Monday, October 26, 2009

Surviving Infidelity: The best advice you never heard

Mention cheating and you'll inspire some strong reactions, often along the lines of "castrate him!" and "homewrecking whore". While self-righteous fury is occasionally cathartic, it rarely serves the cheatee very well, who may well still love the potentially castrated man (though she's likely less fond of the homewrecker).
The result is that few of us are offered particularly healthy advice from our friends and family, even -- sometimes especially -- if they've gone through it themselves. My friend Annie, with whom I confided because she'd had a similar situation and, I thought, could support me, responded to my comment that I didn't want to lose my marriage with a dismissive, "well, I wouldn't stay". End of conversation.
Sadly, this leaves so many of us feeling doubly injured. We've suffered this grievous injustice, we think, and yet talking about it leaves us open to poorly thought out opinions, self-serving advice or gossip. I learned very quickly to confide in very few people and only those whom I felt sure would simply support me.
Fortunately, I did come across a wonderful Web site – Surviving Infidelity – that allowed me to discuss my situation anonymously and candidly, without fear or judgement. If I did receive unwarranted advice, I simply dismissed what didn't work for me and took what did. Because it was from strangers, it was so much easier to do.
It also inspired me to create this site -- to create a sense of community around the issue of infidelity and to invite other women to join the conversation. Betrayal changes who you are. Never again will you look at the world through the same eyes. It helps to share this new you with others as you figure out where you go from here.
What are some of the Web sites that have helped you? Please post them here for others to try.


37 comments:

  1. The best chat-open to all sides of the triangle, but you better be to the point of accepting responsibility for your own actions. We don't pull our punches or coddle people in the midst of affairs. www.infidelity-help.com

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  2. I am 4 weeks into learning of my husbands infidelity. We have 4 children and have been married for 21 years. He cheated with a woman from his high school past. It started with finding each other on facebook, hate facebook now. I found texts and emails that spelled out the affair and the fact that they spent 2 nights together out of town. I confronted him and than kicked him out of the house for 10 days. We finally talked, he apologized and said, :it had nothing to do with me" it was his problem and he wanted to work on our marriage. So here we are, going to counseling and trying to work through this web of deceit and lies.

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    1. I am going through the same betrayal and the situation is close to yours too. I also decided to stay and I am so glad to finally find a site in which others are trying to work it out rather then run.

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    2. I am going through a similar situation. About 5 months in. Married for 16 years, two school aged children. I am still feeling completely devastated - our marriage had problems, but this takes it to a new level. Attending marriage counseling, doing the best I can to move forward and reconcile - incredibly difficult. I feel your pain. I wish you well.

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  3. izzie4,
    I'm so sorry you're going through this...but glad that you found us. I cringe every time someone mentions Facebook -- though I know that it doesn't make someone cheat, but simply makes it easier.
    Brace yourself. I don't know what he's told you, but often the spouse who cheats minimizes what happened to keep you from leaving. Are you sure he's broken off all contact?
    I don't want to upset you...but want you to understand and be prepared.
    Hang in there. We're here to offer up advice, support and compassion. You CAN get through this. And you WILL come out the other side. Our best advice? Take care of yourself...treat yourself well.

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  4. A month ago I found out my husband hooked up with a woman from his childhood through Facebook.....yes, I hate Facebook, too!! I just found out 2 days ago that he hooked up with another lady through a dating site. Then I found his profile on some other sites, including sex dating sites! I'm really hating the internet right now........

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  5. I'm so sorry you're dealing with this.
    Like you, my situation just seemed to get worse the more I learned. More sites, more chat rooms, more hookups...
    Quick word of advice? Get yourself checked out for STDs even if he says there was no sex. Is he admitting everything? Is he denying? You can install a keylogger on his computer to monitor his activity.
    And please keep on posting. I, and certainly others who visit this site, can be a wealth of support. Survivinginfidelity.com is another awesome site -- with a huge user base.
    Re. your comment: Like most things, the Internet can work both ways. I hate the ease the Internet has introduced into affairs. If you're gonna cheat, I figure you should have to work harder to get away with it!! (Kidding...sorta.)
    But I appreciate that the Internet worked for me in that it opened up a world of other betrayed wives that understood my feelings and could commiserate without judgement (though not always without judgement!).

