Thursday, November 26, 2015

Feeling Each Other's Pain

"It's when you can feel your opponent's pain that the path to reconciliation begins." ~Jonathan Sacks, former chief rabbi in an interview with Krista Tippet On Being

Being cheated on will never feel "fair". And "fair" is what so many of us are after. "But it's not fair!" I would wail, like a seven-year-old whose brother got a bigger slice of pie. I was right, of course. It wasn't fair.
It wasn't fair that he got the sex and I got the empty bed. It wasn't fair that he got the attention and I got the loneliness. It wasn't fair that he got the ego strokes and the excitement of forbidden relationships while I got the day in-day out mundanity of life with three young children.
It wasn't fair that I was in excruciating pain. That I couldn't eat or sleep or work. It wasn't fair that my entire life was turned upside down because of his choices. It wasn't fair that I couldn't listen to the radio without being triggered. I couldn't see a certain model of car. I couldn't go to certain restaurants or see certain friends or experience certain kinds of weather without doubling over in pain.
It wasn't fair. None of it.
But life, as I so often remind my own children, isn't fair. And all the wishing in the world won't make it so.
Where does that leave us?
Well...it leaves us accepting that even if we cheat on him and dump his ass and successfully sue the OW for "alienation of affection" and he loses his job and his children hate him and he winds up, sockless and hatless, on a freezing winter day living in a refrigerator box and getting arrested for urinating in a public place, our hearts will still have been broken. It leaves us with a decision: To rave about the unfairness of it all or to move forward with a different understanding.
Because even if we think he somehow got away with something, what did he get away with, really? He got away with hurting the person he vowed to never hurt. He got away with being a lying scumbag. Do we really believe he isn't paying a price for those things?
Those who don't pay a price for betrayal are without a conscience. And if your husband lacks a conscience or is masterful at ignoring his conscience and plans to stay that way, then do yourself a huge favor and lawyer up.
If, however, your husband isn't a narcissist or too divorced from emotion to experience any genuine remorse for his actions, then your husband is paying. He might not be paying enough in your view (would a pound of flesh in the form of his private parts suffice, ladies?). But he's paying.
His self-respect is gone. His belief in himself as a "good guy" is gone. After all, he's that guy – the one who devastated his entire family just so he could screw someone who doesn't mean much to him in the cold light of day.
My husband paid for what he did every day for months when, as he said, he had to see the pain in my eyes and know that he was the one who caused it.
Understanding that our husbands didn't really get away with much goes a long way towards helping us feel their pain. Or at least knowing that it's there. There's plenty of pain to go around. And while the pain of the betrayed is different in that we did nothing to bring it on whereas he was the one making the choices, in the end, perhaps, pain is pain.
Betrayal hurts both partners. It's lose-lose.
Or...
Or maybe we win when we can feel each other's pain. Maybe, as Jonathan Sacks says, the path to reconciliation is created when we finally understand that we're each broken by betrayal. Reconciliation doesn't have to mean staying married. It can mean releasing each other to a different future. But regardless of what we want that future to look like, empathy for each other's pain frees us from needing "fairness" and instead offers us the imperfect grace to heal.

35 comments:

  1. OMG those 2 paragraphs are so me, although with my own individual spin: It wasn't fair that he got the sex and I got the psychological torture of suspecting for years but never actually confirming: was I right or was I crazy was the perpetual question. It wasn't fair that he got the attention and I got the loneliness. It so wasn't fair that he got the ego strokes and the excitement of forbidden relationships while I got the day in-day out mundanity of life with children (and his mom) as well as the years of self-ridicule of why wasn't I good enough or fun enough to go out with? For years I told myself that he married me because I was a good wife and mother, thinking that it was all his master plan to have the best of both worlds, maintaining a bachelor type of lifestyle, continuing to socialize as though he were single, while having a family at home that his loyal wife would take care of for him. It wasn't fair that I was in excrutiating pain, that I had day after day of insomnia because of what HE did, triggered by song lyrics, movies, restaurants, dates, even a stray remark could set me off.

    And although my h has never said he would like to undo what he did (he has said he wish he could undo my finding out, which only infuriated me that THAT was what he wanted to undo), I recently asked him how do I know he won't do it again, and he said are you crazy, and go through THIS again (meaning the aftermath). I suppose that's as much reassurance as anyone could ask for.

