Thursday, January 14, 2016

I need a hero. Idiots need not apply.

"You cannot be a hero without also being a coward." ~George Bernard Shaw

Over on the Feeling Stuck? forum, there's been enthusiastic discussion about men who see themselves as white knights, rescuing what we've dubbed "dumsels" in distress. 
Aelia blew us all away with this:
I feel like so much of this is about the men chasing a self worth high. Not just basic self worth but HERO level self image. They want someone to look at them and treat them like they are THE MAN so they can feel alive and valuable because they haven't learned to feel that way without the outside help.  
And they get this high soo easily from the dumsels. The rescue missions tend to be pretty low hanging fruit and they are richly rewarded with adoration and admiration. But wives expect SOO much more! Being our heroes means climbing to the top of the damn tree for the fruit and maybe even dealing with thorny branches and falls and when you get down we may still treat you like you're just doing what you're supposed to be doing. At least, I know that was the way I used to be. I wasn't about to kiss his feet for the crappy job of husbanding that he was doing.  
But I wonder that continuing to live with them happily requires that we bridge that gap? Yup, he's a double villain now like Phoenix says. But he's still desperate to feel like a HERO! How do you rebuild a man when you feel like kicking him in the balls? How do you do it with your own integrity intact?  
H asked me at one point post-shitfest whether I thought he was a good person and the best I could answer at the time was that I could tell he was trying to be a good person. Is there any way we can find to show them that they CAN earn our respect back? To make it feel possible that he can be our HERO..... someday.... with lots of work... and copious integrity.... and many hours of taking the emotional beatings which he has coming to him.... but when he gets there it will be because we know the real him and not because he play acted a hero for her.  
Because if he can't ever get what he needs from us, then we're wasting our time with him. If he can't feel like that's a possibility then he'll feel like he's wasting his time with us. Can we respect him for the effort he's putting into to becoming a better man for us? Can we be grateful for the loving gestures we receive from him?
Those, my dears, are tough questions. They're the questions that put some of us on the path to rebuilding a marriage and others on the path to the divorce lawyer. 
They're also why some marriages can be so much better after an affair, which still strikes me as crazy but I also know to be true. 
It's also true that plenty of marriages without infidelity are horrible, marked by a lack of courtesy and respect, characterized by two people miserable about their situation and entirely sure their partner is to blame. 
Cheating, of course, raises the misery ten-fold. And in marriages where the betrayed actually thought her partnership was pretty good, it's shocking and destabilizing to learn that her spouse viewed it so differently.
Aelia asked, "Is there any way we can show them that they CAN earn our respect back?" My answer? I don't know. When we're in the midst of our own agony, it can be hard to brush our teeth let alone help rebuild the esteem of the man responsible for our pain. What's more, trying to save people from themselves is a thankless and fruitless job. Change comes when we're fed up with ourselves and determined to do better. If he sees no hope for change in himself, then cheerleading on our part won't make one bit of difference. His transformation is an inside job. And with someone who's been outsourcing their sense of worth to an affair partner, we're asking for a wholesale change in his life view. 
In my husband's case, it was the day that he told me he was going to do better for himself whether or not I was staying or leaving that I really felt hopeful. He wasn't play-acting his change of heart, it was real. Whether or not I liked who he was, HE wanted to like who he was. And though, at that moment, he loathed himself, he was able to imagine a day when he felt differently. He's was willing to do the work necessarily to find his way to that day. And that's the difference between someone susceptible to flattery and ego-stroking and the escape of an affair and someone whose eyes are wide open and whose sleeves are rolled up. It's the moment, to use George Barnard Shaw's point, when the coward realizes he has it within himself to be a true hero. 
It's a pivotal moment. 
It's the same for us when we realize that we, too, can be the heroes of our own lives, no matter whether our spouses beg us for forgiveness or serve us with divorce papers. The moment when we realize that we're at our lowest...but that we don't have to stay there. The moment when we look inside ourselves for our value instead of outsourcing it. When we truly and absolutely get that his affair wasn't about us. That our value is not dependent and has never been dependent on someone else seeing it.
Can we rebuild a man who feels vilified wherever he looks? To us, he's a villain. To his affair partner, if he breaks it off, he's a villain. To our culture at large, he's a villain (though our culture saves enough blame for the betrayed spouse too, who surely deserved this in some way). 
I don't think it's up to us to rebuild him, nor can we. Personal transformation is an inside job. It's a hero's job.
I think what we can do is stand firm in our own integrity and live by example. I think we can insist upon a relationship that allows each partner to feel respected and valued. I think we can do our part to treat our spouse with dignity and kindness, to be honest but kind when asked those tough questions about whether we love them or respect them. 
I watched my husband earn back my trust. In fact, I have more respect for him now than ever because I've seen him work so hard to slay his own demons. I've watched him go into incredibly uncomfortable territory when the easier thing would have been to refuse. To blame me. To blame his parents. 
We can't save them but we can certainly applaud them for being willing to save themselves. 


  1. I totally get it Elle, we get more out of our spouses if we are kind to them it works both ways. It can be incredibly hard to do in the early days post betrayal but as we have said before actions speak much louder than words and when we see them trying to better themselves in order to be a better husband/father. It's hard not to be kind when they are trying their best. It was our first counselling session the other day, I know how hard it is for h to express his feeling past and present and he said he felt like he was gonna have a panic attack in the waiting room. My not very sympathetic self told him to get some water and I was thinking to myself yes I know why your having a panic attack it's because your gonna have to face what you've done :) however once in the counselling I thought to myself not once did he say he didn't want to go and he could have tried to wriggle out of it. He'd have been on the couch ( not even mine) if he had but the point is he didn't.

    By the way the counsellor feels we would benefit from am 18 week counselling programme I agree with her we need something more longer term to look at all issues re relationships. I have to say I'm looking forward to it. I'm always open to new ideas, after all I'm still learning everyday. I've probably gone of track I generally do but if I have made sense to some of you please comment on what you think. Lots a love xxx

    1. Sam
      I do get it! In the very beginning I was in such shock that I honestly don't know how I was behaving! I know I tried hard to be kind but the anger in me came out many times during the 6 months she wouldn't leave us to begin healing. Then after we were months into no contact from her I believe I began to really feel the effects of PTSD. I would get angry at something trivial and turn it into a screaming rage of how much hate I had for his whore. I used foul degrading language. I found myself at the end of the last one so ashamed that there I stood treating the man I love more than life itself, not even being kind or seeing how much he was putting into being the man I fell in love with in the beginning! I'm still working on my kindness skills! Something that before this affair, I honestly thought came easy for me. I held onto the hurt and anger too long and that morning I realized that for him it would have been so much easier to just run away from me and never look back! I also realized that morning that if he did I would still be able to pick myself up and move forward no matter what happened! I felt so much better after those epiphanies! I also think it's because of the brave women I have gotten advice from on these posts! Still I realize each day brings challenges and I have to work on me while understanding how much he has worked on his own issues! Love and hugs!

    2. Sam,
      It takes an amazing woman to be able to acknowledge your husband's efforts even as HE's the reason you need to be at counselling. I can't tell you (in part because I can barely recall) the horrible things I said to my husband. Compassion was not my first instinct – cruelty was. So cut yourself some slack even as you're saying things under your breath.

    3. Elle if you would have seen/ heard me over the last two days you wouldn't think I was amazing. : ) good/ bad days. I can be the nicest person on a good day, catch me on a bad day and it's not a pretty sight.
      Thanks for your continued support and feedback Elle. Don't ever leave us Elle xxxx

    4. Sam A, I suspect that describes all of us. Sweet and kind...until you cross me. Or my kids. Or even, sigh, my husband. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, right?

  2. P.s I feel like a hero, cos I know you guys have my back. Thank you to all xx

    1. "In fact, I have more respect for him now than ever because I've seen him work so hard to slay his own demons."

      This is precisely the goal I had in mind with my question. When I first heard this concept, I couldn't believe that any self-respecting woman could EVER say such a thing about a cheating man. And now I am starting to understand it and wonder how to get there from where I am.

      I've also learned that it is NOT my responsibility to do it for him. Not to sate his ego or fight his demons. But, if I'm keeping his ass because I can see how hard he's trying to deserve it, I want to take an active role in creating the relationship I want.

    2. Sam A,
      Yes, we've got your back but more to the point, you'll come to realize that YOU've got your back. And that will keep you grounded.

      I'm with you. I would have rolled my eyes at any woman who stayed with a philanderer and said he was somehow redeemed. Yeah, right.
      Before I knew about my husband's own, ahem, extracurriculars, I had supported a friend through her husband's betrayal. She had stayed for eight months, trying to make it work and finally walked away. Even now, she thinks they could have made it work but that she just didn't have it in her to ever forgive him. They're great co-parents, both remarried. So...we each walk our own path, right?
      No, it's not your responsibility to do it for him, nor can you. It can be so tempting, especially if you're a control freak like I am, to want to manage his own response to this. I insisted upon certain things: regular counselling, a 12-step group for sex addiction, access to his phone/etc. But then I did my best to keep my focus on myself. And I observed.
      Even now, years and years later, I see things that are new. The other night my husband got annoyed with me for asking him to clarify a story he was telling. He's a crappy storyteller and I'm lost half the time and used to just bite my tongue and nod and said "m'mmm" at appropriate spots. But this time, I asked him to clarify something and he got impatient with me. I told him that if he told clearer stories that I wouldn't need to ask. And then I reminded him that I'm not an idiot and please don't talk to me like I'm one.
      Shortly after, he came to me and apologized. A total and sincere apology for being a jerk. That's a small thing, of course. But for a couple who used to go ten rounds over something like that, it's a big change.
      In other words, change continues for both of us. We're simply not the same people we were when we got married, first had children, and first faced the huge challenge of his betrayal. He had to face the shame and profound disappointment he felt in himself. And while he did that, I worked through a lot of the residual pain I thought I'd conquered from my rather dysfunctional childhood. Consequently, we're both better able to create the relationships we want.
      Sorry...that was a long response. And there are no guarantees. I'm all too aware that I could find out he's cheating tomorrow. But I doubt it. And if he is, I will know that I'm able to handle the pain and move on in life without him as my husband. And I will only tell you here on this site where I buried his body. ;)

