Monday, April 11, 2016

The Certainty of Change

"My heart pounded in my ears. My chest and stomach felt tight. I couldn't breathe all the way in. Maybe I was having a heart attack. It wasn't unheard of, after all. I resisted the urge to look symptoms of heart attack or stroke on the Internet. No good was going to come of that. I imagined the ambulance racing up our drive, lights flashing in the country darkness. How had I gotten here — again? All the...searching, seeking, reading... All the goddamn thinking, and there was still this: the waiting out the night. Face-to-face with my aloneness. With the certainty of change."~Dani Shapiro, "Devotion"

Waiting out the night. Were truer words ever written that describe the experience of betrayal? If I could sum up the years following the discovery of my husband's betrayal, those four words are it. Waiting out the night.
It's excruciating, isn't it? After the initial gut-punch of discovery, after the falling to our knees, we just want the agony to be over. We want the pain to stop. To let us catch our breath. To point us in some direction that makes sense. To promise us...something. That we're safe. That we're making the right choice. That we're going to be okay.
Instead, we wait out the night. What choice do we have, really?
There's the horrible, do-not-do-this choice of swallowing a bottle of pills and denying ourselves a happily ever after. There's the numbing ourselves through booze, or drugs, or shopping, or gambling, or endless TV watching. There's the plain of lethal flatness, a nice place to visit but you don't want to stay there. There's the pain shopping – hours of scrolling through the OW's Facebook feed, or driving past her house, or gossiping about her with uncomfortable looking friends.
Or, there's the (ugh) waiting out the night.
Shapiro goes on to call it "the anguish of the unknown" and that's really what the night is, isn't it. It's the fear that morning won't come. That the darkness won't give way to light. My 3 a.m. worries that hover, huge and unbidden, seem ridiculous in the morning. And yet, in that thick, wooly darkness, my thoughts seem necessary. Important. True.
Part those heavy curtains though and daylight brings a clarity. A lifting of the heart, a revival of new possibilities.
Optimism. Hope.
Until then, we wait out the night.
Not passively. Waiting isn't about resignation so much as realization that this is part of the process. That, beneath the waiting, a plan is taking shape. Our future is taking shape.
It's a future informed by having survived the trauma and accepting the anguish that life sometimes delivers. It's a future shaped by recognizing our worth and our strength.
It's a future that doesn't promise no more pain but does promise what we need to respond to whatever comes next.
Whether your night comes as you move into a new life without him, or whether it comes as you await enough clarity to make your choice of whether to stay or go, or whether it comes as you begin to rebuild your marriage, we all must...wait. Betrayal demands it of us. It delivers the darkness until we can see the blurry, distant light of dawn over the horizon.
Know that the darkness will gave way. As long as we don't wait passively but continue to do the work of loving ourselves, being kind to ourselves, challenging the stories that endlessly loop in our brain and make us crazy. As long as, within the darkness, we sit with the awareness that we deserve love and respect. Knowing that, we can trust the light will come.


77 comments:

  1. Beautiful, Elle. It's almost as if you know exactly what I need to hear. Thank you. ❤️

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  2. Been there and it's a scary place, thank god I'm no longer there I have worked hard to respect and love me whilst ensuring h does his work to deserve his place here with us. It's a shitty place to be in the dark and I can promise all you ladies that are waiting patiently to get through to the light it will come maybe not today or tomorrow but it will happen and in the meantime just breathe deeply, and know that you will feel better. Eat, sleep and take care of yourself it sounds simple enough but we really need to execute self care. Love you Elle your my shining star at night ������

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  3. Thank you for this post. I know you say think of the next right step. I think of that often. It helps to release the need to control and predict the future. I know I can only control myself. And I will always be true to myself.

    One thing that is interesting is this post rings more true with the years before dday. I felt all of these things, so dark, so alone, not knowing why, thinking of taking my life. Even before dday I worked through a lot of this all on my own. I have no idea how. But with dday came clarity and understanding. It has not been easy and hurt so bad but getting answers and the relief that it was not me and all in my head. And that the one person I thought was closest to me was lying, betraying me and ignoring my need for help. Dday was horrible and hard yet it lifted a weight off my shoulders. I try to focus on this on the tough days. And no matter how hard it was I am so glad it all came out. I am not glad it happened I think there could have been other ways for my husband to deal with his issues but since it did I am glad it came out. It is the silver lining in all of this.

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    1. I actually felt like that on D-Day#2. Nothing had made sense. I just couldn't figure out why he would do what he did -- and with HER. It was only when I got the whole story that it felt like the final puzzle piece was in place and I could move forward with a certain clarity.

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  4. Wow, this post could not have come at a more perfect time for me. Thank you, Elle. We are almost seven months in and it feels like the darkness will not end. We have okay days, we have moments of connectedness...but the darkness is there in the background waiting to envelop me again. So many people here talk about the pain ending, the darkness ending...it is so hard to believe that it will come, or that I'll be able to last long enough to see the end. But until then, I wait.... Thanks for the encouraging words.

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    1. New Mom,

      I feel we are in the same place. I don't know your story, but thank you for sharing your feelings. It is comforting to know that I'm not alone. Not that I am thankful that you are going through this, but that we can help each other to express how we feel inside, when sometimes the words won't come. Thank you, Elle, for your wisdom. It's always given exactly when needed.

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    2. New Mom and Shelley,
      That realization -- that you're not alone in this -- can go a long way toward helping you wait it out. Trust that it will end. You know how many of us are further along the path, beckoning you forward.

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    3. Shelley and Elle, thanks for the kind words.

      Shelley, I'm so sorry you're here too, but I'd love to connect and help each other through this.

      For me, I can definitely see some of the changes, but damn the progress feels slow. I keep waiting for day break, for a corner to turn, for some assurance that I'm doing the right thing. Waiting is the pits. Today is our anniversary, but we're not celebrating--that marriage is dead, and I'm still waiting for the new one to take shape. This limbo almost feels worse than the days immediately after finding out...those were awful but there were feelings--rage and sadness mostly--and movements, now it feels like things have come to a halt. I know progress can't always be huge, nor can it be constant, but ugh...this waiting is torture.

