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#3016233 01/03/22 03:13 PM
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My wife had an affair in 2009 that ended as soon as I confronted her. I confronted her in Aug of 2009 and she only admitted to an EA. For the next 4 months we worked hard on recovery and fell in love with each other. But something inside me knew it was a PA and I had kept investigating until I found some hard evidence that it was a PA and confronted her in the beginning of Jan 2010. She admitted it was a PA that day in January and I left that night but came back the next day. I asked for the truth but struggled to believe her. She ended up taking a poly in Oct 2010 to help with my doubts but I still questioned it.

She(wulffpack_girl) found MB around July 2010 and started posting on the forum around Sep 2010. She coached with Jennifer twice in 2010 and was on the radio show twice, 12/16/2010 and 01/11/2011, her name was Renee. My father died at the end of 2010 and I was in so much pain from the affair and his death that I moved out at the end of 2010 and asked for a separation. I moved in with my stepmom but moved back home about 8 months later. But I was still in withdraw and had no intentions of reconciling.

Dr. Harley and Jennifer's advice was for her to Plan-A me even though I was not a wayward, but to try to get me to come back to the marriage and engage in recovery. We eventually reconciled in 2013 but she was so exhausted from Plan-Aing me for so long and her love bank was running on empty that we just fell back into our preA-m routine. She wanted to use the MB program because she believed it would help to restore our marriage but she was exhausted and afraid that it would push me away again. But I have to say that everything she did once finding this forum and program is what brought me back. I tried to leave and stop loving her but she is stubborn and never gave up.

So I went deeper and deeper into withdraw after finding out it was a PA in January 2010 and stayed there until about 3 months ago. I had always been afraid to open back up and give her my heart like I did during the months between Aug 2009 and Jan 2010 because of all the lies she told. About 3 months ago some familiar patterns arose that reminded me of that time in 2009 that scared me but this time I came out of withdraw and told her. It was not another affair just a lot of triggers. Over the past 12 years I have had triggers that would bring back the painful memories of that time and I would just withdraw even more.

I started individual counselling a few months ago after finally opening up to my wife and it has come out that I never healed from the affair. The painful memories of the affair seem to be as strong as they were that day in Jan 2010. We have stared to work thru the HNHN Fall in Love Stay in Love. Have been doing a chapter a week for the last 2 months. My wife was already pretty well versed on the program as she had studied all the material and posted on the forum from 2010 to 2013. It has been very hard for me to open up and share the feelings I have with her because when I did in the 4 months of trickle truth recovery, I found out she was lying during that time and I couldn't trust her. She has been supportive and is willing to do anything for recovery. I have been dealing with all the painful memories of that time and wondering if anyone has experienced the same from being in withdraw for so long.



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Broken2009,

Dr. Harley has always said he fully supports a betrayed spouse seeking a divorce after infidelity. But if a person decides to stay, the only really viable way to stay is to "Recover" the marriage, meaning the marriage has to be better than it ever was before the affair. This is really a necessity, because otherwise staying isn't much worth it for the betrayed spouse. But for the marriage to recover means both spouses have to fully onboard at some point. There is usually a reluctant spouse but the reluctance can be eventually overcome.

To have been in withdrawal for ten years had to been extremely hard on not only you but also on your wife. It's really tough to do Plan A year after year with a reluctant spouse. Dr. Harley often recommends separation when this occurs, because the withdrawal is pretty destructive to the love bank. What made you decide to stay married?

Have you considered emailing Dr. Harley for his advice?

"Email your questions to Joyce Harley at mbradio@marriagebuilders.com. When your email question is chosen to be answered on the radio show, you will be notified by email directing you to listen to the broadcast. If you would like to consider being a caller, include your telephone number. You will receive a call to explain the procedure."


Married 1980
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I don't know whether you saw my reply when you posted on your wife's thread in December. Could you let me know what you think of my suggestion of the online course, and of everyone's suggestion that you both write to Dr Harley?

Originally Posted by SugarCane
Something seems to have happened to the forum since the traffic reduced. It's my opinion that we are getting more and more very hard cases, where one spouse has been doing their best for years, and the other isn't responding.

Certainly my constant refrain these days is for posters to write to Dr Harley. I think that several posters here, including you and your husband, have problems that need Dr Harley's skill. They are definitely beyond any skill that I've ever had.

