The kickass survival site for anyone who's ever been lied to, cheated on and left for dead.
Yes!I would add however, "lean in and hold on through the awful." That's what Brene Brown and Pema Chodron have taught me. We need to remember the awful won't kill us.
So ... i dont want to assume accuse or blow a gasket ..... but .... my h says there has been no contact with ow and on the occassion ow has tried contact he tells me. I noticed on our computer history he recently viewed her facebook page ... we all do it right i cant say i havent googled her when i know i shouldn't be ... cut it out right like cancer .... and i ponder is he looking up because he misses her ... curious what shes up to or could it be hes looking like me not on FB but just googling i general to stay on alert. Be aware ... try to protect? Is this a problem point or should i sit back and observe. Let the dirt settle as recently posted ... in all other ways hes really trying. .. really ....so i wonder, ponder and yes overthink some too. I often jump gun, blow things out of portion and well wear my heart on my sleeve esp. Since dday im on shut high alert ... dont wanna miss signs again ...feel naive or let things just slide but i also dont want to make my on alert hurt self make waves for battles when we are so desparatly trying to ride the tide ... together. Big siggghhh today. Wtf? Or no big deal? Gotta think about this one .... we have a new rule if anything bothering us ... we say it ... ask it ... better than to obcess about it. I done even know what made me check the history? I normally do not ....I do not want to spend my previous time being nancy drew ... perhaps this is that wall of armor we talk about ... trying to remain safe when in reality i know we cant control others and no matter all efforts rules wants in the world simply nothing gauranteed. Want to fill my jar of dirt with sparkles and im trying to bit sweat every little thing? I did mention to him i had googled her and found a new pic ... he was like why are you even looking her up anyways ... but now ....i to could ask ... why are you?
Wounded,Let's start by saying that your response is perfectly normal, under the circumstances. He's given you more reason to mistrust him lately than to trust him.So...you don't tip your hand but ask him, calmly as possible, whether he has ANYTHING to tell you re. the OW. If he feigns innocence, probe further. "Nothing? No attempts to contact her? No attempts to find out how she's doing? Nothing?" This is his chance to come clean and tell you. If he doesn't, then he clearly isn't respecting the "no contact" and "full disclosure" part of the agreement.But give him the chance to come clean. Don't tell him exactly what you know in order to find out what he might tell you.It's awful to have to think like a detective but unfortunately he's created a situation in which your first inclination is to mistrust.
Damn ... history shows he looked again. I am going to ask just not sure when. He gave me this beautiful card and a bag of lifesavers ... puzzled? I asked ... lifesavers? He said your my lifesaver thanks for not giving up on me ... i cried which felt good i felt all cried out ... havent cried in months ... after what felt like crying for weeks! The card surprisingly reflects what im feeling ... learning to focus on what matters and overlooking what does not .... and griwing together. cheesy maybe but for him he found a way to expresss his feelings which is what i want ... need even. So i still wait .... wonder ... hope hes looking for same reasons i sometimes do .... to be on alert not actually bcuz i give 2 shits about ow life. Day. Happenings. I know im in a far better place then shell ever be . Still hurting though ... looking for that marginal improvement and sparkle in each day ... but it is hard and im so fearful to be naive. .. his actions speak volumes though him looking at her FB screams to my broken heart .... on guard.... trying not to blow a gasket .... and if i ask and he lies. I will be crushed and have to decide to show how i know or tuck this in my pocket ...which defeats open and honesty goals we are striving for .. right. . fingers and toes crossed. ... i may do as others ... think about this first decide how much it means to.me ... im guilty of looking sometimes too but he knows when i do. Slap me with the truth ... dont kiss me with a lie.
Side note its not um scared to ask i so badly want to get to a point to stop giving ow air .Cut her out.I know elle only through it not around it
Sighhh he did not deny looking up. What should have been a calm quick talk was a drawn out argument, tears ... hurt .... but that ended with an apology from H. His answer of looking out of of curiosity steamed me??? It wasnt direct as why i had previously googled her and at first he failed to see what the big deal was ... since there has been no contact and hes blocked her on FB so really when he looked he could only see limited info since her page is private??? I could write a book and i maybe rambling. After he thought about it for awhile his defensiveness about how i knew, being under my thumb and feeling like he cant win no matter what he does ( btw i didnt stand for any of that stating he made bed we lie in) he agreed he sees why im upset and apologized for hurting me AGAIN. He was curious if she moved on? What she was doing he said because i looked previously he became curious. Hummm. Dont know how i feel about this other then on alert. And more so becuz he didnt mention he looked like i did to him. So now ... he feels upset 4 hurting me and feels we are 20 steps backs? I dont feel that drastic but i guess can sympathize either with him feeling all his efforts go unnoticed or perhaps hes more upset he did this to us and again another dumb thing we r dealing with. Another long weekend. We were feeling relaxed having fun and now weve hit a patch again. Big sighhhh big sighhhh big sighhhhhhh
I wanted to add he said the dynamic has changed with ow now i know. And honestly he cany believe the time money and energy he wasted to keep hidden which just got him deeper in. He was looking too see what shes doing moved on. Weather that because he cares or hopes shes moved on to stop bothering us. I dont know some thing well never prob know or understand. He tired of talking about it. But understands we will have to when we take steps back he feels like he will forever be doomed to his nose rubbed in shit. Hope not. He said he was just feeling good like we were on the up and up ... hopefully we arent down to long. Time time time
Yep, Wounded...time.And while looking at her online was stupid, it wasn't surprising. The key is opening communication so that he TALKS TO YOU about this stuff rather than hiding it. As long as he's hiding anything, he's falling back into a dangerous pattern and he needs to realize that. Preferring to hide something rather than deal with your hurt or your anger should be telling him something important -- that he shouldn't be doing what he feels the need to hide. It's the old story: If you wouldn't be doing what you're doing with your spouse standing right beside you and watching....you shouldn't be doing it. THAT is the lesson he needs to learn.
