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#1824882 02/12/07 12:29 PM
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Recently reconcilation after divorce was presented in my DivorceCare (divorcecare.org) group. A statement in one of the videos was that at some point, both parties most likely want to reconcile (not necessarily at the same time though). They suggested planting the seed well after the seperation and letting the other party know the door is open for working on reconcilation.

Now almost 2 1/2 years later after she left, I don't know what to think about even approaching her on this. My X and I are civil to each other, and yes I do miss her, but man, she had so many EA's and a PA and I just don't think I would ever want her back?!?!?

I did write her a letter about a month ago(at the advice of divorcecare) and acknowledged my part in the divorce. She thanked me for it but never acknowledged her part (other than she made "some" mistakes). However, she did say she was sorry for hurting me so bad.

So, have any of you approached your X's years later? Or am I just setting myself up for more hurt and rejection from her???

Keith

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Keith,

I am sure there are some happy stories that go with reconciliation.Personally,I know I would not ever allow it.Sure my heart wonders sometimes,like if I have to see my ex on the rare occasion.But I think it aches for what was and what could have been.The reality is my ex hasn't changed,is still on the same path he was at the A's outset and I would be betraying myself if I did take him back.

Theres's something to an A that makes it all the more impossible for me to reconsider.Had it been otherwise there might be some chance.The A was the single most painful,revolting,horrific experience I have ever been through in my life.As much as I am healed from it as I am,I won't forget what it was like to be put through that and the man who did it to me.I just can't be around him anymore.

I'd rather plant the seeds of hope and love in a new relationship with all the knowledge I have now and what I have to offer.

Are you seriously considering this?

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I think it would be based on the behaviors of the parties. If my H had taken some responsibility, made some changes, then yes I would enthusiastically ask him to consider reonciliation (two years separated). But alas, no change, nothing. The way he spoke with me this morning was like we were never married. Wierd..he has really gone into this friend mode, and never has had any desire to recreate a healthy and loving marriage. Sadly, I've come to the conclusion that he just isn't capable of such a thing.


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If there has been an affair, I don't think that reconciliation should even be attempted unless there is true remorse from the exWS.

BHINWI, I remember I said something very similiar to my ex after he had left - apologised I mean, for the things I had done in our marriage that had made him unhappy.

I have never had any apology or signs of remorse from him. He still lives with the OW after nearly two years, and is still utterly justified and entitled.

I suggest you carry on as you are - don't mention reconciliation. I think that if it's going to work, the overtures must come from her.

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Hi Keith!

I haven't been on for awhile, let alone this side of the forum.
Stumbling on your latest thread made me want to chime in.

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I did write her a letter about a month ago(at the advice of divorcecare) and acknowledged my part in the divorce. She thanked me for it but never acknowledged her part (other than she made "some" mistakes). However, she did say she was sorry for hurting me so bad.

I think it's a positive step in self recovery that you wrote and accepted responsibility where you felt needed.
However, what I see is that she is not accepting much responsibility if any. You have listed her EA's and PA's in your sig line. That can't be ignored.
I don't see growth in her based on the reponse you've gotten from her. My thought is, I think you love the person she was at one time, but she is no longer that same person.
I am sorry for that.
I hope you have inner peace now that you've written the letter, but my advice would be to think long and hard before letting yourself be vulnerable to her again.

As to your question, no, I have not and would never approach my x on the matter. He's untrustworthy first and foremost. He has married his affair partner. He's has shown himself time and time again and I don't like the person he has turned out to be. I can't even say that I respect him as the father of our children. His decision making is very messed up.

I wish you well.
K.


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Based on everyone's responses, I don't think I will write a reconcilation letter. As I look at my signature line (3 EA's and 1 PA) I wonder why I would even want to reconcile.

Her EA's were always very bizarre. She would meet someone and fall fast and hard for them. Of course she always told me they were just "special" friends.

I do believe that part of me wants to reconcile to prove to myself that I am not a failure and that I can fix anything. However, I did not fail in the marraige - she did.

Thanks for the advice everyone. No letter will be written...

Keith

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I was very disappointed with how Divorce Care handles this topic. They say it is possible, but there seems to be little concrete information on how to do this.

They say reconciliation is best, if I understand the material, but provide little if any help in actually getting a chance to do this.