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    4. I've been looking at this blog since D- day 4 and a half months ago and can't believe how I read things that explain just how I feel, I have been saying to people lately how I feel like I'm in limbo I've recently decided to take him back and see how it goes and he's due back at the weekend and I've been bad again lately since I made the decision. We've been out for meals we have contact everyday and yes I've been a fool and had swx with him so it's like we've not been apart but he hasn't lived here or slept in my bed since I found out. I'm scared

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    5. New Mom and Shelley: I am now double your 7 months "in". Elle reaaured me several times that indeed "time" would lift that scorching throb and the bleak veil that oozed from my broken places. I didn't scoff, but I sighed... I must wait to be free of this pain-monster that treated me like its chew toy. I can tell you the exact date: December 13, 2015--the first day I belly laughed like I had been emancipated from the mind movies and sadness. I got up at 4 am because I had laid awake questioning my every decision since D-Day. Downstairs I went to google sex addiction and read this blog because I treated figuring it all out like my new career. As I entered the kitchen I discovered our dog had stolen the gingerbread house off of the table only to somehow get it stuck over her head. Hearing my footsteps she froze as if to avoid detection, but there she was caught red handed (pawed?)...a smile a real one--then a laugh. I hadn't used the muscles of joy in so long it felt foreign. For once I didn't draw analogies of homes being destroyed in the dark...I just pulled a gingerbread house from my dog's head and laughed at her silliness. I sat on the floor and ate 10 of those rock hard jelly candies used to give it colour (probably the most calories consumed in one sitting in 9 months). It will come in rivulets or torrents, it will ebb and flow BUT it will come. Regardless of what this new incarnation of your life looks like it will cease to be that Kansas before the storm and at the moment you least expect it you will become aware of all the colour surrounding you and you will see that the magic has returned to your Oz and that witch has your house planted squarely on top of her! Here is to the smile and peace waiting just around the corner for each of us: "you had the power all along my dear, you just had to learn it for yourself"--Glinda

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    6. I completely agree...it's like feeling stuck in the mud. This is a particularly hard week for me, due to it being my birthday week. I can't stop thinking about how this time last year, I was away on a girls trip and he spent the weekend with her. I know that he is no longer in contact and that chapter is over, but it still plays over and over in my mind. I just have to keep moving forward. The women on this site have shown that it's possible through their wisdom, experience and hope. I may have some sleepless nights, but I know the morning comes, along with a new day to begin again.

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    7. One armed pie maker,

      Thank you! It's women like you and Elle that keep me going. Thank you for sharing your story. I'm truly looking for we'd to those days...

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    8. Pie maker, I love that story, thank you. It's helpful and refreshing to know that other people who've been right where I am now also felt like the darkness would never part, but it still did. The idea of laughing, or experiencing true joy seems so foreign...not only because it seems I can't make myself feel that, but also because doing so feels like a betrayal of myself. Did you feel that too? Like, the sadness, the pain is almost a comfy armor at this point. To allow myself joy or happiness seems risky. Life might crumble around me again any minute. If anyone else felt that, I'd be interested to know how you talked yourself into letting go of the pain.

      Anon, I know you're scared. I think we all are (or were, at some point.) I think it's normal and healthy. I think you have to listen to yourself, your soul, your gut. I struggle a lot with the idea that there are no more guarantees...I can't guarantee he won't cheat again, I can't guarantee we'll ever be happy, etc. But honestly, I don't think those guarantees were ever there, I just thought they were. Fear is a big part of this, for most of us I think. I'd like to give you a big hug and a high five for facing your fear and making the effort. I hope his return this weekend goes smoothly, and in time you're able to see a lessening of the fear. In the meantime, just listen to your heart. You're no fool...you're a GD warrior, just as we all are. Hugs!

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  5. So true the nights after dday were excuritaing ... to much time to think ... to many hours to pass and the feeling the darkness could actually swallow you some night or the silence of the quiet dark makes you deaf if u arent up reading this blog, googling till your fingers hurt or yet again going over every detail you know or think you know or create just to try to get a plot that makes sense you are instead drifting off only to wake with that sinking feeling pounding heart and instant tears that this isnt a fucking dream. I recall being late or not put together so many times as it felt like the bed had me stuck like glue under the covers sobbing or on that damn bathroom floor ... im 11 mo out i can spring from the bed now and even not think of it the minute i wake .. most days anyways. Its not consuming my every minute or entire mindspace. Im catching myself laugh and smile again ... find things of interest though the thoughts do creep in sometimes and thats when again u have to sit with the pain ... have a good cry or scream yep big wtf still there ...but still standing ... working and trying to do be stronger everyday. I used to dread bedtime... waiting out the night ... now i invested in expense sheets to take back my night ... most nights anyways.

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    1. The drive in ...it crept in .... somedays are like that its not tgat gut punch freak out just that deep penetrating hurt and then u sit with it ... wish it to pass or distract yourself by saying this sucks but im still standing.

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    2. Wounded,
      You're more than still standing. You're moving forward. You're engaged with your life. Doesn't mean you don't think about it (you will have moments of thinking about it for years to come), doesn't mean it doesn't still catch you off guard sometimes, or that you don't have triggers. But it means that you're healing.

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  6. Well done wounded, so pleased you have made it throug!!!!lots a love and many more good days xxxx

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  7. I swear you read my thoughts of the day, Elle. One year ago today, I tried to kill myself and the 9MM jammed when I tried to pull back the slide to load a bullet. Here I am a year later. Your post says survive the trauma and accepting the anguish. A year ago I lost hope the anguish would never end. Today I thought about two columns. The first column is what I gained by living a year. The second column is the anguish endured and the severity of the pain in the year. . How can I judge - Am I glad I'm still here?

    Good- He paid for a Viking cruise. First time I had been to Europe. We went on several trips in the US. We sold the pimp house and we are building a cottage on our land. My therapist and I worked on my self-esteem with some success. My husband was finally honest with me and himself abut the adultery. He stopped lying to himself. I learned to set boundaries with him and my kids which made my life more my own. My entire family got together several times, kids, grandkids and dogs. Had a new grandson who is crawling this week. My husband has changed so much I'm getting to know the man I really married. I learned so much about myself and changed behaviors as well.

    Bad - I sat across from the OW for 2 hours. (It turned out good in the long run) Weekly melt downs. The OW did drive-byes past the pimp house. I had several STD outbreaks and went to Crazy town each time. I thought about them in bed everyday but not with that chest tightening, gut clenching, fast breathing way. The first year I could literally feel my heart peeling away. I lost my job due to my inability to focus on anything except his adultery. I lost one best friend who hates my husband to this day and thinks I'm a fool. I still had many triggers that are still painful to reflect upon. The adultery time is still tainted.

    Isn't this just life, good and bad? I can't really categorize it. It just is. Trying to make normal out of chaos. Accepting life as it is. Life is the way it is suppose to be uncertain, good, bad are rolled up into one short experience. I can't attach good or bad to everything in life. When I attach labels I stop moving forward. I still work everyday to stop thinking that things ought to be a certain way. That only brings me disappointment. I work to let go of my fairy tale ideas.

    One more thing most important thing I learned this year is to help myself I had to learn to be myself. Stay strong you are hard wired for struggles.

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    1. LLP,
      Oh wow, Lynn. You've come a long way in just a year. Learning to set boundaries (I love how you describe it as "making my life more my own" -- that's exactly what it is), realizing that any life is a mix of good and bad, and doing the work you've probably long needed to mend your self-esteem and to truly begin to value yourself just as you are.
      Something to think about: to someone outside looking in without knowing what you've gone through, you have a life to envy. Which should remind us all that even the glossiest of lives likely have some pain mixed in.

