Friday, December 28, 2012

Guest Post: Finding Joy Moment-by-Moment

This was posted by Lucy, one of our club members, as  a comment to another post. It offers such hope and wisdom to everyone here that I asked if I could reprint it as a blog post. Here it is. Drink it in and savour its grace. And be reminded that it's the seemingly tiny moments that can restore our faith and give us strength to trust in a better future. ~Elle

Elle and other wives-sisters, 
I hope you can all find joy and love in this festive season despite the pain and hurt thrust upon us. As I have discovered, joy and love come from the simplest and yet, most precious, things. A cold, clear winter morning where the sun and beauty of nature can almost make you forget, the first smile of the morning from a beautiful 4 month old daughter, the excitement on my four-year-old's face when Santa brought everything on the list! As D-Day was only just under four months ago I still feel incredibly hurt, betrayed, sad, unsure of the future and am in fact in mourning for a man I was so so sure of and a marriage I had so much hope for. My little newborn was merely three weeks old when I discovered the affair and of course the following weeks I can scarcely remember as they were a mixture of intense hurt and motherly resilience. I knew also that I didn't want to risk that special bond between a newborn and mom so I did all the "right" things...immediately booked into MC, made sure the children were fed, washed and loved as much as possible or as much as their heartbroken parents could manage. 

They were dark days. Coming up to Christmas I had decided I could sink into depression – not a hard thing to do, or I could spend a fortune on yummy party food and spend time with family – to cocoon. I chose the latter. Does it make me cured? No. Am I now magically healed of all the pain? No. But I think that if you get good days, go with them. Share them with your husband, children and family.

I can say that it has been a very emotionally fraught week. My husband was working over the holidays and my children were very ill. I think these factors made me simmer away to myself: How COULD he do that to me? To us? To our child and unborn baby? Why is he taking so long at the store – has he re-established contact with HER? Emotional cutting. If I could have checked his phone yesterday I know I wouldn't have found anything. Would I have been disappointed? Sounds strange but sometimes this road seems so damn hard that a text from HER would be just the validation to say "I've had enough, you caused this, I've tried". Sometimes it's so hard to see a way forward. Sometimes the dark thoughts envelop me: we wouldn't be trying to save our marriage if we didn't have kids; if I get sick I'm gonna make sure SHE knows it's HER fault; do we even love each other anymore?...

I'm very aware it's early days and this blog has been of invaluable help to me and for that I'm so grateful. I wish you all a Happy New Year. The first day of January always seemed to me like a wonderful blank canvas, just waiting for colour. I don't know how I will feel this New Year but it's all a process and a journey. Love to you all.

Lucy

35 comments:

  1. Lucy - I have said so many times to my IC that leaving would provide relief. Rielief from the constant companion of dibilitating insecurity, relief of action, relief of being able to say I tried and move on with piecing myself together. If I left now, though, it would mostly be to seek relief. That's not the reason I want to stay or go. I want a better reason than simply seeking relief for either option.

    I cannot imagine the strength it has taken for you to walk this journey with a new born. Your ability to show such optimism at 4 months is inspiring. I'm just about 7 months from Dday and I am just now starting to feel some hope. I'm not committed to staying but I'm not determined to leave anymore either.

    Christmas Day was the best day I've had in many months. I've felt a thaw toward my husband - not a warmth per say but a thaw. A willingness to believe the depression and self worth issues he's begun to address in therapy. I've been so terrified of being duped again that I have resisted believing anything that could give me a bit of hope. A different kind of emotional cutting.

    Thanks for your post. Personally I'm thrilled to put an end to 2012 and welcome 2013. I can't wait to get to the other side of all the upcoming dates - the affair was March 2 - June 4 and there are dates coming up that make me quake. I just want to get to June 5 and be able to say there is a full year of distance between me the end of my life (what I thought was the end but which is turning out to be more of a bruatally painful scenic byway that my IC assures me will provide personal growth - ugh)
    Leslie

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    1. Leslie,
      Ya gotta love therapists. "Personal growth" indeed! :)

      Elle

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  2. Hi Elle,

    I am so inspired by your words and the way your surviving your life is really tough and I really wish "May you prosper your life and get rid of depression soon". Happy Merry X-mas.

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  3. Leslie, thank you for your kind words. I am the type of person to reject offhand praise or compliments of any kind but since this horrendous discovery I have made a conscious effort to graciously accept (and believe) the kind and supportive words that people bestow on me. As you know, sadly-as we've all had to discover, the support and love of family and friends is vital in this process of "recovery". I have had people marvel at how strong I've been, I certainly don't feel strong most days but as the saying goes "fake it till you make it"!