Ditto for most churches I've encountered. They preach family and marriage, but when you approach them with a family issue, you might as well be a leper.

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Keith,

I am working on a response to you, but it's long and taking a little longer than I had hoped in order to get it done.

Will you check back in a little bit please?? Thanx!!

Your true and faithful friend,



CJ

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Oh, good. I see I won’t have to write “Are you out of your mind?” Kidding. Sorta. Maybe.

I, for one, don’t think reconciliation is a good idea for people who have been through the whole Plan A, Plan B process. Our divorces were not impulsive decisions on our part. If they were impulsive decisions on our then spouses’ parts, we gave said spouses plenty of time to reconsider.

Imagine if your ex wanted to get back together. What if they were repentant? What would the relationship look like? Lots of very hard work. Many of us would feel our ex’s ought to make up for their prior bad behavior. I know I would. The only way I’m able to let go of the resentment is by staying away. If I were to reconcile, I would have to work through all that resentment, and do it at a point when there was very little preventing me from walking out again. I imagine my ex would feel the same way.

Meanwhile, when there are children, the stakes are upped. I can’t imagine anything worse than having my parents divorce EXCEPT to have them divorce, reconcile and then split up again.


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BHINWI

It has been a long time since I have been here but you caught my attention.

First off I have to agree with GG (Hi GG). There would be alot of expectation on both parts for change and hard work.

Second Speaking from my own experience, Looking back from the outside in I see that if I had to do it over again I wouldnt.

I see that you have been divorced for almost 2 years. I think it has been a little longer for me but I too am still civil with X. Reconciliation? No way.

I spent quite a bit of time here learning to rebuild me and move on. Almost as much time as I spent trying to get my marriage back.

In the end I feel that I am a better person for letting go and loosing interest in going back. Life is too short to work at getting back into a hole that has already been dug.


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I am working on a response to you, but it's long and taking a little longer than I had hoped in order to get it done.

Will you check back in a little bit please?? Thanx!!

Your true and faithful friend,

CJ

Cindy, Sure, would love to hear your thoughts!

Again, I really think my thoughts of even considering this stems from proving to myself I can fix the divorce. It would drive me nuts when she was chasing other men and I could not get her to stop. Why in the world would I want to be with someone like that?!?!?!?

Over time, I miss her less and less.... and that is a good thing.

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Oh, good. I see I won’t have to write “Are you out of your mind?” Kidding. Sorta. Maybe

<img src="/ubbt/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" /> thanks GG!

I agree with what you say though... I think my X would have to really show remorse for her actions and I just cannot see her ever doing that.

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Even if she did show remorse... You are free of her.

Wouldn't you rather have the chance to find a woman who doesn't have to be remorseful? Who hasn't repeatedly made the same transgression?

How are you feeling? No black clouds hanging over your heads?


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PART ONE...

Dear old friend,

You started this thread asking for advice on whether or not to even consider reconciliation with your XW and if so, had anyone ever tried it and what happened? From there, I think you basically got the types of answers that I would expect from a public forum—and I’m not speaking ill of MB, but rather that it makes sense that people who don’t “know” you very well would say, “Are you CRAZY, man? She has had four affairs and you’ve already been divorced for two years!”

When you first left the lovely lady whom you were dating, I knew then that one day the idea of reconciliation was going to come out of your mouth…perhaps not so much because you wanted to get back into the kind of life where you were constantly having another D-day—but rather because of two things. For one thing, I don’t think you’re quite over having feelings for your XW; and for another thing, I don’t think you have tried EVERY SINGLE thing yet. Personally, you are growing and getting over this and getting through this…and yet, it is indeed a process to get past the familiar patterns of being treated a certain way by our exes and taking the risk of doing something different and being treated in a healthy way. For people like you and I, it is really important to try every single thing before we move on…it’s like doing due diligence.

Anyway…to the point. Let’s define a few things just to make sure we’re on the same page. Some people in the United States are christians (with a lower case c) because they are Lutheran or Catholic…not Jewish or Buddhist. Other people are Christian believers (with a capitol C) because Jesus Christ is their savior; those people I will call “believers” and if I am not mistaken, Keith, you are a believer. Thus, let me just say that I personally think that believers are called to a different standard of behavior and a different style of behavior than your average person or even a christian. I think it would be “normal” for a non-believer to say, “…you’ve already been divorced for two years..move on!” or “…She had four affairs—do you really want her back?” and those are understandable responses. But Keith, as a believer, we are called to more. Finally, “spouse” in this letter means the person you married—and in your case that’s your XW.

