Friday, January 29, 2016

Warrior Post: Smart Advice for the Newly Betrayed

"Anonymous" posted this awhile back on the Feeling Stuck forum and I asked for her permission to re-post it. Her experience is similar to many others on this site. As we often say, the exact details might be different but the feelings created by the betrayal tend to be universal. I think Anonymous has some really good advice here. She's careful to stress that her husband's affair was absolutely not her fault. That was his choice. But she outlines how she re-evaluated her whole marriage. Affairs do not have to be the death knell for a marriage. If both partners are willing to work hard to rebuild, it's possible. That's not the right path for everyone and we each get to decide how to move forward after betrayal. For some, reconciliation isn't on the table and that's absolutely okay. But no matter how we respond, healing is our ultimate goal:

  1. Hi ladies. I am 22 months out from my D-day. I've been lurking on this site for a long time. The kindness and support here has been amazing and has helped me tremendously even though I haven't shared my story until now. I can feel all the hurt on the site and wanted to share my story that things can and do get better. It's true what the other survivors say, it just takes time and effort on both parties.
    My H's OW was a sales rep for a company that his did business with. A few client dinners, with mutual attraction in the air and you can guess the rest. I found out by seeing a text come through when his phone was on the kitchen counter.
    I went crazy. CRAZY. Called her, she hung up after realizing it wasn't him. I then proceeded to fill up her entire voicemail box with message after message about what I thought of her. I got her email from her phone. I blew that up as well with some nasty messages containing disgusting words I didn't even know that I knew! I raged at him. Tried to kick him out, told him he'd never see our children, etc... Looking back, I'm not proud of my initial reactions, although I do think they were justified.
    I learned it was a physical affair (PA). Been going on for 6+ months at the point I found out. She lived 4 hours away from us, thankfully. I don't know that I could have or could bear the chance of running into her.
    He had no hidden addictions. The reason behind the affair boiled down to his freaking ego. This woman made him feel desired, attractive, manly, a sexual God (YES, I AM ROLLING MY EYES!)... I've had to accept it in my mind that he was craving the feeling of being wanted. Doesn't excuse the PA but it is a human thing to crave that. I did some soul searching and had to reassess what our marriage had come to. I honestly couldn't remember the last nice thing I had said to him. I acted like sex was a complete and total bother and obligation. We were basically roommates; roommates that didn’t even seem to particularly like each other.
    I want to say therapy was key to our recovery. Get yourself into any that you can. We couldn't afford to go long-term, unfortunately, but we really did learn some tools in how to speak to each other with the sessions we had. Not to say we didn’t have blow outs but there was an effort by both of us to be kinder before things escalated into madness. No matter how horrible things were, every night as we got into bed we both reaffirmed to each other that we were committed to moving forward. Although, some nights, it was just lip service! But we said it every single night.
    An affair is inexcusable. But when I came to terms with the cause, it did help us become stronger together. I do not blame myself (thanks to this site!), but I do now see things I did that had him feeling unwanted. This gave me the chance to change and show him how I really felt about him. He fed off the change in me and did a complete 180 himself. Now there are little silly love notes, texts for no reason – all these little things we do to show we care and it truly does make all the difference to us now. The PA isn't and never will be forgotten by me, but I can now say it is forgiven. What a weight to be lifted.
    As far as the OW, I know many of us get obsessed with her. I did too. It truly wasn't until I let her go that I could start to even slowly move forward with him. I realized with almost a bolt of lightning one day in the third month after D-day that I was blaming her MORE THAN HIM. I was letting HIM off the hook because I was so focused on her. How could I blame her more than or even as much as HIM? She was a stranger to me. HE was the one who stood in front of friends, family and God and vowed to be true to me. HE was the one who fathered my children. HE was the one who used to whisper sweet promises to me about how HE'D never hurt me, etc... Maybe some will disagree, but I wanted to share that it helped me in my healing to let her go. I couldn't let her control my mind any longer. I had to take back that power from her. Trust me, I hold her responsible to an extent and I'm not going to be inviting her to my Bunco team or anything!!! But, focusing on what I determined to be the real problem - HIM - was so helpful to me. Carrying hate, hurt and anger towards one person is enough. Carrying it against two was truly drowning me. She never responded to any of my communications (if you classify my screaming incoherently with every other word needing to beeped out as communications!) so we never had any nasty confrontation. She didn't contact us, didn't stalk us, nothing. She went underground. I am thankful to her for that now. I don’t know how I would have reacted if she had and I know some of you have some truly horrendous things to deal with when it comes to the OW in your situations. Oh, but I will say he is no longer “allowed” to do client dinners by himself. His business partner has taken on the bulk of that task, or else both of them must go together if it’s absolutely necessary that my husband must attend. That may change but it’s a compromise that we made for now and it’s been working.  
    The fights still happen, but they are more infrequent. The OW is truly a distant memory in my mind. The good times outweigh the bad. Finally!
    Hang in there ladies. There are going to be fights. There are going to be very ugly things found out about the affair. Horrible things will be said by both of you. It’s true – we didn't deserve any of this that has happened to us. But, unfortunately, it did happen. Try to learn from it, it's all we can do. Big hugs to you all and hopes for a truly happy year coming your way. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, no matter what route you take. Life goes on, make sure you take an active role in living it! We are strong women and we define ourselves. We aren’t defined by what has happened to us. Bless you all and keep up your tremendous support for each other. 