Wounded, although I KNOW we should all stop obsessing as it does not good--but I am guilty of the sameyou made an agreement to talk about anything bothering you. We did the same. So one day I admit, i moved the mouse on his computer and what came up? the fb page of one of the women he pursued (she did not know i existed) . it was a mostly one sided emotional affair in which he did the embarrassing majority of the writing. So when I found i I asked Why the hell he was looking at her? He asked why it bothered me since "nothing" happened, "i am supposed to NEVER loo at her again?" I REMINDED HIM, and i would like to say gently, but that would be a complete lie--that he Lied to this woman about who he was, what he did for a living, what his martial status was, and he pursued her for a YEAR, the only truth was that he wanted to hook up with her. Yeah, why should that bother me one G-Damn BIT??? I dont know if he has or has not ever done it since but he honest to God had no idea why this was not cool (for about 30 seconds until i unleashed the litany) Ask him, or you will assume, or will blow a gasket or both (or maybe that's just me).
Don't think I will ever stop obsessimg. It is a part of me now . Mistrust becomes obsession.I obsess every time my husband is away from homeEveryday he is at work...latest ow works in same building as him. I have done my share of snooping..just discovered he password protected his Ipad....reallly??? Guards his phone like he works for the CIA!One thing I laugh about...his first affair years ago left her designer sun glasses in his car...I found them. Wore them for 5 years before I left them at my sons baseball game. Don't know if he ever noticed. Gotta laugh sometimes
I had a gasket blowing moment this week too.... Happened last night.... My husband back from his business trip and all happy with an "award" for his great business Davy was welcomed my a moody yet rightfully so me... You see when I'm busy out of town I check in as a must and let him know I'm ok by phone not text.... He however did not make time to do that and tried the texting thing.... Totally ok except that he told me his co-worker was constantly calling his phone to tell him where they were all at, eating, doing,etc... So I told him off. Simply stating that he couldn't even fain a dump break and call me, but she was allowed to call whenever!!! ( foot note she has been just a friend of our forever, and has no clue what happened in our lives) Not no but hell No!!!! And I prefer he never speak to me again if it was that much of a hassle to respect me enough to just say hello!!!!! So when we go on vacation he better not ask me to bring "her his buddy" home a rum cake like we do every time we visit the Caribbean!!!!..... Now I know I was in the moment with feelings and blowing it up bigger than it was, but I'm sometimes not as strong as I would love to be. When he got mad I yelled, "well I don't expect you to understand because your not the one with a bleeding heart!!!!!" There it is I was "SAD MAD". For the first time I labeled it in my head and out loud . He apologized for not being considerate and said he would try way harder next time, but at least he knows my boundary lines to "crazed moments." Poor co-worker she has been his friend for years, but I'm holding my ground!! Love you girls I had to vent it out ( in my defense, even the most poised get crazy) - Ann from Texas
Ann from TexasI understand how you feel about the out of town work! My h constantly travels for work and the minute he is out the door I am out of sight and out of mind! He says that is the only way he can work. Puts real life in a box and focus only on work! He needs me he calls me otherwise I don't hear from him all day! I ask him do you think about me at all during the day? Yes of course he says. Then if you think about me why not a five minute phone call to ask how my day is. No joke he called for the first 2 days following that and now unless I text him or call him...... Nothing!! I know how often they text and talked and there in lies the problem for me!Sign... Just know I feel your pain!
Life is amazing..and awful...and amazing! Like a roller coaster....only a betrayed woman can relate to the true roller coaster. I live it every day...not sure u will ever trust again. My good days are often reminded of "the ow" and all those days. Then I start to spiral...cyber stalking her on FB and whatever social media I can check. Then I am down...then I question him...then I feel awful. Waiting for the coaster to climb up again!
Pamela,Under the "control what you CAN control and let go of the rest" is this: Do NOT spend your time stalking the OW -- on social media or in real life. Nothing good can possible come of it. It keeps you tethered to her. I suspect if you cut that out, you'll find the roller coaster spends a bit more time at the top instead of at the bottom.
I know I should not be obsessed with finding out more about her.....it's the question why her...what makes her different..what could I have done or who could I have been to prevent it. Working on being me everyday. Just hope i am not too lost. Thanks Ele
If you're lost...just follow the popcorn trail left by those of us who've gone before.What you're looking for, you won't find. There's nothing about her that makes her "better" than you. Nothing. It isn't what she has that made him seek her, it's what she doesn't have: integrity.
God . It is a truly awful life. The questioning, the sleuthing , the obsessions. I know. Sometimes I feel like I want to leave....reclaim my life. Find rhe person I used to be before his immature cowardly actions ripped my sense of reality to shreds. It doesnt matter if he does all the right things or comes home right after work, or how he tells me he trying so hard . He is a changed man. Why can't I see that??? I just see a little boy who hand was caught in the cookie jar and now he is trying to be so good! God. I hate him. I don't respect him and I cannot allow myself to become this mistrustful, paranoid women who doubts everything he says to me. 30 years of building trust to lose it in one day! D day. I think if I knew what this journey would have brought to, I wiuld have packed my bags and ran. How do I believe a word he says. It doesnt matter that he is doing all the right things. I can't get away from who he was, what he did and how he could look himself in the mirror and deceive again and again. I spent my life thinking the best of him and now I can only think the worse!! So sad. !RECLAIMING MY LIFE
RML,Betrayal is trauma. And when we've been through trauma, it feels impossible to imagine ever NOT feeling afraid, mistrustful, vigilant. But you're right -- that's no life.Have you had any counselling to help you through this? Whether you continue to stay or decide to reclaim your life without him, you need someone to help you process this trauma so it doesn't rule the rest of your life. Slowly you will begin to detach from what he did and come to a decision around what you want to do next.
