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trying to move on

Published on November 30, 2012 by jamie117

My husband and I have been together for 17years. Married for the last 12 of them. We married very young at the age of 18 and had two kids right away. Long story short he began to cheat to feel like he was young and had a life. I became over weight and withdrawn over the feeling that I didnt like my life. When I got to place of realizing I needed to work on saving our marriage, I started to do my part to make myself happy and a better wife and mother. He promised to stop cheating. In 1 years time I lost over 60 lbs. and did everthing I could to work on trusting him. But I still felt that he had things going on outside of our relationship.Come to find out he was continuing on a serious relationship with a women that did not know he was married with two kids. When I found out about her we seperated. In the next few months after that it became an emotional hell. Between him begging me not to divorce him and her begging him to divorce me. I was so hurt and embaressed by the entire thing, although it has been almost 2 years later I feel it was just last week. In that time he has changed so much. He has gone through intense therapy and has done everything I have asked of him as far as earning my trust back. This is the first time he has actually changed his actions. Recently I heard the other women got married and it threw me for a loop and dont know why. My question is, why do I feel this way. I felt, in a way, vindicated that even when she begged him to leave our marriage and marry her, he chose not to. As vein as it may be, I needed her to remain an option, yet never be chosen by him. I feel so damaged by the way I have become. This way of thinking is toxic and deep down I know it. All my life, I have never hurt my friends or family, never been an unfaithful wife. I am a good person, so why do I feel so bad?

ANSWERS

I often say to my clients that the brain is designed to pay attention to pain and danger. It's a survival thing. But if you have been emotionally scared or wounded by a betrayal or near miss, the echoes of that danger do not fade quickly or easily. It is great that you did so much work on yourself and your husband did, too. You are way ahead of those who think they will be satisfied if the other person changes. Now, letting go of the memory of a sense of betrayal is a delicate and complicated thing. It involves nurturing a new faith in safety that has to be balanced with the fact that there are real dangers out there that shouldn't be ignored. I am not saying you should be paranoid about possible future infidelities. I would compare it to a person who has been through severe trauma and has some form of post traumatic stress disorder. If something reminds them of the traumatic event, it can bring the feelings back in an intensive way. Highly focused counseling is necessary to get past that. I would say that similarly focused counseling is also useful to get over the repercussions of a time when your secure world was rocked. You are a good person, and it is not unknown for good persons to feel bad, even to feel bad about themselves. You've done some good work, but there is more you can do to get a sense of security back. There may also be other ways your husband can help beyond what he has already done, but that is too much to get into here. Good luck.

It is perfectly natural to want to be someone's CHOICE rather than his only option - there's nothing wrong in feeling good that he chose you when the other woman was begging him to choose her. Don't beat yourself up over it

Congratulations on the accomplishment you have made on improving both your outlook and your health/weight.

Given that he has done everything you asked of him for two years, has undergone intense therapy, and has changed (most cheaters would promise it, but not stick to it), I would say it's likely he really does want a second chance to save your marriage. I'd say give him that chance (assuming you WANT him back), but make clear to him that he's used his one "do-over" in life, and that if he ever cheats again, he's history. You're willing to forgive, but you'll never forget. Also make attending couples marital counseling an absolute condition of you letting him come back - you two will have plenty of issues to work out in repairing your marriage.

As a practical safety issue, if you do get back together. Do not allow him to have sex with you until he's had a complete exam for HIV and other disease's he may have picked up when cheating. Then use condoms for 6 months until he passes ANOTHER disease test (HIV can take as long as 6 months to become detectable on a test) - then you can use whatever form of birth control you prefer.

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