    7 months post D-Day is very recent Leslie, it's good to hear that you are experiencing a "thaw" and that Christmas time was good for you and your husband. It's encouraging to hear you're not hell bent on leaving but rather, it seems, contemplating a life with this man who is working through the root of his problems. I truly believe that progress can only be achieved by addressing the "why's?". I used the analagy that if your car starts breaking down and then catastrophically grinds to a halt you're going to want to find out WHY it happened and HOW (if at all) it can be fixed, it's not going to make for happy motoring (or a happy marriage) to just get it going again and hoping for the best. I think most betrayed spouses want to know the reasons why, no matter how painful or how long the process takes. My husband has been soul searching for the last four months. Our MC is concerned that when I hear definitively the reasons "why" this happened that they may not "fit" for me. She may be right...as far as I'm concerned our marriage was not broken, we were not in financial difficultly, had a healthy beautiful child and (when this ugly affair began) I was 24 weeks pregnant. When I discovered it through texts on his phone, our gorgeous 3 week old baby was sleeping soundly in her crib. I am glad I am not back there, the days and weeks that followed the discovery were utterly, heart wrenchingly devastating. Like you Leslie I am very glad 2012 is over. I feel conflicted saying that as 2012 gave me my little girl but, sadly, so much of 2012 was overshadowed by this affair. The anti-versaries are going to be hard. I bet every girl on this site can tell you the dates the affair began, when discovery day was, when the affair ended. There are endless dates that will be swirling about in your head. Perhaps the first year, like a bereavement, will be the hardest. As we are still such newbies, perhaps some of the other girls would be able to offer advice on not being bogged down by dates. I find myself discovering old receipts in my bag and I check the dates and categorise them into "before the affair", "during the affair", "before I knew", "after I knew".

    When does all this end? Just when I feel progress is being made I feel like I can't shed the cloak of despair. There's a Nirvana song with a lyric "I miss the comfort of being sad". I feel like sometimes I catch myself and my husband enjoying a nice moment and immediately go into defensive mode as if to sabotage good times because he doesn't deserve to share good times with me and the children. Perhaps these bouts of sabotage, anger and sadness will lessen with time-I hope so.

    Lesley-keep going, you are doing wonderfully well and seem so strong and more then willing to put in the work that this process requires. Here's to the New Year-may it be a blank canvas full of hope for us all


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    1. Lucy, I sooooo remember those days of categorizing receipts, photos, etc. into "before" and "after" and wondering exactly what He was doing when I was buying milk or gas or whatever. All part of our need to piece together reality, I think. To rewrite history with all the facts.
      No matter how different the circumstances of our experiences, I'm always amazed at how similar our responses to it. And at the strength we're able to tap into to move forward. Strength that we can't always acknowledge even as we exhibit it.

      Elle

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  4. Hi Lucy - I was so glad to read your post. Some months ago we dialogued about our H's affairs while we were both pregnant. That you can see glimmers of beauty is terrific. Many congratulations on that!!! I'm sure it's hard-fought and I know it's deserving! I had to chuckle too about the your receipts comment. My own system was
    BA = Before Affair
    DA = During After
    AA = After Affair
    (kinda like B.C. and A.D.)!

    The categorization is fading for me now - thank goodness - now that I'm almost 2 years from DDay. (DDay is this month - a week before my twins' 2nd birthday. Happily, unlike last year this year my mind is more focused on their birthday than my DDay.)

    I wish you & everyone else a really beautiful 2013! We deserve it!

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    1. Hi Erica,
      its so good to read your comment, Happy New Year to you and the family. i have thought about you often and the awful situation you encountered 2 years ago. you were such a help to me in my "early days" (it still is early days I guess but am thankful to have some time and distance between now and that awful D-Day) and I just wanted to say thank you so much. Betrayal is bad enough but dealing with it and the aftermath after just giving birth has to be the most stressful and emotionally fraught time I have spent in my life.

      its good to hear that the categorization is fading, a good sign of progress. can I trouble you with some more questions...I'm throwing this out to everyone too as my head is racing with thoughts, doubts, questions and images (only natural I guess)

      * how do you start to believe your husband when he tells you he loves you? (i always equated affairs with spouses who depised who they were living with and lost all affection for them - not so as I realise now)

      * how do you stop the "cycles" of emotions? one day happy-ish, the next...hellish. tears and smiles almost blend into each other

