Friday, December 4, 2015

What was your moment of transformation?

I was listening, as I often do, to a recent podcast of Dear Sugar, featuring advice givers Steve Almond and Cheryl Strayed. I can't recall the question but a comment struck me. It referred to a "moment of transformation".
I got wondering about my moment of transformation. At what point in my healing did I shift from anger and despair to compassion and hope? At what point did I realize that I was going to make it? Be okay? Not only survive but emerge from this in a better place than I'd been?
My transformation, I think, began on Father's Day 2007.

It had been six months of agony. Six months of tears and trauma. Thoughts of suicide. Thoughts of homicide. White-hot rage. Deep sadness. Stomach-churning fear.
We were returning from my nephew's christening in another city. Our three kids had fallen asleep in the back seat. My husband and I were chatting about a co-worker, someone who'd been friends with my husband's work assistant, his "other woman".
For six months, I'd been baffled by the affair. Why? I asked endlessly. Why her? I simply couldn't understand. "It was just sex," he'd tell me, but that answered nothing. I knew he didn't find her physically attractive. Hell, I knew he didn't like her. He'd spent years telling me he wished he could fire her.
And so, while we were talking about this other co-worker, my antennae were up. I didn't like this other co-worker. I didn't trust him. But when my husband made some off-hand remark about the time they were all at a "strip club", alarm bells went off.
Strip club? My husband didn't go to strip clubs. They were exploitive? They were...gross. What the hell?
In the darkness of our car, with our kids asleep in the back seat, I took off my wedding band, placed it on the console between us.  "When we get home and the kids are in bed," I said quietly but with total resolve, "you are going to tell me everything."
And he did.
I learned about the years of sexual acting out that pre-dated our entire relationship. I learned about the many, many other women. And that missing puzzle piece – why? why her? – clicked into place.
My husband told me he was in treatment for sex addiction. That he'd sought treatment immediately after D-Day #1. For the past six months, he'd been working really hard to face up to what he'd done and try to understand why he'd done it. His counsellor consistently told him he needed to tell me everything. My husband consistently said 'not yet', sure that I would leave and he would lose everything that mattered to him.
Curled in a ball on the floor, my husband sobbed. "I am so sorry," he said, over and over and over. I had never seen anyone so broken. This was my children's father. My husband. In spite of everything, my friend.
When he finally stood up, he told me he would pack and leave. Something shifted inside me and I told him, "No. Don't leave. But I can't promise you anything more than that I will be your friend through this." And I meant it.
My moment of transformation.
I can't say that I didn't continue to have periods of anger. I certainly cried many more tears. There were times I hated him. I hated what he'd done. I never have put my wedding band back on, convinced that our marriage vows, offered during a time when he was already violating them, mean nothing.
Nonetheless, transformation began that night. A transformation that opened me to compassion for his pain. A transformation that let light into the cracks of my heart. A transformation that gave me a glimpse of a life beyond this pain – where the two of us rebuilt something amazing.
I resisted. I told myself that I was waiting only to ensure that he was emotionally healthy enough to be a good father to our children. Until I felt strong enough to go it alone. For many more months, I had one foot out the door.
But over time, that moment of transformation became greater. I saw myself differently. I transformed my life in a way that made it so much more my own. I placed greater demands on the people in my life to behave with integrity. I spent my own time and energy and money more carefully on things that gave me joy.
That's not to say things are perfect. Life is full of challenges and I'm constantly learning and growing and considering where I am and where I want to be – as a wife, friend, parent, writer.
Transformation isn't a one-time thing. It's a process.
For those just landing on this site, I want you to  know it's possible to emerge from this changed in a good way. For those who feel stuck, I want you to know you won't always be stuck. Stuck might just be a resting spot along the way. And for those of you transformed? Tell us how it happened. What was your moment – or process – of transformation. 

88 comments:

  1. My transformation came when I understood that it was not "me". He'd do this (and did) to ANY woman that he was married to. Did not matter how lovely, kind and serving she was...he'd do it anyway because HE was spiritually and emotionally broken and in need of a redemption that went far beyond anything I had to offer him.

    So I purposed to live my life paying attention to my own future and integrity and to stop worrying about his. I gave him over to God and stopped trying to "save" him myself. I have peace even though he is on his way out of my life...he decided to leave us and live life on his own terms. Such a blessing to know that I did all I could and did so without hate.

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    1. Sweets, simply beautiful. I can feel your soul and light shine within just two paragraphs of words. Those who know you as a part of their lives ... are blessed indeed.

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    2. Well, amen to that! So glad you felt such a strong sense of your own worth. It's something too many of us lose sight of, at least at first.

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  2. You post ask the simplest question that get me thinking. Drifting like a dead fish in a marriage stream over the years. It was, I don't love you madly anymore since I have so many resentments about your treatment of me but since we both just are drifting apart into this marriage let's try to make the best of it. We dealt with it by not dealing with it. Drifting is not making a decision. Drifting can lead to compromises. I placed a high value on "for better for better or worse" because I grew up in an affair drama-mama-dad home. My H has a fatal error type of character flaw, I don't know about. He breaks the marriage vows so I'm under no obligation to hold up my end of the bargain. My self esteem has been raped, my heart is broken and our marriage is naked standing there shivering wet with both our tears. The clean towels are dirty with secrets, lies, diseases and me being taken advantage of in an imbalanced relationship of three people in our marriage.
    Leave or go? If I leave then I'm in the same place of a husband who leaves me. I have a choice to leave verses being left. The end of is the same. I'm trapped. Now I feel inadequate which makes me less eager to leave when I feel I should. He takes advantage of my weakness by not telling me the entire truth for 6 months, withholding information that may help me but not him. He has the upper hand in the bargaining position and he takes that opportunity. I couldn't think my way out of a burning building while standing under the exit. What I want is now based on my desires, goals, needs, strengths and faults. I wanted to chose to be together, straight out, not manipulated in my weakness be together. The stay or go decision is unbalanced because I'm in a weaker position. I know this. Since I'm in a puddle on the floor, through therapy, try to fill in the missing gaps of information, try to work on my self esteem. I had character flaws, just not the jump in the adultery double life type. It took me 17 months after I had what I thought was finally the truth from my H, the Psycho-whore kindergarten teacher. I felt strong enough to make the stay or go decision. What kept me hanging in until I felt like the relationship, was balanced enough to make a decision? There were several moments of transformation to stay that are very clear. About a week after D day, my husband bought me a bracelet with a charm engraved that said "I love you, I adore you and I need you". He was so humble when he gave it to me. He cried many times in front of me. His personality change so much, I didn't even know who he was. Who was this man so sweet, kind, caring doing dishes, buying me flowers, expensive jewelry (really expensive) without an occasion? He lost weight and dressed very nice everyday. He was there for me 100 percent, never rejected or abandoned me at my worst. I didn't even know he could be that tender during sex. He actually wanted to participate and do things that I wanted to do. He never forgot, ignored or disregarded anything I ask him to do. My transformation to stay was built on the all the little things he did consistently every day that proved he choose me. One day I was beating him up pretty bad again mentally after a year or so had went by and he said, maybe this isn't going to work. I have done everything I know to do. I love you, want yo be with you but if you can't get it over this it maybe best I leave. What!!!! I had images in my mind of what my life would be like without him and it wasn't what I wanted. I imagined seeing him in town with psycho-who're kindergarten. That life could have been mine. My transformation was I couldn't imagine my life in any scenario being happy without him. That was when I said clearly and honestly, said I'm not leaving, love you and I meant it.

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    1. Wow Lynn. I think my trajectory was similar. At first, I literally couldn't leave. I could barely function. I kept telling myself "later". I would decide later.
      By the time "later" came around, I could see such a change in him that it allowed me to make the choice to stay -- our marriage was in a much different place and he had undergone his own transformation.