  3. Yes Sam, I get it. And you are a hero. I read an article recently written by a betrayed husband. He very thoughtfully noted and was encouraged by his therapist that in fact although he was the one who was betrayed, he had to be the strong one because he could and she could not. I certainly felt that way in my h and I's relationship since D day - before D day I can say I was not really aware of how emotionally challenged he is. He has certainly opened himself up to conversation with therapists and with myself in a way that I would've never imagined before. Nonetheless, it is extremely difficult for him and he does participate in avoidance behavior.
    As for him being the hero… We have always known that in our relationship. He always wants to help people, which is a trait which attracted me to him and frankly, is the trait of a very good hearted person. With my own experience of having an affair on my first husband… I would continually tell my second husband that he needs to be very careful when helping another woman. It fell on deaf ears. Until he was in such agony as the affair was coming to an end and he was struggling with whether to tell me or not.
    At that point he said it on more than one occasion… How I had warned him.
    And yes, the OW was the typical damsel in distress… According to her, her husband was abusive, verbally, This was the bait he fell for in the beginning of their relationship. She then separated from her husband and now she needed a man to do things around the house ... How convenient… Her knight in shining armor was there.
    Brene Brown did a super soul session that addresses the topic of respecting your husband and trusting him ( as well as others in your life) ... And determining whether or not he is a good man. The title of that super soul session is the anatomy of trust. I have told my husband from the very beginning… He is a good man who behaved badly. If you watch Brene Brown session you will see, at the end, she stresses the fact that we need to trust ourselves first and we need to fill our marble jar first. After my husband and I watched it together he said, "I am working on refilling my marble jar."
    And that is exactly how I felt after I had my affair many years ago. It was at that time in my life that I lost trust in everyone, because I lost trust in myself. Today, am I deserving of respect, love and trust? Absolutely. If one is truly sorry for their behavior and makes amends to make up for their bad behavior and to never do it again - then one is deserving of respect love and trust .

    1. Melissa
      Your post are so wise and so true to many of us who are still a long way from truly understanding the emotional needs and the lack of a way to express them. This seems to be a common trait of cheating spouses no matter if it's the wife or the husband. They also seem to share the ability to compartmentaliz every aspect of their lives. My h was the one that described that for him that is the only way he can get through a day of work. If I truly need him he has and always did do what ever was needed. He detached from the ow way before he figured out that she was not going away easy. For him dealing with the aftermath of my emotions hasn't been easy but getting her totally out of his life was nothing but relief. So I'm working hard to see how much courage it's taken him to stick it out with me while I struggle with the PTSD. I'm also watching him do everything he can to be a better man. Taking life one day at a time and enjoying every moment of the new good life that he and I are working on together! We have adopted our churches motto that the best is yet to come! Hugs!

    2. Thank you Theresa. Hugs! Back at you :-)

  4. More than ever i believe they can only make the changes they need to. And it has to be for them. I have said over and over do not stay so you look good and can keep your reputation, for the kids, for financial reasons. I do not want someone to be with me for the wrong reasons. I think for me the most telling remark was when my husband said to me laying in bed that he is finally starting to not hate himself and like himself a little bit. That really hit me. I know you have said it Elle and I have read it other places but he was in a bad place. The reasons why is another story and working through all of this. But to be that down on yourself or so self aware that this is how you cope is not good and my husband knew it and he hated himself more and more and transferred that hate to me and our marriage. What kind of person would he be if he saw me in a good way but was doing what he was.

    He has told me that he regrets every decision and action and if he could go back in time he would never do any of it. He would have dealt with it in different ways. And he has said to me when I say how hard it is to be in my spot that he only wishes he was the faithful one. He said that he admires me for who I am and wishes he had the same character that I did. He has said all this in a very respectful and honest way. I do understand what he is saying. Once you get down to it that it was his choice and decisions then I can see where it is hard to face yourself. And a lot of what he did was spiraling into a black hole and then avoiding and detaching. Now he has to pay the price every day. He said he will not go one day without thinking about it. He also said in some ways he thought about just leaving me or getting me to leave him thinking how much easier it would be to never admit any of this. This is a lot of hard work but so far I am glad it came out. Without it I would not have answers and explanations for his behaviors over the years. And I try each day to listen and be respectful but still speak my mind.

    1. Hopeful,
      I absolutely wouldn't want to be their shoes. Anyone with any shred of decency feels horrible about themselves for betraying a partner. If they don't feel that, then that's a sign you're dealing with a psychopath incapable of empathy. Run!
      And as tempting as it is for us to want them to wallow in self-loathing (after all, we figure, they SHOULD hate themselves for what they did), nobody makes good choices from that place. Far better for everyone's healing that they get to a place where they can see redeeming qualities in themselves and build on them.

    2. Writing does help. Somerimes I journal and sometimes it is more lists/bullet points. I find it helps me figure out not only my feelings but also what I need to address with my husband. I can see patterns and what keeps coming up. I feel more organized when I talk with him. And it helps me prioritize what to bring up. I find if I try to talk about too much at one time it is too much for either of us. Sometimes I will print out an article for him to read and then discuss. The biggest change for me is standing up for myself. I already feel a lot better knowing that I am heard. I think it has taken me a while to get to this point. I think being must 10 months out it is settling in. The shock is wearing off. It has been a process but I notice a huge difference for me recently.

    3. H30,
      As nutty as it sounds, that's the good that can come of this mess. When we learn to treat ourselves with respect, when we realize the ways in which we've betrayed ourselves, we really can re-create our lives and our marriages in ways that generate more joy and peace of mind. Huge difference, indeed.

  5. My husband is a recovering porn addict. When porn no longer did it, he started chatting to women online. Then one asked to meet him and he did.

    He told me over and over that he was scared out of his mind at what he was doing when he snuck out of the house, that he really didn't want to do it, but it was like he was in a nightmare and running on autopilot. I said, when she asked to meet you, why would you agree to it if you didn't want to? He said that he didn't want to hurt her by saying no.

    I was all: Whaaaaat??? Didn't want to hurt HER?? A woman you knew online for a week? A woman who was looking for a partner so she could cheat on her husband? What about your wife of 13 years? You didn't owe her a damn thing, you owed me your loyalty.

    To which he replied, "I know, it's completely idiotic. I don't know what I was thinking. I wasn't thinking, that's the problem."

    So while in my case it wasn't a stereotypical damsel in distress situation, this post resonates with me. In the moment, he cared more about not hurting her than he cared about not hurting me.

    And while I will never think what he did to me is a good thing, his choice to fight for us when he just wanted to kill himself in shame has given me a new respect for him. His willingness to do anything to make it up to me helps so much. He's even told me that even if I had dumped him, he would have wanted to get into recovery for the porn addiction, because he did not like the person he'd become.

    When those thoughts of, "What the hell am I still doing here?" arise, I have an answer.

    1. Gee,
      So often, it doesn't make sense to us. But to allow ourselves to understand that, under different circumstances, we might have done the same thing opens the door to compassion.

  6. This post and the one before, speaks to one of the confusing but I think, true things about betrayal and reconciliation--That love is not enough. The healing of the relationship is not dependent on love only. For some, they fall out of love with their spouse because of betrayal --or atleast they become filled with hate and can't feel the love. But when you still love your spouse after all the hurt, you might think that is enough reason to take him back. But I think it is more fundamental for us to take the ideas of this post and the last one and ask ourselves the really hard questions:
    Do we both know how to love? Can my partner learn how to love for real, with actions, not words this time? Can I?
    Are we determined to do better for ourselves? Are we each going to take on the task of transformation? Sleeves rolled up, as elle says.
    Sticking it through reconciliation, doesn't stop at "I still love him and he says he loves me..." Because that will end up not being enough to build on and you may find yourself back here again.
    Two years later, I somedays I still wonder if my H is capable of those things, not because he is bad or selfish or dumb. But because he just can't do it very well, yet. It is a difficult thing to confront and honestly deal with having no example of this in our lives. He is trying, but this journey is very slow and very painful for me.


    1. Mbs, what you are saying is so true, after betrayal were stripped of everything we lay naked. It's there we start to try to build some foundations. Feeling like we have cracked it one day to a crumbling mess the next. We gotta dig deep give it everything we have if we gonna get to a place of peace, the journey is a painful one, recognise how far you have come mbs. I'm pretty sure we were all different people at the start of our journey to who we are now. Ladies give yourself a big hug your amazing :) sending each and everyone one of you lots of love xxx

    2. MBS
      In some of our early conversations my h asked me flat out did I think he was selfish. I turned it back to him and clearly stated that I know I'm a selfish person when it comes to him! I've had to share his attention for our entire marriage with our children our parents his job and personal friends and hobbies. The one thing I will never share him with again is another woman. He is clear that is a deal breaker for me. I've worked too hard on my way back from the beginning of this nightmare and I feel certain that he understood that yes everything he did during the affair was selfish and he was the only one that could change that to where he learns to prioritize the important aspects of life period. Still selfish at times but I too have come to understand that I can't be selfish all the time either! Hugs!

    3. MBS,
      Thanks for this post. I shared the concept of love not being enough with my husband after reading it. It's so true. His affair was never about not loving me. The distance between us was not about not loving one another. I think, honestly, neither of us loved ourselves. So here we are in our 40s and after 15 years together really taking a hard look at ourselves, unloading the baggage each of us brought into the relationship but never even acknowledged. It's hard and it requires a vulnerability that I have fought for a LONG time. I still struggle with understanding his choices, but the reality is that my head wasn't where his was. I will probably never understand it and I need to come to terms with that. We can't undo it, we can only move forward.

    4. MBS,
      I think what you're saying is that love as a feeling isn't enough. Love as a verb is. To love someone isn't just a feeling of warmth and a desire to be close. It's a willingness to put their needs first sometimes, it's a commitment to never intentionally harm them, it's a desire for a future with them even when today you want to throttle them.
      It is a slow and painful process. At two years out, I was still unsure whether we were going to make it. And when you have no blueprint by which to rebuild a marriage, it's that much more difficult.
      Are you two still in counselling? It can be so helpful to have that guide. And are you seeing real progress? Is he committed to learning how to be in a healthy, reciprocal relationship? He can't be lazy about it. It's hard work. But so worth it.

