Sunday, February 28, 2016

You have to reach...

"She had to do more than hold on. She had to reach. She had to want it more than she’d ever wanted anything. She had to grab like a drowning girl for every good thing that came her way and she had to swim like fuck away from every bad thing. She had to count the years and let them roll by, to grow up and then run as far as she could in the direction of her best and happiest dreams across the bridge that was built by her own desire to heal…Nobody will protect you from your suffering. You can’t cry it away or eat it away or starve it away or walk it away or punch it away or even therapy it away. It’s just there, and you have to survive it. You have to endure it. You have to live through it and love it and move on and be better for it and run as far as you can in the direction of your best and happiest dreams across the bridge that was built by your own desire to heal.”~Cheryl Strayed, author of Tiny, Beautiful Things and Wild

So often I tell those of you who come here seeking hope and healing that you need to give it time. Time is a four-letter word as the minutes feel like days and the days like lifetimes. Three to five years is the general estimate for getting past betrayal, say the experts. Three to five YEARS most of us scream when we first hear it. YEARS?? We were hoping a few months of tears and recriminations and somehow this would be behind us.
But though I stand by my insistence that time is a great healer, healing isn't a passive exercise in watching the minute hands sweep. It's not enough to simply mark the days off a calendar, like a prisoner awaiting release. As Strayed advises any of us seeking a release from suffering, we need to fight like hell for it. 
It sounds exhausting, doesn't it? Surviving feels Herculean and now I'm asking you to fight like hell. Seriously? Well, yes. I am.
Not right away. Not without taking a break now and again to gestate, like a caterpillar inside a cocoon
But nobody but us can reach for our own salvation from this. Nobody is going to ride in on a white  horse and save us. (And frankly, be wary of anyone promising to do that.) 
Cry. Rant and rave. Write your story out until you're spent. And always, always reach.
What are we reaching for? What do we hold on to when we don't know whether to stay or go? When we don't know whether to believe the pretty words on our partner's lips that sound so much like the pretty lies we believed?
We reach for healing. Healing that looks like wholeness, with or without him. Healing that looks like shore when we're drowning. Healing that comes from a heart strengthened where it was broken and capable of deep self-love and compassion. 
We find that healing within our own determination to survive this. To know that, no matter how shattered we feel today, there's still tomorrow. And the next tomorrow. And that one of these tomorrows, we'll feel a crack open in the darkness and tiniest sliver of light will show through. But we have to be looking for it. We have to be reaching for it. Through radical self-care (that will be called selfishness by those around us unaccustomed to seeing us love ourselves. Ignore them). Through compassion and forgiveness for ourselves for whatever we deem our failings to be – we should have known, we should have handled it better, we should have done things differently. Maybe. I've yet to meet a soul who's lived his/her life perfectly. Let it go. 
We heal through sharing our stories with others here and in real life. We heal through the unbelievable support and love I see every single day on this site from women in agony but nonetheless able to reach out to another and to remind her that she's lovely and lovable and loved. 
We heal by reaching as far as we can. Some days that reach will be short. But that's okay. Because others that reach will extend into a future that includes the recognition that we are not where we were. That we feel whole. That we – yes, let's say it! – we have healed. 

122 comments:

  1. Just what I needed to hear today. 6 months since D-Day and I was doing so well but I just sank back under the water this past week. I thought I could come off depression tablets but now I know I can't. It wasn't so much a trigger this time like it's been before but more of a realisation of the existence of hopelessness and depletion of my strength. Try as I might to practise self-care, if my husband or kids are in need I just revert to type and bang go the boundaries. I can't work today, I'm in a coffee shop on here looking for answers and swallowing back tears.

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    1. Eliza,
      Medication can be a godsend and exactly what your traumatized brain needs to get you back on solid ground. When someone throws us a life-ring we need to grab it, not chastise ourselves for not being stronger swimmers.
      And learning to set boundaries is a work in progress. What message are you giving yourself when someone says they need you? Try and pat attention to what you're saying: that their needs are more important? that it's your "job" to take care of everyone? that they might do it wrong if you don't step in? A long-ago therapist had a sign on her wall that read "Help is the sunny side of control." I've never forgotten it. I was the consummate "helper". I helped anyone, whether they needed it or not. And it was only later that I realized that my "help" was a way of managing my own anxiety. If I was in control, I felt better. Letting go of that control was really tough but, ultimately, healthier for all of us.
      I'm glad you're in a coffee shop today. Try and sit back. Watch people. Every single one of them has a story to tell of being in pain. It's our common humanity.

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    2. Good for you, Eliza, for taking some time for yourself. A coffee shop is exactly where I've ended up a couple of times lately when it all getting to be too much. Rest, be sad, and regroup. We can't always be strong. We can give ourselves permission to have down days.

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    3. Thank you. My husbands affair happened on a work trip, he's had to continue to take those trips but avoids going to the country and office where she is. He is struggling with a project and upset clients and needed to go there so he mentioned it and immediately I tried to accommodate it-why!!? Why couldn't I just say - no we agreed you wouldn't go there until she left the company and if you did have to go I'd go with you (not possible as this was a rush trip). But no I just tried to drop my boundary, swallow my feelings and 'enable' as I always do!! He retracted his request as soon as he saw my expression and didn't go. I don't blame him for asking, I'm annoyed with myself for my reaction. He's chastising himself now for even mentioning it and I can't stand to know he's suffering (he's actually more depressed than me!). How do you practise self-care when the person you love is so ruined by what he's done you can't bear to watch and you want to help?

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    4. Eliza,
      No, no, no, Eliza. That's success!!! Within seconds, you realized you were doing it. My guess is it used to take you far longer to realize you'd violated your own boundaries, if you realized it at all. Think of it this way, when we're learning about boundaries. There's a puddle. You walk right through it. A while later, you look down and notice your feet are wet. You turn around and notice the puddle. Ahhh, you think. You work on boundaries. You see a puddle and walk right into it BUT you notice your feet are wet when you're standing in the puddle. Ahhh, you think. You work some more on your boundaries. You see a puddle. You walk around it. Your feet stay dry. It's an evolution, Eliza. At first, we just keep getting our feet wet. But YOU NOTICED! You're in the puddle!! Keep working on your boundaries and you'll begin to notice the puddle before your feet get wet.
      Your response to his pain just shows you're an incredibly empathetic person. But it's not your job to prevent him from feeling uncomfortable feelings. That's where his growth occurs. As long as you're stepping in to reassure him that he doesn't need to feel bad, he's learning nothing. It's the same with our kids. As long as we're preventing them from feeling the consequences of their choices, they'll never learn. It's painful to watch someone else in pain. Especially when we think we're "helping" them by insulating them from the consequences of their actions. But we're not helping them. We're stifling their growth. Your husband needs to feel this. It's actually good for him to experience the incredible discomfort that comes from violating his own moral code. And it's good for your marriage. Trust that he can handle these awful feelings and come out better for it.

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    5. Thank you Elle, I really appreciate you taking the time to write that to me. It's very reassuring. I won't take up any more of your time, this is the first time I posted and I will do so again when in need. X

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    6. Thank you for taking the time to write that-it really helped. It's the first time I posted and I will reach out again when in need, til then keep up the great work and God bless you x

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    7. Eliza,
      Don't worry at all about taking up any of our time. We're all here to learn from each other. Post whenever have something to say -- about your own experience or to comment on another's, or to offer support or commiseration. We're glad you're here.

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    8. Violation of boundaries time again. I've accepted the work trips to our host country where the outstanding project is, that's been going on since D-Day, and, prior to understanding boundaries, I allowed a trip he leaves on Thursday for, to an exhibition in Europe. This weekend though I've hit rock bottom over the two further trips he booked in. We've just moved back 'home' from four years abroad, I've discovered his affair, I'm weaker than ever and suffering depression but still he chooses to travel (it's his own business, so he has control and autonomy). He has his affair whilst travelling. How is it possible not to see how hard that is on me right now. These trips are for new business, they're international exhibitions, he could end up constantly travelling-how can I heal around that? I'm just reading 'chained to the desk', I think he's a workaholic. Does anyone else come here with this problem?

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  2. Elle, I love what the post says. I'm pretty sure I've "healed" since in a couple weeks 3/19 is DDay 1 antiversary, but I still have that nagging doubt in the back of my mind. For the most part the triggers are gone. My h has been wonderful not only in words but his actions. The problem is ME. I don't fully trust the rope. Which I interpret as I don't trust my own judgement. I trusted it before and like everyone here has said, I would have bet my life, my children's lives, my grandchildren's lives that he never would have done what he did and to such depth both emotionally and financially. So is there a point one reaches in their healing that says, It's ok to believe? It's ok to trust yourself and others? I don't know. My ability to do so has been severely if not permanently compromised. And not just by my husband's betrays but other family and friends. When I say I trust no one, it's an absolute fact. This is a horrible way to live. I try but then that little voice says "no, no don't do it.."

    I'd love to hear your's and other's thoughts on this.

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    1. TH,
      You've given me lots to think about. Let me mull this over with a clear head (I'm on deadline with another project) and get back to you.

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    2. TH, I'm not as far along as you are, but I'm dealing with the same doubt. H was the closest, most intimate relationship of my life. Even though he and I are getting along, and I love him, this fundamental inability to trust, to ever make myself vulnerable again, is why I still contemplate separation/divorce. I just don't know if I have what it takes to be in an intimate relationship anymore. I just want to close myself off and be relatively safe. I can't decide if I'm being cowardly or just realistic.

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    3. To me there is long term trust and short term trust. It doesn't have to be all or nothing. I have short term trust as in daily or monthly trust. I will never ever ever ever have long term trust. For the rest of my life I'm sleeping with one eye open. For the rest of my life I'm I'm looking out for MY finances. For the rest of my life I have my foot in the door. The door is never locked so I can escape. It is the only way I have peace of mind and that is more important than having peace in believing him. He doesn't deserve that much of my trust ever ever ever again. I have told him I will never trust him in that "for better or worse land". He said that is fine with him. He said he can live with it and it is understandable.

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    4. Pnoenix, Yes, I considered divorcing. I wondered if maybe I'd have been better off. Let him go, let our history go, make a life for myself by myself. But as I read about women who have done just that I don't see that they are any more at peace than I am. I don't say that to degrade their decision to divorce the cheater, but I still hear a lot of bitterness and sadness in their lives without their husband. So what will I gain if I divorce?

      This mistrust is a new experience for me. I always gave people the benefit of the doubt. Always. I like people and I thought they liked me. I've done a 180 on that thinking. You have to work very very hard to get into my world. I am building that wall and on some days when I get smacked down again by humanity well it gets 10 feet taller!!!

      Phoenix if you husband is doing the work and is remorseful and his actions speak louder that his words, give him and you and your family a fighting chance. I'm just not convinced divorced people are any happier or at peace than we are. I think you trade one set of problems for another. I need to learn to "trust the rope". It's freaking work though when all your being says NO hide back under that bed!!!