From what I can see, your marriage consists of two people who both want to use Dr Harley's help, but can't do it by themselves. For me, that screams out "online coaching". This is the year-long course where you complete weekly exercises, overseen by Dr Harley. It's quite expensive, at about $1000 for the course - but with two willing spouses, the results are priceless.

If you can't stretch to that, write to Dr Harley at the radio show. See whether you can both go on the show. Dr Harley will email with you to answer any follow-up questions for as long as you like, but in my view, the online coaching would work wonders for you.


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I decided to stay married because I never stopped loving her. Even when I left and tried to stop loving her. She never gave up and that drew me back to her. But I kept her at arms length because I was afraid to open up like I did during the 4 months she trickle truthed me. We had mastered being able to go from withdrawal to intimacy right back to withdrawal. Which was pretty much our entire marriage pre-a. Usually when we would reach conflict we would go right back to withdrawal.

Since we have been o&h with each other the last couple months, she said she was content with having a part of me instead of nothing at all. So we have been just been more like roommates the last 10 years.

I have a lot of guilt now from reading back over her thread the past couple weeks and seeing the opportunity I missed all those years ago to recover with her. That by the time I came back she was exhausted and didn't want to push MB on me.

I did email Joyce this morning and have to give her a call on Wednesday for some follow up questions. Money is tight right now so we are working thru the HNHN book ourselves. She is well versed in it as she had done a lot of studying and posting back between 2010 to 2013.



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You will probably get some great guidance from the Harleys. I'm glad to know you have a call lined up.

It's great you two are reading HNHN on your own. Are love busters a problem at all for you or your wife?


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Originally Posted by LongWayFromHome
Are love busters a problem at all for you or your wife?

Not now since we have started HNHN. Prior to that there was a lot of DJ, D, and IB over the years. We are also spending between 20-30 hrs of UA time together.



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Originally Posted by broken2009
Originally Posted by LongWayFromHome
Are love busters a problem at all for you or your wife?

Not now since we have started HNHN. Prior to that there was a lot of DJ, D, and IB over the years. We are also spending between 20-30 hrs of UA time together.

That's great! Now that you know what the love busters are, you are both avoiding them. Is your UA time spent together doing fun things and enjoying the intimate emotional needs? Are you able to leave your house for many of the hours?

One of things I've heard Dr. Harley say about recovery after an affair is that it's very difficult to allow oneself to become vulnerable again. Betrayed spouses understandably want to protect themselves from any more pain and it's easy to get into a habit of pulling away emotionally; however, being vulnerable is foundational to being in love.


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We are spending our time meeting the EN of A, SF, IC and RC. We get out of the house for RC and go for walks together and sometimes mix IC in with that. We also have IC daily with no distractions, except for the cats sometimes. A is very high on WPG's list so I do all I can to show that to her. Even when it is hard sometimes because I'm in pain, it helps me somewhat too. SF has never been an issue, just the frequency for her. We are very good together, always have been. It's just my withdraw would lower my desire and she would view that as I didn't find her attractive and desirable. Which was not the case and I have told her that. It was me.

I am afraid to be vulnerable, afraid to open up and give her all of me like I did during that 4 months of trickle truth between the EA and PA revelation. I withdrew and stayed that way since Jan 2010. I tried to stop loving her but she never gave up, and even when I left those times in the first 3 years I couldn't stop loving her. Even though I wasn't the wayward, she plan-A'd her tail off and brought me back. But she was so exhausted and afraid to push MB on me when I finally came back that we just fell back into our pre-a marriage. And I would go from withdraw to intimacy back to withdraw the last 10 years.



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I just listened to yesterday's radio show where the Harleys discussed your questions.

Basically, you are emotionally divorced from your wife which is a painful place to be for both of you. You didn't divorce, but you also didn't solve the problems, so you are living in an emotionless marriage. Dr. Harley stated that going to a counselor can helpful but not necessarily when the problems of the past are dredged up and relived through the retelling. "Trying to seek resolution is a waste of time."

The trickle truth was a death by a thousand cuts; it would have been so much better to have heard the whole truth all at once and then made your decision whether to stay or go at that time. The Harleys had some discussion about whether it was a good idea to get the full truth of the affair now. Dr.Harley thought it best to leave it all in the past and move on either by divorcing or by recovering the marriage. Mrs. Harley thought that getting the truth now, putting a time limit on the discussion, would be best. They came to agreement that, if your wife agrees, you could schedule a time to ask your questions and she would answer them truthfully. Then you would never bring it up again.