Ok so rough week over here. We knew this was coming but the "friend" who introduced my husband to both ap passed away. We both knew this was coming and i know people come out of the woodwork when cancer happens and people die. One ap was from 2005 with only 3 in person contacts. They did email and text. It was all sporadic and sometimes a year without contact. No in person contact since 2009. So in April/may I can't remember now which I guess is good got texts and drunk calls and messages at his office wanting to talk about this diagnosis. He sent a short but abrupt message saying please stop. I was still in shock and not shown the messages or consulted. There has been zero contact since then as far as I know. So the other ap he has known since 2005 but went on from 2008-2014 texted yesterday. Supposedly she is not friends with this person anymore but again came out due to impending death. He showed me as soon as possible and we talked about it. The relationship has not been physical for 2.5 years and he has had no contact for 15 months or longer. We discussed saying I knew everything, stop all contact and leave me alone. He also suggested ignoring since he felt by replying at all it would start a diaglog. I can see both sides. He also does not want to share our life with her since this relationship is so far done and gone to him. And he wants nothing to do with either woman. Any tips or advice anyone deal with this? Everything online is about no contact when "breaking up" and ending the affair. But that has happened so long ago. He has committed to showing me everything, not replying until we talk, showing me all replies and not taking any calls. Then funeral discussion came up. He said no idea if either person will attend of course who knows. He thinks bad idea for me to be there. He went back and forth said if either came up and said hi he would not be rude. I kind of lost it for me at least. I think that is unacceptable. He says then maybe she would say something to his friends. I don't really care about that honestly. So he has decided not to attend the funeral and send a nice card to the family. Any thoughts?One more thing. After my mini break down earlier this week he suggested I talk to a friend. I just am not comfortable with that. So he said maybe if I am not okay talking with a friend I should see someone. Well touchy since he is in the business. I googled and found two therapist that specialize in martial/couples/infidelity therapy in a town a ways away. Again wanting to avoid peers locally. I found two and wrote them. One got back to me. Last night after dealing with the text, dying friend etc I wanted to talk about this. I know it might help me but the reason I am in this situation is his decisions and the way he perceived and treated our relationship. He has never been happier, it has all been easy not work for him and he feels he has had his wake up call. So he sees no need to see anyone. I wanted to talk about why is it about me getting help vs us getting help. He said he did not get that. He said he is nervous as there are many not great therapist and worried what I might hear. Yet he did not offer to help me research or find someone. It is all on me. So he started asking what her experience is etc. I was really frustrated and upset by all of this. He sees all of this so far in the past and guarantees this will never happen again is more committed than ever. Me I say you never thought you would do this before. He says this is a wake up call like no other and he wants to be authentic etc. so I am left thinking is there more to this or is this legit? Should I expect more involvement or will this be good for me? Will this affect us in a negative way? Sorry for the long post but I do appreciate all of your thoughts and posts too. As we all seem to say it is so reassuring to read what others write here. It has been a lifesaver with my sanity and not feeling alone.
Hopeful 30,Wow. One helluva week huh?Re. the texts from the AP: I'm inclined to agree with your husband, especially since he's not going to the funeral, and just ignore them. If he was going, it might be prudent to send a short text saying that, going forward, there will be no contact and to not expect any contact at the funeral.Re. a therapist: I think you do need someone to help support you through this. It seems unfair when we did nothing to cause this problem...but fact remains, you've got some emotional pain to work through and a good therapist can help you do that. Your husband should probably be doing his own work (and I wonder if it's a bit of ego to assume that, because he's in the "biz", he can figure it out himself) but you can't manage his healing. As long as you're seeing progress and accountability on his part, I'd let it go and focus on your own healing.But yes, call him out when he says it will "never" happen again, etc. Nobody ever thinks they're going to cheat. What is his strategy should temptation arise? How will you two handle things when the marriage feels stale or one partner feels unvalued? Go to the therapist and unburden yourself. See what she has to say. Beware of any therapist who blames you for the affair. Beware of a therapist who thinks you need to "put this in the past". If you could do that, you wouldn't be there. You need someone to validate just how excruciating betrayal and then help you walk through the steps toward healing. Toward creating healthy boundaries for yourself. Toward learning to trust again. This is for YOU.
Are you sure my therapist didn't post the words above? I had two ah-ha moments in therapy I thought this might help someone else and it relates perfectly to what Elle is saying. I had this pattern like amazing, awful and ordinary in our marriage 22 months post D-day. Step one- Ordinary - We seem to be going along, he maybe quiet, we are talking about non-affair stuff, we are watching TV, he is reading, I'm gardening (fully clothed), we go out to eat, I go to the store, he fixes dinner, then during this time I get anxious, queasy, insecure, doubting, that familiar grab in my chest, my mind wanders. Step two - Awful - I start to accuse, berate, question, want reassure I'm the best, make him feel like a piece of crap, (he has done nothing to start this, he is just being a really great guy), Step three- Wonderful- He is upset so he could comforts me, tells me I'm the greatest, tells me how much he loves me, how sorry he is and how bad he screwed up, guilt everyday. I feel so much better and he feels worse which makes me feel even better. Life's good like a high for me. I recognize this is not good for our marriage, he stays in his guilty world for a few days feeling his consequences and gets down hearted. This has been going on for months, first weekly then bi-weekly. I mean he has does nothing wrong at all during all this up and down, he buys me flowers, opens doors, cleans up the kitchen, you get the picture. Here's the deal, I grew up not knowing or experiencing normal marriage behavior EVER. When our relationship gets ordinary my therapist says I begin to feel uncomfortable and anxious. She said I need reassurance because this ordinary is so foreign to me so I start squirming something must be wrong. I'm not going to be fooled so I go back to the affair. She says this ordinary time is normal married behavior. I DONT KNOW THIS IS NORMAL. So now I know that when things are going good, no roller coaster, I can feel good because I know this normal married life. Make sense? This was a revelation to me so when I start down the awful path I say to myself, wow this is normal, you can feel good about this this time. I know by his behavior he proving how much he has changed. Elle goes off in my head and hollers, Enjoy feeling good, this is what you have been fighting for, wanted, so enjoy it or you are going to miss the best part. It is like going to the bathroom during a movie and missing the best part. Shows over and you missed feeling good, normal for a change.