      Lynn-- I like that, short term and long term trust. Makes perfect sense. Yes I like you know that I have choices and sometimes that brings me peace as well. Yeah, that whole blind trust thing is gone forever. My H and I had that conversation just last week. I think he got it?? :/

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    5. Trying hard
      I'm right beside you in the doubt department for trust but I'm finding like Lynnlesspain, that I can trust in short terms with my h. He's spent almost 2 years trying to undo the damage caused by his choices. Not just the choice to cheat in the first place but the way he handled the first six months after dday. I realize now that he was doing the best he could and she would not get out of our lives and for that I held on to the anger and pain long after I should have. I'm also having to realize that my h is and always has been a no confrontational type of person. I'm realizing that he hides his feelings and emotions as a coping mechanism as he has his whole life. Do I trust him never to hurt me again? Hell no because I'm such a sensitive type person I can be hurt by the smallest of slights. The other night we went to bed both exhausted from our day of work and stress...he drifted off with out a good night kiss and I really almost triggered but I gently woke him and he said he was sorry for being so tired and dismissive of my feelings. He then held me in his arms until I fell asleep. This was a big leap forward for me from where I was a year ago. Realizing these things are what it takes for me to actually feel some type of healing taking place. So I'm not willing to say I'll never trust him or anyone else in the future but I will say it takes more time for me to trust someone when I first meet them. Just some of the random thoughts your post sent me thinking about! Posts like yours help me see where I am and what I still need to work toward! Hugs!

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    6. TH, I read your response very carefully and am still mulling it over. You have definitely given me food for thought. I appreciate your input.
      I don't think my H realizes yet how deep the changes go with me. We have a whole lot going on this week, but next week, when things calm down, we need to have some heart-to-heart conversations.
      Short-term trust? Maybe. Eventually. Too soon after the latest Dday right now. Thank you, Lynn, that is something to strive for.

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    7. Love it ... what a great perspective short term and long term trust. Brilliant and a stepping stone to a more attainable view not making it all or nothing takes some pressure off indeed thanks LLP and all u princess warriors.

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  3. For me, it's been 2-years since I learned of his 'fling' and 1-year since he told me who. Time is your friend as is your therapist. During quiet times I find my mind drifting to the betrayal but then recognize He is over it. He has moved on. Our relationship is in a good place. These thoughts keep me stuck and serve no purpose. Moving on is HARD work and trusting again is HARD work. There is no quick fix. Like a death [and IMO it is like a death] it takes time. Don't beat your Self up. Express gratitude for the small steps each day.

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    1. Please don't call it a "fling". He lied and betrayed and and gaslighted and had sex with another person other than the one to whom he promised to only be intimate with. Calling those choices he made over and over and over again a fling is an insult to all betrayed people. Flings are fun. There is nothing fun about betrayal and infidelity. He cheated, plain and simple.

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    2. TH,
      I think "fling" was in quotes because HE called it a fling. Anonymous called it "betrayal". And yes, Anonymous, I agree. It is like a death. But in some ways it feels even worse because we have no cultural rites around betrayal, no way to acknowledge it and publicly find support.

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    3. Thanks Elle - yes. 'Fling' his justification. TryingHard, I am sorry you are in pain. If attacking my terminology assists you in your progress, so be it. We are survivors. You don't know my story, nor do I know yours. I know of his betrayal and need no further definitions.

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  4. I'm so very grateful for this blog and the wisdom I've gotten from so many brave ladies! I love that here we can unleash our anger, pain, disappointment, and no judgement of our stories! I'm not so glad for why I found this blog but I do think without the knowledge I found here, I probably would be a divorced women! I was so miserable the day I began reading and reading over and over again the story of so many others that had made it through the pain! I gained hope when I felt hopeless! Thank you for giving us all this space and wisdom! Hugs for healing for all of us!

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    1. Theresa, You bring so much to this space. You're relentlessly supportive and honest and we're better for your presence. Thank-you!!

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  5. Healing that looks that looks like shore when I am drowning.....

    You touch my heart. This is one of my favorite posts and it could not have come at a better time. Thanks Elle. Again...

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  6. I read on here often! I find the Elle's posts so inspiring and I gain strength often through the posts of others!!

    Last week was my 1 year anti-versary! If you had asked me on February 19th of last year if I thought my H was capable of cheating, I'd have bet every last penny I had and said no! If you had asked me on February 20th at 3:09 PM if I thought I would still be married today, I am not sure what my answer would have been! If you had asked me in the days and weeks that followed, if I thought I could survive this, my answer probably would have been no! Hell, I thought about ending it all a time or two! If you would have told me that it would take me 11 months, two polygraphs and a confession from my then 12 year DD to get my WH to give me the whole truth, I probably would have walked out the door! If you would have told me that I would come face to face with WH's OW and refrain from profanity or physical violence, I would have said "Like Hell I would"! If you had told me that a year later I could be on the road to a better, stronger, more real marriage than I had ever had... well, I probably would have laughed right in your face!!
    Yet, here I am one year later! I am sitting at the same desk where I discovered my WH's EA. Although it was over before I found out, he didn't cover all of his tracks and left a few tiny crumbs that would lead to the unraveling of our seemingly "perfect" life!

    I starved myself for days, was on the brink of dehydration, lost plenty of weight, screamed, cried, screamed some more, started smoking again, cried some more, had a few episodes of physical violence against my WH, contemplated killing myself, contemplated killing him, contemplated killing the OW, prayed a lot, screamed some more, cried some more, told a few close friends, got into some IC, dug deep, pulled myself up, stood tall, fell down, broke into pieces, drank a little much at times, prayed some more, pushed for the truth, got a little more TT, faced the OW and made her shrivel into a corner and stare at the floor without raising my hand or my voice, felt empowered, got some MC, picked myself up, fell apart a few more times, cried some more, screamed some more, got back back to my relationship with God, watched the hearts of my teenage children break and felt their compassion and love for me through their eyes and tender words, fell apart again, slammed my car door so hard my window shattered, laughed a little, finally told my parents and siblings, cried some more, got the polygraph, found the bottom of the barrel, screamed some more, cried out to God, leaned into the pain and finally started to feel the tide turning in this deep dark abyss and really started to see the light for the first time in a long time!!

    Where was my WH through all of this?? Right beside me! Taking every punch, every blow, every name, every question, every tear, every angry word! Owning the A, taking responsibility, accepting all of the blame and willing to take what ever scraps were left at the end of the day! Thankful for a second chance that he didn't deserve! Thankful for my strength to keep fighting for our marriage! Was he perfect throughout this last year....hell no! he made mistakes...BIG ONES! BUT... he did a lot of things right! There were times I know for him it would have been easier to walk away. Easier to walk away from the shame, the guilt, the anger, the broken mess he had made, but he didn't he stayed and took it all! Every last ugly bit of it!!! And boy was it ugly at times!!!

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    1. Dear BentnotBroken, this post was so wonderful but heartbreaking to read as it mirrors my story and my last few months exactly!!! I'm 10 months on after discovering my perfect life was over and the nightmare began.... I too gave myself 6 months but 4 months over that I'm still here.... Some days are good but most days I torment myself with the whys where's and how's from the moment I open my eyes. I'm utterly exhausted! My H is so remorseful and is making every effort to be the husband he should have been.... I can see this but yet I can't seem to give in and forgive and move forward.....I'm here for my children's sake but if it wasn't for them I'd be gone despite still loving my H!! I feel so alone and isolated from everyone because of this... I often dream of running away to a place where no one knows me and start over again....

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    2. womanless,
      that impulse to run away is a pretty common one. Who doesn't want to leave behind all this mess and just imagine we can start fresh. Unfortunately, as the saying goes, wherever I go...there I am. You can't outrun your pain.
      Ten months on probably feels like forever but it's still pretty fresh to this hell. See if there is still some information you need to move forward or if it's pain shopping. Picking at the same scab can become a masochistic pastime, so terrified we are of letting it go and moving forward into uncertainty. It's kind of like, the devil we know...

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    3. That should have read "womanlost". Autocorrect!!!!

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  7. Part 2...

    I guess the point of my post is that there were hundreds, maybe thousands of moments that either of us could have thrown our hands up and walked away! It was a living hell!!! I don't know how I survived the first year to be honest! It's a daily battle! It's also a daily choice! One that for a year, I have had to make over and over and over! In the beginning I said I'd give it six months and decide! I was no where near ready to give up on my 19 year marriage at 6 months, but I also wasn't ready to say I'm for sure going to stay! So, I said I'd give it to a year and.....

    Here I am! I year out and by God, I am still here!! Choosing, fighting, and working hard along side a man who walked with the devil and fought his way back! Together, every day we face the sadness, the anger, the questions, the fear, the hope for the future, the life we built, the ruins of it, and the new marriage we are building together! Every day is NOT peaches and roses, by far! I still have tears! I still scream out when I am alone in my car! I still cry out God to lead me, to guide me, to save me, to save us! And with all of that I still have a man working overtime to meet my every need mentally, emotionally, spiritually & sexually! I get to do it along side the man who gave me the three greatest gifts I have ever received! Every day we get to still be a family under one roof! Together we are teaching our children about what it means to truly love someone, what hard work marriage truly takes! We are teaching them about how imperfect we all really are and how we are all worthy of forgiveness! We are teaching them that you can go thru hell and still fight your way back to the light! We are teaching them about grace and humility in an imperfect world!! I am thankful for every day that we have this second chance!!

    Do I truly know what the future holds for my & my FWH? I wish I did, but as we all know too well....there are no guarantees in this life! But I sure do like the looks of where we are headed! We are headed for a stronger, richer, more compassionate, loving, honest marriage than we ever could have had pre-A!

    I am sorry if this is rambling.... I just hope that this reaches at least one person who is new here and feels like that they can't survive, that they want to die, that they can't find their way back.....I want them to know that there is hope! Maybe you won't see it today, maybe not tomorrow, but if you give it TIME you can start to feel it! Once you feel it, you can start to see it! Once you see it, it starts to slowly grow! While it's growing there may be dark days that the sun doesn't shine, or the rains open up and make you feel like you are drowning, but those days don't last forever! I am finally starting to feel the warm sunshine on my face more than the dark clouds surround my heart!!! I like the feeling of the light!! I have missed it!

    To all of you just at the beginning of your journey....believe me when I say you will survive! You will come out stronger on the other side, no matter what path you take!!!

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    1. BNB,
      That has got to be the best description of betrayal that I have EVER heard. Wow. Thank-you.

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    2. BNB,

      You have absolutely no idea how much reading your post helped me today. I'm only 10 weeks into my journey after discovering the A. Some days are good and I hardly think of the A at all and I'm so happy! Some days are bad and I cry and feel like I can't make it through the day. I feel like I just won't survive this ordeal.

      My H doesn't understand the time factor - oh how I wish he would. He just wants to forget it ever happened and move on. We are going to counseling and working hard to save our marriage of 36 years. It is such hard work and I don't think H was aware of how hard it was going to be.

