk away and leave him with nothing.  When I saw him so broken and defeated I wanted to help him.  I wanted to fix him.  I wanted to fix us.  In short, I am codependent.

This journey that we are on has taught me that.  It has also taught me more about myself and my husband than I knew at the beginning of the process.  Am I glad I stayed with this instead of walking away?  I feel like a stronger person.  I don’t feel “weak” at all.  This is a much harder road by far than leaving it all behind.   If I kicked him out immediately, there would still be unanswered questions.  There would still be hurt.  His actions probably would have pushed me farther away from my own issues because I would have been able to lump them all together and put them in the back of some dusty closet that I never opened again.  My next relationship most likely would have been impacted, and it would always be there making me feel uncertain, self-conscious, leery, and closed off.   I wouldn’t have worked on myself nearly as much.  In that way, I am benefiting personally from taking a hard look at the ways I contributed.

As for whether he got off “easy” or not, I don’t think so.  If he wants to keep this marriage, he will need to overcome his bad habits, some of which are decades in the making.  He is learning new tools to communicate.  He is figuring out how to deal with tough emotions.  He is working a program.  He is dealing with family of origin issues, boundaries, triggers, and more.  He will have to be vulnerable.  He will have to be honest – not only with me, but with himself – maybe for the first time.

I still have fear, but I am leaving it farther and farther behind everyday.  As I heal myself, I find those paranoid thoughts are fading.  I don’t think about what happened nearly as much as I think about where I’m headed now.  I am realizing what things I can control and what I can’t.  Even if he does have another affair, worrying about it now won’t change that.  It won’t do me any good.  It won’t make him decide not to stray.   All I can do is focus on myself, set boundaries about what I will accept, and be prepared to move on if he doesn’t hold up his end of things.

I do wish sometimes that we had found our current MC earlier.  I wish I had picked up Codependent No More way sooner than 2 weeks ago.  But I’m also letting go of my wish list and “should have” or “what if” thoughts.  I am dealing with each thing that comes up as it comes up.  I am trying not to regret the past because it has brought us here.  That last one is a tough one.  I’m taking it all day by day, though.

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18 Responses to “Choosing to Reconcile”

  1. Penny September 19, 2012 at 8:36 pm #

    I just wanted to say I love your blog! I am going through something very similar and relate to much of the self work you are doing. I am obsessed with ‘healing’ strategies at the moment however discovering a book on codependancy has taken me on another path altogther…it feels never ending!

    One thing I have read that I keep repeating in the back of my mind when I lose direction on my journey is that dealing with something like this is like a bucket of mud, you add some water (awareness/informaiton/growth) and everything gets messy and stirs up all the mud in the bucket. It then settles down again when you stop adding water (awareness) which can be a relief but the mud is still there. The only way is to keep going, keep adding water until the bucket runs clear! (I hope that makes sense I love that analogy but maybe its just me!) Its been very reassuring (and sad of course) to see other people on the ride! You have inspired me to write my story and de-clutter my head! I have had a friend who went through something similar say ‘I could have chosen the easy way out and stayed’…I guess everyone thinks the road they take is the tough one, however whatever path you take it will be one of the hardest things you will ever do…I know staying with my husband has certainly not been an easy path, however viewing myself as strong for taking it is very hard to do…

    • beautifulmess7 September 19, 2012 at 9:23 pm #

      I love that analogy!!! If you decide to share your story on a blog like this I would love to read it and get some inspiration from you. If not, then I hope your writing can be as therapeutic and helpful for you as it has been for me.

  2. Heather September 11, 2012 at 2:03 pm #

    I am four years outside of my husband’s affair. It felt like I was reading my own words while reading your post. Thank you for sharing. So many times our minds have us tricked into thinking we are the “only ones” and are alone. We aren’t.

    • beautifulmess7 September 11, 2012 at 2:20 pm #

      It is so true… Coming through an affiar can be very isolating. Some days you feel like no one else coupld possibly grasp all of the emotions and thoughts that are all wrapped up together. We aren’t alone, though. Through this blog I have come to “know” so many women and men dealing with the same issues. It is reassuring. I find stregth from others and their words on days when I feel especially down about things. I hope that you are doing well and that your marriage is growing and becoming closer.