To me normal is scary because that is how I felt during the affair years. We would be plugging along with life, celebrate great events, great vacations alone and as a family. So when I feel normal life slipping back in I panic. It is so hard that aspect. Everyday cannot be a honeymoon but without constant reassurance I question him, myself, our marriage. It makes me sad I want to enjoy everyday life again.
Lynn,I had to learn "normal" in my 20s when I was in a turbulent relationship. I didn't feel "alive" unless I has some sort of chaos in my life. Finally got so sick of the up and down that I entered therapy and slowly, like you, came to realize that "healthy" often appears "boring" to someone who doesn't recognize what healthy is. Healthy means having the emotional space to pursue your own interests/friends/dreams. It means not feeling totally tied up in the other person. I though chaos + drama = passion, and therefore deep commitment. My equation was completely wrong.You'll have to learn to sit with those uncomfortable feelings that come up when things are "ordinary". To just feel them and not give in to that need for drama. To learn how to ask for reassurance and trust it WITHOUT all the chaos. And your husband will have to learn to really hear what you're saying when you're simply asking and NOT demanding/screaming/begging/etc. So you'll both need to relearn the dance of your marriage. Ordinary, after all, is pretty awesome. We should all be so lucky to have ordinary in our lives.
Hopeful 30, I understand completely. I struggle with this as well. It sounds cliché, but I thought we had a great marriage. And yet the entire time (over 12.5 years), he was living a lie and sneaking around behind my back. Normal feels dangerous to me, because I thought we were normal, and we weren't. I thought we were normal, only to find out my life was built on lies. I thought I was normal, turns out I was codependent. I exhibited so many signs of being the partner of an addict without even knowing he was acting on his addiction. People don't realize that porn addiction is much harder to spot. You can't smell someone's breath like you can with alcohol. They can do it on the sly so much more easily than substance abuse. (If you are in this boat, I highly recommend reading up on co-dependence. A couple books that have really helped me are: Women Who Love too Much, and Is it Love or is it Addiction?)I want to believe my husband has really changed this time (his porn addiction was revealed 2 years into our marriage), but I remember that he swore to me for the next 10 years that he hadn't relapsed, and the whole time he was using. Whenever I try to let down my guard, there's a voice in me that says, "Yeah, he swears he's clean, but he's done that before, and it was a lie. You trusted him last time, and look how bad that blew up in your face."I really, really, want to believe that it's different this time. It feels different. But I have a hard time trusting him, and a hard time trusting my own perceptions.But underneath all this, I really do want ordinary. I swear that after this I will NEVER complain that my life is boring again. Any time I thought that, WHAM! Once it was a breast lump (thankfully that turned out to be benign), then it was a huge family fall-out, then it was D-day. I really want ordinary and normal from now on.
I need help, ladies. Really feeling down this past week. Going to couples therapy tonight and trying to focus on what I need. H is being supportive, remorseful, etc. It just doesn't seem like enough. Is it ridiculous to want so badly someone to take care of me as if I'm a child - lift me in their arms, feed me by hand, rock me to sleep? I haven't told anyone about what I'm going through other than therapists. I feel the need to hear that anyone would be lucky to have me, that I'm head and shoulders better in every way than the OW. Why can't my H do that for me? Why can't he express his love for me in the dramatic, poetic fashion he did to her? He says that wasn't real - but he thought it was real at the time. I feel like he'll never love me the way that he loved her.
Karri,Was your husband ever that way with you? Most relationships have that stage of passion -- the poetry, the flowers, the promises of undying love. And then we exit that stage and settle into real life. Nothing would get done in the world if humans were forever dedicated to expressing their love to their partners.However, it's perfectly normal, in the wake of such a betrayal, to feel child-like. To need to feel safe. To want that constant reassurance. I suspect, though, that it will never be enough, coming from him. No matter what he tells you, he can't undo what he did. Which leaves you doubting his words, questioning his loyalty.So...while what you want/need is perfectly legitimate, you're going to need to find a way to give it to yourself. That's the only way it will ever stick.It's "inner child" stuff -- and often involves just imagining that scared child, terrified of abandonment, terrified of rejection, of not measuring up. And then the adult (you) mentally comforts the child. Figures out what the child needs (reassurance? A massage? A day at a museum? A run? Whatever...) and you do what you can to provide that. To give that child (and adult you) the space and time and commitment to address those needs. It sounds weird, I know. But it works. It involves paying attention to your needs. It involves validating what you need. You can certainly ask your husband to reassure you when you're feeling small and unimportant. And maybe that will help. But you also need to find a way to comfort yourself and recognize your needs and keep yourself feeling safe.
Re. my point: Read Lynn's post below, where she's struggling with the same thing. Needing reassurance...and then doubting it when she gets it.