      You've reached me today. I know I'll survive. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

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    3. BentNotBroken
      I read your posts several times! I can so relate to the words you've written and the emotions you went through! My reaction was somewhat delayed because we had an unbalanced ow that would not go away until she went to jail! In one month on April Fools day I will celebrate one year of her getting the truth shoved in her face the way she shoved her truth about the affair in my face over and over for six months! My h like yours had to endure many ugly episodes of me becoming a crazy screaming woman. It could not have been easy for him but he said over and over again I'm so sorry I did this to us! I'll do anything to make it right. And he has been. For him the affair was over almost two years ago and he has no feelings for this woman other than pity. So we move forward together and one day at a time we are finding us and making a stronger bond which is not easy when you are married to a man that has no idea how to express emotions. He feels them but can not put them into words. Thanks for helping me see us in a different perspective! Hugs!

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    4. BNB i couldnt not cry reading your post im right behind you i hope approaching 10 mo mark and my days are still exactly like you write and i just want to SCREAM back .... ME TOO exactly and to a tee all of it every single word feeling and hope i hold onto. I want to share a quote i have before i refer to often especially on those darker nights ... one forgives to the degree one loves. Keep holding on warrior princess im trying everyday day to do the same and look for the sparkle. Thank you for sharing. I still have a road ahead but im walking it and as long as hes willing to walk it with me then hope for the future and getting this in our rearview mirror remains.

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    5. Elle, thank you for giving us all a safe place to come and speak from the heart! That's all I really did! I just said what we are all feeling or have felt through this dark time! Your posts have inspired me on so many occasions, so I'm thankful that I could give something back!!

      Anon -

      I am sorry you are here! I am sorry for your pain! 10 weeks out is still so raw. I felt like I was comatose at that point! Please take care of you first! You are worth it!! You set the timeline! You determine the road to R!! Don't let him rugsweep the issue. That only sets you up for future heartache!

      Is he doing the work? Transparency, reading, counseling, no contact? Is he remorseful? If he is serious about R, then he's going to have to do the hard work!! It will not come easy!

      YOU WILL SURVIVE!!! I have no doubt! With him or without him, you will be stronger than you ever imagined you could be!!!! (((Hugs))

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    6. BNB,

      Thanks for your response. I am doing the best I can to take care of me. I haven't the energy to do much except go to work & work on things out with H. He's been really attentive and we've actually had some really great times lately. Like you said, it's not always that way, but improving from what it was before. My mom commented that I've been spending a lot of time with my husband lately (meaning I haven't been visiting her as often...), but it's what I/we need to do. Reconnect with each other.

      He seems to be very remorseful; he says he feels embarrassed, ashamed, and sad that he hurt me so badly and that he wants us to move forward. I was so happy to hear him say that he doesn't want to ever hurt me like this again. We are going to counseling, there's not been any contact with the OW that I know of (he said he'd tell me if there was), he's been very transparent, and has answered my questions. I feel like I have more work to do than he does and am considering individual counseling, which I'm going to discuss with him tonight.

      I am so very hopeful that our marriage will be stronger than before. I certainly don't want what it was before because it lead to this.

      I'm glad to know that time is the key. Time to heal. Time to reconnect, if that's our choice (it is mine).

      Thank you BNB! And by the way, I'm happy for you that you're in such a good place right now. I'm planning on being there one day too.

      ((Hugs to you too))

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    7. Wounded - I love the quote you shared! One forgives to the degree one loves!!! That really moved me! Some days through this journey, my love for my husband is the one thing that kept me here!! So, I'd say that's pretty true!! It's amazing how many stories mirror our own, isn't it? While no two journeys are exactly same, we can find comfort that we are not alone! I know that is what this site has done for me! I feed on the strength of others when I am too weak to carry on for myself! Somehow I always get re-energized for battle after I come here!! I think...yeah if she can do it...then so can I!!!

      Theresa - I agree that looking at others' stories sometimes we can gain a new perspective on our own!! Looking in with an open mind isn't quite as crazy making as living in the eye of the storm!!

      Anon - I am glad to hear that your WH is remorseful and working with you in counseling. I will say that I have done more individual counseling than we have marital counseling. It has been my saving grace! That along with time! That retched four letter word in the R process!!! It is our worst enemy, but in the long run can be our best friend!!!
      I still have bad days, but I know I have come too far to turn back now!!

      I am sending all of you hugs and strength!!!

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    8. Fragments of HopeMarch 2, 2016 at 2:21 AM

      Fantastic post BentNotBroken, speaks exactly to our experience. I am just over 2 years from Dday1 and 18months from D-day2. Two years! Who would have thought. I was watching the television yesterday and there was this family of four grown up kids and their parents buying a holiday home for them to all spend time together. I've struggled so much to decide whether I can ultimately stay when sure a core breaking of trust occurred but when I saw that grown up family enjoying time together I knew that is what I really want for our four kids and ourselves in the future. So much (unnecessary) pain to get there but it will be a great prize. Thanks so much to all the people sharing their raw and real stories here, it really does help us all to share our narratives and journeys through this.

      Delete
    9. BNB,
      "If she can do it, then so can I." Which is pretty much the mandate of this site. To illuminate the path toward healing...whatever that looks like to each of us...by showing that others have not only survived this but triumphed over it.

      Delete
  8. Elle, I really love this excerpt and this post. Thank you!

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  9. From someone still very much in the wilderness, this post brings so much comfort and hope, as do the comments section.

    I do not know what I am going to do. My H called our marriage mediocre yesterday. He told me he won't talk about the affairs any more. He is present in body but he has checked out mentally. He is so scared, so fearful to face his demons. I know he disgusted with himself. I know he cannot look at himself yet.

    I am trying so hard. I am working on finding my own joy. Swimming, running and walking in the woods. Throwing open the windows and playing loud music, holding out for Spring and the promise of Summer at the beach. This is what keeps me going. Not him, not my marriage, not even my babies.

    I have started to let the feelings in, and I'm finding myself less angry at the OW. They aren't the ones that made promises to me, I didn't carry their children and sacrifice my career for them. This simple knowledge has lifted such a burden from me. So, thanks Elle and thanks ladies X

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    Replies
    1. Piper,
      Sounds like you're rediscovering yourself, which is such an important piece of this. Keep doing what you're doing, keep the focus on you and your own healing and he'll either join you or he won't. But whatever happens, I have no doubt that you are going to be just fine.

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  10. All of these comments hit home. I am nearing the one year anniversary of dday one. Still lots of work. But thank you to this blog, Elle and all of the other women who post. It had been like an oasis for me. A place to reach out. I know I have a very long road and lots to work out with my husband. But I am staying true to myself and being my optimistic self. I have some really down moments and days. But more than ever I am focused on me. What I want and how I feel. As I said I have a lot to work on with my husband and I think he has a lot to address still. The hardest aspect I am finding is isolating myself and keeping others at an arms reach. I think part of it is the fact that I feel like I am in control more. If I keep people away they cannot hurt me. Also I find more comfort in being alone than with others in general. I grew up as an only child and latch key kid. I think that contributed to my being okay somewhat with my husband being detached. He always had a reason usually related to work but still not okay. Things are a million times better with us. I have concerns and questions still. We will work through those one way or another. Early on he said he was worried he damaged me for life and would never be able to trust anyone again. I told him he did not need to concern himself with that. I would get through it and needed to whether we stay together or not. He gets it now. Not sure how we will get though the rest of my issues. I am so happy with myself and who I am and more confident than ever, I have far from a perfect life and lots to work on. But I loved reading this and it made me feel even more optimistic about me. Thank you

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    Replies
    1. Hopeful 30,
      Sometimes, through the pain of betrayal, we take a really good look at ourselves and are able to see ourselves more clearly. I stopped feeling like there was something wrong with me because I crave solitude. I began to accept that being alone is how I re-charge. It's how I stay centred. My husband is the total opposite. He craves contact with people. It's part of why I was attracted to him but I no longer view it as "better", just different.
      I'm so glad you're feeling good about yourself. It will help you remain clear about what you need going forward. When we value ourselves, we don't shortchange ourselves. We insist on integrity from others. Keeping others at arm's length might just be your way of being a bit more picky about who you let into your life. That's not necessarily a bad thing. The key is making sure you're operating out of strength and not fear.

      Delete
    2. I am still thinking this over. I don't feel like it is fear really. But more the idea that something so major happened and it has changed my perspective on every aspect of life. And I guess I feel like with everyone except my husband I am not authentic and open. He feels the exact same way. He has backed away from his friends and family some. He used to use his family as an excuse and barrier between us. He would avoid us with his friends and even work too. That has changed a lot which is good. I worry that he is isolating too much, but really his friend relationships do not support what we have decided is a healthy marriage. But these are his friends from 30+ years ago. So I keep thinking about that long term and what that means.

      For me with my friends and parents even I have a hard time feeling authentic and close. Conversations come up and so many make me cringe. Some about memories some about people having affairs and divorces etc. And in the end I feel like this betrayal is a huge aspect of my life but I am not wanting to share it with anyone. Everyone comments that I am quieter, even my kids do. It is hard is this the new normal or will this evolve with time?

      Delete
  11. Hello All, I hate my husband right now. He is so emotionally dysfunctional and I pay for it. I know. I know. I just have to talk to someone. Will write more later. Needing your love and support.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Melissa,
      You make me laugh. If it helps at all, we kinda hate your husband too. If he gets his shit together, perhaps we'll love him again but now...not so much.

      Delete
  12. Right now I am thankful for this extra day this year, because it gave us this post. Wow.

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    Replies
    1. Aw shucks, Steam. I'm blushing...

      Delete
  13. Me again. I called my friend who has been through betrayal just to hear her say, "yah, I know what you mean" - and she really does! Just like you ladies do. Going to bed now. So tired. Love and hugs!

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  14. I love this post on healing. I read a lot about give yourself time. Don't make any decisions give yourself time. Time Time Time I just thought what is all this time business on the healing road? I dislike waiting, I dislike wishy washy and I dislike sitting in the middle of the road. (That is where roadkill lies). Whether you stay or go - you need to make your decision for you from a position of strength. That is what time give you. Time gives you a position of strength. You don't want to make a decision when you can't eat, sleep and the mind won't be quiet. That is not a position of strength. It took me 20 months to make a decision to stay. It took me that long to get strong. I have my trials, as you read about them, especially when my self esteem slips back into old comfortable habits of the past. But I practice what I learned in therapy to get strong again.

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    Replies
    1. Exactly, LLP. Time gives us the chance to respond as opposed to react. To respond based out of consideration for what we want, for how we feel, for what we can reasonably anticipate. Reaction tends to be from a place of fear or a desire to avoid feeling anything or having to face some difficult truths.
      And I love your roadkill analogy. :)

      Delete
    2. AHA! Thanks for this. I have been so aggravated by the idea of needing time. "Time for fricking what??!" I've wanted to scream in marriage counseling. (Well, actually I have screamed it. Didn't get off to the best start with our new marriage counselor LOL.) But all I could hear was "Time for me to forget." Or "Time for me to resign myself." And that has seemed like such a betrayal. But this -- "Time to grow strong" -- I can do. And actually, I suppose I have been doing it. I am NOT a patient person. But here I am 9 months out, and I haven't done anything rash and I haven't decided yet if I want him to stay in my life or go, and I'm relatively okay with that. Not because I've forgotten or resigned myself, but because I am thinking and feeling and learning and deciding. Wouldn't have thought that was possible 9 months ago. So I suppose I am getting this whole "time" thing after all. From my position of strength. I'm so awesome :) Thanks for that re-frame.