  7. MBS, our recovery was a "good" one meaning he was willing to do anything and "be the strong one because I could not" (wow-what a perfect way to sum it up melissa) and it continues to be a 'good' one, although at times we fall back a few steps. for my LIFE i could not have made it through this had he not listened and understood and listened again and answered the unanswerable. In ways he is doing better than I am, I think, in getting to his truth and yet it is still is slow and it still is painful at times. 2 years later we are still working together and fighting old patterns...and those are still steps in the right direction, which are the only steps we can take.

    1. MBS i missed the gist of my own post! Our recovery was a "good one" and yet it's still a sometimes slow and painful road 25 months out.

  8. One thing I have learned over these many years is that, after DD, my marriage will never be the same as before. In the beginning, I kept wishing, dreaming, hoping that we could recreate what we had. Confusing as it sounds, we both agree that we did have a good marriage, which I wanted back.
    That can never be. I am forever changed. Not necessarily always for the better. My H is forever changed. Luckily, for the better. Our marriage is forever changed. Mostly for the better.
    I do long for the young woman I was, so happy in my role of wife & mother. Blindly ignorant to even the idea of my H lying to me, let alone adultery! I look back at my younger self as a different person. I, too, as all of you reading this, lost my faith & trust in my H. Really, I simply lost my faith in everything & everyone. It took me a very long time to regain some of it. I still suffer from PTSD.
    But, when I came to realize that my marriage, as I knew it, was indeed gone, I shed the heavy burden of trying to recreate. I was able to start to rebuild it with my old H who finally "saw the light". I was able to pick up the pieces of the old me and form it into the me now. Not exactly what I wanted but I have to work with what I have.
    It wasn't an easy process nor was it pretty. It still isn't finished, a work in progress, and I doubt it ever will be completely. But once I recognized that longing for the past was futile, the real work began and we now have the same goal for a strong, happy marriage. I pray we reach it completely. But it feels good to go forward instead of back.

    Carol the first

    Bless everyone who has to go through this.

    1. Carol the first,
      Yep, it feels good to go forward even when that sometimes means a few steps back.

    2. One concept that really helped me was to think of this as a second marriage to the same spouse.

  9. Carol, this is a topic I would like to hear more about. I keep reading here that your marriage is never the same. I certainly get that, to some extent. I am not quite one year out from D-Day #1 - so, of course my marriage is different. I want to know from others, how is your marriage different? One thing that is different with my husband and I, is that he is more willing to delve into emotional/spiritual media. For example, the Brene Brown super soul session we recently watched together. The fact that through counseling we learned that we were making each other feel 'bad' under certain circumstances. And now we recognize that and we talk about it. Those are good things, obviously. The not so good things? At this point we are no longer having sex, yet we are cuddling more in bed then prior to DDay. Our lovey-dovey texts and notes have been gone, and are just starting to come back. There are other changes as well, good and bad. I would like to hear from some of you, especially those of you further along since D day, what kind of changes have you seen in your marriage? If possible, I would like some specific examples. Thank you all! Love & Light

    1. Melissa
      I can list many examples. Before my h would think nothing of making plans for himself as he had two years of being a 'single' man during the work week and married on weekends. We lived in separate houses due in part to his job, our daughters custody battle and my lab that grew to big to travel for the two years. I lived in our permanent home and he lived in the house for his job. I went back and forth and so did he. My mother lives in the city with the work house. He lived two separate lives became very good at showing me his love on the weekends and giving her what she needed during the week. He was all in for the first two months but became the master of lies for the next two years with her trying to 'help' her past a divorce and her job woes. She watched him build a fence for my lab, buy me a car to move up there in and watched the moving in day and told him her heart broke when she saw how happy we were. With in a month of that she began to blackmail him by telling him if it's truly over he needs to tell me. He admitted how much of a coward he was and didn't want to hurt me . He finally got tired of her blackmail and told her to do what ever she had to do so she blew my world up with truth. He has busted ass ever since doing anything and everything to keep us together! Hugs

    2. Melissa, I am so sorry to read about your betrayal. But we're all in the same boat so we can all relate.
      You asked for specifics. Well, for me, I have forever lost the glow of complete trust. Now, I believe but if I feel the need, I verify. If I feel uncomfortable about a situation, we talk about it. Sometimes I make modifications. (Exp: H wanted to attend a baseball game in the town where the OW lives. As a birthday gift I gave him airline tickets, hotel and baseball tickets-for 2. I included our son as it is no fun doing this alone, plus I had the comfort of knowing he would have a companion with him.) Yes, he assured me that he would have no contact with OW nor did he want to. But . .I bought myself peace of mind. I never would have done that pre-DD.
      A big improvement was working on myself. I entered college at the age of 50 and earned my degree. Big boost of self esteem! While I was working on myself, I became more interesting to H. I am now a volunteer peer therapist.
      The reason my H finally "got it" was by reading this wonderful forum. Elle had written a letter to the OW which put in writing my feelings exactly. I had H read it. He did and read many others that day. He came to me, in tears, telling me that he had no idea how badly and deeply he had hurt me until then.
      Our marriage is more of a partnership now. Instead of me being merely the mom, housekeeper, cook, maid, etc., I'm an equal partner in the business of our marriage. We still have our chosen household chores but we each share when we either want to or need to.
      My DD occurred August 12, 1981 after 20 years of marriage & 3 kids. We are now aiming toward our 55th anniversary (God willing). We did not let 1 year ruin 55 years of a good marriage.
      In one of my poetic moments I have described our marriage as a broken mirror. It will never be able to be put together again without the cracks & glue showing. However, when the sun shines on a flat mirror it reflects the flat mirror. When the sun shines on a repaired broken mirror, each facet catches the light and it shines brilliantly.
      I wish you well, Melissa, and I wish you strength to do what is best for you and your H.

      Carol the first

    3. Carol,
      I love what you said about not letting one year ruin 55 years of a good marriage. So often, I fiound myself believing his infidelity took away everything good that happened prior to it, but that would wipe out over 12 years together, the birth of both our kids, milestones with them and many other moments as a family. I still struggle with the time frame during the affair and feeling like everything that came out of his mouth from the day he met her was a lie. I know deep down it's not true, but that time frame seems... tainted. I hope that fades.
      Thank you for sharing your story.

    4. I agree it will never be the same. And that has been a struggle in some ways. I feel like my husband tore apart so many memories since he had affairs for so long. I know for him things were very sporadic so he was able to compartmentalize what he was doing. The one woman he only saw three times in 10 years and would go a year at a time without hearing from her. So as time would pass things would improve with us.

      I refuse to look at our marriage as dead. We say we are redefining our marriage. If it was dead I would leave him. For me dead means moving on without him. I cannot sit and talk about how we met, our wedding day, the day's our children were born, family vacations and all sorts of other normal and special days. Dead would mean final closure. Instead we talk about what worked and what didn't. I can see my major error was being how I always was very independent and someone that gets things done on my own. I never asked for help. I grew up very independent as an only child. I never sought out friends or was needy or asked for much. I think this along with his sporadic affairs made it easier for this to happen for him.

      We always talked about being a team but it is different now. My husband has a new focus me and us. Once he slipped up once he said it was hard to look me in the eye and hard to be close to me. So he went downhill while I did everything right according to him. Now we made decisions together. Things are just different. He seeks me out. He wants no distance between us. He engages with me in every way.

      And for me I think I am finally starting to get my feet under me. Finally at 10 months post dday I am starting to think straight the majority of the time. I have struggled to make demands of him and our relationship still. I also have a hard time figuring out my feelings and how to express myself to him. I can get overwhelmed and intimidated at bringing up things I want to talk about. For one reason he is in the mental health business and second he has been so amazing and made such a remarkable change in how he lives his life. This weekend I asked to talk with him since it is hard to find time with work, life, kids etc. I refuse to have my kids head any of this. I brought up that he has refused to set a weekly meeting time to talk since I asked in May. He admitted he does not like to talk about any of this but he wants to do it. I suggested on Sunday's we set a time for the week since each week is different and he said great idea and we have our time set for this week. I have to decide now what to bring up. we talked about two other topics. I feel so much better now that he heard me and we are going to try this new way and hope it helps me. I keep thinking this is a marathon and it will take time and lots of conversations.

      In the end I keep thinking I need to give us a fair shot as long as we are both invested. Too much good was there before he did what he did. That does not erase all the good. And honestly I am not sure if this makes sense but leaving him and starting over with someone new there are no guarantees that will be free of problems or issues infidelity or otherwise. So for now we continue our marathon healing process.

    5. Melissa I like hour comments too. I agree with a lot of what you said. In my house work ethic was viewed as the top quality. My dad always pushed me to work as hard as I could knowing I gave it my all. And yes lots of obligations. You do them to do them. And you gain satisfaction by doing not by getting praise. My husband grew up in the opposite type of house. Everything was done for him, school came really easily so no hard work there, he was an athlete so lots of attentio for that. He has even said he did not have enough rules, responsibilities, and expectations. So I can see why he turned into a selfish adult who did what he wanted. And what better person to compliment him than someone like me.

      I can see that I expected him to just do things and take initiative and he expected praise for what I saw as doing nothing or so little. We have changed this dynamic a lot thankfully and he can see where this all came from and me too.

    6. Wow, it's really interesting -- and great -- to see how you're redefining your marriages. Hopeful 30, one way to help you get clearer on your feelings and thoughts is to keep a journal. Find 20 minutes a day -- morning or evening is best, and then just write. Don't worry if it's boring or stupid or whatever. Just write. You'll be surprised at what comes out. Maybe not right away but after awhile a whole lot will burble to the surface.
      And Carol, you're story is really inspiring. Congratulations on your degree and your work as a peer counsellor. You're no doubt continuing to inspire many others.

  10. Hello ladies. I have read some of the posts in the "Feeling Stuck" forum. Wow, I should go there more often. This is something I have certainly learned post DDay. I grew up in a very large German farm family. We did not hear praise - our duties around the house were expected. I learned later in life that people, all of us, enjoy praise. As a manager, I often found ways to let my staff know how much I appreciated them. I cannot say I necessarily did that at home. I guess I reverted to my childhood, where duties around the house were expected. So, after D day, and after learning from my mother, friends, and reading online how very much men need to feel appreciated, I started to do such with my husband. His response? Why do you keep thanking me for everything? You never did that before. I came to realize that the thank you's did not mean as much to him as the actual words "I appreciate you" or "I appreciate that you did _______ for me." Both he and I know that all of our needs cannot be fulfilled by one person. It is not my job to make my husband whole. Even still, we each can do that which makes our spouse feel better.