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    2. On more thing Lynn...I can't tell you how grateful I am that the gun jammed. The world would be poorer for not having you in it.

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    3. Lynnlesspain
      I'm so proud of you and for you that you are where you are now! I'm with Elle in giving thanks for a jamming gun! Your story and your words have been very helpful for me as I continue trying to make the best of the worst situation I have ever found myself living through! You go girl!

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  8. How to get past the numb. I feel nothing. I wonder if this is like the plain of lethal flatness. I try so much to feel. I try to put myself in new situations. I want to feel what I have never felt before. I put myself in old situations. I try so very hard to feel what I know I have felt in the past. I am so very sad and so very numb, nothing gets through.

    Tell me it will end. Tell me it will get better. Tell me that life will go on and get better. I think I know that somewhere deep down. But like everything I cannot feel it.

    My mom says it is a broken heart. I lose focus but I know it to be true. I have felt this before, but never like this. Twenty years gone. A history gone. A future gone. I held on for so long. And then I let it go. And then I let the hope go.

    He became someone new.
    He treated me badly so I would give up.
    He walked away.
    He started a new life.
    I only see my children 50% of the time.
    He and his new girlfriend spend 50% of the time with my children.
    I never wanted to be a 50% parent; I wanted to be a whole parent.
    My life as was will never be back.
    I loved my life.
    I have lost me.
    I feel some days as nothing.

    I know the sky is blue above the clouds.
    I know I have two heathy children.
    I know how very lucky I am for all that I still have, which is more than many would ask or hope for.
    But the loss is painful.
    The loss is immense.
    The loss deserves mourning.

    I think I have not mourned well. I think the loss of love, and future and hope need to be mourned better.
    I wear a constant mask. Occasionally the paper buckles under the tears, but the tape covers this well.

    Inchworm

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    1. Inchworm,
      You are a warrior. You've suffered through so much loss and heartache. Your heart is undoubtedly broken. I've often spoken on this site of betrayal as trauma. And when we're traumatized, our body often responds by numbing. It's a survival strategy that helps in the short term but, in the long term, prevents us from feeling anything. If you bottle up the bad, you bottle up the good too.
      Are you in any kind of counselling Inchworm? I ended up doing something called EMDR, which seems kinda like hocus pocus but there's lots of evidence that it really works to help process trauma. It's gaining mainstream support. You might only need a couple of sessions.
      In any case, you want your feelings back. Maybe start by journalling -- if you're not already. Pour all that sadness onto the page. You might even write your children letters (you don't need to actually give them to them) outlining all the ways in which you miss them, telling them what you hope for their lives even knowing that their lives will also have disappointment and that you hope you're modelling strength and grace for them in the face of disappointment. Anything you can do to unbottle those feelings is good. Know that plenty of sadness will come out. Grief is a long process and it's not linear. Just when you think the clouds have parted...they'll reappear.
      But you'll get there, Inchworm. You'll fill your life with people who deserve you, activities that feed your soul.
      Just make sure you take that mask off every single day. That you have someone in your life (counsellor, friend or both) with whom you can just be...you. Sad, heartbroken you who's fighting her way back to happiness.

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    2. Inchworm
      My heart aches for the sadness I know you are going through! Elle gives the most solid advice to each of us for what ever situation we are in. I remember my numbness days and the terror of not feeling anything! There were days I thought I would smother just trying to survive one more day. I'm sure it's hard sharing your children as I've watched my daughter struggle through that first year and now she's three years as a single mother every other week. My grandsons are making it through and I don't know the ages of yours but I do know with time you will find a way to make the most of every minute you spend with them! I did find writing things out helped me even if I just wrote it out and tore up the pieces. My advice is one day at a time one foot in front of the other! Praying for you to find peace!

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    3. Inchworm
      I was a big sobbing mess when I read your post today. Out loud with tears streaming down my face. I want you to know that you have many sisters here who know the pain of broken families and crushed dreams. Not only is there survival in the days ahead for you, but victory, too! I wish we could all sit on the couch with you and talk and cry together. And one massive group hug for you, dear Inchworm. I also want you to know that I am a praying woman, and I prayed a fervent prayer for you, as well as for all the other women in your situation right now, I prayed for your peace and comfort, and for strength to come to you. The sun will rise each day, after every dark night.

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    4. Fragments of HopeApril 13, 2016 at 3:33 AM

      I just wanted to say Inchworm how much I feel for you in your pain of these awful losses to how life should be. I'm still with my husband but there is a loss to how I perceived our loyalty to each other to be, that will never be better, my sister in law's husband abandoned her and her two son's on the weekend her mother (my MIL) had a stroke which put her in a wheelchair and changed how she can communicate. In that same weekend she lost her husband and her mother and the OW was just rotten. Her CS moved to the other side of the world and is now arranging a fancy wedding. But my sister in law, has a few years later found someone new she shares so many interests and fun times with. You are right Inchworm, you are facing an awful reality and I know that plain of lethal flatness, I sink back in to it all the time. As you said we need to mourn and mourn properly, I don't think it's every really done as we have to deal with daily circumstances. How do we mourn properly, acknowledge what is now lost forever or dead and then turn to the precious shards that are left? There is always something precious, tiny things, art, music, books, a beautiful sky, the startling clarity of somethings our children say. We have a difficult situation with our autistic son here, it affects everyone but to hear my daughter, now 11, tell a story about it that shows understanding in the face of hardship and loss is amazing. The kids will hopefully learn as I say, the dark and light that are part of the same sphere (like the Earth) and will be more rounded, facing life in a courageous way, despite its perils.

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    5. Inchworm,
      I hope you're heartened by the support here. So many challenges that we're all dealing with, but such incredible grace and strength. You betrayed warriors amaze me every single day. I'm so proud to be among you.

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  9. Elle
    You are a mind reader! I had a really tough time on Sunday night blew it up with my h again and it left me awake and shaking all night! Then on Monday I wake up to this post! My h came home for lunch and I read this to him. He gets it most days but I don't think he knows how long this takes to process through! He understands the need for counseling and I told him I would only only go if he agreed to go as well. He's open to it but really doesn't think he needs any help. I think he needs to learn how to respond to me and I think a therapist could help me not get out of control so we can be better at communicating with each other. Thanks for this post!

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    1. So much of not getting out of control is about pushing pause. Breathe...before you shout back. Breathe...before you tell him what an idiot he is. Breathe...before you throw something. Breathe...and then decide how to proceed with integrity and control. Takes practice (lots and lots of practice). But yes, a counsellor could certainly help you.
      And...in your husband's defence, I think we're all surprised by just how long it takes to move through the pain of betrayal. None of us expected just how excruciating it is.