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  6. it doesn't really matter. my husband cheated with his secretary. he claims to think facebook is silly. whatever. he's silly.

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  7. Secretary! How cliche. He loses even more points for lack of originality. :) (My husband took up with his "associate" -- fancy name for secretary!)

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  8. I took my unfaithful husband back, and heard as much unhelpful and unwanted advice as you got. I read on the main infidelity sites: SI, MB, and DB. More recently I have been looking at marriageadvocates.com. There are so many excellent resources on the WWW for betrayed spouses, I am 'almost' glad it hapened when we had access to them, rather than in the pre WWW days.

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  9. Not sure what MB and DB are. I assume SI is Surviving Infidelity?? Can you provide URLs for the other two?

    Thanks! And thanks for posting.

    Elle

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  10. A good beginning is half way to success. Unfortunately my reaction to finding out my husband of then ten years had a six week old child was not good. I didn't kick him out, I folded. I believed it was all me. I should have put less into my career, more into the marriage . . . Some of you know what I'm talking about. It's been almost 2 years since my D day (October 30, 2009). I'm still here, physically, however mentally is another story. My step son, I guess that's the proper term for your husband's illegitimate son, spends every other weekend at our home. I have become attached to this very adorable energetic little boy. After all it is not his fault that his parents have no moral compass.

    I've tried very hard not to become the martyr. After all we are all human and although I believe I would never have an affair, there are other forms of betrayal,

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  11. To continue...
    We don't talk about our marriage. We don't talk about his affair, which I believe is still continuing. My misguided philosophy is that if I don't want to be lied to, don't ask a question when I know the answer will be a lie.

    I think I've made the decision to leave my marriage. I just haven't found the courage to take the first step. Where do you find the strength to venture out on your own?

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  12. I think accepting a child shows incredible compassion on your part. While it's not the child's fault, the constant reminder can still be tough. And to be able to look at the child and see his value is a testament to your strength, I think, and your humanity.
    I hope you can get past this, especially now that you're attached to the child. Sounds like he could use someone with integrity in his life. :)
    Two years out is still pretty raw, I think. If your husband has learned and grown from this, I would think things will continue to get better. I hope so, for your sake.

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  13. it's been 10 days since d-day but the affair happened 2 years ago. he says he didn't know how to tell me. i found out via facebook. he wants to be with me, with our family, to work things out. i don't know what i want. no, wait, i know what i want. i want him to hold me, i want to pretend this never happened, i want my family. but i don't know if that's what is best for me. i like the advice of waiting 6 months, but do i let him live with me during that time? does that confuse things? he has somewhere else he can stay, but its more difficult with the day-to-day stuff. or maybe it's practice? i don't know.

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  14. I'm so sorry for what you're going through...but glad you found us. And give yourself a break: Of course you don't know what you want. You've just been handled a huge shock and it will take time for your rational brain to catch up with your emotions. Give yourself time to process the information, which is life-changing. In the meantime, tell him that he can begin the process of healing by giving you whatever it is you need: space if that feels right, closeness if that feels right, each at various times if that feels right... Your moods will alter from minute to minute and, if he truly wants to save his marriage and you're willing to let him try, he needs to ride this roller coaster with you.
    Regarding living arrangements, try and give yourself time to figure out what works for both of you. I didn't want my husband out of my sight until I figured out whether I wanted him gone for good, or here for good. But each woman has to walk the path that suits them.
    In other words, there is no right or wrong. There is only what you need right now. And only you can figure that out.
    Hang in there. It really, truly does get better...and easier. Time.

    Elle

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  15. Today is day 86 since I discovered his affair. Today is also the first that that I have tried to think through the pain rather then being lost in it. It still takes my breath away to think about it and the questions and mental images still haunt me, but I think I am finally ready to start sorting through the mess. I decided that time away from him was the only way I would be able to do this so I drove 350 miles to come stay with my mother for a week. Mental Health Vacation. I am finally seeing how horrile I have "dealt" with his betrayl. I managed to stay calm when I confronted him, but all the anger and words that I didnt say have been killing me slowly. At times I don't think I could have even explained how I felt or what I was thinking; let alone how to say it. Apparently I thought I was "dealing"; when in reality I have been on a vicious downward spiral. I now see that I never gave myself permission to be mad, sad, angry and even to mourn; so I have bottled it up. Time to get a shovel and dig in! I know this is just the start and that there will be many more days when it sneaks up on me, but next time I will be prepared. These last few months have been a living hell and by far the hardest thing I have ever been faced with, but if it wasnt for finding this site and some eye opening articles on Oprahs website it may have very well taken me another 86 days to even get out of bed. Thank you for sharing your stories and your pain. Although we can't possibly believe else anyone knows or could survive our pain; it is helpful to know that I am not alone and that there is somewhere I can turn for support. God knows all my "friends" disappeared about two weeks into my spiral. Thank You again.

