Sunday, August 16, 2015

In the Ashes: Finding Grace Against All Odds

"Grace cannot prevail until...finally and for good, our lifelong certainty that someone is keeping score has run out of steam and collapsed."~Robert Farrar Capon

I was the queen of scorekeepers. I never entered a room that I didn't subconsciously compare myself to everyone there. Was someone prettier? Was someone smarter? Was someone more gracious? More fun? More popular? Only be feeling in some way superior could I feel good enough. Which left me feeling almost consistently diminished.
I also kept score with my husband. Who did the dishes? Who spent more time with the kids? Who ensured that a good meal was on the table each day? Who made sure our children ate from all of the food groups? For each of these things, I gave myself a mental checkmark – a subconscious assurance that I was the superior mate.
I sound insufferable, don't I?
I wasn't. At least not constantly. Much of the time I was open-hearted and loving. Much of the time, I was appreciate of his contributions to our family. But I cannot deny that there were periods of time – sometimes long periods of time, especially when my three kids were young – that my score-keeping fed a hunger for superiority that bred resentment and disappointment. Hardly the hallmarks of a healthy partnership.
And then! Then, when I discovered my husband's affair (followed by his confession of an entire double life), I was left with little choice but to declare myself morally superior. I was practically a saint. I would never EVER do what he had done.
Right?

It was only when I began to really unpack the psychology of affairs, to dig deep into the whys of affairs in general and my husband's cheating in particular, that I began to challenge my own conviction that my moral compass was somehow less subject to movement. I began to wonder if, raised by the same cold judgemental mother that my husband was, raised in the same guilt-and-shame-infused home, I might have made the same choices he did. Might I have sought escape as he did? Might I have developed the same unhealthy addiction to emotionless sex?
I was willing to admit it was possible.
And within that admission, grace took root. Grace, says Ann Lamott, "meets you right where it finds you, but it does not leave you where it found you. It moves you toward breath; moves you towards things being a little bit better: wow. Grace WD-40. Grace is water wings. Grace makes you shake your head with wonder, and laugh and cry."
Grace allowed me to unclench my jaw. To unhitch my shoulders from my ears. To smile.
But mostly grace allowed me to see my husband, not as some inferior creature, lucky that I was magnanimous, but as someone on the same journey as I but filled with pain and confusion that he barely recognized let alone knew how to handle. Grace allowed me to see him with compassion. Which – and this is the incredible part – allowed me to see myself with compassion. 
I'm far better at silencing that critic in my head that compares myself with everyone else and mentally ticks off the score. I'm no better or worse. Just different. And lucky me! I get to live my life according to my value system, not anybody else's. Lucky you because you get to do the same.
And within that value system, there's room for mistakes. My own, my husband's, my children's. We learn from them. We do better next time. We shake our heads – often – with wonder, and laugh, and cry.

(I'm leaving the country for a few weeks for a vacation with my family. We're heading to Italy to play, explore and EAT. I will have only sporadic access to Internet so please be patient if your comments take a few days or more to be posted. I'll be back in September. In the meantime, hang tough my warriors.)

90 comments:

  1. Have a great holiday! You deserve it!

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  2. Wow, Elle. The first part of this hit me between the eyes. I, too, made those comparisons when I entered a room...but, worse yet, I didn't just compare MYSELF to the other women in the room, but I also compared my husband. Was another husband better looking, more fit, better dressed, financially better off, more openly affectionate with his wife? And how could he not have felt that? I was downright emasculating sometimes. And, like you, I wasn't always unpleasant. But when I was, it had a lasting impact on both of us.

    So Grace is something I'm becoming quite familiar with. In looking at my husband's horrible childhood and then my own hand in breaking down his sense of self worth, I too wonder if I would have made the same choice when someone I consider a friend made me feel special and handsome? Unfortunately, that answer is probably yes. And I know this because I, myself, would likely have made that choice as recently as a year ago. Without going into too much detail, there is a man I periodically work with that I also have a connection with. He flirts, I jokingly rebuff him. He jokes around and tells me how unhappy he is in his marriage and I try to give him advice. Knowing what I know now, I could NEVER let things progress, but if the opportunity had arisen last summer or fall, I can't be positive that things wouldn't have gotten out of hand. My husband I were struggling with his severe depression and my own reactions to it and I was lonely and confused (as was he) and the grass was sure looking greener. Now I think about this man and I think about what he's doing to his wife, how he's speaking about her and their marriage behind her back, and I wonder if she too will someday be blindsided by betrayal. I know that I will not be the one causing her that pain, but I don't know that I'm a special case for him or if anyone will do (this is the likelier scenario for a man looking for an "out"). Another work friend has noticed that he's particularly solicitous of me, but I'm pretty sure he'd move on quickly if someone else showed interest. It was flattering for a long time, but now it just makes me sad for them both. You see, he's actually what anyone would consider a "good guy"...almost better than most given his choice of career...but I believe he's ripe for an affair and that "good guy" image is going to feel like a distant memory to him AND his wife.

    So, yes, Grace. Because i am not above reproach. I've made mistakes...big and small. His big one hurts like a bitch and I'm by no means "over it" nor do I expect I will be for quite some time, but, as for Grace, I believe he deserves it, I know he needs it, and, frankly, in a lot of ways, I owe it to him and to myself to extend it.

    Have a wonderful vacation, Elle!

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    1. So I did all this--compared myself to other women, compared my h to other h, and definitely kept score of how much I did around the house and for the kids versus how much he did. And although he makes more money, I definitely resented that I was a doctor working full time and still was left with all the shopping, cooking, bill paying/managing the finances, and child related issues. And since I walked around with not a chip but a huge boulder on my shoulder, it only made him want to be home less.

      All good excuses/set up for the second physical affair as well as the emotional affair which took place chronologically between the first and second physical affairs.

      Also, I distinctly remember at the time of his second physical affair feeling how distant we were. I used to tell people my h and I were like 2 ships passing in the night. I felt like we were disconnected, on 2 different planes. Some or even a large part may have been emotional distance created by him to justify or as a result of the affair rather than a contributing factor, but still, I remember thinking as a new dr was about to join my practice, thinking to myself that I hoped he was good looking. I had dreams not of an affair but of attention from a man. So while I can fault my h, who knows what would have happened if another man at work had started flirting with and flattering ME? After all, we are all only human.

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    2. I love that I can come here and have someone "get it". We have a fabulous therapist, but having this space to say some things I don't necessarily want to put into the same words elsewhere is so precious to me.

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  3. Elle,

    We just started listening to a remarkable book that I highly recommend in regards to "Grace."

    The Body Keeps The Score by Bessel Van Der Kolk. M.D.

    Have a wonderful time with your family!

    Big Love To You and everyone here

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  4. Elle, I hope you and your family have a wonderful trip.

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  5. Another great post Elle, thank you. Your wonderful words certainly resonated with me. it's good to view matters from a range of perspectives, it opens our hearts rather than closes them. Have a fabulous time in Italy. Ciao :-)

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  6. Gonna miss you Elle, have a great family holiday 😊

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  7. Elle, the world should know your writing. I do hope you are compiling a book of all the wonder you have shared with us.
    Have a fantabulous!! time on your vacation. Love & light :-)

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  8. Grace .... ahhhhhh great post and timely ... how di you always do that ellem having to feed myself large doses of grace these days and remain focus on healing and not rubbing my H nose in shit. Hes told me so much and relived much of my obsessing he recently gave me passwords to everything ... i couldnt resist urge to dig some but caution asking anything we already discussed rehash or more so beat a dead horse knowing him giving me everything, finally, after months of asking since dday is showing that he does want to help me, us. Knowing all details hurts like a bitch but ill take the burn of confirmation over the drowning of u knowns and assumptions ... obcessing ... making up my own stories ANY DAY OF THE WEEK! I only wish this had happened sooner to dday better now then never ... though i trend to try so hard to focus forward as no badly how much i wish we could change past we cannot. Grace what an eloquent way to reform how i feel which is much easier swallowed then the word forgiveness. Im still very raw and new to this just 3mo. And while im not naive to know even w full access if he truly wants to cheat he will i cannot hold a lock and key only walk beside H and let him know im here but he alone is responsible for his choices. I can help make ys whole by showing grace and love. I have my days ladies ... but trying not to let his mistake define us is much lighter then dwelling on the details of what i cant change ... we are in control of our own actions not others. Wishing u all strength to get through another day with grace like a ballerina. Xo. Ps elle may your heart be full of the best pasta and wine offered enjoy your trip! After thought i am practicing this in other areas full force ...i learned alot about ow sexually .... scared i wont live up to their fantasyland bs .... too much info in some aspects. But then think do i have to??? Really .... crazy sex is great but seems emotionless. ... i have much more true passion to offer and may even unlock a few new deeper doors as we build from ground up ... on my terms though .... thinking outloud

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  9. Hope you have a great holiday Elle. Thank you so much for the work that you do on this blog, it has helped me so much. XO

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  10. I am trying to find grace. Grace for myself and grace for him.