  1. Anonymous, first let say I am glad you have (like many of us) been able to heal your marriage and move forward. I am concerned however with a few things. Not for myself, but for newer betrayed. One thing is this: it is okay to be angry. It is okay to give someone a piece of your mind. They just damaged you, your marriage and your family. They violated you in a deeply personal way. They have exposed you to whatever STD's and infections they may have. Anger can be a healthy emotion if we use it correctly. Second, you say "but when I came to terms with the cause". You seem to identify this as his need to feel wanted. That didn't cause the affair. His selfishness and his inability to express his needs in a healthy way caused the affair. You go on to say "this gave me the chance to change". I feel so sad for you when I read that. While every marriage needs to improve on any number of things, I sincerely hope and pray HE did the changing FIRST. You speak very little of what HE did to change. It reads very much like you are saying.....All he really needed was cake! So I gave him cake! And guess what?? He ATE IT! He was so thrilled with his CAKE that he started behaving better! If I keep giving him a steady supply of cake he will not cheat again. Problem solved!

    He should not "feed off the change in you". He should have been changing, and YOUR HEALING should feed off of that change. He should have been learning in therapy why he couldn't be an adult and be faithful to you. He should have been learning how to set boundaries and understand his vulnerabilities. Instead, it sounds like the two of you focused on what HE was lacking in your marriage. YOU worked on fixing it, and VOILA! Problem solved. You can't say you are not to blame for his affair and spend the entire post pointing out how you fixed the "cause" of his affair by giving him more attention.

  2. PART 2

    Lastly, I politely disagree with your position towards the OW. While I FULLY agree they have no place in our present OR our future, they DO have culpability in the affair. If your husband had walked into a bank and robbed it, Ho-worker at his side, I promise you she would be in jail right there with him. I don't blame my husband's AP for his decisions, I blame her for HERS. She made choice too that were damaging to me and my children. She lied to him about having an STD and that impacted my heath. I have let go of the need to seek retribution (thank God and good therapy) but I will always hate her for what she did and the choices she made. I have spent the vast majority of our recovery focused on my husband, our marriage, and our recovery and our future. That is exactly how it should be. HOWEVER. Sometimes it is HEALTHY for a newly betrayed to hate the OW. Sometimes we "seem" to hate the OW more and that isn't the case at all. Our husbands ARE the ones we vowed our lives to, and so we KNOW them. It is at times easier in some ways to forgive them. Particularly when said husband is a bawling mess of remorse. When you see your husband willing to go to counseling, adhere to new boundaries, meet your needs, etc. his remorse and regret are TANGIBLE things. Most OW have ZERO regret. Just the opposite in fact. They continue to pursue "their" married man. They continue to initiate contact. In some cases, they even attack the betrayed wife and spew hate and lies on her. The OW seeks no forgiveness because she wants to cast herself as the victim. Why wouldn't you hate that person? Why wouldn't you blame them for the things they have done and show no regret for? But the secret is not to STAY in that place. Anger has it's place. It's season. The best predictor of long-term success in a reconciled marriage is this....does the husband own what he did. Does he seek the help he needs to understand why HE made those choices or does he blame-shift responsibility to the wife and to the marriage? Truly remorseful husbands eventually "get it". They will stand up and own their mistakes. Then and only then, do BOTH spouses have the safety and security to move forward with strengthening the marriage.