Karri,I don't think anything you're feeling is ridiculous. Dealing with infidelity is the hardest thing i have ever had to handle. I think others would agree. I felt incapacitated for a period of time and the only thing that kept me functional was my kids. At that time, my husband was fully remorseful and was doing his best but just hadn't reached a point where he was responding to me in the way I needed him to.How far out are you from D-Day? Maybe he just needs more time to get out of the fog. After D-Day #1 when my husband lied and told me it was an emotional affair, I asked him, "Why her?" He looked at me and said, "She's everything you're not." He went on to tell me how happy she was all the time and how she was "everybody's friend". It crushed me because in his mind, I was this horrible, unhappy person. How could I ever compare to her? Those words burned into my brain and I've just recently reaching a point where I realized it's not the truth. Remember, affairs are all about fantasy. There is no responsibility involved, no real life stress. It's easy to be romantic and carefree when the relationship is not based on reality. And they are based upon lies from the very beginning to keep from being discovered. At that time, still caught up in the lies and the fog, it was easy for my husband to build her up and place blame on me. He will readily admit now that he was manipulated in some ways, caught up in the "rush" of the affair fantasy and living a double life. He never loved her and, frankly, found her annoying. He also acknowledges that he lied to her and manipulated her with words to get want be wanted.It's so hard to grasp that they can love us and do this at the same time. Don't be hard on yourself. Maybe he needs more time to come to terms with all of it. As I've said before, it took the final D-Day for my husband to pull his head out of his ass. It took even longer, and some therapy, for him to understand how to help me.Hugs!
I also wanted you to know that it is possible to reach a point where the things he has said don't cut the way they did when you first heard them. There are certain things that my husband said that have replayed over and over. This weekend I sat down and wrote out my feelings. The first time I've written creatively since college. I'll share it and hope that it's helpful in some way... Getting it on paper certainly helped me.She's Everything You're NotI stood at the kitchen sinkAsking you, "Why her?"My heart broke when you said,"She's everything you're not."BubblyPositiveHappy And in that momentI believed youAllowed you And herTo dictate my value.Nine months laterAnd your mind is clear.As is your image of her.But my heart still hurtsAnd those words can't be unsaid.Now, though,I listen to that voice insideThat still says,"She's everything you're not."LiarCheaterManipulator And in this momentI believe in meAllow no one Not you, not herTo define my worth.Nine months laterBut my mind is clearAs is my image of her.And my heart still hurtsBut those words no longer do.
Wow...excellent writing...captured how I feel. Even though I wonder why her? I am really glad I am not like her! Being a family wrecker and a lier is something I never want to be. She thinks she should be proud....laughable!I just am trying to find myself and do what I want to in my life. I want to enjoy my business travel without worrying what he is doing. One more affair, call, text and he WI'll have lost me! Then she can be proud...she would have won the "prize". Funny cause he would not be with her or be happy with her if I kicked his butt out!
Beautiful Dandelion. Thank you for sharing.
Dandelion, Amen! This is perfection. I made it an art of taking everything H said regarding the woman he met online and stringing it all together in one jumbled sentence and then I used this to value my worth. It wasn't anything he said all at one time; rather, it was a little of this and a little of that which came out over a period of months, all from my pain shopping. Over the course of months I just constructed it in one long sentence of everything he told me about her. I'm glad his words no longer hurt you. The words still hurt me, but I'm making progress. Love you all.
That's really really good Dandelion. And I think it's incredibly fitting that it has taken nine months for you to birth a new you, from tiny seed to full being. I'd love to write more on this as a blog post. It's such an eye-opener.
I love this poem thank you for sharing. It really helped me. If you get inspired to write again, please share. This is really good.
Wow, Elle. I wrote 9 months and it never occurred to me how symbolic that time frame truly is.
Very good poem, very impressed.
The second thing I learned which again relates to the up and down. I hope I can explain this. My husband who has a hard time sharing his feelings says, I made the best decision of my life 22 months ago. I'm thinking in my head "What? You didn't think that 35 years ago?". My husband says, you don't really understand how much I love you. I'm thinking in my head "What? You said that pre-affair and really didn't feel that way, so what am I suppose to believe now, you think I'm a fool?" My husband says, I really enjoyed having fun being with you today. I'm thinking "What? You said that before and saw her the next day, yeah right." Now intertwined is my husband; who says frequently , he feels like he disappoints me and says he is trying not to disappoint me. He goes on, I have this standard in my head that he can't meet. No matter what I do he can't pass my test. I really don't feel this way at all, why is saying this? He is not disappointing me at all now. My mother was a true narcissistic bitch. If my sister and I were happy she would say something or do something to take happiness away. Here is the roller coaster pattern. He says something so I say something critical either out loud or in my head, so I will never feel let down, never have that good feeling taken away from me. In my mind, I go to critical first then no one can take that good feeling away. You can see by my examples, my husband was never going to be good enough, just like I never felt good enough for my mom. He feels good and expresses his love but I can't accept it feel good and have him feel good so I criticize him. Just like my mom did me. No wonder he feels like he disappointed me. I was feeling, it is not enough, when I should be enjoying him finally opening up the me, I waited so long for some acknowledgement from him. He is finally telling me how he feels and I should be recognizing along with his actions and being happy about that. So I'm trying not to rush to critical, what you say is not good enough but stop it and enjoy how far he has come because it may sound like the same words but his behavior, his actions with me are not the same. He has changed dramatically compared to his behavior as when he told me the exact same words pre-affair. I wasn't acknowledging his behavior change, rushing to critical, your never going to be good enough so let me tell you that and this good feeling I have right now will not be taken away. Does any of this resonate with anyone else? This was a revelation to me. I tried to explain it as best I could. If I didn't make sense just say - wow she is wacked out today, jacked up, amped up - too deep for me.
