Monday, May 5, 2014

Excuses, Forgiveness and Cynicism

A BWC member recently posted this:
It seems so simple to label the affair as fantasy and the cheating spouse as addicted; in a fog and damaged people who looked outside of the marriage for fulfillment. That all makes it almost palatable. It allows us to stay in the mariage to understand and excuse and forgive. Right? When I look at the person he was or was capable of being,I question all of those excuses and explanations we use to help us get by and through; to try to forgive. There is something inside of me that just cannot accept the way he treated me. The deliberate abandonement and manipulation and deceipt. It was'nt a made for tv movie discovery-one day I find out and the affair ends or maybe it doesnt end right away but eventually without all of the carnage. I allowed myself to hold on to save the marriage, to save this poor, addicted, needy person from making the biggest mistake of his life. Ha! In the meantime, I laid down and sacraficed so much of myself under the guise that I was gonig to save my marriage. He did eventually come around-out of the fog. He promises to make it up to me-whatever that means. How do you make up for murdering someones soul? Where do we go from here? How do we reconcile all of the damage?
How do we reconcile all the damage Where do we go from here? Haven't we all asked ourselves those questions? Haven't many of us wondered if, by extending forgiveness, we're giving our spouse an easy out? A way to avoid the consequences of their actions? That we're the ones paying the price for their crime?
We're left with a hole where our heart used to be, while our husbands got to have this exciting affair. That we were dragged through the mud, while they come back to an intact family. That they don't have to pay for their mistake the way we do.
Which, I suppose, is kinda true. And if we're approaching our post-betrayal lives as accountants, then it never will be even. The ledger will never really balance.
So what do we do?
We can rage and wail and scream that it's not fair, which is something many (I am, of course, referring to myself) do. We can kick him out and file for divorce, which seems reasonable under the circumstances. 
Or we can, as our writer says, come with up excuses or explanations for our spouse's behaviour and try to piece together what's left of our marriage in the hope that it can withstand the storm.
The choice is always ours. What we don't get to choose is that it happened at all. 
We have been betrayed. And that will never be "fair".
We can choose to feed our sense of injustice. We can become cynical and tell ourselves that we've created "excuses" to help us get by. 
But there is a cost to approaching it that way. 
I believe that examining the reasons behind my husband's cheating gave me a deeper understanding of and compassion for him. I could look at it as creating palatable excuses that allowed me to stay in the marriage. It might be technically true. 
But it isn't helpful. 
Even if I wasn't going to stay in the marriage, looking at his behaviour as simply the actions of a deplorable human being doesn't take me where I want to go, to a deeper understanding of human nature. To a place of compassion for my children's father. 
Nor does it take me to a place of deeper compassion for myself. By recognizing that my husband's behaviour was the result a deep wound inside himself, I was able to extend that compassion to myself. I was able, for the first time in my life, to recognize that I didn't have to be perfect to be worthy of love. Aspiring for perfection didn't protect me. It kept people at arm's length. In other words, I allowed myself to heal. 
You ask how we "reconcile the damage." I don't think we do. I don't think we ever get where we want to go by cataloguing the damage and figuring out which column it goes in. 
If we do any "reconciling", I think we take a long hard dispassionate look at what our spouse is doing to make up for what he did. Not what he did then but what he's doing now. 
If he truly deserves a second chance (and not all guys do...not by a long shot), then you get to decide if you're the one who gives it to him. You don't have to. You're completely within your rights to say, "nope" and move on. 
But if you do decide to give him a second chance, then really give it to him. Set up your boundaries around what you need to move forward and then give him the chance to show you that he can become that better person. You may be disappointed again. Life, unfortunately, doesn't offer guarantees. 
But the alternative is to be disappointed again no matter what he does. To live your life in a state of disappointment because of what already happened.
I write this as much to remind myself as anyone else. My one big lesson, that I seem to need to learn over and over, is that people can disappoint me...and still be worth loving. That they can disappoint me and still love me as well as they can. And that I can disappoint myself...and still be worth loving. 
I know it feels like he "murdered your soul." I know how deep and dark that pain is. But let your soul light the way out. It knows the way.