  3. Cdn Stormlover June 20, 2012 at 9:38 am #

    This post is quite profound. Thanks for being so BRAVE and sharing your thoughts with us.
    It’s nice to know there are those out there who have “faith” that things will eventually work out. Just the fact that your hubby is working at this as well is encouraging. I look forward to each new post with anticipation of the good things that come because you chose to stay.

    • beautifulmess7 June 20, 2012 at 10:40 am #

      Awww…. Thanks so much! That is very sweet. The funny thing is that I don’t feel brave. I was very afraid when this started, but now that I’ve surrendered to the process and am really facing it all I am finding that it’s much better to accept my flaws and work through them.

      That he is doing it, too, is what makes this whole thing work. I see others struggling with spouses who are resistant, and hurt for them. It’s almost impossible to move forward with someone who is dragging you back. I’m lucky that he’s in this 100%

      • Cdn Stormlover June 20, 2012 at 10:59 am #

        There’s a huge difference in outcome when BOTH parties are willing to work “together” for a better future.
        I’ve never had the pleasure of having a “working” half. That’s why I ended the relationship. There are a few men from my past whom I could have had a wonderful life with if only they would have been willing to admit their faults and/or been willing to work together with me on overcoming and eliminating negative behaviour.
        We all come with faults/flaws. Half the battle is admitting them. The other half is working on them.
        Kudos to you both!
        Bless,
        Lee

  4. Ariella June 20, 2012 at 12:22 am #

    This is a great idea. I think I am going to answer these questions tomorrow. I always have a million and one questions I feel I need to ask John, and most of the time I refrain from doing so. Maybe I need to start asking myself some questions!

    • beautifulmess7 June 20, 2012 at 8:23 am #

      Yeah… I always find that doing some good introspection gives me a better idea of why I’m feeling the way that I do. I am so appreciative of other people in this community who reach out, share their thoughts, and challenge me to really think things through.

  5. A Dog With Fleas June 20, 2012 at 12:05 am #

    I firmly believe that good things can come out of bad situations. And you and your husband are prime examples. You are both learning more about yourselves and each other, and in the long run will have a stronger marriage because of it. And like you said, it is a much harder decision to stay and work through it then leave. So happy and proud of you and continued success!! 🙂

    • beautifulmess7 June 20, 2012 at 8:22 am #

      You’re so right. I’m not sure why people get the idea that people are “weak” for staying. It’s exactly the opposite. This is one of the hardest things I have ever done, hands down. That’s not “easy” and it’s not weak to push through hurt and pain to find growth.

      • wendy swanson September 14, 2012 at 2:22 am #

        I do feel weak by staying. I feel like Im letting him get away with something and in a way isent that exactly what im doing? We have been dealing with this for ten years now and for ten years he has been going to meetings and still acting out? i do love him and other than his addiction he truely is a wonderful man, but god, when is enough, enough?

        • beautifulmess7 September 14, 2012 at 8:43 am #

          That is a question that only you can answer for yourself. I can say that the emotional roller coaster you are on is not an easy ride. A weak person wouldn’t be able to handle it mentally, physically, or emotionally.

          I do feel concerned for you that he has been acting out while attending meetings because it makes me question his committment. HOWEVER, it is an addiction. Addictions are very difficult to overcome, and sex addicts have a high rate of slips. If he has slips but recommits himself fully every time it can be a learning experience (about what triggers him and how to handle those triggers differently).

          Although it does hurt to be stalled, keep telling yourself that you didn’t cause it, you can’t cure it, and you can’t change it. The love that we feel for them and the fact that they are broken people really does complicate things. There will come a point, though, where you know that you can’t keep putting yourself through this. Only you know what that will be.

  6. persuaded2go June 19, 2012 at 5:48 pm #

    You are amazingly inspiring.

    • beautifulmess7 June 19, 2012 at 6:41 pm #

      I don’t think of myself that way at all, but thanks. I guess I need to get better at recognizing my own strengths.

  7. Samantha Baker June 19, 2012 at 5:22 pm #

    Beautifully stated. I need to answer all of these things myself. But I love your take and outlook on all of this.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. What Do You Do When They Don’t Love You Anymore? « Honestgoodadvice's Blog - June 25, 2012

    […] Choosing to Reconcile (beingabeautifulmess.wordpress.com) […]

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