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  15. Melissa, I'm pretty sure we all feel like you do now. I love how you just get it out there it's exactly how I would say it : ) . Hope getting it out has helped a little. I've had a few 'hating him' days lately and it's draining takes up all my energy to hate him so much. So instead I take myself of have some lunch with my 12 year old, do some clothes shopping and have a good natter. Do something for you Melissa, concentrate on you not him untill the hate subsides a little. Wishing you lots of peace and calm!! Xxx

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  16. Hi all,

    I am only three weeks into the hell and I have been throwing myself into life and trying to keep busy. My H has moved out and only finished with OW 2 weeks ago (he works in same building). It was really reassuring to come by this blog and read how you are all finding way to move forward and that it is also ok to have a bad day. I really hope that I can post more here and use your experience to pull me through the darkness.

    Natalie

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    Replies
    1. Good lord, Natalie. You're three weeks in and you sound perfectly reasonable and sane. I was a babbling lunatic at that point in a filthy bathrobe and unbrushed teeth. I'm really glad you found us...but so sorry you needed to. Pull up a chair and join the conversation. We're an amazing bunch.

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  17. Fragments of HopeMarch 1, 2016 at 2:40 AM

    Hi Everyone, there's something I've been thinking about that I'd like others to comment on. I'm on a forum for mothers of special needs children and a woman has just come on, devastated because her husband has just suddenly finished her 10 year relationship (6 years married) saying 'these things happen.' She suspects another woman is involved but like so many of us had no idea. Even though they had an autistic child, she felt difficulties had brought them closer, that they were solid, had a good relationship and worked well together. Then on the thread a whole lot of other woman with special needs children came on saying that the same thing had happened to them. I don't want to get on here and be anti-men in general )I know that women can betray men too and those men need support) but I suppose I see a pattern of selfishness and singlemindedness in these accounts and I feel anger for myself (my husband sought sympathy from the OW on a few occasions by making petty complaints about my housework etc, despite me juggling dealing with four children, one with autism and very difficult to manage plus trying to follow my own creative writing career.) Its a wider level anger (the anger at injustice and inequalities for woman) that I feel when I hear these other stories of men who walk away and leave woman with all the childrearing responsibilities, esp when there are special needs involved. The selfishness flabbergasts me. In cases where the men 'switch off' their connection to their own children, I just can't understand it. My husband said the man could walk away because the women had the responsibility for the children. What if a woman said , hang on, you stay here with the child and I'll go (of course they never would.)

    Personally I'm a very idealistic person and, while I know that my husband's brainfreeze was to do with depression etc (the women always try to understand!) I feel very upset that he turned away from what I thought were our shared egalitarian beliefs and became chauvinistic. He caricatured me and spoke ill of me outside the family (again, going against core ideals.) My main question is, do we just keep understanding and understanding where the betrayal came from, keep striving to forgive these violations and betrayals of the worth and honour of women? When do the men involved, wake up to what it is to be a man of integrity, when do they, as a group, decide it is not okay to abandon their hardworking and lovely wives and the children they brought into the world with casual words like 'these things happen?' Are we, by understanding and forgiving helping to perpetuate more of the same behaviour in society while hoping that our caring example win out? How can men become more compassionate and selfless? Do I want to stay with a man who tries to be that now, but only now he knows what he will lose?

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    1. Fragments,
      It's something I've noticed too -- the number of women who find their way to this site because their partner cheated while they were taking care of young children, or special needs children, or children in crisis. Or they were busy caretaking elderly parents, or a parent with a health crisis. Or they themselves were battling cancer or depression. I've heard it too often to believe it's an anomaly.
      I think we hold men accountable for the role they need to play in the lives of their children. And, if we're parents, I think we work overtime to ensure that our sons are raised with empathy and compassion, to recognize that they are emotional beings as much as their sisters are and help them remain connected to their feelings.
      I suspect there's a whole level of psychology playing a role with men parenting special needs kids. The recognition that there are things that can't be "fixed", the need to remain connected with someone unable to conventionally connect back, the desire to flee discomfort. It's all "traditional" male stuff.
      There's not much we can do to un-do so much of the socialization of grown men except that consistently expect them to fulfill their responsibilities.
      Though our kids don't have special needs, my eldest was "spirited" (in our new age parlance) and exhausting. My husband who grew up in a very traditional home would work longer and longer hours and congratulate himself on providing for his family while I, working freelance, was still dealing with this "spirited" kid and two siblings. I begged, pleaded, yelled for him to participate in our family. He refused. It wasn't until just before D-Day when he asked me one day if our kids "missed" him when he came home late from work.
      For once, I didn't sugarcoat it and told him, flatly, that "no", they didn't miss him. And then I said, "their memory of you will be an empty chair at the dinner table."
      I watched the blood drain from his face. And, to his credit, he has been home for dinner just about every day since.
      Now...he had to be ready to hear that hard truth. And he was close to bottom with his cheating so there was that piece as well. But a big piece of it was not supporting him in his believe that he was some sort of superstar for making money but not actually doing the work of raising children.
      And I don't see it as him "helping" me with the kids. He's being their father. And he has benefitted from that. He has a relationship with his kids that many dads don't. They have benefitted from it too, of course, as have I. But I consistently stress that HE is the beneficiary of his choice. He gets to be a part of their lives. Lucky him.
      I wish more men realized how lucky they were to have a front-row seat for their children's lives.

      Delete
    2. Fragments of HopeMarch 2, 2016 at 2:40 AM

      Thanks for a very considered and intelligent response. You make great points about the men who want to 'fix' things (my husband loves it when there is something he can 'do' without realising that sometimes words of acknowledgement and support are an action. Like your situation my husband got caught up in the almost heroic element of being the breadwinner. Like you, I pleaded with him to take a more central role of leadership especially with his sons (we have three boys, then 13, 11 and 6, and one daughter)and also to develop and enjoy relationships with them. When he was deep into the affair he could hardly sit for ten mins for Sunday dinner with us. My eldest called him up so many times on not being 'interested.' Heartbreakingly my brother-in-law walked out on my sister-in-law and his two sons when they were at the vulnerable ages of 10 and 13, despite so much talk of his closeness esp to his eldest who had similar interests to him. My brother-in-law had worked long hours and travelled a lot, leading him to be disconnected from his family, making it easier for him to feel like he had no connection with them. He ended up moving to the other side of the world away from them. The eldest boy kept it together these past 6 years but is now requiring counselling due to stress. The man is so narcisstic he is returning merely to get married in a castle (he and my sister in law had a modest wedding so I'm sure the OW is trying to rub her nose in it.) He did not buy his kids a Christmas gift. His excuse 'I'm saving for the wedding.' And he's asked his son to be best man! I've gone off on a rant here as I am outraged once more! Again, utter selfishness! I grew up watching lots of heartwarming shows like Highway to Heaven and Little House on the Prairie. Men of integrity, trying to do the right thing! The modern, individualistic culture (finding yourself!) is only serving to justify many incredibly selfish actions of both men and women who wreak so much devastation but don't seem to recognise it.

      Delete
    3. This is a huge issue and a major area that still affects me in our marriage recovery. My husband was detached but always with the work and helping his parents excuse. And he would go through times of being more attentive and stepping up. He is in the mental health business so we have talked around some of this. But there is no way our family would be standing and that our two kids would be in such a great spot if I had done a small portion of what he did. I never gave up, I never was not there and always gave 100%. He does recognize this and he did through the 10 years of his two affairs. I do have resentment related to that at times. Granted in the end I think I can sleep at night and if anyone were to ask my kids about me we have shared so much together.


      It has come out recently that my youngest is really attached to me. It is not easy for my husband and he said he likes that she is so close with me. I did not say it but I believe 100% if this is his behavior the last 10 years. She is a very observant kid. She from the time before ah was two would ask why he needs to work or spend so much time with his friends, why is he on another trip with his friends... And I always defended him and would explain it to her never speaking negatively of him. That is frustrating now looking back. She notices how much he has changed and how he is involved now.

      In the end I thought we were a team. We had very specific discussion about our future. We moved to his home town, his career took priority. I agreed to all of this since I thought we were in this together. But it is interesting to me how he could do all that he did for 10 years. He comparatamenralised and he says he did not deal with responsibility, maturing, wealth, and was selfish. Not sure where that gets me. But I do think about this male way of living and thinking. Thanks for bringing this topic up!

      Delete
  18. Melissa ... same here girl. Hard to be the stronger one when they are weak and harder since they created this mess not us! As long as hes working with you not against hang on if you can or until things are more clearer ... im almost 10 mo out we are getting to a more genuine us and he is opening up more and actually reaching out or talking about it before i do. We still have our days and his emotions seem to go high and low i imagine he and i are both struggling the same but different ... hes dealing with he did this im dealing with he did this to me and still trying to find the sparkle its hard work i know ... hoping this isnt our ending but beginning to live authentic cause perfect is overrated and draining anyways. We are here for you.

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  19. Melissa--Isn't that the truth. Sometimes you just need someone to say yes I understand what you are feeling. And you KNOW they really do.

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  20. Anon--I'm sorry you felt that my semantic correction was an "attack". That was not my intention. I think it's wrong to soft soap infidelity with words like fling and fog. I also strongly believe it's detrimental to healing if one let's the perpetrator of infidelity/betrayal to use those words. Frankly if my husband would ever use the word "fling" he would find himself flung!! :)

    No I do not "know" your story nor you mine but I do know cheating is cheating, lying is lying, and betrayal is betrayal. And none of those acts should ever be described as "flings". It just perpetuates the myth that cheating is somewhat "OK". Enuf said... No hard feelings by me and certainly no pain :)

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    1. TH and others,
      While I agree with your point, TH, I nonetheless think you're holding the commenter to account for simply repeating her husband's use of the word "fling". She seems no more enamoured with that excuse than you do given her use of the quotes.
      I think it's especially important, when most of us are feeling vulnerable and fragile, to give each other the benefit of the doubt. Let's not worry about how we each express ourselves (or express our husband's words) but instead look for the intent or the emotion beneath it. Be gentle with each others' hearts.

      Delete
  21. I'm in a dilemma, I have an engagement to go to on Saturday it's our close friends. Probably is I fucking hate my husband to high heaven at the moment. Don't want to go but the last thing I wanna do is let my friends down. I know Elle says to just ' show up' in these circumstances and I know your right Elle id be letting my children and friends down if I don't go. Just wish he didn't come my husband that is. I'm just so fucking exhausted at the moment feel like I do everything at home with the kids whilst he just thinks about his self the ass hole. I'm resenting him by the day and I'm certain id be gone if I had somewhere to go. Worse thing is he calls me 'horrible' like I've messed his life up the knob head!!!! I really am living day to day at the moment but even then that's bad. I suppose I'm gonna have to see how things pan out it's just shit all round :(

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    1. SamA
      I can feel your stress over having to make an appearance for the sake of family and friends obligations! My h and I have not shared our issues with any of our family or friends. The very next day after the ow blew up my world, we had to travel to see his side of the family for a mini reunion. I floated through the weekend and can't recall a single conversation with anyone who was there! I think at that point I was in shock and not ready to deal with reality. I'm not sure what to advise you in your circumstances but I do know you are strong enough to make it through this! Prayers lifted for you to find strength and comfort! Hugs!