    1. Thank you, Exercisegrace. In a constant concerted effort to find 'my truth,' I return again and again to the subject of guilt and my part in this horrible mess he created. I've looked at it from all angles, I've been true to my counselor, I've attended a support group faithfully, I've fasted and prayed. It's been a year, 'only' a year. But this much I know; I did nothing to cause or facilitate or excuse his behavior.

      Sex? After nearly 30 years of marriage, I had come to accept that there must be something wrong with me because I wanted sex to be more, hmmm, sexy, I guess. Fun. Kinky, sometimes. I didn't know that he didn't want me in that role; I was supposed to be the good wife. He satisfied his 'dirty' desires elsewhere.

      Communication? We talked, and I believed his lies. I trusted him. As a military wife, I learned early on that I was strong and capable and could keep the house and the finances and the family running quite well while he was away. I made no demands, I didn't nag. We were a team, or so I thought.

      Our marriage was not prefect. I don't know of a single marriage in the history of marriage that was perfect. But I knew one day our commitment and hard work would pay off, the kids would be launched successfully, my husband would retire, and we would start a new and exciting life together. Oh its new and exciting, alright. It's sad and full of pain and sometimes hopeless. He had turned into an incredibly devoted, attentive, loving husband, and I wonder if I'll ever love and respect him again. I can think of 10 good reasons not to leave, but not one good reason to stay.

  3. All I can add is amen and yes! You nailed it for the home team! You are the kind of strong woman brave enough to share a way forward for all of us! No matter which part of the path we may be on, words like this give hope, justification, and validity to the trauma we have in common! I applaud your words!

  4. How exactly did she change herself? Is there more sex? Is she enjoying it now? Why didn't she enjoy it before?

    We've all heard stories how our hs have changed. I'd love to hear how BS have changed. Exactly what are they doing different on a daily basis that they weren't doing or trying to do before the infidelity?

    Very curious:)

  5. I'm 6 mos post DDay and I am struggling with obsessing over the OW. I know it's not healthy and I won't be able to move forward unless I can learn to do so. My husband says he does love her but knows that he can't be with her. He is committed to our marriage but misses his emotional relationship with her. I'm so torn and every day is a struggle. We are in counseling but not sure it's helping much. I wish he would work on the reasons why the affair happened. He's told me that he's not sorry that they met and had a connection, just that I along with our marriage was hurt by it. He says he's trying to get over her and hasn't had any contact, but what happens if she reaches out to him? The fear and the uncertainty are sometimes unbearable.

    1. Shelley,
      It's not your obsession with the OW that's keeping your from moving forward, it's your husband. While I know that some guys really do experience a sort of "fog" about the affair, your husband seems intent on letting you know just how little he regrets his choice, which seems incredibly cruel. There's often a period of time in which the cheater misses his affair partner and the excitement of the affair. But is he essentially asking you to rebuild a marriage with someone who would prefer to be with someone else? If so, are you willing to be in a marriage with someone who's made it clear he'd prefer to be with someone else? We all make our choices in life and people have stayed in marriages for all sorts of reasons. But I'd love you to consider just what YOU want going forward. You can change him but you can certainly use this as an opportunity to start making yourself a priority -- and to create a life for yourself that doesn't include this sort of pain. If he's not working on the reasons why he cheated -- if there really isn't any real remorse for the choices he made (only the pain caused by getting caught), then he's leaving the door wide open for him to walk through it again.
      Shelley, this is YOUR heartbreak and you need to make some really clear rules around reconciliation. But I would start by doing some soul-searching yourself -- with the help of a therapist -- about what you really want for yourself going forward. Your husband has one foot in his marriage and one foot out and he doesn't seem to want to change that. The fear and uncertainty feel unbearable because you're giving away all your power to him. YOU start making some choices about your life. You are stronger than you know.