      * will i want to be talking about this forever? (i feel like its always with me and is defining me)

      isnt it funny how time behaves? when you're pregnant it seems to crawl along then when baby arrives it absolutely flies and the teeny tiny newborn is replaced with a teething, gooing little person! I am torn between wishing I was about 6 years away from D-Day and wanting those precious first weeks with my newborn back as they were completely tainted.

      at the moment myself and husband are attending MC each week but I was having a problem with his lack of communication outside of the sessions. i began two weeks ago to withdraw from him - a completely conscious decision, self preservation. he seemed unwilling to talk about the situation and when i was very down over xmas he tried his best to ignore the blanket of despair. i felt I was doing all the work - pouring my heart out to family, here to you gals and to the counsellor and he hasnt spoken to any, not one, of his friends. i know this is because of the massive guilt he carries but I had reached my wits end and told him i was considering asking for a trial separation as I felt emotionally bankrupt. this is not what he wants. I decided that I would write out all the questions I want to ask him and he will have to respond to each and every one. this is designed not to emotionally cut myself but to STOP the repetition that goes on in my head and to have definitive answers (where possible) my mood lifted when i decided on this as i felt it would be a path to progression for me and ultimately, us. i am thinking very carefully what questions i want answered - some will hurt to ask and hurt him to answer but I feel that if we are to even contemplate moving forward i need these issues resolved. my dad says "you can't build a house on a foundation of rubble". i like that analagy, i think it spurs me on to try and re-create or perhaps re-invent a smooth (-ish!) foundation from which to build on.

      thanks all for listening to my ranting!

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    2. More to the point, I'd like the husbands to respond how do *they* attempt to stop the cycle of pre-affair emotion that leads them to it: Example, you have a new baby, he feels "neglected", seeks out comfort elsewhere. That seems to be a common theme (new babies), although that was not my case. A friend of mine likes to say "guys are happy if they're getting a piece of a$$ and they don't have to do any of the (percieved) crap work (kids, doctor appointments, relationship "work")"

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  5. Wow! Amazing, strong website. I too have "been there" (still married)....and then founded a nonprofit organization that offers free, confidential, one-to-one telephonepeer counseling to women coping w/ husband's infidelity. The marriage may end, the marriage may remain: but we believe healing is possible. It starts with this: It is not my fault.

    Call us anytime (650) 521-5897 x 101 or via our website www.infidelitycounselingnetwork.org. We're based in the San Francisco area but serve women everywhere.

    Laura Steuer
    Executive Director
    Infidelity Counseling Network

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  6. Hi Elle - I am the Exec Director of Infidelity Counseling Network, you send me a direct message on Twitter but I'm still trying to learn how Twitter works, so here is my email (okay everyone reading this blog, please don't write this down!!): laurafs@juno.com

    Laura Steuer
    Founder & Executive Director
    Infidelity Counseling Network
    www.infidelitycounselingnetwork.org
    counseling line (650) 521-5897 x101

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  7. I want to start by saying how greatful I am to have found you ladies. I don't know what I would have done the last few days without you, without reading the supportive words.

    I actually expericenced a couple of Ddays this last week. My husband has 2 jobs, both relate to the other. One day a week, Fridays, he is in an office job. On Wednesday I found out that my husband is being charged with sexual harassment at the Friday job. I found out, no thanks to him, on Wednesday. I over heard him on his cell phone, he was acting suspicious and nervous, and when I asked him about it he lied. I was his boss at his Friday job. So while he was "busted", so to speak, he spill a portion of the beans. Although he had known about these allegations on Monday and for 2 days said nothing. I think he thought this would all blow over and I would never know. He told me that he was texting, or rather sexting, with his secretary from April to June of 2012. It stopped in June, apparently. He said no more, and left because he "couldn't face me".

    I was so upset, devastated, broken. I was so embarrassed of the charges and what that meant. I felt so naive, I had NO IDEA. Our marriage was wonderful. We have four beatiful sons. He was definitly not lacking in the sex department, ever, infact it was definitly a strength of our marriage. We had been on a wonderful trip at the end of March beginning of April. We rarely argue. Well after reading your posts I realize that none of that necessarily matters.

    Then on Thursday, when I asked him how it could be sexual harassment if it was consentual he really spilled the beans. She had pictures and video footage of my husband doing god knows what. I was sick, I told him to leave.

    And here we are today. He's living in the basement, groveling. Saying similar things that others have posted about their husbands...that it wasnt me, or our marriage, that I am perfect, that it was just a stupid "game". How could it just end? How could I not know? How could he do that and come home to me like nothing happend and use my body? He claims there was no contact between the two of them. I cannot believe that that could possibly be true considering the intimacy of the evidence. But he stands by that. Even if it was true I don't believe anything he says. How can I ever again?

