Friday, July 10, 2015

Five Ways Betrayed Wives are Silenced

Few of us were prepared for the onslaught of emotions brought on by the discovery of our husband's cheating. Most of us expected we'd be angry. Most of us knew we'd be hurt. But far fewer of us anticipated the brought-to-our-knees agony we've experienced, the I-can-barely-breathe collapse of our world.
Over and over, I've read stories from women who never predicted how devastated they'd be. Who couldn't have imagined how emotionally crippled they'd feel for weeks, months, even years.
A big part of the problem is that we rarely see the impact of infidelity on the betrayed wife. Pop culture shows us angry women (cue "Before He Cheats" by Carrie Underwood). It gives us the vapid fluff of The Other Woman. But rarely do we see the empty-eyes, the rapid weight loss, the isolation of the betrayed wife.
We don't anticipate the shock of finding out we've been deceived. According to a recent Psychology Today story, "Those who have been lied to 'castigate themselves about why they didn’t suspect what was going on... The emotions they feel, while seemingly more benign than those of the perpetrator, may in the long run be more corrosive: humiliation, embarrassment, a sense of having been naïve or blind, alienation from those who knew the truth all along and, worst of all, bitterness.”
As the Psychology Today story puts it, "Friends often unconsciously blame the victim, asking whether the betrayed person really ‘knew at some level’ what was going on and had just been ‘in denial’ about it.”  
One psychotherapist in the article who works with those who've been duped points out that our situation makes other people uncomfortable. We should have seen the signs. We were, in a sense, asking for it.
We're just as hard on ourselves. How could we be so stupid? How did we not see the signs? Ironically it's often those who are convinced that they would absolutely know if their husband was cheating (I thought my husband was incapable of lying to me) who are most susceptible. If there are signs, we are adept at ignoring them because they don't fit our narrative about ourselves and our spouses.
Also, what's happened to us makes people uncomfortable. Nobody wants to acknowledge their own vulnerability. Nobody can imagine that, if it did happen to them, they would be so devastated. Pull yourself together, they seem to think. 
All of which contributes to silencing us. Whether we're silencing ourselves, being silenced by the perceived judgement of our social circle, or by our culture at large, the end result is that we're left to deal with our pain in a vacuum. 
Consider some of these messages:
"Anyone who stays with a cheater is pretty much asking for more of the same": Ah yes, the ol' "once a cheater, always a cheater" cliché. It puts so many of us in a bind. If we stay, we're pretty much shamed for doing so because only a doormat would put up with that, right? And yet, studies show that plenty women choose to stay, more than half. Why then this pervasive myth that the only smart way to respond to infidelity is to kick him to the curb?
Our culture supports this narrative. Revenge is so much more satisfying than working it out. So much cleaner. Wipe your hands of the jerk and move into a blissful future.
At least that's the fantasy. The reality is that sometimes it takes a horrible mistake to move us to a place where we recognize what needs to change. Sometimes we want to give second chances. Sometimes those second chances lead to happiness. Unfortunately those are the stories relegated to the shadows. And even if we know of them, we rarely know the details of just how a couple was able to recover. And so, when we choose to stay (or choose to wait and figure out what we want before reacting), we remain silent.

"I suppose you're perfect, right? Never make a mistake, right? Must be nice to be so perfect." Anger is a really effective way to silence someone. It's called a countermove and if we don't recognize it, we quickly find ourselves assuring our spouse that, no, we don't think we're perfect and falling all over ourselves to not seem all judgey and morally superior. Thing is, he cheated. And while it's a shame that discussing it reminds him that he's a cheater, it doesn't change the fact that he cheated. And we didn't. And we're devastated by it. We need to talk about that if we're going to actually rebuild a marriage based on honesty and transparency.
Talking about what he did is a cheating spouse's least favorite thing to do in the world. Far better he thinks, would be to just chalk it up to something he's sorry for and move on. Except that we know that doesn't work. It leaves us resentful and silenced and unable to fully heal. And it leaves him without any genuine insight into why he cheated and therefore likely to make the same mistake, even when he swears he won't.
No, we're not perfect. But we didn't cheat. And that's what we're talking about here. Not perfection. But cheating. And why it happened. So stop changing the subject.

"Listen to you. You're hysterical. I can't take it anymore." Ooooh boy. How many of us have been called "hysterical"? Or "crazy". Or "out of control". I was called those things, which wasn't surprising because I was all those things. The truly crazy thing is that our spouses didn't expect that. They didn't expect hysterical or crazy or out of control. They might have expected anger. They undoubtedly expected they'd be tossed out (which is why they went to such great lengths to hide what they were doing or to minimize it or to mete out the details so that they could pretend it wouldn't be as bad). But they likely didn't expect the full-on craziness that is life post D-Day. Well...neither did we.
And since calling a woman "crazy" is such a stereotypical way of shutting a woman up, men tend to use it. They are frightened by our level of insanity post D-Day. So are we. But calling us crazy or hysterical is like pouring gasoline on a fire. Instead, what would be so much more helpful and conducive to actually having a productive discussion around this is for our cheating spouse to acknowledge that hysteria is actually a pretty valid way to respond to emotional devastation. That of course we feel crazy. That of course the world feels terrifying. Don't silence our craziness, call it into the room to explain itself.

"You're making me feel horrible. I've said I'm sorry. Do I have to pay for it the rest of my life?" Like anger, self-pity tends to silence us as well. Its aim is to evoke our sympathy. To make us wonder if we're making too big a deal about it. He said he was sorry, after all. Shouldn't that be enough? Puh-leeze. There aren't enough "sorry"s in the world to make up for cheating. In fact, nothing will really "make up" for it. But many of us are willing to give cheaters a chance to respond with integrity, to become better men. We (eventually) accept that we'll likely never feel as though we're "even" but that becomes less important than simply rebuilding a solid, wonderful marriage based on respect and love and commitment. We come to a place where we're able to look forward instead of keeping an accounting of who's done whom more wrong. But we get to that place a whole lot faster (and a whole lot more likely to have our spouse by our side) when he's able to put aside his self-pity and listen to us. To stop making this about him and his feelings and instead focus on us and our feelings. He chose this. We didn't.

"I'd cheat if I was married to her too": Consider the kneejerk response to news of any public person's infidelity. One of the first things anyone wants to know is what the betrayed wife looked like or how old she was. If she was middle aged (or older) and looked it, well then, of course he cheated. If she was gorgeous, we figure she must have been a nag or frigid. We might acknowledge that the guy was a scumbag but even then it's typical to look for some indication that she kinda had it coming, even if it's simply that she should have known he was a cheat and left him long ago.

It's up to us to recognize the ways in which we're silenced – or silence ourselves – and challenge that. It doesn't mean we have to shout our pain from the rooftops. But it does mean we have to recognize that our pain is valid. That's it's normal. That it deserves to be seen and heard, at least by those closest to us. We have to know that there might be pushback. There are many people who are threatened by or at the very least uncomfortable with our pain. 
But this is our story. Nobody else's. And so we get to tell it.


101 comments:

  1. Well, there you go again, Elle. Just laying all out there in a nutshell right there once more. Thank you, thank you.

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  2. Elle. Will you PLEASE put this in the mainstream press. Or get yourself on Oprah?

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    1. MBS,
      I'm a journalist in "real" life and I have pitched a similar idea to a couple of magazines, including O Magazine (the editor I spoke with liked the idea but then left the mag). I'll keep trying. Thanks for the vote of confidence.

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  3. I think a big reason why people latch on to the idea of "she must have known on some level" is because they think it means it can never happen to them. Since they don't "know on some level" that anything is happening in their own relationship, that means everything's perfect, right? No way it will ever happen to them.

    Same goes for blaming the betrayed spouse. If you admit that it can happen to even the best, most loving people, then you have to admit that it doesn't matter how good of a partner you are, there's no guarantee that it won't happen to you.

    I see these books and articles that talk about how to "affair-proof" your marriage. I did all of the things they said, and it still happened to me. My husband admits that it was nothing I did. He has said, "The only thing you did wrong was to trust the wrong person." No one wants to admit that it's not really in their control. You can't make another person be faithful to you, no matter what the books might say. In the end, they have free will, and they can use it to make bad choices. And that's a scary thing to deal with. So it's easier for people to blame the victim in some way.

    ~Gee

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    1. Gee,
      I see it with health diagnoses too. If we hear of someone who got cancer, we immediately want to know whether they smoked, were overweight, drank too much, ate junk food, etc. You're right. It's a way of believing that we're somehow "safe" from that particular tragedy. I see it in parenting too. A teen becomes an addict and we wonder what the parents did wrong. A kid gets hurt walking home from school and we blame the parents for not driving the kid. Our culture desperately looks for someone to blame for bad things -- and often it's the perfect to whom the bad thing has happened.

