Renewing wedding vows after infidelity
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Coping with Infidelity Relationship recovery from the destructiveness of infidelity.

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Old 09-20-2009, 10:57 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Renewing wedding vows after infidelity

Do you believe this is a must or is it just silly? I need your advice.

I feel as lost today as I did a year ago. Tonight I realized that I hadn't worn my wedding ring in nearly a month. I took it off for a volleyball game but never made an effort to put it back on so I started to wonder about that. Then it hit me, he never asked me to renew our vows. He broke our original ones ... the ring is meaningless. What does it symbolize? I broke down and cried today when a song from our wedding played on my ipod, thinking those were the innocent days when he loved me..interesting thought "loved". Yet I know he does love me, I just don't think its the same though. Its hard to explain but that guy I married would never have cheated on me, he changed or his feelings changed...

My way of thinking is that since he broke our vows they are meaningless unless he recommits. He doesn't not, nor never did wear a wedding ring (he said due to occupation, I always accepted that as he cannot wear one on a daily basis, but now I don't accept that I think he's not wanted to wear one).

So even though he says he loves me, is very sorry for what he did and promises to never do it again...I just still wonder why he didn't do something like this. Does that thought just not occur to him? The A was discovered in Aug of 2008, and our 15th wedding anniversary was in Oct, but he didn't even buy a card or plan anything. Its coming up again but I have zero expectations now. His A was not just some casual trist it was as bad as they get! At one point even taking my 4 yr old son out with the OW and having him lie to me about it! Lots to forgive..

Renewing our wedding vows is very important to me. If you were me, would you bring it up? Reason I didn't is because I think that he would do it if I asked but only because I wanted it but he might think it was dumb. If he did it just to please me, then its meaningless. Not sure what to do...
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Old 09-20-2009, 11:24 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Renewing wedding vows after infidelity

It probably hasn't crossed his mind. That he broke his vows to him probably means that he stumbled, but not that they're not in force now.

So, if you think renewal is important and you want this, I'd just bring it up well PRIOR to your anniversary.

My husband and I both wear rings. We discussed it before marriage and if he hadn't wanted to wear a ring, I probably wouldn't have married him. When I first met him years ago, he was married to his ex- but wasn't wearing a ring. It wasn't until years later when we were both single that I asked him about it. He took the ring off years before she left him. I mean, what kind of message does that send? Sheesh. So I know, if that ring is off, look out!

And you could ask your husband to wear a ring now. I don't know what his profession is so I can't comment about that. But some professions where having a ring could lose you a finger well, it makes sense to take your ring off, but not to never wear a ring because of it.

I wonder about the ring thing and about your belief that he might think renewing vows is dumb -- does he regularly fail to share his true feelings about things with you? If so, have you reflected on why that might be?
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Old 09-21-2009, 12:23 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Renewing wedding vows after infidelity

Hon, I've read a lot of your story, and I'm pretty sure you know what i've gone thru. Please don't take this the wrong way, but at least AT THIS POINT, even if you renewed your vows, I don't know that it would solve your issues. In order to move forward you HAVE to come to terms with what happened, and you have to let it go. You're not letting it go, and you stay trapped in the emotional cycle of the feelings you felt when the affair was discovered. You not wearing your ring, and not even realizing it, seems like a big red flag. You're not really committed...you are holding such a big part of yourself closed....looking for signs that he is slipping, or he's not as into it as he should be. Looking for that final straw that will end it all.
I don't view my vows as meaningless at all, and I do NOT think that they were broken beyond repair by his affair. My vows said, in good and in bad...and thats what we've been thru. And you know what? Since I made a CHOICE to let the anger, pain, repulsion, and bitterness go...since I made a CHOICE to stay with the man I love, I CHOOSE every day to live in the moment, because the moments that have passed, are toxic and I cannot change them. We live today,and look forward to tomorrow, and WOW..our lives are amazing. Yes, the love between us has changed, it's weathered now...the shine of the "new" is gone, but its been replaced with a luster that can only come from ups and downs and hard work. I don't WANT him to love me as he used to, nor do I want to love him as I used to. You can't go back. You look back so much, and you are stuck in the cycle of pain, fear and anger. I've said it before and I will say it again. IF you have chosen to stay with him and chosen to work thru this, then you HAVE to let it go. if not, you will be in this exact spot a year from now, or two, or five.