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    2. Sam A,
      Would he agree to "be sick" that day and let you go with your kids and enjoy yourself as much as you can?
      If not, can you beg off sick and let him take your kids?
      These events are usually busy and chaotic so though I'm sure your friends adore you, your presence (or not) won't make or break their day.
      Perhaps you could meet them for dinner or drinks another time and celebrate with them when you have their full attention.
      Or...write everything you can't stand about your husband, including the worst funniest things you can imagine. (ie. His farts smell like rotten cabbage. His ears are weird. etc.) And then remind yourself of these things when you see him at the party -- and see if you can giggle inside about them. Sometimes when we give ourselves permission to just REALLY hate the person, it loses some of its power over us.

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  22. Theresa--Good for you for waking him up and asking for what you need. If we all did that maybe our needs wouldn't go on wanting. I'm certain prior to the infidelity and lying and cheating it would have never occurred to you to wake him, but now all the rules have changed. What used to be has gone out the window.

    I think with a lot of introspection and working on ourselves maybe we will get back to a place of trust. But certainly not the trust like before

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  23. Elle-- I do not feel I was harsh or not caring in assessing the use of "fling". I apologized to Anon. I'm sorry you feel the need to dress me down as well.

    If my words are affecting the sensitivity of your readers I apologize, however I do not apologize for my stance on this issue.

    I'm leaving your blog. Please remove me from your mailing list.

    I wish all you well in your healing.

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    1. Trying hard
      I don't think of Elle as dressing you down as much as I see it as a reminder to be kinder to the new ladies that aren't as far along as some of the rest of us. I do agree with you that for me the word fling would never match the feelings I had of my h betrayal! I get so much from your perspective and hope that you can reevaluate your feelings and know that we need you here for that different opinion! I'm sympathetic with each and everyone of us as we make this difficult walk! Hugs!

      Delete
    2. Trying Hard,
      I'm sorry you felt I was giving you a "dressing down". That certainly wasn't my intention. But I think your assessment of my response speaks to my point: that we feel sensitive and can be easily hurt by others' words, especially when we already feel somewhat battered by betrayal.
      I hope you won't leave, Trying Hard. You so often have wise and compassionate support for the others here and we can learn from your experience too, as Theresa noted above.
      I just want to ensure that this site remains a place where nobody (including you, Trying Hard) feels under attack for anything (with the exception of the occasional OW who feels compelled to tell us why we're all idiots. She's fair game!) and where everyone feels safe to share their thoughts and experience.

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  24. Elle I swear you are the most funniest, most intelligent woman I know. I love you to bits. It's almost like you know my h with the smelly farts and funny ears, you obviously met him in a previous life lol.

    I love him 'being sick' sometimes I've wished it upon him. I really need to speak to him tonight were just getting on each other's nerves at the moment and it's doing neither of us any good.

    You brightened up my day Elle, : )

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  25. It's a sad day when a bw leaves the site, we lift each other from very dark places. If it wasn't for Elle and this site I know id be lost. Id just like to reinforce my gratitude to Elle and others who have helped me and continue to help me on my path of healing. Let's strand together arm in arm shoulder by shoulder united. Wishing everyone here some peace for today. Thank you ladies xxxx

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  26. Sam, I like Elle's idea about your husband not being able to make it. If you suggest to him that he not go - and he still wants to go - then you go to, if you want to. And if you decide you don't want to - he can take the kids. Personally. I believe as hard as it may be - you will feel stronger and hold your head even higher if you go. And while there I would ignore her - not even look in her direction.
    Oh. Sam, what ever happened with your course of counseling- and did you ever learn more about that dinner date?
    TOY my Dear :-)

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  27. I don't hate my husband anymore lol. Elle, and all, I've always said - if I die and anyone reads my diaries- they will think my h is an ass - which sometimes he is - and other times (most of the time, excluding this major fuck up, the affair) he is charming and funny and loving.
    He did give me a Valentine's card - he made it himself and it addressed the affair - in writing! (Remember, it's all about words of affirmation for me.). As well, he is texting me sweet messages - I will say this, I appreciate the fact that during his mid-life crisis (which included the affair) well actually at the height of the crisis and as he came out of it - he was honest with me in that he couldn't shower me with love as he was fearful - my point is: his slow return is real. I told him at the start of the year - I didn't have much more in me to hold on - anyway, I don't feel like my thoughts are flowing easily this morn. I will write more at another time. Love & Light all.

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    1. Then we don't hate him anymore either! Keep us posted. ;)

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  28. Hi Melissa, hope your well. Glad your not hating your husband anymore lol. I'm not hating mine either lol what are we like.

    Just to clarify the ow was never going to be at the engagement I just didn't feel like going yesterday but I've changed my mind today and think we should all attend together. Out friends have helped us through some shitty times and the least we can do is be there for them on their special day. Blooming Ek I'm so up and down lol don't know whether I'm coming or going.

    As for the counselling we have been to 2 sessions together and 2 on my own. After the second session husband said he didn't feel he was getting anything from them I reassured calmly that he needs to continue to get the benefit from going. What the hek we are their for you is really what I wanted to scream!!!! As for this dinner date bullshit he is still sticking to that story havn't heard any different than that so at a dead end with that. The most recent issue that has happened is the ow has popped up at a funeral my husband attended after Christmas well what happened is some friends of my h has told him that this silly bitch hAs been bad mouthing him, my h took it upon himself to contact her to discuss this for it to get out of hand and an altercation taking place at which point he was arrested. I know what a fucking nightmare right?? So he calls me just has he is being arrested telling me brief details. When he was released the next day it took him a couple of days to get the truth out of him. He has been released on bail and the police are collecting evidence CCTV etc. His solicitor seems to think this will not go anywhere but again not the point why contact her why get into an altercation so she rings the police why is she back in my fucking life. So had a hellish few weeks nevertheless and brought back so much shit for me.

    So started counselling so much shit to troll through but I'm just one day at a time for me.

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    1. SamA
      Your story is so close to mine! The ow wouldn't leave us alone to the point of her being arrested because my h knew if we had any face to face contact with the bitch, I would've been the one needing bailout money! During that up and down roller coaster ride I was very angry and didn't hold my low opinion of her being his whore inside my head! I spewed it out over and over! My h was so tired of the bull shit she kept spewing and really thought just calling the police would keep her away! Only for 2 weeks! H kept telling her she was going to be charged with harrasment but she couldn't stop till she slept that night in jail! Lord of Moses, that only worked for 4 months and she broke the no contact on her next crisis. I'm glad we met with the solicitor in our case. He plans to keep the case pending for at least one more year and she was to be reminded that if she breaks the no contact in that time she risks going back to jail until the case gets brought to the judge which could be a year! His opinion is she will stop obsessing about my h and finally move ahead with her own. I'm concentrating on my needs and a more loving relationship with the man I married and some days are good and some not so good but we are doing it together! Hugs!

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    2. Theresa she sounds like one crazy bitch!!!

      I worry that his ow set all this up so she would at least get some attention, after all any attention is better than none in these ow. Like I've said before I could probably speak to her and find out whats happened and whats going on but having found out about who she really is I'm kinda reluctant. She's a coke taker, risk taker dirty little bitch basically. Quite the opposite of me in all ways. Makes me look boring to quote honest. Boring is ok with me though lol. Sometimes I get so fed up this bitch is in our lives at all and one way of getting rid of her would be getting rid of him. It's an option anyhow.
      I hate him again today, wish he'd just fuk of with her and live the life they both want.
      Can't imagine doing all this to him and him being so understanding. Aaaaarrrgghhh fuking annoying :(

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    3. SamA
      You are right that the ow was/is crazy and unbalanced, but at least she is finally out of our lives! I'm so sorry your h apparently still has his head up his butt! Why the hell does he even care that she bad mouths about him! You're right that attention is what she craves and for her it doesn't matter if it's good or bad attention! Much like a child that misbehaves just to get the attention of the parents! I feel your pain for the aggravation you feel trying to get him to understand what you are feeling about all of this mess! I'm telling you though, I couldn't begin my healing until we had her completely out of the discussions necessary for me to move forward. I'm still a work in progress and have slipped more than once back to the hate/love relationship I have with my h! It's not easy to repair the damage done but with time and his actions towards you, progress can be made! I really don't recommend contacting her she already had your h in jail she ain't worth you having to sleep in a jail cell! Be kind to you first and second is your h! You probably like me always been putting his needs and well being ahead of your own for years so now it's your turn to be first! He is the one that needs to be finding his way to what makes a husband worth being with! Hugs!

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  29. Just to add I have told him that if he is keeping any more info I'm sure I will find out if this does go to court. I just hope to god he isn't couldn't take much more x

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  30. Wow this post hit me hard - brought me to tears, it has actually taken a few days for me to be able to respond. The truth of this post overwhelmed me as did the combination of my deep desire to reach and doubts if I will be able to it.

    I think it is key that I do have the deep desire. For example, I really want to run a 5k with a friend in April. Although since day I have not had the strength to exercise really at all (previously I did a variety of things to stay fit) getting out of bed to run seems so challenging and after work I am exhausted. But I need to reach for this and I hope I can one small bit at a time.

    There are other things too where I've had some success in my efforts to reach. I have more forgiveness for self these past few weeks and more room to tend to my own pain and fear. Previously, I had literally screamed at my pain and fear to go away because I could not care for them.

    On another note: the past week or so has been very hard. I discovered some very inappropriate messages between H and OW. She is a dumsel and we have had cycles of drama, manipulation, and H crossing lines he knows he shouldn't. Anyway, this has been very hard. Although I have more strength and clarity to honor and respect myself and boundaries than I did in past months. H agreed how wrong and hurtful those messages were and has agrees to some changes and says he is more resolved than ever to keep very firm boundaries with her (they still have work contact) he is sorry it took him so long to arrive at this resolve and understanding and he is sorry for hurting me. Anyway. This hurt so much and I'm not sure what to believe at all. I am waiting to see what actions reveal. His actions have told me much more than his words.

    Love and support to all here.

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    1. Good for you, Becky! I admire your drive to do something that makes you feel good, and I am glad that you are able to accept your pain and be kinder to yourself. This is hard, I know, so hard. New discoveries, deceptions, questions - you wonder if it will ever end. It is so much strain on us, and on our relationships. This is a journey - and we still have far to go.
      Hugs to you, sweet friend. We will get through this.