  6. Shelley, you are right your husband must look into himself to see what he got out of the affair and to explore the feelings he thinks he has for this woman. It's not fair to you to be living in this limbo state. Sometimes people do fall for others, but an affair often isn't that, it's just filling a gap or brokenness in the person who has the affair. My husband had an emotional affair for over a year, with a few meetings. When he told me she existed it was because he really felt he loved her, didn't want to lose her and was trying to figure out what to do. He then proceeded to go through a month of very hurtful to-ing and fro-ing before he decided that he didn't want to lose me and his children even though our relationship was, at that point on very shaky ground. Despite some personal counselling and months of going over the whole thing, tears and trials trying to reconcile, my husband admits that he never really dealt with what he felt she meant to him. Eventually he admitted he felt he loved her but when I asked him what he liked, loved about her as a person, he couldn't really answer (in this case they weren't particularly compatible.) But she was making him feel wanted and appreciated, admired and loved. Nine months after d-day your fear happened, she contacted him. Unbeknownst to me he kept in contact with her in a friendly way for over a month before I happened to find out (he didn't tell me which made reconciliation harder. In his own words it was only when we then went to marriage counselling and the counsellor asked what she and the affair meant to him and how did it make him feel that he really began to explore those feelings. He began a process of sitting with the feelings he had felt to see how they came about and what they were about. Now he realises that while he did care for her as a person, it wasn't really love, it was the feeling he loved, not her and it never would have worked. Whether or not this is the case with your husband, and even if their connection really is more solid than that, we can all have feelings for other people. He needs to see what you mean to him and how this connection with her totally undermined the connection you and he have. It's not just your 'marriage' that's hurt by it, it's you and it's the connection that you as two people bound over the years have. It's possible to have feelings for other people but he has to face up to the fact that the feelings for the other person did damage. By holding back he is also ensuring that you and he will not be able to connect and find love again to your full potential. No-one is perfect for each other but lives are a package and you could have a great life together the more you are both willing to put into it. Both of you will benefit from getting closer and choosing each other DESPITE the potential of other people. This is no time to be on the fence. I understand how you can hold onto feelings for another person, I did it myself with my first love, thinking those highs would never be reached again but now I realise that, as I say, our relationships come as a package, how we are the same, how we are different, our extended families, how we live our lives, the things we value individually and as a couple, where we live, what we do. All these add up to make a whole. Your husband needs to look wider at the kind of life he wants to make, his values and the things he holds dear and if he really wants you and your marriage he needs to feel proud and confident that this is a positive choice, not one he's half hearted about. I hope things can become more solid for you, you really need to feel secure and loved. Best wishes.

  7. There's nothing wrong with taking an honest look at your marriage and relationship, recognizing the deficits, and working together to improve. But marital deficits do not "cause" an affair. Character deficits do. My husband and I had also become roommates instead of lovers. We existed in the same house but we did not exist together. He cheated. I did not. Same marriage. Different actions. He admitted during counseling that his entire life he has been able to justify getting whatever he wanted. He acknowledged that his actions were those of an incredibly selfish man. That was our starting point for healing. Fixing the deficits in our marriage is a part of the process but definitely not the cause. Learning to communicate more effectively will strengthen our marriage but not "affair proof" it. Once my husband faced his character flaws and chose to change then we could move forward to saving our marriage.