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  2. Well said as usual Elle! Yes, pain is pain and like I have said before, I didn't know anything could hurt so much and yet not kill you. I am thankful this holiday season for this blog and your wise words. I am thankful for a place to come and hear others stories and know that I am not alone. Peace and healing to all who are brave enough to share your stories here, I am thankful for each and every one of you.

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  3. Wow did I ever need this right now. I've been screaming in my head for days, especially this morning, that this isn't fair (and I thought I had already worked through that part of the process, but it's beating in my head again). It's not fair that I had to share him, not fair that for a while, I was second best, not fair that I didn't have an option about safe sex, that I have to question everything I was always so sure of, not fair that another woman is having his baby (therein lies the biggest rub). I've always been the first to say life isn't fair, but I can't seem to shake myself out of the unfairness talk right now. BUT, I keep thinking how he must hurt and as much as I don't want another woman having his baby, he doesn't either (although I wish he'd have thought about that before walking us down this path or at least using protection, is it ridiculous for me to say "if you were going to cheat, why couldn't you at least be responsible about it" since there is nothing responsible about affairs, that's part of the appeal of them. And BUT, he will have to admit publicly what he did to our family and is there a greater rub for a cheater/affair carried on in the ultimate secrecy, than to have everything laid out on for public knowledge? He, who always believed he'd never have children with more than one woman, even if I passed away, will now have to settle for seeing one of his children, at best, 50% of the time and knowing that I'll be reminded of his affair for the rest of our lives. On my bad days, I'm glad he hurts and yes, I wish he'd hurt more. But, I married that man for the good, bad and ugly (I just never dreamed it could be this ugly) and most days my heart hurts for him almost as much as it hurts for me, at least on the days when I don't want to cause him bodily harm :).

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  4. Beautifully written as always, Elle. This was the sticking point for me, I think. The feeling like he got away with wasting over 12 years of my life on his porn addiction, and then wound up completely breaking my heart by taking it into the real world. And that, after all that, he still gets to stay with me! I also cried so many times, "It's not fair!!!" I felt like I'd already been through enough in my life, why this too?

    It really helped me that my husband himself admits enormous guilt not only over what he did, but over the unfairness of it all. He has expressed over and over his appreciation that I was willing to give him another chance. He tells me that it kills him inside that he could do this to me, and that there is no way he can make it fair. All he can do is try to be the man I thought he was. I don't have to punish him--having to live with what he did is a punishment in and of itself. He has to look in the mirror and see a cheater. And he always despised cheaters, saw them as the scum of the earth. I may look in the mirror and see a woman who has been wounded and betrayed, but I don't have to look at myself with shame. I can look at myself and see a strong woman who has overcome a lot of crap and has managed to rise above it. I wouldn't trade places with him for even a second. No momentary thrill or high would be worth having to live with that kind of shame.

    He has told me that even if I never cried another tear over this, even if we never fought again, even if the subject was never mentioned again, he will never forget it, or forget the fact that he's the one who did it.

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    1. Thankyou for your post. Everything you said sounded like I was saying it. I keep thinking I am so alone but to hear these words I know I am not. thankyou x

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    2. Anonymous,
      If there is ONE thing I want this site to accomplish, it's to let anyone going through the agony of betrayal to know that they are NOT alone. You are never alone. There is a tribe of betrayed warriors who know your pain. And we know your worth.

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  5. Yes Yes Yes... I've been spinning mentally out of control for two days now. I'm 10 months out from his nasty 4 month affair with his (also married with children) hair stylist whore. I'm so angry about the unfairness of him having a fantasy break from real life while I did everything on my own... had a 4 month old baby girl struggling with the baby and older two kids while he runs off to play. I screamed at him for hours last night. Thanksgiving is a hard memory turns out. We've been doing pretty well but I had the biggest slip back last night and honestly don't know if I'll recover. The unfairness of it makes me so crazy. I'm fighting the desire to get revenge on both of them today. I know he suffers with me as you say but he will never suffer the way I do, as someone innocent and neither will the ow... how how how how how do you ladies get over the desire to make them both pay?