It completely resonates with me. And I have to shut up that little voice in my head that finds what my husband does never quite good enough. I've become so much better at it. It's the same voice that criticizes myself, frankly. It's a critic and it's annoying and hurtful and gets in the way of happiness.Building in that space where someone says something hurtful and we're able to just hear it, turn it over in our minds, then reject it, is huge. And being able to hear someone say something kind, turn it over in our minds and just accept it for what it is -- the right here, right now sentiment without any baggage -- is also huge. Paves way for us to simply enjoy life without constantly doubting everyone and everything around us.Lynn, this has been your survival strategy since you were a kid. And it likely served a purpose when you were young and vulnerable. But you're a grown up now. And it's not serving you. So glad you're seeing that.
Lynn Pain, it resonates with me as well. Also a daughter of a narcissistic mother here! I've had to learn to bite my tongue when the nasty cynical bitch part of me tries to rear its ugly head. I might feel better for a moment when I'm able to throw it in his face, but then I feel like I just kicked a puppy. (Maybe a puppy who just took a crap on my carpet, but still.) It just damages our relationship further.The other day we were having lunch with co-workers (we work in the same office), and when I left to go home afterwards (I work part-time), my husband kissed me goodbye. Our boss jokingly said, "You never give me a kiss!" The first thought that popped into my head was, "Well, as far as I know, he only cheats on me with women, so you're out of luck!" I could have told my husband what I was thinking later, but I didn't. Yes, I could have wounded him with it, but what's the point? It won't undo what he did. And then I also realized, if I say that--aaaack! I'm being just like my mother, and I swore I would never ever be like her.I also noticed that I'm most tempted to say these kinds of things when my husband seems like he's having a good day. There's times when the vindictive part of me feels like he doesn't deserve to be happy ever again after what he did, but again, that's only going to hurt me as well. It would be cutting off my nose to spite my face.I had the same thing, thinking, he said all those things before D-day, but I have to admit, his actions have been different, so I'm working to just accept them for what they are.
Holy heck, Lynn. Sometimes I think that many of us here are of one mind. I've spent my entire life waiting for the next bad thing to happen and being a critical bitch in order to protect myself from the hurt...so it is extremely hard for me to accept any happiness I feel now that I've been so emotionally critically injured by my H's betrayal. He's felt like a disappointment his entire life (and I added to it with my own behavior) and now that he's really done something wrong...something to be ashamed of...he's a broken man, and I have to work very hard not to exacerbate that with my knee-jerk temper. Sometimes, when he seems happy, it's as if I want to remind him of what he's done to me...I want to see him suffer for it. And that's no way to treat someone you love. And I truly DO love the man (warts and all).Learning that those snide comments that pop into my head don't necessarily have to come out of my mouth has been difficult at best.
Difficult yes, Dana. But what a difference it will make, not only to your husband but to you, to learn to bite your tongue when you're tempted to make the snide remarks. I've always used sarcasm as humour and a shield...but it took seeing my kids' faces -- that bewildered hurt -- to make me realize that it's often just not funny.
My husband broke and touched my heart in a different way, softly he said, "just be nice to me that's all I want."
Thank you girls for sharing this.... I've kept that part of me hidden in my head and felt shame for thinking this way... I too am guilty of thinking like this. There was once a baby in a shopping cart in a different state that was adorable. She looked at my husband and was confused and called him "daddy". The mother looked up smiled and said something but I don't know what because I thought, "what you too" in my head..... Geez. I was so uncomfortable inside. I just felt sick. My husband smiled and said oh she is so cute. She was adorable, but all I could think was "you jerk" how could you change me inside so much? It's to where l cannot even enjoy a baby! Then it hit me.... "NOBODY CAN CHANGE ME UNLESS I LET THEM." So I started actively trying to rethink my thinking, and focus on my mental wellness also. That day hurt inside, because that was the day I realized "I had become my problem." Healing requires us to look at ourselves also, and sometimes we are stunned, shocked or disappointed..... Thank you girls for sharing this. Love you tons!!-Ann from Texas
Definitely taking into account what you ladies have said above. Today is my birthday and my husband is doing everything he can to make it a great day for me. Unfortunately, today while we were out we had to pass a few places that trigger me and I had to run an errand near where she lived. Before today, I would have made sure to mention it to him. Would have made some snippy remark about my day being great with the exception of the area I was in. But today, I'm not doing it. It will only cause me to spiral into negativity and hurt him. It's not worth it. Today is about me, not her.
Dandelion,Yep -- today is about celebrating your presence on this planet. What a stroke of luck, huh? To have been conceived at that exact moment, to have survived all the things that can strike fetuses, babies, children, teens, adults down and still be here to enjoy another sunrise, another sunset, another day on this earth -- well, that's worth celebrating.
So proud of you Dandelion ,) Allowing yourself to "paint a new scene" over what was once there.... Creating "new scenes" is what ends up allowing us to be truly free of all the bad memories and triggers. So proud of you... Stay strong and paint a scene of peace ,) love you tons! Happy birthday my friend! There is only one of you in the earth and nobody can replace you so let the ones that love you truly enjoy you. - Ann from Texas
I got really upset last night because I felt really disconnected from my H and had a rough day yesterday while he was at work. In bed, I tried to start things by rubbing up against him, all the things that normally would work. He patted me and then went to sleep. I was furious and slept like crap. This morning, I got up when he got ready for work and went to talk to him in the bathroom to tell him that I felt rejected. He said we missed signals sometime during the evening because he reached out asking what I needed from him and I said nothing and he thinks I expect him to read my mind. I don't want to have to tell him to do things for me. I want him to want to do things. He didn't realize I wanted anything last night (right...) and was able to turn me down, but was he able to reject the other woman when she told him other people would be at her apartment when she invited him over after a work party (no one was there - surprise!) and then "went to the bathroom" and came back naked? Nope. I just texted him her mugshot I found online and said, "You ruined everything? For this!?!?" I am only nine weeks out so I am still in the feeling psychotic stage, I guess. I switch back and forth between wanting to have sex and be reassured that he loves me and wanting to scream at him and throw things and basically beat him over the head with the truth. And somewhere in between is when I go emotionless and day drink.
