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WH & I are in the very early stages of healing. I recently uncovered his A over the past 2 weeks and more TT's this past week. I am new to this whole process and we are in MC (2nd session will be this coming Tuesday.) I keep reading that the WS is supposed to be doing the heavy-lifting. Can someone please define what that means exactly. I will note that he is very attentive, completely transparent and doing & saying all of the right things at the moment. Is that what I should be looking for? Anything else? He keeps telling me not to have any apologies or guilt for him, this was all his doing and he accepts full responsibility. I just want to make sure as we go through this process that I am "educated" in so far as what I should expect from him.
 

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Your WH has to continue to do the heavy lifting and you will have to watch for re-lapses. It's horrible that you have to feel like you're policing your spouse - but he has to understand and accept it for as long as you need to do it. The heavy lifting is about giving you what you need to heal.

You're both off to a good start though, so I hope you have continued success!
 

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Here's a visual example of NOT heavy lifting. I wrote a thread last summer about this.

Archaeologist of Truth. That's what the betrayed spouse is, even though they never went to school for it. Here they stand side by side with the wayward spouse, but the betrayed is the one with the shovel in their hands.

The betrayed slowly begins to dig at the surface until ground is broken and a few rocks (truth) are pulled up. With each rock, the wayward says, "Oh...yeah. That was...". Slowly the wayward toils at the soil until after digging up many rocks, they stand in an eight foot deep hole...sweaty, dirty and tired. The shovel clinks against another rock. The betrayed reaches down and picks it up and shows it to the wayward, who is standing at the top of the hole looking down.

"Oh...yeah. That one..."

The wayward is standing at the top of the hole, no dirt to be found on their hands.

The wayward is the one who should be digging the f'ng hole and getting dirty. NOT the betrayed.
 

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Is he open to discussing the aspects and details of the affair should you want them? Has he shared with you WHAT inside of HIM allowed him to be suseptible to this? Low self esteem? Ego? What led him there? Not the marital issues, what inside of him led him to do this? IOW- what emotional need was he seeking? What about NC? Has he exposed himself to others? His family or yours? Who ever you choose. What is he doing within himself-outside of MC? How is he handling your triggers?

And as Dig says, HE tells you all there is. He doesnt wait for you to find it- he gives it. ALL of it. Then he digs to find the whys of it all. Also, he brings it up sometimes. He initiates the conversation about the A. He doesnt sit idlely by and hope you dont bring it up knowing full well youre miserable and triggering.
 

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I'm going to reply from the point of view of a formerly Disloyal Spouse. Sometimes Betrayed have this image in their head of the Disloyal spouse doing all the work and doing all the counseling and doing all the changing so the marriage can be "back the way it was" and that is not AT ALL what heavy-lifting is. And I know some Disloyal spouses do not tell every granule of "truth" at the first moment for two reasons: 1) if they tell the truth they'll get screamed at for hours and no human being wants to be screamed at for hours, so they avoid the screaming by avoiding the truth (I'm not saying this is smart, but it is why a lot avoid the truth), and 2) they may have in their mind the bigger boulders and some of the larger rocks and they remove those bigger things and are not necessarily focused on the pebbles.

From a Disloyal point of view, heavy-lifting would be bearing the consequences of what they did. In real life, the Loyal Spouse did not commit adultery, and thus, the Disloyal is responsible for bearing the costs of choosing to dishonor their vows, choosing to act in a dishonest way, choosing to harm their spouse and their marriage, choosing to harm the family and children. Both spouses need to be willing to look at themselves, admit where they went wrong, and work on their own personal issues. Both spouses will probably need to change some. BUT the Disloyal is the one who needs to accept it is REASONABLE for the Loyal to not trust, because the Disloyal lied! If you want to be trusted again, you have to ACT in an honest way for quite a while to rebuild that!! It's the cost of lying..period. The Disloyal has to accept that it is REASONABLE for their spouse to be emotional and hurt and confused, and that it's part of the cost of choosing to act in such a painful way. The Disloyal needs to accept that it is REASONABLE to feel uncomfortable and vulnerable when they tell the truth to their spouse, and that it is still something they need to do anyway for the health of the relationship. The Disloyal needs to accept that it is REASONABLE for their spouse to be angry, especially when the Disloyal treated them poorly...but it is NOT reasonable for a Loyal Spouse to hold the affair over their head for forever or to use the affair as a weapon to manipulate them or control them. At some point, it does have to stop.

In real life, before the affair the marriage was most likely "not so good" and some damage had been done...BUT the disloyal is still the one who stepped out AND did all the harm and damage that comes with that, so heavy-lifting means they don't try to deflect the blame on someone else but rather they look to themselves to see what they need to change and do differently. Heavy-lifting would also mean they did all that damage, so they are the one who bears the majority of the weight of "cleaning up the mess they made" so to speak.

Make sense?
 

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Heavy lifting can mean different things to different people. In most cases, I feel that it involves the DS openly acknowledging that they killed they old marriage/relationship, getting to a point within themselves where they can grieve the passing of the old marriage, and remain functional enough to help the BS do the same. Once the grieving is done, it is then up to the fDS to help the BS form a new relationship based on transparency, honesty, and trust.

While it all sounds good on paper, and in an ideal world would work exactly as described above, I feel the heavy lifting in most successful Rs is done by the BS. Not only must the BS accept the death of the old marriage, but they must also become vulnerable enough to let their fDS back into their hearts, and on top of all that, help their fDS accept their own fallibility as humans and move forward into a better future,
 
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