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  31. Bless the counsellor after hearing everything she still said she thinks were a lovely couple and obviously think the world of each other lol. That gave me some hope in all this doom and gloom xx

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  32. OMG Sam - I'm so sorry. He says the counseling isn't helping him, yet he feels the need to confront someone who is bad mouthing him? didn't he learn in junior high that the person who bad mouths another is seen for what they are - especially the OW. Sad as it is, I'm glad you have a court case; as you said, the circumstances surrounding the situation will be brought to light. Peace and strength be with you.

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    1. This man is incredibly immature in every sense of the word Melissa. I often wonder why the fuk I am still here trying hoping for a change in
      His behaviour. Everything he does/doesn't do effects me and the kids and he's so self centred to understand that. I'm pretty sure if he's lies about any of this he will have to go. I'm very close to leaving or making him leave I just feel I'm scrambling for breath at the moment. I'll keep you posted and thanks Melissa I appreciate your time and feedback xxx

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  33. Eliza,

    I can't take AD b/c I react badly to them, but I take Klonipin and Atavan 3x a day to ward off anxiety attacks.

    I've read that a lot of women of SA end up on meds. I wished I'd gone on them sooner then I did!

    Anne of VA

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  34. My husband has been really frustrated lately in feeling like nothing he does helps. He has pretty much stopped doing all the things he began doing after DDay to pursue me. I think this all spurred from his counselor telling him that he thinks I am "stuck" in the healing process. Now my husband just says, "What can I do to make you feel better? What can I do to help you?" Which is great that he's at least asking, but I have no idea what to tell him beyond Invent a time machine and fix all your 8 million mistakes! I don't know what to tell him and in the meantime he does nothing. What types of things do you husbands do to "help you feel better?" I know it's silly, but I hate being asked. To me, it doesn't feel like love if I have to tell him what to do. And I guess I am still struggling because I feel like the trickle-truths have me not believing I know everything. A friend posted a picture of him from their wedding (I did not attend, but it was during the affair - the OW was not there though). He says he took it off because they went to a strip club (I know some find this to be okay behavior while married, but I do not. I know where fantasizing about other women got him) Anyway, I feel like there is more to it, but he swears he didn't do anything. I remember when he was at the wedding, he called and said he felt sick (sinus stuff) and missed me and wished he was home, but then all these pictures posted showing him looking a drunk idiot (with no wedding ring). So of course, what am I to believe? How do you get beyond the lies and deceit? My husband has NEVER told the truth without me having to find out through my own detective work and asking flat out. How do I trust that there is nothing more when he has never volunteered information?

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    1. Grace
      I'm not sure if I remember how fresh your dday is but I can tell you that the trickle truths I was fed in the beginning created nothing but doubt and more trust issues. My h pretty much said the same thing about us. Nothing he did made a difference why keep trying. Well for me if he wanted our marriage more than anything as he kept saying, he had to do the work to repair the damage he had caused. It's been a slow process for both of us but we are doing it one day at a time! He also had to come clean with answers for my questions over and over again until I processed it all. Was very painful for him and me as well but we couldn't move past it until it was clear to me that he understood the pain his choices had caused the extent of the damage he caused as well as make many changes in how our daily lives are handled. My h never voluntarily gave up the information about his affair but his ow kept spilling her truths so mine had to tell me the whole story in order for me to believe his truths rather than hers! I also looked back over the time frame and had to see where we were as a couple and grow from looking deep into our relationship rather than just an examination of the relationship he had with her. My h also had to realize that my emotional needs were not being met and I had to explain what I needed and why. He did and does love me but his emotional needs are not the same as mine and I really did have to teach him what I expect going forward in our marriage. I hope my story can help you find a way forward with your h! Hugs!

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    2. Grace,
      If part of the healing process for you includes him disclosing what happened, then that's what you ask for. You figure out what you need to know and then insist upon disclosure. It will hurt like hell so be sure you're asking only what you really feel you need to know. But, for me, I needed to know exactly what I was being asked to "forgive" before I could even consider it. Otherwise, I felt like a big shmuck.
      In terms of him getting frustrated with your rate of healing...how in the hell does he think YOU feel. I'm sure you'd LOVE to feel better. You'd love to get past this. But it just doesn't work that way. We have to process a lot of pain -- grief, betrayal, distrust, post-trauma. And that takes a lot longer than any of us ever imagined.
      The best thing he can do is to be patient with you. To tell you, as often as you need to hear it, that he is so sorry for the choice he made and he is going to do everything he can to ensure he NEVER goes down that road again, that he's going to try and understand why he made that choice and take full responsibility for it. And that he will be beside you for every step going forward.
      But, Grace, I think you also need to recognize that "love" doesn't include reading minds. Too often we expect our partners to intuitively know what we need. They can't. We need to tell them. A measure of love is their desire to respond to our needs, their willingness to support us in whatever way we need supporting even when it's hard for them, even when it means they have to face their own embarrassment and guilt and shame.

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  35. I'm in a similar situation as Grace mentioned above in that my husband has never told me a thing about his affair unless I have presented him with solid proof, shoved up in his face. Not one thing. However, mine refuses any therapy and mostly refuses to discuss it because he says I will just throw it back in his face. All the red flags of doom are there for me, but yet I don't yet have the strength to let him go. My H is definitely of the "get over it" mentality and refuses any sort of transparency. Every boundary I have set has pretty much been broken. And I have not enforced a single threat so I know he doesn't take me seriously anymore and he finds it all exhausting. I'm at a loss. I want to save our M and I know, deep down if I admit it to myself, he doesn't. I feel so pathetic at times. I keep thinking that finding more information, finding more evidence may be the push I need to finally get the nerve to enforce my boundaries or to finally walk away. I don't want to live my life in fear of constant betrayal and that's all I see right now for us. He just won't give me anything. Has anyone ever reached out to the OW in hopes of getting some of the "truth"? Am I crazy to even think about doing this, am I pain shopping? I feel like there is so much I don't know - how long, how often, what did they do, did he tell her he loved her - that he will never divulge to me. I have contacted her numerous times via text, email, phone calls and all have been attacks on her, calling her many choice names. I have driven by her apartment complex more times than I care to admit. She hasn’t responded to anything. Would she, at this point, even give me the time of day after the things I have said if I approached in a different manner? I truly feel like I will never know unless I go to the source. I do believe they have gone NC as I can't find a shred of evidence to the contrary. He says he's sorry, he says it's over, but that's all I get from him. I suspect she's told him to take a hike and he's too embarrassed to admit to me that's the reason they are NC. Like I said, I feel so pathetic, down and weak. I guess I'm thinking she might give me the jolt of shock I need to fully break me to the point where I have no choice but to make a decision. Please tell me if I'm crazy or not. Is this the worst thing I can do? Or am I better off just finally taking a stand while never knowing the truth? I can’t sleep at night knowing that I don’t even know how long it was going on before I first overheard him talking to her. I spend all day searching for more information. I’m driving myself crazy. Help please!

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    1. Anoymous 3/2
      Not sure how to say anything to help make you feel better but I don't think contacting the ow will give you the truth! I'm also not sure how to get your h to open up to honestly coming clean with his affair. He may not know how to deal with his own guilty conscience and if that's the case nothing you say or want can make a difference. You can't fix the marriage unless and until he is willing to do the hard work himself! No you ain't crazy either! But the hard truth is that this nightmare makes all of us crazy and feel hopeless! Hug!

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    2. Anonymous,
      I would urge you to seek counselling for yourself. You say you want to save a marriage yet you describe a marriage in which your husband isn't willing or interested in helping you heal from his horrible choice. He has violated your boundaries and seems to think that it's YOUR problem to deal with the pain he's created.
      A therapist can help you sift through what's working in your life and what isn't and help you develop stronger boundaries. A therapist is YOUR support through the painful process of healing from betrayal. Whether or not your marriage can be rebuilt or is even worth rebuilding will come later, once you're feeling stronger. Often when we change, our partners are left with little choice but to either change with us or be left behind.

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    3. Anonymous

      I would urge you to not contact the other woman for the "truth" it is highly unlikely anything productive will come from that. Also, I think it best to completely stop contacting her. This probably very painful for you and not helping you.

      I also had a period and sometimes still have feelings of being super pathetic and very very low. I understand those feelings and it was very hard to gather my self respect and honor the boundaries I had set. Many times my H broke those boundaries and I did little more than cry. However with time I gathered back up respect and worthiness for my self and honor my boundaries much much better. You can do it too even though we know how hard it is. Keep your self physically and emotionally safe and respected. This will help you crack open some space to think and feel more clearly.

      Also I completely agree with Elle about a therapist. Therapy can provide so much support and help you thoughtfully consider your life.

      With love and support.
      Becky

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  36. Grace, there's a great little book called. "How to help your spouse heal from your affair." I ordered it from Amazon, no, my husband has not read it yet, but I have and much of what it suggests, my h is doing. The book is rather short and to the point. Next time your husband asks - you can give him a guide. And men do need to be told what you want - we women know intuitively; they do not. Best of luck Dear.

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  37. I have a friend whose spouse passed away from cancer last summer- just before our shared wedding anniversary and just over a year out from D-Day. Much of what this friend has gone through reminds me so much of what we are going through. I see periodic posts from my friend on Facebook from a site called Second Firsts. One hit so close to home, I just had to check out the site. The more I explored, the more I thought how much of what the author (Christina Rasmussen) writes applies to us. I bought her book and she has very interesting concepts- the waiting room, plugging in, The Watcher, The Thriver. When I read Elle's post the other day, I thought of these concepts. I've really found her e-mails and book helpful at overcoming some issues I've still been dealing with. I feel like I'm finally making a transition. I want so much to tell my friend what a difference these little posts have made, but very few friends know what happened and I sure wasn't going to burden anyone dealing with an illness like cancer about my problem. Anyway- just another resource for us as we try to re-enter life. Will also post this resource in the Book tab.
    C.

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    1. It's interesting you should say that, Anon. I had a friend whose husband died of cancer not long before my big Dday, and I was bringing her meals while I dealt with my trauma. Of course I didn't speak of my difficulties, but she talked about her grief, and the adjustments and challenges for her and her two young boys. I was also talking to my grandmother, whose husband of 69 years is suffering from dementia; he is essentially a large, messy, confused, petulant, and sometimes very angry child. She cares for him, day in, day out. I was struck by us, 3 women whose marriages had all ended in a way, who were dealing with the new normal and the fact that their lives would never be the same.

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    2. Grief is grief is grief. The only difference is that, often, our grief is hidden.

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  38. Grace, here are things I asked my husband to do to help me heal

    Hug me until I say you can let me go.
    Fix dinner and let's eat outside on the patio.
    Buy me flowers
    Buy me a perfume you like
    When I trigger say, I'm so sorry for the pain I caused and mean it.
    Come up behind me unexpectedly and hug me three times a day
    On your way home pick me up wine, Chinese food etc...
    Take me to a movie
    Spend 15 minutes each morning and tell me what you are grateful for today, ask me how I feel today.
    Rub my feet with lotion
    You plan a date night for me.
    Bring home lunch
    When I trigger grab me by the shoulders and say that was the other bastard, I'm here now and want to be the husband you always wanted. (He thought that one up.)
    Sit by me on the couch and hold my hand
    I would sit in his lap and he would rock me like a child. I still do this and love it.