    The other day he and I, through my encouragement, took the five languages of love quiz online. We were not shocked by the results, yet I do encourage all of you to do it with your husbands.

    My number one language of love is words of affirmation. So of course over the years that is what I have given my husband. Little notes and little cards and texts - in retrospect, I wrote more about how I loved him and how he was a good man and I may thank him for a fun weekend, but I never out and out said that I appreciate him, as I do now.

    My husbands number one language of love is acts of service. I have been trying to actually do more for him in that regard. I have been mowing the lawn which was not typically my job. Last night, he was working on a project in the garage which I offered to help him with and he gladly accepted my help.

    It is not easy fulfill your partner needs as a language of love when it is not your language of love. We are so much more likely to express our very own language of love, to those we love.

    We both rate high on physical touch and that has helped us through our entire marriage as we both freely give and receive that. We also both rate highly on quality time together and that we do.

    Funny, neither of us put much value in receiving gifts and that's a good thing.

    ( I am going to continue on another post as I may have run out of space)

    1. Melissa ... we took test funny now i know why i feel at times im spinning my wheels and not getting the reaction or result i want im not talking his language as my style is,last on his list! We reviewed talked about it and now we try ways to improve it ... i hope. Gotta start somewhere or fall down get up and try again ... within reason of course. Thx 4 that.

  11. I wanted to add one more thought.

    A friend of mine brought this to my attention while my husband and I were separated.

    I was telling her how my husband would attempt to take on everything around our house. He is very very handy and can certainly do most of it. Problem is, he did not have the time to do all of it.

    The particular issue at hand, was trimming our trees. I guess you can call me a tree hugger. I wanted to bring in an arborist to trim our trees, which we ended up doing. And I guess I did this and other situations as well, which I cannot recall right now. My husband used to tease me that if we brought in a professional from another town it would make me happy.

    In any case, when I was telling my friend specifically about the arborist she said to me you ' demasculated' your husband. Honestly, I'm not even certain if that is a word, yet I certainly got to thinking about what she said.

    My need to make it perfect i.e. perfectly trimmed trees, was in fact damaging his ego. So, that is another area that I am keeping my eyes wide open on. Again, not my job to make him whole, but if I know those types of things make him feel like less than a man, I can certainly live with less than perfectly trimmed trees.

    I have so many other thoughts running through my head that I want to share yet I do not want to overwhelm everyone. It's funny, I do not post for some time and then I feel like I have so much to say.

    Love and hugs to all! Happy weekend!

    1. Melissa your posts are really interesting so please keep posting. I'm gonna try that language of love I'm intrigued :).

      You sound like your both really trying to meet each other's needs, something I learnt to do more of recently, it really does make a huge difference. We all need to feel appreciated.

      If you have any more tips to share keep posting them.

    2. Thank you Sam. I get so much from you as well. :-)

  12. Hi Melissa my name is Shawn and I have only posted once before, but I feel compelled to respond to your question. I am only 10 months post D-Day, but change is all around me so I thought I would addition to no longer wearing a wedding or engagement ring I refuse to call our relationship a marriage. One of my position statements was that he opted (on behalf of both of us) to end the marriage on Oct 21, 2010--my birthday--when he had a one night stand while away on a course. Once upon a time I felt my role as a stay at home Mom was to "care" for this man, but his infidelity, deceit and porn addiction has taught me that care had come at the exclusion of myself. We were both guilty of that. Now in this new relationship I ask and expect that he assume personal responsibility and the responsibility associated with being a Father of four, a homeowner--heck even just a human being all of which for 20 years I scrambled around and tried to make happen on his behalf. Now we go to therapy and we dive into the grunt work of ordinary life and the muck of what we allowed into our lives. He has been striving to examine what happened, why and to look with an open heart at the fallout and destruction his choices created. Physical intimacy was like a tsunami of desperation at first (now I think back to how I longed to eradicate the memory of that "thing" from his mind, how I wanted to prove how exquisitely desirable I was...and then I awoke to the fact that those were my issues and not a means of repairing my shattered heart). I ask that we work at lovemaking and never refer to it as sex again. He is a sex addict which means I want no part of that verb because I don't want to be a piece of his disconnected, fantasy escape--I want to connect and experience the truth of two badly wounded people who remain willing to be vulnerable with one another. Some days I look at him and despise him still. I imagine the build up to the sex act and all that was sacred to me being handed to a slutty virtual stranger who insisted he perform oral sex telling him she was his and then asking him to say "I love you". May I just be clear he was drunk and met this beastie only one hour prior in a crummy little bar. I work at enacting love as Elle reminds us is how it works and he does the same, but occasionally I wonder where the ballsy lionheart I was in my youth went--the one who would have hit him with a shovel and buried him on our farm. The changes can and will be liquid and some days they seem like they are part of your truth, other days you wonder what the hell you were thinking when you said "this is how I feel or what I believe now". The most maginficent new parts are that I meet monthly with a group of women betrayed by their partners and I go into it with no defenses--no shame. Previously I would NEVER have admitted to being in pain or needing help even to the man I was once married to. Now I know that if he steers his life in a direction incompatible with mine--I will be fine without him. I asked him what changed for him and his list was long, but he said living with the agony of having really hurt someone you love is unimaginable, but the wonder he feels when he looks at me standing up among the ruins reminds him that this will take guts and he claims that the courage I have shown is his inspiration every day. So getting broken, livid, hate-filled, sad and more brave have changed me into a person for the first time, who is going to rescue herself. Stay strong.

    1. Shawn,
      I'm laughing out loud at your farm girl who would have "hit him with a shovel and buried him in the yard." Oh how tempting that would have been!
      Ultimately this teaches us, if we didn't already know, that it's always up to us to rescue ourselves. Handing over our power to someone else is always going to leave us diminished.
      Thanks for posting. I hope you'll continue to chime in. I think you've got a lot to say.

  13. Theresa and Shawn, thank you for the insight.

    Shawn, the line where you say "The changes can and will be liquid and some days they seem like they are part of your truth, other days you wonder what the hell were you thinking ... "

    Today ... tears. It is one of those mornings (I will do my best not to make it one of those days) when I wonder, "what the hell was I thinking?" - when I asked him to come back home when we were separated.

    The universe is unfolding exactly as planned. I am meant to be right here, right now. Where do I go from here?

    When I feel sad, and I don't know, I hear Elle, "the next right step."

    Wow, it is like the floodgates opened. Perhaps I am so emotional as I have been dealing with constant physical pain for over two weeks now. And with that I have not been walking, which always helps my mood.

    Thanks for listening ladies. The beautiful part of all this? I know if any one of you were here you would talk to me and comfort me for hours if that is what I needed.

    I am grateful for each one of you.

    1. Melissa,
      Too often, I think, we expect life to unfold in one glorious session. We think that if we're where we want to be then we'll never feel sad. Or bored. Or lonely. We chastise ourselves for being annoyed.
      But we're human. We get agitated. People bug us. They bore us. They hurt us. But when we open those floodgates and let all that emotion come out, we'll often see that it's not actually so much. As my 17-year-old will remind me, "sometimes Mom, I just need to have a cry." She doesn't need me telling her she's going to be okay. She knows that. She doesn't need me sharing a story about the time I felt like that, she just needs to cry.

  14. Dear one arm pie maker,

    I love your statement, "I wonder where the ballsy lionheart I was in my youth went--the one who would have hit him with a shovel and buried him on our farm." It got me to thinking, what did happen to my gutsy self? It just slowly melted away. What the hell does happen over the years? I would have never put up with his shit for so long. I'm not thinking about my marriage but myself and self- worth, self-respect. I may have eventually shifted it away from myself into my career. I certainly had gahonnas in that lions arena. Great question, which I will be thinking about. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Lynn Less Pain,
      My "ballsy lionheart" learned that life isn't always so black and white. It learned that there are many many shades of grey. I sometimes wish I didn't always see both sides to a story. I envy people who are so sure of their own perspective or opinion. But then I wonder what they miss...

  15. The anger isn't as bad as it was five years ago, but I still get triggered.

    After over a decade of my hubby's relapse into porn, we separated in the home. My son even gave up his room for a year. We now sleep in the same bed, but I'm still in limbo. He has to earn my love back with his actions and by staying sober. PB software did help him a lot. That doesn't mean he's been perfect.

    But here was my day yesterday. Me: Please MAKE SURE you pick my my prescription as well as our daughters. So, I get the bag at 6 pm and ONLY see my daughters. I friggin' lost it and out flies the F bomb and other words I stopped saying when I became I became a Christian. I called the pharmacy and they were still open. WE got into an argument and I told him to sleep downstairs. I threw the checkbook at him and said to go get it b/c I was in a lot of pain.

    He didn't even bother to tell me he didn't pick them up. Our communication many times sux.

    Then, we're dealing with a suicidal daughter who has severe bullirexia so much so that her psych was worried about her heart.

    He goes to Celebrate Recovery and so does my daughter and I. She also got involved in drugs this summer.

    Yesterday, I just wanted to go to a hotel by myself and shut out the whole fucking world. I'm so burnt out.

    We were supposed to go away for six days in November and my daughter decided to run away and ended up in the psych ward an hour away.

    Sigh. Once the marriage is destroyed, Satan starts in on the children. I pray for God to heal our family, and I just feel let down and pissed off.

    I finally found a therapist who is helping me focus on ME. My hubby and daughter have to work on their own addictions and made me feel so FREE.

    All my kids have told me they wished we'd divorced years ago and so do I. But like so many stay at home mom's, (I also homeschool) financially, I felt stuck.

    I did start teaching piano and had almost 11 students, but my health just could not take it all so I had to put that goal on the shelf. But...I would be able to take care of myself if need be.

    We'll be married 20 years in May and I want to go to Costa Rica. However lately, I want to just go by myself lol.