In your DivorceCare class, the topic of reconciliation came up. As a believer, I do believe we are called to honor our vow to our spouses—even when they hurt us by being unfaithful. Furthermore, if you’ve read the book of Hosea, you know that Hosea was a prophet and his wife was a prostitute and despite her continued unfaithfulness, he was called to keep her as his wife. Long story short, Keith, in a lifetime committed relationship, a marriage can last over 50 years or more! Now, I’m not saying we should be doormats here—but I am saying that sometimes investing 3 or 4 years into your spouse when they are having a MLC or some other personal meltdown may be worth it in the lifelong, 50+ years or more scheme of things. As betrayed spouses, we hope that our wandering one will “get it” and come back and “get back to normal” yet after a month or two, we can’t stand their painful behavior anymore. We know that often a wandering spouse can take 6 months to about 2 years before their affair runs its course, so as betrayed spouses we need to be ready to invest that kind of time!

So let’s go over the DivorceCare idea.

In real life, believers are called to live in a way that is completely unique to this world…in a way that would seem so odd to the “normal” world that they would notice our difference just by our behavior and say, “Hey! What’s different about you?” Thus…what may seem like common sense to some folks may not be how a believer is supposed to act. In Matt. 18:15-17 is tells us that if someone sins and causes a break in the relationship (like our spouses, having their affair), we are supposed to first go to them ourselves, after examining our own lives for where we fell short, and try to work it out. Now Keith, I highly suspect you have done this step. I highly suspect you have examined yourself, figured out how you contributed to the downfall, worked on changing, and gone to your XW on your own to tell her that what she’s doing is sin and that you would like to work it out with her so you two can honor your vows. Well…maybe not in so many words, but in concept at least--:P Step two, according to Matthew is that IF SHE DOES NOT LISTEN TO YOU, then you take one or two people from church and with that small group you confront the person who has caused the rift. Now, I don’t know about you, but I envision this to be basically exposure. You call on maybe the elders of your church or her parents or her boss…people who she respects and recognizes as authority…and in a small setting like this, you ask her to return to doing what is right, end the affair and reconcile the marriage. After that step, IF SHE STILL DOESN”T LISTEN TO YOU, it tells us in Matthew to take the whole church and have the whole church basically confront her with her sin –AND- with her refusal to reconcile when you asked privately and when the affair was exposed. In my mind, I don’t think you really are supposed to go in front of the whole church, like at a church service, and air your dirty laundry—but perhaps it would be appropriate to tell the pastor to add your wife to the congregational prayer because she refuses to end her affair…and say it right out just like that. The point is not to embarrass her (although it is her choices and her actions that really are embarrassing), but to give the WHOLE CHURCH the ability to pray for her to return.

Note two things. First, there are three steps in Matthew—and I believe these steps are most effectively taken while you are still married, the affair is ongoing, and the divorce is not yet final—BUT they can be effective any time. Have you done them all? Because if you have not, then for a long time even after your divorce is final, you may feel that you didn’t really “do everything.” Do it all, Keith, and when you have done every step that YOU are supposed to do, and then you will have peace because you are aligned with what God has told you to do—even if she doesn’t return. Second, each time that you go to your spouse to speak to her about reconciling the rift, in order to avoid the next step; she has obligations and responsibilities too. Each time, notice that she has the opportunity to listen to you (and really to listen to God), do what she knows is right, and end her affair and return to the marriage and honor her vows. You may desire very much for her to come back, but in order for a relationship rift to be healed, even the bible infers that the other party has obligations to repent and repair. The point is that you have to follow through on YOUR side and then, in order for a reconciliation to occur, she would have to follow through on HER side.