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    2. Gee, your words provide amazing clarity for me. Thank you.

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  4. Oh Elle!

    You rock my world putting all these recent articles and ideas into one amazing, spectacular post. I truly sit in worship deeply honored by your compassion for all of us and ability to write so clearly. Agree with MBS why not send this off to the NYT?!

    Annonymous my husband said the same thing to me..."you trusted the wrong person and I took advantage of you."

    Thank you bless you
    love to all
    v

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  5. Elle,

    I forgot to mention that last night I sat and watched the new documentary on Amy WineHouse. It was stunning. For me it was the template of a narcissistic betrayal. All the cultural images, messages, myths. I'm still working it out in my head.

    What amazing bookends to think about the movie Inside Out next to Amy WH's experience. Very powerful.

    v

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    1. I'm looking forward to seeing the AW documentary. Now I'm even more looking forward to it, thanks to your words.

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  6. This is brilliant.

    I've been talking about many of these same issues with my therapist, who says it comes down to something called the Just World fallacy. Even though we know, intellectually, it's not true, we want to believe in a moral universe and that the karma bus always eventually comes around. It's the only way we can protect ourselves - if we're good, nothing bad will happen to us, right?

    This fallacy, according to my therapist, is useful in "civilizing" children - it provides an easy way to teach them to do the right thing. And, as we grow, it seems to help us, because it allows us to go through our daily lives, pretending we're in control.

    But it's actually incredibly dangerous, because when something devastating happens to someone else, instead of fully sympathizing, we look for reasons why the victim "deserved" it. She was raped because she was wearing that dress. He got lung cancer because he smoked. She was cheated on, so she must have been a frigid nag. As long as we can come up with those reasons, we can comfort ourselves that nothing similar will ever happen to us. I don't wear those clothes, I don't smoke, I am a loving and sex-positive partner - I'm safe.

    And so the Just World fallacy is also dangerous when something unfair happens to us - we think, deep down, we must have deserved it. Women who suffer normal miscarriages blame that irrelevant glass of wine. People who have been cheated on cycle through their insecurities to come up with a reason for why this happened to them.

    As my mom has noted - we often ask why bad things happen to good people, but we never ask why good things happen to good people. It's hard to accept that there isn't some moral force out there, ensuring that people get what they deserve. I will be working on internalizing that for a long time -

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    1. Nona,
      So true. As child growing up on an out-of-control family, I think I was particularly vulnerable to the Just World fallacy. I thought if I was "good", I could somehow exercise some control over what seemed like a chaotic world. And of course, there are some risks we can manage. We can wear a seatbelt, we can eat healthily, etc. But nothing is foolproof. Life itself is risky.
      Such an interesting question: Why do good things happen to good people? I too will be puzzling over that.

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    2. Elle,

      I look at it this way. I don't believe in karma or the Just World Fallacy, at least not any more.

      Before d-day, maybe I did, given a difficult childhood, on some level I thought I had "paid my dues" and the worst was behind me. Since d-day, I have had to come to terms with the fact that life just doesn't work that way.

      Now, I think of it like this. Whether you believe in G-d, the Force, some higher power or the greater universe at work, we all have lessons to learn. For me, it is G-d. Whatever it is I need to learn, G-d will keep giving me the lesson over and over in different ways until I learn it. No matter how much I would like G-d to just give me the damn "F" and let me move on, that just isn't going to happen. There are always more lessons to learn, some easy and some hard. I think the lesson in all of this that I have learned is that humans are fallible beings. You don't put blind faith in another fallible being. Instead, blind faith belongs to your belief in a higher power and to learning to believe in yourself and your abilities to learn those lessons as they come along.

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    3. Yep. I'm with you on that!

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    4. Whoa! That's quite a pragmatic and wise view When something like this hits we try and give it labels that is easy for us to digest and understand i.e the OW is evil, our WS are complete..... (your choice of expletive here!). Having said that, we didn't make their choices and we are not responsible for the hurt that they have inflicted on us and those closest to us. However, I do think you are right that human beings are fallible and extremely short sighted. When it comes to wants and desires, rational thought and logic goes right out the window!

      www.infidelityhurts.com

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  7. I see how this plays out all the time... I'm gonna say I was Gee. I had seen it happen to so many I read books and did everything my husband wanted, so he would be happy. He didn't have to lift a finger if he didn't want too. Then "wham" hit in the face with what he did. It didn't matter how much love and commitment I had. You are only as "safe" as who you let in your inner circle. He acknowledges I didn't do anything wrong, but family can quickly point fingers. So now I demand respect. By golly I deserve this. If I'm tired and your capable pull your weight. The End. Life is so much better for me now. All that work to find out I was doing it wrong. When your kindness gets used against you it hurts. Truly it was hard to swallow that I had been taken advantage of. Now it's all different and I'm a queen bee. Not by demanding it, he just respects me more since I said "not no, but HELL NO. I'm worth more than gold. I'm not junk. I'm a blessing not a curse and if you can't truly appreciate that than goodbye my heart will heal. I won't quit working on it." Love you girls tons. Know your worth. Maintain your dignity. God knows and sees your pain. He didn't make us trash so we don't need to act like we are worth nothing. Stay strong, and work on your peace. Mind, body and spirit. - Love Ann from Texas

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    1. magnificent, Ann.

      'You are only as "safe" as who you let in your inner circle.' I have learned this the hard way, it took me years.

      'I'm worth more than gold. I'm not junk. I'm a blessing not a curse'

      I'm standing and applauding.

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  8. When it comes to the decision to stay or leave I am always reminded of Peggy Vaughn who wrote if she would have divorced her husband she would have missed out on the subsequent 30+ wonderful affair free years of their life together. That's my goal. We can't erase the past. Unfortunately our spouses cheated. Hopefully there will be a better future ahead of us.

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    1. Yep. Or, to paraphrase Brené Brown, we can try to avoid pain but we will also be avoiding growth.

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  9. My decision was to stay, but, in tough moments, I battle with what my heart and head say vs. what society tells us about those who cheat. I am one who, before this experience, would have argued that anyone whose spouse was cheating HAD to know something was going on. There is no minimizing the pain that comes with this experience but I also believe I'm learning to be more sensitive and compassionate to orhers' struggles and that may be one good thing that comes from it. It's always easy to judge when you are on the outside.
    What Nona posted above was so interesting to me today after just having lashed out at my husband last night in a moment of sadness and anger. I was so hurt at the moment that I told him after all these years of just trying to be a good person and treat him well that "this" was what I got as my reward. I've learned that just trying to be a good person won't insulate you from pain. I also know deep down that his affair wasn't about me. Going forward, I won't change the way I am in regard to trying to live as a "good" person, but the notion that it will protect me from hurt is gone.
    And, Sam, what you posted put a smile on my face. I'm hopeful for those years ahead in my marriage. :-)

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    1. Dandelion,
      Interesting. I too tried to be "good" in order to be rewarded. What I've come to understand, though, is that behaving in a way that's consistent with my values (even when it's inconvenient, even when it's tempting to do otherwise) is rewarding itself. So while we might not have insulated ourselves from pain, we nonetheless know that we've lived lives of integrity and that feels really good.

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  10. I have saved this post because I feel like I will need to read and re-read it many times.

    My husband just wants to move on. He has done some soul searching and said he cheated because he was stressed and bored and flattered. He didn't think I would find out, and he really didn't think I would chuck him out - I did both of those things.

    He honestly thought I would go mad for a while and then move on. I did that last time, but back then we had very small children and I couldn't deal with it. That was a few years ago. He also dropped the OW immediately last time.

    This time, despite seeing the obvious devastation his actions had caused, he carried on behind my back. Twice. It wasn't until I threw my hands up and said I had had enough, sat the kids down and told them we were splitting up that he realised I meant business. Ironically, the affair was over by this point but I had found out he had lied a few weeks back and met her again.

    He also swears that there was no sex. I've got myself screened in case and I'm fine. The OW won't disclose this to me either....and my gut tells me that she would quite gleefully if it were true, but she won't take the risk of texting it in case I show my husband....all these mind games are blowing me away just now.

    I have blocked the OW as I'm taking the advice from here that no good can come from talking to her.

    Thank goodness for this site, and all of you xx

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    1. Clover,
      I hope your husband comes to realize that pushing it aside isn't serving anyone, including him. We can face this stuff head on and rebuild a deeper, richer relationship out of the wreckage, or we can sweep it away and carry on until either we mess up again or we just get tired of the superficiality of our marriage in which we pretend things are different than they are. I hope he chooses the former.
      And I'm glad you're cutting the OW out. She's toxic.