    As for the OW. She willingly had an affair with a marriage man. It was just supposed to be sex but then she decided she wanted more. She wanted him. After D-day I had to get an order of protection against her to keep her away from my home. My husband got his own protection order against her. She stalked us like the crazy woman she is. She chose a married man for no strings attached and then decided he was hers after all. Husband and OW are equally guilty. I will despise her till the day I die. But I am not married to the OW. She is no longer a part of my marriage. She's in the past. With time and hard work my husband will be my new, renewed future.

    1. Anonymous,
      That pretty much sums up the philosophy on this site: there may or may not have been deficits in the marriage but they did NOT cause the affair. I've simply heard of too many "good" marriages that have experienced infidelity to believe that any one type of marriage (ie. a "bad" one) causes anything at all other than misery. It really comes down to the ability of a cheater to rationalize what they're doing.

  8. Denise
    My h moved out on DDa 1. I consulted a lawyer, cleaned out the checking account, and my lawyer filed both a restraint order and served him with papers. During this time I was seeing both a psychiatrist and therapist on a 2 weekly basis. He in the mean time moved in with his affair partner also his employee for a week. After that he moved in with his sister six doors down from me. We spoke sporadically. He vacillated between reconciling and divorcing for 3 months. During that time everyone asked him to find a counsellor. I asked about MC but he refused. He was talking to his cousin who is a non-practicing physician. His story was she was smart and she thought about becoming a psychiatrist--insert huge eye roll here. He kept coming away from his talks with her that "it wasn't the affair that was causing problems. The affair was a symptom of deeper relationship problems". Not problems within himself, no marital problems!!! SERIOUSLY he sold himself that story and his charlatan cousin reinforced it. So forward a few weeks and we are speaking regularly. Making nice. He's still seeing the OW and she's putting on the hard sell to stay with her. Although by this time he's found out not only was she a drunk and a gambler, two things he despises, but while he was cheating on me she was cheating on him with her ex step son for over two years of their 4 year affair, insert great big grin on my face and schadenfreude here.

    We start MC 3 months after DDay 1 and he's still living apart from me. At the onset of MC I thought we were going to fix our relationship and he led me to believe that. Not so, he was hoping the MC would tell us to get divorced that we were hopeless, insert thought bubble that says 'you really aren't that stupid are you'. When she made the suggestion that she could mediate a divorce settlement for us I rose to the occasion and set both MC and husband what I was there for and I didn't need her help in mediation thank you very much, I had a bull dog attorney. He then earnestly started MC, not really but that's later. So during MC we spent lots of time hashing out the affair. During that time every freaking week I would try to come up with reasons and ways our relationship broke down over the years. Guess what, I got nothing. I'd ask if I did this or did that. Did I nag him. Did I ignore him. Did he not feel appreciated, loved, admired, supported, stifled. Was I a lousy cook, homemaker, laundress, ironing woman :/. Was I not sexy enough in bed. Ok I did have a few lbs to lose but even that wasn't an issue with him as the OW was every bit my size. I kept trying to discover how his affair was just the symptom of something gone wrong in our marital relationship. And I kept getting answers from all my educated therapists and my husband that I had done nothing wrong.

  9. Continued

    I was frantic. I had to find something in myself to fix because I knew damn good and well I couldn't change or fix him. Something I could change about myself to fix our marriage in return. Around all corners, nothing. Even during my IC sessions I strive to see how I can change and be better in my relationship and I get nothing but you did nothing wrong in the relationship other than to live and trust a man who doesn't deserve it. So I changed on my own. My husband prior to affair wanted for nothing. I took care of everything at home. His clothes were immaculate, his closets and drawers were orderly and fresh. His dinners were delicious and served every night when he got home at the time he chose. Stuff was broken at home, I found help to get it fixed. I gave him space and didn't press him when he seemingly had an erectile dysfunction problem. Was loving and didn't shame or emasculate him.