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    2. Lynn
      Your words! Yes! I've said this our whole marriage 'it's the little things ' done by him with out him thinking it makes a difference! My h travels frequently for work and he sends text calls when he can, and for me it's a connection between us that had become loose for a bit! When they do these small things that let you know they are thinking clear again that's what leads to the best healing. I think this could be applied to all of us when we figure out what it is we need to grow through the scariest part of the path of betrayal! Your words were like a warm blanket on a cold night! Thank you!

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  3. There have been so many: The day I looked at him and all I saw was a broken man--The day I started to search his browser history and realized that I didn't care--The day I felt the certain that if he cheated on me again I would file for divorce and I would be okay--The day he finally broke down and begged for forgiveness--The day I realized I was stronger, braver, and more confident than him. Transformation has been a gradual process for me, and it's still going.

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    1. CF,
      Yep, those hallmarks of transformation hold true for me too.

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    2. One time during a talk, my husband said he wouldn't cheat on me again because he wouldn't survive it. And I realized that I would. I'd be hurt, obviously, but if he did it again, I would leave, and I would be okay.

      Before D-day, I never would have believed I could be enough on my own. And for a long time afterwards I certainly didn't feel like enough. But after a lot of work, now I know that I wouldn't just survive, I would manage to thrive. That makes my decision to stay so much easier, because I don't feel trapped into it. It is something I am doing because I want to, not because I have to.

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  4. Honestly my transformation began the moment I found everything on D day. Not sure where the strength came from. While I had threatened to leave him over his drinking (for YEARS) I really meant it this time. When I got up off the floor I got up swinging. I would never let myself go unheard again, I would never make hollow threats again. I would not accept silence as an answer. I was done. And so it began-----

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  5. You're so right...transformation is a process, not a moment. There have been many moments from early on when I got a glimpse of a reason for the EA-to the day when I turned HIS healing over to himself...to realizing it wasn't about me- it was about him and his many issues...to the day when I could listen to certain songs again and feel hope. Perhaps my biggest moment was realizing that some of my H's sexual curiosities that seem to underlie both relationships with the OW may have been triggered in childhood by a relative showing him porn and telling him how "nasty" it was. That was a big revelation and it made me realize that in some way, he's damaged emotionally from that and sexually from that- how could one not be affected? And then another moment was realizing that I will hold people accountable for how I am treated by them and draw the boundaries I never did before. I will stand up for myself, because no one else will...and that my future IS in my hands. And that's so funny to me because I always thought I stood up for myself, but now I know I didn't.
    And even today- in an interview I listened to- the person described the hard journey some go through because without that, one cannot be a hero. And I thought, I don't need him to be a hero for me; I'm my own hero. And I don't think that's a bad analogy for all of us. We are all on the hero's journey and transformation is a part of that journey.
    C.

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    1. C,
      That's my wish for everyone who finds this site. That we get to a place where we realize that we have so much more control over our happiness than we realize. We can't control what's done to us but we can control our response to it, which is incredibly powerful.

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  6. I dont really know how to start this or what to say but I am the betraying husband. I had an affair with a co worker 10 years younger than me and my wife. It started while my wife was pregnant and lasted for 18 months. Although it started when she had 5 months to go before due date I had only seen the OW a couple of times. Then the baby came and about 6 months later the affair got a bit more intense but nothing serious enough to make me leave my wife and I only saw the OW every now and then. At one point I thought I did have feelings for the OW and I told my wife I didn't think I loved her anymore and moved out but after a week or two I realised I was wrong and went back to my wife. At this point the affair had stopped but it soon started again. My head was a real mess at this point and I know I wasn't treating my wife the way I should have been. A few months later my wife went through my phone and read text messages and that's when I got caught. The devastation I feel is unreal and like nothing I have ever felt before. I hurt so much due to the hurt I have caused. It's been 4 months since D day and my wife says she can't take me back. I know she's on dating sites and I know she is meeting guys. The rage and hurt I feel knowing this kills me. I feel like I am the betrayed spouse. I can't get over how quickly she has forgot about us and I can't get over that she never gave me a chance to prove how sorry I am and how much I want to make it up to her and be the husband she deserves. She said she started to loose her love for me months before D day due to how I was treating her. I'm not looking for any sympathy in fact I'm pretty sure I'll get the opposite. I am a wreck without her and my daughter in my life everyday. She says she knows I am truly sorry (which I am, more sorry than I could even describe) but she can't be with a man who could do that to her. I read on these sites about women who give their man a chance and things have been better than they were before. I just need to get into her head to understand how she is thinking and how she can just give up so easily. i am truly gutted.

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    1. Anonymous, how very sad. Now take your last two sentences and replace 'her' with 'his,' and you'll have your answer: I just need to get into his head to understand what he was thinking and how he could do that to me, to us. I am truly gutted.

      You are not THE betrayed spouse. You betrayed the wrong spouse. She gave you a chance to prove your devotion when she married you. I doubt she's forgotten about you. She learned a lesson she'll never forget, one that will serve her well in future relationships. I hope you did, too.

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    2. Anonymous,
      I do feel sympathy for you. I can imagine how hellish it is to wake up to your own messed up thinking.
      But your wife's pain is something I don't think you genuinely empathize with. Take your pain at knowing she's spending time with other men and multiply by a thousand. A million. You made the choice to go outside of your marriage. She didn't.
      Whether or not she's meeting men (and, personally, I would urge her to avoid dating until she's well and truly healed from your betrayal), she's hurting. She was betrayed when she was at a particularly vulnerable time in her life -- pregnancy is physically and emotionally hard on women. (It's also interesting to me, in a sociological kinda way, how many men cheat when their wives are pregnant.) If you've done any reading on this site, you'll no doubt have read our stories of being completely devastated by the pain of a partner's betrayal. It is, honestly, more excruciating than I think anyone ever thinks it will be.
      I don't think your wife "gave up easily". I think she gave you months and months to get your head out of your ass and you didn't do it. Why should she give you a second chance? What have you done to get clear on why you risked everything that mattered for someone who didn't? What do you bring to the table this time around? Sorry doesn't cut it. I would urge you to get into counselling to answer that question. I suspect your wife is well and truly done with you. But there will be other relationships and I think you would do yourself a huge favor to understand why you sabotaged this one and how to be a better partner next time.

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    3. A second chance is a gift given by the betrayed spouse, and they are under no obligation to give it. A person gives up the right to expect or demand anything from their spouse when they cheat on them.

      I agree with Elle and urge you to get counselling, even if there is no chance of reconciliation, for your own sake. Perhaps counselling can help you dig down to the root of why you were able to betray the person you promised to be true to. That can help you learn to be a healthier person in the future.

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    4. Elle,

      And anonymous - this is a particularly passage resonates profoundly - and so agree with Elle when saying about your wife anonymous...

      "She was betrayed when she was at a particularly vulnerable time in her life -- pregnancy is physically and emotionally hard on women."

      As a younger woman at work targeted my opportunistic husband while I held infants in my arms.. and together they maintained a long-term relationship, that shadowed our entire marriage - until that "Discovery,"one day that always seems inevitable to happen.

      I am grateful for your courage anonymous, to post here and you will find among the graves born of betrayal, Super Hero's, compassion and resurrection. However, Elle and Denise both responded remarkably and please multiply your pain by a million,try to walk in your wife's shoes. Do not confuse your ambivalence, cowardice, and decision to step out of the bond, with her new awareness of what really transpired.

      I think of so many people who cheat with impunity and are utterly devastated when betrayed themselves. Or rather, when they face the prospect of their beloved spouse being 'loved' by someone else.

      Peggy Vaughan's husband James
      Wendy Plum
      Nancy Mairs
      Catherine Millet
      Georgia O'Keeffe

      Just to name a few. I also pray you learn from this sad revolution, have compassion think about those around you, honor personal-fidelity and most importantly telling the truth. Especially to yourself.