    It's getting hard though. I've had two ddays, the most recent being mid May, and he feels I should be over it by now, so we aren't really talking about it.

    He went away in July and I stupidly messaged the ow. She is married too, and she sent copies of my messages (edited!) to my husband. Luckily I was polite...but he did the worst thing, and he replied to her offering her advice "to just block me" but she said she was scared I would message her husband. I was left to feel like the crazy person they were trying to manage.

    Still he hasn't asked my side and still he says things like "you'll tell me white lies" as if SHE the woman who cheated on her husband is the teller of truths! I wouldn't mind, but I haven't told a single lie in this.

    I want to walk away. Staying together is so much harder than leaving, and we betrayed spouses do not get the credit we deserve for trying again.

    I want him to see that it isn't her, it's him I am worried about. He isn't the man I admired and respected all these years, the man who knew that my mother betrayed my father and left me to be raised by him. Who knew that the worst thing he could do would be to cheat on his family. How do I make him see that the damage is deep? That I am strong enough to go it alone, but not really strong enough to carry him?

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  11. I have been obsessing over when the affair happened. My husband says he honestly can't remember the actual date/month of when they had sex, just that it was sometime last fall. He just knows I was out of town visiting family. I have scoured my planner from last year and was only out of town twice during that time from what I can tell: two days before our last anniversary and right after Christmas. He says he doesn't think it was either of those times, but still has no idea when. I have been fixated to the point of obsession over this since DDay a month ago. I can't seem to let it go. But he says he honestly can't remember. Looked back through work email to try to pinpoint it. I am so worried that he is hiding something more from me. But he seems honestly frustrated and upset when he tries to recall the date because he doesn't want me thinking he cheated days before our anniversary (which is coming up later this month). But what does his ability to seem honest mean anymore anyway? Should I let it go? How do I get over this?

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    1. Grace,
      Why does it matter so much? Having sex with the ow is bad regardless of the day...would it hurt you less if it were a random Tuesday...I fear you are digging for pain here. Remember , to YOU certain days are significant, most men don't think of days as being significant and honestly the sex probably was not significant either...it was just sex. A huge big deal to us but not usually to him...I made myself crazy imagining my h and the ow sex. It had to be candles and soft music and passionate wild sex I just knew it was...and she had to be a beauty with a perfect body...months of me obsessing. Well not so much, she looked like my grandmother on a bad day and she lived in some retro 1960's dive of a house that had never seen a coat of paint or a dust rag...certainly not the castle I imagined. Please don't waste time obsessing about this. Maybe he really does not remember. Be well, be kind to yourself, you will get over this just try stopping the thought when it starts. My best to you.

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    2. Early on details like this mattered to me bc I was pain shopping. Every detail I learned was hateful in some way -- the date, the location, where they ate, the fact that I was pregnant during part of the first affair, the fact that I was falling asleep bc I had taken on a second job during the second affair, etc. Every detail was a new turn in the knife that was permanently wedged in my heart.

      Now I'm just over 2 years past 1st dday and over 1 year past 2nd dday. My husbands 1st physical affair was over 10 years ago and lasted about 2 years. he doesn't remember exactly when it started or when it ended. Part is him not wanting to remember. Ill tell you this-- he definitely remembers when we first had sex. That date mattered to him.

      But several days ago I started thinking about specific details again, but not to pain shop. I sent him an email saying all he wants to do is forget and all I want to do is to remember, discover and analyze. Where was I at the time? what was he doing or saying? what was I doing or saying. Now I'm trying to find a reason such as was he depressed, having a hard time at work, was I not involved, what did I do, were there any clues that an affair was imminent, were that any signs of it happening/continuing. and the answer of course is complicated, yes and no. No I did nothing to cause that first affair. our marriage was good and our relationship was just fine before kids took our time from each other. Yes there were signs but subtle ones that could go either way. There was no neon sign saying cheater just as there won't be one again. So its time to forgive myself for causing/contributing to the affairs and time to stop searching for something that will help me prevent it in the future. The same may be true for your motivations.

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  12. My grace jar is completely empty today. It is parched and dry at the bottom. There is no air to breath. I hurt in the pit of my stomach. My chest aches. I went for my yearly pap and for the first time since 1969 my Pap smears have been normal. Not today, sorry you don't win the prize, your lottery ticket is no good you lost, nice try. Instead you may win the award for having cancer from your darling husband and his lovely, highly sought after woman who had many friends with benefits at the same time. Imagine that! Don't even ask if she changed the sheets between friends, that is so not necessary just jump in bed and get on with it. That's ok why wouldn't I be thrilled at the knowledge that have slept with hundreds of people both men and women. The great part is I didn't even have to leave my house. This is the gift that just keeps on giving. Words were in the letter like suspicious, high risk, HPV and pathologist. I can't wait until the healing really begins on these pesky wounds that just keep growing. No wonder it takes 2-5 years, since little pathogens stay dormant. His cesspool began in 2011 and suddenly those irritating pathogens have perk up, raised their hand and said well it is wake up time. My cup the runth over with glee today. Who wouldn't want to be me? I don't have a single light to look on, I'm in the dark again. I spent my entire career as a nurse not getting pathogens and never once with hundreds of thousands of patients did I ever infect someone. Here I sit in a tub full of bath water by myself, door locked and I'm crying so hard I don't even have to run any water my tears are enough. I'm 20 months out and healing strong. Do I need to survive the Madras fault earthquake , climb Mt. Everest, or maybe if I just surf a sunanmi into shore to show how much I can take? That is the way today feels. Where is my grace?

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    1. Lynn,

      I just read your post and wept.

      I have witnessed so many sorrows in the past weeks and sat with women who's lives have been shattered by sexual deceit. We recently lost 2 young adults in our community to suicide - where family secrets ending up in despair.

      I wept for your sitting alone behind a locked door and felt your tears. You have dedicated your life to caring for others and you are one of my hero's. You are an amazing, fierce, compassionate woman. May we hold you in our hearts, even beyond grace and with radical love.

      May light and a forcefield of love from this army surround you.
      v

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    2. Lynn, I got HPV from my h 20 years ago when we first started having sex. I have never been with anyone else; at the time he had slept with 3 women prior. He didn't know he had HPV. I was diagnosed about 1 year after we started having sex when I had an abnormal PAP smear. I think it was cervical dysplasia on the PAP. I had colposcopy followed by cryotherapy. I was fine until about 10 years later when I was pregnant. During pregnancy immune system changes and atypia recurred on the PAP. I had colposcopy again with biopsy but bx was benign so no cryo. On another occasion I had atypia on PAP but gyn said thinking now is atypia or even mild dysplasia can regress on its own. I have been clean since.

      Yes it sucks contracting this from your h as a result of his affair. I contracted this long before his 2 affairs. I know youre terrified but don't assume its cancer yet and if it is hopefully its early enough or even just dysplasia to be treated with cryo such

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    3. Lynn Pain
      I have been with my h since I was a teen virgin and he infected me then with HPV even tho I must admit in the 70's we did not really know what that meant. I married him anyway due to crazy love and fast forward to present day where I find myself trying to understand his choices to have sex with someone besides me. Grace is allowing God to help you through what ever tomorrow brings and step into it in the best way you can. One day at a time....

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    4. Oh Lynn I'm so sorry what a horrible way to get infected, I am crying with you. I have also been exposed to HPV and am waiting for my pap smear results - I recently found out ow has been contacting my husband for the past 12 months with whatever drama she has in her life. One of her dramas was that she "might have cancer", she had abnormal pap smears and had to have a biopsy (she never actually thought to explain to my dumb arse husband that it is caused by an STD). I hope your body soon clears this horrible legacy of your husband's affair. It really is a very low chance it will turn into cancer if you keep up with your pap smears but I know that doesn't lesson the pain of being infected. You wrote this post a few days ago now, how are you coping now lovely lady? xx

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    5. Good news - I escaped the diseases of the psycho teachers dirty snatch. My pathology came back OK. I'm so relieved. Thanks for all the encouragement girlfriends.

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    6. Oh Lynn,
      I'm so glad your pathology results were positive. But yes, there's so much pain to wade through before we reach the shore.

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  13. Grace, look at the post before this one on forgiving yourself ... the last three entries, from Hopeful 30, Dandelion and myself address this very subject. Bless you Dear - I know all too well what you are going through ...

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  14. Grace, I think you have to let it go for your own sanity. He may or may not be telling you the truth, what you know is that it happened and that is certain. The times, days weeks, months are not so important as the reason why he did it and the work you do to heal from this together. Try making an effort to move forward from this issue and focus on your next step. Are you in counselling? That would be a start for you and as a couple.