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    1. Rose,
      I'm sorry for what you've been through the past two days. It's so hard when you feel like you've slipped. I have been there and we've managed to regain our footing. I've said hateful things, yelled, cried, and questioned. My husband has been understanding and keeps saying, "You've been hurt. I've hurt you and it will take time." Maybe it's just the holiday that triggered you in some way. Hopefully your husband was able to be there for you and help you through this.
      Yeah, it's unfair. And I wanted that revenge too. I'm just now coming to a point where it doesn't make me crazy. Earlier this week, I read some comments that Juniper posted in the Feeling Stuck section and my husbsnd and I had the opportunity to discuss his shame and hurt when met with our therapist. All of that caused me to really think, exactly what has he gotten away with? Sure, he got away with the affair, but Lord knows it wasn't worth what he lives with now. He has to look at me and know he caused my pain, look at his kids and know he came close to losing his family as he knows it, and look at himself and know that he was "that guy". He told our therapist on Monday how much it hurts to look at me and know the damage he's caused.
      As for "her", everyone says it helps to try not to focus on her and revenge. Ultimately, she has to face what she has done and live with it in much the same way our husbands do. The OW in my situation is also married with children of her own. I'm slowly coming around to not letting the need for revenge affect me. What so many women here say is absolutely true, she's not worth my energy or the space in my brain. She has to live with knowing she behaved like a whore. I know she wasn't special, but she was available and willing. As I said, this week has been a turning point for me.
      Once I spent some time really acknowledging these things, it changed. I woke up on Thanksgivjng morning from a dream in which I had the opportunity to speak to her and her husband and in some ways get some closure. In the dream, I walked away knowing that she was still pathetic and that her husband was willing to accept her regardless. I had said my piece and I woke up strangely calm.
      That day, Elle posted this and it just reaffirmed my feelings.
      Acceptance has been a huge deal for me. It didn't come easily and it doesn't mean that what they did was okay. It just means I'm at a point today where I have to move forward, for myself.
      I hope this helps you in some way. Hugs! I hope the coming days are better for you.

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    2. Rose,
      Dandelion is absolutely right. When we focus on the fantasy of the affair, we ignore how awful the consequences are. It's like a drunk driver who had a blast at a party but got in an accident on the way home thinking he "got away" with something because he had fun before the shit hit the fan.
      I know it's hard. But it's not impossible. It really is a matter of just making up your mind to stop going there. It's like brain training. Catch yourself when you start going down that path...and bring yourself back to the right now. Right now, does your husband think he "got away" with anything or is he wishing he could time travel and undo it all? Right now, are you where you want to be? Right now, can you give yourself five minutes of peace? If so, then you can give yourself another five minutes. Or one minute! But it comes down to accepting that this has happened but you don't have to make it keep happening by focussing on it. Don't give the OW any more real estate in your brain. She doesn't deserve it. She's got her own stuff to deal with that you'll know nothing about.
      And please stop thinking in terms of "never" or "always". Feelings are not facts. They shift and change all the time. You'll get there, Rose. You're still really raw. But do yourself the huge favor of trusting that you can get through this.

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    3. One more thing, Rose (reminded by Steam with what she wrote below): Our anger gives our spouses something to push back against, to feel righteous about. Anger creates a tough shell. Not sure if you have kids but, if you do, you'll know that anger just begets anger. Instead, if you create space for him to actually experience his feelings around what he's done to you, he's far more likely to be able to feel empathetic towards you. Instead of fighting against, he'll fight for -- you, his marriage, his self-respect. And if he genuinely doesn't care? Then all the anger in the world isn't going to make him.

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  6. Hello ladies. This is not directly related to this article… And of course, I love this article. This is related to my h and where we stand now. Elle, you had noted that my husband was "damaged". He certainly is at this point in his life. And as I have always known, he has his issues . Of course, I believe we all do one way or another.
    Our last marriage counseling session, two days before Thanksgiving, was the roughest to date. My H said that he wanted to stop counseling and he wanted to have a separation. The counselor asked him specifically why. Specifically why he was not happy with me. She has been seeing us for months now once a week. I knew that what she was getting at was that in fact he has no real complaints. In the end he actually got quite angry and was laying out a multitude of very trivial items. As the therapist put it to him, you went into a rage over trivial things. We left there with me accepting the fact that it was over between my H and I. Before we even got home he was apologizing, holding my hand, and telling me it is me not you. When we got home he wanted to continue to talk, and I pointed out to him that I felt he was really angry at himself. And he agreed. The next day I emailed the psychologist and she offered to speak to me. She said during our session and on the phone with me that it is obvious my husband loves me very much and that he does not want to be with the 0W, however he is very torn as to whether or not he wants to remain married. And my H on that day after the session (he was working) texted me with concern, called me and later talk to me - telling me that everything that he brought up in the session was really nothing and if that is all he can come up with in 20 years ... Anyway, when I spoke with the therapist she said two things of interest. One, she felt that we did not need to physically separate - yet suggested that I pullback, perhaps go to visit my family for the holidays, and in essence be less available to my husband. The other interesting point she made, when I said that I felt he needed individual counseling ... She said exactly what I have now heard from four different psychologists… They all feel that my husband would not benefit from individual counseling. Of the four that said this three know him personally and one knows him through my description. The feeling is simply that he is not self analytical or self-aware. Frankly, I have stopped trying to control the issue. At this point, I am going to see the therapist on my own and work through exactly what I want. What I want for myself. I am not quite ready to let go of the marriage. I know, some may say I'm crazy… That would include my sister. Yet we are the only ones who walk in our own shoes. One last interesting point I want to share. When my H and I were talking after our session, I went through every concession I made for him in an attempt towards reconciliation. And with verbalizing each attempt, or concession, I followed it up with "I ldid it because Iove you so much ... and I'm the idiot." Of course, I do not think that I'm an idiot… I simply wanted to make a strong point to him. The next day, he said it made him really realize how much I have done toward our reconciliation. With gratitude and love for you all.