Grace,Nine weeks is still the psychotic stage, for sure. But in order to rebuild a marriage you two are going to have to learn to communicate. We simply cannot expect another person to read our mind. What's clear to us is not always clear to another person. Expecting them to just know is a recipe for resentment.It's understandable that you're feeling vulnerable and need reassurance. Tell him that. Tell him that you're scared. That you need closeness. Be clear about your needs. It will feel scary. We somehow believe that if we have to tell our partner, then there's something wrong. But that's how good marriages work. By communicating clearly and trusting that our partner will respond with compassion. And please...no drinking. Adding alcohol to the emotional cocktail of betrayal can only make things worse.
I know in my husband's case, he was so terrified of doing something wrong and making it worse that there was absolutely no way he was going to try to guess what I wanted or to try to read my mind. He knew he'd screwed up in the worst possible way. And he knew how volatile I still was. I felt like I was holding a grenade with the pin missing and it was taking all my strength to keep holding it to prevent it from blowing up. Any little thing, my hand would relax on the handle, and KABOOM! Emotional shrapnel everywhere.I felt the same way, he said she wasn't even pretty, she was older than me, they didn't connect on any level. I was all like, "How could you cheat on me for someone worse than me?" It felt like a bigger insult. I told him it felt like he had refused to come home and eat the dinner I cooked because he'd rather eat out of a dumpster. Bad enough you blow me off and go behind my back, but to go behind my back for something rotten? Insult to injury.It was so hard to have to be vulnerable with the person who had caused all this pain. I mean, he'd already hurt me so much, and here I was having to tell him what I wanted / needed, and take the chance that he'd reject me? But that's what you have to do. It is hard, and it hurts, but it's the only way to work through this. The more times he responds by giving me what I asked, the more he rebuilds my trust in him. Not saying that it isn't still hard, but I look back and realize that it's nowhere near as hard as it is in the beginning. I'm 15 months out from D-day. I won't claim to be healed, but I am healing.
Thanks for that Gee. It is hard to become vulnerable to anyone after betrayal, but especially to the person who so deeply hurt us. And it's hard for us to remember that, in the midst of all this, they're hurting too. They often experience deep shame and self-loathing, which makes it hard for them to show up for us when we need them. But if we can be with other through this, the new relationship can be so much richer.
I simply want to say to the woman who wanted to know why her? Why that 0W? What did she have that I didn't have? As Elle pointed out, nothing. Truthfully, my husband said something which addressed just that … He said ... Referring to his OW, "she could have been anyone." He has repeated that to me on a few occasions ..." She could've been anyone." It is when he says things like that… That is when I feel that he gets it . It is true, it could've been anyone. It is not about her, it is not about you, it is about him… And his need to see a pretty reflection looking back at him in the mirror. Another great thing my husband has said ... "An intruder came into our lives… And I brought them in." Actually, I was just thinking today that I want to write down all of the things, all of the actions, all of the words, that my husband has done or said which has made me feel better in this time of healing. When things get very tough for me… And I am triggered… Where I am sad… Or I simply cannot believe that he did this… It would be nice to reach for that list. I just thought of something… The next time that we have a trigger… A trigger in which we imagine our husband with the OW… I am going to simply imagine my husband with himself. With himself, looking into a mirror. And when I see him that way, as I do now, in my mind's eye… I feel sorry for him; I do not feel hatred; I feel sorrow. ( and if that doesn't work… I will imagine the mirror's pedestal, you know, the full length type… forming a boot which will project out of the base of the mirror ... and give my husband a swift kick in the balls!)
Reflection...and a kick in the balls. That's a mirror I'd like to have in my house!
Ugh. I think I may be stuck and I'm not sure how to move forward. Intellectually, I know that the OW really meant very little to my H (he considered her a friend and she manipulated him to keep him tied to her for months after he ended the PA), at least romantically. It's come out in therapy and in conversation that he never even wanted to have a sexual relationship with her at all...but that he did it to appease her so her adoration wouldn't stop. He also, out of shame and embarrassment that he risked his family for something that wasn't fulfilling or even remotely good, hid for awhile that the sex was pretty awful (they had intercourse 3x and she gave him random BJs a few times over the course of their 3.5 week PA)...she's a sex addict and was only interested in getting off and adding a new man to her already full schedule...and he could barely even manage an erection when he was with her. There is literally nothing about her that meets his sexual needs, but she said all of the right things and made him feel like he was the king of the world, so he gave her what she wanted. It's almost the classic tale...only the roles are reversed...he was in it for the words of adoration and the compliments, and she was in it for the sex. Her act was perfection...she had him completely fooled that she was a sweet, innocent woman who'd fallen for the "most wonderful man" she'd ever met.At the time of the PA (one year ago this month...yay), he was in the midst of a severe, prolonged depressive episode that he wasn't getting the proper treatment for, was convinced that I didn't love him, but stayed with him because I was settling and he was all I'd truly known, and this co-worker/friend suddenly started doing everything she could to make him feel like a million bucks. He spent those 3.5 weeks feeling guilt and shame, disgusted with himself, but he told himself that he deserved to be adored, to be told he was special...even if the price he had to pay was much too high.Once he ended it, she acted as if she was perfectly fine with that...and then, within a week, began claiming that her fiancé was physically and sexually abusing her. My H would come home TO ME and tell me about her stories and how bad he felt and how much he wanted to help her (his father was abusive, so this is a huge trigger for him). Of course, he never mentioned that he'd had a PA with her, nor did he mention that they were in constant contact via text, night and day. He says that his feelings during that time were never romantic, but completely fear-based...terrified that his "friend" was going to die at the hand of her abuser...and that I would figure out what he'd done.Fast forward a few months, and after getting me involved in helping to "save" her, we learned that it was all a lie...she hadn't been abused and SHE was the loony one in that house. Within a month after the revelation, he admitted to his betrayal with her and my world came crashing down.