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  11. I concur with this post. The lies, secrets, deception, filthy sex, STD and then they want to sick around and be with us. I woke up and had one word on my mind. LIP SERVICE for is what we get. This post is about lip service on many fronts. First when we find out we get LIP SERVICE LIES - "I want the entire truth or I'm leaving, you have to tell everything." LIP SERVICE- "Infidelity is so wrong kick him to her curb but watch this show that glorifies a betrayal, secret, forbidden, lust, passion first. Oh yes and you get to pay for the privilege of watching. LIP SERVICE- "Yes, friend my husband stuck his little wiener into someone other than me and she says she will be there for you." When you call for support everyone gets tired of listening to the same shit.

    You really feel alone most of the time. And you didn't even do anything! But I'm trudging on, I won't be judged, I'm a better person, sorry no guilt when I look on the mirror, I finally understand more about me and why I reacted the way I did in my marriage. I think my first statement should be if your only going to give me LIP SERVICE then let's talk about the weather, I've had enough disappointment already and there is no way I'm going to make you feel better. Sorry I'm only going to deal with the real things in my life.

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    1. It is incredibly lonely, isn't it Lynn. I've said before on this site that my intention with creating it was to build a community around this. I was desperately lonely. I just wanted to talk about this with women whose eyes didn't glaze over, or flash with judgement. I didn't want platitudes, I wanted women I could laugh with, cry with and ultimately trust with my story.
      Glad you're here Lynn.

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  12. I shared this with h this morning and we had a really good discussion following it! Thank you for words that I don't have to express what I am feeling!

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    1. That's great Theresa. I'm always glad when something here as spawned a discussion that moves a couple, even a teensy bit, further along. And I'm glad your husband could hear this. Not all can...

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  13. This is so excellent and true. I hate the isolation and silence I feel I need to live in to avoid the mistaken judgement of those who don't understand. I've told no one and we are working it out alone. I can't stand the thought of having people think of me as weak when he was the weak one I am the strong one in this story. Before it happened to me I too read all the articles and books I worked so hard at being the perfect wife for him and it didn't matter he risked it all because he was depressed about hitting middle age and got flattered by a younger beautiful woman willing to f*** endlessly in the back of a car. It is so lonely and I'm incredibly grateful for this intelligent and powerful community of women who understand my story.

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    1. Rose i feel your pain. I am in the same boat i have told noone nor do i feel close enough to anyone to tell! My husband is the only one i have to talk to ironic i know the one that hurt me i need to lean on and mostly his willing and much time i deal alone in silence so much i have to heal process figure out myself in my own head. The hurt is at times unbearable extermelly raw and i often wonder how im still standing managing going about my to dos. I just wanted u to know u are not alone in how u are handling just between u two. What doesnt kill us makes us stronger right ... i sure hope so.

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    2. Rose and Anonymous,
      It's something I think of often -- how the strength of the women who choose to stay gets completely misunderstood as weakness. I remind myself, however, that there are many other silent betrayed wives who know exactly how strong we are. What's more, we know how strong we are.

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    3. Rose and Anonymous
      I am in exactly the same position as you. I haven't told anyone either, except for posting on this site recently. It is so hard to get through this but I take so much strength from reading this site and realising that there are so many very strong women who are getting through this one day at a time. Each day I wake up not knowing how I will get through the day and then the day after I wake up reminding myself I got through the day before so I must be able to get through today. We will get through this just like all the strong women further along their path. Thinking of you.

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    4. To rose & anonymous & alone.

      I also have told no one. My h didn't want to go to therapy because he knew there was nothing wrong with our marriage. He knew it was all him. He knew why he did it & says he doesn't want THAT anymore. He wants a life with me.

      I said I need to talk to someone & his response was talk to me. And so I have. Ironic that the cause of my heartache had to be the primary person to help me thru it, but we did get much closer as a result.

      Thank goodness for this site because I always knew whatever I felt or feared, someone here was going thru or had gone they the exact same thing. What a huge comfort.

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    5. Sam. Thank you for giving me some much needed comfort. I have been really struggling at the moment. Not that he's done anything to cause me to feel like this. I'm just having a hard time with my thoughts about what he did. It helped to know you were like me only having your H to talk to and the help of this site. I hope I can get to where you are with some time.

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  14. Rose--a perfect way to put it---you ARE the strong one. He WAS the weak one.So so glad you realize that.
    Elle, Excellent excellent excellent post!!!

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  15. My husband has been away on business. He is due back this Friday and I am dreading it.

    We've communicated superficially via text and had a couple of brief (and awkward) phone conversations.

    I am sad and lonely, but I don't want to see him. I used to look forward to him returning from trips. Now I find I'm wondering what bombshell will be dropped this time.

    Ironically today is the OWs First wedding anniversary!! I wonder if she's given any thought to the marriage she's destroyed?

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    1. Clover,
      I'm so sorry for your pain. The only way out is through. Let yourself feel it. Trust that it won't last forever and that the way forward will become clear.

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  16. Elle,

    I hope it's okay but I re-printed this recent post and made it gender neutral for some other betrayed spouses I know......and many other destroyed individuals betrayed by reckless thoughtless self centered partners.....

    You really hit a home run on this post and I believe it's a universal experience for betrayed partners.

    I also read this outloud for my husband and he was nodding his head in recognition. We will pass this onto others with gratitude....

    THANK YOU AGAIN

    love to all...... :)
    v

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  17. This post is about moving forward and how difficult that can be for us with all the judgements from others laid at our feet. My biggest stuck point is the hurt, anger and pain of it all. The hurt, anger and pain is a prison. The sides of the prison are slippery with resentments. The floor of the prison is muddy with anger so I'm unable to move my feet. The smell of betrayal fills the air I breath and stings my eyes with endless tears. A cloud of disbelief, shock, hurt, anger and self pity blocks the view of my tiny exit above. Step in and look at the other prisoners of betray chained to the wall. Prisoners of affairs, betrayal and abuse.

    The prison is deep and dark beckoning me to enter. I can you know. I have every right to be there. It would be so easy for me to enter and stay stuck there, it is so comfortable to me. I have experienced as much hurt as the other prisoners. I can chain myself to my hurt everyday, every minute or every hour. Or as I become to have an understanding of what happened to me, I can put away my hurt before it becomes hate.

    Post D-day, the OW was "friends with benefits", my husband was fine with that circumstance, the OW, NOW seems disgusting, sleazy, dirty and he can't believe what he has done. He can't believe he thought the OW was worth risking damn near everything. The OW in the "friends with benefits" is not the first priority. She is second. Second to the me who my husband wanted to have a committed, genuine and romantic relationship/love the entire time. (We both were zombies in our marriage, him more than me, feeding on the OW) Second place never a wins the prize. The OW thought of him as a prize. The "friends with benefits" was her stepping stone to a genuine romantic relationship with my husband. At that moment of being caught, my husband looked at me and is suddenly held to a higher standard. I'm the higher standard. Not to gloat about being better than him, but he knows in his heart I'm better than her. The knock out punch of my life is not a reason for me to bail out, I'm sitting tight, giving myself time. The pain makes me forget who is in charge.

    I am in control, it's not over until, I say it is over. I didn't do anything wrong. The last chapter can be my best, my final song can be the greatest. I was ignorant about yesterday but not tomorrow. Should I judge the book before the last chapter is written? Should I pass the verdict on a painting while the artist still holds the brush?

    I have no regrets, I have strength and self esteem. No one can take that away from me.

    How do I deal with a bitter heart? Stay or go? I remind myself that what I have NOW is more important than what I don't have.

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    1. Lynn amazing... crying ... chained beside you and hopeful i can get to a point to look at it from where you stand. Break free and be where we are suppose to be.

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    2. Lynn,
      Reading your post is like looking into a mirror and seeing my feelings! This post in general has been inspirational in me facing some of my shortcomings! You all show such strength and most days I feel stronger than others! I'm learning from every post I read!

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    3. Lynn,
      That was incredibly powerful. Wow! "I was ignorant about yesterday but not tomorrow." Absolutely. I admire your grace through this. You clearly are the one in control of yourself and that's powerful indeed.

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    4. Lynn Pain,

      Beautiful poetry. Thanks Lynn. I have copied your post to keep in my journal.

      ""The pain makes me forget who is in charge. I am in control, it's not over until, I say it is over. I didn't do anything wrong."" -- I really needed that, I too had forgotten who is in charge.