    Today, 4 years later, Lol his socks and underwear are mixed. Rarely to I bother even making sure the socks are the same. Hardly anything is ironed. Meals are misty eaten out unless I schelp some kind of soup or salad together. I hired a cleaning lady. And I demand a fulfilling sex life. I went too many years without and it was his shortcomings, if you know what I mean, not my lack of interest. So yes I changed in my marriage. But I would bet $10000.00 most men and him would have found version A of me more desirable as a wife. So yes, things needed to change. I needed to to stop treating him so good. I needed to quit blindly trusting him. I needed to get mad when he abused my good nature. And that's exactly what I did and he seems to love it. He's never seemed happier. Lesson learned for me, some people don't want to be treated good. Got it 😃

  10. Anyway the point being Denise is while my husband was lapping up the justification Dr Cousin.i.thought.about.being.a.psychiatrist was dolling out to him and assuaging his guilt. So did I. I surly did something that contributed to the breakdown of our relationship that he willingly chose over and over and over again to betray me and our financial security. If I could change those things about ME all would be well. But when it came down with finding my shortcomings, there were none anyone could find. Well hell. Now what do I do. My marriage was doomed.

    Sometimes it isn't the relationship or its seeming breakdown. Sometime people do really boneheaded things because THEY are assholes. They are selfish and entitled and they have lousy moral compass and character. Doesn't mean they can't change. Some can, most cannot. Mine seems to have. He acts like he adores me. He caters to me. He apologizes. He reassures and tells me all the time how it is I who is the love of his life. It is I who rose strong and saved his life. Ok, who saved mine? Me, that's who. And I didn't have to turn into an asshole to do it. I just had to set my boundaries and stopped catering to him. Now he's afraid of me leaving him. Crazy, right? But everyday I chose to love and try to forgive him. It works for me. As convoluted as it is, it works for me. And until it no longer does work for me, I'll stay. But I keep my eyes wide open

    1. TH,
      I think you've hit the nail on the proverbial head. Sometimes people do things because they are assholes. And, if they want their partner to even consider giving them a second chance, they need to figure out why they behaved like an asshole and how to ensure they never do it again.
      As for your prescription for how to save your own life? Should be written on every bathroom in the country: Set boundaries and stop catering to others. It really is about treating yourself with respect, treating others with respect and insisting upon respect FROM others.

    2. Excellent TryingHard! Your story sounds so much like my own. I no longer cook, I barely clean, and I demand great sex frequently. He seems to be completely happy taking care of me for a change. I should be over the moon, but I'm still wondering if all the work of rebuilding a marriage is worth it when the result is a marriage with a big ol' asterisk forever. I know folks who survived infidelity and fell in love again and had romantic weddings on the beach. I just don't feel it.

  11. I have to agree with exercisegrace's comments.

    It's not about us as Betrayed Spouses changing! It's the cheater who needs to change it's this action that fuels the healing needed by the betrayed spouse. The unfaithful needs to learn how to set boundaries and understand their vulnerabilities. This post does sound like the two of you focused on what HE was lacking in your marriage. As EG says "You can't say you are not to blame for his affair and spend the entire post pointing out how you fixed the "cause" of his affair by giving him more attention".

    Three and a half years post D-day I am not so angry but I believe anger is a normal response to adultery and needs to be recognised as such. How we then respond to our feelings of anger is something we can work on ourselves but if you don't feel angry that your spouse has been shagging someone else - what's wrong with you!!!! Also it's OK to hate the OW. Again, there is no need to act out this emotion but it's OK to feel it. Again, I think it's a normal response. Plus if you feel this, you cannot actually stop yourself from feeling it. It's not humanly possible to stop thinking about something that you want to stop thinking about. It's the paradox of consciousness.

    1. Marriagerecovery,
      I really didn't get the sense that she was blaming herself or using the "entire post" to point out how she fixed the "cause" of his affair. I read her post as one woman's recognition that her marriage was in deep trouble, even without factoring in the cheating, and that if they had any hope of actually creating a marriage worth fighting for, then she needed to own her role what had been happening in her marriage. Again, this was HER experience. It doesn't have to ring true for everyone and clearly hasn't. But it did ring true for me. I absolutely did nothing to cause my husband to cheat (given that this behaviour even pre-dated my existence in his life) but there's no question that our marriage had problems that I'd been doing my best to pretend weren't that bad. Were the problems MY fault? I would have to say 'no' but I think it becomes a no-win situation if we really get into who's more to blame. At some point, each partner has to take full responsibility for him/herself. But I will not be held accountable for his cheating nor should I be. That's on him.
      As for thinking about the OW, you're right. I think it's natural to be angry. But I also think we can sometimes feed that obsession because it serves us in some unhealthy way and it's then that we need to work to find ways to let it go.