    ~Working on Me, in Colorado

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  16. Dear "Me" in Colorado,
    I'm really glad you found this site and that you're finding other areas on the Web that are helpful. Sadly, this is one those things that friends often can't help us through...even if they've gone through it themselves. Some friends can be wonderful through this...but in others, it can trigger feelings that they don't want to or can't yet look too closely at.
    Which is sort of what likely happened to you in the days following D-Day. It's common to numb ourselves to such extreme emotional pain because we simply can't handle it all at once. Letting it trickle out in more manageable amounts is a survival tactic that can spare us in the early days. Of course, it's crucial that we do deal with the feelings at some point. We can't keep them buried forever or they'll come out in really unhealthy ways. But we can deal with them bit by bit.
    Like you, I thought I was handling the whole situation quite well. It wasn't until a few months later that I really fell apart. I even considered suicide, though I can now see that I just wanted some way out of the pain and couldn't imagine a day that I would feel okay.
    It's the one thing I wish I could really give to anyone reading this site -- the absolute belief that they will be okay. That the devastation will clear and life will make sense again.
    It will...but you're right. You're going to have to dig through all the feelings that this has created: sadness, anger, confusion, hurt, resentment, fear... Feel them and then, as best you can, let them go. They exist to prompt you to take action to keep yourself safe. And to remind you that, within yourself, is a haven. Might not feel like it right now, but it's the biggest lesson for me in all of this: I alone am responsible to taking care of myself and ensuring that my needs and wants are considered.
    Hang in there. If you want, share your experience and read others' comments about how they're healing from this.
    We've walked in your shoes.
    Elle

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  17. Lost my marital innocence about 4 months ago when, I asked my rarely seen anymore husband if we still had a marriage and he said I don't know. Sitting there looking down at the ground I just knew this was not just a I don't know if I love you anymore look.... I demanded is there someone else! Of course silence that screams yes while he musters the courage to say no to your face with every ounce of deceit he has left in him. It fills the space between my chest cavity where my heart has stopped beating and my lungs have refused to do their job anymore. I turned and grabbed my keys and drove down the street to scream at the top of my lungs in a secluded park parking lot. I drove back home after about 20 min. and asked the question again. this time the confession and the nightmare began.

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    1. So sorry for what you're going through. I hope you'll find strength and comfort in the words and women here. We've been there. We're moving through it.

      Elle

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    2. 2 days ago my suspicions of my husband seeing somebody else were confirmed when I overheard a whispered argument between the two. I had asked him outright before if he was seeing someone (as far back as march), but he never admitted it. We have 3year old boy and 1 and a half year old girl who mean the world to us, but he has decided to leave us for her. I just cannot believe that he would give us up to follow this infatuation. He still wants to be part of the children's life and support us, but I just feel heart-broken and humiliated, especially that after the months of lying and stringing me along he has made this decision. I'm just so sad that we're not a family anymore.

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    3. I'm so sorry for what you're going through. This must be excruciating for you, especially with two young kids.
      On the up side, your kids are so young that you'll likely be spared the agony of watching their little hearts break because they won't really get what's happening beyond daddy not being around quite so much.
      As awful as it is, the best thing for your kids is to have a relationship with your husband. And of course, he should support all of you. Forget the humiliation. That's how HE should be feeling. And the woman who would get involved with a married man and father. THEY are the ones who should feel like total douchebags.
      A friend of mine cried every time her son would go to his father's house (because he ended up with the OW) but, to her credit, she never said or did anything to change her son's image of his "great" dad. The result is a really well-adjusted kid who's been allowed to love both his parents. And my friend, after licking her wounds for a couple of years, found a really great guy who she married and who is an incredible step-dad to her son. So life can still deliver happily-ever-afters.
      For now, just put one foot in front of the other and focus on getting through the next five minutes, half-hour, day, etc. It gets easier.
      Get yourself a lawyer and make sure you get every single thing you're entitled to.
      And then count yourself lucky that SHE got stuck with the guy who lies and cheats and leaves his family. Of course, as a liar and cheater herself, maybe she hasn't noticed his lack of moral fibre.