    I'm nearly 2 years post d day so I've been where you are now. If your husband is hiding something you will find out, we can't control what they do either way but we can choose what we decide to do. Focus on you and what you want/ need right now. Wishing you lots of love x

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  15. Elle,

    Forgive me for asking yesterday for private contact and intruding this way on your vacation but I am alarmed by what I am witnessing. The following is a rough draft not meant for anything but consideration. This is particularly directed to serial cheaters
    ---------------------------------------------------------------

    Infidelity, Adultery, Cheating,emotional and sexual deceit is born from pathological empathy erosion, sense of entitlement and problems with intimacy and connectedness. It is a form of "soul rape," to unaware partners and the responsibility rests SOLELY on the perpetrator NOT THE UNAWARE VICTIM.

    Perpetrators and especially the victims need pragmatic help facing the cold TRUTH at the very onset of "Discovery."

    Treatment modalities and therapy, for Adultery should:

    Help the betrayed partner - manage PTSD and trauma. Seek treatment with Trauma therapy specialists. (unfortunately this is often prohibitively, costly)

    Extreme Self-Care (help direct focus away from the betraying partner towards restorative self care and healthy autonomy)
    Encourage direct connection to other veterans of betrayal.

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  16. 2-

    IMMEDIATE LEGAL COUNSEL
    STD'S SCREENING AND TESTING FOR BOTH PARTNERS

    Upon "Discovery," the betrayer stands at the crossroad perhaps for the very first time. They are immediately activated towards self-preservation, denial, avoidance, manipulation and flight. Suddenly the betrayer realizes that they have been "Discovered and Caught." (This holds true if the betrayer discloses the emotional/sexual betrayal themselves to their partners in attempt to be "Seen and Known."

    The cheater (male or female) must provide:

    POST NUPTIAL
    BACKGROUND CHECK (ALL ACCOUNTS AND FINANCES MUST BE MADE TRANSPARENT TO THE BETRAYED SPOUSE)
    LIE DETECTOR TEST (BUT THESE CAN BE GAMED)

    ***** The cheating spouse (male/female) should (unknowingly) be submitted to detective surveillance (which is comparable to Random Urine drops for drug addicts) in order to VERIFY behavior.*****(this may appear radical however insures VERIFICATION of actual activity)

    100% accountability and willingness by the betraying partner to - Look, in depth at their own behavior and impact upon others.

    100% transparency in all areas of behavior.

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  17. 3-

    AT ONSET OF THERAPY IF THE BETRAYING, - CHEATING PARTNER, REFUSES A POST NUPTIAL OR BACKGROUND CHECK THE THERAPIST SHOULD INFORM THE CHEATING PARTNER THEY ARE BEING FIRED FROM COUNSELING AT THIS JUNCTURE.

    Assist the betrayed spouse in managing trauma while moving towards divorce and NOT, reconciliation.

    Repeat: Unless the Betraying Spouse is made accountable at the ONSET of initial treatment, therapy is contra-indicated and will prolong misery for the betrayed partner and children if there are any.

    Too often people spend years in costly treatment. Only to end up emotionally devastated, demoralized, culturally preyed upon and further victimized, divorced and bankrupt in the process.

    (NOTE: If the betraying partner demonstrates the ability to be accountable, truthful and have compassion for others. The couple may choose to remain together, EVEN AFTER DIVORCE)

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  18. 4-

    THE PRIMARY GOAL IS TO HELP THE BETRAYED PARTNER TO EMOTIONAL AND FINANCIAL SAFETY AND STABILITY, PRIOR TO RESTORATION OF THE PRIMARY RELATIONSHIP.

    STAYING MARRIED OR IN MATE-SHIP IS A POTENTIAL BUT SEPARATE GOAL.

    It is a well known fact that most sexual cheaters do not practice safe sex.

    We currently live in a zeitgeist of sexual secrecy, cheating and infidelity, faulty mythical perceptions about 'monogamy,' and dangerous treatment modalities (hazardous primarily for the unaware and uninformed victims)

    Adultery, infidelity, cheating becomes a public safety and human rights issue with the increasing call for duty to warn unaware victims of this domestic abuse by stealth and to help victims make informed decisions about their lives.

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  19. 5-

    Terms and ideas used: Empathy Erosion - Simon Baron Cohen. Soul Rape - Rev Dave. Blame the rape on the rapist, sexual compulsivity is a problem with intimacy and has become a human rights issue. O. Miwalla. Infidelity, cheating, sexual and emotional Secrecy has become domestic abuse by stealth and a public safety issue with duty to warn unaware victims. Jane Baldinger MSW, Michael Baldinger M.D.

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  20. Elle

    I left this out but just decided it's important and this would be at the beginning of what I just wrote:

    To Highlight the dramatic and actual visceral devastation of intimacy trauma upon unsuspecting individuals - one only needs to look at an MRI of the brain.

    At the onset of "Discovery," if a victim of betrayal were to have a brain scan - the trauma would present - like a gunshot wound. Leaving the recipient/victim emotionally, physically, shattered and in shock. Which is only the very beginning of their painful journey.

    Pre - Discovery
    Discovery
    Post Discovery (Often with multiple re-triggering and re-trauma's regarding truth and accountability)

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    1. This is a roadmap or how to for the betrayed. Each of us went through this or a portion of this by trial and error. The looming question after a betrayal is what do I do now? You could elaborate under each section in this factual non-emotional method and style to explain why. This is great, I would like to see this as reposted as an article. Thank you for taking the time to add logic to a situation which has no logic or sense.

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  21. Grace,

    I just never felt settled with the I don't know answers. I knew things did not add up I was being told. For some that was okay. But my husband had two sporadic lengthy affairs. That contributed to some of the lack of memory. He ended up creating what he thaught was a palatable story of the affairs. He thought he gave me enough information. Well when he on his own admitted that he lied about when it started and that he saw this woman three times not two i knew I was right all along. And then how could I trust that the other information was true at all. I could not just let it go or as he said "flush it" and not deal with the darkest time in his life. I read the Shirley glass book not just friends and it helped me a ton. Like it was pivotal.

    I wrote him a letter. When we start to discuss I tend to get emotional and also it is hard and ends up later at night when the kids are in bed. I usually do not get to get all of my thoughts out. So I wrote this letter. I explained that since we are 5 months and he lied to me over the past 5 months about when the first affair began that I have been betrayed all over again and lost the trust I had started to regain. I did emphasize that this did not take away from the work on our marriage. But that it will keep resurfacing and we cannot have a quality marriage where I cannot trust him or feel safe. I felt like I needed it and him too. I said I knew it was hard for him too. I went on to highlight many other things that I had reflected on and gotten from the book. I also found on the Peggy Vaughn website a page about telling the truth. She has studies she has done about how being honest and discussing it gives a better chance at success.

    I gave the letter to my husband last night. He said it was really well written and said maybe we are at an impasse. And maybe we should talk Saturday during the day. Then he read it again and the article I printed out and said what do you want to know. I asked lots of questions and he told me more than he ever had. I still might have more questions and I did not get exact dates. But up till now I was getting an I don't know about when the affair began and ended for the second one. I do think he had no idea the day he told me everything. He has blocked it out and it has been 15 months or so since he had seen her and he said 2-3 texts the month after that. And nothing since. So I get it but i needed that basic info. I felt like if he did not tell me the entire truth he was holding it in, still keeping secrets and also protecting that woman and affair even if that was not his intention.

    So I do think everyone needs to decide what they need to know. This book and the Peggy Vaughn book talk about not reacting in a bad way. I have worked on that. Staying as calm as possible and also listening more. I have gotten more information that way and I do think that has allowed him to open up. I still say how I feel after but he already knows it hurts and is terrible so I have backed off on that. These books have helped me a ton especially the not just friends book.

    It is so hard everything I have heard but for me it was the right decision. If he is still keeping secrets then I don't want to be with him. I could not build trust and feel he would be honest if one of these women contacted him or if anything came up with another woman. He feels I have been strong and coursgous. He even said he likes that I stood up for myself and did not give in and back down but I did it in a level headed way. I decided I want to have a future with him if at all possible so I want to look at it from that perspective and what I need and keep building on that.

    Good luck!