Next, let’s look at Matthew 5:23-25. In that passage, we’re told that if we are at church about to give a gift to God, and while we’re there we remember that we have a rift with someone…we are supposed to go fix the rift AND THEN come give the gift to God. Now, does this mean God turns down gifts? No. It means that our relationships with others—and especially other believers—are important. It means that how we treat others and our conduct and whether or not there is discord and animosity—all that is taken very seriously by God. We are to make things right between us and the folks here on earth—AND THEN go and make things right with God. Now, in your case, Keith, you can not reconcile your marriage by yourself…so that you literally can not “make things right with your marriage” and then go make things right with God. But what you CAN do, is do everything that is required of you for YOUR PART, with a forgiving and loving heart…and if she does not respond and make things right, then you can not force her to return to doing what is right. You can do all the things that are required of you to make things right in your marriage, and you can then approach God with a clear conscience and a clean slate. Does that make sense?

Matthew 7:3-5 tells us not to judge others, lest we be judged…and that before we go talk to someone about the little fleck of wood in their eye, we really OUGHT to remove the PHONE POLE SIZE piece of wood from our own eye first! Haha!! I’ve always gotten a tickle out of these verses, because the image is so plain: a guy with a big, old phone pole in his eye, going around telling people, “Ummm…you have this little fleck of sawdust in your eye. You should remove that.” What do you think the guy with the sawdust thinks? Probably about what our WS’s think when we talk to them about wanting to reconcile: “Hey buddy! Take that big old PHONE POLE out of your OWN eye, and then maybe we can talk!” Anyway, clearly these versus are all about examining yourself. Once again, Keith, I think you have done this step in that you indicated in your initial post
Quote
I did write her a letter about a month ago (at the advice of divorcecare) and acknowledged my part in the divorce. She thanked me for it but never acknowledged her part (other than she made "some" mistakes). However, she did say she was sorry for hurting me so bad.

...more in PART TWO

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PART TWO

Matthew 18:21-22 is that famous verse about forgiving someone “seventy times seven” times. If there is going to be a chance for reconciliation to even POSSIBLY occur, there is going to have to be forgiveness on both sides. Now, as you know, we are completely and utterly unworthy of the love that God showed us, in that while we were yet UNRECONCILED to Him, He sent Christ to die for us. As believers, we are supposed to learn from His example and while our spouses are unreconciled to us, to show them love and forgiveness—even when they don’t deserve it! Now, Keith, other than me, I doubt if there is anyone here on MB who knows and understands the pain of multiple affairs and who recognizes what a BIG request that is. I’m not trying to be mean or judgmental, but after MANY affairs, our spouses just do not deserve our forgiveness!! That’s a normal, worldly response. Yet, believers are held to a different standard; more is required of us. So when she doesn’t deserve it, it is your duty to accept personal responsibility for what YOU DID, and to demonstrate forgiveness toward your spouse. Note one thing though…it does NOT say that you are required to accept an unrepentant spouse back. Forgive, yes—take back someone who is not repentant, no.

Next, let’s look at Luke 15:11-24, the story of the Prodigal Son. At some point in a divorce, I think it’s normal for both parties to consider the possibility of reconciliation. The BS may want to reconcile up until the point the divorce is final—sometimes even beyond—and then, as the BS moves on with their life and grows and becomes more and more the person they used to be, the thought of returning to that former marriage loses attractiveness. The WS may consider reconciliation two years down the road, when the affair has finally run it’s course and it turns out their “soulmate” is just another person with their own set of faults and weird habits…when all the freedom they THOUGHT they were going to have is lost with stepkids and going to court…when all the money has been blown through…and when the WS is fighting with the OP. At some point, the spouses might stop in their current life—such as it is—and think, “Man! Did I make a mistake! I wonder what it would be like if I tried to work it out with my ex?” Shoot…we ALL think that! But look at the Prodigal Son—a perfect parable for an affair. The son got all selfish and independent, and took off with half the Father’s money (just like our WS’s do). He lived a CRAZY lifestyle, with drunkenness and wild sex (just like our WS’s do). He ended up living in a pig sty, too proud to admit he had made a mistake (like our WS’s do). And then, ONE DAY, the fog clears, he picks up his head, and he says, “You know what? Even the SERVANTS in my dad’s house live better than this. I was an idiot! I’m going back to my dad’s and ask if he would consider letting me back as a servant.” Can you see, Keith, what kind of attitude a WS would have in order for a true reconciliation to work? Can you also see what kind of attitude a BS would have? Did you notice that the dad did not chase around after his son or try to find him or keep telling him, “Uh, son, you’re living in a pig sty. Why don’t you just repent?” Nope. The dad pretty much left him alone BUT ALWAYS KEPT THE LIGHT ON AND THE DOOR UNLOCKED. The one who left is the one who has to have their senses clear and return—but the one who WAS LEFT has to be willing to forgive, has to stay open to seeing a real repentance, has to wait, and has to leave the light on and the door unlocked. See that?? And when the son returned and was able to take personal responsibility and demonstrate TRUE repentance, the father WELCOMED HIM. I think THAT is what DivorceCare is talking about.