    Anne of VA

    1. Anne of VA,
      You've got a huge load to carry. And while both your husband and your daughter are responsible for so much of what you have to carry, they are both addicts, which means their ability to carry anything is limited.
      I'm glad you're focusing on you right now. You cannot nor should you try and help your husband and daughter. They need to manage their own recovery.
      Of course you feel let down and pissed off. You're dealing with a whole lot of mess. But you can't control that. You can control your own responses to it. That's where your therapist will come in. He/she can help you get control of your own emotions so that you don't blow up, you don't throw things and you don't just want to run away. He/she can help you recognize that feeling of everything building so that you can work through your pain and frustration and exhaustion before it spills over. It takes work. And it takes time because you're learning something new. But be patient with yourself. Be gentle with yourself. Be compassionate with yourself.

    2. Elle, TY for your kind response. You really are a champion for us and such an encouragement.

      So...I found porn on another phone he found and we are AGAIN separated in the home.

      I told my daughter that I wasn't even going to talk to her if she didn't straighten up her attitude. I was going to kick her out for her violent verbal shit, but I scared her into submission when I started packing her things. I did find some additional mental health support for her since her insurance doesn't cover outpatient therapy for her eating disorder that will help.

      But my therapist really helps keep me centered on myself.

      They both can deal with their addictions. My therapist said my job as a mom is done with my dot. However, she IS opening up to me more and telling me things. I've read that when one starts therapy, that things can seem worse before they are better and I told her that both of us are going through this.

      She's done a great job going to her appointments and she also sees a psychiatrist and so do I for panic attacks.

      But I do feel free to work on myself. I homeschool my 2 youngest and then I go to my room from 2 to 4 pm and watch Netflix and/or take a nap.

      And I try to do a watercolor and/or play piano and make goals for myself.

      One is to start teaching piano again possibly this fall.

      We didn't get to go to therapy today b/c of the snow here in VA lol. One inch of snow and the whole city shuts down but that's the south for ya ya'll.

      I asked my therapist to read Marsha Means book, "Your Sexually Addicted Spouse" so she can understand me more. She wrote it down.

      If I had the means and money, I'd be filing for separation and/or divorce. thing at a time. He can live here and I can work on myself and not let their behavior affect mine.

      The both also go to Celebrate Recovery and I go when I can. The support group is great there and I love it that as Christians, they don't put a fake smile on their faces and pretend everything is OK. Many of them are divorced b/c of porn and have problems with their kids.

      Anne of VA

  16. Elle, and to everyone here,(and on other blogs and in my groups.....the ones betrayed)

    I just want to take a moment and say how privileged I feel to walk among, and stand in the ashes and ruins of betrayal and witness so many awesome, insightful, brave, compassionate, fierce, spectacular human beings.

    I get those beautiful tears that cleanse the soul

    We are a force to reckon with......

    1. Val,
      I too feel a huge sense of gratitude for the BWC warriors with whom I walk this road. Force indeed.

  17. Thank you!!!! To each of you who shared the changes in their marriage since the affair and DDay. Theresa, Hopeful, Shawn, Sam, Dandelion and Carol: Thank You :-)
    Carol the first, wow. You struck me when I got to your date for DDay. You are inspiring and your story, and analogy with the mirror, truly warms my heart. Thank you for sharing with us all. Love & Light

  18. Carol
    You are truly inspirational and i wanted to thank you for giving me what I needed today. I feel like my marriage was good and then this happened and now I don't want to lose everything. I don't want to let one year ruin my marriage either so we rebuild with all the cracks. I too wanted what I had before and I'm slowly realising that it's gone and won't ever be back and whilst I cry for that my sadness stands in the way of future happiness. You have given me more hope that I can continue to have a good marriage even with the cracks that have been repaired.

  19. Right I'm just wondering why I'm not a whimpering mess in the floor. Is it the calm before the storm don't get me wrong I've been angry, sad, hurt and all the rest of emotions but on the whole relatively calm. For those who don't know I'm 28 months post d day and 2 weeks from my husband meeting an 'old female friend' for dinner, he'd kept it from me and I found the receipt to which he then admitted the above. So I immediately thought this guy is a complete idiot right not taken my feelings into consideration at all. If he hadn't already he should have gone all the way with this 'friend' as the secret and lies behind it wAs just as hurtful,

    So we start with the hysterical boding, me probing and prodding for more info then more hysterical bonding and so on and so fourth. Here's the problem I can't prove any more or less happened other than the meal and he's sticking to that so I'm going forward with the information I have. However he isn't getting away with it Scott free no way hosaaay we are awaiting an 18 week counselling programme which our counsellor has referred us for which I'm hoping is going to really help us both. By the way he is sorry for what he's done but words don't mean a damn thing I need to see it in action. Early days and I'm having ok days I know what I need to do, let's hope he does too.

    Obviously I'm hurt and disappointed with his choice it stinks. He's told this friend no contact anymore apparently she is moving abroad to get married but to be fair I don't care about her, my husband is my concern and I need to understand the full extent as to why he chose to do that. There is a bigger picture here which I'm trying to focus on.

    Can anyone give me any feedback on the above. Should I be doing any more than I am could he be doing any more than he is???? Suppose I just wanna get this right for my sake/ our sake and the children. My confidence has taken a sent for sure but my heads above water for the minute anyhow : ) . I know you ladies serve me well so thank you in advance. Love to you all xxxxx

    1. Sam A,
      I think sometimes when we're unsure how to proceed that's the time to just pause and catch your breath. This 18-week counselling will no doubt shift a lot of things in both of your brains/hearts. I might tuck this transgression away until the time comes to examine it under the cold light of time/day when he might be better able to really hear your concerns. Right now, he's dismissing your concerns as irrelevant because she's "just" a friend, right? With time and counselling, he might (!!) come to realize that's not the point. The point is the dishonesty. The point is the potential threat. The point is the damage it does to you and the trust in your marriage. The time will come, I suspect. But maybe it's not now. Just because you don't respond immediately doesn't mean you can't respond at all.

    2. Sam
      The feelings that you have are very familiar to me. In the beginning of the healing process for me, my h continued to seek out fun activities for himself and I would fly into a rage over the least little things. He had to understand that in order for my healing, I need to know in advance for him to make plans that don't include me. The fact that your h hid his dinner with an old female friend showed you he still doesn't get it yet. That's on him. I have to understand that my h needs time for him to be with the guys and before the affair that was easy for me. We both have different friends and hobbies but now my h has begun to include me in some of his fun activities. I'm rooting for you and just know we are all here for you! Hugs!

    3. Thank you Theresa, your so right he def doesn't 'get it'. I'm sure he'd get it if the shoe was on the other foot though. I sometimes blame myself because I was so trusting gave him all the freedom he needed/ wanted but I now know men like my h actually need clear boundaries, basically need to be tracked bit like you would with a child, so frustrating I have 2 children don't want a 3rd.

      He's got some serious growing up to do, still not sure why he deserves this second chance but I'm just sitting, waiting and taking care of me the rest I'm sure will come. Thank you for your time your kind words it's just what I needed xxxxx

    4. Sam
      I also tried blaming myself for being so trusting but the reality is that it was his choice to cross the line into a double life trying to keep two women happy when this really only made his life miserable! Now that I know the length of time he was truly in the affair fog versus the amount of time she spent guilting him in continuing the affair I can deal with the emotions that I still have issues with. My h is growing up as you put it but it sure seems like it took a long time! I thought we were growing up together since we have been together since we were teenagers. Seems like I was growing up and he was growing around! I no longer blame myself for any of the mess he created! Hugs!

    5. Sam a., I keep thinking about you and what you are dealing with. I am only at 10 months and I think about will we let our guard down with time? One thing my husband has repeated to me is he plans to not text, email, have a conversation, meet with anyone that i could not read or know about or act as if I was standing next to him. He has lost any independence he had before. I agree with this. And rather than me policing him I expect him to work hard at a this himself. He made a lot of bad decisions and mistakes. But if he wants me and our marriage then this is the price. I can tell for my husband boundaries get crossed and moved easily. He says yes to please others and make them happy even over making himself happy. All issues he is working on. I am almost the opposite with him. I have rigid boundaries. I have never had an inappropriate contact ever even when dating. I just have never allowed that to happen. So as I said in another post we are redefining our marriage. And a lot of that is me laying down my expectations for our marriage and boundaries i expect to be respected. And if there are not secrets and lies it is a lot harder for an affair or anything inappropriate to happen again.

      But in the end I think you are right they have to get it. We hear it over and over but so true it is up to them. And it all makes sense. I cannot control or do enough to keep another person happy. It comes from within. It is what I tell my kids almost everyday. You have to learn to like yourself and be content with who you are and what you have. My husband never was that and I never realized how insecure he was and selfish and entitled. I was naive and figured we shared so many of the same values and ideals that he would behave the same way as me. But as I have learned we are very different people. So now I work on me and pay attention to his behavior and actions.

      Hang in there and keep us updated.

    6. These men really do have similar traits!!! Doubt we will ever understand them Theresa. Different planets and and all that lol xxxx we gotta laugh otherwise we'd cry : )

    7. Hopeful, it sounds like you and your husband are doing everything possible to ensure he doesn't make this mistake again. Hats of to you both. Your h behaviour is very similar to mine in that he tries to please others at the cost of hurting me. I on the other hand are very much like you, I am happy from within, hurting anyone intentionally does not sit comfortable with me and I always consider the consequences before making rash decisions.

      I'm desperate for this counselling to start I really need the help right now, more importantly so does my h. I feel so lucky to be able to come here with my thoughts/ fears it really is a god send to me. I've been really down last couple of days agitated, hurt, confused having so much to say to my h but unable to say anything. I think silence is better in that situation as I'm not in the right frame of mind to discuss his betrayal
      Right now.

      Wish he could feel what I'm
      Feeling right now ; (

  20. Elle I do love you :) your words mean so much to me. You never disappoint. Thank you again for everything you do here for us. Xxxxx

    1. Thanks Sam A. Your words might lead me to become rather arrogant but, luckily I have my kids to remind me just how frequently I do disappoint. ;)

  21. I googled "how to stop obsessing about the other woman" and ended up here in a few clicks. This post. Holy hell...this post is everything I've been struggling with -- the fact that he has to want to love himself first... that it's "an inside job." This hit me hard and perfectly. My H chose the AP. So it's not to save my marriage that I am breathing this in like fresh air. It's to save my own sanity. Thank you.