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  7. Everything changed the moment he looked at me and said, “I slept with her.” His words still echo in our staircase. There was (there is) no un-knowing.

    We fought our way back. Months later, I remembered an earlier blowout over porn. I became certain it was still there. I told him that searching the internet for women getting f*d is cheating. I threw him out (again).

    Our therapist noticed the shift . She asked what was different. “Last chance,” I told her. I had euthanized my first marriage, and despite the agony, I would do it again. H was supposed to be my do-over, my happy ending. I told him if he could not control his behavior, we might be friends, but we would not be married. As Taylor Swift put it, “It’s gonna be forever, or it’s gonna go down in flames.”

    I transformed. I went from asking “Why her?” to knowing she was a stupid, opportunistic blow-up doll. I have the porn to thank for that. The man I married – the depressed, irritable, addicted, avoidant, crazy lying mess – is gone. I am transforming every day, and so is he. Thank you, Elle, for the eloquent reminder.

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    1. "Stupid, opportunistic blow-up doll" pretty much sums it up, doesn't it?

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  8. I'm not there yet. It's only been less than 5 months. My counselor says she sees no improvement in my emotional health and has suggested antidepressants. My husband is trying his best and has been really sweet and kind, but I am still so hurt and angry. Do you still not wear your wedding ring Elle?

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    1. Grace,
      No. I took it off and, three weeks after my husband's bombshell, my mom died suddenly. More devastation. I put on her wedding ring when I was going through her jewellery. It felt like a way to feel close to her.
      Now, nine years post D-Day, I wear it still. (Though I still wear my engagement ring, which was a ring that my husband bought from my mother -- it had been my grandmother's and is beautiful and full of my family's history.) Thing is, I have beautiful jewellery that my husband has given me since. And I don't think I'm cynical but it's...jewellery. What matters to me is that he shows me he loves me with his actions.
      Re. your healing: Grace, five months is still so raw. I went on anti-depressants because the idea of being dead was becoming more appealing than living with the pain. And that's NOT okay. So I reluctantly went on them for about 18 months. By the time, I went off of them, I had processed a lot of the pain and was able to carry on without that chemical help. Trauma and pain changes our brains. Sometimes they need a little help.

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    2. I can honestly say that I would not be alive today with anti-depressants. I was very anti-med for a long time, but they saved my life, and then I regretted not trying them sooner. As a good friend of mine says, it's okay to use a crutch when your leg is broken.

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  9. It was the day I finally admitted I was codependent (oh boy, did I run away from that label!) and that I needed to learn I was enough on my own. I really hate that it took my life being destroyed like this for me to finally find it inside myself to love myself and validate myself without the need for anyone else's approval. I will never say that this his betrayal was a good thing, but I made something good out of it. I finally found myself, and to my surprise, I actually like what I found.

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    1. Did you end up separating? Its been about 2 months since Dday and I have to say I am still trying to find myself. He tormented my self esteem while he was having his affair, blamed me for everything. We've been together 7 years, married for 2, and have 2 small children but it's been hard to work through. Especially now that I have seen the dark side, it has opened my eyes up to a lot more.

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    2. We are still together, almost 18 months later. My husband couldn't have been more remorseful. He's a porn/sex addict, and he wanted to get better. This finally opened his eyes to the fact that he needed to get help.

      I'm really sorry to hear how your husband treated you. :(

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    3. Gee,
      I too resisted the co-dependent label. I hated it, especially when I had no idea what he was up to all that time. How could I be co-dependent, I thought, if I didn't realize what I was putting up with? I still don't think I entirely fit the label but I've been able to see the other ways in which I tolerated behaviour that wasn't acceptable to me in order to avoid conflict.
      Anonymous, blaming you for everything is classic cheater behaviour but it's also classic narcissist behaviour. You need to figure out if he's a good guy who's done something stupid that he's willing to make amends for or if he's someone you're better off without.

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  10. I too feel like it is a process and not a moment for me. It all started that first day even though looking back I believe I was in shock. Yet it was all part of this process. I still find myself questioning things all the time. I honestly wonder does he get calls from these women, emails, does he contact them? I find it hard not to question these things since he did all of this for 10 years while lying to me. And there is no way to ever know. With technology and also the fact I am not going to track everything all the time I feel as if I will never be secure in this. I struggle with this since by all accounts life seems good, not 100% yet and still working through this. But I find it hard and feel guilty at times thinking the way I do. My husband is doing everything right. Saying the right things. Really he has transformed his life and I can see it. Yet I have this tug in my stomach can he be trusted? Can he fall for another woman again? My therapist has said he agrees with me that I will never truly understand what he has done since it is so against my character but obviously he was able to do it all and it is part of his character. My therapist said there is a certain amount of taking a leap of faith and gradually trusting him again. I find that hard. What is real? What is genuine? Is he honest with me? Is he honest with himself? I am not sure If I will ever really know these answers.

    I do know that things feel really right now. Today. I am trying to focus on that. Moments and days are still hard at times. Life seems normal and not that different than before d day. That is hard.

    If I had to pick one moment of transformation was when my husband cried and told me if he could go back in time he would have never made the decisions he did. He would have found a different way to deal with whatever feelings he had. That was pivotal. For me to know that he personally regrets his actions not just the repercussions. I am sure there will be more moments of transformations but that one stands out the most.

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    1. Hopeful 30
      Your words questioning your h honesty gives me the feeling that I came to a while back. No given how easy it seemed for our h to lie when their affairs were occurring makes it very difficult to see the present for what it is. I only know that my job for me is to maintain my honesty to myself and his guilt if he has transformed will in fact keep his eyes from looking for another woman to engage in a new affair. If he does go down that path, he was not remorseful nor has he changed. I'm grateful I can see these things in my h! That gives me peace of mind not to look for reasons to keep looking into his daily text and such.
      Many hugs friend. Not one of us has any guarantees but with a leap of faith he and I will keep wobbling down the road together!

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    2. Hopeful and Theresa,
      Loving anyone is always something of a leap of faith. We have no guarantees. That's not to say we don't expect accountability from our partners and call them out when they let us down (or leave!). It's to say that it's always our choice to trust today based on what we believe to be true right now. We'll deal with tomorrow tomorrow.

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  11. H was a bit upset ... i had some triggers this weekend ... cried like i haven't in month then the weekend got better. I have him a nice card . Grace and compassion can help some right. But today out of blue my H said thanks for not leaving me. I love you ... but i keep thinking do you forgive me? Wow forgive thats tough for me to swallow i mean i guess i might ... but cant being myself to say it??? I responded im working everyday to accept the things i cannot change work on what i can and ended with i love you. This was not pleasing to him. I heard him out and we ended discussion i refuse to be guilted or swayed into saying i forgive you ... is this unfair i dont know. I did previously send him a quote i found one forgives to the degree one loves .... and noted im sticking around to work through this ..... anyone else dealing with this?

    As far as transformation. ..im a work in progress 2015 has been an overdose of things not being in control or controllable. ... i guess my transformation currently is the new light to perfect being overrated. Juggling a million balls overrated and no matter how much we anticipate agonize over or try to control simply there are no guarantees. .. the best thing Elle ever said to me ... all i need to be is me and i just need to show up ... how much easier days would be if we didnt put so much pressure on ourselves ... this ah ha moment came 6mo after dday. Im still learning everyday. Its my choice everyday. I know know ones perfect and i also know id be no less hurt leaving vs staying. He was the one i choose and i still chose only i am starting to see things differently meaning i have placed much effort on things in the end really donr matter ... its the black and white overthinker in me ... which im trying to learn sometimes the world is gray and thats gotta be ok ... enough sometimes

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    1. Wounded,
      Sounds like you're actually doing pretty well. That was a big lesson for me too -- the whole shades of grey thing (not THAT shades of grey.;) )
      You're right. Just show up. Do the best you can do right now. And trust that, no matter what happens around us, we can stay rooted in our own integrity.