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  22. Elle!
    I so hope you have a very relaxed vacation as I had with my family! When I first read this post you made, I kept saying what is this telling me? This week I think both my h and I learned true grace and forgiveness! The ow who is/was under court order no contact due to pending harassment charges broke the order to text my h that her son had hanged himself. My h responded to her that Theresa and I were sorry for her loss and would pray for her family. That night when we were both feeling the shock if this 15 year olds life cut short, we prayed together for that family to heal from all of their pain. This was a gut pain for me as children have been my passion my whole life! I have been given understanding from God that this mess is not about just me and MY pain, but the collateral damage to the children this ow choices had had on all of their lives! God, I pray this family heals as I now know my h and I will fight our way back to where we are supposed to be! Ladies, be careful of that Karma bus, guilty of that one myself,...giving grace to my husband and the poor ow!
    May God continue to show grace to each and everyone of us!

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  23. Finding grace? This weekend was the first really that i sprung from my bed in full motion to handle to dos, enjoy outside and just be well me .... recovered by no means ... but yesterday felt good like a littke piece of me was shining thru ... i was even productive. .. u could eat off my floors! This was common predday
    .. not so much post ... good enough or not even close in many aspects and while i know we have alot of work healing and even hurt ahead of us ... im taking this feeling in stride to make most of it .... even planned some of my H favorite dishes ... full sunday dinner the works like old times .... has H scratching his head some ..... what am i up to .... why to him i seem overly nice? Nothing at all babe ... just finding grace i think to myself. It takes so much energy to be angry ... wondering .... worrying .... and while i still do its currently not to the same degree as previous weeks. I suppose because im eating better. Talking deeply with my H and well knowing crystal clearly that i can't change the affair but i can control what i do today. I hope there isnt a big crash and burn to follow .... day by day. It might help too H is noticing also for some time he was hopeless id be able to move forward... and while im up up today and sad others so far this hasnt defined me .... i even laughed this weekend imagine that ...... work in progress indeed ... coming up on 4mo since dday still in the same boat as all of you ladies. ... trying not to sink while learning to stay afloat. Hugs to all

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  24. Grace came today! A list of men's names (with address and email address) who signed up for the Ashley Madison from our state was posted as a link on FB. So being me, I looked up all the men from our town, told some girlfriends to be understanding and supportive if any of the wives call. I also read the list to my husband to see if he knew any of the men. My husband came home from work, quiet and a little depressed. The guys at work were talking about the site and who was listed. I can just imagine how my husband felt. I think he came home with extra load of guilt and remorse. He was quiet, sad and depressed. My stylist today was talking about the list of men, unsolicited. I'm not being quiet all I ever say is please think about the wives. I'm sure there are 4000 wives in our state crying, hurting and in shock tonight, I'm praying for them all tonight. This site is going to get very busy so my girlfriends who have survived hell, living, learning, growing we can share how to survive. Thanks Elle for this refugee site. I can't believe how many men use the work email address - dumb asses.

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    1. Follow-up. I told my therapist how my husband was feeling depressed, anxious, super guilty. She had no sympathy at all. No understanding words. She said he is realizing there are consequences to what he did. He is learning those consequences. FINALLY

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    2. Lynn,

      I'm with you and last week had chest pain thinking about all the betrayed spouses. I even had a dissociative experience by looking at my husbands facebook. Simply a pragmatic reaction - to the interface of media and the harsh reality of a world of Ashley Madisons. However, the difference NOW is that I watched myself and knew what was happening....I was witnessing knowing it would pass and I would make it through. Lynn your writing becomes ever more powerful and beautiful. "Then came the Storm." The betrayal and one we never caused and want nothing more than for it to pass over and away. But I will echo your words "Don't give up on yourself."

      We are the titanium ropes holding each other up that will never break.

      love
      v

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    3. Lynn
      That is great news for you!!! Thank you Lord. No my therapist doesn't have any sympathy for my H either when I tell her about his stress and depression, guilt, shame etc. Yep there's consequences and hopefully they figure it out for themselves. There's help out there and all they have to do is ask for it. They don't go therapy but we do. WTF is up with that? We are NOT the ones effed up. They are. Seems to me the logical progression of therapy is you eff up, you have an affair, you feel guilt, remorse, shame, depression it is YOU who should be seeing a therapist not the victim of all your lousy choices. I hope you aren't letting your husband's mental state making YOU feel guilty. Put all that shit back on him. Don't buy into it sister.

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  25. It is the before and after infidelity scenario. Before you found out you could easily keep your marriage and husband at a distance. Sure your marriage was important but so was your career, salary, status, kids, home and friends. Then came the storm. The fight. The ropes that wouldn't hold. Despair fell like rain and your bearings were gone. In your heart there was no exit. Turn to your career for help? Only if you want you hide from the storm but not escape. Lean on your status or how good a mother you are? The storm is not impressed with status or title. Suddenly you are left with one option. If you healing, staying or going the option is to work on yourself. You did not cause the storm but only want to escape from it. You are not working toward being perfect, better, improving but you are working on being complete. We will still error, stumble and do exactly what we don't want to do. That is a part of us but we will work on being complete. Don't give up on yourself.

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  26. Ladies, please gather around. I need you. We started back in therapy ... and back reading "After the Affair" ... emotions were stirred and that which I thought I was past, was handling, resurfaced. I wrote down the questions... to let them set ... H wanted to hear them ... I asked a few, tensions grew ... I am trying to pinpoint why, why did I suddenly feel a seething anger? At her ... At him ... I didn't lash out at him ... he noticed my upset; I brushed it off as work related. I wrote to therapist... I don't think she gets it ... and now? Now, in the wee hours of the morning, I sit and cry. I just reread the healing post from this site... It helped as Elle always does... . Yet still, I sit and cry. I have some thoughts as to why I sit and cry ... then I think, do I need to know why?
    Although seven months post, we all but stopped talking about it for 4 plus months and now we are back. Earlier tonight I decided I will let the questions rest ... write them down if I need to, but keep to myself ... And for now concentrate on the therapy sessions once/week and read the book (together) once a week ...
    As Elle reminded me long ago ... some of it will simply never make any sense ... she said it so much better, but you know what I mean. Here's to moving forward and knowing that even when you don't know ... Trust that the anger and the tears ... Are healing. And now? Now I am no longer crying. Why? Because my friends are here. My friends who truly get it. And we got to chat. Thank you ladies. Sweet dreams.

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    1. Melissa,

      I'm praying for you and all of us betrayed to hold onto the sweetest spot in the middle of this storm and particular hell we find ourselves in.....the validation, and understanding, the empathy, compassion and concern we all have for each other and those who will be joining us.

      You are so naturally wise. Seem to always find whatever answers you need to move you forward.

      I am daily amazed by the women in this circle....

      Much love
      v

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    2. I did the same thing. I would read a new question, new situation, didn't have the answers. It would me back to the beginning. You have every right to still be angry. You received a life sentence, no parole but you are innocent. Who wouldn't be pissed off over that? Who wouldn't be pissed off for a long while, like more than seven months? Your hurt is your anger. He wants to hear your questions but tensions grew? What happened? I used to ask, accuse then scream. My husband would shut down. If I asked then I needed to be ready to hear the answer. It is very hard to do this. You haven't talked about in four months? That is avoidance and someone is pushing someone away. How could you not talk about? That would have drove me nuts. Communication about anything shouldn't stop. Communication stops, healing slows down. Cry as long as you want. Scream as long as you want. Ask questions as long as you want. Seethe as long as you want. That is healing. You are healing a little at a time.

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  27. Melissa
    I know it seems a lot of time has passed but not so much. We can only absorb so much. It takes more time to absorb and watch your husbands actions to judge your situation. It's normal to have those highs and lows. The good thing is grasping that resilient attitude will continue to grow as you fortify your resolve and accetptance of your husbands failings. It is only wise to face the future with trepidation and a little fear. The trick is NOT letting that fear own you. It is imperative that you nourish the other aspects of your life during this trial. And trial it is. I give myself the leeway to know that I can always leave. Sometimes BS will give the cheater and their marriage a chance out of sheer shock of the betrayal. It takes time to truly understand it and make your unqualified decision to stay. Go easy on yourself. Feel those feelings. They are real. Then accept them and find your strength. You will do what's right for you.

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    1. Melissa, I love to read your insights. Your right we stay because we are in shock and can't do anything else. I'm a fighter, a pusher, steamroller, tenacious, get it done now woman. But when I found out I was so desperate and sad, I was paralyzed from the "can't believe this shit". I was a zombie just get through each day. My sister expected me to be strong, don't take any crap and get him good. I couldn't explain all my fight was gone. I was unbelievably sad. That really doesn't describe the intensity of despair. You have seen the woman on TV who just experienced a tornadoes, they look lost, bewildered in shock. I just kept going along to get through the day. I as so sad I couldn't go. My anger was manifested in a physical fashion and I would do it again. But eventually I came out of my shell but it took a long time. I'm 20 months out, my husband's deceit was for 2.5 years to psycho kinder garden teacher, the queenie bee of STD.