We are renewing our vows next year, but not because either of us feel that the originial are meaningless. We did a JOP before, and this time, we want a VERY small ceremony, where our sons will give me away, and the few loved ones who stuck by us thru the chaos will be present. It's not a new beginning, its just a reaffirmation of our commitment, which is even stronger than before his affairs. It's a celebration of our life and our love.
You can talk to him about your desire for the renewal, but I honestly feel like you're looking at it to fix what you see as broken, and i'm just afraid that if you go thru the renewal without coming to terms with your OWN demons, you're going to feel let down again. You've got to look inside you and find out what is making you hang onto the feelings you have, and you've got to come to terms with them and LET THEM GO. Make it something symbolic if you need to...write out all of your feelings...things you would NEVER tell him or anyone else....the things that hurt to admit even to yourself. Pour it all out on paper until you are just...drained. And then, take those sheets of paper, and go outside somewhere safe and private...and burn them. If you can get past all the stuff that is draining you, and focus on the REST of your lives, a vow renewal would be a beautful thing for BOTH of you, and I don't think he would view it as silly.....
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Old 09-21-2009, 03:58 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Renewing wedding vows after infidelity

"Since I made a CHOICE to let the anger, pain, repulsion, and bitterness go...since I made a CHOICE to stay with the man I love, I CHOOSE every day to live in the moment, because the moments that have passed, are toxic and I cannot change them. "

How? How do you do it?

"You've got to look inside you and find out what is making you hang onto the feelings you have, and you've got to come to terms with them and LET THEM GO."

What are reasons to hold onto the feelings? Stuff like, "If I forgive this he'll just think he can do it again?"

What were your reasons for holding on, MB, and how did you learn to let them go? Simply recognizing that holding on is toxic surely isn't enough for most people. Any suggestions?
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Old 09-22-2009, 10:19 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Renewing wedding vows after infidelity

Dobo, I am glad to know that you have "let things go," as that is undoubtedly the best approach. I admire your ability to do so, as I am trying, but have not yet gotten there. I know that I should, but at times, there are "triggers" that cause major relapses. I wish that were not the case, but as I said, I AM trying. I hope to be where you are, soon, as I realize I am only destroying myself. BTW, I enjoy reading your posts!
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Old 09-22-2009, 10:45 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Renewing wedding vows after infidelity

Foolz, you mean Mommybean. She's the amazing one here.
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Old 09-22-2009, 11:00 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Renewing wedding vows after infidelity

Dobo, you are right about Mommybean as she is awesome, but I think you both give great advice. I have read many great posts from the both of you.
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Old 09-22-2009, 11:03 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Renewing wedding vows after infidelity

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Since I made a CHOICE to let the anger, pain, repulsion, and bitterness go...since I made a CHOICE to stay with the man I love, I CHOOSE every day to live in the moment, because the moments that have passed, are toxic and I cannot change them. We live today,and look forward to tomorrow, and WOW..our lives are amazing. Yes, the love between us has changed, it's weathered now...the shine of the "new" is gone, but its been replaced with a luster that can only come from ups and downs and hard work. I don't WANT him to love me as he used to, nor do I want to love him as I used to. You can't go back. You look back so much, and you are stuck in the cycle of pain, fear and anger. I've said it before and I will say it again. IF you have chosen to stay with him and chosen to work thru this, then you HAVE to let it go. if not, you will be in this exact spot a year from now, or two, or five.

..
wow, very well said, mommybean!

We also renewed our vows on our 20th but that isn't what makes the marriage we have now , the amazing thing that it is...