    I can't believe the emotional rollercoaster this is! I love him so much and hate him so much. I am sick, the look of him repulses me, yet I want to hold him and have him hold me. How can I ever have him touch me again? I am so lost. My 2 year old asks why I am sad...it breaks my heart...more, if that's possible. I want to gather my thoughts in a journal, but don't know where to begin. I want to sleep, but can't. I want to turn back time and not have to know this happened at all. But how would that be better? I feel guilt, how could I have prevented this, where was I lacking?

    I just have no words. I can't believe my husband could be so selfish, and claim that his love for me never changed, before, through the affair (I don't even know what to call it), or now. I am a total mess. I see a counselor Thursday. What else can I do to begin to heal. How am I supposed to act around him. I love him so much it kills me, the old him. Please help!

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    1. I hope it comforts you to know that everything you're feeling is normal. We've all been where you are, and we're working on getting through. We've gone through that love him/hate him phase. We've wracked our brains to understand how anyone could do this and HOW COULD WE NOT KNOW. We wonder if we'll ever feel joy again.
      We've been there but many of us aren't there anymore. We've healed, at least to some extent.
      And you will too.
      In the meantime, you need to take care of yourself as best you can. Tell your 2-year-old that Mommy's sad, just like everyone gets sad sometimes but that you're doing your best to feel happy again. Acknowledge what s/he's seeing...but assure him/her that it has nothing to do with them. Kids basically just need to know that you'll continue to be there...the rest will eventually be forgotten.
      And leave your husband to deal with the fallout from his behaviour. You can't protect him. Continue to hold your head high. You've done nothing wrong.
      Journalling is a great idea. Don't worry about where to start. Begin where you are right this second. Write your rage and your pain and your sadness.
      It will subside with time...and you'll get clear on what your next steps are.

      Elle

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  8. To gathering the pieces, I'm so sorry to read your story and really feel how devastated you are. I'm not an expert, I guess none of us are, but as someone whose D-Day was over 5 months ago I want to tell you, to ASSURE you that this too shall pass. You won't feel like it now but you need to eat, sleep, cuddle your beautiful sons, be kinder to yourself now then you've ever been, confide to very trusted friends or family if you can. No one will judge you-you have been placed in this awful situation by a husbands thoughtless and stupid actions.

    Therapy will help enormously-I started therapy when my new baby was 4 weeks old, I understand what it's like to HAVE to get out of bed in the morning to make breakfasts, brush teeth of little ones and dispatch them off to school. I can't describe how hard it is to be good mom, betrayed and devastated wife, daughter or sister and having to hide the full extent of your pain. Be selfish-spend as much time as you can avoiding situations or events that will put pressure on you and instead focus on those who will help your healing.

    I can't over emphasise how helpful this site has been and despite us girls not knowing each other, I genuinely feel further along this path of healing because of reading others experiences. It helped so much to know that thoughts, feelings, emotions and mini breakdowns I experienced were all normal. Draw from these experiences, rant, rage, ask questions-everyone here can identify with what you are going through and can help.

    It sounds like you have a strong marriage, lovely family and shared wonderful times-if you both agree to be completely honest through this process and go through the grief and confusion and anger together you may find that he is still the person you need to be with and that he made very bad mistakes-I never thought I'd say this but bad bad mistakes do not mean he is a bad person.

    I hope the counselling goes well for you both, stay in touch and take care. Lucy

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  9. Hi Lucy - I'm sorry I didn't answer your questions from above. I was approaching my 2 year anniversary of DDay and at the beginning of the month was doing pretty well but as the date approached I started losing it a bit. I was really frustrated with myself and with life that I felt so bad again... 2 whole years later. It felt like all the work I put in, all the work my H put in, all the work WE put in together was flushing down the toilet. The anticipation of DDay was really setting me back, and we had been doing so well. Grr - I hate you, affair, for doing this to me. A year ago I would have said that I hated my H for doing this to me. I'm not trying to shift blame, but I no longer hate my husband the person, I hate what he did and I hate that this is something I and we have to live with. DDay came & went. I was really, really busy that day & didn't have all that much time to think about it -- thankfully! -- and now that it's a couple of days behind me I can think much more positively. The anticipation was what was hard, not the actual day. My twins' 2nd birthday is this Friday & I'm focused on their current toddler-hood and NOT what my life was like 2 years ago as I was about to give birth. Today I was even able to look at a picture from their birth-day and didn't spiral downward thinking about what a rotten SOB my H was then.