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    2. Wounded,
      I struggled for a long time with forgiveness...because the forgetting was never going to happen. So how do I forgive if I can't forget?
      A friend sent this to me. She did not write it, she just passed it along.
      "Today during Chapel we discussed forgiveness. I have held onto a definition of forgiveness for years and thought I was applying it as needed. Today I struggle with forgiveness where trust has been destroyed. I can forgive but the hurt and betrayal comes back and I have to forgive again. I know this must be why Jesus said to forgive 7 times 70. I must keep forgiving as long as I keep hurting.
      What is forgiveness? It is not minimizing or excusing the sin of another. It is choosing to surrender your right to get even, to make the other pay, to seek revenge. Forgiveness is the willingness to absorb the pain and suffering that someone's failures and sins have caused you."

      It helped me. Maybe it will others.

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    3. BetteringTexas
      I can relate to the forgiveness because as you said and we all know there is never forgetting that this happened but the way we deal with the pain and move forward is following all the steps to get our own heart where it needs to be! I found if I forgive them both for their mental illness which I believe they both shared THAT by themselves, then I can move past the worse in our particular 'for better or worse' and strive each day going forward to reach for more 'better'! Hugs and thanks for your words!

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    4. Betterin ... thx for that ... i suppose if you put forgiveness in those terms ... its easy to swallow and say i do based on i dont want to get even or seek revenge. Its the very opposite in fact i want niether of us to hurt anymore, i want wholeness and in general my happy back ... whatever that is now. Im going to ponder this some more before i surrender. Thanks so much for that ... wonder if i google if i could find an actual passage towards that .... hummmmmm

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    5. Frustarted ..
      . H asked about forgiveness again ... why does it make me tense up... squirm and want to cry? I almost shut down ... he was trying to explain hes scared i wont forgive him decide years from now i want to leave or worse im only staying till the kid is older all vaild thoughts i feel like telling him there are no guarantees dont u get it nothimg controllable or at least thats how ive felt since dday ... and i know thats due to fear and safety being ripped from my footing and my hurt shattered into a million pieces. H said you can forgive and still hurt and be processing... i just cant say it??? Ive been rereading betterintexas forgivness above and ive been absorbing that to tell him on xmas or whenever i feel ready ... we went back forth not seeing eye to eye but kinda understanding each other. He kept on and finally i said stop ... i spat i feel pressured and bullied .. not sure how his words do that to me. I explained im not ready i need more time ... see action not demands and also while i see he needs this or wants it ...thats not how it works. He said he needs it to feel stronger in rebuilding. ....maybe or maybe its more to ease his fears ..... im venting here as i hold back tears and just breath. I can be to black and white stubborn even i dont want a hardened heart i want to meet his needs as i want him to meet mine he ended with lets not argue ... h to me what if i dont neet your expectations... which tells me his issue is fear i think... why am i struggling with this i dont want to hurt him or revenge... maybe the hurt is holding me back ... is this a need like in his eyes required to continue a solid stepping stone or simply a want to hear and ease his own gears... guilt shame or what have you ... really gonna chew on this to decide .... its weighing heavy on him ...why ... why can't i say it or perhaps better in texas theory posted is the way to go
      .. but will it be enough. Its my choice ... everyday.

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    6. As i lay here thinking ... i still don't know 100 why i cant say it ... i been dealt many things in life. .. child hood etc dont we all have a story ... i dont use as a crutch tho in some aspects its what drives me to be black and white, proactive preplanned vs reactive and at times not as empathic or soft as called for .... i learned long ago some peoples good is their best and not setting bars so high allowed you to be less let down by others. I learned early you cant control others actions only your own and have tried ever since i can remember to hold my cup half full not half empty. deep down ... i truly believed my H would never let me down as so many others in my life have ... hed be the one person other than myself i could count on without a doubt. I married him thinking finally ... im dealt a full house my dreams coming true and more important a love so deep it hurt ... i remember our first date and many after thinking ... i cant stop smiling? Is this difficulty in forgiving because his pedestal was so high off the ground a fall would surely seem like everything fell apart? Thinking back to dday he sobbed ... im not perfect ive done something horrible and then my world of perfection collapsed and i fell to my knee turned into a zombie and became a withering away robotic shell of the person i was or who i thought we were. Im feeling me like me again but with some changes and if i stick to better in tx thought on forgiveness iys true i fit that description. ... but how can i say it? Outloud ... to myself and him ... i love him and a part of me fears that perfect image i had is gone or whats left my fade ... i hope not i hope it grows we mend and find out happy together again leave this hot mess in the rearview mirror ... all in due time

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    7. Not a good night ... that happens ... i fid not speak of forgivness. .. he did .... i did cry tell him i never thought hed let me down which upset him ... we talked ... i changed to hurt me never thought ud hurt me is that what i mean? H became snappy ... defensive and somewhat mean words ... not sure he means,what he said .... is just frustrated w ow calling or feelung ny words and pain is just too much for him at times. I told him u need to sit with pain not try to forget or push down. .. maybe with all this down time im just in a better position ti do that idk ..... i dont feel bad telling him that ... its how i feel doesn't mean ill always feel like that explaining actions us working together help buikd my heart a little each day. Abd lately the days seem better im not always drowning in my feelings anymore tho i wish the discussion. His reactiob would have been more compassionate thats what he said its,always my pain i dont see his. I try ... i tell him how hard i see him working im pround etc he snapped more saying some things he's doing for him. Great! !!! U need to work on you ..... but also work on me. Which he was most times. Some of his words sting ... but only thru it right. Not around. Over or under just thru. Hopfully just a bump this too shall pass or does ge mean sime of what he says in frustration hummmmm

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    8. BETTER IN TEXAS ... ive been reading your forgiveness post no ... studying it daily ... i feel lighter hopful even and im excited to start this new year ... im thinking about sharing your take on it for xmas with my husband or perhaos new years i find the more we talk ... share our thoughts good and bad the stronger i feel ... it maybe what i need to open my heart more and to process fully and fir my h it maybe hos stepping stone for some redemption more fuel for all the effort hes purting force ... his peace well ... that wont come from me ... thats gotta come from himself .... that i know. Im almost 8 mo out have had a year emotionally and physically. .. im ready for a brand new year to begin ... id like a new attitude to work with ... my horoscope said 2016 was going to repeat pattern of 2006 ... which thinking back was one of the most stable and growthful years of my life ... having hope is way better then wallowing in my saddness and fears ... its still there bit doesn't have to be so front and center all the time. Wishing all my BWC members a little sparkle this xmas ... everyday and heres to a hopful new year. Xo

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  12. Ill add when i asked why he asked he said he was thinking how much he loved me how stupid the affair was which he admits he thinks about daily and he just feels at time in limbo aa he knows its my choice to stay or go ... i told him again im choosing to try and work on us get passed this. He was hoping i would say yes i forgive u. He said hes 100% in which i feel but i also noted where only 7 mo from dday and 5 mo from last time w ow ... 100% is work in progress which i need to see continual action not words just words the sex lies and money everything im processing i feel we are getting better but its still slow ... though to him 7 mo feels like a lifetime ago ... his words ... and again men think process and absorb differently then woman thats just how it is.

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    1. I suspect his own anxiety around whether you'll decide to leave is a big part of why he would love to hear he's "forgiven". But forgiveness is also a process, I think. It's not something we magically bestow, it's something we feel based on day in/day out evidence that our heart is safe with this person.

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    2. Please take your time to forgive. He may want to be 'forgiven' so that he can feel more secure in the relationship. But it also smacks of his wanting to feel in control. He wants this FROM you but this is not for him to take. This is 100% up to you and you need time and to see consistent behavior change on his part. Hope he is doing the work to focus on himself and his own healing, rather than expecting things from you.... Good luck.