It is the concious CHOOSING every day.... the LIVING in the moment of every day... (I just wish I could say that I always live in the moment!)
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Old 09-22-2009, 04:44 PM   #9 (permalink)
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It probably hasn't crossed his mind. That he broke his vows to him probably means that he stumbled, but not that they're not in force now.

So, if you think renewal is important and you want this, I'd just bring it up well PRIOR to your anniversary.

My husband and I both wear rings. We discussed it before marriage and if he hadn't wanted to wear a ring, I probably wouldn't have married him. When I first met him years ago, he was married to his ex- but wasn't wearing a ring. It wasn't until years later when we were both single that I asked him about it. He took the ring off years before she left him. I mean, what kind of message does that send? Sheesh. So I know, if that ring is off, look out!

And you could ask your husband to wear a ring now. I don't know what his profession is so I can't comment about that. But some professions where having a ring could lose you a finger well, it makes sense to take your ring off, but not to never wear a ring because of it.

I wonder about the ring thing and about your belief that he might think renewing vows is dumb -- does he regularly fail to share his true feelings about things with you? If so, have you reflected on why that might be?
To answer your last question about failing to shar his true feelings YES! He is an avoider. I knew it when I married him. He avoids confrontation, thus he is (so it seems) easy to get along with. I feel...let's talk about it, resolve it, be done with it. Opposites. It has been an issue in his life and its probably the major reason for our marriage being where it is. I feel he's 100% to blame for his A. I also feel that his discontent at the time, is both of our responsibilities. But does not excuse what he did, nor does he try to say that.

We started marriage counseling...should have stayed in..and the counselor told him he has to stop avoiding. He intentionally led me to believe our marriage was great, when it was not. So this blindsided me completely. He says he realizes now when things started to go wrong he should have talked to me and we'd work through them. He HATES to talk about feelings. Doesn't love it now but realizes the damage of not doing so. He knows that we cannot get through this without me being able to talk, him support and him being open and honest.

That didn't open the floodgates, he intentionally held back information and lied to me after I discovered the A. His excuse was he didn't want to hurt me further, though also admits had a I known everything he was scared I would have left. So it was a painful 8 months of lack of information (he wouldn't refuse to answer, his passiveness is to say "I don't remember all the details" but the "details" were the difference of it starting 2 months ago and a year ago. Happening 2 times vs. many times. He admits that he is ashamed and didn't want to speak about it, only has reluctantly. I don't want the details but I want to understand when and why so we don't go down that road again.

MB is right, I haven't let go...I have my guard up feeling like if this happens again it will totally devastate me so I'm scared and it feels like I have this wall of numbness that I just don't feel anything except pain.

Back to the rings, he's a contractor wearing one daily could risk injury to himself and would definately damage the ring. He's never worn any ring. So I figured no biggie when we got married but I think I took it at face value something I now question after what has happened.
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Old 09-22-2009, 04:56 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Thanks everyone for your candidness and your help. I've come to learn my own flaws too. I am not someone who lets go. Its part of who I am. I am an exceedingly loyal person, and don't understand those that are not. To the point of it being a fault. What I mean by this, is that I read that people who feel this way are damaged even more when an A happens because its not only the relationship but the foundation of your very belief that's rocked. Not that its easier for someone who is suspicious but its caused me to question every relationship.

When the A happened not only did that hurt my marriage but it was a betrayal by the one person who I trust most in the world. Then he involved 2 people I love the most (my kids), I don't mean to say they betrayed me but it hurt making me feel alone and angry at him (he used them for cover). Then those closest to the OW betrayed me too. I was suddenly all alone. I didn't feel I could trust anyone.

