Friday, May 13, 2016

Time Conceals All Wounds: Why Waiting Out the Pain Isn't Enough

Over on the Multiple Affairs thread, there's a common story. A husband cheated, "I forgave him" and now, here she is again. It's chilling to those of us who've chosen to give our husband's a second chance. It feeds our fear that he'll cheat again and we'll have nobody to blame but our stupid selves for trusting him.
But here's the thing. The "I forgave him" narrative rarely includes the blood, sweat and buckets of tears that we know needs to precede forgiveness. Forgiveness isn't a willingness to pretend the betrayal never happened. It's a decision to no longer let that betrayal hold us hostage.
It can be tempting, if your husband is of the "I'm sorry. It won't happen again. But I can't live with you constantly harping about my affair" variety, to let time work magic. Sure there might be a pit in your stomach when he comes home late and, sure, you may have nagging fears, but those feelings are manageable. They're not that I-can't-breathe down on your knees agony of first finding out. Time hasn't so much healed your pain but concealed it. Tucking our pain away allows us to function in our lives. It can mimic healing in a way that fools even us.
My heart still thuds when I remember the agonizing gut-punch of D-Day. It felt crippling. Our impulse is to run from pain. To make promises, to rush to forgiveness, to minimize – anything to reduce the heartbreak, anything to make the pain even slightly more bearable.
But pain will hide in the shadows. It will show up as irritability. It will show up as headaches, stomach issues, chronic illness. It will show up as self-harm. Too much drinking. Too much eating. Too much exercise. Too much Facebook. Too little gentleness or kindness with yourself. Too little stillness. Too little consideration for your own wants and needs.
We need to avoid that impulse to rush toward healing. We need to keep our pain somewhere we can continue to chip away at it. To let ourselves really feel it. To trust that our pain has something important to teach us about our worth, our boundaries, our hearts and that, if we'll let it, it can also show us the way forward.
When we look at the stories of our lives – stories that include heartbreak of all kinds: illnesses, losses, betrayals – we discover that within those times of being broken open, we reinvent ourselves. We draw clearer lines around what we want in our lives, we re-examine behaviour patterns that are no longer serving us, we reconsider the people we surround ourselves with and become more discerning.
Time is no magical elixir without a willingness to go deep into it in order to emerge stronger.
Don't fear the darkness because without it, you wouldn't be able to see the light ahead calling you forward. 

128 comments:

  1. Thank you so much for your words, they give me so much power. I am new to the club that none of us were asked to join!! Still hurting but find comfort in all the fighters here!

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    1. Glad you found us...but sorry you need to be here.

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  2. Wow. That's it. Pain will hide in the shadows. All of that about headaches and stomachaches and too much and too little -- that exactly describes me: BEFORE DDay. I believed I had the best marriage ever in the history of marriages. But I was always sick. Physically and mentally. Low-grade, but ever present. Always too much or too little.
    And so as much as I HATE my H's betrayal... I have to admit it put an end to all that. It's been a year since DDay and nothing about our marriage or ourselves is in the shadows anymore. And I have drawn clearer lines, and I have re-examined behavior, and I have become more discerning. And here's the crazy thing -- I am healthier than I've been in 20 years. Physically and mentally. Go figure.
    I still wish to fricking holy hell and back that it didn't happen. But there is a silver lining.
    Amazing how you get it Elle, even so many years out. Thanks so much for providing this place to think.

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    1. Sal
      Your words touched me! Like you I had all these small issues such as arthritis, non functional thyroid gland, ect.. Nothing major but after the betrayal I'm now healthier than I have been in 20 years!

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    2. I do think, once everything is blown wide open, it gives us the chance to rebuild a life rooted in our own power. We stop bending so much to others and begin reclaiming ourselves.

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  3. I am so sorry to be here really.

    My husband had an emotional affair (I had wiped that from my brain) and then a very satisfying sexual affair (this time with a psycho co-worker).

    And this second affair happened when I was pregnant with our son.

    It has been 4 months and 10 days since I found the truth, and husband is asking for forgiveness, and wants "us" to be the family that we are.

    My biggest fear is that he will do it again, though he says he will never.