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    3. Yes ... indeed he has fears too
      .. is this fake am i creating an exit plan or is this real which may at times make him feel worse ... yep you hurt me to the bone and i love u enough to try to make a go at getting passed this ... big mistake huge .. yep had it all right here ... never had to go there but u did ... long term .. ovet and over money lied deceit i dont know about love bcuz affairs are illusion perhaps lust a false sense of something i might never undetstand ... im sticking to the quote i found ... thats my next right step and for now thats all i need to do .... one forgives to the degree one loves

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  13. I recently came across something...

    FORGIVING IS EASY. BUT FORGETTING THE LIES AND PAIN THEY CAUSED? NOW THAT'S HARD TO GET OVER.

    And I think that is where I am, I forgive, but I won't forget. Like others, it has been a gradual transformation. I'm not sure there is that one defining moment.

    It has been 18 months since d day, and it has been a process. We are in a good place. I've watched him change. I can see his effort.

    It's not been easy and as much as the memories fade, they are still there from time to time. I am no longer consumed by the thoughts.

    I forgive, but I will not forget.

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  14. I am still waiting for any sort of transformation. Four months in and I am still riding a rollercoaster I want to get off. I am in therapy. We are in therapy together. My H says he wishes he was dead than see me in the state I am in. Some days I feel strong and ok. Other days like today and yesterday I simply cannot stop crying. We have spent some days as a family with our young son and it feels nice, but then it hits me again like a ton of bricks that for 18 months he was betraying me and I literally cannot compose myself. I just don't even know how I feel about my husband - some days I feel reconciliation is a real possibility but others it feels that the enormity of what he has done overshadows any love I may have left for him. I am dreading Christmas, I feel like there is nothing to be joyful for except my 2 year old son. Sorry for posting nothing but a good old moan, I feel so lost right now.

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    1. At 4 months, I was still spending hours in my room, under the covers, hiding from the world...this is not something you can rush, you're still figuring it out, hang in there!

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    2. I was the same. I know 4 months feels like an eternity but your brain is still trying to absorb the shock of this. Try and focus on your son over the holidays -- you say that's the only joy right now but that's significant. Savour every moment with him and let that be your joy. And give yourself time to digest all of this. You'll get clearer on what you want with time.

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  15. I have been reading and pondering this post for a few days.... Have I had a moment of transformation?? Did I miss it - what would it look like or feel like? I have been making changes, facing some fears for the first time ... But haven't felt transformative.

    I think it may have happened today - we had a long discussion this morning... And I learned. That the truth is terrifying, but it feels like oxygen when you breath it in. The lies between us have been sucking all the oxygen out of our relationship and we were literally dying. Today is the first day in 6 months I think I can go forward with an open heart.

    Love
    Becky

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    1. Becky,
      That's good news. And I think, sometimes, we only recognize that transformation in hindsight. At the time, it simply feels, as you said, like you can breathe again, at least for the moment.

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  16. I take it back..... Not a transformation moment. I could breath for 1 one afternoon (which is something, but I was hoping for more). Today we are right back where we stared or worse... I really don't know where we are and I think hope is pointless. What I do think is I can't be hurt anymore.... There is so much hurt, he has hurt me and damaged us over and over again. It can't possibly hurt more the next time he does it.

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    1. Becky,
      Did something else happen? Did you discover more? The worst of this is the agonizing over whether something is still happening or will happen again or might have happened but you missed it and how in the hell can anyone survive this pain... It feels like it will go on forever. I promise you it won't.
      He has hurt you and he has damaged the marriage. Absolutely. The question is whether he's willing to make serious amends and become the husband you deserve...and whether you want to give him that chance. You don't have to. You get to change your mind at any moment, even if he's doing backflips for you. But the pain will be there no matter which route you choose so don't pick one thinking it will hurt less. The idea is to move forward with a choice that will lead to less future hurt, not more. And while that's not totally predictable, some husbands are a better bet than others.

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    2. Hi Elle.

      We had a breakdown, back track, what the hell are we doing day. A day when you feel so discouraged and can't see the progress made. Life and people are complicated... My H is doing a lot and I know his love and commitment to our life and healing are real. But.... It is never straightforward or easy.... It is hard and scary and I fear a very long road. There are still very real risk of emotional betrayal. One thing I think helps is my H has done therapy before and we have been together before. That is one of the things I think we have going for us. But we are also keenly aware of how deep the water is, how dark the night is, how difficult the path...

      Anyway, I'm trying not to lose hope. One step and day at a time. I think I really really need not be more kind and gentle to myself. I have not been taking the best care of me for a few weeks now.

      Thank you and love and support to all here.

      Becky

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    3. Hi. We had a breakdown, back track, what the hell are we doing day!! It was the 1 year anniversary of a dear dear friends suicide. He was the best man at our wedding. It was hard and filled with all sorts of triggers.

      Most days are hard, but some days are so discouraging.... That it seems hope and faith are nowhere to be found. We are more back on track now, but oh we have a long road ahead! I think that is one of the things I fear - a long long road of healing and recovery - how do you find the strength to keep going? I for one am so exhausted most of the time.

      Thank you for the support it means so much! Love for all of us here.

      Becky

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    4. Becky,
      I never saw it as strength so much as survival. What's the alternative? It really does help to simply put one foot in front of the other. When we think of it as this long road stretched out before us, it's daunting. But if we tell ourselves that we just need to get through this next day, hour, minute, we know we can do it. You can always shift your choice of whether to stay or go depending on what you're seeing around you and how you feel in your marriage.

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  17. Has anyone separated from their H, then reconciled? And I guess I mean lived seperately as well as separated in relationship terms. My husband actually left me under the guise of 'I don't love you' anymore, then I discovered the affair 1 month later. It's been almost 5 months and we are still living seperately whilst I decide what I want (he ended the affair, says he does love me and hopes to reconcile) - he is at parents and about to take a 6 month let on an apartment. We are in joint therapy. Some days I wonder if he would be even more of an irritant if we reconcile as I am used to doing everything alone, including raising our son (besides when he has him on weekends)! I'd just be interested in hearing what it was like for anyone whose husband moved back in after a period of seperation.....

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    1. Anonymous,
      There are a number of women who have separated then reconciled. One of the women from Texas comes to mind. I think the question really comes down to whether the separation is allowing you two to rebuild a healthy relationship before coming back together or whether it's allowing you to ignore some ugly issues.

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    2. I think being separated and being in joint therapy is actually highlighting / examining any small things in our relationship aside from the affair if that makes sense. The whole relationship has been thrown open for analysis and I guess things have cropped up I may not have even considered or been annoyed by before. So for instance my H is struggling massively with what he has done - I have a large support network trying to help me through this, whereas he doesn't. Anyway he got so drunk with work mates last week to try and dull the pain he fell over and smashed his face in. This could have happened pre affair and it would have obviously annoyed me, but now it annoys me ten fold. It makes me wonder about reconciling going forward - is everything going to be highlighted to such a greater level because of the affair that I will get angry about anything and everything....
      I don't know if I'm even making sense.
      So confused about my feelings on anything right now. I spend time with H and son and have a relatively nice day, but then the next day I crash and burn and still can't cope with the shock of what he has done.

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    3. Anonymous,
      I think that blown wide open thing that happens post-betrayal isn't a bad thing. It's a chance to really examine the relationship and address issues before they become bigger (and of course, deal with the HUGE issue of the betrayal). His drinking, for instance, mightn't have seemed like a problem before, maybe an annoyance. But to see it in this new light -- does he routinely drink to avoid uncomfortable feelings? does it impact your family negatively in other ways? -- is important. I think the big thing post-betrayal is everything is viewed as a potential deal-breaker. And it doesn't need to be.
      Re. you asking about those who separated, scroll down and read Ann from Texas' story.