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  28. Hugs, Melissa! Sometimes you just need a safe place to talk, to open up and know that those hearing it will get it.
    I get it. Sometimes I am overwhelmed by the emotions that hit me and I don't always have an explanation as to why. For me, just feeling whatever it is at the moment rather than fighting it as I used to has helped. If I need to cry, I cry. If I need to go out in the garage and let out my anger on the heavy bag, I do. And once I'm finished, I always feel better. The only way out is through it. I keep telling myself that.
    Hope you were able to get some rest. Every day is a fresh start. :-)

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  29. Last night was bad. My husband got a random text from a woman he works with with a picture of them plus a few others at a bar from a couple months ago. I lost it. Threw things at him. Screamed. Called him names. He even called her so she could say nothing happened. But what makes me maddest was that was how the affair started. Letting his guard down and acting like he's single when he's not. Then being surprised when after all the flirting and stuff, the OW comes out naked and they have sex. The night at the bar happened before D Day and I do believe nothing happened and he was just DDing for a work friend, but it just brought back all the pain of originally learning about the affair by seeing a text five weeks ago. And we have pretty much narrowed down the date of the affair to be two days before our anniversary last year so tomorrow. Which means he had been having an affair for almost a year without telling me. And we are supposed to go away for the weekend for our anniversary and I just don't know how to celebrate being married to him when I know last year he was in another woman's bed. I tried to buy him a card yesterday and broke down at the grocery store. I know he is ashamed and scared of losing me, but I just don't know how to show him grace. I am still so mad and so hurt that there is a part of him that could do this to me and lie to my face for a year. He had a counseling session today so I am hoping that we will get some answers as to why this happened. Pray for my sweet babies who are 2 and 4. They understand so much even at a young age and I am having trouble keeping it together for them.

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    1. Grace
      It's like when you have a cut on your finger. You are going along nicely and then a little bit of salt gets in that cut and bam you are screaming in pain again just like when you first cut your finger.

      There is no room for any of this kind of behavior. And yes the picture happened before DDay, doesn't make any difference. He should have showed it to you and explained and even owned up that yes that could have turned ugly really fast. Why is this concept so hard for them? Why not just lay all the cards out. Maybe they do forget, maybe they just realllly want to protect themselves too :) I'm a grandma and I wish I could just scoop up your two lovely little dolls and let them know everything will be ok. And the same to you dear. Keep your head and spirits up for you and your babies. You WILL get there, you have to and I will keep all of you in my prayers. Huggs

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  30. Beating a dead horse that ashley madison is riding? I have heard all hype along with bunch of people stating their belief and i wonder those pointing fingers have you walked a mile in the betrayed womens shoes before casting mighty stones of what as a betrayed wife we should and should not be doing. Staying in our marriage. Seeking healing and remaining loyal to the man we married. I read an article a mom of daughters noting to anna duggar to know her worth yada yada and that her daughters will breath fire and stand on their own to feet to stand up to things that arent fair or to a H who cheated to leave him. I imagine this lady on her soapbox hasnt a clue to being betrayed or what strength and courage it takes to not only make the choice to stay or go but knowing in most instances staying is alot more work then leaving ... in some aspects AND its up to nobody to dictate what u should or shouldnt do that our choice to make on our own for good bad or no reason at all. Sorry to rant and rave this struck a cord many of us thought differently before dday like if that ever happens i would do this that then the reality hits and you know what i didnt pack his shit. I didnt leave ... im here working on trying to fix our marriage. Fix us .... ourselves and its damn hard work sweat and tears but im hopeful for that better something in the end and found grace in knowing this wont defeat me, us SO All those on your soapbox SIT DOWN and worry about your own grass! To all my friends on BWC no matter what your chosen path make the walk for you and hold your head high even when u feel like you could drop to your knees and sink ... we will survive! Xo

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  31. I do need to know the why. Even if it doesn't make sense. I don't know that I will/would ever be able to let that go. Maybe as time goes by it will mean less....I don't know but right now, I need to know why. Why is it important. Because he also needs to know why. If he can't answer me, then he doesn't know. If he doesn't know, then what is stopping it from happening again. Not the how- because it was being offered and he made the stupid choice of accepting/going after it.....the real why. The what about you or what is so broken in you that you would risk our life together, my sanity, my heart, our lives, STD's. the respect of both me and our son and yourself, your integrity for a little extra sex on the side? What about him made that a possibility for him, what about me made my feelings and my wellbeing disposable to him for a romp in the front seat of a car from time to time, why he would reciprocate love you if he never meant them. Does that mean when he says them to me they mean nothing also? When he initially was physical with her and felt enough guilt to stop the PA, why did he think it okay to be close friends with her and then years later start another PS with her...where was the guilt then? Why were my feelings once again not a consideration. What did he really think of me that it was so easy to look me in the eye after screwing her with no indication of guilt or shame. I need to know who he is now and was then. I need to know if he just went off the rails in an emotional mess (for a very long time) and for what reason or is this him, is he still lying, is he just with me because he doesn't want to lose 50% of the stuff and his pension? What is broken in him that all these things are possible and what can be done to fix them, if anything? I need to know if he has a personality disorder that is causing this, if its a result of past trauma and what is being done to help him with his coping skills. If I don't get the answers, I don't know how this won't happen again. I am not willing to sweep it under the carpet and move on to the next chapter with my fingers crossed that he has done sufficient work on himself. If WE don't have any idea WHY it all happened, I believe it WILL eventually happen again. We cannot guarantee it but he needs to know what was wrong to make it so easy to lie, deceive and destroy something that he says is the most precious thing in his life-to self destruct and cause collateral damage all around.

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  32. Butterfly BlessingAugust 27, 2015 at 9:09 PM

    I don't even know where to begin. Though this is my 1st comment, I've been lurking this blog since August 2nd (2days before our wedding anniversary). The day I discovered my husband whom I've been with since age 18 (21 years)..hiding out at a crappy motel with another woman. A coworker. He had taken the day off..got up like he was going to work. Drove his work van to his job..and she picked him up and they both went to the motel. I never suspected him of cheating..but this day something told me to check his FIND MY PHONE app. I called and asked where he was. ...he told me a location totally different than what the GPS showed me. I went to the location waited in the parking lot of the motel and called his phone. He didn't answer. I saw someone peek out of a curtain of one of the windows and went to knock on that door. I still didn't believe that it would be my husband. No one answered. That's when I knew it was him. I talked and ranted through the door as I was talking directo to him. He finally flew out and tried to explain. The ow never came out..but I didn't leave until she gave up. She told me that he trained her at work and they were only there to hang out. She even said that she knew our anniversary was 2 days later and she was giving him ideas on what to do for me. I gave my husband a chance to tell me THE TRUTH .but all he kept saying was that they didn't have sex. Fast forward 2 weeks later.. I've asked him a million questions and begged for the truth. He stuck to his lies. I finally resorted to calling the ow..I told her how he said she was an ugly,fat,whore (which I agree)...she got angry and told me everything.Over a period of 5months. They had sex 4 times...AT WORK . I was disgusted,hurt and confused. Not just the sex part..but the fact that I had promised to work it out if he told the truth. I even put her on hold because I knew she was about to tell me something...I wanted to give him the last opportunity to be honest with me. And he still lied. He only confessed after she told me everything. He's been crying and apologizing everyday...but I feel no sympathy. I'm a mix between Rasputia from Norbit and Kathy Bates from Misery. I never knew I could be so hurtful and violent. I feel impregnated with hurt, anger, disappointment and fear. This blog has helped me understand so much. I appreciate all of you for sharing your feelings and ways of coping. Because it's helped me tremendously. Thank you Elle for creating a space for us.

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    1. Butterfly, you are among women who are real, understand at a visceral level and overflow with compassion for you. Elle has kept this wonderful site for his. Some may disagree but I was violent beyond reason. He needs to be honest with you. I kept digging until I found out the whole story which too 18 months. It takes them so long to tell the entire truth. He needs to know how his lies effect you. Be honest with him in whatever venue is right for you. He will not have a chance with you if he keeps lying. He needs to know either he can be up front or you will find out one way or another.

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  33. Thank you ladies! You all offer up the best guidance and support. Truly, you mean so much to me. I am blessed to know each of you. I attempt to lead my life with the intention of love. The love I feel from all of you lifts me up and allows me to move forward. And for that, I couldn't be more grateful. Thank you.

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  34. I had major moment of grace or something along those lines last night. I was weepy and my husband was doing his best to comfort me. I have a tendency to either turn into a runaway train when I'm angry or just completely spiral when I am sad. Sadness last night turned into self doubt, comparison, all the awful things I've been battling since the beginning. But last night, for some reason, I took a moment to actually listen to my husband as he held me and apologized to me. And as I looked into his eyes I not only saw, but felt, his pain and his shame. I don't know what made last night different. Maybe I'm further along and more able to recognize his pain instead of just my own. Maybe my anger is dying down and my reactions are different. I don't know, but I know I felt incredibly close to him and calmer than I've felt in a long time. And today the triggers seemed less and I was a lot less distracted by thoughts of the OW. I pray those feelings stay or at least linger for awhile.
    Hugs to all of you on this journey! It means so much to me to know I can come here and share my feelings with you.