      Elle

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  18. I have been with my husband since I was 15. It was 3 years ago since I discovered my husband was cheating. After almost a year of counseling by a highly recommended therapist, I found my husband was still carrying on the affair even though he professed to love me and "he was only helping the girl as a father figure!". I believed my husband was ill and had a sexual addiction, as was diagnosed and continued to try to save a 40-year marriage. Unfortunately due to my trauma and fear, I did not listen to my new counselor who told me to stop seeing him for 6 months and work on myself. Then I needed to see true humbleness, transparency and sincerity. Not just in words, but in change of behavior and actions, with no time limit for my healing. I am now filing for divorce after finding an article on the Internet which proved that, once again my husband was still in contact with his mistress. I am baffled as he professes to want to be married to our kids. Why does a man do this. It is like half of my heart was ripped off when I found out and there is a permanent scar. I'll never be the same and my kids dont understand after a couple of years, why I still hurt. Can you explain this to me and to them? Will my husband ever be honest or the man I married again?

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    1. I'm so sorry for the continued pain you're going through.
      Why does a man do this? Because he's broken. Hurt people hurt people, as the saying goes. He probably does love you the best he's able to love anyone at this point in time. Sadly, it isn't enough.
      You're right that you'll never be the same...but that doesn't have to be a bad thing. You'll be wiser. Stronger. You can grow from this and come to a place where you can offer your love to someone better able to offer you his.
      Your kids simply don't have the life experience to understand just how deeply betrayal cuts. I'm guessing that, on some level, they're hurt by their father's actions which might also feel like a rejection of them. But on the surface, they just want everything to be "okay" and to trust that their mom is going to get everyone through this.
      Whether or not your husband can ever be honest is up to him. If he's willing to seek help for his broken-ness, it's possible. But he'll never be the man you married. He perhaps never was the man you thought you married.
      In the meantime, you can't control him or his actions. Your counsellor is wise to encourage you to focus on your own healing. Become the most whole person you can, be a great mom to your kids and trust that, with time and healing, your life can be wonderful, with or without him.

      Elle

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  19. Betrayal is really hard to work through and you do see the world through different eyes. I haven't shared my story with very many people because it's still raw and a lot of people do respond poorly. I love my husband and want to make my marriage work. People view you and your marriage differently if you share a story like this. I didn't even consider that there would be sites out there where you can talk about it anonymously, so I'll have to check these out. http://beyondaffairs.com/category/surviving-infidelity-testimonials/

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    1. Hollie,
      I hope you will take the time to share your story. It's so important to find a safe space where you feel validated and "normal" for what you're going through. It's hell...but it doesn't last forever.
      Welcome.

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  20. Where do I begin. In march of 2014 I found all these dating sites that my husband had signed up for. He also signed up kik messenger and was having sexting conversations with people. He promised to get help and said that the urge was stemming from a horrible abusive situation from when he was a pre teen. The sexual abuse he encountered was pretty horrific and I justified his actions of the date site and all prior things like drinking amd drugs with this excuse. Then in november of 2014 I found an ad he had placed on craigslist to meet up physically with a man or women. Again he said the urge stemmed from the abuse. But this time I was done. U derstand our ten years of marriage hasnt been the greatest. He is a very verbally abusive and head game kind of person. I didnt even realize the damage he was doing to me. Always given a lose lose situation. For exame if I am stay at mom then I am lazy and need to get a job. So I get a job amd its why isnt the house spotless what do you do all day if your gonna work you need to be able to do both. Of course making sure my job didnt take me out of the home when the kids were there. So anyway in nov I said no more and through his boss found this sober house to live in and help deal with his issues. He begged me even made the statement let me prove I deserve to be your husband. He comes to visit friday night a d stays through sunday untill he has his dinner meeting. Well due to superbowl the guys lastnight meeting off so he stayed the night. Sometimes insomnia gets the best of me and I decided to snoop through his phone. (This is not a norm for me. Last time I found the info it was an alert that popped up on his thag he had a msg from kik and the parital msg that showed up on screen was pretty sexual). Praying I wouldnt find anything I notice his email was shut off. I turned it on and sure enough there was two new emails lookifng to confirm new accounts for hookup sites. Its basically a date for sex. He says they came across his screen and he signed up but never confirmed or even checked out the site. Now I dont know what to do he lives about 70 miles away in the sober house were you are required to attend meetings but otherwise its faith thag you are getting better not babysitters. How do I continue to be able to heal when he keeps doing this. Is thjs repeated behavior even while seeking help somethig I will always have to deal with. And not to mention we made a location change a few years ago to a different state to be by his parents to help them out. He went ahead of by six months and he confessed to me that he had cheated with twi different women while he was up there alone.