30 comments:

  1. At 59 I have learned life is not fair...I lost a father and a sister to cancer before I was 12...
    My kids didn't get their first choices for colleges and they have experienced disappointing relationships...but all that being said I never expected to be on the survive infidelity road either...but here I am. 18 months ago my world changed. It felt like something out of my norm...but here I am today still very much in love if not even more so.I am still standing....breathing...and on the forgiveness road...by my own choosing ht the way. Will I ever forget? I think we ALL know the answer to that. But I think I'd rather be in my shoes than my husbands. Did it feel good for him? Oh yea...but it came with a cost...and he has and is doing the work to figure out why and how that guy ever existed.
    thank you for your gift of writing and sharing your life story with us.
    L

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  2. Elle, you are so right. If that didn't make sense to me already, I wouldn't still be here working through this hurt.
    While I quickly found compassion for my husband and developed an understanding that he cheated because of his own failure to take control of his life, it wasn't until he started understanding that for himself that I was bought in to reconciliation. I gave him some time to figure that out for himself. Once he could acknowledge the addiction, escapist tendencies, early childhood issues, adhd and more that was going on for him, I knew he was going to do the deep healing he needed to do to become a better person. I would not have stayed if I believed he was a bad person. I believed that he was a deeply troubled person who made terrible decisions but was also very capable of self reflection and personal insight.I let him know that I wasn't going to let him use his shame to hide the truth from himself. I gave him a little time to figure this out on his own (interspersed with lots of screeching at him, of course) and he finally found the deeper answers for his behavior. That is the only way I could accept him back. I don't deserve less.
    It still hurts like hell, though.

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    1. MBS,
      The hurt fades with time. But I, more than 7 years out, can still hurt. What I've discovered, though, is that the hurt arises when I begin telling myself stories about what his cheating meant. It arises when something happens to trigger my deepest hurts (a month or so ago, I overheard a woman sorta making fun of me at a party) and then I tumble down that rabbit hole that seems to bottom out with "any my own husband couldn't even stay faithful to me!" as if that's proof positive that I am as vile as "everyone" (ie. my own self) thinks I am.
      I'm glad to hear though that you're doing really well. Your comments on this post help a lot of people and enrich the whole conversation.

      Elle

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    2. You are right about how the hurt arises when I start to feel triggered about my worth. Even when he isn't the one that causes it, if something else happens and i feel unappreciated or judged, I just plunge into self-loathing and I retreat. My sense of self worth was low for my whole life. I started finding it in my late 30s and even hit a peak of self worth in the months before d-day. But now I am back to square one--feeling like when I was a terribly insecure kid and teenager--a failure at life, judged, and unlikeable. Thankfully, I am an adult who can mostly see that this has nothing to do with me, but with hurts from long ago. Hopefully, I get to heal this, now.

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    3. MBS,
      That's your job now...to heal yourself so that, no matter what anyone else does, your able to recognize that it's about them and not you.

      Elle

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    4. These posts are so timely, it's like you ladies have read my mind. My last few really depressed days weren't about the affair, but my own psychological rehashing of my teenage (and college and even postgrad) years of deep seated insecurity. I have always been an introvert and felt socially inept or stunted. My husband is quite the opposite. Once we started dating, he was my social life. That all went by the wayside with the kids. Even before the affair, I was home with the kids while he periodically went out with coworkers. Affair or not, this was always a sore point for me, but I buried my feelings. Recently I was triggered into the same depressed reaction to his going out without me, only magnified about 1000 fold. Perhaps because in my head I was saying to myself "the affair wouldn't have happened if I were more sociable, or more fun, or more extroverted." Or perhaps because I always figured that was one of the perks of being in a relationship (you always had a date for Saturday night). The salt on the wound was that the date was with someone else. So the affair served to make my own underlying deep seated insecurity unbearable.

      What really helped was reading the above series of blogs, seeing that other women were experiencing the same feelings. That and also telling my husband, which I would have never done pre-D day. I would have just said I was fine, which was my standard shove everything under the rug response. And his solution: dinner reservations for this weekend at one of my favorite restaurants.

      I'll take it.