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    1. Hey Dandelion...you sound exactly like me and where I am at on this unexpected journey. I too see and feel my husband's deep pain and sorrow and shame and regret. I know that he loves me so very much and he would do anything to be able to erase his mistake. I will always hate what he did and some days I still feel that hate him for doing it,but at the end of the day I know he should be forgiven for his betrayal and I know that I do love him. how can I ever ask for forgiveness if I'm not willing to offer it in return? It is all so complicated. I pray for strength and peace and hope for all of you.

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    2. Anonymous,
      Can I ask how far along you are in this? For me, I had the first D-Day in December 2014 but was led to believe it was an emotional affair. The full truth came out in April of this year, but not till after they had resumed it. Still makes me nauseous to think about that part. We're both working hard at trying to re-build and that helps a great deal.

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    3. I am just past 6 months. It has only been within the past couple of weeks that I have turned my biggest corner. I'm not sure exactly what happened but my obsessive thoughts have decreased dramatically. We have been going to counseling from the very beginning and through that we have rediscovered each other and are committed to sharing the rest of our lives together. I wouldn't wish this pain or devastation on anyone but oddly enough without having gone through this our relationship would not be where we are today. It is the strangest phenomenon that my husband and I have talked about ... what would we be like as a couple if none of this had happened? OK but not great. Now we are so solid. So strange and hard to explain. Best of luck to you as you rebuild. Stay strong...

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    4. Thank you for your response.
      We are realizing the same. Although in our case, I do not think our marriage would have survived as it was. It's not anything I would have chosen, but I am grateful that we came to the realization that our marriage is worth saving. Counseling has been so helpful as we're working on things like communication and respect, which were definitely lacking on both of our parts. It's so ironic that the worst thing that could have happened in your marriage can bring about the greatest rewards... if you are both willing to work at it.
      It sounds like you are in a very good place. That is so encouraging to read. :-)


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  35. My H asked me if i wantes him to change his cell # at first i said no in todays social media world does it matter theres so nany other ways to be contacted or if ow teally wanted to i suppose shed come to our door or go to his work? So i ponder change or not. So far hes been telling me if shes tried contacting. Hes had number forever ever not just for personal business also i guess i think if she really wants or he entertains soes a changed number really matter. Idfk ..... i guess yes and no. Ur thoughts?

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  36. I agree. What's the use in changing it. There's a bunch of ways she could contact. My h was so proud to show no texts no calls to or from her and he had a second phone. WTF?

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  37. I would say "No" don't change it .... it really doesn't make a difference, as you noted, she'd find a way. And the fact that he offered, is comforting.

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  38. It's been a couple of weeks since I have chimed in and just wanted to check in.

    I think most of us who have been here a while do know that if our partners are honest, our pain does ease up quite a bi with time. If they are not, it probably does not, and we have to ask if it's worth it. That is our personal choice. Our lives together are tied to how THEY react to the discovery.

    My H, if you know my story, was pretty rock solid in supporting me and he still is, and yet

    He did something so stupid the other day and although I realized that it was not going to ruin my life, it was not even going to ruin my day I called him on it anyway as a gentle reminder that although I am healing, it's easy to rip that band aid off without realizing it.

    A few days later he did something even MORE stupid (not cruel, just stupid) and I told him "look, It doesn't hurt as much, and I don't think about it everyday" and then i stopped myself--rethought about it and said "that's not true, I actually probably DO think about it every day, it just does not hurt ANYWHERE near as much as it did on that awful hell day I found out --if it did, I don't think I could have made it this far, I could not have lived with that amount of continuing pain, so will you just THINK a little bit before doing something that's going to throw me?"

    I guess what I am trying to say is that you can feel good, you can feel great, you can feel "fully healed" but remember, feelings are not facts and hurt can come easily and with little warning or even malice.

    Think about how pressing on an old physical scar can cause a different physical sensation than pressing on the rest of your body, pressing a mental scar can be painful too, and in a way very shocking when you "feel" so healed.
    . Don't think this is backsliding. It's part of the process.

    In the past I have scoffed at the 3-5 year time line to trust again because I felt we were so far ahead of the curve, , but I now believe it. At about 20 months out. Funny, my H thought it Must have happened 3 years ago because everything is so different now. We had to change fast and we did and continue to.

    Our relationship is the best it has EVER been. My H was a broken and sad, depressed man when he crossed the line that ripped me to pieces.Thru hard work on us, through therapy and thru much more, He has changed so much. I was an impatient workaholic who focused much more on my work than I did on him or on us as I thought that "we" were "fine. I have changed too.

    But despite us being great, growing, loving, fun, way more honest--still, there remains a scar that I live with daily, but, and its a big but, it does not hurt as much as it did. Not a 10th, not a 100th. Not any "th"
    I don't ever want to feel that pain again and I don't think I could.

    Yet, We can be touched again by pain at anytime, because we are human.
    Don't think that makes you a loser or weak or less.
    We are not less. We are beautiful, compassionate, strong, feeling, forgiving (in some ways) we are ALL that and more. We are survivors, and we are human.]

    We've also done a great job at holding each other up while Elle is out. Me, not so much, YOU ladies. Amazing as always. We as a whole, rock like that.

    So glad this space is here, for a situation we all wish didn't exist.

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    1. I absolutely loved this post and it is so true. I hurt everyday and think about it everyday. Not with the intensity as few months ago but it remains. Sometimes I wonder if I try to push it out of my mind like it never happened. Then I drink too much wine and I'm reminded. Is it time that lessens the blow or I'm getting better at putting it out of my mind? Maybe that is why reminders little or big bring out that screaming hurt woman. I hurt just thinking about it right now.

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    2. Lynn, you are healing ... you are not burying it. May I make a suggestion? Can Lynn Pain become Lynn Happy or Lynn Peace? Change your story ... Yes, the pain is so very real ... and you have felt the pain and you will continue to feel the pain ... less and less and less. You are not only surviving, you are thriving. This is your story. Perhaps you were a victim. Now? Now you are victorious! Allow yourself that. You deserve to be happy ... to be peaceful. Allow yourself... and then grab hold of all those good feelings that are rightly yours. Bathe yourself in them. With intention of love, always ... Melissa.

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    3. Just of late i have days i wake up my motivated get er done self and others im an anxious overthinking mess and if i really really think about it though it at times is clear what was going on abd i didnt see and othertimes i feel so wounded it swallows me with hurt. I dont think its our goal to bury it Lynn but work around it. When i look around i love my H all we worked for and i ponder yes his choice was Fing stupid too long term and something i cant change but does it have to define us. Is it worth losing all ive worked for thats important to me .... there are no guarantees and nothing is perfect. Id like to believe we can learn from this and be something better together as in opinion leaving wouldn't make the hurt any less ... would it. Im still earlier on not healed by far and definitely still have my moments. I look at pics of other women. Yes torturing myself maybe and aloud to him. Its like wtf really. .. trashy nothing special but you dont have to be a beauty queen to ego stroke and gave sex. Though i wonder if ow was drop dead beautiful. Successful. ... whatever woukd it make the why easier to swallow. ... sure it all hurts the same in the end. I still review details and even the time money etc it was really sex and dive bars which is complete opposite of life style and things we do .... classy ... trashy .... idk ... stupid choice absolutely. ... hang in there girly! Walking this path with you ...

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    4. Wounded,
      Yes! You've put into words what's often in my head.
      My husband's choices were stupid, so freaking stupid. He didn't see it then, but he does now. And he knows that he has the opportunity to rebuild our marriage by working on his issues and that's what he is trying every day to do. I had the choice to walk away or stay. I chose to stay because I love him, in spite of what he has done. This might not be the case if he wasn't working side by side with me every day to make our relationship better. This has also forced me to do a lot of thinking about the baggage I've been carrying for years and,while none of it made me turn to something as awful as an affair, it's caused its fair share of damage and I don't want to carry it around anymore. I want to deal with those issues and put them to rest.
      On one hand I'm mourning the loss of the marriage we had prior to the affair, but on the other hand realizing we have the opportunity for something a whole lot better, something built not just on love, but on complete honesty and mutual respect. I have days when it hurts like hell, but I do my best to fight through it because I believe it's worth it.

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  39. The healing from infidelity is to not get what you want but get what you need. Love y'all.

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  40. Anonymous,

    About the cell phone number or anything I draw a serious hard line.