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    1. I'm so sorry for everything you've gone through...and are continuing to go through.
      Your first priority absolutely must be you and your children. You need to ensure that you are in a safe, stable and predictable environment. He has repeatedly lied to you, repeatedly betrayed your trust, and from the sounds of it, been verbally abusive over the years. That has not only deeply wounded you but also your children.
      I strongly urge you to seek counselling for yourself. You can't live in that sort of volatile situation without it taking a huge toll on you...and eroding your own self-esteem.
      Put aside his recovery for now. He's in the right place and can either learn from it or continue to ignore it. That's HIS choice. Yours is to get yourself emotionally healthier so that you can model self-respect and boundaries to your children.
      It sounds as if he's been emotionally unhealthy for many, many years. Sexual abuse has likely created all sorts of issues in him. But to continue to use it as an excuse to mistreat you is simply unacceptable. That said, you need to make it clear that you will no longer put up with it.
      So...make yourself and your healing Goal #1. And I would tell him he's not welcome home until you figure things out for yourself.

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  21. Recently discovered my husband of 15 years is having an affair with a co- worker. Apart from being devastated I am trying to determine how and what to tell our 14 year old daughter. He has been completely checked out as a parent and husband for the last six months. I have known for a while and kept quiet and have been covering for him telling my daughter daddy is out working hard. He is preparing to leave and I am not sure what to say. I have asked him to re connect with her as he has been ignoring her I imagine from guilt and shame. I wish I could tell her dad has no time for you because he is out with his girlfriend and spending our family money on her but I know it's not fair to put that on her but is it fair to lie to her. I fear she will find out on her own. I have been so worried about my daughter I haven't really processed myself what is happening. I fear my anger will get the best of me one if these days.

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    1. Your daughter is really lucky to have you...and she's going to need you more than ever.
      I would be inclined to call her school and see if there's a guidance counsellor or school psychologist available who might have some ideas. Sadly I suspect this happens more than most of us realize.
      I think it's really important to ensure she understands that this isn't a rejection of her, even if it feels like one. I think it's fair to acknowledge that your husband's inability to face his feelings means that those around him get hurt. But that it really has nothing to do with those around him (ie. you and her). You two are collateral damage -- the result of someone running from their own emotions instead of being a grown-up and owning them. You don't need to get into too much with her. Ideally your husband will sit down with you and tell her. She certainly doesn't need the nitty-gritty details (the fact that she's pubescent and dealing with her own emerging sexuality can simply amp up the whole extra-marital sex part).
      And I applaud you loudly for putting her emotional needs before your own desire to reveal your husband for the idiot he is. It can be sooooo tempting to hurt our spouse by turning the kids against him but in the end, it's the kids who pay the highest price. She deserves to be able to love her flawed idiot of a dad as who he is. She's learning at a young age, unfortunately, that people we love can make horrible life choices. But it's THEIR life choices to make. We get to choose to life our lives differently.
      I would also urge you to get her at least a few visits to a psychologist to help her through this. Somebody who can make sure she isn't blaming herself, someone who can help her with the anger she'll likely feel (she might turn the anger inward and become depressed).
      This is all worse-case scenario, of course, but I think it's important to be prepared. She might be glad to finally have her niggling suspicions confirmed. It's crazy-making when someone tells you things that don't line up with what you believe to be true. By coming clean and telling her that you wanted to protect her, you're giving her permission to be honest with you too.
      And I hope you'll also get yourself counselling so that you're able to stay strong for her...and yourself.
      You sound like an incredible mom who doesn't deserve any of this pain. I'm sorry. But I have a feeling you two are going to be just fine.