    You have to be specific to these cave men. I couldn't think of anything at first either because I thought nothing he can do will ever help me. I was wrong.



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    1. Wow, Lynn. You're like the Cheater Whisperer. Your words should be posted to every repentant spouse's bathroom mirror!

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  39. Grace I totally understand your need for the 'truth' and the agony of feeling there is more to the story. However without any hard facts you have to come to a stage of acceptance for your own sanity if nothing else. My h is exactly the same he would take his shit to the grave first if he could, but like you after doing my detective work I back him into a corner till I get the truth. But again do I know it's the whole truth???

    As for him asking you how he can help you that's great. Sometimes for me it's just a hug I need or some space, some time alone.

    Grace your working through this nightmare, bit by bit step by step. Lots of love xxx

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  40. Grace,

    I am almost at a year after dday one. And my husband feels a lot further along than I do. I think it is attributed to the fact he knew what he was doing even if he did not admit it to himself and he had also ended one relationship completely and the other one was sporadic emails at the point when he told me. In his mind he had somewhat moved past that after 10 years of bad behavior. So for him even though telling me was a big deal he had processed a lot. For me I was in shock. Through these years he was detached but did a good job of at least for periods stepping it up some. He was a master at compartamentalizing. So not too long ago we had an honest discussion he was frustrated with where we are and thought we were further along. Well I told him he needs to be patient as simple as that. And if he is committed then yes I need a lot more time. And one day things might feel great and another day it might not be. It did get through to him but I was 100% honest of what I needed.

    And as far as what he can do to help me. We did sit down and discuss what helps me. What I like. I told him I need to feel safe. I do not want to talk about the actual affair or betrayal daily but I am still working though things. And sometimes I want to discuss our marriage. So I told him I want to sit down the two of us one time a week. That helps me. I think about what might be bothering me write it down and it gives me time to think if I really want to address it of if it is no big deal. It allows me to compose my thoughts also. I get less emotional. And it is better for me and us. It has helped me a lot.

    In addition, I did tell him what I like that he does. Also when he does something positive or that helps I tell him. Not gushing or anything. Just thanks for saying that, I like hearing that, I needed that... We both read some John Gottman info that was great and hit home with my husband. I cannot remember his exact wording but it is about turning towards each other and being positive with each other. My husband was the master at tuning anyone out if it was not important to him. Where he sees this as destructive now. Also another thing that hit home is men are from Mars and women are from Venus, a lot of it was relevant for him. I already think I did a lot for him. But he saw working and being the breadwinner as good enough. Where the book describes that is not enough. And we saw the play but they describe a point system. We joke about it but he says when I am doing the dishes let me do them so I can earn a point. It hit home with him and he is stepping up even more and it spurred some good discussion.

    I would suggest maybe reading some books yourself. I find if I print out an article it is a good place to start as a talking point. This has worked well for us, I look though a ton and pick carefully. I try not to get too negative.

    As far as not having the full truth I still struggle with that. I am at a point where I feel like my husband is a totally different person and the way he sees things now is way different than his cheating years or even dday. So I am figuring out if I am okay with what I know or if there is more we need to figure out together. Not easy at all.

    And one last thing about the strip clubs I totally agree as I do with porn. There are guys who can be around the stuff and never have an issue just like alcohol or anything else. But others and I think this is true with my husband the level of fantasy provided distanced him in our marriage and made more causal relationships okay. I honestly feel like it was a gateway over time that allowed him to lower his boundaries.

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    1. Yes on all accounts!! Such good advice.

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  41. Sorry for blowing up this blog post, but I need someone to talk me back from the ledge. I Googled the OW's name again today. I do it every couple months. Hello, my name is Grace and I am a pain-shopper. A newspaper article from a week ago popped up. It was her. And her husband of 23 years. About how they have built their "dream house." It has a picture of her and her husband smiling outside the front of the house. I am in agony in our new house (where I found out). Every room contains a memory of me crying on the floor or finding the incriminating text messages or whatever. I am in a house of pain and this *itch is living in her dream home?!?! I now know her address (her main address, not the apartment she lived in while she worked with my husband and screwed him when I was out of town). I doubt her husband has any idea what she gets up to while she is working. At one point when my husband tried to distance himself from her, she made comments about seeing another coworker to make him jealous. I want to write to her husband and let him know what a whore he is married to. I want to make her dream home a house of pain. I am so livid. So angry and sad and heartbroken. She's 46, married for 23 years. I'm 30, married for 6, though their affair started days before our 5th anniversary. She is not a mother. I have a four year old and two year old. Almost eight months later, I am still in so much pain. And she has a "dream home?" Also, and I know this is petty. But she is ugly white trash. Not that I didn't know that from the naked photos displaying her "new tattoo" that I discovered which led to me finding out about the affair. It really meant nothing to him or to her. They just satisfied a need for attention and a little flirtation and titillation. He risked us for THAT?! Tell me not to mail a letter to her house. Tell me not to phone the husband. Tell me it will lead to nothing good. Talk me back from the ledge.

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    1. Grace,
      We've all been on that ledge so, for starters, do not apologize for coming here to seek guidance and support. That's our raison d'ĂȘtre.
      Secondly, her "dream" home is a fantasy. There's nothing "dreamy" about making a fool of your husband in the local newspaper. There's nothing "dreamy" about creating a glossy exterior to cover up an ugly interior. Don't doubt for a second that the real story is far less dreamy.
      As for the husband, I generally side with telling the other spouse. I think he deserves to know if only to protect himself from sexually transmitted diseases, not to mention the emotional price tag. You can let him know anonymously if that makes sense. He might not believe you but I bet, on some level, he already knows something's not right. But you need to decide if you want to risk any fallout from your actions. There might not be any but there might. Think it through.

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    2. Oh Grace!
      I do know how you feel! I pain shopped for months until I found this blog and began to post and follow the advice I found here. You have to be careful how much information you really need because I for one wish I didn't have as many details as I have but I did have to get the time line from my h! Once I got that part the other details were not as important any more! I'm still guilty of looking up the ow but in my case with a crazy ow, I just need to check because of the pending court case. I no longer need to know if she is happy nor sad, just staying away from me! I'm going to suggest you write the letter but I'm not going to recommend you mail it only to write it to get it out of your system! Keep venting here! I'm sure others will chime in with even better advice. Just go slow and be gentle with yourself! We are here for you!

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    3. Me too. I have been there done that. With the Internet it is so easy to just type in someone's name. I made a decision in the last month to not look up either one of his ap. It took about 10 months but one day I just said to myself this is doing me no good. And I am repulsed by the thought of these women and hate them. But a while back I decided no matter how predatory they were my marriage is with my husband. He made a promise to me and our kids. And he has to answer to me. I considered contacting the other women but in the end I felt like if could draw them into our lives. Also I do not know if their information would help me. They have no reason to be honest or truthful with me. And I also considered their perspective and what they saw the affair could be totally different than what my husband saw it as. Look at our marriage my husband and I saw it as two different ways. He lied to both of his ap's, they did not know that each other existed. So he was not true or honest with anyone. They were no more special than me. So I guess my advice would be to focus on the two of you. That has worked well for us, in the end I don't care what they thought or did. I feel my husband has to work with me if we are going to move forward. At almost a year I detest the other women and just cannot in my mind wish them well or want anything good for them. I am not sure if that will ever change but my goal is to focus on me, my marriage and my kids. Who knows what will come in time.

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  42. Oh, Grace! I understand how you are feeling. Unfortunately, it's an all too frequent battle for me.

    To be brief, I had three D-Days. The first was when I found the phone records. My husband lied and told me it was an emotional affair. He cut off contact. About 2 months later, she FB messaged him, I walked in and caught him replying. I called her and she attempted to lie to me. I screamed at the two of them (my husband was standing there dumbfounded when I called) and she said almost nothing. Not satisfied, I texted her and got more lies. He was her "sounding board", nothing going on but "a listening ear", etc... I asked her to be respectful of my marriage and ended the texts. He again said he would end contact but the affair resumed shortly after that. After another two months, I saw FB messages from her popping up on his iPad. I confronted him and got the full truth, that it was physical and had been going on for over a year. The next day I sent her a lengthy text telling her I knew everything, she had no class and she owed me an apology. I got an immediate response with what appeared to be all the right words. She knew what she had done was wrong, she realized she made bad choices, she never intended to take him away from his kids, and so on. It calmed me down for a few days.

    I have opted since then not to contact her. It's not easy. It makes me feel weak and like I'm letting her "get away with it". But I try to ask myself what's to be gained by contacting her. A woman who would cheat on her own husband (the OW in my case is married with three daughters) with someone else's husband is deluding herself in some way and has her own set of issues. If she is still deluding herself, I don't feel anything you say to her will make a difference. Remind yourself that this is a woman who knowingly made the choices she did. She doesn't think the way you or I do and she may attempt to excuse her behavior or lie to you to get you off her back.

    If she realizes how wrong what she did was and has a bit of conscience, she may have remorse. You can tell her she's a filthy, disgusting slut, but she knows that deep down even if she acts on the surface like it doesn't affect her. She has to live with what she's done. If she is even remotely human, then she's dealing with her own guilt and shame. She may already be living in a "house of pain". She most likely is or she would never have entered into an affair.

    There are days where nothing would give me greater pleasure than publicly humiliating her. I've contemplated many ways to do it. Ultimately though, hurting her is not going to take away my pain. And while I might feel some satisfaction initially, it wouldn't last forever. I firmly believe that she will reap what she has sown. And there's beauty in remembering that I don't have to do a thing to make it happen. I think karma will work on its own.

    We're here for you. Hugs!

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  43. Grace, I do believe the husband should be told. I know if someone had known about my h's affair I would have wanted them to tell me. And I agree with Elle. anonymous and think of how it will affect you, your family and your marriage before you do. Xo

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  44. Grace, I completely feel your pain on this. I'm 10 months out from dday, and I purposely have not contacted the OW husband, although I struggle with it almost daily. He's a stay at home dad, with two young little boys. The bitch OW works at my husband's firm, although in a different part of the country. I can't help but feel she has come through all of this scot-free, and I am left with having to live with this for the rest of my life. My husband was in a fog for two months, and almost left me for her. I'm trying to rise above and be the bigger person, but it kills me that no one knows and she gets to go about her happy little life. I try to separate my need for revenge with doing what may be the right thing (telling her clueless husband.) I am just terrified of the potential repercussions, and my therapist has warned me of this. P.S. This is the first time I've ever posted on this site, although I have being reading it for many months. Elle--You are truly a life saver, as well as all the other wonderful women who have given added advice. I sincerely don't think I would still be in my marriage if it wasn't for BWC. Someday I will post my story, when I get my act together.

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    1. I hope you do post your story. We learn from each other and it can be incredibly healing to connect with someone whose story sounds so much like our own. Whenever you're ready...