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  18. 9 weeks from dday i thought i was managing a little better sleeping and not so doom and gloom the moment i wake up. Well that sinking feel is back my H has told me alot but still refuses to show me phone and bank records claiming hes too ashamed he verbally detailed many happening some things and money he gave ow but wont show me print outs. I really dont care to see dollar amounts more so want to see where he /they were what they did which per him was ordered take out and drinking at bars maybe true and not much more but leaving me to assume leaves wondering thoughts mind movies. It was a long term affair spanning years in his words turned into nothing special a headache and spun out of control when ow stated munipulating demands and fight whe. He spirled deeper to keep covering. I asked then for specfic dates if not passwords and which made him cave to newly reveal his last business trip was not actually away but with ow no trip just by her house pub crawls whatever. And said they did talk daily or text Felt like the lying scab was torn right open again. He shows remorse anxiety wants to work it out. He has had no contact to my knowledge but said he does feel like he not only f***ed up my world but the ow too? Really i was mad while im sure they r hurt in someway u get what u get when signing up to be with a married man my opinion. He shared hes dreamed about it a few times ow crying to him missing him. Blah makes my hurt boil over.

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  19. Part 2
    sorry to ramble noone to talk to. We talked im so hurt i just want my old life back pre dday H said not me i was lonely dissconnected and lying to my bf (me) he said this pain is hell but he doesnt wish for what was . Hard to hear but i guess in his shoes true. How do i stop wanting more details hes giving me alot i. Some instances sexuay emotio al between them too much. Im so hurt but also love him. Us. Our family wanting to find our way through this mess! Why do i stay? Im so angery my life is altered by his choices and know together is the only way to try and get to the light. Im numb .... wounded but hopefully not broken ... noone knows im just trying to process manage and not fall crippled to the ground. I wonder how to make us whole. How to repair trust and grow. He knows hes gotta work on him. Me on me and us. Im hopeful but sometimes the hurt overtakes me and i feel alone thus my rambling. I find comfort in this blog and this post from Elle was amazing much needed too. Thx for listening and providing feedback to us from those who have been in our shoes. This is probably the hardest thing ive ever had to go thru ... struggling... communication is key and i believe we are worth it. The 3 to 5 years yo feel ourself again seems incredibly scary! When we discuss it to me to stay the hurt is insane with lots of hard work to do ... but to give up leads me to believe the hurt remains along with missing each other too which maybe worse. I married forever ... i hope we can. Ive been on my own before so i know what thats about but my heart truly wants us to be together. Again thanks for listening and sorry if scrambled ... all my thoughts seemed scrambled these days with numbness tears and prays to show me how to cope. Prevail.

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    Replies
    1. Anonymous, I want my old life ( pre d-day) too. Struggling with the fact that someone took that away from me and it's gone. I'm trying really hard to find my place in this new life, I think it will just take time. It's been 9 months for me and I'm still finding things very difficult but hang in there it will get better. There is so much to take in and such a lot of pain to deal with. I don't feel the same as I did in those first weeks so I am hopeful that things will keep getting easier. Keep reminding yourself that you are strong and you will be ok.

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    2. Anonymous,
      I'm glad you found us. As you and Alone have both noted, this can be so incredibly isolating.
      Anonymous, I'm interested in your husband refusing to give you access to the information you're asking for. Whether he recognizes it or not, preventing you from confirming what he's telling you simply keeps him in charge of your healing. I suspect there are things there that he doesn't want you to see. But by refusing to give you access, he's controlling you. It's not unlike when he kept the whole affair from you -- he got to control what you did and didn't know. That's just not okay. Yes, it would be devastating. Yes, it will trigger all sorts of shame and guilt on his part. But he chose this. You didn't. You need to make a decision whether to stay based on a complete understanding of just how deep the deception went. How can he expect to move forward into a relationship with you based entirely on honesty and transparency if he's refusing already to do that?
      You will get through this...but it's almost impossible to do so when a spouse is still controlling what you know about his affair. You can't heal until you know everything you need to know and make the fully cognizant choice to stay or go.

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    3. H has told me alot of things .... alot ... i cant shake this feeling of needing to see it it is weighing me down. .. chest pains, sleeplessness, lump in my throat. .. it was always an underlining want i initially asked on dday we spoke many tine since about it ... each time he gives up a little more details but to ashamed to show me he says it is stupid he admits hed lied covered done crazy things cell phones, paid bills, drinks, shopping but i still have this gut feeling u must see toconfirm or see more i just dont know? I think really i just want to see where what it was in black in white which cannt be tainted with omitted details but more important will perhaps quiet this voice inside .. hopefully not feed it to want even more.. i have at times said why does it matter to see it happened what will it change? With the new detail last week that infact he wasnt away on business but at ow house as i supposed and why i wanted to see a particular date ... the lion inside is roaring so loud that i feel swallowed by the obsessiveness to be given access to the records while i weep sob and silently scream is this a sticking point so great it could cause the loss of my marriage? Is it worth it to push for this? I go back and forth push or shove .... how much does this matter to me or is it more the fact H wont give it to me which makes my heartache greater. The emotional and sexual part of the long term affair is crushing but the lying, covering and deception truly takes my breath from me and after all this i still love him with the greatest depths of my soul because i believe in us our vows and everything a marriage is suppose to be ... what i want it to be and what we have built together 14, married 8. I want No secrets between us ...i want my fucking life back! Whatever that now may be ... the ow sent me a lengthy email with half details truths and probably some lies i read into some and disregard others i dont care to talk or involve her i want to hear it from my H after all us 2 will be the only ones who can decide our outcome and i so dont want this affair to define us. He has offered to merge money since dday .. i havent its not about that i might one day but today sadly i am focused on the past seeing it. Hard day today and the morning just started ... take care ladies.

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    4. I told H i feel like an outsider in our life my need to know is like his desire to forget. I told him i will list the things i hope to see. Maybe hell share when hed ready or maybe never time will tell. I ended saying continuing to covet weighs on me as his resistance to not show which keeps the issue alive. I want to know to quiet the voice. Find my best friend again and hopeful happy days. Today i feel limited, weighed down and on edge. I want to scream ... just show me give me the passwords!!! I know i cant control his actions nor do i want to try and crack the code to break in as that would not coincide with the integrity and honesty we are trying to build though ive thought about it and dont look down upon anyone who has taken that method ... we all have a little nancy drew tendencies.... i want him to provide it to me ... time will tell. Big deep sighhhh or more like gasping for air ... 9 weeks of hell since dday .... but i keep in check knowing this is not nearly enough time to process it all us and matters of the heart are worth more ... tread water ... seek was to not only manage but overcome. I want off this rollercoaster. .. i told him id prefer all in one big stomach punch blow vs tiny doses ... please. Maybe i need a boom or journalling im not opposed counseling though far and between close and time and sitters are already far and between not sure but im thankful if there is anything to be thankful for that this shitstorm is happening in summer and not winter though i guess anytime us just as horrid. .. a little walj and sunshine on my face i think is keeping me sane.

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    5. Anonymous,
      I'll say it again: YOU are the one who gets to decide what you see or don't see, what you know or don't know. Shirley Glass, who wrote Not Just Friends, one of the great books about healing from infidelity, puts it this way: When the affair is going on, the affair partner has a window into our world but we have a locked door into the affair. After the affair is over and if a couple is attempting to reconcile, we need a window into the affair and the affair partner needs a locked door into our life. He's not giving you that window. He's still keeping at least part of the affair behind a locked door.
      Whether the info he's keeping from you is pertinent is almost beyond the point. The point is you are saying you want to see it and he's controlling whether you do.
      I suspect that if he was more forthcoming, the impulse to see it might not even be so strong.
      Hang in there. It sounds like things are pretty rough right now but you will get through this. Stick to your boundaries and make it clear that you are the one in charge of your healing. As Steam as put it on this site: My heartbreak, my rules. He can either play by your rules or sleep on the couch.

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    6. I think ill get that just friends book and after affair they seem to be mentioned often. Yes rough ... very rough. Thx u Elle and all for these words, listening and just being here it is so isolating.

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    7. Help ... we argued about accounts again other things and i dont know if it was because of my pushing or like he said combined with all arguing and other commons weve discussed??? Weve had some crazy long foghts each week. He said he loves me and did want to make it work still mifht but now is overthinking he may just not want to be married anymore or is considering separation ... hes still trying to figure out why he did what he did and it killing him inside... he gave up some other details on accounts no show just tell. You know what i feel 10xs worse if that was possible ...being told i cheated on you sucks ... but not sure he wants to be married, alone or what ... bullet to the heart im beside myself and devastated doesnt even begin to describe it! If i felt alone before ive moved to totally fucking isolated, scared and plain heartbroken. I can feel my heart pounding and the workd spinning around me. Just venting ... me myself and i ... truly. Heartbroken

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    8. Anonymous,
      Are you two in any kind of counselling? It might help to have an objective third party to help you two navigate this stuff. The "I don't know if I want to be married" stuff doesn't serve anyone. It's a threat that simply shuts down conversation, silences you. Suddenly the fight isn't about what HE did, it's about what YOU'RE doing to make him want to leave.
      Has this been the pattern in your marriage all along? Have you ever been able to make your needs known and have them acknowledged as important? Or has it mostly been about what he needs? In a healthy relationship, of course, both partners needs are acknowledged as important and both work to ensure that everybody feels heard and valued.
      I suspect, from what you've written, that your relationship has been one-sided, in favour of him. And now that you're trying to shift that -- to insist on what you need -- he responds by threatening to leave. Some guys do leave, of course. But it's usually because that's preferable to them than actually facing up to what they've done. You can't spend your whole life outrunning your mistakes. Or you can...but it's not much of a life.
      I'm so sorry you're going through this. Cheating can, if we're willing to work really hard on both sides, give us the chance to relearn how to love each other. But that's not possible if we won't allow ourselves to be completely vulnerable to each other. As long as we're hiding any part of ourselves, we can't feel completely loved.