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    2. Elle, Thank you for your reply. My husband is now gone and for whatever reason chose valentines day which devastated our daughter. He chose to leave without telling her first and I had to explain it to her. Snuck out like a thief in the night. Her father was the first to break her heart. I am truly amazed by his selfish and insensitive behavior. He is a coward. He has been texting our daughter and yes she is now angry and chooses not to reply to his messages. She refuses to see him for now and I am not going to force her. He knows where we live and could come if he truly wanted to. I explained to her that texting is not a relationship. He is acting like nothing has changed and wants to take her for lunch and shopping. He is also texting to make plans with her directly and not contacting me. He thinks I have turned her against him but I covered for him for months. She feels how she feels I have listened and watched her cry while he sees none of his destruction. I know it is time for legal advice I am just shocked by his ability to not comprehend what he has done to our family. Myself I am all over the map balling one day and in a rage the next. Hoping legal help will help me to get through yet next while And knowing my rights so I can prepare for my future with my daughter. I am so proud of her she has handled this so well and her father Chose the worst possible way to leave his family. It could have been handled so different and that is probably where my anger comes from. Hopefully time really does heal all wounds. I did recently learn that the co worker he is involved with was laid off so maybe that was karma for her disgusting behavior with my husband.

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    3. Your husband is an ass. I'm so sorry for you and for your daughter. I'm glad she has you to remind her of her value -- that his behaviour is about HIM and not about HER or you. That people we love can disappoint us but that doesn't have to make us bitter. It can just make us wiser.
      Absolutely get yourself lawyered up and ensure that your rights are protected. It wouldn't hurt for your daughter to see a counsellor to help her sort through this. Fourteen is such a tough age at the best of times. She needs someone who can help her see that not all men are bad, not all sex is wrong and hurtful and that she's got all the resources she needs to survive pain and get back on her feet.
      Good luck. I hope you'll continue to keep us posted on how things are going. We're all rooting for you and your incredible daughter.

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  22. I found out a little over a year ago my husband was having numerous affairs with prostitutes. My whole life felt like it caved in. I had known for some time before caught him stopping for them. Regardless of what has
    happened I still love him very much. It is so very difficult to keep moving forward when my head feels one thing and my heart tells me another. Never a truer word spoken that betrayal changes your whole life that it will never be the same again. We want to make it work we have been to counseling but there are so many triggers in every day life that are constant reminders.

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    1. Those triggers will lessen with time. If they don't, you're likely suffering for PTSD, which is surprisingly common among those of us who've dealt with betrayal.
      Hang in there. Continue to read and post. Sometimes offering advice or sharing support with others helps us get clearer on our own situation. You're among friends...

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  23. I found out about 3 weeks ago that my husband of 6 years has been having a year long affair with a coworker. I had suspicion before the actual confirmation but had always been reassured I was being jealous and never would he do that. We had stopped sleeping in the same bed for almost 8 months. He claimed he knew it "kept me awake" with his sleep disturbance at night. Actually I think he probably felt too guilty to share a bed with me. I forced him to tell me every detail the night i found her text messages. He did ( im fairly certain with the horrible details i cant imagine him leaving anything out. Its about as bad as it gets) and cried for the first time in our relationship and basically told me that he only fell to her bc he felt he no longer had me. He says he felt I had checked out. I feel he gave up when things got strained. Things weren't great but I didnt screw anyone else. Although I really wish now I had. Our 4 children are stuck in the crossfire here and I have decided to try to make it work. I do love him but sometimes I look at him and I really just want to smack the hell.out of him. Why do I feel like the inadequate one? Why do I feel like I have to walk on eggshells to keep him from straying? Has anyone else had these feelings? Does it get any better or am I wasting my time thinking we can get back what we had?

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  24. I think my husband's cheating, I've caught him.deleting text messages, messaging women on fb, the list goes on and on, but if I confront him he turns the tables. Why am I going through his phone blah blah blah, we have 2 kids, I recently lost my job and I feel like if I leave him I have no where.to go, no financial means. Idk wat to do. I love him.no doubt about that. and I thought he loved me. I'm heart broken. there's no other way to describe it

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