    1. Jen K,
      Our sanity is pretty much the only thing we can really save. And it will serve us whether we rebuild our marriage or walk away from it.
      I'm glad you found us. If/when you're ready, feel free to share your story. You'll find an incredible group of women on this site who know exactly what you're going through, as well as posts on how to stop obsessing about the Other Woman.

  22. Sam, in regards to your above post - I've dealt with something very similar. My husband was in touch with the OW after DDay. First when he and I were separated and later after we were back living together. How do I know? He told me, first without my asking and then after I asked.
    I was torn, yet I read so much about a wayward spouse having difficulty severing all contact with the OW, especially where there had been an emotional bond. Why did I keep moving forward with reconciliation? He told me; he didn't have to. And ... he was dedicated to weekly counseling at the time. And ... I love the fool.
    For you ... the 18 week counseling program ... how fabulous. Much will come to light and much will be learned.
    With that enlightenment and knowledge, you will have more information to move forward ... or not. Either way, you have a beautiful life awaiting you :-). Hugs my Dear.

  23. How do I stop thinking about his affairs? Two weeks before Christmas I found out my husband has had six sexual affairs (all one nights with a bit of texting after)

    I am devastated

    I had to get through Christmas for the sake of the kids, and we have had one counselling session but I can't stop thinking about what has happened. I want to talk to my Oh all the time about it, but I can't.

    My oh says he never planned to leave me, that none of them were special but I'm just feeling empty and very lost.


    1. Anon: I'm so sorry for the pain you're experiencing...the pain we're all experiencing. Having had to force yourself through the holidays, I can understand why you're maybe just now able to let this new reality sink in, and the obsessive/intrusive thoughts are part of that. I think it fades in time. I say "think" because I'm not all the way there myself yet. Time has helped, as has getting the answers I need. Has your husband committed to total transparency and answering your questions? I'll be honest, there were some questions I asked, the answers to which have only fed my obsessive thoughts. It is a delicate game, asking for details. But the details about how empty it was, how emotion-less it was, how my husband was having sex with a thing, not a person of value...those details have helped me be able to stop thinking about it every second of every day. You will get there; I hope we all do. I found that setting aside time each day to think about it helped. When my mind started to wander to it during the day, I'd tell myself "not right now, at 6 p.m. you can go over all of those details and feel every ounce of that." Setting aside that time helped me make it through the rest of the day with fewer of the thoughts and images. That took time though, and it was not successful every single time! I hope you're feeling a bit better today. Hang in there. Sending big hugs.

    2. Anonymous,
      It's simply not enough for someone who's betrayed us to shrug it off with a "bit it didn't mean anything". That's not the point. The point is he lied to you. The point is he went outside your marriage for intimacy that you fully expected was only inside the marriage. The point is you were not given a choice in his decision to do this. And so on.
      The point is, he's asking you to give him a pass for something that's a devastating blow to a marriage. If he's asking you to give him a second chance, what is he doing to deserve that second chance? If it meant "nothing", then why did he risk his marriage for it? What made him think this was okay? Not once but SIX TIMES?? That's someone with a serious impulse control problem. How does he plan to ensure this doesn't happen again? How does he plan to earn back your trust? Those are all answers that he owes you before you should even consider giving him a second chance. And once he comes to you with those answers, you'll be in a better position to determine whether he deserves a second chance. You're not obligated to give him one even if he does everything "right". You get to choose what happens going forward. But without those answers, he's telling you to expect more of the same even if he's not using those exact words.
      Anonymous, betrayal is devastating. It takes a long time to get past the deep deep wound of a partner's deception. Give yourself some time to absorb all this. It's harder still when you're considering your children and the impact on their lives. There is no right or wrong way through this, there is only what feels right for you.
      We're here for you. Hang in there. Be gentle with yourself. Trust yourself to get through this. The day will absolutely come when this is just a bad memory.

    3. This hits me and what had been on my mind. I get the "it meant nothing, it had no depth, I hated it ... And on and on". But for me it doesn't compute. I know it is fantasy and my husband says none of it made or makes sense. And I do get that totally. Yet when he tells me he tried to break up with her yet he wasn't able to for 6 years something does not make sense. And I get it was sporadic we would go months without any contact and longer without seeing each other. I don't know. I feel like I am in a he said she said discussuon. He says he understands me but I question that. But he says he has no more answers he can provide me no more details and he is telling me the truth. Then I ask why did you lie and hide the details after dday one and he says he was ashamed and wanted to make it not as bad for me. Such a joke.

      And the statement about impulse control hits me. I keep saying to him someone that can have two affairs at the same time, im'ing women for a year, secret email account, secret fb account to follow women including his ex affair partners, emailing women, flirting with women, porn use he admitted was too much (after much questioning on my part and him saying it was all normal) etc I have big concerns. Not to mention worries about alcohol and how that played into this, minor gambling... He says it is over. He said he allowed his boundaries to move too far. He says it was a slippery slope and once it happened then it went too far. He is happy and relieved I know everything (supposedly) and wants to be transparent and authentic. He said he would rather did than anything like this again. But my therapist says it is like an alcoholic saying I swear on my kids I will never have another drink and just going ahead with life.

      So I sit here thinking about my next step as you say. What will I say in my next discussion with him. I feel this is a road block between us or at least for me it is. He has never been happier in his entire life and has never been as authentic and honest as he is with me right now. And I think sure you are happy things are going your way.

    4. Hopeful 30
      It was hard for me to believe my h had tried to end things with the ow when she continued to maintain contact. Once my h and I could really discuss the details(with out me spinning out of control) I began to really listen as he told me how the affair started how it quickly moved from new sex for him into a very emotional dependence for her. I watched him struggle to explain the details of the attempts to get her to move on with her life and leave him alone. His last attempt included taking her in an out of town business trip that she turned in her mind he really does love me, he's just not strong enough to admit it. Well he says he told her all the way back that was the end. She continued to blackmail him for about 5 more months to meet her for lunch, just as friends, to bring closure. I struggle with this part occasionally still. My thoughts were if you really wanted out why not just man up and tell me. His answer, I'm a coward and a weak man but I'm working on myself. I guess I was able to finally understand his struggle to get rid of her because even after she unloaded all her truths and was told by both of us to stop, it still took a court order for her to leave us alone. For six months this woman kept interfering in our lives trying to convince my h that he was to remember the good times they had and the plans they made. My point is, my h tried for several years to get rid of this woman and when she told me he thought great over was so relieved and all that. Well five months past last contact from her, I'm now able to focus on my relationship with my new improved h! It has been a struggle for both of us but the changes we have both made are helping us grow closer as a couple. In order for me to maintain my happy, I had to stop concentrating on his faults and to really look at how hard he was working to become a better man! We choose daily to find new experiences to enjoy together and this is helping bring intimacy back into our relationship. I hope this helps some! Hugs for your struggle to find the way up this path.

    5. Hopeful30,
      Theresa makes a good point -- I don't think many of us will ever really understand how/why our spouses cheated and managed to keep up the deceit for so long. Often it's that they're masterful compartmentalizers. Often, it's that they're cowards, controlled by a fear that if they rock the boat with the OW, the OW will tell us. Often, it's that they've spent a lifetime lying about little things -- to themselves and to others -- and this is just further down that road. All of which is why they really need therapy to get to the root of why they went down this road and gather skills to ensure they don't do it again.
      I don't doubt that your husband is happy to be done with it. As much as we think affairs are sexy and exciting, the reality is that they add a HUGE amount of stress to life. Once that stress is gone because everything's out in the open, it does feel good. My husband felt like a ten-ton weight had been lifted. And I felt like it had landed on me.
      There's no guarantee that your husband won't do this again. But you can watch him change and become a better person who's far less likely to cheat again. You can rebuild a marriage with him that's based on honesty and respect.

  24. Elle, thank you for getting me out of the house of horrors and back to hero land. You are right we have to be our own hero as your words ring true. You words influence change in lives and not many people can say that. You have a special gift of giving new hope and life. After your overhaul of truth, my slap in the face, time to wake up truth, I woke up thinking first thing this morning thinking about the OW waking up at the same time as me. I'm wondering if she misses my husband. As many times as she tried to reach him, yes, she does miss him. There is no one for her that stays for long. I'm spooning with my husband who is soft and warm when it's cold and I know today he will continue to choose me. She is spooning with no one in particular and knows today my husband used her. My husband rejected her. She tried hard to take my place but she knows she didn't succeed. She is a failure, who no one wants. I'm busy with my husband, we have plans for today. She is bored with no one who cares enough to be with her today. She feels loneliness. She feels ignored. She realizes in her dark heart she had two years of his lies, casual passion, loveless interludes and she had to resort to blackmail of sorts (unspoken I will tell your wife) to keep her stake in the game. She knows what she was missing and wants my life. She knows my husband and clearly knows the life she is missing. Today she knows she is not good enough to have it. I'm getting my hair done in an expensive salon. She is writing her bills by herself wondering which man may give her money this week or not. My husband is always a phone call, holler away or by my side. I know where he is all the time. She has no one to call who can come in an instant because they want to, but because they feel obligated. She is not a priority in anyones life. I wake up without a guilty thought in my head. Revenge yes, but not guilt that eats at your core of a person. She deserves this life she chose. I'm happy about these thoughts of how miserable she probably is. I know these things from what my husband told me about her. I don't feel sorry for her. I tried to give out my own justice but it is not satisfying. I ask God for my justice. I can't dole out the kind of justice He can. He is better at letting life itself make someone miserable because of their choices so much better than I ever could. Now if he tops off her choices with some of his justice. I pray to God, if someday she cries out to Him, please just be quiet God for awhile just don't answer her right away please.

