I’m not sure how much information I have to offer. I tried reconciliation the first go round. I actually thought we had achieved that. Apparently I was mistaken.
Choosing to reconcile or to divorce is a very personal decision. I don’t attempt to sway anyone in either direction, but I will try to offer some helpful tips on what not to do if you’d like it to be successful (and even these things might not be enough).
- Don’t let the cheater give you a list of things to do so that you may improve. I think that’s probably my biggest tip. I made it too easy on my cheater, my little shit eating chimp. Way too easy. He felt no shame in asking for various changes on my part. He felt quite comfortable telling me how he wanted me to text him all the time- like she did. Send me pictures- like she did. Come sit outside and watch me as I mow the lawn. Maybe bring me something cool to drink- like she said she would. Come sit beside me. Just touch me when you pass me by. Text me just to say hi- like she did. Did I have a list for him? Of course not! I was just so thankful to get another chance at making my marriage work it never occurred to me to give him his own list. I’m sure that if I had given him a list I would have heard the same thing I always did: That’s just the way I am. Having been through this already I can tell you that you shouldn’t be the one doing all the work. The cheater is the one who should be winning you back, not the other way around. Don’t fall into that trap. If the cheater is trying to get you to win him/her back, giving you a list of things to improve so that he/she is not tempted to cheat again, or trying to convince you that this is all your fault while conveniently refusing to take responsibility for any of this mess then chances are this is not going to be a successful reconciliation.
- Don’t let go of your anger too soon. That’s another one of those things I did. Again, you want so badly for everything to go back to the way it was. Everyone tells you to get over it or to not be bitter. Everyone wants to preach about forgiveness. Let me tell you- I can hold a grudge like no one’s business. I’m good at it. But hating someone takes absolutely no time or effort on my part whatsoever. I’ve always said that if holding a grudge takes a lot out of you then you’re not doing it right. My philosophy for long term grudges is this: I wouldn’t piss on you if you were on fire. But then again I’m not going to seek you out to see if you are on fire, nor am I going to try to burn you alive. The popular opinion seems to be you should forgive someone who has wronged you for your own benefit. Screw that! Jesus might forgive Cousinfucker and Harley but I sure as hell don’t have to! They can kiss my ass. And here’s the thing. If your cheater really loves you and wants to make things right with you then he or she will take your anger. They will realize they deserve your anger and will rightfully ride out the storm instead of whining about how mean you are and how sad they are feeling because you won’t let them off the hook.
- Don’t let the cheater tell you to “focus on the future” or try to make you feel guilty if you are still angry or get triggered by things. Focusing on the future just meant my shit eating chimp didn’t have to face his shitty behavior. Let’s not focus on the fact that I lied and cheated and deceived; let’s focus on the future. How well do you think that would go over if I took his whole pay check and spent it on a Disney cruise? “Baby, let’s not dwell on the fact that we don’t have money to pay the mortgage or the utilities; let’s focus on the future! We’re going to have so much fun on that cruise!” Cheaters want to change the narrative. Don’t let them. Let them know you need to fix the problems from the past before you start focusing on the future.
- Don’t operate from a position of fear. I know it’s scary. I know change is hard. I know no one gets married thinking, “Wow, I’d really like to be married for about 20 years and then get a divorce and start my life completely over.” Unfortunately you’re going to have to confront all of this shit head on. You cannot operate from a position of fear. You need to feel like you are in charge. If your cheater insists he or she is in charge then you should probably dump their ass and move on.
- Don’t let them get away with not sticking up for you. Another big one that I was guilty of. I believe I’ve said before that Cousinfucker never stuck up for me. I told him almost immediately that it was very painful to watch as people in his family continued to fawn over that white trash whore. His response was that he couldn’t control them; they were adults. His mom would act confused about why we were no longer close and his reaction was to act equally bewildered. What he should have done was confronted the issue. Hell, the first time any of them liked Harley’s pictures or complimented her after they learned of his affair he should have put his foot down. Fuck this idea that they are grown people and he can’t control them! It’s not about controlling them, CF. It’s about sticking up for your wife and letting them know that if they are going to continue to have a relationship with your whore that you will no longer be able to have a relationship with them. If your cheater can’t put you first then you are doomed.