    Now, regarding your questions. I'm not sure how you start to believe your husband when he tells you he loves you. I don't think my H lovED (past tense) me the way he should have, but at the same time I don't think he didn't love me either. Now he loves me differently, better... we've been as raw as 2 people could be together. I am an extremely calm, rather nice (if I do say so myself!) gal and I screamed at him at the top of my lungs and then alternated coldly telling him I was plotting his death and the OW's death (all true). We have been to hell & are on the way back. We truly know "the bad & the ugly" and are on our way to knowing more "good" than we ever knew before. I guess I think that's how you know. Hard to trust again, but I guess if you've had to be starkly honest with each other then it just changes you?

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    1. I love this post, I too have plotted their demise this pay few wks and was going to blame it on post natal depression.... Needless to say I've came to my senses and now know that Karma will be their judge x

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  10. (Part 2)

    Ah, the "cycles" of emotions! I really was on an upward trajectory and then 2 year anniversary came on the scene. Will 3 year anniversary be as bad? 2 year anniversary was WAY better than the 1 year so I'm hopeful that 3 is better than 2, 4 better than 3, etc. Will we ever *forget* the day? Not sure. People don't forget the date of the death of a loved one, and this to me was a real death. The pain doesn't sting as much but the date is always still there perhaps. Hoping these temporary dips, though, and that the rest of life feels pretty darn beautiful having experienced such pain.

    Good God, I *hope* I'm not talking about this forever! I too feel like its always with me and it was defining me (in my own mind) but that part is fading. It's something horrendous that happened to me but it's not me anymore. This reminds me -- I went to college with a sweet, beautiful, amazing woman who had a large bright pink horizontal scar across her neck. One night she confided in me that she had an anniversary of sorts coming up -- the 2 year anniversary of when she had been carjacked by two men who proceeded to rape her & took a knife to her throat, assuming they were killing her. She pretended to be dead & then walked naked through the snow to a farmhouse where some elderly folks called an ambulance for this brutalized teenager. It seemed unreal. I couldn't imagine how she survived, physically or emotionally. Her parents sent her 2 dozen roses that year, her 2 year anniversary, with a card that told her she's the strongest, most beautiful person in the world. She told me that she didn't want this to define her in her own mind, but it was hard with the bright pink scar staring at her in the mirror every time she looked. We lost touch after college and now, almost 20 years later (gulp), we're friends on Facebook and I see her smiling beautiful face and don't see her scar. I have no idea if she had plastic surgery or if it faded over the years. But I don't see it and I just see her big smile. I have a feeling that it doesn't define her anymore and I keep thinking to myself 'If she can do it, so can it!' Our scars WILL fade, ideally with might & time. We can heal!

    xo - Erica

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    1. Wow Erica, that's quite a story about your friend. And an apt analogy I think. I'm six years out from D-Day #1...and I confess the date has become a bit fuzzy for me. My husband and I aim to do our Christmas shopping together each year on that date. And this year, I could't recall if D-Day was the 10th or 11th of December. What's more, it has become a day I look forward to. We shop, have lunch and just enjoy each other's company. Who would've guessed, huh?

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  11. I just cannot believe how strong you women are! I have my first counseling session tomorrow. I hope it finds me a little clarity. How can I become to think that he is not a bad person, horrible husband, etc? I haven't had a chance to scream at him and yell and tell him I hate him and everything he stands for! How can it ever be the same?!?!? Really bad day today...

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  12. Ladies, wow you are all inspirationl, it feels like you are reading my mind, Lucy and gatheringthepieces, it's like you're living/lived my exact nightmare. I've been married 14yrs, been together 17, since school, he is the hottest, most loving man, I always felt so smug about how bulletproof we were. We have 3 beautiful kids, 5, 18months & 5months.he is a wonderful father & loving husband. We have regular 'date nights' and a fabulous sex life, we lunch, we laugh and our house is full of fun, our friends call us 'The Waltons'! We have a beautiful home, are healthy and lucky people, my husband is a cop so works odd shift rotations, so we often get midweek time to share together and we love and laugh each minute, it was pretty perfect, I was happy.......then on 4th Jan I found out,he had a 'girlfriend' WTF? How? Why? I knew his every move..except I didnt, he'd been going to work a little early or staying a little late, but infact he's been with her. I'm lost, alone, devastated, my rock has just crumbled, he's been seeing her since may12 when I was 7months pregnant.I'm amazed I didn't notice the signs? What signs? I pick up on. 'everything' why did I not see this? He last has sex with her 2nd Jan and left us on Xmas night, saying he was nightshift to spend it with her? Eh? I'm not computing this! I've spoken to a counsellor twice and speaking again to her next week. He's like a shadow of his former self, having lost 25lbs in just under 3wks, he's on antidepressants, and was referred to a physcotherapist crisis team for monitoring as the the doctor thought he was a danger to himself. He appears bewildered with his behaviour, ashamed, embarrased. Said he never thought it would come to this, it would fizzle out, said she was an ego boost, and sorry to be crude, but that she was the equivilent of a w#nk. She's 7years older than me and honestly not a patch on me, I. I take care of myself, always am well presented,well dressed with good manners, I'm curvy but ain't most mums of 3, but not overweight. She's a scrawny blond, not attractive at all, honestly I can't get over it? He's in bed (guest room) now reading a marriage counselling book on how to recover from an affair, I'm sitting in a daze having a wine? What on earth do I do? I've spoke to divorce lawyer, I love and hate him at same time? What's worse, the deceit or the sexual acts?, I'm totally confused. Please help