I should also tell you about something that happened recently. Just as we got back together I met the most wonderful friend and we got very close and she had a wide circle of friends and we were welcomed in like family. It felt so good to be part of something new, they weren't involved in all the messiness of the A, these were new friends. It helped the healing process. I never shared it with them, except one night inadvertantly I slipped and one of the girls found out. I asked her to keep it to herself that it would damage what healing I've had so far. She agreed but turned right around and confronted my H. He took it well said, he has a lot to make up for and will spend rest of his life doing so. It seemed from that point forward this girl wanted nothing to do with him and has also kicked ME out. I could be misinterpretting but for months we were regularly invited over and now we seem to be left out.

She was not my original friend that brought me in to the group and I don't think that friend knows at all about the A. Anyway where we were part of the group, now we get left off the invite list. Nothing ever said, we've run in to them over at our other friend's house, I get warm hug but we also play on a rec team with them, that team took a break and guess who was not invited back to play this season??

Another betrayal...as a result I've really been keeping to myself. No of our other friends questioned why or have called. My H thinks I am right but not sure what the reason was he said it could be as petty as them getting jealous that I became good friends with one of the other girls. They all grew up together and I didn't so he thinks it could be that we were "new" and now we are not. But in any case he agrees we have been officially shunned. He says move on let go, you have other friends who you have not seen in awhile (they live further, its harder with a busy schedule). I know he is right but this is rocking my very foundation. Also what happened with the friends I seem to project on my H in other words makes me mad at him all over again. Its not rational, so I separate that.

Sorry I'm rambling. But back to the advice from MB, it is a choice. I need to make that choice to trust, move on, let go. Yeah he could betray me and if he does then I pick myself up, dust myself off, and end it. I also think that I need to make some new relationships and let these other friends go unless they decide to come to me and repair but otherwise let go...so easily said but I'm really going to try to dedicate myself to trying.
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Old 09-23-2009, 12:25 AM   #11 (permalink)
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I decided to talk to him about the renewing of vows. I told him that it would mean a lot to me to do this. He actually acted excited about it and he said that he would like me to get him a ring and make that part of the ceremony. Our anniversary is next month and he wants to do it then as an actual ceremony...I was not so keen on that. I guess we could just say that we wanted to renew our vows and not say why. No one knew about this except the one friend ... and anyone she may have told. Anyway to me it is between us so could be a private affair. I put the ball in his court. I will get the ring but I don't want to be the organizer of this little event. I would be happy if we just each wrote our own set of vows and said them to each other over a nice dinner. I planned our wedding and it was a lot of stress, I don't want this to be a big thing like that. I want it simple and nice, its about the vows not the ceremony. So let's see what he does with this and I will keep an open mind if he wants the ceremony.
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Old 09-23-2009, 11:47 AM   #12 (permalink)
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I still think he could wear a ring before and after work. Why not bring it up? A lot of other men do it. Why can't he?

Regarding your friends -- some people look at separation, divorce, affairs like a disease that they can catch. Trouble in one marriage can easily spread to other marriages as we've seen on this forum where two "friends" end up having an affair, breaking up two marriages. Your husband has proven himself to be someone that is not reliable and who could cause problems.

IMO, you should really talk to the person you confided in and find out why they confronted your husband (you know, the "I appreciated that you would stick up for me but...") and mention that you understand how people feel about these sorts of things, but that you feel that you've been left out of activities, intentionally or unintentionally. This is a growth opportunity for her, too.

It may also be that afterward she felt awkward and didn't know how to act around you so she avoided. It may be a small matter turned into a large matter on both sides.

Getting back to your husband's avoidance and being a pleaser, my H is too and I've told him a bunch of times that it isn't sustainable. But it is difficult to change something that's been there forever. So I try really hard to read him on issues.

Do you think your husband is co-dependent? Mine is. I am, too, to some degree. Not as bad as I used to be. But still some.

