- you are all correct. I cannot spend my whole life looking over my and his shoulder. It isn't in my nature; neither is it what I want my marriage to be. I had a very fruitful IC session since my last post which gave me a lot of clarity. Herewith some secondhand therapy + other updates:
#1. I had been thinking about my future in a very binary way. My choices were either divorce or a full commitment to my marriage with no future possible exit/reassessment. My therapist challenged me on this - actually, I don't yet know whether I will be able to get over the hurt my husband has caused me. I don't yet know whether, with the best will in the world and him doing everything he could possibly be asked to do to regain it, I can ever trust him again. I also believe that trust is an integral part of marriage. So a third choice is to just see whether we can reach a place of forgiveness and trust that would enable us to grow a healthy marriage going forward. It still requires a full commitment on my part (and obviously his) to trying, but it doesn't presuppose/pre-assume that all is forgiven and that things will work out in the end. Which is, I guess, actually just real life.
#2. The measures that I spoke of in my last post - these are currently ongoing. They are a product of my response to my husband's recent behaviour and choices. If I still need them to be in place in 5 or 10 years, then clearly I haven’t been able to trust him as I should have. I settled on the analogy of these measures being a trellis/support post over which our marriage can grow. They are necessary now, not because I actually think there is even the vaguest chance that he is currently having an affair, but because they represent a commitment to redeveloping my trust in him (on my part) and earning back trust (on his).
- I think I spoke earlier of the significant difference in my husband's mental state compared with that following my first DDay. He has been in IC now for some weeks, addressing why he had the affair and how he convinced himself that what he did was OK at the time. Several things have surfaced that reassure me that he is not just going through the motions. We've been more honest with each other in the past few weeks than ever before in our marriage - frankly, it sometimes sucks. Is it weird that this can be in a good way? I am in no doubt that, if it is possible to understand and control this part of himself, he wants this and will try with everything he has to do so.
#4. My mental state - I won't deny that we are currently in circumstances that make it difficult for me adjust to the concept of divorce/separation. They are numerous and life-impinging. But I dispute (with great vigour) that I am unable to imagine a life without him and don't have the strength to live it if necessary. (Although, as he is the father of my children, I would never actually be entirely free of him, anyway.)
Recently I challenged him with the fact that he hadn't actually chosen me over the OW; but rather that the path to her (two divorces, four children in broken marriages, considerable judgement from his family, a lot of financial and administrative mess, reputational damage) was actually just too much effort. He asked me if I thought that the path that he was currently on (IC; confronting this very weak and immoral part of himself; addressing all my questions about the affair, over and over again; dealing with my parents knowing about the affair, the polygraph, the intense electronic surveillance; starting to change the way that we interacted in the past (with him conflict-averse, at best passive-aggressive) to something a lot more functional) had been easy for him. He was quick to assure me that he would do all this all over again and anything more I asked; so this wasn't resentment. Just him wanting me to know that he was trying. Really, really hard.
So no, it isn't that I can't imagine life without him, but more that I just can't imagine walking away as long as he is genuinely remorseful and willing to try to do everything he can to ensure a reconciliation. For the first time, we're both openly acknowledging that this doesn't guarantee that we'll still be married in 5 or 10 years time; but it has a far greater hope of it than just rug sweeping, closing our eyes tightly and hoping for the best (which I can say, based on personal experience, is not a good way to go).