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    2. You are so right Elle! None of us knew how excruciating the pain would be!

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    3. Theresa, thank you for your honesty. I read your posts and see you handle this awful road with so much wisdom and grace. When I hear someone like you take a bad situation and turn it around, it gives me more hope for myself. A lot of days, I feel like a runaway train when the anger hits. I'm working on ways to deal with it. I've tried some meditation and found that it grounds and calms me. Now I'm working on calming myself before I turn into a runaway train and getting to the root of what it really is. When I start to beat myself up, rather than falling back into the lies I've told myself (you weren't enough, you're not (fill in the blank) enough), I try to tell myself the truth.
      Thank you for inspiring me to find the good in a crappy situation.

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    4. Dandelion,
      Meditation has helped me so much. I feel as though I respond to situations now, rather than react. I can't count the times I've taken a deep breath when my kids say or do something or my husband is making me a bit crazy. It's like a mini-pause that allows me to choose my next step rather than, as you put it, feeling like a runaway train.

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  10. Thank you thank you, thank you for this beautiful post! It spoke right to my heart and I really needed it.

    Thank you Elle for all that you give to us for holding this space of understanding and true compassion. It is a gift and I am very grateful.

    Waiting out the night is is such a perfect description. How often have I longed for the dawn (both literally and figuratively) knowing that that in the bright light of day my fears will not be so overwhelming and my sanity will return.

    Love and support to all
    Becky

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    1. It will, Becky, I promise. The light will return along with your sanity. You'll never be quite the same but I, for one, don't miss the old me so much any more. There's so much I've gained...

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  11. Wow Elle, you did it again. You know the universal truths of betrayal, that which we all go through. And may I add, because of you ... "waiting out the night" ... became bearable, became less lonely, even became hopeful as you continue to gather these warrior princesses beside me. Please know how truly grateful I am for you.

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    1. Melissa,
      I remember those nights (and days...often they were days) so well. I couldn't imagine surviving another minute, or five, or ten. It felt unbearable. I desperately wanted a community of women just like me to assure me that I was going to be okay, that I would survive this, no matter how it turned out. And here we all are...

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  12. Theresa, thank you!! Thank you for sharing your upset. I really needde to hear that upset happens to even the strongest among us. Of course I never wish you pain; I marvel at your strength and wisdom... and now even more so. Thank you for being with us and offering your beautiful voice - and heart - to the choir.

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    1. Melissa
      You marvel at my strength while I sit in admiration of your patience and kindness with your h and his many faults. Hugs!

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  13. Dandilion
    I don't always exercise grace when I trigger and the anger/hurt slaps my face. But I'm still trying to learn how to stop breathe and walk away when it hits.

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  14. Elle- your words are filled with such wisdom. Thank you for sharing it with all of us snd thank you for the Hope you give.

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    1. Lea,
      Not so much wisdom as experience, which is sometimes the same thing. :)

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  15. This is my story (part 1).. Hi all, I have been with my h for This is my story.. Hi all, I have been with my h for 22 years since I was 16 we have 2 children ages 17 and 20, Dday was nearly 5 months ago I had never looked at his phone emails etc or doubted him then I started to notice he was on his phone a lot so I checked his emails and he had joined a dating site for married people! at first I kept quiet which isnt like me to gather evidence because I know he would deny it if I mentioned it and delete evidence because although I never ever dreamed he would cheat he is a liar ( he tells silly little lies at work etc and lies about silly little things that don't need to be lied about) one Saturday evening a few days later it was so ridiculous the amount of time he was on his phone like he was in another world and I waited for him to fall asleep to get his phone and I was expecting to see a few messages flirting with a woman (which to me is bad enough) I found he had an app where he could chat to a woman he had not even known for 2 weeks and was planning to meet they had sent each other explicit images of themselves but the worst thing for me was I also found other messages and when I confronted him he said he'd been having an affair my world fell out of my stomach he told me it had been going on for 7 months and he met her as a work client and she lived in next city and they'd only had sex once...

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  16. Part 2 - Over the next few months I found out he had slept with prostitutes and I had to go to a clinic for tests (how bloody embarrassing) and I had to ring him from the clinic to ask him dates he slept with them and he text me the dates and I then found out a month later that it wasn't even true he never slept with prostitutes he said it to keep me off track from the big thing I discovered which has affected me the most and that is the affair lasted 18 months he met her in the local shop where she works and she doesn't live in next city she lives up the road a few minutes drive away from the bank statements I can see they had sex in hotels about 5-7 times and he says once in our car!!. I have been devastated. I got through Xmas somehow kids knew something wasn't right but I kept it from then we started counselling and he kept offering me his phone saying he was being transparent and honest with me I used to check it but in the back of my mind I knew if his phone was ever going to be 'clean' it would be now anyhow to cut the story short I found out a week after new year he was messaging another woman on a quiz app on his phone I mean who does that? It's for a quiz and there's a message option and he's telling someone he fancies them from speaking on the phone to them and planning on meeting them although I'm not sure why because she lives miles and miles away I think he just gets a thrill from the attention and having his ego stroked. ..

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  17. Part 3 - Even as I type this I CANNOT BELIEVE he has done this to me he has shattered my world he is coming back this weekend we have had contact everyday although I kicked him out when I found out the last one in January, we have been for meals and had lots of sex I have no idea why as one of the problems in our marriage from his perspective was a lack of it, so not only has he made me look and feel a fool I am doing it to myself too by sleeping with him by letting him come back my kids aren't happy neither is my mum and most of all neither am I it's like I know logically with my brain that it's over he has broken my trust completely but emotionally I can't cut the ties, do I love him or do I not want her to have him, or do I think I love him because some other bitch has had him, or is it about the rejection? Can I not bear it so I take him back? I am so mixed up I can manage to work and that's about it I feel guilty I'm neglecting my children. The gut wrenching shit I went through at the start is not as bad I can eat and sleep now with odd bad nights but that complete wave of darkness still envelops me with any fucking warning I'm so angry with him and the slag for this but I'm so sad too, we used to discuss others that went though this I never thought we would be going through this ourselves I think I really need to grow some balls and cut him out of my life but it's so hard when he has been part of my whole adult life! Please help me

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    1. Oh Panda,
      I hear you. My heart is heavy. The part about him being in your entire adult life… ugh. I know. No frame of reference without him.

      1. Give yourself a week unattached. No husband, no kids, no mother, no friends. I don’t necessarily mean physically apart -- that’s probably not possible for your home/work -- but mentally and emotionally apart. Do absolutely nothing for anyone else -- I mean nothing, not a thing, not a phone call, not a text, not a facebook like, not a pardon me, not a single let me get that for you -- don’t be mean, just be apart. One week, just you, everyone else can deal. No goal. Just be. I didn’t have some great epiphany during this time, I just needed a break from it all. It sounds like you do too.