      Delete
    9. Ive been well taken care of and felt i had s life any girl would be lucky to have though ill admit i put my H and kids before me cater to them all addl my H has had major and continual health issues which looking back caused me to provide him great leniency to do as he wanted or me pick up slack. He never remarked he didnt want to be married until i pushed for info. Said it feels like im telling him how he feels and ask why does it have to be all on my terms? Said im making him ? If hes happy , what he wants or if it was about multiple partners sex? B4 i pressured him for records he was all in and again told me alot but i still want to see actually he just tokd me more in hindsight to much info and im now obsessing about that. I still think its worse not to know. He thinks hes protecting me from hurt i said u r making me obsess! Assume and leave me stuck. I told him i dont want him to go but am not begging him to stay either i need to respect what he says are his needs as he should also consider what i said my needs are. He agress its stupid to not show me and he has no good reason not to other then hes not ready and feels ge already admitted the biggest secret of his life which hes trying to do right by so why do i need to run his nose in details. Hes thinks everything has to be on my terms not so but reading ur post i guess since this is out of my character it prob seems that way to him. I ordered 2 books as for help no counseling hes not opposed heres issue not any really close to house. Id have to find sitter pay her plus dr $$$ how do you even find a good one. I did web searches all overwhelming. The college kinda by house has free program if u qualify im hesitate do i want some newbie study listening or as i read a counselor should specialize in thus matter and preferrabke have many under their belt. It sounds like excuses but its not i saw one many years ago i called her no referral and i cant see her 1.5hr away since i moved. So in short no just me and him trying to get through this currently. I ordered not just friends and after the affair. Im an emotional wreck but still functioning to my amazment well better struggling through it. Well see if he goes for the weekend. He told me he also doesnt want divorce... huh does that counter not knowing if you want to be married? I dont want to believe this is a mind game but that he is truly confused and his world is just as shattered and our of control as i feel mine is. It so funny ftom outside looking in nothings changed only he and i know this hell of affair mess we are in. Thx for your words and TGIF i can cry and lag in my bed tomorrow morning and not be late to work .... again

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    10. Anon,
      First, you question re. counsellors: What you're going through is so commonplace that you're not going to surprise anyone with it. What we think is horrible and shameful is just life to them. If money is an issue, I would try the college nearby. But, frankly, I think it's worth the $$. Divorce is expensive.
      Re. pushing him: I suspect his shame and guilt are so great that even leaving the marriage (or threatening to) is preferable to him having to re-experience it. But without facing it and truly understanding what he was thinking and telling himself that made it okay to cheat, he's vulnerable to it happening again. It's incredibly hard for many men to face up to just how badly they screwed up. But if they do face it, they get the opportunity to grow and actually develop a deeper, richer marriage based on total truth about who we are.
      Hang in there, Anon.

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    11. H stayed home his choice. We had date saturday vety nice. Sunday felt overwhelmed
      ... so much on my mind feeling emotional on overload obsessive thoughts hurt ... cried to myself. Cried to him. He was receptive asked how he could help bike ride garden just let me lay in bed ... im managing but not my norm self and thats weighing on me too ... crying. Short with kids house is just good enough and lots of take out ... im managing. .. surviving maybe s so new and i know i gotta cut myself some slack. Read 6 chapters of after the affair .... thoughts if him with her flood my mind sadness dates i wonder about confirming where was he really and in the end seeking do i really need all these other details or am i just hurting us, me. My husband says seeing wi just be more questions ... i am an obsessor but not seeing wi the wondering ever fade ..... time .... more time

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    12. If you're even upright, then you're doing better than I was at first. Order take-out, let the house get messy (surely he can clean and tidy??), tell the kids that mommy is going through a tough time but that they can trust she'll get through it and that it has nothing to do with them. In other words...be gentle with yourself. You're going through hell.

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  20. Hi All, Long time reader, first time poster! I too was shattered by my husband's affair. It hit me right out of the park, because I was married to a stand up guy. Wrong.... so my question is; I find myself in a spot where I am feeling so insecure.. using makeup, contacts, dieting, trying to be present in all areas, giving up my free time to pamper him... It makes me so mad. I am the better one in this relationship, and yet I am the one who is making all the changes. Will my husband cheat again? I can say with surity that No he will not. I just feel so lost at sea... I know this was not about me, but his vunerability, selfishness and disregard for his family. I just know I will never put my self-esteem in someone else's hands. Does this ever get easier? It just seems like it is forgotten and nothing has changed for him (only better as he has such an attentive wide - now. I am embarassed that I accepted this behaviour. What does this say about me.... I think I am worse than those "friends" who offer their opinions... I can't even talk about it as everyone seems uncomfortable because I "accepted" it....
    I really appreciate this site and I jsut needed to get that off my chest. Thanks!

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    Replies
    1. You are nothing less than perfect my friend. We have all felt that shame whether just because of ourselves or others making us feel that way. A little of my back story... I hadn't worn makeup since my teens... My mother went through this so she had hounded my sisters and I on looks. Of course I knew that it isn't all that mattered so I really never focused on always being as drop dead gorgeous on the outside as a ton of people do. My focus has always been within me. So when this happened in my life I felt hopelessly ugly. I knew it wasn't so because my heart was good as gold, but the pain was so immense I couldn't shake it. Anything to be a better me, but hating myself the whole time. One day I looked in the mirror over 50 pounds lighter, contacts, makeup, long hair and said no.... This isn't me... This is all my pain posted as a picture for the world to see. I'm beautiful enough, smart enough, kind enough and by gosh you better believe God loves me just for who I am. I've realized that sure I'm "even prettier" as people have stated, but I'm not. The only beauty is that Jesus thing in me that says you are something special no matter what. Looks are skin deep so yes we take care of the outside, but our inside is most important. Love you. Love who you are. I've only met you and you have changed me even more.
      We shall age like a fine wine better with age because of the strength. Love you girls - Ann from Texas

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    2. Anonymous,
      It's a pretty common response -- to feel that if we can somehow control what might have made him cheat (even if we know intellectually we're not the reason), then we delude ourselves into thinking that we'll be "safe" from it happening again. What's more, our self-esteem takes a HUGE hit from a partner's cheating. So many of us make changes, lose weight (though not always intentionally), buy new clothes, change our hair, etc.
      It's generally a temporary thing. But I would urge you to challenge it. Is it making you feel better? Or does it feel as if you're performing for him? Take some time to just sit the feelings it generates...and determine whether they're moving you where you want to go.
      Staying with a spouse who cheated is not rewarding him for what he did. It's not letting him off the hook. It's giving him a second chance to be a better man, to be someone who deserves you. This is about HIM deserving YOU. You don't need to be anything other than who you are, assuming you're someone who treats others with respect and honesty.
      Again, I think you just need to sit with these feelings and sort them through. Journalling is another really great way to get clear on what you're doing...and why you're doing it. Just keep writing about it and I suspect you'll find clarity.
      And...so glad you're here and that you posted.

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  21. Hello all,

    Elle -- OUTSTANDING message. Thank you. HIMSELF was with her physically, emotionally, financially and romantically for 20 YEARS and I DID NOT KNOW. Yes, in the year before I was blindsided by the betrayal I had a 'clue' and I confronted HIMSELF. He had a perfect answer - "someone stole my credit card". A bit of truth but then the thief must have magically received HIMSELF email address and Hotel Preferred Customer Account number. mmmmm..... NOT!! But I let it go. Exactly almost to the day one year later Shazzam!! Then 11 months later MAJOR ATOMIC EXPLOSION when he confessed 20 YEARS with her!!

    I'm in awe of all the strong women who share support on this blog. I can honestly say this blog saved my life in May (DDay #2).

    I was crazy. Yup. Crazy. I will not go into detail but let us just say the house has very few dishes now and HIMSELF has very few clothes. The walls have been painted over. It is really hard to paint over black magic marker. I was also hysterical and I proudly accepted that label. I deserved to be hysterical. I did not intend to loose weight but I like the new me minus 38 pounds at last weigh in. Just wish my hair would stop falling out. Two new wigs and lots of compliments from friends - I think I am going to like the wigs eventually.