    1. Lynn less pain
      I read your wise words and they make me want to invite you over for a cup of coffee and warm hugs. I feel the same way you do about God and how she has to answer for all the pain she helped create in all of our lives! Like you, I know she will always have only her old memories of my h and I will have the new improved version of the man she thought she knew so well. I have to admit I felt relief as well as smug that she had to spend a night in jail without anyone to hug her and tell her it was going to be ok. I'm not sure I was 'happy' about her later miseries as she lost her son this same year and reached out to my h within hours of this and my h told her Theresa and I will pray for your family. That night we prayed for them and ourselves to find peace. I was angry in the first moments that I saw her text as she brim the no contact order that morning. We still have to drop the harrasment charges as h and I don't care to go to a jury trial and look at her because I know too much of that past and even if convicted only 200$ fine. So after knowing her life is sad forever losing my h is the part that I feel happy about. I do pray for this ow to find peace with God and knowing that my h and I have grown closer to our religious upbringing. I'm still triggered but I return to this blog find comfort from what I read and move my mind back to happy thoughts and making plans for a sunny life filled with rainbows and butterflies! You cheered me on a little further today! Thanks Lynn (soon no more) pain!

    2. LLP and Theresa,
      I would not want to walk in their shoes -- either the betrayer or the affair partner. No matter how horrible this is, I can look at myself in the mirror and that gives huge peace of mind.

    3. Just an update on justice. Various posts throughout this site, I felt like why should I be the one who does the right thing? Look where that got me. Why should I be the one to give and give? Look where that got me. Why did I put up with all the shit? Look where that got me. Well girlfriends, Karma, God, Budda, or the righting of the universe just rang my bell. I found out that my first husband who abused me, has been and still is homeless, drug addict, no teeth, his own family ignores him, malnourished, no money and his mind is so bad that no one can hardly understand him. I waited 40 years to hear justice has been served. He is living his own hell from his own choices and My God answered me loud and clear. There is nothing I could have done in my own power to bring this on him. I could have never brought this much sorrow to him although believe me I thought about. So for all my girlfriends out there, who want justice from the hurt and pain. Who want justice for the terrible things the OW has brought to your life, which you didn't choose. I'm telling its there, it's real and it is true. Hang in there, don't give up, keep being all those good things you post. Just because you don't know it's happening doesn't mean it hasn't already started. Stay strong.

  25. I am feeling my husband and I have made some major headway. We are having our weekly meeting at my request. And setting some more set in stone parameters for me to feel better about situations and also to establish a new normal for our relationship. Really everything I bring up he agrees with me. For example, he gets a lot of texts from friends and some from family and work. But the friends texts are a lot. I wrote down both of our monthly texts totals for the past 18 months. When he gets these texts now he does not always respond but it is disruptive. So I brought it up. When he is not on call which is one week a month he puts his phone away when he gets home. He also is making a conscience effort when we are together to not focus on it when out and about. There are other things related to what I expect when he goes out with friends. So I am feeling much better at least speaking up for myself and getting it out in the open more.

    I am feeling unsettled about one thing. just a reminder my husband is in the business as a highly successful mental health professional. Well at his suggestion so I had someone to talk with he suggested therapy. I started one month after dday number 2 since that hit me harder than number 1 honestly. My therapist said once he started with me we could not bring in my husband, he didn't want to be a part of it. In the end he kind of said he would. But I had already been once and really was looking forward to having someone to bounce my thoughts off of, it can be hard discussing things with my husband. He is well trained and is not excuslivley a marriage or couples therapist yet he does some and is trained in it all. So when we talk I do have some reservation that he is telling me "the right thing." He is very well spoken, deals with attorneys a lot and stays calm and knows the right thing to say in most situations. Well my therapist likes the changes he has made for our marriage and me. He said it is remarkable the changes he has made. His concern is that my husband is not seeing anyone for himself or not supportive of couples therapy. He did tell me not to give him an ultimatum. He said he advises me not to do that, his concern is even if he did see someone he is not sure it would be effective and any different than our current status. My therapist is concerned due to the long term and variety of things my husband has done and has issues with that my husband does not see that he has any issues, my husband sees it as saying he will not ever do any of these things again, he has matured, he has learned, he has had a wake up call.... He feels like he is aware enough of all that contributed to all of his inappropriate behaviors. My therapist says though this was not a one night stand or one big mistake but 10+ years of deceit plus a lot of other bad decisions and behavior. I am so confused though since my therapist is advising me not to make an ultimatum and he feels it is complicated by his level of professional experience and training. And the fact that his behavior/actions/words are all so supportive of me and our marriage. My husband has done a 180. Yet he is telling me to be vigilant and like the alcoholic who says I swear I will never take another drink ever I would rather die than do that yet gets no help or support that that person is rarely successful. And I think my husband gave me his word at our wedding and over and over through the years before he started down his path of bad decisions. I would love to hear if anyone else has any insights.

    1. Hopeful30,
      I'm inclined to agree with your therapist. Your husband's strong resistance to therapy for himself or couples counselling tells me there's something there that he really REALLY doesn't want to unearth. Otherwise, why the heck not, right? He clearly values therapy given that he treats others. And I don't know a single therapist (and I know many) who don't acknowledge that we can be incredibly good at seeing others' issues and incredibly blind at seeing our own. That's human nature, no matter how well trained we are.
      I think the deeper question is why he won't do this for you given what he's asking you to do for him. If it will help you feel better, if it gives you a greater indication that he's willing to go outside his own comfort zone, then why the resistance? After all, he's asking you to move past an incredible legacy of deception. Subjecting a partner to betrayal is putting them in an incredibly uncomfortable situation (to say the least).
      So, frankly, Hopeful30, that's what's most concerning to me. Including his threat that you better not make it an ultimatum. Or what?
      For now, stick with your therapy. You'll begin to better hear and trust your own intuition. Listen carefully. Talk it through with your therapist. And then figure out what you need to move forward. This is about you and your healing.

    2. Elle,

      Sorry i did not explain it clearly enough. My therapist is the one who said not to give him an ultimatum. I am benefitting from the therapy for sure and it is helping me. My husband had been insightful as to not only why everything happened but the cause of it from childhood and young adult hood etc. He says he feels like he has done the work and had changed. I don't know. Then my therapist said this week after saying not to give an ultimatum he is not sure if my husband would even benefit. He feels he could meet with him two times and have nothing else to face. I know my husband had done a good job with making changes in his behaviors, decisions, actions etc for himself, me and our marriage but at this point I am thinking more long term. He didn't start this stuff up the day we met or the day we got married. It took 15 years of being together and 10 years of marriage. I need to deal with this more with my therapist and will bring it up this week during our talk.

  26. Hi Everyone,
    Nice be back after so long. =)
    I also believe that being open-hearted goes a long way in recovering post-betrayal. I had a very hard time doing this a couple of months after DDay (I still do on very, very bad days - which are thankfully becoming rare). It took all of my will-power, a lot of prayers and reading posts and articles from this site to understand and let this understanding translate into positive actions. Which leads me to the question: How do you react to/treat the betrayed spouse of the OW? The thing is, it's been almost 2 years since DDay, and the BS of the OW is still bothering my husband. Not in a physical, violent sort of way, but he still blames him for the way his marriage turned out. He does this through occasional emails and text messages (which we've blocked). He keeps on mentioning me, like 'how can your wife stay knowing you cheated' etc etc. Note that the OW left him 5 months after DDay, and he found a new girlfriend a month after. Though I 'get' his pain and anger, I couldn't understand how he still keeps on thinking that his wife is blameless for the way things turned out. It's not as if my husband cheated all on his own. It's ironic that while I still hate the OW, I know and accept that my husband is about 50% to blame. I say about 50% because who knows what really went down during the A, right? And I have accepted (on good days) that I will never really fully know or understand. Advice anyone?
    Love lots, Pam

    1. Welcome back Pam! It's wonderful to know that you're doing so well. Yay!
      That's an interesting question you raise and I'm not sure I have a good answer. On the one hand, I'm tempted to tell you to just block him, don't respond, etc. because he's clearly made your husband the lightning rod for all his disappointment, anger, etc. You might suggest that he seek therapy to deal with his anger and pain because, clearly, he's not dealt with it effectively.
      You might also want to make it clear that any continued contact from him could lead you to go to authorities and cite harassment.
      Each couple deals with any sort of pain differently. While some couples become closer with a sick child or an elderly parent, others fall apart. Betrayal is, I suppose, a bit different but your choice to stay is yours alone. Not his and trying to make you feel as though your choice is stupid or invalid is very disrespectful to you and, you might tell him, only compounds YOUR pain. Perhaps he can extend some compassion to you.
      Any other thoughts, BWC sisters??

    2. You can get the police to contact him with a phone call about the harassment we tried that first but we did have to finally file a full police report but that was to stop contact from the ow. I think if her ex h could meet my h he would shake his hand for helping him rid himself of the wife who had betrayed him many times before my h. It also depends if he is making threats of any kind. Avoid in person contact! Good luck in the coming months!

  27. It is that simple, I need a hero. I want to know how long will you love me? How long will you tell me the truth? Not just when I'm dressed in a red sequin dress, hair fixed and nails done. Not just when I fun and bubbly. Not just when I'm preppy with so much energy I can fix world hunger. Not then. I even like myself then. I want to know will you love me when I snap at anything that moves. When my tongue is sharp enough to slice a boulder. When I'm so exhausted all I can do is think about sleeping in my don't fuck me pajamas. How will you feel about me then? I offer no escape. I offer no fantasy. I don't have to that to offer. I'm not that kind of woman and never will be. Can anything separate us from love, trust and truth between each other? I want to see your answer. I want to feel your answer. I want your answer to be loud, brawling, ear splitting so I will believe it. I live in today. You taught me not to trust my tomorrows. Can't you see all I want is for you to look me in the eye and say "Your special" and show me I'm special. It's that simple you nincompoop. (Not of sound mind) Latinnon compos mentis.

    1. Wow, Lynn. This is such a powerful post and one so many of us can identify with.

      Even though my H isn't considering the OW as an option and says he wants only me, I still sometimes feel like I'm doing the "pick me" dance. I sometimes wonder if he truly sees my value, if I'm something precious to him on my own merits, or am I just the representation of the life he's built as a husband and father. He doesn't want to lose me, but I'm not convinced that it's really ME he doesn't want to imagine a life without.