      2. Try out the basics of being single. Basics. Don’t overdo it or freak yourself out. But really try it. Walk right up to the doors at a new apartment complex and look at the doormats and the curtains and the mailboxes and listen to people come home. Buy some groceries at a market in a different neighborhood and ask the clerk about their sale days. Walk through the lobby of a new bank and take a free pen and some retirement plan brochures. Sit in a church with your wedding ring in your purse and don’t cover your hand. Take yourself out for dinner and see your plate on the table by its lonesome and go ahead and stay for dessert too. Ask yourself how your day was and listen to your own answer. Take out the trash. Kill the spiders. Bring the car to the mechanic. All the husband stuff. It is actually more doable than you’d think.

      My H’s betrayal is the worst thing that ever happened to me. I hate it. I have days when I am consumed by pain and anger and grief. But he will always be in the big picture of my life. I love him -- in different ways on different days, but I do love him. He loves me. We are parents. And per my religion I will be married to only him for the rest of my life. But… that doesn’t mean I need to live with him or share the particulars of my days with him. I hope I do, I hope this works out. But I know now that for that to happen I need to be confident that he is a changed man. He needs to make my days better -- not just easier -- better. I’ve grown some balls as you say :) You will too. Hang in there.

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    2. Panda,
      I'm sure you've discovered from reading this site that everything you're feeling is "normal" under the circumstances. The roller ride is one we all know.
      Sal offers some really interesting advice to which I would add: you don't need to make any decisions right now. But you do need to determine what you need from him to even consider moving forward to rebuild your marriage. Draw very clear lines around the behaviour you expect from him (and I mean beyond "don't sleep with other people" to things like "you need to check in with me hourly during the day" or "you need to see a therapist for eight months once a week" or "you need to come clean with your parents about what you've been doing" or whatever it is that you think will help you/him figure out what the hell he was doing and how to ensure he doesn't do it again). And then you need to figure out what the consequences are if he doesn't do it. Not "punishment" but what you're prepared to do if he won't hold up his end of the bargain. Sleep on the couch? Separation? Divorce? There's no right or wrong, just what you honestly need from him and what you'll absolutely follow through with if he won't do it/lies about it.
      Panda, right now you need to be gentle with yourself. Treat yourself like you would a loved friend who was going through hell. Time will help bring some clarity but you can hasten that. If you don't have a therapist, I hope you'll get one. You need as much support right now as possible.
      Whether you stay or go, you will get through this, Panda.
      And Sal? I'd love to hear more about your advice -- can you share your story with us?

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  18. Panda thank you for sharing your story, I'm sorry for your pain right now. But please just stop for a second and breath, deep breaths..... Firstly you've had a shock to the system, a massive right hook to the jaw. Your brain and heart will not be working together or even separately right now so please don't even try making any long term decisions. Although you can't see it you are dealing with his actions very well. Being able to keep your head above water is testament to you given the shit your having to sift through.

    As always you gotta take care of you right now, none of this will make any sense so don't try to make sense of it. Get yourself into therapy if that feasible and if you have a trusted friend lean on them as well as posting here.

    Please please know all the questions you've asked above will become clearer over time but time is what you have right now to decide your next step, how your gonna get through the next minute, hour and days ahead.

    I've been where you are at as have many women here and trust me when I say that you won't stay there forever. You just Gotta give yourself some self care.

    You will feel anger, hurt and every other emotion in between try to work through them, running helped me with my anger or even better boxing. Box the shit out of the punch bag, run till your legs hurt just find ways that help you release that anger holding it in is never healthy.

    I'm not even going to discuss your husbands behaviour right now he's not important but you are and when you feel better you'll see the situation more clearly. You'll be able to decide whether you want him in your life or not.

    Lots of love panda pls take care and let us know how you get on xxxxx

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  19. Thank you Sam A. I don't really have many friends to turn to ironically I put my life in to him kids and career, I have one who is quite understanding but no one truly understands unless they've been through this it feels worse than grief on some ways, I think this has got worse since I said he can come back he's working away at the moment and funnily enough I'm better when he's away its when he comes back to home (I mean the city - he stays at his mums he hasn't lived here for months) I am worse and it's because she lives up the road and works around the corner, everytime he pops out I'll be paranoid and I've made it clear he is not to go near her shop as I found out a few weeks ago that he did go to her shop in December once and a couple of times In January he said he only saw her the once and it was to check her husband hadn't found out! I don't beleive him through, those early months he didn't show much fight for me and I know something was going on I don't think it was her one of the others he was messaging probably he said he wanted to be sure he wanted me for the right reasons!! All of a sudden after 22 years! I just can't stand the pain when I think of her cocky gave she doesn't koi who she is only that he was caught and I know who she is from FB but I haven't gone anywhere near her or messages her as I am a healthcare professional and would lose my registration of she was cocky with me I can't trust I would t be sensible, I was expecting her to be uglier than she is and it kills me. Everything I know I know because I found out he has never admitted anything and even when I've had evidence he's tried to deny it and now he's saying I'm too negative and can't I show him I'm happy he's coming back to try our relationship again it feels hopeless I'll let you know how it goes when he's back

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    1. Panda
      I'm holding on to the minute you let us know you are alright in a safe place in your heart for a few minutes of each day. I'm one that can understand how the pain is easier when you are apart. When I first learned of the affair my h was having, he was living and working across the US and only coming home on the weekends but it was every other week so for me the weeks he was away was spent with me taking care of just me and my mother once a week. Like you, I have no friends I choose to share this mess with as I see no purpose in changing our mutual friends opinions of my h as for me it's only my opinion that counts. I found this blog and the wonderful women here with their brave stories of getting through the dark times. You don't have to make decisions for now that last a lifetime. Just decide what's best for you for the next few minutes then the next few hours then the next few days. As each day passes you will begin to feel stronger and when you get to a strong enough place, then you can make a few decisions and even then they don't have to be permanent for ever decisions. Until then take care of you the best way you can. Know also we are all here to listen we understand the ups and downs you feel! Hugs for your pain!

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    2. Panda,
      Your husband needs to get one thing straight: He cheated on you. If he wants you to even think about giving him the chance to prove to you that he's not a total ass, then he needs to come completely clean about everything and he needs to make it clear to you that he will spend the rest of his life making this up to you. YOU owe him nothing.

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    3. Panda: I am sorry for your heartache--it is simply unfair (for each and every one of us). This is a marathon event...it will take all the time it takes, there is loads of discomfort and when we cross the finish line we are changed. Please reach out a lot, read old blogs and know deep in your bones that here there are kindred spirits. I have often said to the man in my life that this blog was the place I borrowed my balls, strength and responses from, but it really is much more. Be gentle with yourself and when the burden seems too great just get through the next 4 minutes...I put a song (Fix You by Coldplay) on my iPod and the first second I felt that I was in just too much pain I listened to it. I would cry and sometimes it took 5 replays (or 25!), but it bridged the place I had been to the place I needed to be to go on. I wish I never needed to lean on and learn from the BWC, but I thank Heaven for it every day.