    Am I making the biggest mistake of my life?

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    1. Hi St. Elsewhere,

      Are you making the biggest mistake of your life?

      I don't know how useful that question is but I completely understand why you are asking it. 4 months and 10 days is just a blink of an eye. Give yourself time to figure out what YOU want. And he needs to figure out what it will take for him to earn the second chance. One thing I have learned after almost 3 years... wanting to be a family/healed couple and wanting to forgive requires alot of soul searching and very, very hard work from both of you. In my case, I wanted it bad and I was willing to do alot of hard work. But my H wanted it but didn't think he had to do much about it. He has been waiting me out and insisting that I forgive and wants us to be a couple. But it has taken far longer than I realized for him to get his head out of his ass and figure out what drove him to behave so selfishly. It has been almost 3 years since d-day #1. I finally can accept that he is not in a place to do the work of earning forgiveness. I have laid down boundaries and we are sleeping in separate rooms.

      I guess you won't know if you are making the biggest mistake of your life until you feel ready to move forward with something--separation, divorce, reconciliation, therapy... And hopefully you will find the strength to course correct until you find what is right for you. But you aren't there yet. You need to sit with this, take your time. Don't rush and certainly don't rush just because he is expecting forgiveness and wants to be a family. He doesn't get to put the pressure on you.
      Just because he says he will never, doesn't mean he won't. He needs to do a bunch of work to understand trust and commitment. Then you can know whether he is worth it. Even after that, recommiting is just taking another chance, there is never a guarantee that we won't be betrayed. But hopefully with practicing building trust and communication it will be worth it.

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    2. Dear MBS,

      Thank you.


      Yes. He wants to be what we were, and I am not ready to forgive him yet. Not now atleast.

      I am the one scouring resources to try and go back, and hopefully have my heart in the right place. He still insists on "let bygones be bygones".

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    3. Your husband needs to understand that you can't be the family that you were before. He threw that away. It is possible to get through this and build a happy family again, but it will not be like it was before. It's like gluing together a vase that broke. You can restore it, but it will never be exactly like it was before it was broken.

      I think my marriage is on the road to being better than it used to be. But it will not be the same. I will never blindly trust him the way I used to. I still love him, but not with the wild abandonment I did before. That is gone. Sometimes my husband will say he misses that, but then he follows it up with, "I know it's my fault. I blew it."

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    4. I agree not sure if any of us will know if it is the worst mistake ever. I know that feeling. And it can creep back into my mind at time. I am just past a year. And really I needed a lot of time and asking the same things over and over. I had to work through a lot (10 years) of two affairs and all the complications that go with that. It was a major roller coaster and can be some days. I just recently at the over one year mark told my husband I forgave him. I did not know when it would happen but it has connected to the work he was doing. I had processed a lot but it was not only the change in his behaviors but it was him taking the time to reflect and look at himself more in depth. I am sure even though we all share similar stories no two are alike. For me journaling helped a lot. And coming to the website was key. My therapist helped me so much have more confidence in myself and learn to be more assertive in our marriage.

      One thing I always knew is that I wanted to give this my all. I wanted to be true to myself. And I knew there was a risk that I might get more hurt. But I know myself too well and knew I had to put my full effort in and if in the end either I was not happy or my husband was not then I would know that I did my best. I could live with that no matter how hard that might be. Part of it was for myself and I think also for my kids. I felt we both deserved that effort. It has taken some leaps of faith as far as feeling vulnerable and exposed. But so far it is paying off. And the one last thing I know we have heard on here before is there are no guarantees in any relationship. Hang in there, take care of yourself, get a therapist, find what works for you and see where it takes you.

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    5. St. Elsewhere,
      There's so much wisdom on this site, as you no doubt read the responses. None of us knows whether a second chance is a mistake until it either is...or isn't. What we come to learn, however, is that we can make choices that are the best for us at that particular moment, based on what we know and can assume, rather than what we hope.
      Your husband's desire to let bygones be bygones indicate that he really doesn't yet realize just how deep the wound of betrayal is. What's more, the only way to really heal from betrayal is to process it -- and that's a long, painful road. Pretending it didn't happen, or wishing it away, is a recipe for resentment and, too often, a repeat of the betrayal. Each partner has to work through what has happened and rebuild a marriage rooted in truth and transparency and an understanding of how to deal with the challenges that arise rather than escape into an affair.