- Don’t believe in coincidences. The list I have is fairly long. The first time around it was solely the fact that once he returned from a visit to find her picture put up all over the house I was mysteriously blocked on Facebook. Naturally he knew nothing about that. That was all between her and I. This time around there was the refusal to take either of the kids the first time he was going to “visit his mom”. I have no idea if he was truly going to visit her, or if this was going to be the first time he went to see Harley, but either way he didn’t want the kids to accompany him. There was also Harley liking his mom’s post about having a handsome son (one of those annoying “Share if you Agree” posts), liking her post when she asked for prayers for him, liking his picture on his sister’s page, and suddenly developing a desire to advocate for vets with PTSD. Finally there was his staunch refusal to take our daughter to a funeral with him and the fact he was sleeping with his phone. All huge red flags. And all things I refused to see as such. Don’t dismiss those red flags as coincidences!
- Don’t be afraid to confront the cheater. That was a biggie for me. I didn’t want to rock the boat. I didn’t want to bring things up again. I should have. I should have questioned and raged and made his life a living hell.
- If you have a list of things your cheater needs to do in order to stay married to you stick to it! This is another area where I went wrong. My list was fairly small and straight forward: Get rid of the whore/maintain no contact, give me the passwords to all electronic communication, get the passcode off your phone, attend marital counseling, let me know if she ever makes contact with you, stop discussing our marital problems with your sister. I also let him know that this was not going to be an overnight thing; it would take time to rebuild. Yeah, right. See #2 and #3. The big baby was frustrated within a month after DDay if I asked questions or had a bad day. Bad sign! That meant he wasn’t willing to do the work. Get rid of the whore/maintain no contact? Hmmmm….. he was supposed to send a text letting her know it was over. Instead he called her. I didn’t want a phone call; I can’t *see* a phone call. Instead, what he sent as proof that is was over was her text to him, telling him how she couldn’t do this anymore. It just wasn’t right; it was killing her to hurt her husband and children. She begged him not to call or contact her ever again. And my little shit eating chimp replied that her husband was right to tell me what was going on and gosh darn it he was going to be the father and husband and man he needed to be! It was disgusting. I never once got the satisfaction of actually seeing in black and white the words: We’re done. I choose my wife. Get out of my life. Nope, I got to read about honor and duty and sacrifice. Let me tell you- that really warms a girl’s heart and doesn’t leave you feeling insecure at all! As for no contact or telling me if she ever makes contact again… yeah, we all know that didn’t happen or this blog wouldn’t exist. He did give me the passwords and got rid of the passcode on his phone, even offered to put my thumb print in on his phone when his company supposedly ordered them all to password protect their phones. But then he began sleeping with his phone. Plus he had already deleted Facebook when I tried to download the archive history. Said Facebook made him feel bad about himself but I figure he was just afraid I would find something he didn’t want me finding. Marital counseling was a joke. He went but didn’t really participate and as I believe I mentioned before he was expecting it to be all about “focusing on the future”. And finally he went all passive aggressive with the whole “do not discuss our marital problems with your sister who encouraged your affair”. That obviously meant I didn’t want him to have a relationship with her so he was just going to cut her off altogether. Except he didn’t because then how could he moan and whine to her about how I hated him? Not only did he break our agreement he flat out lied about what was going on. Double betrayal.