    After 44 years with HIMSELF I am surprised at who he really is. He is not the man I thought I knew and I thought I knew him better than he knew himself.

    Thanks everyone - this band of sisters - THANKS!!

    I will be posting off and on as I go through some intense therapy for PISD
    (Post-Infidelity Stress Disorder). New psychiatrist on board. Still working with Original Therapist (LCSW) who has done so much research and learning about infidelity since I started seeing her. HIMSELF stopped going to his individual therapist. Imagine that! That however is his problem.

    Staying or Leaving?? Still a work in progress but seriously thinking about leaving.

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    Replies
    1. SS,
      SO great to hear from you. And so glad to hear that you're working through your pain.
      Keep us posted. I imagine there's lots we could learn from what you're doing.

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  22. Hi Elle,

    Love this post. So true about us being silent and why. I just hit my 1 year d day anniversary and it's been a rough day (and weekend leading up to it). I am thankful that I found you and your blog and all the wonderful ladies on here. I am not sure how I would have managed without the sounding board and just to know there are others out there struggling day to day as well.

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    Replies
    1. Anti-versaries are tough. But you survived it. That's what you focus on. You might not be where you want to be yet but you're also not where you were. Hallelujah for that.

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  23. This is excellent Elle. I hope you submit it to the NYT or Huff Post.

    I read articles with regards to cheating the common theme is of course, Once a Cheater, Always a Cheater, He Will Cheat Again, Throw the Bum Out. Only to be followed up with You Choose to Keep Him Don't Come Crying to Me Next Time He Cheats. And I get it. I get all the indignant opinions. I was one of those. Everyone is so damn sure what they are going to do. EVERYONE. Ha, until.it.happens.to.you.

    This is excellent. I'm going to print it off and re-read it. I wish my husband would read it.

    Great job.

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    1. So so many of us were so sure we'd kick out anyone who cheated on us. Not so much, huh?

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    2. I tell other women who are going through this that I support whatever decision they decide: whether it's to stay, separate or divorce.

      The thing we need most is JUST someone to LISTEN. What made me crazy was not having someone to listen with two ears.

      My mom and sister have really stepped up to the plate and let me vent whenever I needed it. They both live with us b/c my sis is bedridden and we take care of her while my mom works. We're like the Walton's lol. The writer of that story grew up in VA during the Depression about an hour where I live.

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    3. Anne for VA,
      I think that's a good point. It's when we feel free to really tell our story and work through our own pain that it's becomes more clear to us just what path we want to take. Too often, I think, we're shamed for being cheated on. As if we had something to do with it.

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  24. My husband read it but I don't think he got it! The thing he picked up on was we can enjoy a 30 year affair free life from now on. I can identify with everything that has been said here. I know what I know b/c I've searched for hours since D day May 4, 2014. He is still controlling the situation and refuses to admit to anything. He says he isn't doing it anymore and we should just go forward. Everything has been about me and the changes I need to make. All he has had to do was say "sorry I didn't mean to hurt you! I'm not doing it anymore and I don't want to talk about it again!" I'm expected to forgive and forget. I'm expected to forget the things he said to countless other women and the mean horrible things he said to me as this whole mess has unraveled. I'm so frustrated and an emotional mess. I'm so grateful for Elle and everyone here. You all know so well how I feel. This is the hardest thing I've ever dealt with,

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    1. INC,
      Steam, one of the women on this site, put it this way: My heartbreak, my rules. If he wants you to even consider giving him a second chance, then he needs to understand that you need to heal from this betrayal. And you can't do that if he won't let YOU decide what you need and when you need it.
      There's absolutely no question that talking about what happened and why it happened and how to ensure it doesn't happen again is key to you rebuilding a sense of trust and safety. Without that, why in the world would you ever trust him again? Unfortunately, he's shown you that he lies. To ask you to suddenly believe him because he's telling the truth NOW is ridiculous.
      I suspect this has been a problem in the marriage all along -- that you don't have clear boundaries and that he sets the rules. That old paradigm needs to get tossed while you rebuild a marriage that serves both of you. One based on total transparency, on honesty, on mutual respect.
      If he won't agree to that, it doesn't bode well for a marriage that's any different than the one you've had.
      He's asking you to forgive something that many many women won't forgive. Why should you? That's up to him to make clear that he deserves this second chance.

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  25. I'm not crazy--no you are NOT!!!
    excuse my bluntness but your husband is acting like a total ass. Refusing to admit anything and yet blaming you? YOU?
    Someone coined it perfectly here the other day
    You are the strong one--He is the weak one.

    Of course he doesnt want to talk about it, he knows he was despicable in his lies. He--NOT you OK? You're not the once who chose to cheat. He did. He has to learn why, and that you are not the blame.

    I once said "your heartbreak, your rules" and it applies here. You need what you need.
    He's getting the gift of a 2nd chance and he is blowing it. He should be on his knees thanking you, not blaming you. That's awful.

    I doubt that he would consider therapy (but demand it anyway, because this boy needs it, without a doubt) and you? You should go to discover your own boundaries, how to express them and how to enforce them.

    And should your H chose to continue on his journey, maybe he can do that alone. Horrible INC, I am so sorry.and no, you are NOT crazy

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  26. I often wonder about forgive and forget....

    I have the ability to forgive. Simply because I am aware that by not doing so I am holding myself in chains. But forget? No....I don't think I can do that.

    To forget would be to hard. I know now that by choosing to stay together I am accepting that I will always have a seed of doubt about whether he is staying faithful when he goes away, whether he is telling me the truth about events.

    For me, the lying (and the grand scale of it) was worse than the actual affair. I know the OW meant nothing, I know he never planned to take it any where but knowing this doesn't stop me feeling physically sick every time I think of what he said, how he looked me in the eye and told me I was being paranoid when he was in fact, still messaging her.

    Now the fog has cleared and he loves me, loves me, loves me. But he has to realise we cannot go back, he cannot undo this just because he chose me.

    It is getting easier, day by day I can feel my strength creeping back. I am three months from initial dDay, with a second in mid May.

    I have lost the urge to contact the OW, having realised that she is a true narcissist and emotionally damaged herself.

    BWC has been the best find! Every time I have a bad moment, I come on here and there is sanity and sage advice.

    One last thing...I found a song called "Nearly morning" by Luke Sital-sing. It could be an anthem for when someone first finds this site.

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    Replies
    1. Clover
      Holy Cow Clover, at 3 months I was still hiding under the covers!!! You are doing great.

      Of course, you NEVER forget. It's taken me a long time with the whole forgiveness thing as a well. It comes in layers and with a lot of time. The thing about forgetting the offense won't come to your mind as often as it does now. But something will always bring back a glimmer of it and your heart will sink and your stomach will churn but it will pass so you learn to ride the wave.

      LOL, yeah my H "loves me, loves me, loves me too" :) WWWHHHAAAT?? It's hard not to look at it skeptically but just try to accept it and enjoy it. He's trying right? So are we.

      The thing about foregiveness and realeasing you etc. I tried wrapping my head around it. I read about it, I tried reallllllly hard with forgiveness because I was still so pissed, months afterward!!, that I had to quit pushing myself into it. I know a lot of spiritual people all push that forgiveness issue and this only made me feel worse!! Like I was some kind of spiritually and morally deficient person because I knew I just wasn't at the total forgiveness place yet and damn it I was going to fast track this recovery shit so forgiveness had to take place!! The more I tried the further away I got from it. So I just threw up my hands. Fuck forgiveness. Fuck it that I think I'm deficient. Didn't care. It's when I finally gave up and realized nothing was going to change what happened. Forgiveness or no forgiveness, nothing was going to change the facts. He cheated, lied, betrayed, gossiped about me, threw me under the bus you name it, it happened. And I think finally I am there. Do I feel released, not necessarily but I'm not nearly as obsessed anymore. No punishment to him or the OW is going to change the facts. EVER. And I don't want to punish him. I love him, I care for him, I always have and more so we are a team now and we have each other's backs.

      I want to encourage you to not put pressure on yourself as to where you or anyone else might think you should be in your healing process. I think you are doing great and I hope you think so too.

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    2. Clover, Trying Hard is right. Three months I was barely functional. You're well on your way.
      And Trying Hard, I honestly don't know if I have actually "forgiven" my husband. I'm not sure I know what that means. What I do know is that I've fully accepted that this is my life and that no amount of wishing he'd never cheated is going to make bit of difference.
      I also realized the other night, as we swam with our two youngest kids under a gorgeous night sky, that I am so incredibly grateful for what I have in my life. And that includes my formerly cheating husband. I don't believe we could have what we now have had we not gone through that particular hell.

      Delete
  27. Relation ship is complicated. There were times when each day was a challenge for me. To stay or leave was a big confusion. This article explains my feeling through words. Thanks for posting the article Elle!