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    4. Anonymous your crashing and burning happens to the best of us from time to time. It's ok to allow yourself to "feel" in order to heal from the trauma. Yes, it can work if both of you truly are in it for the long haul. Yes, time apart did kick start us appreciating each other again and healing. No, I'm in no way guilty of being the "perfect" forgiving wife. I actively ask God to help me with it daily. Yes, with time I have learned to not even focus on the betrayal, but on us just as we are now. It's ok to be angry, hurt, you name it. Just don't let it overcome you or you will end up being bitter and discontented. We all know you are so much more than that. There is only one of you and you are irreplaceable. Love you girl. Stay strong for "your" family. - Ann from Texas

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  18. BIG SIGHHHHHHH ...........and WTF! Its been months since contact from ow ... well ... shes back trying to insert herself ... she used to continually do hang up calls, text and email my H lines of delusional bullshit and on occasion when she seemed drunk spew lies when i would answer his phone. Its been quiet but in back of my mind i didnt dare think we rid of her forever just yet. She called my h dazed by sleep ... hello hello who is this ...then i answered as she kept calling when h hung up on her. Yes i got a little crazy on phone exchanged slang mudd tild her to fuck off and leave us along among otherthings b4 my h hung up on her again ... at end as her anger grew she tried to say they are in contact again and fucked last week and she has proof. My h apologized for bringing this madness into my/our life and hes so concerned this will set us back or scared ill believe her ... she told him dday it will be her goal to make me leave ... sighhhh i know i should have just hung up to .. i know any acknowledgement feeds her ... im trying to keep my wits stay in control and tell myself her words all bullshit focus on me ... us close her door to our world ... will she ever leave us alone??? Im sure she lonely xmas or she needs money or she was just plain drunk. My h seemed very surprised to her calling and was like why now ... its been months ... forever in a mans mind hed figured shed moved on. I cant control her ... much just me and stay in control. Im recovering from surgery still my h worried about that i dont need this shit right now ... then again no time really good time to deal. We didnt fight about it after just talked in general trying to stay a united front ...i didnt cry tho my blood was pumping ... dont let the cycle of bullshit start again ...stay strong ignore her i tell myself focus on us his actions and me. Yes im talking aloud. Just had to say big wtf and so we start back again. H feels horrible hell have to sit with that did say he never seen how delusional and coneiving ow is ... yes nut job simply bcuz shes nothing to lose by spinning cobwebs and well i think misery loves company right. I posted here is this transformation ... trying not to dwell or fall into her words but instead wave my middle finger in the air fuck u ow go away leave us alone... cant block # either she calls blocked or uses apps to disguise number. I hadnt made my h change # with all this social media i figured whats use and she knows where we leave. Big balls on phone but when she saw me in person ... quiet as mouse ran otherway. BWC warriors and God give me strength to endure and conquer but i still mumble ... wtf!

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    1. Wounded,
      I have nothing to offer other than huge applause for the way you've handled this. I'm wondering if you should consider changing your phone numbers. Anything to make it harder for her. Not sure whether you can file for restraining order re. phone calls. Maybe some of the others will know.
      But mostly...you're doing really great. It sounds as if you two are staying united in this. That he genuinely is sorry for bringing this circus into your lives. The more she does this, the clearer it is that she is one messy lady. Ugh.

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    2. Keep the phone bills and document all the calls. My understanding is that you can indeed file charges with the police for harassment.

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    3. The calls continued all day yesterday. ... he told her fuck off stop calling me last night # changed all on his own suggestion and doing ..hes had that # forever and a day. i told him even though this shitstorm he created im proud of him for taking control being proactive. Sure she can contact by social media ... but its much more controllable to ignore delete and not answer ... hes blocked her on most though with nothing but time and envy on ow side she seems to find away but she will now certianly have to work harder to be heard i hope she takes the hint ... get on with your life. Once changed my h gave me # and said to me here you go ... new beginning hw hopes. Hes discouraged a bit just doesnt want her ruining my healing or our progress he said 100 steps forward 10 back ... agreed but thats a far better ratio then right after dday ... marginal changes right thats what we are looking for just the next right step.

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  19. I could really get down about it if i let myself ... trying hard to turn it around .... not feed it or her. I know taking the phone might not have been best selection reviewing it now ... oh well wouldve shouldve couldve ...

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    1. Those "would, could, should" aren't to beat yourself up, but just to be instructive. Next time, you'll be ready. Click. Turn off ringer. Go back to sleep.

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    2. Exactly what my h finally did and he even said what happened i fell of course by staying on phone h wven said thats not what we agreed. Middle of night i guess took me off guard ..... yes click goodnight! Trying hard!!!

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    3. Wounded
      I so feel your pain! I too had a fall back to the ugly way of dealing with the affair. Last April 1 the ow was charged with harrasment spent her night in jail and for 3 and a half months left us alone other than driving by our home. Then she sent the text telling us of her sons death. H sent a one line sympathy text simply saying we would pray for her family. We did pray and I thought we were making real progress on our healing during the no contact. From August 17 until this past Saturday I have been dealing with triggers again. I went back and read some of the post and thought I was doing the right thing. The message he received on Saturday was sent to him last week while he was traveling for work and he listened to the solicitor telling him to contact or her charges would be dropped. Talk about triggered! All I could think about was now she is free to go back to harrasment or so I thought. The fact that they sent a letter to the wrong address is why this mess has been dragged out for so long. Now we have 90 days to decide if we drop charges or go through a jury trial which gets messy and gives her the chance to tell me even more of their so called 'truths'. My break happened due to these triggers and my attempt to talk to h about how hard this year has been and all I hear from him is nothing he has done or said has made a difference. I started the screaming session and it ended with us going to bed and me shaking like I did on the first week of her texting me her truths. He wonders why I keep triggering and I can't get him to understand why her constantly reminding me of them by driving by our house. I stopped telling h when she does. Now I am supposed to document when I see her car in the neighborhood but I don't think I can because she now goes one street from us and I can't take a picture that fast. I'm terrified of turning my h love for me to hate but I have told him I need him help when I spiral out of control. God will this nightmare never end? Do I face this crazy woman in court for two days listening to it all over again? H will do whatever I feel up to doing but right now I'm struggling not to totally go as ding bat crazy as she is! Thanks for listening to my rant! Wounded I like you just want her to leave us the hell alone!

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    4. Wounded and Theresa, I am so sorry you are dealing with this. I have such respect and admiration for you both. Theresa, if you follow through legally, do you have to personally go to court? And do you have to sit through her testimony? Maybe you could be spared that.
      Praying for you both, and sending hugs your way!

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    5. Urgghhh so annoying ... Theresa i try to turn it around i know so hard to make ur brain do that sometimes. .. is she driving by as a nuisance or can you change it to an ego stroke ... look at me look at me my great life the ow wants so bad .... sure the betrayal sucks and we are working to try and repair ourselves ... our marriage ... but overall i tell myself im thankful for many things still in my life... ive learned perfect is overrated ... control an illusion and i maybe wounded but im not broken! My husband made a huge fucking horrible choice ..but i also believe bad choices are not a given and people can change paths with effort. I tell myself continually no matter how bad sad i feel there still some sparkle in my day... it could always be worse somehow right. I say put a big gleaming xmas tree in your window ... hang light ... deck the halls ...splurge on beautiful flowers to plant outside in the spring to not only make yourself feel good but as a fuck u to ow ...drive by all you want .... we are surviving ... the days do march on even if some days slower than others or wed like. I hope this makes some sense or gives u a diff perspective but i know too we ache for them to just go away!!! Im still waiting too for this to be in my rear view mirror. Hugs ......