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    1. Nadia,
      Most of us would write the exact same story -- it's amazing how similar our experiences are. And yet, when we're going through it, we think we're so alone.
      The important thing to know is that you're NOT alone and you WILL get through this.
      So much of your story is similar: the OW is nothing special, the husband can't believe he did this, the wife can't understand how she didn't know...
      In the short term, simply trust that you'll move through stages -- anger, sadness, fear, numbness. Sometimes a dozen emotions within a day. An hour!
      Your husband too will experience a wide range. Relief at not hiding anymore. Guilt and shame at what he's done. Anger. Fear. Etc.
      As best you can, let yourself feel your feelings while not acting on them. Give yourself time to truly absorb what's happened before you make any big decisions. Most experts recommend waiting six months to a year. For now, focus on keeping things as normal as possible for your kids, while allowing yourself the chance to vent/rage/sob/analyze/zone out.
      If you haven't already, get yourself a counsellor to help you through. Your husband likely has access to one through work and he'd be wise to take advantage of the chance to work through how he allowed himself to do this.
      Keep reading here. You'll find lots of info. There are some good books around too, including Shirley Glass' classic: Not Just Friends.
      And feel free to keep posting. We're a compassionate group who, unfortunately, know exactly what you're going through. But on the up side, we can remind you that this pain won't last forever.

      Elle

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  13. Nadia,
    I absolutely know how you feel. Like life is in neutral! I think to myself...6 MONTHS!!!!! I'll be in a psych ward by then! I know how it feels to face your children when you really want to be in the dark under the covers. How dare they feel depressed! How dare they shed a tear! Are you kidding me!!! I want to tell him to save his tears, he did this. Why should he be hurting while he was having a good ol time and we are holding down the fort so to speak.

    One minute I want to hold him and remember the old him, our true love. what a sham! The next I want to beat on his chest and tell him how much I hate what he's done to us! I loved my life...it's so devastating. I want to know why...every detail...I want to talk to his coworkers...did they know? Did anyone tell him how stupid he is? I'm learning to control my thoughts. The answers to those questions won't change how broken and lost I feel. If anything they will make me relive it, have something to add to my crazed visions of him and her.

    The counseling has helped. I see things in a new light. I feel stronger for this minute and that's something. I am just do thankful I have you ladies to give me support. To know that I will be ok. Maybe WE will be ok...maybe. I see a glimmer of hope. I hope it's still here tomorrow.

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    1. I hope it is for you too darling. I wouldn't wish this heartbreak and confusion on my worst enemy

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  14. Thanks Elle, it's still such early days for me, I look at him and although I recognise him I don't know him anymore. We went to a couples counselling last week, was a complete waste of time, too soon maybe? We're going again in 3weeks and are both getting help, me from a counsellor and him from a psycotherapist, as he suffers from PTSD from time served in Iraq. we moved into our dream home 3wks before we had our daughter in July,we've renovated and decorated every room, our eldest daughter started school this year too, but now all that's tainted by his betrayal, he has even brought her here to see the house and has taken my babies to her grubby flat. He said he wanted to 'show off' what he had, a big house and beautiful kids. I'm disgusted in him. His own family and friends have ALL turned their backs on him, I feel obliged to help him get better for our kids sake. He has no where to GO and no-one will take him, he doesn't want her, he told her so, (very unpleasantly) on the day I confronted her. He says he became complacent. With his lot in life but now knows it us me and the kids he wants, he adores us., I believe this but if he loved us enough, how could he let this happen? In addition, and I'm now very ashamed of this, the sexual tention between us last week was immense, we had a thing, it was as if I wanted to show him I could be as hot and sexy as the OW, but it just left me feeling cheap, my friend says that was probably some primeval instinct to 'mark my territory' but Now I can't even look at him. God ladies I'm physically hurting inside, the pain is too much, my beautiful daughter is not even 6months old yet and I'm wishing her little life away, cause I just want to sleep fora year and wake up happier. It's all so unbearable, I'm heartbroken, thanks for listening, I know you all have felt the same, and have became stronger, God Bless each and everyone of you x