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  4. One thing I am trying to learn to do is sit with the pain and allow myself to feel it instead of struggling against it. By allowing myself to feel it, I realize that it hurts but it doesn't fully consume me the way I think it would when I am struggling against it. I've noticed that if I allow myself to sit and feel it then a little bit of it evaporates. I might need to try the same approach with shame. It is the thing that holds me back the most because I have struggled and struggled against feeling it because in my mind I know I shouldn't feel it. It wasn't my fault or decision and I was lied to by someone I trusted. Maybe if I give myself the permission to just feel it, the same thing will happen.

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    1. Enigma,
      Tell someone not to think about something...and it all but guarantees they'll be able to think of nothing but what you've told them to NOT think about. By making certain emotions off-limits to ourselves, we all but guarantee that those emotions will have enormous power over us.
      Feel the shame...but challenge it. Examine it. What is it really about? What messages are you giving yourself? Are they true? Were they ever true? I think you'll find that the narrative you're following is based more on what our culture says about infidelity than about your own experience. YOU were a loyal, loving wife -- not perfect, for sure. But you didn't cheat. His betrayal of you is not your shame.

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  5. 4 months since D-day. My husband had multiple affairs over 22years. During each episode He managed to convince me with his lies that for each one "nothing happened" Because I wanted it to be true I stuffed it all down and pretended that everything was fine. Physical illness that I suffered: depression, weight gain, migrains, bulging disc in neck.

    6months ago the suspicious behavior started again. We fought and when I had finally come to terms with being alone and told him to leave. .. that's when he decides to confess. New physical symptoms: insomnia, paranoia, high blood pressure and of course more depression.

    So now I feel like I'm supposed to give him ANOTHER chance. He's doing all the right things: reading books on post affair healing, going to counseling, making changes at work, renewing our relationship, etc.

    I hear God calling me to build a new marriage (I hesitate to say new or rebuild because he was never committed). Part of me wants him to quit trying so hard so I can be free. Sometimes I find myself resisting God's call and wondering why I have to be the one to do the hard work of forgiving. Then a co-worker tells me she has stage 4 cancer and suddenly my misery seems so insignificant.

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  6. I am struggling with flashbacks and resentment. I am wondering if anyone else has experienced this level of abuse. I know that infidelity can be a form of abuse and I have read accounts of gaslighting and disrespect..but I have experienced ALL of these things and more! I have read about covert narcissism and my husband fits that description to a tee. Since I found out (about affairs) he immediately changed his behavior, at least as it concerns other women.. But after pushing for total honesty for the first 10 months and more awful things came out that he was, "afraid to tell me" or basically thought were just ancillary details that I didn't deserve to know. This has left me with a hyper sense that there are still things that I don't know. Maybe because he was able,( at least in the beginning ) to cry or rage at me that he had told me everything...lying to my face, looking in my eyes, praying to god out loud, for me.. The memory of this act, his show that he put on, is now added to all the other memories of shit behavior. If he gets teary now,( I have actually shared this with him) I just want to kick him in the balls, because I reminds me of his past BS behavior. One example in the past..he pretended to share with me that he was preyed upon sexually by an older man he worked with when he was a teenager and the guy gave him a blowjob.. I was appalled felt sorry for him, comforted him. He told me he was confused and enjoyed it, told me about some gay fantasies, etc.. The whole thing left me feeling unsure and insecure, but I listened and tried to be supportive. Asked him about that revelation and he said, "oh god, I forgot all about that, none of that was true, I was just using it for a turn on, sorry." I have read the term emotional vampire and that seems to fit. I have bad memories of staying up talking all night about MY issues and having passionate sex,only too know learn that during that timeframe he was fucking, talking about fucking, and trying to get things going with other woman. So many other accounts I could go on and on.. Does any one else have these issues?