- Don’t accept being second best. Don’t accept your cheater putting the whore’s feelings, comfort and safety above your own. If she’s still his main concern you and your marriage are in trouble. When I look back now I’m appalled at how much I put up with. As I said above about the text… Her with her: Oh, Cousinfucker, I just can’t do this anymore. It isn’t right. I can’t stand hurting my kids, hurting the one man who has stood by my side through good and bad. We just can’t break up two families who have done nothing wrong. Let’s just walk away. Go home and repair the damage. Please, I’m begging you, don’t contact me- don’t call or text. I’m deactivating FB. And him with his: You are so right! We can’t do this to our families. I’m going to do my best to be a better husband, a better father, a better man. Don’t contact me either. PUKE! This came on the heels of our conversation where I asked him point blank if she was worth losing his wife and kids and he replied that he knew he didn’t want to lose his kids. He was actually very honest about the fact that he told her from the very beginning that he would never leave his kids. Apparently, he has rethought that, or maybe having them 20+ hours away wasn’t acceptable but being 6-8 hours away is ok. I digress. For all I know he had no intentions of ending it with her. Maybe he called her and told her, “Hey, baby, the coast is clear! My wife knows so now we can be together!” Maybe she then realized it wasn’t going to be that simple. Maybe he really did think he couldn’t liquidate his assets and move on out with her. I don’t know. What I do know is that none of that was what I wanted. I wanted to hear him tell me he was sorry. I wanted to hear that I was the one. It wasn’t until after I told him that I deserved to be happy, too, (this was still before the lame ass texts he showed me) that he finally realized he might lose me and that he might need to up his game. I will say that in our many conversations he did tell me that I was the one he wanted; she was a mistake, a midlife crisis, a cliche. But those first two things that occurred? Those colored my entire so-called “recovery”. I always wondered if I was the second choice. I think that if you really are going to reconcile that there should be no doubt that you are the FIRST choice, the ONLY choice. A few days after DDay I told him I wrote back to her husband, letting him know that CF had deleted all the naked pictures his wife had sent to mine. CF was crying I believe and begged me to leave her alone and just concentrate on us and our family. “Let them heal and deal with all of their stuff, while we do the same!” Oh, boo hoo. I remember hissing at him, “Do not beg for mercy for your whore!” Again, lots of concern for the whore. Not quite so much concern for the wife. That is a no-no. I don’t want to portray it as though he never tried to prove I was the one he wanted. We went out on dates. We spent a weekend away. He told me how much he loved me and did at times say Harley was a huge mistake and she wasn’t the one he wanted; she was simply a cheap substitute for me. In the end, though, those things he said in the beginning wouldn’t go away. They always left me insecure. His talk of happiness was always a huge trigger for me as well because he admitted that he had told his sister that Harley made him happy. I felt like she could do something I couldn’t no matter how much I had tried for years and years. Maybe if we had talked about these issues a little bit more instead of trying to bury them and “focus on the future” something good could have come out of it. But that’s not what happened. Don’t do what I did! Don’t accept being second best.
- Don’t accept this idea that your spouse needs to grieve the loss of their co-cheater. This is not something that I personally dealt with much but I think it’s important. About a month after DDay Cousinfucker was visiting his mom (by himself, of course) and I was questioning him. I asked if he missed Harley and he admitted that he did sometimes; however, he went on to say that he didn’t think it was her that he missed so much as it was what she represented and the fact that she filled him in on things that were happening with that side of the family. Yet another unacceptable answer. It should have been: Of course not! She was a huge mistake and almost cost me my marriage. I don’t even think about her anymore. At the time I was busy reading reconciliation websites and blogs; common wisdom seems to be that this is natural, that your cheater has had an intense relationship with this person. I’ve read blogs by cheating men where they are lamenting the loss of their whore. I’ve read them by women justifying their affairs with their man-whores. They seem to always think that by saying they were in love that excuses their treacherous behavior. I’m not speaking of it excusing the affair. They seem to think their “love” excuses the continued wistful thinking of the co-cheater. It doesn’t. The last thing any betrayed wife wants to hear is how her husband truly loved the woman he was fucking behind her back, and because of that, please be patient with the poor guy because he’s really really sad. For any men that may be reading this please substitute the correct nouns and pronouns. Yeah, if your spouse is still grieving the whore things are not looking good. It’s not natural. If you feel guilty about what you’ve done you don’t have time to miss the person who is inducing that guilt. You are far too busy trying to make up for your misdeeds
- DON’T MOVE ACROSS THE COUNTRY SO THAT YOU’RE CLOSER TO THE WHORE! That’s a biggie! If the cheater is suggesting a move further away from the whore- you may possibly be safe. But don’t agree to a move that will put you closer to the whore. That was my big mistake. I was way too confident and trusted my shit eating chimp way too soon. He wasn’t worthy of all that trust.
I’m sure there are undoubtedly more things that should appear on this list but this is all I’ve got for you today. There are many things I wish I could have done differently but this list highlights the main things I would have changed. I needed the anger. I should have confronted him, questioned all those coincidences, and made him stick up for me. I suppose that would have entailed being very explicit with what I needed him to do. I should NEVER have allowed him to railroad me into dancing for him. He should have been dancing for me. And it goes without saying that moving across the country closer to Harley was an undeniably stupid move. But you know what? Even that I won’t allow the blame to be placed on me. I was a good wife. I trusted him. I put his feelings and his wants and desires ahead of mine all the time. You are SUPPOSED to trust your spouse. It is NOT my fault that he wasn’t worthy of my trust. Or me.