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    6. Phoenix
      I told my h when we first filed the police report I would stand by him through to the end! When I found out the charges were about to be dropped I went livid! I think that was the cause of the meltdown! My h knows that I feel she has to answer for her actions! She blackmailed him with guilt for 18 months when he was trying to end the affair. She watched him build a fence and buy me a car when he told her it was over and I was moving in the house with him in two weeks. She agreed to leave him alone but she couldn't bring herself to let him go! She circled the block many times that day he moved me in. She told him her heart was broken watching how happy we were that day. She left us alone for a couple of weeks (I was not aware of the affair but suspected something) during this time my h was in a volleyball group that held tournaments and this is how they met and fell in lust. She came to the first match and not one of the other guys would let her play so she sat at the table that night telling me how wonderful my h was as a friend when she was going through her divorce. She said enough for me to realize he had an affair with this girl but it's obviously over since he allowed her to show up. I did ask about their friendship. H was still in the fog that he could convince her to leave us alone and keep her silence. Now this is the most painful part for me. By May of the next year was when she convinced him to take her on a business trip with him. That was the end of the physical affair but she continued to contact him with threats that I deserve the truth! In October was when he rejected her last attempt to kiss him and 2 weeks later she dropped the bomb. If she would have just told me and disappeared no problem let us pick up the pieces, but she continued to contact both me and h to drop tidbits of their passionate sex life. We had the police call her and tell stop. This worked for a few weeks. On New Year's Day she started back. Then she started making threats to confront us in person. On April 1 she went to jail. You would think that would make her leave us alone but she continued to circle our neighborhood for months. She did stop her text messages until August and she thought my h should know her son was dead and he said back we would pray for her family. I have only seen her a few times over the four months but knowing that we now have to decide if we go all the way or cut her loose makes me wonder if I'm just being as vindictive as she was when she was rejected by my h. My compassionate side says she has lost enough from this experience with a married man. But the still angry side wants her to pay for the grief she gave both of us once she spilled her truth. I'm still praying my way to the answer. Hugs!

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    7. I will pray for you too, Theresa. You are strong and loyal and beautiful. May God bring you through to the other side, and show you the way forward.

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  20. It feels like forever ago I learned what my husband did.... But when I do think about d-day it feels like yesterday.... I'm 2 years nine months out... My moments of change still continue to happen but my moment of transformation happened 9 months after d-day. I had left everything I knew and moved 1417 miles from "home".... I had my daughter with me. My oldest boys stayed behind because they were graduating soon. I made the decision to leave soley on my health. It had deteriorated so badly and I knew one more "ice" winter in my mental state would do me in. So my oldest child spoke to me while kneeling by me bed. He looked me in the eye and said, "momma if you stay here you won't make it. Don't stay here for me or bubba. Instead go live and start a new adventure. Go breathe, because we are leaving here soon to start ours, and you would never be able to live through that stuck here." It's at that moment a desire to heal filled my soul. It was then I knew it was up to me to allow God to change everything. I had planned a life for my family that had been working, but had all fallen apart. So it was at this moment I said inside, "God I know you hear me please heal me and my life." I left two and a half weeks later. I was offered a job in "my Caribbean" and accepted it. I went on my self imposed sabbatical of healing. I went to learn "hurricane construction" both professionally in my career and personally in my life. I have since returned after 14 months do to my mommas health, but it wasn't easy to come back to "the scene." I just like many women who cannot or do not have the means to relocate, have decided to "paint a new scene." My husband has told me recently that even after finally moving there with me, and now returning, (he was in hurricane construction with me for a year, and we are now back a year) he realized that he hadn't truly changed until two months after we were back..... He realized inside one day that he finally understood and saw all the damage by the look on my face. I was so upset about being back. He said he looked at me and the pain and tears had changed to me being completely angry.... He said at that moment he changed inside and he realized finally all he had done. (Of course I calculated in my head and thought.... REALLY!!!! Two years later) I didn't tell him that though, because what matters is we finally got to the point where we both could see each other's pain. So like I said we are constantly growing, but my conversation with my oldest son, my "baby", started my true transformation. God blessed me with my own personal Angels. My children, and my husband was how I got them. So let's hear it for my boy!!!! Love you girls tons and have prayed for you guys for years - Ann from Texas

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    1. Ann,
      You'll notice that one of the Anonymouses was looking for women who'd separated then reconciled. I hope she reads your story. Thank-you, always, for what you bring to this site.

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  21. Ill add im trying my damned hardest to ignore her spew of what i believe to be lies about recent contact and interactions .... i need to focus on his actions ... us and cut her out ....

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    1. Wounded
      I began last Christmas by hanging a beautiful new wreath on our front door. I'm sure she saw it last year as that was when she began the daily drive by! This year we added a small live Christmas tree that has put lights on and we plan to take it to our lake house for Christmas Day with our grand sons. She is mentally ill and just couldn't accept my h really was rejecting her for me. She became down right spiteful in her constant text messages to him the past 2 years. H just wants and has for a long time for her to just go away. My real issue if we drop the charges she could get the idea it's because he has feelings for her still and the contact could begin again. I will wait until we talk to the attorney before I decide. I'm so grateful for all of you here!

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    2. If you arent confident enough to think shes changed or learned her lesson... id file hold her feet to fire and keep order in place especially if it meant my own sanity and even if it meant our names were listed as public record id hate for you to let it go only for her to start again and you have to start the process all over again? Or is it easy yo get reinstated? order should be able to be detailed as to no contact any any form covering anyone who lives in your home and stipulations in addition a number of distance she should keep from you 100 ft ... etc. I can imagine the struggle to just let go stop fight and hopefully she just dissappears holding anger in our hearts only hurts ourselves but i also believe in firmly holding ground if seen fit. It something you have to think out neither position is right wrong ....its which is gonna make you feel better or worse ....i hope u find the answer you are looking for to lead you on a final decision

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    3. I think the problem is we really don't know what her mental state is at this point in time. Knowing that she continued to contact us for so many months (6) even after the police told her to stop, and then a judge telling her she would go back to jail if she contact us and still she had to make sure my h knew her son had hanged himself and I don't know if that was to make him feel sorry for her again or what. He felt so sorry for her at the beginning of the affair. She is always the victim. Her ex husband divorced her he got custody of the kids they were both teenage at the time. She was so mixed up when she took money from a client and lost her license to practice in substance abuse, and had to settle for low pay jobs ect. Cry me a river for all her heart aches up till the child died and I began to feel compassion for the poor women. Given how she used every excuse in the book to keep my h running to her side before the day she went to jail and then she felt he should know about the son leaves me thinking she still thinks that he stayed with me out of guilt. These were her words from the beginning of the six months of texts telling us why our marriage would fail and we were not honest with each other. I'm so not sure which way to go at this point. I'm just so ready for a day not to care about her for anything! Her feelings should not matter to either of us and yet, I still have anger that she can drive by. It doesn't matter to me why she does it. That gives me the creeps that she still does this. We have 90 days to decide!
      I'm still praying!

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    4. Theresa nobody can ruin your day unless you allow them to.... She is not even an after thought anymore.... That's what is ticking her off, and don't believe a word she told you. It was just jealousy and hate speaking to you. Your marriage is just that "yours" and she can't change that unless you let her. You are way strong my friend and I am indeed in awe of what you have overcome together with your husband. Know that you are not going "crazy." That feeling is not yours so kick it to the curb!!! Say "not no but hell no" when it she huts your mind, because she is nothing to your family. Love yourself enough to know you are indeed why your husband is with you. Look at the situation from our perspective. Your husband is truly grateful you exist and he didn't get "stuck with crazy." ,) love you girl. Stay strong!!!! You are putting an end to the menace that doesn't belong in your life. - Ann from Texas

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    5. Ann from Texas
      Thank you for your words of wisdom and strength! My h has spent the past two years telling me much the same thing! I guess my insecurities took over when I thought the charges were dropped with out us having a say about anything. He was told by the attorney we will have 90 days to decide how to proceed! Thanks so much for your calming words!

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    6. Theresa,
      I'm with Wounded. You can feel compassion for someone while still holding them accountable for their actions, which is what your charges are doing. Your husband's desire to drop it likely has more to do with his wishful thinking that this will all just go away than any desire to reconcile with her. If he IS thinking of reconciling? Then he's not someone you want to be with. Seriously! :)

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    7. My husband didn't have the desire to drop the charges but the letter from the attorney was sent to the wrong address and the attorney told him that he would put the case back in pending for 90 days. He was told it could take two days of testimony and it will be my choice to be present for any and all of it. I still want to hold her responsible for her actions of hostilities to both me and my h. Just not sure I'm willing to hear it all again.