Part 2/2So now we're trying to rebuild our almost 20 year old marriage. I've posted before about my own shortcomings in my marriage...I was critical (sometimes downright mean), he was never good enough (handsome, rich, romantic, etc) and sometimes just a generally heinous bitch. When asked how he could have done what he did, his first answer was, "I didn't think you loved me." And I know that is the absolute truth. Yes, his own childhood trauma (neglect, bullying and sexual abuse) made him perceive slight when there was none and his self-esteem was crushed at a horribly young age...so he never quite believes in his own worth...but my own childhood crap made me an anxious, angry child who expected perfection, but often created chaos.So, we're in therapy and we've made progress, both of us coming to terms with the damage we suffered as children and how we've allowed that to write the script for our marriage, and writing an entirely new script (we're not perfect, but we're both trying)...but I CAN'T STOP THE FREAKING MIND MOVIES. I know their sex wasn't the least bit satisfying for him, while ours is phenomenal, but I still can't seem to stop picturing them together. The other night, I burst out crying while he did that special little something because, in the beginning, I asked WAY TOO MANY QUESTIONS and found out that he'd done it to her once after she told him she expected to be reciprocated for the BJs. I find myself fighting the movies way too often for me to ever feel any true sense of peace. I can usually block them out (after being smacked in the face with them for a bit), but sometimes it's like I have them on a loop that I just can't seem to stop.Yes, I sometimes cry over the way my life has changed and I lament that I have to live with his betrayal for the rest of my life...but its the mind movies that are doing me in here. Help??
DanaI know those mind movies well! Then I read and read again the words that Elle says over over. Picture that huge STOP sign and then think about anything and everything that feels happy! I sat with a large cardboard box and as I began tearing it up for recycling, I placed each of those movies into that bin and if one begins, I look out my front window at the stop sign at the end of the street! This was repeated for about a week of movies and now I look at my stop sign and just seeing it returns me to my new happy place!I learned this tearing up in group therapy at the age of 18 following a break down from years of abuse both mentally and physically. I have had to bring some of those painful memories back and use them to rid myself of this new and deeper pain.I've also learned that it takes time to get through this pain and these ladies I've met here give me a strength I knew I had but forgot how to use! I continue to vent here and read others struggles and somehow I managed to get through those tough months! I have been reading this blog for more months than I posted but believe me when I say I would not be where I am on this road to recovery of my marriage without the support and love and understanding of these ladies! Hugs and love as you kick your way through the mud!
Dana,It's a four-letter word -- TIME -- but it can work magic. When we're doing the work we need to do, when we're doing what we can to stop feeding the beast, then time can often just sweep away a lot of those memories. I too asked for a lot of details...and I couldn't even tell you what most of them are now.I loved what Melissa said on another post: Sex is for her and she'll be damned if someone else is going to steal her satisfaction. Intimacy with your husband is exactly that: Intimacy. Which is something he never had with her, and there's a world of difference.
I'm going to try that stop sign thing...because something has to give here. I know that they had no passion or intimacy, that the whole thing was pathetic, crass and sad, really...but the movies still keep playing. And as many of you know, those of us with anxiety disorders seem especially talented at driving ourselves crazy with worst case scenario visions....my own brain is doing this to me on purpose, lest I forget that life can start to suck at any moment, I guess.And that gosh darned TIME!! I wish it would hurry the heck up already...but then the intervening years would rush through our kids' teen years as well, so I need to be present and accounted for so I don't regret not living life to the fullest in the meantime.
Being present is tough because it also means being present for the painful bits. But it teaches us that nothing is permanent. Not the joy, not the pain. It will pass. And, if we learn well, we're left with a deeper peace that helps us ride out the peaks and valleys. Mindfulness can really help with anxiety disorders because, with practice, it pulls your brain out of that spiral and into a deeper place of observing. Like watching a hamster on a wheel instead of BEING the hamster on a wheel.
MelissaYou put into words what I have been doing as far as the list of what he says right! We discovered that email was an easier way to communicate with each other on the day after a discussion went wrong! He can't verbally communicate his true feelings and sometimes I just blow trying to get through to him. So after a really bad blow up I tried telling him in the email how I felt and how I thought the way he reacts to my explosions made me feel. I thought long and hard about what I thought I had wanted to say before I blew it up! I put it all in and he told me in a return email that he loved my words when I thought them out instead of rambling on in a fit of anger!I have also gone over in my mind the first few conversations I had with him when the ow was texting him daily. He said he could not understand why neither she nor I cared about what he was saying! He had told her for months he did not love her and did not want to see her anymore and to leave us alone. During this time I was an emotional mess screaming at him why the hell does her feelings mean more to him than mine. I didn't realize he was finally being truthful to me about his true feelings and we worked together to stop the constant contact. Then we began to work on our relationship and it has been a rough and bumpy ride. I did have to explain that because he spent so much time pursuing her with lies, it was too difficult for her to hear the truth. Then I reversed it from my perspective and he had his aha moment! Slowly but surely we are pulling ourselves back to the right place to be for us!
Theresa,I've heard of parents who text with their kids to have difficult conversations because then it removes the eye-rolling and the sighing and the little things that can trigger something in the other person and make the conversation go off the rails. So it's a good idea to try texting/e-mailing when things have been bad. And glad to hear you're getting back to the "right place" for you.
That's wonderful Theresa. May peace, love & light be yours.
Melissa You can never know how your words have given me a boost up! Painting us a 'rainbow'of hope for our journey forward!