What were those triggers? Were they anything your wife could possibly stop doing - as in a habit or mannerism?

Now, I have to say, because I've experienced this in my own marriage, that once you get the truth and you decide to stay and rebuild the marriage, you never forget the affair. But it makes a big difference to never bring it up again. I did used to, because I was so angry and devastated by it, but once the marriage is better than it ever was and you and your wife are meeting each other's needs and using extraordinary precautions to create a very safe marriage, you will be able to live in a real marriage again.


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Over the past couple months that we have been working thru the HNHN book we came to realize that we had emotionally detached from each other. I was pretty much in withdrawal along with her. We would occasionally meet enough needs to reach intimacy but just retreat back to withdrawal pretty quickly because we didn't sustain it. Usually when we each got to conflict we would retreat back to withdrawal. We have taken the EN questionnaire and identified them and are working to meet those along with UA time and avoiding LB's.

For me the trickle truth was worse than actually discovering the A had gone physical. Having to provide proof each time to get the truth. And for the next few months I still had to press for the truth. For me it was about the details, when and where. I began to withdrawal more and more because I couldn't believe anything anymore. She finally took a poly but by then I had withdrawn so far and deep that I couldn't even trust my own perception of what was true. The pain and doubts consumed me.

There are still a lot of triggers, I recovered so much information in the form of texts, chats and emails. There are words, phrases, clothing and places. I don't even really listen to the radio anymore because of a comment. She knows some but not all, but the ones she does she has always tried to avoid them.



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Man, I am so sorry for what you two have suffered for the past 10+ years.

But, that YOU are HERE... the questions you are asking, where your thought processes are heading?

I have seen nothing more predictive of successful recovery than a husband that is motivated to recover.

I would certainly heed Dr. Harley's advice about counselors/therapists and trying to "resolve past issues." That is just going to be wheels spinning in the mud. A good use of therapy is working on your behavioral skills in the present. You need to overwrite traumatic body responses by breaking behavioral chains.

I don't mean chains like restraints, I mean chains like Thought A leads to feeling B which leads to behavior C.

When you find yourself having a trigger and it's associated feeling, accept that feeling, and then choose a behavior which is counter-intuitive to it.

For instance, you have a triggering thought, hug and hold your wife. You start feeling withdrawn, plan some sort of RC and get to it.

This can be summarized with a short mantra "Do that thing you don't feel like doing."

You might also ask yourself if depression has been a contributing factor. If so, get in to your PCP and discuss a short jaunt of Buproprion (Welbutrin), and see if he would run your hormone levels to check thyroid and testosterone.

I got on to TRT a few years back, and it has certainly made huge improvements for my mood.


"An expert is a person who has made all the mistakes that can be made in a very narrow field." - Niels Bohr

"Smart people believe weird things because they are skilled at defending beliefs they arrived at for non-smart reasons." - Michael Shermer

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HHH, I wish I had been able to see what WPG was willing to do all those years ago to recover our M. But I had withdrawn so much that I didn't. A few months ago I read back thru my original thread and WPG massive thread. Only to realize what a fool I was not to see all the effort and lengths she was willing to go to help us heal. And how everyone including you who posted to me were trying to encourage me to get in there and fight with her. I have been dealing with a lot of guilt lately over what I missed all those years ago and only have myself to blame. I withdrew because I was afraid and I didn't want to get hurt like that again. And when we came back together finally in 2013 I was still afraid, but she was so exhausted emotionally and afraid to push me, that we just feel into our pre-a marriage and stayed that way until now.

I only started therapy because of all the hurt and pain that I started to experience once I opened up to WPG a couple months ago. But after hearing Dr. H's advice I can see how having it in the present is keeping that pain fresh and on the surface.

Thank you for the advice on triggers, I will try that.

I do have a appointment with my Dr. tomorrow and due to my therapist not being able to prescribe meds I had made the appointment with the intention to get something to help with the depression, anxiety and panic attacks that I have been having. Thanks for the advice on the TRT, I will bring that up also tomorrow.



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Quote
The Harleys had some discussion about whether it was a good idea to get the full truth of the affair now. Dr.Harley thought it best to leave it all in the past and move on either by divorcing or by recovering the marriage. Mrs. Harley thought that getting the truth now, putting a time limit on the discussion, would be best. They came to agreement that, if your wife agrees, you could schedule a time to ask your questions and she would answer them truthfully. Then you would never bring it up again.

