As Doug and I have embarked on our journey after his emotional affair, there have been many times when I have been awakened. There have been times when the confusion of getting over an affair has opened up to clarity and the pain of the affair decreased.
There were times when I was able to look forward with optimism rather than focusing on the past with despair. I know these moments of revelation have been what have kept us moving forward in the quest to have a better marriage and life together.
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Just recently I had another awakening as a result of the work that Doug has completed on himself. I have realized that it doesn’t matter how hard you are trying to do all the right things…making an effort to have a better marriage, spending more time together, listening, and doing loving things for each other, etc. You will not be successful in getting over an affair completely until both partners do the work on themselves.
As the betrayed spouse, I felt I didn’t have a choice but to take a hard look at my shortcomings and what I needed to do to have a better marriage and life. Like most others who are in the same situation, I read scores of books and I went to therapy. I spent hours thinking about my actions, about my marriage and about my past. I made many personal changes and became aware of my fears and how those fears sabotaged my relationships. I feel that all of this searching has produced many positive benefits both personally and with the people I love.
I often hear from other affair victims that their spouses are doing everything right, however they cannot let go of the pain or let go of the affair. I felt that way also. I thought that Doug really couldn’t do anything else to make it better, and yet I was still in pain. I wondered what was wrong with me. Why couldn’t I let it go and just move on?
One day I was reading a comment from someone who regularly posts on our site. She had been really struggling with the pain of the affair and I sensed that she was ready to give up on her marriage. She had been to a counseling session and the therapist told her that she wasn’t the one who needed to be fixed. She was not the one who was broken. Rather, it was the cheater who needed to do the hard work on themselves.
I could tell from her post that the weight of the world had been lifted off her shoulders. She had arrived at where she needed to be. She had completed all the hard work and it was her spouse who still needed to work on himself. He needed to ask himself those hard personal questions. He needed to look within and make the personal decision to become a better person – not just a better spouse.
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I feel the same way ever since Doug started to work on himself. A few years back he began looking within and became aware of his shortcomings. His revelations allowed me to better understand him and the reasons for his affair. For the first time since his I feel free. I feel we can finally move to the next level and put the past behind us. We now understand and agree how we evolved into this mess and are aware of what we need to do to never get there again.
It’s a perfect example of what is meant when people say, “The marriage will never again be what it was after an affair.” In hindsight why would anyone want to go backward?