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    1. Melissa,
      I suspect your husband runs away from anything that challenges him to show up and be truly vulnerable. I really hope he can face his fear around this and open himself up. For you and for him.

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  7. If I go to the dog race track, Elle, you identified the dogs who come in first and second place. Injustice and pain - anger, craziness, rage, shame and even depression never finish first.
    Injustice- What did he lose? Infidelity is as easy as choosing a drop down menu. Or saying "You want to meet for dinner? Let's keep score. Nothing was done TO HIM, so he lost the intangibles. Big deal. He has the chance to be a new man, better person, redeemed. There is no justice for me. He will never ever feel this much pain even if I put his nuts in a vise.
    I think the high road and losing the intangibles are over rated. So what if I practice what I believe such as monogamy? Where did it get me? So I can look down on a man who is a cheater? That is not much fun. I can roll around on the front yard weeping loudly in the cold winter because the cold pain after you lay there for awhile feels better than that pain in the pit of my stomach? That is not much fun. So I take every book out of bookcase and throw it at him? I have to admit that was fun. Well I'm not taking the high road anymore. I'm tired of being noble, honorable and honest. But somehow I find I don't know any other way to be. It is just me, part of me, in me and surrounds me. I really do hate that right now.
    Here is how it goes and this sounds nutty. I have pain in one hand. It is like I shot with an arrow in my heart that can't be removed, you have seen those movies. I have this wonderful new husband in the other hand. My therapist said I can't hold both. Wanna bet? We worked our asses off to save for retirement and we are enjoying life. Best sex. Best conversations. Best, best best..... How can that be? I'm in pain.
    Sometimes I think that as time goes on my brain/emotions are just fooling me. Don't think about, don't think about, don't think about it, no matter what do something else to control the thoughts and abracadabra about a million times the pain eventually gets less. What happens in our mind where we accept this behavior? How does our mind twist, squirm and wiggle out of what happened to us? It comes down to, do you need him or do you want him? There is a big difference.
    For those ladies who want their husband after 2 years, I'm having the time of my life. We are traveling to kick-ass places. I look the healthiest I ever have in a long time. That fat controlling power bitch wasn't me either. I didn't know who I was. New race around the dog track. A very unfamiliar track. I'm laughing out loud about the silliest things. I even giggle. I'm learning how to be a wife. Yes you can howl and scream. I have held my own with the male CEO's. Yes, I'm a centrists feminist but I'm still learning to be a wife as he is learning how to be a husband, a partnership. My husband tells me how he FEELS. He and I DISAGREE loudly and talk it out. My husband TELLS me what he resents that very minute. I TELL him when I'm disappointed. I ASK him to get me something. Where does the pain fit in? Where does the injustice fit in? It is like standing in a hail storm.

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    1. Lynn,
      You have such a way of articulating the crazy. It's incredible.
      You ask where does the pain go? It doesn't go anywhere. It just isn't what we focus on. If I'm looking out my window at a cardinal in the tree branches, the ugly rusted car parked on the road isn't gone. But it might as well be because I don't see it. I'm focussing on beauty.
      We'll always carry the memory of the pain of betrayal. It's part of us. But it doesn't have to define our lives, as you're showing.