What do you think of Dr. Harley's advice here?


Markos' Wife
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What to do with an Angry Husband

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When markos and I went to the Marriage Builders Weekend in 2010, we met Steve, Dr. Harley's son. Markos expressed regret for not following the Marriage Builders program in all the years we had known about it. Steve cut him off and told him to not second guess the decisions made in the past.

The important thing is to focus on the now. You made the decision to not follow MB in the past -- but you can follow it now. Do you want to?


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Originally Posted by Prisca
Quote
The Harleys had some discussion about whether it was a good idea to get the full truth of the affair now. Dr.Harley thought it best to leave it all in the past and move on either by divorcing or by recovering the marriage. Mrs. Harley thought that getting the truth now, putting a time limit on the discussion, would be best. They came to agreement that, if your wife agrees, you could schedule a time to ask your questions and she would answer them truthfully. Then you would never bring it up again.

What do you think of Dr. Harley's advice here?

I believe his advice is spot on and WPG agrees. Recovery is what we both want.

Originally Posted by Prisca
When markos and I went to the Marriage Builders Weekend in 2010, we met Steve, Dr. Harley's son. Markos expressed regret for not following the Marriage Builders program in all the years we had known about it. Steve cut him off and told him to not second guess the decisions made in the past.

The important thing is to focus on the now. You made the decision to not follow MB in the past -- but you can follow it now. Do you want to?

Yes I have committed to this. We are working thru HNHN and spending UA time together. I know WPG biggest fear is that it won't last. That I will end up back in withdrawal again as she has told me. So I have to be consistent with my actions each day to gain her trust back that I will not retreat back behind that wall. That is what I am committed too.



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Sending a ping into the ether here.

Broken - how you doing?


"An expert is a person who has made all the mistakes that can be made in a very narrow field." - Niels Bohr

"Smart people believe weird things because they are skilled at defending beliefs they arrived at for non-smart reasons." - Michael Shermer

"Fair speech may hide a foul heart." - Samwise Gamgee LOTR
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It's been a roller coaster. We are spending UA time together everyday. Reading a chapter of HNHN every week. Just started over a month ago Saturday date nights where we alternate weeks and each chooses something we would like to do. It has been a lot of fun. We are also working on organizing and cleaning out area's of the house on Sunday's.



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Hi Broken,

Wonderful to hear that Wulfpackgirl and you are getting close and rekindling your love. We all remember Wulfpackgirl‘s story. To develop and renew the relationship with the one you love is totally worth it.
Everyone is not the same and people differ in their reactions. Personally, I have always been extremely upset at the thought that my husband would have ever loved someone else (mind you, before my time). It always seemed impossible to me that this would stop bothering me, but because our love has deepened over time it became truly insignificant. Certainly, that will happen for you as well as you leave it in the past and bad things become faded details, that don‘t have significance and have no power over your life.

You mention being depressed and having panic attacks. Medication is but a crutch. In the long run, an extremely effective remedy against panic attacks and depression, is regular exercise (remember: you should become red, out of breath and sweaty, otherwise it is not exercise). This is also an activity, that can cause you to fall in love with an exercise partner, because of the added physical state of adrenaline.
Maybe something you and Wolfpackgirl can incorporate?

P.S.
I sure hope that you will change your screen name to „in the mend“, „healing“ or „better than ever“ or so, because the name is a bit depressing :-).

Happyheart, MD

Last edited by happyheart; 03/10/22 09:42 PM.

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Fantastic, brother!

When they aren't stressful, those home projects are great! The shared sense of accomplishment, and enjoying the results together really does help make some deposits.

Keep digging and amping up that UA time. Even now things will go sideways if we slack on it. We regularly bail out of town for 2 or 3 days together away from everything as UA/LB$ injections. Next week we are going to a resort that has live music all day for St. Patty's day, and then are going hiking in the mountains.

As with all things in life, the things that you will be most successful at are the things you put the most concerted effort into.

Reclaim your swagger, man.


"An expert is a person who has made all the mistakes that can be made in a very narrow field." - Niels Bohr

"Smart people believe weird things because they are skilled at defending beliefs they arrived at for non-smart reasons." - Michael Shermer

"Fair speech may hide a foul heart." - Samwise Gamgee LOTR

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