  12. I struggle with all of this too. I have asked so many times what was wrong with our marriage that contributed to this. And my husband has said absolutely nothing, I did nothing and our marriage did not contribute to this. He has said what he did then caused issues in our marriage. He became detached and not a good husband or father. He has said that he could not see me in a positive light or then he would be even a bigger jerk. The only thing he says he could even find fault in is that I did not ask him to leave or move out. So in a way I find it worse than if there were obvious cracks in our marriage, that you can fix. I cannot fix another person. Only he can do that and based on what he is telling me this is all on him. I have gotten a dozen or so reasons/excuses many that contradict themselves as to why this all happened. I struggle with that, he says a lot of it does not make sense it was fantasy and not reality and meant nothing. Yet I feel shortchanged and struggling to move forward, I feel like that is the easy way out. You don't have two 10 year relationship with no meaning and depth that meant nothing. You don't need to try to break up with someone and then you are unable to and not call it a relationship in my book. Yet all this time I would get cards saying how much he loved our life and how lucky he was to have me as his wife. Great vacations, trips as a family and with each other too. Great gifts and lots of positive. He explains it since it was all sporadic.

    We are doing great with the current day to day. And I know each of us had slightly different experiences but for us all I hear is that it has nothing to do with me or our marriage. Nothing I have done or in our marriage would be any reason to cheat on me according to my husband. And what is funny on dday one of my first thoughts is I have never changed in the 25 years we have known each other. I mean I have grown up, had kids, lived life. But I am at the core the same person. I have all the same traits as when we met at 19. And all I could think was has he always lied to me and is he not who he is or did he change and who can lie to his wife and kids every day for 10 years. I do see him in a different light, it is hard to believe the things he says to me now. Only time will tell...

    1. Hopeful30,
      Yes, it can feel "easier" to point to specific problems but that's because it feeds into our desire for control. If the problems are within our control, then the solutions are too. One of the toughest lessons in all this is that we come to realize we can only ever control ourselves and our responses to things. Even within a "perfect" relationship, a partner can cheat for any number of reasons that we may never understand and that have everything to do with their own issues or psychological makeup or whatever.
      It's a big part of what is so terrifying about betrayal -- we realize that there were parts of our partner that we didn't know. But we can never every really know another person. I would argue that we can never really know ourselves until we're put in a particular situation. Some of us behave in ways we couldn't have imagined possible.
      What we can do is try to always remain open to learning more about ourselves and each other.

  13. Here here Elle,
    'Remaining open to learning more about ourselves and each other'

    We each walk our own path, live our own pain. We have a platform to voice our pain, let's stand together as btw.