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  8. Rose, to start--time time and time. Time does help. And when your violent feelings wane. LET THEM WANE! I had the worst time letting them go , I get it. How dare I let him catch a damn break! How dare my anger let up!! Every now and then when you feel yourself feeling calmer. Let yourself be calm. It won't last forever but it's a start. Gee said it above, my husband said the same thing. Even if I never bring it up again he will remember. Tour husband is feeling it, unless he is a an utter narcissist. So you, sometimes you just let it go. Don't keep a death grip on the anger when it lets up a little. Acknowledge it and let it go. Maybe a hundred times or more. Time.

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    1. "Let them wane."

      Very wise piece of advice. It's been hard for me, because I felt like my pain and anger gave me some power in a situation where I felt so powerless. My husband had held all the winning cards over the years. He was the one who chose to deprive me of sex and indulge in his porn addiction, he was the one who chose to cheat. I had no say in that. Staying angry gave me back some power. But at what price? To be miserable forever? Sure, I could make him miserable, maybe that's what he deserves, but I don't. And making him miserable will just make me miserable as well in the long run.

      It was such a roller-coaster, because during the worst of the pain, I felt I would give anything to not feel that way, and yet when it started to go away, I felt a panic and a part of me was scrambling to get it back, so I could keep my shield intact. Being vulnerable to the person who hurt me the most is so damn hard. But it's what I have to be able to do if I want my marriage to work.

      I have come to realization that forgiveness and acceptance are not something you do once. They are something you do over and over as the feelings ebb and flow.

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    2. Oh my Gee, I think that is exactly how I've been, but I'm not sure I realized it until you said that. I would give anything for this pain to go away, but when it starts to subside a bit, I panic. I can't seem to shake being sad, which is harder for me than the anger, but even still, some days I don't feel like I can fully let go and just enjoy life, or time spent, because I feel like I'm giving up control or saying it's okay.

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    3. Anger as power is a total illusion. It's fear masquerading as power. It's hurt masquerading as power.
      True power is controlling what you can control, which is you. It's recognizing that no matter what anyone does, you can maintain your self-respect and your dignity and your open-heartedness. It's not letting anyone else's actions change who you are. That's power.

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    4. Ashes,
      Let yourself feel sad. Letting go of anger is in no way saying what your husband did was "okay". It's saying that I'm not going to let your actions change who I am. It's saying that your heart will remain open and vulnerable because that's a better way to live than being controlled by your own anger. It's really really hard, I know. And I think some anger is good in that it tells us when our boundaries have been violated. But it's a warning system, not a way of life. We feel it and then respond appropriately to it.

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  9. Rose, I agree with above-- how do you get over desire to make them both pay? Time.

    I cant get revenge on her because she is no worse than him. And if I am trying to rebuild a marriage with him then I cant get revenge on him. In addition, the only way to make him pay would be to have an affair, but not right now. I would have to wait 10 years, let him think everything is a o k, then have an affair when nothing was wrong in our relationship. And that's not me. My guess is its prob not you either.

    And im guessing that in 10 years I won't want revenge anymore. And neither will you. At least that's my hope for all of us. Not forgiveness necessarily but acceptance and we wont' forget but will move on/past.

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  10. What Steam, Gee, and Ashes said really resonates with me. Tomorrow is the 3 month anniversary of Dday, and the last 3 months have been all about the betrayal. Dealing with the anguish, the anger, the paranoia, and the depression has monolpolized my time and energy. I know it's not over, but as the feelings start to wane, I feel relief...and also a sense of emptiness. This has dominated my life, and even though I look forward to the day when it doesn't, it feels strange as I start the process of letting it go. It does make me feel vulnerable, as if by letting go of my pain and outrage, I open myself up to be hurt again. It feels like letting down my guard.
    But you are so right. Let it wane. I'm READY to get back to my life. I'm ready to feel better. I need to let myself take those first steps.

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    1. I think around 3mo its not letting it go but taking it all in ... i recall the numbness starting to wear off ... the emptiness and zombie outer shell falling off ... to a raw and total realization this is really happening. ... your still standing this far ....continue to process ... get back to life is right ... whatever that means now initially the shock numbness and hurt floods you to think nothing will make u smile again. At almost 7mo ... im finding joy in little things again i can engage with my kid, sleep most nights and actually talk about it without sobbing... Sure i still think about it but not every waking minute ... i still have my days and moods ... but certianly more functional now most days anyways. Hang on. It still seems like just yesterday the world i knew shattered and yet it also seems like wow 7mo ... im making it ... afterall. Still standing .... and that in itself is enough for now.