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  45. This post has saved me today. I am a week and a half away from the one year anniversary Dday. And I am a mess. My heart feels broken all over again, and I just keep thinking not again. Not. Again. Not for the thousandth time, no humdred thousandth time. I push and then I pull. I am demanding, and then desparate to have him close, and then I get triggered by some ridiculous thing and attack. He has done everything right, and I know because I've read the text book as a student of marriage counseling. But all of the knowledge in the world doesn't seem to ease the pain. It doesn't even take the edge off when I'm in the clutches of the darkness and intesity of grief. I feel hopeless right now, once again. And so does my H. I'm sure we will swim our way back to the shore, but I'm drowning right now. At least I was drowning until I read this post. So thank you Elle. It will get better with time, right? I'm so utterly exhausted from the ups and downs. I just feel broken and tired and scared that we won't find our way back to the love this time.

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    1. Anon, your post hits home. My first dday day one year will be on Sunday. It has been looming in the background for a while. I fear it will always stick with me. It was a Friday the 13th too. Who can ever forget that? Or have it not stand out? I have gone though phases where things were going well, well dday number two killed that.

      As I approach one year it almost feels harder. I feel more stuck. Improvements come less often. Day to day life sinks in on me. And in all honesty for me I think it is I am not in shock any more. The reality of everything is hitting me in the face or more like slapping me in the face. I feel a transition happening and i am not so sure about it. It really feels like the shock is wearing off. Lots of good is coming from it but it is different which can be uncomfortable. I am not sure what I want from this Sunday. Time alone, time together, time as a family??? In the end I am an eternal optimist. It is just at this point I am starting to think can this be my reality for potentially the rest of my life. Is that okay? Lots of things are great and amazing but it is that underlying current, the voice in the back of my head. My therapist says this is good and normal. He likes that I am being cautious and protecting myself now. He said he would be worried if I came in and said everything is great and we are on track and everything is in the past. So that is helpful and validates my thoughts and feelings.

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    2. I will be a year out from the first dday on the 14th March. It was the start of the lies.

      The lies finished on 12th Dec. So on one hand I have almost a years worth of anniversaries of horrible events coming up...or I can choose to not give them the power to stay within me.

      I can't not acknowledge them, but instead of spending the day brooding and poking myself with a sharp stick of misery, I can try to make new memories on those days.

      I still don't know if we will make it as a couple. I only found the full extent of his betrayal in December, and I am still trying to make sense of what has happened, but I do know I have found a strength in me that I didn't know existed, and for the first time in a very long time I am asking myself daily what I want or need to thrive, instead of putting him and the children first all the time.

      I would never wish to be here. But I am, and I have to make the best of it. So I will.

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    3. Piper,

      I feel much the same way. It is almost bittersweet and contradictory at times. I said to my husband that at times I am thankful this all came out and am glad we are where we are now. On the other hand at times I am so sad. It really fluctuates for me.

      Our timeline is close. Dday one was March 13th, dday two was August 8th. Then another one about a week or two later. Nothing major after that. I still question some of the details. A lot of what he has told me is contradictory. I wonder if some of it relates to how he saw things on dday one and 5 months and now a year later. He really was a mess and not sure of who he was. He was in a terrible place. He is the happiest he has ever been in his adult life if not his entire life. We will see. As time goes on it is not the easiest to discuss everything. With time slipping by it seems more fuzzy for him. He had ended his affairs already when he told me. So he had some distance from it already.

      He is a big believer in corrective emotional experiences. So he has made every effort this year to work hard to change his past behavior, our marital dynamic and how he leads his life. It has not been perfect but my therapist says his turnaround is nothing short of amazing, we still have plenty to work on going forward. I think what you said about asking yourself what you need to thrive is a great statement. And I feel like I am finally doing that. I really would like to reenter the work force but have not dealt with that yet. I am focusing on this recovery and what I need most. Right now working full time at a new job/company or industry or commuting feels too overwhelming still.

      I agree with you too to make the best of it. When he told me all of this I thought I cannot deal with this. And now I realize I am so much stronger than I ever gave myself credit for. And through all these years I was strong too. I am proud of myself for how I handled things, I will not let it be my fault what he did when I tried to talk with him over and over about himself and our marriage only to be lied to and told that I was the problem. This keeps me going knowing that I was and am strong.

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  46. I am almost at 9 months anniversary of D-day. I have fairly severe PTSD. I started keeping a Gratitude Journal Jan 1, 2016 and I start with snippets of things that resonates with me from Mindfulness websites, Pema Chadron, Brene Brown, etc. I have my ups and downs and Sunday I was triggered big time by a scene of a brothel on NCIS when the television was just turned on. I felt like the air got sucked out of the room and out of me. I started screaming and crying uncontrollably and lashed out again at my spouse whose last prostitute venture was at an erotic place in Hawaii where he was presented with 6 young women to choose from. You can only imagine how I eviscerated that man over the course of an hour or more. I've been working so hard to get a handle on my emotions and life. I've been married 37 years and unbeknownst to me, his sex/porn addiction was grandfathered into our marriage. Our children are adults and nobody knows about this except us and our therapists. He is working hard and has not had any severe challenges to compulsions. We talk. We have levels of intimacy that we have not had since we were first married. I understand in my head about sex addiction, especially now that I know the truth about his early childhood. Nobody should go through that. We are absolutely doing better. I still get triggered and melt down and say terrible things. Today I read a quote somewhere, maybe on one of your past posts somewhere on this site that read, "If we were to exchange places with the offender, who can be sure that we would behave any better?" That, my friends, stopped me in my tracks. I've always prided myself on trying to see the other person's side to be compassionate and understanding. I honestly have had to think about my life and ask myself, "what would I be like at my age had I experienced what my husband did as a young child?" I have professional knowledge of child abuse and neglect and I've seen the tortured adults and tormented lives of so many adults who were sexually abused children. This statement may actually be the turning point in my life. I started today's journal entry with that statement in bold and italics. I wrote about the things I felt grateful for. Today, I've had a few close calls for being triggered and was able to repeat that statement to myself. It stopped me from devolving. For that I am thankful. I found this link today and read it numerous times. I sent it to my spouse to read after asking him if he wanted to read it. Hope this helps to assure you that you, and I, are not crazy. This blog is a life saver. It makes me feel like I have a lot of "secret" friends who know me and still love me despite my messy life. I have no idea where or when I lost the strong, independent and happy woman I use to be however I am fairly confident she will return. http://blogs.psychcentral.com/sex/2012/09/understanding-relationship-sexual-and-intimate-betrayal-as-trauma-ptsd/

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    1. I really like the idea of a gratitude journal! I have found myself stuck lately in a woe is me my life sucks attitude. It's hard being a stay at home mom and feeling like every day is a monotony of cooking, cleaning, diaper changing, laundry, and then the fact that I don't necessarily look forward to my husband coming home from work the way I once did. I try to get out with friends, but I just feel so apart from them because of our situation. A gratitude journal might help me pull myself out of that mood.

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    2. I agree writing my thoughts helps me a lot. I write in a general journal. I find sometimes I write the positives. Other times it is questions or thoughts I am dealing with. By writing down the positives I can look at them as reminders. And all of the other thoughts are good to write down since they help me decide what to talk with my therapist and husband about and also I can look back and see how far I have come.

      I hear you on the day to day life. It can be so hard. I felt before dday that we had made a decision as a team that I would be the primary caregiver for our kids and manage the house. Since dday I am resentful for that decision. I thought we made it together for the best of our family, but now I feel like I am painted into a corner. So many years have gone by and moving to my husband's home town just adds to it. All his friends and family are here. And it is not a place where my former career can be successful or an option. I never thought twice about it and really made it my own. I am not a complainer and embrace new situations but now I have a lot of resentment for it.

      One thing I will say is I feel like I have a really great relationship with both my kids. My husband makes comments about it now. I do not put it in his face but I feel it is directly connected to his level of detachment for 10 years. He sees it from our marriage primarily. But whatever affects me affects our kids. I never spoke poorly of him ever but my kids both have a high level of emotional intelligence. They know that I am the reason their lives are the way they are. They thank me all the time and always want to help me and respect me for all that I do. My husband just last night said he appreciates all that I do. He said he knows he cannot even know everything I do which is true.

      Since dday I work harder to make myself a priority. I almost never miss a workout. I walk the dog when I want to. But I also have learned to enjoy making dinner and other food for our kids. My husband used to come home and not eat what I made with some dumb excuse usually picking up take out etc. I honestly think he used that as a way to disconnect. If he ate what I made and liked it then there was one more reason for him to feel bad about his behavior. He could not see the good in me. Of course it is nice if he likes dinner and thanks me for things who doesn't like to be appreciated. But at a certain point in this past year I decided I am doing what I want. I work out, I read, I make sure to make an amazing home made dinner for my family every night. I prep it during the day and I love that time, the other thing I am doing is I say no to more things than ever. It has helped me focus.

      I too have found it hard to be close to friends, this is such a big part of my world right now. And I feel disconnected. I feel like the complain about trivial things that I used to care about. Now I feel like I have more perspective of what really is important. And I am a lot less tolerant of other people's behaviors.

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    3. Hopeful 30,
      What a wonderful post really about being at peace, finding peace and your way. I feel the same way. Especially less tolerant of undesirable behavior traits from other people and what is really important. I joined a yoga group and take long walks on my farm. How could I have missed so much of life that really mattered?

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  47. Please help. I am 3 weeks in from d day. We have been married 21 yrs and he had an affair with my best friend. As you all would understand I am in a bad place emotionally and physically. 2 weeks ago my children found me with a razor blade to my wrists. My husband is saying all the pretty words about sorry and wanting to be with me and loving me. Yet knowing the fragile state I am in, he left me alone for the weekend while he went to a family wedding. This just seems like another betrayal. I'm so lost

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    1. Anonymous, we are here and we know your pain. Too many of us have reached for that razor blade. But please, please know that the pain you're feeling right now will not last forever. It's excruciating, I know. But you will get through this. Your children need you. Please find yourself a counsellor who can help you through this. Call a suicide helpline. You don't want to die, you want the pain to stop. It's not the same thing.
      Your husband betrayed you in the worst possible way. Your friend betrayed you in the worst possible way. But their betrayal of you is about their own fuck-up-edness. YOU are better than that. YOU are worthy of love and respect and kindness. Give those things to yourself.
      And please...let us know that you're okay and that you've reached out to someone in real life who will shepherd you through this pain toward healing. You'll get there. I promise. I didn't think I could survive such pain. But I did. So many of us here have not only survived but thrived.

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  48. Elle - I clicked on this from another post you wrote today (7/31/17) and a line of this just struck me and threatens to keep me stuck...your sentence - "When we don't know whether to believe the pretty words on our partner's lips that sound so much like the pretty lies we believed?" - I think this is my biggest struggle right now. To focus on what revelations came out in counseling, what truths he has revealed to me that came from his heart, the changes he has made that I see and FEEL...that he chose me - that I chose him...all of that. But it is so hard not to focus on the "wait - but I believe him before and what he is saying about this or that could easily be a lie!" It haunts me sometimes - and I have to keep REACHING for grounding, for strength, for continued healing. But it's so hard not to fear....

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