Glad the renewal is going to happen for you. And I agree, you don't have to explain the reason for the renewal. Since so many couples do it, I doubt anyone will ask.
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Old 09-23-2009, 10:46 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Just taking it one day at a time. My H has brought up the ring himself, he said he would like to get one and make it part of the renewing of the vows. That's a positive step for him. Part of me wanted to not say anything afraid to put myself out there..then I realized that is what he does and that's one of the reasons why we got to where we are so I won't do the same. But he's taken to the idea and is making plans. I also didn't want to be the one to plan, felt like I was doing the "fixing" then and I want a partner not someone else to take care of. But he's taking the initiative something very new. He usually doesn't ask him parents for a thing but he called and asked them to watch our kids that evening.

One of the reasons I have trouble trusting is that I'm never sure if he really loves me as deeply as I love him. I'm safe, I'm dependable, I take care of things and I'd never cheat on him, he knows that. I have told him that I worry he loves that and not me. He denies that being the reason at all. Which is why I didn't want to bring up the renewing of the vows. No I don't look at it as the fix but I think I want to hear from him those words again. I understand that time has to go by to help heal.

Its another reason the A hurt so bad, I think in his heart he knew I'd give him a second chance. I think cheaters do it because they can and think they can get away with it. But it does come with a price, the hurt that is caused.

As for the friends, I've decided that the original couple that brought us in to the group (who ironically don't know or if they are do they are reall good at not letting on...) have not treated us as outcasts. In fact they are the ones always inviting us, so I still value their friendship and will still see them just avoid the group things and not say anything about it. I'm not avoiding, just not confrontational. The girl who confronted my H, I think thrives on that under the guise of "helping"..but the moment she told someone else she did it for the drama. I dont' need more drama.

Still not sure why those friends turned on us though. Its either they don't want him around and I get punished too (funny how the injured party gets hurt by others...the OW family felt sorry for me, brother said he do anything for me and he hated what sis had done...until I took H back now they won't look at me...just as well tho don't want a relationship..they moved thankfully!) I feel its more like they think I will want to pay him back and don't want their husbands close to me in case I do. Maybe that's what hurts...being there its the last thing I'd do to anyone else!
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Old 09-24-2009, 07:56 AM   #14 (permalink)
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He brought up the ring, and is taking initiative on renewing your vows...2 really positive things AZMOM. Glad to hear this.

I know you have been through the ringer with all of this and I do think much has to do with the fact it was a neighbor and the cuckoo next door, the OW's nasty behavior since then has only made it more difficult for you. I'm glad they have moved, but sorry that they have caused so much havoc for you in the process.
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Old 09-24-2009, 01:49 PM   #15 (permalink)
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DOBO, I don't know how else to explain it other than its just a choice. I could either continue to feel victimized (which is NOT in my psychological make-up) and push him away because of it (how fair is it to draw someone closer to you and push them away at the same time?) or I could just....let..it...go. Grudges eat away at the core of your being, and years later you look back and see an empty, bitter soul. I do NOT want to be a bitter person, no for me, not for my children, and not for my marriage.

You can forgive or not forgive, and you STILL cannot control whether or not he will do it again. I cannot control anyone's actions but my own. I can control what *I* bring to my marriage, I can set the tone that *I* want, but I still can't control his actions. I DO know that a home in which his transgressions are not being thrown in his face daily, where he is not being guilt tripped, where I acknowledge the steps he is taking to fix himself, and where I acknowledge my own problems...well, that is a happy home. Can I guarantee it to be affair proof? Nope, nobody can. Life does not come with those guarantees.




Quote:
Originally Posted by dobo View Post
"Since I made a CHOICE to let the anger, pain, repulsion, and bitterness go...since I made a CHOICE to stay with the man I love, I CHOOSE every day to live in the moment, because the moments that have passed, are toxic and I cannot change them. "

How? How do you do it?

"You've got to look inside you and find out what is making you hang onto the feelings you have, and you've got to come to terms with them and LET THEM GO."

What are reasons to hold onto the feelings? Stuff like, "If I forgive this he'll just think he can do it again?"

What were your reasons for holding on, MB, and how did you learn to let them go? Simply recognizing that holding on is toxic surely isn't enough for most people. Any suggestions?
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