    Love you ladies xxx

  14. Hi all. I am new to posting here, but have been reading this blog for the past few months. My D Day was September 14, 2015. I had been married almost 24 years-4 kids. I've known him since I was 18. The night I found the first stuff on the computer, I asked him to leave. He lived out of our home for a couple of months. There were 4 physical affairs and MANY other online sexting/chatting and sharing of pictures-yes, sexual addiction. Physical affairs? Two local women he met online chatting and two women he worked with. I have read on here that contacting the affair partners is not the best idea-but I did. Five women in total. One online- older woman who was constantly sending pictures and texting- I blasted. When she tried to contact him again, I let her know in no uncertain terms what I thought of her-expletives anyone who knows me would have been shocked to hear me say. The one on Facebook that had a crush on him in high school and gladly sent pictures and videos? I asked him to message her that he would no longer have any form of contact with her, as his wife knew the extent of their "friendship" and he would be blocking her from all accounts. I watched him type it out and send it, along with that he apologized to her for "dragging her into his brokenness"(his idea). The two from work received emails (a little more thought out)in which I let them know what I thought of their part of hurting myself and our children (received apologies from both-that was crazy) and the last was the hardest for me. He had sex with her the week before I found his chats that Monday, and she was the only one he had sex with on multiple occasions. She continued to try to contact him after D-Day. At the end of October I wrote a letter to her. I gave myself some time, reread it and rewrote it. I took it in to my counselor and asked her to hold me accountable to what I wrote. She questioned my purpose. I know my husband caused my pain, but I don't think it's right they get to go on without being confronted, like it's their "little secret" with my husband. If they feel "violated" because I confront them with their behavior- welcome to my world. I was not looking for an apology (though admittedly, it was nice to receive that from the two) or dialogue with them. I could care less what they think of me, as I read his whole line of BS "poor me-my life is so hard, my wife doesn't take care of my sexual needs (um yeah, that man pouted if he went longer than a week),my wife is selfish (um yeah, all people can be, but I can't top his selfishness) bunch of crap lines he used on those desperate women. I figured, if they hate or blame me for not being able to have a relationship with him-oh well-they never belonged in one with him in the first place. Then I asked him to drive me over to where the last one lived, so I would know where to deliver it. A dumpy, run-down apartment building(this was actually good for me as I no longer had delusions about how "great" this "affair" had been-I could see the desperation in it). I asked him to walk up to the door and point it out for me, because I knew I would be nervous and wanted to know where I was going. A few days later I drove back there, my best friend with me. It just so happened I pulled up into the parking lot next to a woman who matched the description was sitting in a car that matched the description. I was nervous-my friend wasn't. She went up to the window, the woman rolled down her window, confirmed who she was and I went up to the window and introduced myself, asked if she knew my husband. She looked white and stared at me blankly. So I asked her if she lived in apartment 13, and after repeating it, she finally said yes. I said okay, you're the one, this letter is for you. I walked away, got in my car and drove to the front parking lot of the complex, parked and cried and my friend prayed with me.

  15. (continued) My husband has been back in the house w/me a few months. He has given me his accounts and passwords, had his friend put Covenant Eyes on his devices, made himself accountable to a support group for sexual addictions, and been honest about his problems w/his closer friends and our pastor. He goes to therapy with me. He has cried and apologized. As far as I know, his behavior has changed. My problem ladies? I am a mess. I feel like he has all this weight lifted and it got dumped on me. My past 20 years with him have been called into question (not all physical affairs, but porn, chats, etc.). I struggle with what was real. Almost 5 months out and tired. So tired of feeling fine one minute and in the next as he tries to hold me, hold my hand, etc. the thought pops in "Did he hold her like this?" or after sex-I read your post on bonding-yes, greatest sex until a thought hits me :(-questions and thoughts hit me in droves. I love my husband-well, on occasions love and hate, am angry with, sad about and hurt by. I want this to work. We have a history and he seems sincere in dealing with his issues-he never once has blamed me. But I am tired. I can't even enjoy his bending over backwards to make amends because I get stuck in my pain, his mistakes and my thoughts and questions. Does this ever get any better? Can you recommend any ideas for getting through these thoughts and triggers? I know I will survive this, I've been through a lot-but I am exhausted.

    1. Survivor,
      Short answer? Yes. It gets better. It can get a whole lot better. But while your husband is likely experiencing relief (indeed, a 20-ton weight has been lifted on HIS shoulders and placed on yours), you're reeling from the news that parts of your life feel like total fiction now.
      So much of your healing depends on you getting the support you need. It sounds as if he's got plenty of support to help him through. But where is your support? You need others -- not just him -- to help you focus on your healing. To help you respond to the post-trauma, to hold you when you just need to cry, to remind you that you will laugh again, that the day can come when this is truly behind you.
      If you don't have a therapist, please get yourself one, preferably one that has lots of experience with partners of addicts.
      And please...don't hesitate to share here. The women on this site are unfailingly compassionate and wise and wonderful.



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