      Sam

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  3. Sorry, I just can't stomach that. There was no pitiable "wound" inside my husband, no compassion inspiring "reasons" that will make me feel wiser. Just drunken selfishness. We had been to counseling, I had/have made changes to accommodate his needs. I did things that were embarrassing and even physically painful in order to satisfy him. He had requested that we terminate counseling. "I'm satisfied" he said "I am so happy now." Wow! Did I feel good. Good about our marriage, good about him, good about myself. I felt so safe and secure. BAHAHAHA! Joke's on me ... About a month or so later he ended up with someone less than half my age, in our bed, in a a town of 364 people. Try to get away from THAT!!! Ugh! What a stupid, stupid fool I was. Year and a half later ... am I still with him? Yep. I can't see me being a "winner" either way. I leave and that could be the stupidest thing I ever do, or I stay and it could be the stupidest thing I ever do. I get the broken shards of "my life" to work with either way.

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    1. I'm so sorry for the pain you're in. And I know that feeling well of "damned if I do, damned if I don't..."
      Why are you still with him? I'm curious too about the info you provided re. the counselling. You mention that you made changes, you did things that (from the sounds of it) violated your emotional/physical boundaries to "satisfy" him, and then he decided to terminate counselling. Where are you in all of this? What about your needs? What about your comfort?
      I get the sense that you've sort of abandoned yourself in all of this. That he's the one calling the shots.
      What is it you believe about yourself both personally and within the relationship? Why would leaving him be the "stupidest" thing you could ever do? Why would staying be the "stupidest" (though I can see that being true if he refuses to take responsibility for what he did and commit to making deep changes in himself)?
      You can only get to a place of compassion for him if you can get to a place of compassion for yourself. For being a loving, loyal wife who was blindsided through no fault of her own.
      And I remain convinced that nobody (except a sociopath) cheats on a loyal, loving wife unless there's something deeply hurt in him that he can't face.
      Whether or not you stay or go (and it may seem like an overwhelming choice but give yourself time to sort it through) is your choice and should be based on what is best for you right now. You can't ever predict what will happen -- for good or bad. You can only learn to trust yourself now.
      You deserve better than "broken shards". We all do. But nobody is going to give that to us; we need to create it.

      Elle

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    2. I do have better moments than this ... being told to feel compassion for him is a real trigger. That's what he and the counselor kept trying to shove down my throat. All the while I'm saying ... "am I required to do all this stuff in order to be a good wife?" She said: "No, you could be a perfectly good wife for someone as you are. Your boundaries are legitimate, and reasonable. But to be a good wife to HIM, maybe yes".

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    3. Whoops. Just noticed your response (above).
      I get that being asked to feel compassion can be a trigger. And you don't owe him anything, including compassion.
      In my experience, however, the only way I was finally able to separate what he did from who he was, was to allow myself to see him as fully human and flawed and, therefore, deserving of my compassion. Only then could I let myself off the hook for what HE had done and realize, fully, that it had nothing to do with me. So by being able to extend compassion to him, I was finally able to extend it to myself.
      And I think your counsellor is right (though nobody should be shoving anything down your throat!) in that, in order to stay in the marriage and have any hope of rebuilding it, compassion will be necessary. Without it, he will continue to be a morally compromised "other".
      I don't think you can force compassion. It comes from being able to open yourself to the possibility that, given the exact same life as his, you might have made the same choice. Truth is, none of us will ever know how we might behave. And we're fooling ourselves if we think otherwise.

      Elle

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  4. I discovered my husbands affair of two years in Feb of this year. The 25th to be exact. I was crushed, broken in soul, heart and mind. I felt deceived, betrayed, lied to, made to believe I was crazy. Ignoring my gut instinct. He told me I was being too sensitive, to possessive, to controlling. NO! I was right. Shame on me for not listening to my heart, my brain, my gut. Intuition is a powerful feeling, a strange and wonderful tool. To be able to harness its power is one thing I am learning to do. To listen to myself.
    The past two months have been full of upheaval, pain, and turmoil. Not just for me, but for my family. The affair ended the day I found out. We remain together right now, more out of convenience. Financially and personally. Do I still love him? Yes. Did I forgive him? I forgave him as a person. As people we are fallible, and flawed. Sound cynical? Maybe, but none of us is perfect. I will never forgive what he did; made a conscious choice to have a an intimate relationship with another woman. Another MARRIED woman.
    We are both in therapy. Separately for now. Maybe in the future we will start couples counselling. But for now there are to many raw nerves on both sides that need to be taken care of. We may eventually decide that there is no marriage left to counsel. But for now, we are together. I feel stronger these days. Not so angry, or sad. But that is this week. Last week I couldn't say the same. I am healing myself first. I can't even begin to try to heal my marriage right now. The best I could do was forgive him. For myself. For my kids. He is still here. This is where he made a GOOD choice. He chose to stay. To work, to try. I can't control his actions or thoughts, as much as I would love to. BUT I can control mine. So I continue down this long road of recovery and healing. Not for US but for ME. I am a work in progress.