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    1. Anoymous May 16
      The flashbacks do happen but for me they don't lead to the same dark place that they did in the beginning. For example this weekend my h and I traveled to my h hometown for a reunion of the folks he should have graduated with 40 years ago had he not moved to my hometown and graduated with me, and married in his last year of college. We stayed with his sister and brother in law they were both teachers in this small town and had a most wonderful relaxing time! When we returned to our home there were spray painted words that we couldn't make out right in front of the gate where my lab is. Well that just shook me to the core until we spoke with our neighbors and the pet sitter regarding when this paint could've been sprayed. They were having a fence installed the day we left town and had attempted to get the gas company to mark lines. Well before we learned that I was already shaking and convinced myself that the crazy ow was the one trying to send a cryptic message! Well I for once did not have a meltdown but it did lead us in a discussion about his affair and I was able to ask questions and he answered me truthfully and with honesty and it really helps me to get just a little bit farther down the long path of healing. Even though his affair was over almost three years ago that women just wouldn't leave us alone and so I still find myself with new triggers but the way I respond to them is way different! My h tried the old is this the way it's going to be forever but I just calmly said no just until I can understand her psychology and what caused her to be so insistent that the affair continue. Well I asked lots of questions and listened to his answers and believe it or not I was able to get through this trigger and it didn't leave either of us an emotional wreck! This was huge for us! My h isn't one that has had multiple affairs but he did use porn a great deal until I told him that in my eyes that too was cheating and painful for me to know especially if I am home in a different room! Well since then if he's watching porn it's not when I am near. So again for us some more progress. I'm trying to teach my h how to help and he's beginning to understand what I'm saying and that has helped him come to terms with the fact that she wasn't always totally honest with him regarding her marriage and family issues. So as much as I hate where you are and what you are going through, I can say that yes I am having some of those issues I'm just learning how to deal with them differently! I hope this helps! Hugs!

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    2. Anonymous,
      I think those flashbacks might technically be flashbacks (in that the behaviour has stopped) but they're signalling to you that your marriage does not feel safe emotionally. Your husband's actions (particularly lying about sexual abuse) sounds pathological. No emotionally healthy person would manipulate another person in such an intimate way.
      Rather than work on getting past the flashbacks and resentment, I think they're clear evidence that you are not in a safe relationship and those feelings are telling you it's time to demand change or get out. What is your husband doing to get to the bottom of his behaviour? How is he committed to healing himself...and helping you heal? Until you see evidence that he really understands how he crossed the line in so many ways -- not just the cheating but the emotional manipulation of you -- you shouldn't trust him.

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  7. I agree that time alone will not heal or fix issues related to betrayal and infidelity. But saying that I think that being patient and giving our marriage time and both of us time has made a huge difference. I remember in the early days saying to my husband I need time please be patient with me both with time and also with my line of questioning. I thought since he had stopped both affairs that he was done it was in his past but what I found was that he was focused on me "getting better". But once I was through the worst he really started to be affected by what he had done. Like he began to let his guard down. And I think it was time. Whether it was he felt safe. Or it was finally hitting him. I am not sure. My therapist said he believes time does help and that most people that get over things too quickly are not really recovered or healed. He said there is a natural progression.

    I will say at times I think whoa am I not being careful enough, am I too vulnerable... But then I think back and see all the changes. So many good things. And also one thing I realized recently was my expectations are elevated now. I used to think wow he just emptied the dishwasher. Where now he does that all the time. I now have higher expectations for him and our marriage. We have discussed this and we both think it is good. I would not say we are striving for perfection but our marriage has changed. The best thing is we are discussing this and both participating in these discussions.

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    1. Hopeful30,
      Seeing the change in your partner is incredibly powerful in rebuilding a marriage. Time isn't enough if you're not also seeing positive changes that allow you to begin to trust again. Sounds like you're seeing exactly that.

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  8. Dear Elle,

    Thank you so much for this post! I arrived at a very important time for me. I am coming up on 1 year post dday ( it's about 2 weeks away) and I would say I am mostly ok.... I have felt more myself these last few weeks than I have in the past year and I feel I have the capacity to restart important things to me... Example, exercise and volunteering. I feel like I finally have the energy (mental and physical) to do things like that.