Here it is Keith—the REALLY hard part. Hosea 3:1-3. I think I’m just gonna quote it here: “The LORD said to me, "Go, show your love to your wife again, though she is loved by another and is an adulteress. Love her as the LORD loves the Israelites, though they turn to other gods and love the sacred raisin cakes. So I bought her for fifteen shekels of silver and about a homer and a lethek of barley. Then I told her, ‘You are to live with me many days; you must not be a prostitute or be intimate with any man, and I will live with you.’ “ Soooo…Hosea was a prophet and his wife became a prostitute. As you might imagine, this caused him immense pain and great grief—she was sleeping with other men! And God told him, “yep, I get it…you wife is sleeping with other men…but I want you to go show love to your wife. Love her like I have loved those who sinned against me.” So he went and BOUGHT his own wife and told her he wanted to be with her many days. At that point, she may have been thinking, “Well, I’m just a prostitute now. No one is going to want me. I’m not worth anything” and by his actions, he demonstrated that he had looked at how he contributed, that he still valued her, and that he FORGAVE her.” He initiated. Now, I will tell you that I am not sure if you should initiate reconciliation with your wife. I believe that is your decision to make. But I DO believe that just by the fact that you wrote and considered the possibility, that you should at the very least keep the light on and the door unlocked for a while.

Keith, I’m not sure if your wife is a believer or not—that’s hard to tell—but I do know that if you take care of ALL the things that you are supposed to do to reconcile and she still does not come back, that we are allowed to let our non-believing spouses go and you will receive peace. Right now, I suspect that you still have a few final things to do to make sure that you have done everything ON YOUR SIDE to demonstrate that you are open to reconciling if God worked a miracle in her life. Right now, I suspect that you may have a little more work to do. That I can tell, you have:
* Accepted responsibility for your mistakes
* Changed and grown
* Demonstrated forgiveness
* Spoken to her privately
* Spoken to her with 2 or 3 (exposed the affair)
At this point, I think all that’s left now, using biblical examples, is to let her go like the father let his prodigal son go, leave the light on and the door unlocked for a little while longer. Using that model, the father let the son go, let him squander all his money, did not try to chase after him but let God take care of it in his time, and left the door open. When THE SON came to his senses and made the effort to return, the dad was ready. And I think that’s where you are too, Keith. For a while, just let God take care of your XW in His time, and when she comes to her senses and makes the effort to return (demonstrating some true repentance and growth), let the door be open.

Finally, I can not speak for everyone, but for me what happened was that while I was still married, I tried for four years while he continued to have affairs (plural). When the time came that he moved out and disappeared for months and didn’t help care for the kids or pay bills, I still waited for a while before I filed. When he got physically violent and I had to get a restraining order, I did file. Then, I stayed single for two MORE years. That whole time after the divorce, I was not sitting around waiting for my XH to reconcile with me, but I was just getting my head on straight, getting more solid financially, and (as I’ve suggested to you) doing ALL the things that I needed to do in order to make sure that everything on my side was done and done appropriately. During that time, if he had had a true repentance and made the effort to return to me and reconcile, I would have. At the same time, If he did NOT return, I was still doing what I knew to be right, and doing what I believed I had to do to have a right relationship with God. After two years, I felt confident that I did every single thing that could have been done to reconcile that marriage and give him the opportunity to turn away from the affairs and do what was right. He refused. After about two years, I considered my XH a non-believer who wanted to leave, who broke the vows via fornication (the only exception) and I was at peace knowing that I was indeed free. That is still coming for you Keith, but I do believe it is coming. Just keep working on doing everything you need to do to make it right…

Your true and faithful friend,


CJ

P.S. I did not write this with the intention of sounding preachy -OR- of offending anyone's religious sensibilities. Thus, if I did inadvertently come off as "judgmental" or disrespectful of someone's religion, please accept my apologies. I'm a human being trying to write about bigger spiritual stuff and I don't do a perfect job.