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    1. Tooti,
      You're going to be just fine. You've got a good perspective on this and it's wise to focus on your healing right now. Whether or not you want to rebuild the marriage will become clearer as you get stronger. You're an inspiration.

      Elle

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  5. Yeah, my boundaries were violated. I was told that my boundaries were too restrictive. By him, and the counselor, who BTW said "open marriages can be a very good thing", And ... "If he wants sex 6 times a day there is nothing wrong with that." (Ouch ... I tried ... I really did.) Well I told them both that an open marriage would truly mean OPEN. He was shocked and disappointed. He hadn't thought that far. It became evident that every time I'd "step it up" the bar was going to be raised in the middle of my jump. It was not possible for me to do enough. So I tried things I didn't want to do, and found them humiliating and painful. Ok ... so my efforts WERE appreciated and that is why he said he was happy, and that he was tired of going to counseling. THEN after all his declarations of satisfaction and happiness ... along comes Skankity Twoshoes. After 28 years of being faithful he tumbles into bed with her.
    Where am I? What about my comfort? Guess he and the counselor had me believing that all I needed to do was open my mind, meet his needs, and everthing would be wonderful. What a crock.
    Wow, I sound angry ... Guess maybe that's good after all this time. :)

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    1. Your counselor sounds like an idiot. Did he/she ever consider the possibility that your husband may be a sex addict? Loosening your boundaries a bit is one thing... but 6 times a day is insanity. And as for the open relationship thing... I have known many people who have gone down that road. Many. My very firm opinion is this: folks who promote the poly lifestyle can be very convincing. They are often smooth talkers and well-versed in the "selling points" of being in an open relationship. But 99% percent of the time, it does not work. So not only do you still have a screwed up relationship... now you have the additional complication of having other people involved! It is a load of crap, wrapped in a package of pretty words and self-deception on the part of those who tout it. It's a screwed up way of avoiding what needs to be done: make your monogamous relationship work, or become single again. Period.
      Your counselor should find a different career path. Clearly he/she has failed at this one.

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    2. I agree. Your counsellor is a moron. Unfortunately there are plenty of therapists out there who are lousy at this. (I know of one psychiatrist who had an affair with the husband of the couple she was counselling.) However, there are also some great counsellors out there, and they can do so much to guide you toward a healthier place.
      And yes, expressing your outrage about this can be a really liberating thing to do. It reminds us that this is NOT our fault. That we do NOT deserve this.
      Just be sure not to make anger a way of life. Express it...and then get down to the business of moving forward in a way that empowers you.

      Elle

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  6. Elle,
    Thank you for responding to my post on being stuck in your blog. I appreciate the value of forgiveness and an optimisitc perspective as the way to happiness and enlightenment. It all seems so deliberate, though. The fact that the betrayed spouses work daily to be selfless in their pursuit for forgiveness seems contradictory. It unsettling to me that forever I will have to work on those parts of myself that were broken because of the affair. FOREVER. The affair and the destruction cannot be undone. It's a life sentence-to heal yourself and the marriage. I hope that one day this process is not just something I understand and know but something that I KNOW internally-to feel the forgiveness and the compassion and the understanding without needing to think about it and drill down into the suffering.