    But your post about concealed pain really challenged me to look at certain things and face that I was on the track to possibly just conceal these things and not really heal them. Healing is so so so much more work.

    Thank you so much for the prompt to look and feel more deeply about where I really am in this journey. I can hardly believe that it is almost 1 year! The days and weeks of pain used to just crawl by at a glacial pace!! The nights were often so long and lonely. And now, I am coming back together and can see a glimmer in the distance.

    Sisters who are still in the early stages, I know it is hard to believe, but it will get better. Be kind and gentle with yourself. Sleep!!! Take something to help you sleep if need, trust me the craziness of sleep deprivation makes things that much harder. You will find your path with or without your H and this site is a safe place with love and wisdom to share. You are not alone BWC sisters are here.

    Love and support to all.
    Becky.

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    1. Becky,

      Thanks for the encouragement. I'm 2 days away from 5 mos discovery. Your words couldn't have come at a better time. H just wants to move forward, forget it ever happened, gets "sad" when I ask questions (and to be honest, last night I asked questions that he didn't want to answer and it was probably a good thing because I really didn't need to hear the answer).

      I, too, conceal the pain, the sadness I feel. I put on a happy face and try to move forward one day at a time. After thinking about it, I haven't done what I need to do for myself. I haven't been eating like I should (especially when h is out of town) nor sleeping well (hard to fall asleep and when I do the dreams invade my mind). I've avoided friends and events so as to not have to pretend I'm fine.

      It's good to know that in time things will be better. It just sucks right now.

      This site has been a great refuge for me and it's good to know that what I'm going through is normal.

      Appreciate all the support I find here.

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    2. I have felt the exact same ways. I too would push for answers and probably am glad I did not get them or maybe he has no clue. What I found is whether he repressed details or honestly cannot remember them it was nothing special or to be remembered or celebrated. For him it is ugly and sad. I guess when this all started I glorified what he did as special and amazing. Well he has told me it was only that for a flash and then it was dark and sad. What I found is I needed so much help and support that my husband did not really focus a lot on himself until around 1 year. I just thought oh he is past all this. But now as we progress I see based on the reality that he was really the one with the issues and problems to start that he has a lot of work to do. But I can take it I am in such a better place.

      One thing that helped me a lot was journaling and writing questions down. I did this over and over. The questions that kept repeating themselves are the things I brought up to him and others fell off the list. It helped me decide what I needed to bring up since if I were to bring up all my thoughts then it would go on forever. Also I think you are right eating, sleeping and exercise even if just walking or sitting outside is so important. In the end you need to take care of yourself for you. I know that even if I decide to leave or my husband leaves me I have done the best to repair our marriage but also set myself up for success.

      I do find I spend less time with others. No one else knows so that feels like a barrier. Things come up in conversation and I feel distant still. Some I think is self protection even from others which my therapist says is very normal as long as I am not isolating myself. This is where I come to connect with others. And as far as sleeping if it is a rough night I will listen to music through headphones on a loop. It works really well for me.

      Hang in there!

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    3. Hi Feeling Lost,

      I am so sorry you have joined our ranks, we all know the pain and struggle you are going through. I happy you found this site though there is a lot of wisdom and encouragement shared here.

      5 months is still very early stages - I was still in my zombie phase - and often as women we are great at caring for others but not ourselves. Just take it one day at a time and try to be kind to yourself. Eating and sleeping are good places to try and care for yourself. I know it's hard, for a while all I could keep in my stomach was smoothies and toast.

      Also, I did not tell any friends or family about what was happening so often felt very alone and isolated. This site really helped me to not feel so alone. I also concealed a lot of pain ect from others, but what has been really important to me is not conceal it from myself. In the past my personal MO would very much have been to stuff down and avoid the pain. Sit with pain and grief .... Uhh I didn't even really know what that meant, but I would have said hell no!!! Through this past year I have found a path to more true healing.

      You will find your path too one step at a time. And there are lots of sisters here that light the way. Other before me have given me lots of inspiration and hope.