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Wouldn't you rather have the chance to find a woman who doesn't have to be remorseful? Who hasn't repeatedly made the same transgression?

GG, Yes, I would love to find someone like that.

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How are you feeling? No black clouds hanging over your heads?

Thanks for asking... I have been doing pretty good lately. I read that people healing from divorce normally start turning the corner between year 2 and 3. I am at 2 1/2 years since she left and I am content with life. Maybe it is my turn to be happy again.

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Cindy (aka FaithFulWifeCJ),

Wow, now that is a response to my thread! <img src="/ubbt/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" /> It is lunch time at work and I don't have time to respond but will either tonight or later this week.

Keith

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Cindy (CJ),

Finally I am replying to your post...

I do admire your knowledge of the scripture and how you relate it to how my situation should be handled.

Here are my thoughts...

Could I forgive her?
Sure, I forgave her the first 2 times she met someone else. I believe people make mistakes, their thoughts get skewed and bad decisions are made. But then I tell myself, she did it 3 times, then 4. I ask myself how many times can I let her do this to ME? Is the problem with me, the relationship, or her? These are questions I ask myself almost daily.

Can I tell myself I did everything I could?
Now I can say yes, I did. I tried counseling, I talked to her, I did the things she asked. It really did not matter. I believe that either she will never be happy or I just was not the man she was looking for. I truly believe it is one of the 2.

If she came back to me, truly, truly remoresful... If she could prove to me that she respects marraige, and sees the good qualities in me (and in people in general). If she could get away from the material things she always sought and see what is real... If she could do these things, I could work on reconcilation.

You know, forgiveness is the easy part for me. I forgave her before. However, since my divorce I have learned I need things also (not just her). I need someone that respects the relationship. Someone that respects boundaries... I never had that and I don't want to go back to it.

I truly believe that my X will never be able to offer what I need to me.

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BH,

I think that sometimes our society finds things too easily disposable.

Paper plates - toss them out.
Old clothes - throw them away.
Broken toaster - why fix it? Get a new one.

We seem to transfer this to many other things, I think. When things are too hard, or a little stained, too often we just tend to throw it over and get a new one.

Less effort. True enough.

But we also have forgotten that the things in life that are worth the most are those very things we have fought to have.

Had I not fought for my marriage in 1975, it would not have lasted until now.

I would not have had my DD 30.

Had we not worked through our separation in 1979, we would not have made it until now.

Had my FWH not fought through the stupid things I had done in 1982, I would not have DD 23.

Had I kicked him to the curb for his most recent affair in 2005, we would not have been together to work through his cancer in 2006.

I wonder how much we consider people as disposable as plates or toasters? Because our society no longer thinks of things as worth working for. No longer is something any good, just because there is a flaw in the fabric, or it once had a stain now removed.

From where I stand, yes, there were mountains in our way. We climbed them. Together. And we cried and fought and screamed and yelled.

And a lot of it hurt.

But underneath all of the pain, there was a basic fundamental love that could never be denied.

He was remorseful and willing to change. Willing to fix it.

And I was, too.

So, never say never.

And if, underneath it all there is love, Keith, you should always consider reconciliation.

IMVHO

Because people ARE redeemable.

In the very same way you let go of your love for her, and her for you

you can grab it back.

SB


Lucky to be where I am, in a safe place to get marriage-related support.
Recovered.
Happy.
Most recent D-day Fall 2005
Our new marriage began that day. Not easily, but it did happen.
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I agree about the disposable society we live in today.But Keith's ex has cheated mutliple times,and has not admitted to her part in the A's as she needs to.Only that she made some "mistakes", quite the understatement.I don't see a willingness on her part based on what he said.

I just hate to see people keep at something only they are working on or made to feel unnecessarily guilty.Marriage takes two,now they are D'd and I think BS's always question what if,when in reality there isn't anything tangible there to mend and grow from.

You can't force anyone to come to the marriage and work on it nor should you wait for years hoping while your life is on hold.That isn't fair.Just an observation.

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