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    2. Phoenix,
      I had a really hard time when the immediacy of betrayal began to fade into the background, when life resumed a new sort of normal. I felt incredibly empty. It's sometimes called "the plain of lethal flatness" or "the dead zone" and that's what it was for me. It did give me a chance to catch my breath after the roller coaster I'd been on. But I didn't want to life like that. My therapist told me that by shutting myself off from feeling any more pain, I was also shutting myself off from feeling any joy. We can't selectively feel emotions. We either feel it all, or nothing.
      It means being vulnerable, which, personally, I HATE. But it's the only way.
      You are making it. And that's to be celebrated. Life will resume. You'll have good days and bad days, just like every other person on the planet. But you just might relish the good days a bit more than you used to and you just might recognize that the bad days are just...bad days. Nothing more.

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    3. "Dead Zone" - yep, that sounds about right. I'm ready to leave it behind and feel some hope.

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  11. Phoenix, like you I am 3 months out, nearly 4 and what you've said really resonates with me. I even said to our joint therapist last week that I'm sick and tired of feeling like this. I want to feel a bit more normal again and more like me. I know it's a very long road back to me and I won't be the exactly same me as I was pre D Day, but I at least want to also take those first steps and start to try to reclaim my life and happiness. Things will never be the same again, but I want to take this first steps to come out of the darkness.

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  12. Heartbroken all over againDecember 2, 2015 at 8:57 PM

    I am 15 months post d day. I needed this today. I'm not sure why, but today, all I could think about was the way my husband must have felt the first time.he had sex with another woman. Did he feel satisfaction? Excitement? Shame? I have made myself crazy over this today! I can't even look at him without seeing him with someone else. It's like a mental downward spiral!
    I'm also feeling like I'm at a crossroad lately, where 15 months later I'm unsure whether I still truly love the man he is today. If I can ever look at him and not see her. We have children, a home, cars... we have everything together... I feel like my mind is running wild aND it's breaking my heart all over again.
    Help!

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    1. Heartbroken,
      You probably are at a crossroad. As you move through this, you will be able to more clearly see whether your marriage is something you want to rebuild or whether you no longer want to be married to him. Either choice is completely valid -- this is your life. It's not easy, of course. There will be pain no matter which choice you make.
      Have you gone through therapy to help you process the pain of his betrayal. Whether you choose to move on with him or without him, you still need to heal.

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    2. Heartbroken, I hear you and I completely understand. I struggle with the same. In my situation my husband had the affair, but perhaps stronger than that is his struggles with a midlife crisis. He loves me and cares deeply for me, yet he cannot throw himself totally into the marriage. What has that done to me? I love him and care for him deeply too ... But he is just not showering me with affection, as he used to for the first 16 years of us being together. Funny, I asked a dear friend of mine whose husband had also had an affair, if this happened to her. She said that her husband never treated her that special so, she isn't missing that. Anyway, I am getting off track. I do find that my emotions fluctuate I will always care for him and love him in a way of being a friend of his. Yet, it is hard for me to be the one who always initiates the hugs and the I love you's. Perhaps it's a way to protect myself, yet sometimes I wonder if I really do love him? And I mean love him in the way that I want to love the man I am spending my life with. I am about 10 months out from the first D day and about six months out from the second D day. I still don't know what I want and neither does my husband. We are so compatible in so many ways as our therapist said more compatible than 75% of the couples she sees. Yet, we are at a stage in our life when most couples fall into a companion type of love and spend a lot of time apart or delving into different interests - as well as mutual interests and activities of course. For me, now, I don't feel safe in doing that. My intention is to decide with the help of our therapist in a private session as to what my parameters my boundaries are and present them to my husband after the first of the year. I can't live in limbo forever. Yet, and this is where I've been trying to go with this whole post LOL - I move along as Elle had suggested ... so long ago ... the next right step. Take the next right step, no matter how small - it matters.
      Trust yourself. You will know. And you will act when you know. Hugs!!

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  13. On Monday, November 30th, I discovered that I lost the diamond in my wedding ring. I know I had it at 3:30 when I left the nail salon. But when I looked at my ring around 7pm, it was gone. I’m pretty sure it was lost somewhere between my house and the grocery store, and back.

    I searched the house. I vacuumed and sifted through the entire canister. I planted my face to the cold tile floor, looking for some sort of bump, or glimmer. I drove back to the grocery store, retracing my steps.