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  28. Every day I read something on this blog that gives me the courage to keep going! The anger is becoming easier to control. Finding our way in the new marriage is the tough part! My h has never been able to show affection except during sex. In the past, I didn't try to make it different. Now, I want to hear him say I love you and show it more importantly. Teaching him is not easy at our age. Late 50s. He is trying! Finding strength in you ladies and your struggle to survive! Thanks!

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  29. Fragments of HopeJuly 16, 2015 at 1:42 PM

    Clover you've perfectly put into words how I feel. Yes I can understand how it happened and that it wasn't really about me or even the OW but the bare-faced lies and the year long undercover deception I find it so hard to accept. Even when he knew what he had done and was sending me heartfelt texts saying he wanted to make it up to me he was, at the same time hiding the fact they were back in contact (friendly text exchanges and him saying it could go no further than that) . But the lying tears reality apart. It will take a long time and further progress (and there is progress) before I believe that closeness and intimacy for him also mean honesty. Like you, Clover, I can't forget either, it will always be there.

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  30. I shared on Facebook about our separation in the home. I had one atheist friend rip me to shreds and call me a hypocritical ass who was throwing stones at my hubby. I was asking for prayer. She informed me that porn wouldn't make his dick fall off.

    Oh well, I removed the bitch. I want to be my real self. I think a hypocrite is one who puts on a fake smile while everything in my life is falling apart.

    If they aren't going to be there for you: F'em.

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    Replies
    1. LOL Anne!! Well I beg to differ because in MY house porn most definitely will make his dick fall off!!!!!

      Delete
    2. ROFL-

      I read a story in China to where a wife saw an email her hubby sent to his lover and she chopped his dick off. Then after they sewed it back on, she went into his room and chopped it off again and threw it out the hospital window and they never found it again b/c they think an animal got it.

      LOL. Do you remember the story of Lorraine Bobbit who chopped of her hubby's part? They sewed it back on and then put her in a psych ward and he became a celebrity.

      What a F'd up world we live in.

      I once hit my hubby in the shins with a broom b/c he made me so mad b/c he was bitching about how messy the house was. I told him HE was the reason I don't feel like doing anything. Trauma and PTSD and depression can take over the wives so easily if we don't find women to talk to about their betrayal.

      Delete
    3. LMAO! You must mean Lorena Bobbitt style! I've had the thought myself!

      Delete
  31. Thank you for the articles and for this site.

    I feel like it has a great balance. I was on one private site to where I had to pay about 30 bucks a month to be on and I was kicked off for being a Christian who didn't want to go to Planned Parenthood for STD testing. I told them over and over my H's prob. was with porn and that he hadn't (yet) acted out physically.

    I was called all kinds of names for defending my pro life stance which wasn't my intention. I just let them know that it would offend MY Christian principles to go to PP. I wasn't judging anyone else.

    They were of the mind that you might as well divorce b/c they'll NEVER change. I'm glad I'm no longer there bc it wasn't a good place for me to be. They made me feel hopeless.

    We've been separated in my home for over 9 months and he's been sober for that time b/c we installed Cov. Eyes on the ONLY puter he's allowed to use. He's had his addiction for 12 years and tried to white knuckle sobriety. We got to Celebrate Recovery which really helps, however, we haven't done the step studies yet which is a 9 month long Bible study for healing for hurts, hangups or habits or addictions.

    The fellowship there is great. I love how the people don't walk around with fake smiling faces and just be their real selves.

    Elle, I just found this site about a couple of months ago. The articles and comments are a big help to me. As we say in the South, Bless Yet Heart, Elle.

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    Replies
    1. Anne from VA,
      Glad you found us.
      We subscribe to the belief that there's no "right" way out of this. Some stay and work it out, some leave and are glad to have done so, some aren't so sure what their next step is and that's okay too. There are many here who've managed to rebuild their marriages and are grateful for their "new" marriage. But some guys don't or won't do the hard work of earning that second chance. Some guys, frankly, don't deserve one. But that's for each of us to decide for ourselves.
      Bless your heart right back.

      Delete
    2. That's how I feel. Each person has the right to heal in whatever amount of time she needs.

      My husband is a great guy and an awesome father, it's just he P part of him that was ruining both of those. He's always helped around the house, cooked, cleaned, helped with the kids.

      I have three teens, girl 18, boy 15 and girl 13. I don't want them to grow up in a broken home.

      However, I had to take that drastic step to get him to wake up. He knew he was close to losing us.

      I told him he was going to end up in a shit hole apt by himself w/o me and the kiddos b/c I was DONE.



      Delete
    3. Hey Anne from VA,
      I have three kids too -- girl 17, boy 14, girl 12. Or as I like to call them, the perfect family. :)

      Delete
    4. Funny. .. i think my husband is smart carrying and an excellent father. ... besides this whole long time affair bullshit ... i thought i was the luckiest girl in the world maybe even more so while my heart is so broken and mind an obsessive mess .... i suffered anxiety and ocd to the max and i am doing my damness to control this and not relapse into the depths of that roller coaster too ... its not just me now i have a child i need to hold it together for even if inside im crumbling. ..

      Delete
    5. Anon
      It's the worst and I am so sorry you're going through this. I'm a mom and a grandmother. I wish I could reassure you and tell you everything's going to be ok. It will. Takes time. Hang in there and be a good mom. Keeping you in my highest thoughts and prayers.

      Delete
    6. Anonymous,
      I know how challenging it can be to keep anxiety and OCD under control at the best of times. Please ensure that you have lots of support through this. Don't try and white-knuckle it. Make your own mental health your highest priority.

      Delete
    7. When i was in my early 20 i was in therapy for awhile im trying to apply things i know worked then to keep at bay. No caffiend. Excercise. . Stop sign in head ... think happy ... divert thoughts .. doesnt always work but managing. Crying helps. Read self help and this blog! Not opposed to therapy but not currently in any ... husband came all clean either im numb or the obessing feels lighter do now the hurt is sitting here. H repeats hes stupid. . Shameful and rack w guilt for me and ow though he knows im concerned with us. He said he cant understand his guilt to make sure ow ok when he really thinks about it his heart is st home. Not sure how to help him w that. Perhaps since he came clean the ow power of fear and threars to tell hopefully wi ll release him from his addition or what ever it is w her? He also feels used by her now talkjng to me which is driving him nuts. Stupid stupid mistakes bad choices he says ... yep fucking stupid. Now we hit rock bottem no secrets thats got some worth i think ...

      Delete
    8. No secrets is a pretty good place to begin again.
      He needs to let go of the OW completely. Just cut her off. His loyalty need to be 100% to you. If the OW is hurt, well, too bad. She chose to enter a relationship with an unavailable partner.
      The best he can do for everybody is to get himself to a place where he wouldn't make that choice again. For you. And for him.

      Delete
  32. I am so thankful I have found this blog! May 22nd was the day I had my proof but I suspected the affair long before and knew what she was before my husband did. I tried to warn him. We have five children together. I don't know that I want to put the effort into our marriage anymore to make it work but I do realize my mind changes daily on this. I look forward to reading your blogs. I also have a blog here on blogspot that has chronicled my journey thus far.

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    Replies
    1. Rebecca,
      You don't have to know right now. Our emotions are so up and down in the first weeks and months post D-Day that it's not the best time to make choices about the rest of our lives. Keep reading. Keep blogging. It will become clear with time.

      Delete
  33. Rebecca
    I've recently read about five books on socio/psychopaths trying to understand what happened in my life. I am convinced the OW in my husbands life is indeed a sociopath. Once he ended it and fired her she was gone like a flash. Well ok I may or may not have scared the crap out of her too :)

    One of the psychopathic traits is they are highly sexual. So it is not unusual for them to have multiple partners. The have sex with abandon. They are NOT however emotionally invested in the sex. It's a tool they use to manipulate their victims and they victimize for their own needs. Lots of times they purposely go after attached men because they get a big kick out of believing they are taking away another women's man. She loves the challenge. She believes she is better, smarter, sexier etc than the victim's partner. They have NO conscience. They bore easily and boredom is kryptonite to a sociopath.

    That said, Rebecca, since your husband has dropped her it's unlikely she will go after him anymore and has moved on to her next challenge because she needs a new high. She is NOT emotionally invested in him. She used him for her own gain.

    I don't know how much time or investment you have in your marriage, ie children, finances, time etc but maybe if you look at the relationship your H had with her as the fact that he was a victim of a very hard sell on her part, you could come to understand and maybe work through it. I'm not suggesting you stay if you really don't think you can handle it because indeed in the end his infidelity is totally on him. Yes he should have said no. Yes she didn't hold a gun to his head. Yes there is risk in staying with a person who cheated because we all know what they are capable of. Sometimes it is better just to divorce and move on. But I believe if your husband does the work and gets to the bottom of why he allowed himself to have an affair maybe he will have learned a great personal and moral lesson for himself and you could go on to have a happy life together. I'm not against divorce but sometimes we trade one set of problems for another. Divorce is NOT the easy way out.