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    1. Check out the post on this site on "Hysterical bonding" to help you sort through the "sexual tension" you described. Like you, I wanted my husband to be emotionally healthy if only for my kids' sake. Having a messed up dad doesn't serve them well. And I know it's hard for you to see now, but I can imagine serving in Iraq is enough to screw up anyone's sense of right and wrong in this world. Hard to keep a moral compass when our world is so crazy and we're staring down death. Not an excuse, of course. But perhaps an explanation for how he got lost?

      Elle

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  15. You should be a therapist Elle! Oh wait.... You already are, to all of us, you talk a lot of sense even if I can't see the woods for the trees yet. Thank you x

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  16. Nadia & Gatheringthepieces & others - Just wanted to let you that we're all here for you. My H had a 5 month affair when I was pregnant. (What is it with the pregnancy thing that drives men to affairs?!?!) I found out about it a week before giving birth to our twins. Devastation barely describes how I felt. Utter hopelessness, intense rage, shame, hatred, disgust... you name it, I felt it. It's now 2 years later (it's my twins 2 year birthday today!) and life does change A LOT. We were just at our marriage counselor today reflecting on how different life is now - it can never be the same, but we've grown in ways we never thought we would. I'm not going to lie to you and say it's all flowers & unicorns & rainbows with big pots of gold underneath. We still struggle - *I* still struggle with his former actions - but there's no longer that stinging intense pain. (And I've gained back all the weight I lost following DDay!) Best of luck and, again, we're here for you!

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    1. Erica,
      Happy birthday to your babies! And I'm so glad you're feeling better about your marriage. It is still a struggle -- was for me until about five years out (which had seemed like an eternity when I was still freshly betrayed). But life started to seem...normal after that. We still have our issues. I don't know any married couple that doesn't have a few hurdles to clear as life goes on.
      And thank-you for all you contribute to this site with your wisdom and your compassion. We're the better for having you here.

      Elle

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    2. Very sweet, Elle. Thank you very much.

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  17. I actually read Nadia's post with my mouth wide open...catching flies, not because I couldn't believe what I was reading, I now believe anyTHING of anyBODY. I was so astounded because like you Nadia, my husband is a police officer, my baby is not yet 6 months and my eldest is starting school. As Elle always says, it's amazing how similar our experiences are.

    Erica also has had the heartache of an affair infiltrating her precious pregnancy, sadly so have we.

    Some days I am quite positive but I'm not expecting miracles. When I was just about 2 weeks from D-Day I stumbled across this site...I tell you, it has been educational! The girls in this "club" are nothing short of inspirational. When I learned that it was a good idea not to make major decisions for 6 months I wanted to throw up so gatheringthepieces I and we all know exactly what you're thinking...6 months?? 6 full months...half a goddamn year?? In the days following D-Day my injured soul, heart and brain could not even compute how long a time that was. I am 5 months out next week...and I genuinely didn't feel the months passing. I think most of our time as newly betrayed wives is spent on auto pilot. Elle has spoken in previous posts about the aftermath and dealing with home and kids. It is hard. I would be quite surprised if my newborns first words aren't "daddy" followed closely by "idiot!". In a strange way I was glad that my kids were the age they were. The baby was only 3 weeks old and did nothing but sleep, eat and poop and the elder girl was shipped off to pre-school each morning and was actually dressed and had a full lunch box! This time was full of tears, shouting, visits from concerned family, offers to take the kids for days out, going over and over the details, questions, name calling. There is nothing there that you all haven't done and that in itself helped, to know I wasnt a psycho. We started marriage counselling 2 weeks after d day. Wow, that was interesting. I often wondered the same...was it too soon? In hindsight, I don't think it was. I/we needed it. It was hard...it still is but I promise you, it's getting easier. We still go each week and sometimes I wish I could bottle the good feelings I leave with, they were few and far between in the early days

    I often wonder do husbands "self sabotage". On paper (and usually in reality too) things are great, wonderful family life, job, interests and then...bang! Behaviour that makes us as wives think "did we ever really know him at all". Is it relief from stressful jobs? Was it that baby bump and now the lumps and bumps? Will I even get over this? I guess there is no manual-no guide for how long healing will take, no magic wand to "de-affair" and erase all memories. I am living in hope like everyone who cares enough about their marriages that happier days lie ahead, that significant "affair related dates" fade to the back of my mind and that we will be somehow better for all of this