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    8. Theresa,
      I'm not sure I would be there. I'm not sure there's anything to gain by having to listen to it all. Sure she'd have to face you...but you'd also have to face her and I'm not sure it's worth it. I'd be inclined to let it proceed without you present. What are you thinking?

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    9. Elle
      My thoughts are that this woman bullied her way into my life and my marriage and I tried so hard to turn the other cheek and all she would have had to do was fade away and out of our life. Instead she chose to lash out at both my h and me for many months. I'm stronger now than when she first confirmed the affair with the text she sent. However, she had the opportunity a year earlier to have come clean in order to find 'closure'. She sat in my face telling me that my h saved her through her messy divorce. From that conversation I concluded that they had an affair it ended and they were at peace with it. I didn't confront my h past explaining the friendship. Based on my relationship with my h and our first life at the time, I didn't feel threatened by her. What I have had to come to terms with since then was the affair hadn't ended even though my h thought it was. She continued to contact him and eventually he took her out of town for that one time to end it for ever. That was in May of last year and then in. October of last year she sent me the text revealing that the affair in her opinion was very 'current' and on going. My h came clean about the whole thing and then we spent six months of her continued attempts to reconnect with him. During this time my h was out of state for work but she had no clue where he was and why he refused to 'meet up ' for closure and didn't care if 't' came or not. Basically my h and I were running from a confrontation with her because we both knew it would not end well for any of us. When he had the police contact her in December, we thought we were finished with her until the text on New Year's Day telling him how much she loved him and missed him and to please just talk to her. Then her text began to be more of disappointment of his choice to stay in a miserable marriage rather than stand up for what he truly wanted. Past those she then went on to threaten a face to face confrontation and this was when he was out of town so when he returned we went together and filed the harrasment charges. We were so glad when her contact stopped and we could finally begin to heal ourselves. We knew that we would still have to face her eventually but also knew it would be months before we had to. We have become stronger as a couple and when he got the message that the charges were being dropped he was the one that asked for the next 90 days to at least see the paperwork and know what rights we would have if the charges were dropped and she began to the harrasment all over. Trust me my h wants nothing more than her to go away and stay away but the way she trolls by our home is very unnerving for both of us! I had a mini melt down but we have worked through that and now waiting on the papers from the attorney. I do think if she sees us together and we face her together then she would have the closure she wanted and we would get peace of mind that she would leave us the hell alone for the rest of our lives! This has been a very painful experience for both my h and me. I feel the need for closure just as much as she did! I struggle with my own need in as much as I can't help wondering if I just want to say to her face 'I told you so ' because I told her on the first contact that he was not in love with her and it was all about the sex and that 'hurt her ' most of anything else about the whole affair. So I'm still trying to decide if any of this is what really is necessary for my h and me to build a stronger marriage! By the way she has been in our neighborhood in the past month a few times. I never see her stop just slowly driving by. Creepy!

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    10. Ugh. Theresa, that is creepy. Completely unnerving.
      I don't know what to say -- it really is up to you to decide what you need moving forward. I tend to think "closure" is a unicorn notion but maybe for some people, it really exists. Closure, for me, has always come with finally FINALLY walking away from an unhealthy situation. And then...time.

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    11. Elle
      Last night my h and I discussed at great length what the attorney told him on the phone. We have agreed to meet with the city attorney ask our questions for our rights if we drop the charges and she begins to make contact. Based on what he told my h over the phone is that all we would need to do would be to call him and her charges would be reinstated. I need to hear this with my own ears and then we do plan to drop the charges as neither one of us are willing to undergo the stress of testimony from witnesses that would prove her innocence. She's guilty, we know she's guilty and so did the judge that signed her arrest warrant. So once we meet that attorney in person, I think that will be closure for me! It won't make life wonderful by doing this and if we did go all the way to the end, a guilty verdict carries a $200. Fine maybe 30 days in jail. Only a misdemeanor crime but the damage she caused has no dollar amount! Hugs for you and the insight you bring to me and the other wonderful ladies!

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  22. What a beautiful post. As always, thank you Elle.

    I had many small moments where I felt my heart soften towards my husband. The two times when this would happen were when I was watching him with our 2 kids and when he would treat me well (say thank you to me for doing routine everyday little things for him and the kids that I felt like he never appreciated before and took for granted).

    I had two distinct moments of transformation that I can actually recall. the first was 8 months after d day #1 when I found out about another physical affair 10 years before. I actually texted him the next day that now I knew the problem was him and that I was relieved I didn't have to fix me or our marriage-- he had to fix him. Even though I had read everywhere in books and here that the problem is the cheater and not the spouse, it didn't really sink in until that moment.

    The second transformation was really an aha moment. It came last week over 2 years after d day #1. Out of the blue my husband texted me "why did I do it? because I thought it would make me feel younger. Instead it sucked the life out of me." His next text said "You are worth 1000 of them in every way." AAAAAAH finally the why made sense to me. And finally I can almost believe that he is sincere when he says never again. I can empathize with his reasons, even though he wasn't even 40 at the time of the first affair I understand that he felt old. I can understand the statement of sucking the life out of him, as I felt for a long time that discovery of the affairs did the same to me. It feels like we are on opposite sides of the same coin and I am almost at peace with what happened.

    Last week my husband stayed in a hotel in the city for a conference. Before he left (he was only alone in the room for one night) he asked what can he do to make me feel better and I said just that you asked that question is enough. Of course then I added make sure you answer your phone if I call you. But I also said really nothing. We are in a good place.

    Finally after over 2 years. I hope we remain in this good place.

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    1. Oh Sam, that's so great. He really does get it. And you're so right -- just asking the question is often all we need. That they're aware of our pain. That they recognize how difficult this can be for us. Knowing that THEY know helps us feel safe.
      This "good place" you're in is the result of a lot of hard work. You stay there (though, of course, there will be peaks and valleys) by taking what you're learned and applying it in your day-to-day lives. Talk about things rather than letting them fester, calling people out when they're not treating you respectfully or kindly, always creating space to nurture yourself.
      This is just so great Sam. I know you've had something of a roller coaster ride...but it sounds as if you can get off now!

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  23. Is four months too early for a transformation? Maybe it is just the first of many...

    I'm now 16 wks out and I feel a softening in my heart. My husband has said and done all the right things--he's answered every question, given reassurances, stayed with me in my pain, taken responsibility, planned out his own healing, etc. In the last few weeks, I feel acceptance taking over. I accept that my marriage, as I knew it, is dead. I accept that there is a hole in him that I never could have filed and his acting it was him trying to fill it inappropriately. I accept that this had nothing to do with me. I accept that this is my reality now.

    I wouldn't say I feel overwhelming love for him again, but I don't feel the blinding rage, the all-consuming grief these days (knocks wood.) Is that maybe the first step? It seems early to me, but maybe so. His cheating was brief--right after we got married, two times (same woman) at conferences, while drunk as a skunk. He's seen her two other conferences since (before I knew anything) and had very minimal contact, and nothing since (she lives in another state.) I didn't have to beg him to cut it off, and I didn't have months or years of deceit to make sense of (my hat is off to you ladies who do...y'all are amazing; two discreet instances almost leveled me, I don't know how I would have managed if it had been emotional too.) I guess I feel like maybe I'm through the shock and grief portions...I feel ready to start to think about staying new. Is that too soon?

    Also, has anyone here continued to grow their family after discovery? I was 5-wks post partum with our first child when I learned everything. We'd always planned to have a lot of kids, but I'm nervous and I'd love to hear if anyone else has been down that road...just for future reference! Xo

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