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    4. Wow I totally forgot how I got through the beginning days, weeks and months. Not sure if I forgot or repressed or moved on. But I would listen to Coldplay. Really all of their songs helped. And I listened to them a lot. At night when I could not sleep I would out my headphones on and play them on repeat all night. It was the only thing that helped me escape obsessing about what had happened. I remember one time specifically I was laying on our bathroom rug in the middle of the night with my headphones on, I was not sure that night if I could sleep next to my husband. Those songs were and are so comforting. When my husband found me he said he never wanted me to do that again and to be alone. Since then when I wake up he is right next to me. But I think you are right find what works for you, music, journaling, quiet, meditation, yoga, walks, gardening, working out, cooking, baking or a combination. One thing it tells me from having that flashback is that I have made progress. I still listen to Coldplay all the time and it did help me in the darkest times just like this site.

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  20. Thank you all for your comments it helps to know there's some understanding of all of this because God knows there's no sense to any of this why is it men who have cheated seem to be like I love you so much after they've done this? Why cheat then?! H came back yesterday and he is being so loving and attentive and yes I admit I am happy with the closeness (physically) like we are in this bubble but deep down its there lurking- all the shot he's put me through all the lies and my God has he lied I've seen on here they call it trickle truth I've had that- drip fed lies so I'm thinking yes this is nice he is home he is happy but am I? Yes I am if I don't think! Why couldn't he be like this before instead of ignoring me while he put all his effort into 'that' the OW by the way is married with kids but I haven't gone near her so her husband is clueless Her face keeps popping in my head and anything that he says I can relate to what he did for me the hardest thing is that the affair went on for 18 months through some particularly bad times for me when the whole time he was acting like a child with that tramp and she is a rough tramp! He always said he was proud of me for getting my degree and my career against all the odds and then has an affair with a rough tramp anyhow I'm just going to take each day as it comes I think

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    1. Taking each day as it comes is the best thing you can do. While you're doing that though, get clear on what you need from him to feel safe in your marriage again. What is he doing to understand why he risked something so important to him for someone who isn't important to him? What stories was he telling himself? That's HIS stuff to figure out but you have every right to ask him to do so.

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  21. Panda,
    Taking it a day at a time is a great choice. I know your head is probably spinning with all the information you're taking in and all the things going through your head. It's s normal reaction to what has happened, although I'm sure nothing seems normal right now.
    I read your posts and saw many of the things I struggled with (and sometimes still do). Trickle truth is a bitch. Sadly, a lot of us have experienced it. My husband said some things that were outright lies Elle is right when she says that you have to determine what YOU need to feel safe.

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  22. Oops, I hit the publish button mid-post. What I was trying to say was that my husband said outright lies and things that were hurtful to me early on when we were still dealing with trickle truth. He had just been found out and was incredibly defensive. He felt backed into a corner and he lashed out and just said whatever. It wasn't acceptable and it wasn't right. He had developed a bad habit of saying whatever he could to stop the conversation. The trickle truth stopped relatively quickly once the shit hit the fan, but unfortunately, it took a little time (and counseling) before we to a point where we communicated better. I think for my husband a lot of this had to do with shame over what he had done and recognition of the damage it had caused. And he couldn't undo it or take it back.
    If your husband wants to help you heal, he's going to have to be open and honest. He's going to have to get to the root of his issues. It's hard work.
    I also questioned how my husband could pick someone who is the opposite of everything he said he valued in me. I have a very good job. I have tried hard to live my life with integrity. I try to balance my career and being a good mom. He picked a woman (married with three kids) who would have sex with him in his truck on lunch breaks. His affair wasn't about finding a woman of character, it was about living out his porn addiction. It didn't matter who she was, it was what she did did him. It's tough for me to see my husband in that light, but that's what it was. He valued those things in me, but at the time, he valued himself and his porn habit more.
    I'm also in the same boat on not having contacted her husband and on steering clear of confronting the OW in person for fear of my reaction. I think you are doing the right thing by not confronting her. On the husband issue, I still question myself but I know why I made my decisions and for now, they still seem the best choice.
    I just wanted you to know that there are others out here who understand how you feel and to reassure you that your husband's choices have everything to do with his issues and nothing to do with you.
    Hugs!

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    1. Thank you dandelion, I just keep thinking is there more to come, each big revelation he has said that's it all skeletons out of closet now and then there's another my h told me outright lies too, I'm just so angry at times that he did this to me and when he texts me how much he loves me it doesn't mean anything anymore- I can't look at his texts and words and think oh he must truly love me if he's saying things like that because he showed me love and remorse after dday but he was then messaging another woman from about a week after dday whilst I was dealing with the fallout of the affair! I just can't trust him, I'll try to explain what I mean- throughout our long relationship he may have pissed me off or done things I didn't like but I always thought he would never do this and all the lies like sleeping with prostitutes and actually GIVING ME HIS PHONE EVERYTIME HE WENT OUT AMD SAYING HERE IS MY PHONE YOI CAN LOOK IF U WANT he said he was being transparent and honest with me and I found out he was MESSAGING ANOTJER WOMAN THE WHOLE TIME! whilst at therapy aswell- how can I EVER trust him..

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    2. Panda,
      It's so hard. I get it. My H and I had conversations before we ever married about this. If one of us ever felt like there was an interest in someone else, we were going to be adults, talk about it and if we needed to act upon that interest, we would go our separate ways rather then hurting one another. I put my faith in him. I never believed I would be where I am today.
      I'll try to abbreviate my story. I had three d-days. December 2014 - I looked at our phone records and found tons of calls to the same number. I confronted him. He told me it was a female co-worker and convinced me it was an emotional affair. He cut off contact with her. February 2014 - I walked into the room and found him responding to a message from her on Facebook. Two days later he told her no more contact but then resumed the affair within about a week. I believe they were no longer in contact but still had no clue about the physical part of the affair. We both started individual therapy in March. April 2015 - I saw Facebook Messenger messages from her popping up on his iPad. I learned the truth about the affair that night. The affair ended that day but it took a week or two (I think) before he actually pulled his head completely out of his ass. Maybe it was affair fog, trickle truth.. I don't know. I'm not excusing his behavior, but it seems more common than I would have expected. I don't know if it the shock of being found out, the shame of recognizing what the've done or maybe a combination of things.
      But here we are a year later. My husband has spent the past 12 months evaluating what led to all his selfish decision making. We continue to go to therapy. He has been open about the affair even when the questions were uncomfortable, embarrassing or shameful for him. He doesn't deny me the opportunity to talk about the affair or how I feel. The conversations aren't always smooth or pleasant. We stumble but we get ourselves back on track. My healing is slow, but he's there. Do I trust him? Yes, but it's not the blind trust I put in him years ago. I've leaned through this experience nothing is certain, so you just take it day by day. That doesn't mean that I don't have hopes for our future together.
      What you decide to do is completely up to you. All you have to do right now is take what Elle calls your next right step. If you decide that you want to give him a second chance, then he'll have to do whatever YOU determine you need to be safe and he'll have to do the hard work of dealing with his issues. The process is never easy but having two people committed to the save goal sure helps.
      I can tell you that at five months, I never thought I would be where I am today.
      Hugs to you!