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    1. Lucy, its just insane how our experiences are so similar. I'm having a weird few days, I feel quite powerful (with just an undercurrent of disgust, that makes me want to be sick in my own mouth) and got up today, got dressed, done my hair and went shopping, bought some new sexy underwear,(for my benefit, not his) to make me feel more beautiful) and got 2 compliments on my hair 1on my jacket, 1 on my boots and 1 on my handbag!I felt confident today that I am becoming a woman who a man will need and not a woman who needs a man, I know I can do this on my own, 3 kids and still have fabulous hair! (with a little help from family and friend of course to get me through the bad hair days). I can't see me forgiving him, when I think of the deceit and sexual betrayal.So I'm working on myself now, and makingsure one day i'll be able to go it alone x

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  18. Lucy,
    You give me hope knowing I am capable of surviving 5 months post Dday, if you have. I feel optimistic that I can forgive and work towards a functional marriage one day and the next I want to move out and never see his face again. I am so ashamed of often resenting my poor beautiful 2 year old son, who has nothing to do with this, but if he weren't here my H wouldn't have to be in my life forever. I could just leave and see my teenagers, without having any contact with him. H is still living in the basement. It is exhausting being so sad and angry, but I feel like treating him nicely is mistreating myself. He doesn't want to answer my questions, and the kids are always home so we don't have any privacy...EVER. I'm sure he prefers it that way. When I do ask him questions he says he doesn't remember the details, or the story changes from the last time I've asked. How do I trust a word he says when his story changes?!?!? Like at least friggin get it right!!! I guess a years worth of lying he doesn't know the truth from the lies!!! I know he's not communicating with her because she is raking him over the coals professionally. I find comfort in knowing she is hurting him...he wants me to be supportive HAHAHA! Is he kidding me!!! How do I go about going that exactly?!?! I just don't know at this point what details I need and which ones I don't? I can't just move on... I can't feel better... I can't be vulnerable to him! I just want to wake up from this nightmare. I'm so thankful for the support here.

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    1. Gathering,
      What if, for just a few minutes or a half-hour, you gave up holding on so tightly to your anger? What would that feel like? I wonder if you're holding on to anger because it's easier than giving in to the hurt and fear that usually hides behind anger. But you're right that being so angry and sad is exhausting.
      And, ultimately, you're only harming yourself. Letting go, for even briefly, of that anger isn't mistreating yourself. It's giving yourself a break. It's allowing yourself to take a breath. It's trusting that, without that anger, you won't disappear into a black hole. It's giving yourself the tiniest chance to see that life does go on. And that you will someday be able to let go of all that and simply be at peace. But you have to let go...just a little bit.

      Elle

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    2. Gathering,
      It sounds like your family situation makes it really hard to talk, which sounds very hard & I imagine is building up steam in you. I agree with Elle about lessening the grip on some of the anger, but I also know it's so @#$%^! hard if you're not getting answers or, worse yet, inconsistent answers. Sounds like your husband is doing 'trickle truth' - not telling the whole truth at once. If you were to call him on it - as our marriage counselor did with my H - and explain to him how destructive it is, maybe he'll 'get it' and start to answer fully. Another idea is to ask him to write it down - a timeline or even just answers to your questions. My husband had a hard time verbally answering me (in part because I'd get upset/angry/hurt but also because of a deep shame at what he'd done). I wrote him questions and asked him to write answers. It would annoy him when I'd then write follow-up questions but sometimes they were warranted. This felt a bit more 'dispassionate' (to use an odd word) but allowed for more truth to come out.

      Hang in there - I asked a gazillion questions. Many people only want the storyline (when did it start, how often did you see her, when did it end, etc.) but I wanted the nitty gritty details - even (gross) sexual positions. It was heartbreaking, yes, but I felt that I had to uncover every.single.detail to feel like my H was telling me the truth. You can't un-know things (and there are details I probably wish now that I didn't know) but overall I'm glad I took the approach I did. It's not for everyone... as several here suggested, the 24 hour guide is very helpful. Good luck!

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  19. I'm sorry this is an uncharacturistically short post and rather off topic but to Erica, happy birthday to your little treasures and I hope the D-Day anniversary wasn't as charged as last year, each year will get easier I'm guessing.

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    1. Thank you, Lucy!
      The DDay anniversary this year was waaaaay better than year 1. The anticipation was hard both years, but it's over now and I was able to just focus on having a little birthday party for two 2-year-olds! Thanks for the kind words, Lucy!

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