    100% accountability and transparency (that means in everything)

    and I check and verify

    I had to know he was all in and not creeping around in the shadows any more.

    That being said...it took me years to work down my personal list of what I needed in order to feel emotionally and financially safe. The greatest personal challenge was to focus on 'radical self care,' and not be so caught up in protecting my husband or even my children. It was easy to put everyone else first. It's a slow, slogging, journey. I followed my 'gut,' had to educate myself and even the people helping me.

    It's a hard question (especially when most of us are in shock for a good year after the 'Discovery'). What will make you feel safe?

    Even in today's (overwhelming) social media world......

    Can you as a united couple block contact with this woman?




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  41. Thx ladies hes blocked her on everything we can. Shes a game player calla blocked or text from apps that disguise the number so it comes thru. .. its sporadic not crazy style. ... and it is alot of hassle to change number with no guanrantees of halting all contact esp since she knows where we live and work. Hoping shes not a bunny boiling freak vi think him offering shows great strides as i also stay aware to not be naive as i know other phones communication exist and could be used by either if truly wanted ..... trying to remain levelheaded but alert more aware then before its been better aince my H trying to be transparent and open to talking about it .... almost 4 months out. Thx you all

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  42. We betrayed are not thirsty for fame, possessions, money or rewards. We have dunk deeply from these pools and now it tastes like salt water. They don't quench our thirst. We are thirsty for the truth and understanding of why we were betrayed. That's it, it is that simple. Yet when our husbands remain selfish and hide the truth the saltwater kills us.

    We are thirsty for a clean conscious, no it was not our fault. We want a clean slate, yearn for a fresh start. We pray for our husbands hand that reaches down to the cavern of our dark world and do the one thing we can't do for ourselves, make it right. If your husband is not willing to make it right, do whatever it takes, think again, you will not be fooled twice.

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    Replies
    1. Lynn(pain go away)
      You are so right about truth! Once my h gave me a time line that made sense to me from details ow hit me with, I could finally process the why and how! Once we had no contact from her we could begin to work on us. Just as we were moving forward she sends h the text of her sons suicide! Sent both of us back in a tailspin! That night we prayed for her and her family to find peace and healing.
      H and I still have a long rough road but we plan to do it together! One day at a time!

      Delete
  43. "you don't have to be a beauty queen to ego stroke and gave sex."

    WOW this^^^^

    So true and also so evident of how base their needs are. They are def NOT picky when choosing an AP that's for sure. I've yet to read where a BS says "gee the AP was really and intelligent, beautiful, accomplished person."

    One, as the BS, may think "what's she got that I don't"? What a stupid question because the answer is NOTHING and really we know it. Quit beating yourself up over the OW, so not worth it. She's nothing but a facilitator for the cheater's fantasy. Sometimes I almost feel sorry for them, SOMETIMES, but then I come to my senses and remember they are useless wastes of oxygen! No more significant than a cockroach who scurries back into the dark once the light is turned on!!!

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    1. I read this somewhere and try to keep it in mind when I am worrying about what she has that I don't. "The other woman was not chosen because of virtues she had that you did not (prettier, thinner, smarter, funnier, etc.). She was chosen specifically for her LACK of virtue." Adultery is a crime of opportunity, more so than preference. I Googled her name and after confirming with my husband on her photo, discovered that she is 17 years older than my husband, is definitely no prize in the looks department, and has not one, but two DUI mugshots online.

      Delete
    2. Yes and yes! "You don't have to be a beauty queen..." and "She was chosen specifically for her LACK of virtue." My head knows this., but I still struggle sime days. I guess this is normal. I was up at 3 this morning and all that was on my mind was "Why her? What was so special about her?" I know the answers but I guess I just needed to hear them from my husband... again. After about an hour and a half of conversation with him and reiteration of things we've already been over, I was able to go back to sleep. Yes, she was attractive but no more attractive to him than I am. She dressed like a tramp flaunted herself around the office, was "over friendly", stroked his ego, and seemed open to an affair. And let's not forget that he found her "loud, obnoxious, and annoying". Top that off with being a pretty good liar and I'm perfectly fine with not being any of the things she was. I've spent months agonizing over her looks and he told me he this morning he doesn't really even remember what she looks like. Grace is so right when she says it's a crime of opportunity.

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    3. Grace
      I love that and it's so true. Lol the OW name was on the Ashley Madison hack dump. Oh no she wasn't looking for an affair, sarcasm font inserted! She was after whatever she could get. My husband is nothing special to anyone but me nor am I. We are both older and while not quite wrinkled up trolls we certainly aren't young and foolish. Well I guess one of us is.

      No indeed the poor soul had nothing special or unique. She was easy and while I agree it's a crime of opportunity I think it is more a crime of lack of character and integrity on both their parts. She was sure easy for him to dump and for her to stay dumped. And has stage 4 some kind of rare cancer and is in constant pain. Indeed I didn't have to do anything. Her own nasty karma took care of her. My h lives with his own bad karma of guilt and shame and embarrassement. I here witnessing it and I wonder if staying is truly worth it. He drowns himself in work trying to pathetically gain a little respect and save face. 4 years down the road and while in many ways we are better in our relationship he personally has many demons. He won't go to a therapist and I don't suggest it. I tried earlier but to no avail. Maybe his suffering is his personal hair shirt he chooses to wear. I don't know and really worn down from trying to figure it out.

      Meantime I try to offer up what little grace I have left inside me. I'm pretty sure I've accepted and forgiven. I don't think he's done the same for himself. Boy did he bite his nose to spite his face being with that low ball sociopath

      Delete
  44. Husband had his second counseling appointment today. The counselor asked him why he wanted to stay with me and try to work this out and what made him fall in love with me. He told him I was beautiful, smart, funny, a good cook, a great mother, etc. etc. etc. and the counselor looked at him and said, "So what you're saying is, it had nothing to do with her. It was completely your fault and you made a selfish, stupid decision." Just hearing that from another person's mouth (well, you know what I mean) has given me this freeing feeling. I think I was trying to find out why it happened, what I had been doing at the time, not doing at the time, etc to try to have some control over why it happened and some sort of weird past ability to change it and now I know for sure, it was not my fault. It is him. He needs to fix himself. Am I still in pain? Of course. Do I still worry he won't change. Certainly. But I have accepted that it wasn't my fault. It was not a case of, as the world would have you believe, 'She couldn't keep her man happy..." I am also going to talk to a friend about the affair for the first time. We have told no one outside of counselors and husband actually encouraged me to talk to a friend. He knows I need someone to talk to who will support me and us in general.

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    Replies
    1. Grace,
      I'm so glad you were able to really grasp that his affair had nothing to do with you. It always sounds strange to those newly betrayed -- but his cheating was about seeking escape from his own pain.
      And I'm glad you're going to confide in a trusted friend. Betrayal can feel so isolating. It's important to re-engage with the world at a certain point. Good luck. Sounds like you have a fabulous counsellor.

      Delete
  45. Question: do you ladies find that the sadness seems to hit you more at certain times of the day? I've noticed mine always seem to hit right around the time I'm heading out to pick my son up from school. IDK, maybe because driving gives me too much time to think. I had a friend suggest maybe it was low blood sugar, but I've started having a healthy snack in the afternoon and it didn't make a difference. I didn't have this problem as much when my son was off school for summer vacation. I was hoping that meant I wasn't going to go into that pattern again, but no such luck. I've also found weekends are worse than weekdays, probably because I don't have to hold it in as much because I'm not at work.

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    1. I have a tough time in the evenings after dinner. Sunday is the worst. Relax and my mind starts to wonder. Drive by myself my mind stars to wonder. I tell my husband, I need to stay busy today. Sometimes I can't beat it down or stop my mind. Random thoughts like "my husband willing kissed her back." I think one simple little thought out of the blue and it is hard to beat it down but I'm getting better. I'm 20 months out and I have not berated my husband in about a month. We check in with each other every Sunday. I told him don't be fooled, I think about it every day at least once a day. I'm only honest now.

      Delete
    2. Gee,
      For awhile it was every weekday at the time the OW would leave the office because I knew when the affair was occurring, they would talk on her drive home. And up until she quit working there, it was that same time of the day because my husband would text me to tell me how many times he had seen her around the office that day, if she had attempted to speak to him (she never did) and that she had left for the day. Weekends have always been good because we are together as a family and keeping busy. Now that she no longer works there, it has slowed down and rarely happens at that time. Not to say that I no longer get sad, it's just a whole lot more random now.

      Delete
    3. I have noticed a pattern in my feelings. I definitely feel more anxiety and sadness when I am out and about, especially in crowds of people. I also wake up feeling particularly anxious every morning. It's worse on days when my husband goes to work because he heads in early and I wake up alone. Also, he had his affair with a coworker so sending him to work is particularly distressing most days. I have also found I feel sadder/more exhausted at the end of the day from holding it all together around my kids and everyone else.