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    1. Forgiveness really confuses people (including me) but here's what I understand about it: it's never about saying that what he did was okay. Never. It IS about recognizing that you can't change what happened and that you're no longer going to hang on to what happened for any reason other than the insight it has provided into yourself and your spouse/ex-spouse. That's it.
      As for "forever", there's simply no way to ever know if those broken parts in ourselves might have surfaced for other reasons. We can't know. All we can know is that there are lessons to be learned in suffering. I would go so far as to say we learn lessons ONLY in suffering. And, counter-intuitively, those lessons make our lives richer and sweeter. Only, however, once the pain has been healed.

      Elle

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    2. Elle -

      A few weeks ago, our pastor gave a sermon on forgiveness and he had such a huge response from our congregation (mostly elderly) that he provided a written synopsis the next week. What sticks out to me on this half sheet of paper that is now hung up by my computer screen is - "Forgiveness is a decision to move forward."
      This is what is so hard when we feel like our very soul has been murdered like the BWC member you quote in your blog post. A broken heart just doesn't describe the pain. At 11 months after discovery, it is that raw pain, coupled with fear, that is so hard to deal with on a moment-to-moment basis.
      We have made a decision to move forward with our marriage, and as a couple, and my husband is doing everything I could ask, and more. It is the decision to move forward for who I am now that I can't answer. I have lost myself.

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    3. You have lost yourself. You've lost the person you thought you were -- you likely defined yourself, in part, as the wife of a devoted husband. It's important to note that loss and to grieve that loss. Too often we think that, if we're going to rebuild our marriage, we have to focus on what's ahead. But especially with any sort of trauma (death, betrayal, physical or emotional violation), we really need to take the time to examine what we've had to leave behind or give up -- our idea of our future, for example. Our notion of who our husbands were.
      Give yourself time now to sort out who this new you is. She's clearly someone capable of compassion. She's likely wiser than she was. She's a bit more battered, surely. But her heart is no doubt stronger. More capable of a complicated love. Get to know her over time.

      Elle

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    4. Yes you (and I) will have to work on our broken pieces and marriage FOREVER, but so will our spouses. They are living with it every day too. And although they brought it on themselves and it was thrust upon us, it still sucks for both of us. No it's not fair that we the innocent victims have to go through this, but as I always tell my kids life is not fair.

      I can tell you that for the last 9 months my husband has spent every day trying to show me how important I am to him. He has been trying to make it up to me, and I have been letting him. We spend more time together than we have in a long time, certainly since after our first child was born. He asks me every day how I am doing, and means it. We are closer than ever. And although the most desired I have felt sexually was early on in our relationship, after knowing each other for 20 years and being married for 12, this is the most appreciated, most respected, and most emotionally wanted I have ever felt in our relationship.

      Not to say that the affair was good; I of course would much rather that it had never happened, but at least for the time being I am trying to get as much good out of it as I can. Give yourself time and you will get there too. Not all the time, but at least some of the time.

      Sam

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    5. sam
      I could have written almost exactly what you wrote...
      the only thing I can say is this...every married couple out there needs to work on their marriage...infidelity is one way to break it (a big way of course!) but for US this was a huge wake up call...I think my husband is more loving and open to communicate than ever before...and that made ME more loving and communicative than ever before too...
      as far as that word FOREVER...I would rather try and look at it in a more positive light....yes this will be part of our marital history...but also I will FOREVER be a mother and a daughter...I have made a choice to forgive and it comes in layers like peeling an onion as my IC told me...I feel it creeping in my soul slowly but surely...I also don not want to live on "high alert" for the rest of my life or FOREVER...
      happy mother's day to you all!
      L

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  7. To some degree I agree with the betrayed woman who wrote this letter. My husband is not in a fog because the last affair ended 3 years ago. He now knows he wants to be married (although he claims this was always the case) and says he can give up sexual variety for me. I know I'm a woman & the pressure to score is a heavy one for a man in our society, but he wasn't just sleeping with them-- they did things together went out together. It's not like they were just having sex. So there's more to it than his explanation. But all the things he said were lacking in our marriage during the second affair were not during the first affair. We haven't really discussed the first affairs chronology yet but from what I can gather it was around my first pregnancy. I'm pretty sure it was what I have read so many times-- escaping into a fantasy out of fear if responsibility & fatherhood. But my husband is an otherwise moral & principles physician who came from a strong non- dysfunctional family. He was not damaged. To what extent am I making excuses for him? So what if he was about I become a dad? So what if during the second affair we were having problems in our rut of a marriage where we both resented each other? I was feeling everything too. I didn't cheat.