    2. Dana,
      I understand what you're saying but I don't think we can separate out our roles. Would I necessarily "pick" my husband right now out of a lineup of guys? I don't know. Part of what I love about him over those others is that I've seen him be a loving father to our children. I've seen him break down over the death of his mother. I've shared joy with him, the birth of our children, job stress, etc. It's all wrapped up together and I don't want to lose any of that.
      It's why the affair partner can be so initially appealing...but often, in the end, so UNappealing. There's none of that. There's just this person that our spouse can assign all sorts of attributes and essentially create a fantasy. They often don't really know the other person...and once they do, it all comes crashing down.
      So while I really do get what you're saying, I'm not sure we can ever expect someone who's known us for so long to see us apart from everything we bring to their lives. My husband doesn't love me because I'm "sexy", he loves me because his life, with me in it, is better than it would otherwise be. And that's going to outlast sexy every single time.

    3. Thank you Dana for asking that question. And Elle, thank you for your beautiful and truthful insight.
      Yes, I have gone through that. Am I special? Frankly, I struggled with that before the affair, especially early on in our marriage. Coming from a family of 11 children, it is hard to feel special. When we were first married my husband went out of his way to make certain that I felt special and that I felt loved. Now? I have grown over the years and I know that I am special. However, I know that everyone is special. That may sound kind of funny if we are all special ... maybe we're not special LOL What I mean by that is we are in fact all very very valuable - as I said during a counseling session with our therapist I said I am precious you are precious and you are precious nodding in my head toward the therapist and towards my husband. Do we all treat each other every day, and every moment, as if we know that that person is special? Or that that person is precious? No, unfortunately we do not. The point I am getting at is this; my husband may not always treat me as if I am precious, in fact, I do not always treat him as if he is precious, and I know that we both are. So, I feel precious with my family at times, I feel precious with my friends at times, and I feel precious with myself at times, and with my husband at times ... For those times I am grateful. Long ago my sister said, a person doesn't always love you the way that you want to be loved. I will mention again the five languages of love you can go on the Internet and take the quiz each one of you. And even if that doesn't happen, you know in your heart how truly special, valuable, and precious you are. With that, let your light shine :-)

    4. What you're saying makes perfect sense, Elle. I guess what I'm looking for is that I'm special on my own merits and not just in the roles I fill within the dynamic of our family. I want to know that he loves my intellect, my passion, my body, etc....not just the stability being with me offers.

      We are in couples and individual counseling right now and those are fears we both have; that need to be loved and validated for WHO we are as individuals (his are a part of what allowed him to have the affair in the first place and then to allow her back into his life behind my back 2 months ago so he could play the adored white knight). His anxieties over this started well before mine did, as mine is mostly a result of the affair.

      There is nothing he truly wants from the OW (although, he wishes they had never gone down the path they did so that he could still be a friend to her...from a distance). They have nothing in common aside from past sexual trauma, and she's very mentally ill. She doesn't compare to me in any way...except for the open adoration she pours all over him. And he knows that much of that is an act she's been using for the better part of 30 years to get what she wants from a multitude (hundreds) of men. But, it still hurts that he chose her in any way at all, for any time at all. The counselor says that, for a time, it was like a lock and key...he had a hole in his self-esteem that she perfectly filled for a short amount of time. But, that's the only way that they fit at all, and that fit is no longer applicable:

      I guess I'm still looking to feel secure, in all honesty.

  28. Pam, ignore him, block him ... just as you have. It is often easier to blame/hate the OW or the OM so that in fact you do not have to blame/hate your own spouse. Although I have known from the beginning that it is my husband who betrayed me the most, there have been days that I have been furious with the OW. One day I said to my husband, I would like to run her over with a car, but I will not because she has children. He asked me, why don't you want to run me over with the car? Inside, I was thinking sometimes I do! And my answer was this, I see your pain, I see what you are going through, I see your remorse… I do not know, or believe, that she is going through any of that. Having said that, again, my husband was the one who married me, we had taken vows together; she She knew I was married, she is a human being, and she is a woman… For that she owed me to not have an affair with my husband. Yet who owed me more? Who betrayed me more?… Without a question, my husband. The betrayed spouse that you are dealing with, has to come to this realization on his own. As for him questioning why you would stay with your spouse, it's none of his business. I am glad you and your husband are standing together in this. Be free of her. Be free of him. And live your life as you choose.

    1. Melissa,
      I have said these exact words to my husband. "I see your pain." He has taken full responsibility for what he did. He works hard at our relationship every day. He's dug in and looked at all the ugliness that led up to the affair and while we both acknowledge that our marriage was in bad shape, he knows his choice to cheat was unwarranted. (Somehow that word doesn't seem strong enough.) He sees me in pain and says it kills him to know he caused it. He never wants to be that person again.
      But her... I don't know. It's true she owed me nothing with the exception of human decency. She knew my husband was married. She was too. But wasn't it enough to have an affair with my husband? Did she have to accuse me of being the problem in my marriage? Did she have to lecture me on how I should forgive me husband even with broken trust because "people make mistakes"? Did she think I needed her to remind me that my husband loves me and my kids? Did she think having a sick parent entitled her to break my husband's request to not contact him? Was being "under a lot of stress" an acceptable reason to try to insert herself in my marriage again? Why when I asked her to be respectful of my marriage did she resume the affair? And why did she give my husband ultimatums to stop having sex with him until they were "both single" and then lie and tell me she never intended to try take my kids' dad away?
      And yet, I let her walk away. I have days where I hate her. It's possible that she feels remorse. But she's shown through her actions that she had no real compassion for the pain she played a role in. She owed me nothing but as a human, how does a person do what she's done? I don't think she's happy with herself, but it probably has more to do with not "winning" and being in a marriage she's not happy in but not willing to do anything to change.
      But as much as I hate what she did, I circle back to my husband being a willing participant. It's true that he is not doing this things any more, but the past has a way of haunting me. It's a vicious cycle and I know I need to let it go.
      Knowing this and applying it to my life seem to be two totally different things. I feel like I've taken a huge step backward. I admire those of you who have found your way through it.

    2. Dandelion, I can see where you have a more difficult time " forgetting" the OW as she truly meddled in the reconciliation of your marriage. I read where a wayward spouse referred to his AP as "bunny boiler." I do believe all OW's and OM's are bunny boiler to some extent - there seems to be a continuum - from mild bunny boiler to full boil. The OW in my case was mild bunny boiler. A woman with issues, obviously, or she would have never become an OW - yet once the affair was out in the open, she contacted my husband on a very limited basis - frankly, he contacted her more than she contacted him. And here is a woman who made it very clear to my husband that he could remain married to me and she could continue to date ( translate: sleep with) her new boyfriend and she could continue to remain married to her husband, with whom she was separated. There's a real gem. My point being, I believe the nature of the OW and the interference they bring into the reconciliation of your marriage, makes some situations more difficult to get through than others. Lastly, I do believe that an 0W, current or past, is absolutely not a happy person. Their life sucks and they know it. My wish for them is that they somehow learn to be a better person. I want them to learn to be a better person so that they never do this to another person and they can be good to the people in their lives. In my case, the OW has three grown daughters - with three marriages under her belt and an affair with a married man, at least one that I know of… How can she possibly be a role model to those daughters? For the sake of her daughters, and one day her grandchildren, I do hope that she becomes a better person.
      Love & hugs

    3. Thanks, Melissa. Fortunately, she has been out of the picture for a while now. After it all came fully out in the open, she never contacted him directly. There were a few things that she did that were indirect and through other people. I have no way of knowing with certainty what her intent was, but I know what I think. After several months, she did quit her job (they worked together) and subsequently moved. Her husband is military so it was likely due to his job. I do have that to be grateful for.
      I find it interesting that she knowingly entered into an affair where the fact that it was only sexual was openly discussed but then decided she wanted more. I've read other posts where women said th OW wanted their lives and I guess in some ways that was her goal. And she used sex as the negotiating tool. Her actions show over and over again how broken and desperate she is.
      Ironically, she also has three daughters. I pray they don't grow up being taught that their value lies in their bodies and their appearance.
      Again, thanks for your insight. You have an amazing level of compassion and understanding. I hope in time I can work through this.

  29. Today is my anniversary of D-Day. Although I knew it was coming up, I did not even remember until I was sitting in a meeting this morning and saw the date on my phone. Honestly, I am not certain that this day is significant for me. I don't feel bad about it. More than anything, it is a marker of time. And with that, it makes me feel good. Good when I see how tremendously far we have come. We have stopped counseling, yet through my suggestion, we are starting a weekly meeting. As I told my husband, I did not go through this hell to not learn from it. We must grow as individuals and we must grow as a couple. So, as I told him, I would like to either read from a relationship book, watch an spiritual/educational program, such as a super soul session, or simply have a heart to heart. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart. Although I do not always post, trust me, I am here every day. My husband says to me sometimes, what are you reading on your phone? Are you with your ladies? And most times the answer is yes, I am with my ladies.
    Peace be with you all.

    1. I LOVE that we're "your ladies", Melissa. And I'm glad to hear that things are going okay for you. Anniversaries are a bit over-rated, I think. Then again, I'm the less romantic in our relationship. My husband used to put me on the spot with friends, suddenly turning to me and demanding to know what our wedding date was. (I often got it wrong -- day, year, whatever.) But a marriage isn't about the day you said, "I do", it's about all the days following that when you say "I do" over and over and over.

    2. Melissa
      I remember the day one year the ow beginning her campaign to tear my marriage apart and I refuse to care about that date as the one I celebrate is April fools day! That was the day she went to jail and the judge ordered no contact! That is what mattered to me more than any other dates as that was the day we began to heal as a couple! My h had spent two years treating me like he did in the early part of our marriage. He made changes in himself for himself first and had to learn how to help me with my healing. When I realized I could go hours without obsessing about the ow, I felt so much stronger and am slowly regaining my confidence that marriage is growing stronger as well. It feels good to find peace! My h can tell when I'm with my ladies as well! Hugs!

    3. That's beautiful Theresa :-)

  30. On one bad day last week. I ask him a question about how to get over something, he said I don't know why don't you ask your girlfriends on that site. I said I will. I did. Everyone put in their two cents and my mind was in a better place. Thanks girlfriends. I would be a lost soulful woman with out "you all."

    1. LLP,
      Ha! That's hilarious. Though I can see why some guys can feel a bit threatened and imagine that we're virtually creating voodoo dolls of our asshat husbands. H'mmm...not a bad idea, come to think of it.



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