      Delete
  46. Gee
    I have found any time I think to much can cause doubt sadness anxiety and a host of other emotions. So I just keep mind busy as hands! If your h is working as mine to make a difference then the slips in emotions are okay. Just don't get stuck in them! Keep reaching for better! Hugs to all of us!

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  47. Someone said "I'm glad God doesn't strike down people dead for lying.

    The end result of deceit is death. Our assholes husbands should have realized this but they didn't care they were totally selfish. Totally, meaning all-in, go the mile, cross the ego finish line, risk it all to win what they needed. The result of their deceit is not death of the body. It is a different death.

    Death of the marriage - lies are the termites in tree trunk.
    Death of a conscience - the second lie is easier to tell than the first
    Death of a career or anything else that infidelity lies breed - just ask an embezzler or student who cheats, a betrayed wife.
    Death of trust, intimacy, peace, credibility and self respect.

    The court won't listen to a jury who has previously lied (perjury). Neither will anyone else. His fibbing can stir up some anger beyond reason. Don't settle for anything less than the truth. Why the hard stance? Dishonesty is absolutely contrary to character. It is a tug of rope and your only on one end.

    You are not stuck being the betrayed wife in the tug of war. You are tweakable. You are not stuck with today's betrayals. Just because you were lied to today doesn't mean you have to die being lied to. I have seen the rawness of life. Guess what I'm going to seek it out. Pursue it. Hunt for it. Don't settle for a second rate life. Your goal is not to live long but to live. On one side is the voice of security and on the other is a voice of adventure. Sure it isn't safe but what is? Courage is an out growth of who we are.

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  48. Well my husband said it did not have anything to do with me. I could have been mother Theresa and the most beautiful woman on earth etc and he would have done it. It was about him. And then as so many professionals say he turned negative on me and our relationship. Rewriting what I was and what we had.

    And I have struggled since my kids have gone back to school. I know for me many things feel like it reminds me of what "normal" was before d day. When my kids got out of school I was still in shock I think. I also get filled with bittersweet feelings of pre d day. And I just feel the pain. It will happen driving home from the grocery store etc. so I feel it too. Not sure if it is normal or not but I am in the same place.

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  49. My fav time used to be putting my child to bed ... im trying to enjoy this again at times its overwhelming too much time to lie down .. quiet ... think. ... about it ....

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  50. I just read the 180 on the togetherness site. I didn't do any of this. What's up with that? I'm confused.

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  51. There's something I'm really struggling with and I'm wondering if any of you have any thoughts. Having also a son who is struggling with life and defensively blocking out anything that will help him, I feel for both him and for my husband when he became so closed off and hostile. I know they feel so low in self-esteem and confidence that their hostility and arrogance are reactions to it - ways to (maladjustedly) try to make them feel better. Thinking about my son, and maybe my husband, maybe if they could have been healed, or felt better about themselves such poor and destructive decisions would not have been made. eg my husband wanted us to make a go of it and really cared about what he put me through but still went along with it (conversation and banter) for a whole month when she recontacted him nine months later. He was not sure of himself or us so self-medicated with the pleasant feeling she gave him. What I am trying to say is that I understand it all and can tell myself in my head that it was not about me but the cowardice, lack of consideration, several really poor choices and lying round 2 have extinguished any feeling of being romantically tied to him. I feel compassionate towards him but, despite his messed-up-ness there were several chances for him to make the right decisions as he emerged out of the fog but he didn't . Since then he has been supportive, kind, (mainly on a practical day to day level. Yes, he has gone to counselling and so on. I'm sure is sounds like a dream to some betrayed wives. But on certain occasions I need emotional support and consideration he just completely blanks and bottles it, he is not capable (just as my son is not capable of facing his school phobia). As with my son, I wonder how much is their choice and how much is just their personality. You can't 'blame' them for their personality. I am rambling but as I said, there is so much going for us on many levels, but if someone cannot do the emotional stuff do you have to just walk away? How have those of you who found the romantic feeling again done that, despite their actions? We have our moments still but disappointment destroys my feelings I have to say. Any thoughts you have would be very much appreciated.

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    1. Fragments, it's hard to read your pain. You sound so defeated.
      You also sound a lot like me. I used to believe I could just will people into who I thought they could/should be. If they'd only do what I said, I figured, we'd all be so much happier. You can guess how that has turned out.
      I have a daughter with OCD who's come a long way but her anxiety around school is tough to bear. And me admonishing her to "just relax" and "just breathe" doesn't seem to be helping. Go figure. ;)
      People can only give what they have in their toolbox. Those who have trouble with their own emotions are going to have trouble supporting you with yours. The best we can do, I think, is help each other through.
      That said, you are never required to stay in a marriage that is unhealthy for you, no matter how much your spouse is trying. You don't owe him anything but honesty and integrity and kindness. At some point, you need to figure out whether you simply need to leave or whether you're willing to try and rebuild with the rusty toolkit your husband has.
      It can be so hard when those around us have issues that we're helpless to change. But letting ourselves off the hook -- and being able to be present for them without trying to fix them -- can go a long way toward keeping ourselves grounded and healthy.

      Delete
  52. Fragments,
    I'm fresh from a solo meeting with our therapist this morning. I went to work through my remaining feelings about my husband not "doing the right thing" when he ended the affair. He ended it and has had no contact since, but it's the way in which he did it. And the subsequent way he handled a threatening e-mail from her sister. You touched on it when you said cowardice and lack of consideration. My husband took the easy way out which in his mind prevented further conflict, but left me feeling like he didn't defend me. He's acknowledged that he handled it wrong, but unfortunately it can't be undone. And neither of us wants nearly 6 months down the road to resume contact to repair that part. My appointment today was focused solely on that and why I perceive the way he handled it as representative of my value. Intellectually, I know it's not true but emotionally it still hurts. I have to work on getting through that and knowing that it says nothing about me. I understand (again intellectually) why he did what he did although i don't agree with it, but emotionally... it still stings. I have no doubt that now, he would face it head on instead of trying to just not create waves.
    But what you were asking is how do you still feel romantically attached despite their actions. For me, it is recognizing why my husband had the affair, how he rationalized his actions and what he's doing to repair the damage and fix the issues. It goes beyond just comforting me and apologizing to really recognizing and acknowledging how his actions hurt me. It's painful for him to go over all his bad choices, but he does it when he knows I need to talk through stuff. And I see him making conscious decisions to change certain behaviors (mostly tied to selfishness) and that is HUGE. Yes, I still hurt and am very disappointed by how he allowed himself to behave, but I do see him being more the man I married than the man he was during the affair. And that goes a long way in reminding me of why we fell in love in the first place. I feel like I am rambling and I hope that makes sense.
    As our therapist said today, we both came to the marriage with past hurts and ingrained behavior. Now we're both working to address our issues and move forward in a positive way.

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  53. Dear Elle and Dandelion, thanks so much for your responses. I lost a long comment yesterday. I've been through the mil with my son recently, he lost control and pushed me and I was injured, he has also been verbally abusive as part of his condition over the years, something that took its toll on both my husband and I. And yet, we can't give up on him. I have three other younger children and have been trying to hold it together for them as well. So it's understandable that it's slow for me to heal, there isn't the capacity in life yet to regroup and feel at peace when other family issues are ongoing. It was helpful, Dandelion to hear how your husband's emerging clarity and understanding of his own actions, has helped you move on. This is the anniversary month of my husband's stupid decision to answer and maintain contact with the OW 9 mths after D-day, even while he knew he didn't want to lose me. He tore reality apart by sending me supportive texts while as the same time not revealing the reestablished contact. It's hard to do mental leaps, so even now, if he is supportive I'll wonder if anything lies behind. However, as you said, Dandelion when my husband makes attempts to spell out his thought processes and new level of understanding, I can at least feel assured that he has worked on himself and developed a deeper understanding of himself and the affair, rather than the panicked, superficial and reactive mode of a year ago. I also need to be aware that under the circumstances healing will take time, and as you rightly say, Elle, decisions can only be made once that has happened.

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    1. Fragments,
      I'm so sorry for what you're going through with your son. Of course, you can't give up on him. He's your child. And when they're at their least loveable, they need our love the most.
      You've got so much going on. Do you have support yourself? Someone to talk to? Someone to give you the chance to have some time alone for whatever feeds your soul?
      Learning to trust again is incredibly difficult. I'm not sure I'll ever completely trust my husband -- or anyone, for that matter. Once life shows us that even those who love us can betray us, that lesson sticks.
      What we can do, however, is know that we can always trust ourselves. That no matter what else happens, we can learn to stand strong in self-respect and dignity and move forward. And that goes a long way toward softening our hearts.

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