    He claims he's learned his lesson. That's because things are good now. What happens next time our marriage hits a bump in the road or the next time he faces a major life stress (the former I can prevent to some degree but the latter is a normal part of life). His mom lives with us. What happens when she eventually dies? What happens when our kids move out? What happens when he hits 50 & he sees his opportunity to be with other women disappearing? What happens when we become grandparents? What happens when he retires? Is he going to want to escape by being with another woman every single time?

    I feel as though I have to protect myself from this eventuality somehow; I just haven't figured out how yet.

    Sam

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    1. If he's still saying he cheated because of what was "lacking" in his marriage, then he hasn't fully accepted responsibility. It puts you in a horrible position of feeling you have to ensure nothing is "lacking" again. And that's not fair nor reasonable to expect.
      Sam, he needs to do some serious introspection and stop looking at external circumstances to explain away internal choices. There are a zillion reasons why men cheat -- opportunity, adventure, thrill, loneliness, fear, anxiety, addiction. But those are external. Ultimately it was the man's ability to cross that line that's the problem. So while it's important to understand what his particular drivers might be (a need to feel sexy to women, for example; a need to feel powerful or desired), it still comes down to him needing to recognize that he was telling himself that this was okay. And what was it that made it okay to him?
      When he's clear that the message he was giving himself is NOT okay -- that it hurts the people he loves most and that the payoff isn't worth the cost -- then you'll begin to feel safe in the relationship. I don't think he's there yet. From what you've written here and elsewhere, he's done a masterful job of distancing himself from the pain he's caused.
      You can't be your best self in a marriage in which you feel you need to "protect yourself from this eventuality." None of us can ever predict how our marriage might turn out. But we should at least be operating from a place of believing we'll be able to weather whatever challenges come because we've got each other's backs.

      Elle

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  8. Actually he always asks what can he do to make things better. I don't know. He can't undo what he did. & he volunteers to do things to help me like never before. He is appreciative of everything I do, thanks me for making dinner & thanks me for things that I do to help him in his career. I always helped him but he never acknowledged it much. I feel that he doesn't take me for granted anymore. As I have said, it actually started after the last affair 3 years ago but before d day. Something about that last affair changed our relationship. After the first affair our marriage actually deteriorated, maybe because of the affair, maybe because if the stress of 2 kids combined with a new job & the stress if buying property & building our own home.

    While he tried blaming me at first to explain the most recent affair, he reneged later & said it was his fault; he want being opportunistic accepting whAt he thought would be free sex. Then when I found out about the earlier affair I told him no way is he pinning that one on me, he basically said he saw his opportunity for sex with a new partner dwindling. I sort of understand.

    My fear is just that these circumstances may recur. He says no he learned his lesson. He sees now that he hurt me by causing me to just suspect, even if I wasn't sure.

    I still feel the need to protect myself. He keeps trying to prove he has changed but how long will it last. He says he loves me but I'm sure he told them the same.

    We spent a great weekend together then had great hysterical bonding sex but once that was over I couldn't stop thinking abt did he do this with them. The mind movies were relentless. Instead of getting better I now feel worse & I blame the trickle truth. I keep telling him to just tell me everything but he's too afraid &/or ashamed. I feel like I will never know the whole truth.

    Sam

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  9. I've been feeling like this for the past two weeks. I was doing so well prior to that and then wham! I realize that there's nothing he can do to make up for the hurt, humiliation and pain. He has been doing everything he can but I feel it is not enough..may never be enough. We have been arguing on and off for months leading to DDay, and I just couldn't understand what was so different on DDay to make him decide to stay with me, when he would laugh off my accusations of his cheating months prior to that. He tells me he loves me, that this time its for real..but what is real? and what is not? He keeps on telling me that he 'didn't know what came over him', to be capable of deceiving me. He said he had a hard time getting out of the affair, like he was sleepwalking and couldn't wake up. I hate him for just standing by, for doing nothing, when I was raging at him for months to end his "friendship" (I strongly suspected that there was something wrong, but I was too naive and trusting to listen to my intuition). I was barely hanging on in the relationship, for my children's sake, and he didn't even do anything. He had every opportunity, but didn't take it.
    He says he still wants to work it out. I on the other hand, am not so sure. I don't know if I can accept everything that he has done. I'm too caught up in what happened, and I just couldn't move forward anymore. I just want out, to rid myself of all the thinking, compromising etc.. = P