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    3. Dandelion
      Your "But here we are" paragraph is my life right now. So similar to my experience. And like you I've learned from this that nothing is certain.
      But I want to ask please -- how are you doing that uncertainty? I hear "take it day by day." But what does that look like for you in practice? This part is my stumbling block right now. I thought I was doing okay lately, but in marriage counseling yesterday I just sobbed the whole time and she suggested I come in for IC instead for a bit. So much for doing okay.
      I think I was sobbing because I grieve the certainty. That was marriage to me -- the certainty. The confidence and security of the commitment. Otherwise I feel like what is the point -- it is just a long-term relationship, not "marriage." How did you get okay with the idea of nothing is certain? Are you okay with having trust, but not blind trust? Do you think you can/should ever have blind trust again, with anyone? Do I just need to give it more time? Your advice please?

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    4. Sal,
      I think we have a tendency to view any sadness or grief as destroying any progress we might have made. You can be doing okay...and still have a day of sobbing. It doesn't mean you're not doing okay. It means that there's still some grief in there that needs processing. And that's normal. My mother passed away in 2007 and the other day I became so sad. I ached to talk to her again. And I cried.
      You get okay with the idea that nothing is certain by realizing that it never has been, even when you thought it was. And, paradoxically, by coming to terms with that uncertainty, life becomes sweeter. We realize there are no guarantees. We've got right now. That's it.
      When we're still processing the pain, that's terrifying. We can't imagine enduring this another time. But, God forbid it happens again, we won't be the same people. Doesn't mean it won't hurt. But if we've done the work of healing ourselves, we'll respond from a place of certainty in our own strength.

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    5. Panda,
      Had those conversations too long before I found out about his cheating. The candid, "let's never do that to each other" conversation. Ha! Yeah, right.
      The trickle truth is so damaging. He needs to realize how much more harm he's creating. Can you and a therapist have a "full disclosure" session in which he comes clean and answers all your questions? It's your chance to ask everything you want to know within a context of safety for you. If you write down everything, you might realize that there are things you don't really need to know -- it's called "pain shopping" -- information that simply compounds your pain and doesn't really change anything. He cheated. He lied. That's the crux of it all.

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    6. Sal,
      Prior to my husband's affair, I think I had a false sense of all the certainties in my life. I felt I had control of everything. Having lost my mom to breast cancer when she was 58, I should have been very aware of how little I could control. We had no family history. She was very healthy. She got breast cancer and was gone within a few years despite early detection and aggressive treatment. We always "knew" she would outlive my dad based upon health issues and family history. But nothing I did controlled the outcome of her illness.
      His affair brought my perceptions of my life crashing to the ground. After a lot of reading on this site, I realized how little I can really control. I can't control my husband's actions. I can control my own actions and I can control my response to his actions. We just had a session with our therapist today. We went over some of the areas which I struggle with. We talked about the lack of certainty and how even though I am aware of it, I have moments where I am plugging along happily and something will trigger me. I then revert to "protecting" myself in unhealthy ways even though nothing is happening. She reminded me that I have set clear boundaries in terms of him ever cheating again. I can't keep him from cheating but I do know what my response will be if he chooses to.
      I remember when I first started hearing people talk about that lack of certainty or guarantees and thinking I was destined to live my life with this hanging over my head, questioning every day if it would happen again. That's not how I live, though. I do live more in the present. I do appreciate the small things more. I do acknowledge how little I can control and try to let go a little more. The more I do it, the more natural it feels.
      Hugs, Sal! I hope this helps.

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    7. Early on after dday and the months following on more than one occasion my husband expressed regret that he had hurt me so bad that I would be in pain forever and he wished that I had found someone else or that for my sake we did not end up together. He said there are so many guys that would have never done what he did or been so weak. He named off a long list of friends and people he knows. And without hesitation I told him and I believe this we have no idea first of all about any of your friends. Do they know about what you did? He claims no way. And besides that there are no guarantees with no one. For me to think that the grass is greener with a future without him as a certainty is off base. He counter is he never questions my integrity, loyalty or honesty and never has. And I have to agree with him. But in the end we are together and have a family together. Without him I would not have my kids and our good memories. I am not 100% sure if I would be here if we did not have kids together. But that is not anything that is a reality. So in the end these are the cards I have been dealt for good or bad. Based on statistics plenty of marriages experience it. This does not make it better but that is how I feel about the certainty and control it was all fake and people who they think have it are not facing reality. Elle you have said it before I think society plays into this and I have read that it is easier to think it will never happen to me and avoid it all. Well that time is over and it is my realty. I am not ready to throw my husband out though since I know divorce and single parent life carry an entire set of different issues, pain and grief. So for now I accept the day to day and some degree of uncertainty.

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    8. Oh I also read two comments in books. I cannot remember the authors but I remember in one case a woman regretting staying with her husband but never truely opening up even after many years. Her husband died and she carried that regret with her. I have read many more stories like this. And was it steam who spoke of using the image of having a color photo of yourself and do you want it to stay that way colorful and full of life or in years to come and when you pull it out will it be old, dis colored, worn, black and white. I am sure I am not doing justice to her original imagery but I think of that often. My husband's choices and these ow will not take away my happiness. Depending on him will be the difference if it is with him or on my own.

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    9. Thank you ladies for your words of wisdom.
      I think I *know* what you are saying... I just don't want to. I liked having certainty and control -- turns out it was completely delusional, but I liked it.

      I need to read your words a few more times and sit with them for a while. You know those shows where everyone freezes like statues for a bit except the main character? He weaves in and out of them all and does what he needs to do, then snaps his fingers when he's ready and all resumes. That's what I want. "Pause please."

      So hard.

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    10. Sal,
      I think you've hit on exactly what you need. Do what you can to press pause. Give yourself that time to really absorb this new reality and what it means. Control is an illusion. I was just like you. I liked believing that I could orchestrate everything around me, from my children's happiness to my husband's devotion. I was wrong. And, frankly, I've come to realize that other people don't want to feel controlled. My kids want permission to be miserable some days, to be angry some days. They don't want me "fixing" things. Neither do my friends. The good news is that -- yay, I just need to control me. What a relief. And to also learn that's all I could ever control. The rest was illusion.