    I wish you the best. Hang in there and take good care of YOU.

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  34. Hi everyone, i have been reading this blog since march 2014. I finally have the courage to write and say thank you to all your posts because it has really helped me. I have been cheated on by my H with the wife of my cousin who i treated love ke my sister. The first time i caught them sexting i felt like my world stopped revolving. I was betrayed by 2 people that i trusted. I forgave my husband, and on christmas eve i put down my pride and forgave the OW. I asked in return from the OW to "please make surethis will be the last for both our families sake." She then replied "you are my sister and I love your kids i promise not to do it again." I forgave and tried to move on, but I couldn't shake the feeling that something was still going on. Finally, in March 4, 2014 I found pictures of the OW and my H on his phone kissing while laying in bed with only sheets. My world turned upside down, I instantly turned numb as if it was all unreal. I wanted the ground to swallow me whole where i was standing. It was a big confrontation with me, my H, and my cousin who lives next door. To make the story short, I am still with my husband after counseling, church counseling, and moving to a new home because if I stayed in our house I dont think I would be a free woman today. I saw her driving one day and I drove infront of her headlight to headlight to see any remorse. There was nothing for me to see but arrogance in her eyes. It has been a very difficult journey but i am still on this road. There are times when i feel ashamed of myself because i feel that i betrayed myself by letting worthless people step on me. I knowmy husband is has changed and is keeping his promise but it is hard to believe when u no longer trust the person. Everyday the thoughts and questions in my head get so loud that it is deafening. It is difficult to live in this new norm but this blogspot and you comrades have made it more tolerable. Thank you for all your thoughts Elle.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So glad you found us. Hope you'll continue to share your story and your wisdom and your support. Please don't beat yourself up for not better protecting yourself. When we know better, we do better. That's one of the gifts of this agony is that it often forces us to take better care of ourselves...and know that we deserve to.

      Delete
  35. First day on this site, and already see its power. I am 6 years past D-Day. Yet here I am on this site. My story has not been posted yet, but I have had so many things happen which have silenced me, or pushed my recovery away. Thus 6 years gone by, and Im still dealing with it. I have no one to talk to about it, so I feel I can only heal by reading others stories.

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  36. Being silenced. It started ON D-Day, for me that was 6 years ago. First I silenced myself out of embarrassment, ashamed of my husband's actions. Then, my life silenced me, I was working, and both of my aging parents were ill, therefore their needs came before my marital problem. No time to grieve....just get on with taking care of them. Then my mom died. I grieved her loss, then my dad died, so I grieved him. Then back to work, working overtime, no time to grieve for the marriage I had once thought to be wonderful. Grieving and healing alway's taking the back burner. Thus I am here today still seeking answers, still trying to figure out why this happend. I am now retired, so my own grieving is front and center, I can no longer go on until I fix what this horrible experience has done to me, my ego, my marriage, and my soul. I hope reading all of your experiences leads me to the tools I need to heal.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aboveitall,
      It's crucial that you allow yourself to grieve the loss of the marriage you thought you had. Like you, my own grief process was complicated by the loss of my mother, the loss of my best friend, my career taking a dive. But I think, even when I wasn't necessarily aware of it, my brain was working through the pain. Now that you've got some time and space, I hope you'll focus on what you need to bring yourself to a place of healing. That's really our life's work, isn't it?

      Delete
  37. I love this post. But I don't know how to not be silent. The fear of being judged, the fear of even more humiliation, the looks, the "of course he cheated on you, I would too". I am just too afraid. I do know women who came out immediately. Told everybody. If I didn't share it within a few days - I didn't. I cannot talk about it. I feel like I would have to start with long explanations that there were no dinosaurs on Earth 6 thousand years ago........ I would feel that I would have to EXPLAIN MYSELF. I would feel that I am the guilty one. But this silence suffocates me. I am tired of pretending. I am tired of people saying "your husband is such a great man". I am tired of lying about why I feel sad when I have another flashback. It feels very very lonely. And I don't know how to get out of this.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Le Vol Arrete
      this is what makes me so angry about infidelity and betrayal. We the betrayed have to suffer twice. Once at the hands of the betrayer, then at the hands of society.

      I am always baffled when betrayed try so hard to "keep the secret" for the cheater. So much so to their own detriment! Le Vol do you not have ANYONE with whom to speak freely where you wouldn't have to feel the "need to explain"? And if you don't that's ok, but please seek out a therapist or at the very least a group of betrayed women group that you could join and speak freely and not feel so alone with your misery.

      Had it not been for my therapists and the wonderful support I've gotten from the other betrayed women from blogs like this I think I would have lost my mind a long time ago.

      We all need validation. We all need someone to tell us it's ok to have certain thoughts in times like these and unfortunately that does not come from our betrayers. Our thoughts are all over it would be impossible to even start to explain it to our husbands. However, here on this blog we talk about all of it. And often someone else will chime in with and say Yes I had that happen too or I feel that too etc.

      I understand being silent to your friends and family. Because honestly after all the more salacious gossip is out they really don't want to hear anymore. The are ready to move on to the next story. People are funny like that right??

      In my case there was NO keeping the secret. The idiot was fool enough to hire her into our business where our sons work!!! Besides by the time DDay came I could have cared less about keeping his stupid secret so the whole town ended up hearing the story. Even people we didn't know had something to say. It was so weird. Everyone had an opinion. It's been hard to hold my head up sometimes. But I've taken on the fuck em attitude. They are no better than me. Everyone has skeletons in their closets.

      One thing I have to reinforce to you Le Vol is you are definitely NOT the guilty one. The only thing you are guilty of is loving and trusting a person who is not trustworthy. You have no reason to hang your head. You did NOTHING to "cause" him to cheat. That is ALL on him. Heck look at Sandra Bullock and Princess Di. Two pretty perfect people and yet their husbands cheated. Look at Elin Woods. Beautiful intelligent adoring wife and yet good old Tiger just couldn't rest going after the trailer park trash!!! So get that idea of you being guilty out of your mind. Get the idea that you have to justify anything you do to anyone out of your mind. No one walks in your shoes but YOU. If you have someone in your life who's going to judge your choices well it's time you get them out of your life. LOL matter of fact infidelity and betrayal has a way of getting a lot of people out of your life. Not just the betrayer or cheater, but fake friends and family. Elle has lots of posts on this.

      Good luck to you Le Vol. I hope you hang around here and get the support we all need. I think you will find and helpful and supportive sisterhood here.

      Delete
    2. Le Vol,
      Everything Trying Hard has written is so true. But I too know the burden that comes with holding the secret. I stayed silent at first because I worried my husband would lose his job, which would have impacted the whole family in a huge way. Now, I'm careful about who I tell but not silent.
      Please feel free to share here as often and as much as you need. You did nothing wrong. You do not deserve this pain. But I know how lonely it can feel.
      Even without telling others, you can nonetheless find ways to stand in your own integrity. Like you, I often heard from people (including my parents who knew everything!!) how "great" my husband was. I would smile and respond with, "every marriage has its challenges". Or "he does have many good qualities", which made it clear that they didn't know the whole story because, of course, none of us ever knows the whole story. I didn't say more than that but it was enough to allow me to not feel as though I was being dishonest with myself or disrespecting myself. Hell, I'm not perfect even though I haven't cheated. No marriage is perfect. And by doing that, you're also opening the door just a crack to others who perhaps feel the same shame as you because their husbands cheated. It's like some sort of code among betrayed wives. And there are many, many of us out there.
      Le Vol, it really does help to share your story and your challenges and your successes, whether here or any other site in which you feel heard and valued and respected.

      Delete
  38. Ironically it's often those who are convinced that they would absolutely know if their husband was cheating (I thought my husband was incapable of lying to me) who are most susceptible. If there are signs, we are adept at ignoring them because they don't fit our narrative about ourselves and our spouses.

    Oh my! That quote was ME! I didn't believe he could do what he did. But he did! That's what I like about this blog. You find out that you are not alone. It's a safe place to pure out your pain and oh, how much pain I just read poured out here. As a marriage survivor I live with the knowledge and fear that it could happen again. I thought we were happy and the fact that I can't tell when he is cheating eats away at me. So I take every day at face value,enjoy every moment with my husband that I can, love him the very best that I can because I don't think that on judgement day the Lord will judge me for loving too much and realize that I live in an imperfect world with an imperfect man and an imperfect marriage. I realize that my value comes from God and that He loves me with a perfect love...and oh how well God has loved me these past two years. Who knew?

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