    It’s gone. Just gone.

    H said we will get another one and we planned on going this weekend to shop for one. But I don’t want another one. I want THAT one. He doesn’t seem to get it, and I don’t even think he would understand my reasoning. He said that the diamond doesn’t matter because I still have the ring, and it’s the ring that matters.

    But for me, it’s the WHOLE ring that matters.
    It was the last, intact, symbol of our marriage 16 years ago.

    I wore that ring every day. Over the years I put on weight, and the ring became stuck. It actually became a part of me since it would not come off.

    January 2013, after DDay, I went to the jeweler and had the ring cut off and resized. I needed to be prepared for the fact that it may have to come off, for good.

    But life worked itself out, and the ring stayed on. And it remained a symbol of what was, and what still could be. Days changed. Jobs changed. Life and love changed. But the ring remained.

    And now the ring is no longer the same. The central part of it is gone, and it’s not coming back. It will never be the same. And I am crying as much over this as I did after DDay. And I feel silly even though my tears are real.

    We will replace the diamond one day. But not today. I’m not ready for another diamond. I ordered a small gold band yesterday, and I will wear that for however long it takes. Until I am ready.

    As I type this, and pour my feeling out, I realize that I’m not just sad. I’m mad too.
    I’m mad because had there not been a DDay, I don’t think this would have been so much of a loss. It would have been a bummer, but we would have gone shopping, bought a new one, and moved on with life.

    But because of DDay, this is just another loss of a part of my marriage that I will have to recover from. And I’m so tired of having to recover. But recover, I will.

    Peace be with you, Ladies.

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    Replies
    1. Silly ... far from better in texas .... almost the exact thing happened to me years ago!!! And prior to dday nonetheless i sobbed for days ... couldnt sleep though my H said no worries he would go immediately and get a new one ... kinda ironic now that i think about it .. this was prior to dday but thinking back he was in the affair at this time just occasionally meeting at that point not full in out of control contact like it became. .. im getting off course. I feel ur pain weather b4 or after dday in wanting the exact setting intact that i took my vows on ... silly we think but not really .... i think after dday considering hes even offering to replace speaks volumes and not discounting it ... men no matter what arent as sentimental as women they just arent wired that way it seems. I sobbed for a week before i found my diamond upside down stuck in my carpet. So cry those tears and then when ur ready get a new one because as we learned from the affair we cant control what happens just look ahead and keep moving. I just wanted u too know your feelings and thoughts arent silly ... not one bit ... it means something to u as it should no matter if ur husband had an affair or not .... my vows still mean something to me even after the bullshit. Sorry that happened it does suck and i have no doubt you will recover! And pick an upgrade for the ring ... maybe w new bitter sweet beginning ....

      Delete
    2. Texas and Wounded,
      I think there's a whole lot of pain there that needed to come out. And if it took a lost diamond, then that was what it took.
      The time will come to either replace the ring or decide it's time to retire it and stick with the gold band. And I think by then you'll have come to terms with the fact that a stone isn't what's important -- it's the promise that comes with it.

      Delete
  14. Me too! I want to move on. I want to feel joy again. I hope the next few months bring a lot of progress and hope for both of us, Anonymous!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Yes, you will!
    I was very moved by your post. It was almost like your ring is symbolic of marriage after betrayal - still there, but missing that central element that made it special. And you have to grieve its loss before you can think of trying to replace it with something else.
    On a personal level, I am sorry for your loss, and it is not silly. I'm sorry this has ripped the scab off the healing wound. I wish you more healing, and, when you are ready, a beautiful new diamond to symbolize a new beginning.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wounded and Phoenix,
      Thank you so much for your responses! I woke up feeling better today and even better after reading your posts.
      I didn't even think about H wanting to replace right away was a really big gesture on his part. Thank you for pointing that out.

      We really have been doing good. I thought I was quite happy...and don't get me wrong, I am. But this really hit hard. Guess it was one of those yucky triggers.

      Thank you for being there for me. What would we do without eachother?

      This site gives us a face again, when for many, many months, we all felt faceless.

      Here's to new bitter sweet beginnings!

      Delete
  16. Anon,

    I am exactly at this point (D-Day 8/19) and had this EXACT conversation last week with my therapist. I just wanted to let you know you're not alone and that we will get there, day by day. Thinking of you! xox

    ReplyDelete

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