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    1. Much of what he's describing is what many men say -- like they were in some sort of "fog", a sort of alternate reality and they felt somehow powerless to get out. Doesn't make sense to us, but is very real to them.
      Your anger and confusion and "what can I trust" feelings are normal, under the circumstances. I'm not sure how far out you are from D-Day but it takes a long time to sort through all the conflicting emotions.
      Your "not so sure" about working it out is completely legitimate, no matter how he feels. Take some time to let much of the emotional roller coaster settle down. You might see him doing some hard work around changing, which might help you decide to give him another chance. Or you might simply decide that he lost that chance. There is no right path to healing. There's only what's right for you.
      Getting out won't eliminate the pain and anger, however. That's a matter of healing yourself. If you don't have a therapist, I would recommend finding someone to help you process all that.

      Elle

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  10. Just a background to my situation. I'm exactly 4 months from DDay tomorrow. OW was a coworker, they worked in several projects together in the same office. OW fell for him two years before the affair happened, and I assumed that was her main motivation - to get him, hook line and sinker - even when she was also newly married. H is a basketball addict, and that was there that OW gained a way in. Admittedly, I was never supportive of H's sport. Mainly because it consumed almost all of his waking hours. He would forget chores, miss conversations and events, for basketball. I took up the slack, caring for two small kids and the house, plus a full-time job, all by myself. OW wormed her way in by making court reservations for his night practices twice a week (and played there too), encouraged him to continue playing, even volunteered to buy him a new ball, scouted some outfits that he wanted, and told him that I was being selfish, that it was his "right" to play etc etc. They started calling each other terms of endearment, and ILYs, to my dismay. They would text and viber even on the weekends when we were out with the kids. This went on for like 5 or 6 months, until I caught H.
    I know it's been said to wait for at least a year to make a decision. But I am so fed up of "understanding" him and the flimsy reasons why he had the affair. I am just so done, bone-tired. I don't want to do anything with him anymore.

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  11. To both of the above women, I feel ur pain. Thank u for sharing ur stories, each unique but the emotions so similar if not identical to what I am feeling.

    Don't give up. We r all suffering with u.

    Sam

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  12. We've been doing so well, these last few months. But as we approach the one year mark of the beginning of the affair, all of the raw emotions from D-Day are re-surfacing. Has anyone else experienced this? I find myself wanting to ask all the old questions, again and again. Just last night we had the discussion of 'reconciling who he is with what he did' - something I obsessed over in the beginning. This is so helpful to me, Elle - "If we do any "reconciling", I think we take a long hard dispassionate look at what our spouse is doing to make up for what he did. Not what he did then but what he's doing now." Thank you!

    Cat

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    1. Cat,
      It's pretty common for much of the emotional maelstrom to resurface on certain anti-versaries or around certain events.
      If you need reassurance (ie. asking for info again), then do it. Perhaps explain to your husband that it's common. Let him know that it can help as your process everything to hear the story again because, emotionally, you're in a different place than you were when you first heard it all.
      But be careful you're not pain shopping. Perhaps discern whether you really need specific information? Or just reassurance that it's behind you both now. That he's committed to rebuilding your marriage. That you're in a better place now.
      It helped me to plan a fun day for our first anti-versary. I knew it would be a tough day so my husband took the day off work and we spent it Christmas shopping for our family. We had a long lunch, didn't talk about the affair much (except within the context of my husband telling me how grateful he was to be with me), and basically enjoyed the day. We did the same thing the following year, and the one after that. It became a day I looked forward to, rather than dreaded. Now, it often passes without me realizing it.
      Check out this post: http://betrayedwivesclub.blogspot.ca/2009/12/surviving-infidelity-anti-versaries.html

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