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  23. Hi Elle we agreed to go to therapy together but I'm Not sure if he needs to go himself too? When I say what will you do that's different in our relTionship he says he has to be open and honest and build trust and make me feel
    I'm the centre of his world but I don't know what that will 'look' like, what does that mean? He's not great at communicating, at the weekend I asked him a lot of questions about his time with her sexually and what they talked about etc and I wish I hadn't it hurt like hell

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    1. Panda,
      Until he can explain to you how he let the cheating happen -- how he was able to convince himself that this was somehow okay -- then he needs individual therapy. And until he can outline exactly how he's going to deal with supporting you as you go through this and how he's going to better communicate with you, then he needs individual therapy. This isn't about seeing a therapist because you're "crazy", it's about seeing someone who can teach you the skills to be a better partner. And I have a hard time believing that someone who cheated doesn't need to learn some skills for how to be a better partner.

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  24. The trickle truth is what has hurt me the worst in all of this. I have told my husband this. For me on dday one it was about honesty and a clean slate or at least I thought it was and starring fresh. But then dday 2 came 5 months later. We had had a lot of discussion between them and he was not honest with me or even himself. Now we are just past one year. And I will say I have more clarity than ever. I see this is all about him. These women could have been anyone. And for my husband it was an escape from whatever was the problem that month. Also he says once he started it all he felt like he was in too deep and felt like there was no hope between us. When he had less contact with these women he said he was happiest and wished for it all to go away. There are so many problems with it all but over this year I realize that this is on him. Nothing I did or didn't do warrants his choices and behavior. My husband agrees with this 100%. That has helped me a lot.

    One thing I will say is recently I feel like my husband has been his most genuine self. And we have talked about it. He was so busy trying to make things better and to make me happy he did not really focus on himself. He has made a lot of changes and still some work to do. But I really think even though he was past these women he did not focus on himself at all. Both his healing, getting over his guilt and also being honest with himself. I am trying to be empathic and show grace. It is not always easy but lately he has surprised me. We still have lots of work to do and have had lots of tough conversations. But I think the best advice I was given is to give it time if you are committed. And I decided early on I would give it my all. Good luck!

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    1. Hopeful30,
      Everything you wrote was my experience too. Getting to the realization that this was entirely about him was liberating. And seeing him wrestle his demons and become that better partner gave me the confidence to give him a second chance.

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  25. My husband went alone to a colleagues wedding and came home home with makeup all over his shirt arm and collar. Stinking of perfume. He also didn't come home til 5am - couldn't get a taxi earlier apparently - he couldn't explain how his shirt could possibly get in that state. I suggested someone may have snuggled up to him in the taxi and he vehemently denied that he would ever put his arm round another woman. One month later I found a photo of another woman sitting on his knee and with his arm around her waist. This was 6 months ago and I've cried every day. My husband denies an affair and says he can't remember her on his knee.

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    1. Anonymous so sorry to hear you are dealing with this. I would say trust your gut instincts. For me it was a text that I saw by accident on his iPad. And the text was not great but nothing horrible. It was the tip of an iceberg. I was able before he came home to go through his iPad. I took screen shots of a ton of stuff. I found a fake fb page. Lots of stuff. Granted as I found out he deleted and hid a lot and the major stuff. I did not at the time even know what I was dealing with. I checked phone records etc. I confronted my husband and he admitted to two affairs. More came out later, chat rooms, fake email... And initially he told me about the affairs but minimized them. It was a mess and we are still working through it a year later, getting better each day.

      One thing I will say is we had been married a long time and I was very independent. We had in the past had open discussion about these types of things and I had asked him directly about other women and he always denied it. But he had two relationships for 10 years. These were sporadic. One woman he only saw three times. He was not invested or in love with them. I thought if someone was having an affair they would be so wrapped up with the other person but not so for us. My husband was detached and disconnected but more from his guilt and hating himself. One thing now as I look back is my husband's behavior even if he was not having any affairs was not good. But his behavior was conducive to it. And who he hung around. He only went out 1-2 times a month with friends but they would meet early and stay out all night, drink too much etc. Even if nothing happened it was not a great way to live. Staying out late and drinking too much even a couple times a month did not help him be a good husband and father. For us expectations have changed and boundaries too. He agrees nothing good happens after 10 pm while out. And alcohol even if not used often is a depressant and lowers inhibitions. My therapist really feels this is a huge issue who you surround yourself with and what choices they make. in the end my husband is responsible for his own decisions but now we talk before he golfs or meets friends out. What are his intentions and as the night goes on he is in contact, if they change locations or who he is with he needs to tell me. I have no idea if this will be forever but for now it is what I need to feel safe in our marriage and as my therapist said he lost all of his freedom when he made his previous choices.

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    2. Anonymous,
      If your husband was so drunk that he has no recollection of how makeup got on his clothes, then it's pretty hard to trust his assurance that "nothing happened". Something clearly happened and he either knows it did or doesn't remember...but it happened. What that something was is beside the point. He owes you more than brushing off your fears.
      If he's defensive, then my guess is there are things he doesn't want you to know about. Can you access his devices? Can you check in with people who were at the wedding to see what they might have seen? Embarrassing sure, but better than the horrible state of knowing but not knowing.
      I'm so sorry you're going through this right now. Whether or not you get to the bottom of this, it sounds as if you and your husband need to establish some clear guidelines on behaviour. Staying out until 5 a.m. and coming home covered in another woman's makeup is a violation of your trust. And, at the very least, that needs addressing.

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  26. Thank you, hopeful. I feel exactly that I'm only at the tip of the iceberg. He's only admitting to what there is evidence for. I've found texts and social media messages that definitelyare inappropriate between 'professionals', but he says 'it's hardly a hanging offense'. I have never experienced pain like this. I have screamed, cried and physically assaulted my husband. I never thought I could do such a thing - and I'm not even sorry for slapping him! This can't be love - I'm dismayed at how i'm handling this.

    He says he'll never go out without me again - but hasn't defined 'going out', a couple of beers after work don't count, I've noticed.

    Even tThe language we use to communicate has to be negotiated. He didn't 'grope'his colleagues, he 'tickled' them. He didn't stay out 'all night'- 5am is still night time apparently!!!

    Things are getting better - but only in the sense that the arguments are becoming fewer - the sex is great, bizarrely. I just wish I could fast forward my life 2 or 3 years when hopefully this will all just be a memory.

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    1. I wonder if you two should go to a marital counsellor to help you work through this. He's playing a semantics game...which completely dismisses your deep pain from this. It doesn't matter whether he "tickled" or "groped", it went beyond the bounds of an appropriate relationship with a work colleague. It disrespected you. You feel hurt by his inability to acknowledge your pain.
      Consider creating YOUR definition of "going out". YOU start making the rules about how things proceed.

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  27. Elle - thank you - I wish I'd found this site 6 months ago!!!

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    1. Well...you found us now. And we're glad you're here.

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