      Love and support to all
      Becky

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    4. Becky, Feeling Lost and Hopeful30,
      I think sometimes we just need to stop and rest. To not work so hard. You're right, Becky. Healing is so so so hard. It means constantly challenging our thoughts, constantly checking in with ourselves. It's tempting and, sometimes, important to just take a break now and again. To look back and see that we've made some progress, even if we're not where we hope to be.
      But we want to be careful we don't just get to a place where we're "okay" and settle in there. We deserve more than "okay". And, to some extent, if we're not also challenging our partners to really excavate the stuff that led to the affair, we're at risk of it happening again. Marriage, even without infidelity, is hard work. Relationships are tough. And it's important to just enjoy where we are sometimes. But it's also important to ensure that we're not just avoiding further pain and settling for good enough.

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  9. Lynn Less Pain nMay 16, 2016 at 6:57 PM

    I'm questioning everything as the tears boo boo out just wondering. Was my therapist misleading in being marriages biased? Will I ever stop being so incredibly hurt? The pain echoes everywhere in my head, in my heaving chest and bent head always down. Was that was really best for me? I was 25 frickin years old years. When I married him. He was suppose to care for me or at least care a little bit about me. Do you know what makes a promise worse than anything? My basic needs were security, belonging and wanted to be truly cared about. I do that with my best friends. How frickin hard is that? He had Intent and failure to notify me of his intent. That is a definition of a lie. So what? He wants to make it right now? I'm thinking it just doesn't matter how right he wants to make it. We are never going to be right. What am I doing faking it to make it? That what it feels like. Doing what ever it takes to be good enough finally. Why can't anyone just love me and not do bad things to me? Is that so hard? What is hard about that? I even stop in the road for dogs at my own harm. Damn it I can't even spell parrell. Is it so hard not to be mean? No he is Mr. Perfect NOW. Maybe I should be grateful. I read about the ladies in a divorce process or the asshole of the universe is on the fence. I'm counting myself lucky. Why was I too scared to leave him? Why was I scared to be alone? Why did I think I couldn't make it on my own? Why did the unknown stop me rather I tried to win the known? After all we had so much history together. What kind of lame excuse is that? I know I don't want to leave but I want to leave even now. I think I'm over it and I'm not. I think it's better than I'm not. I think I'm losing me again. This has harmed me for good no matter how much I smile the longest, laugh the loudest or hug the hardest.

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    1. Lynn so much less pain
      The tears have to flow to make way for the rainbow that is surely to follow! I was only 19 when I married my knight in shining armor! How dumb and naive I was then! Fast forward to today when I thought we were through those early storms only to find out that we really had to endure a hurricane, I able to understand how we arrived here and how it affected both of us and also able to appreciate where we are today! I'm so sorry you are still on shaky ground! I'm positive that what ever has shaken you will not win! I'm certain of this because of my own revelation this past weekend! I was able to use a trigger to move past a stumbling block to a much better place for me! I'm certain that with a little encouragement from your h you can get there too! Hugs for your frustration!

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    2. Lynn, my heart goes out to you. I am so sorry you are feeling such pain. I want to write more yet, for now, I am off to work. I will write more later. May you feel pace.

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    3. Lynn,

      I literally was coming on here to post something almost verbatim to what you did. The past week has been emotional torture! I feel every morning I've been waking up with the affair & D-Day on my mind and none of my usual "pain relievers" are working.. So then I lash out & I feel bittter & I wonder.. Is my marriage worth this pain? Is he worth this pain? Will I ever feel better? Ugh. It's just a merry-go-round of pain.. But the bright spot is that I don't have to feel alone & you don't either... Because you know somewhere in the world, there is someone experiencing the same exact pain as you are (HI!) and as much as I'm chugging along for myself, I'll pull your train too. So let's go!!! Positive thoughts!!!! We CAN do this. & at the end of the day, with or without our spouses, we will be happy! xo

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    4. Lynn,
      I'm struck by how much of your post is about why he did this to you. Why couldn't he just love you. He was supposed to love you and care for you.
      Of course he was. And in an ideal world, we do exactly that.
      But our world is hardly ideal. He didn't do this TO you. He did this...and you got hurt. I'm not trying to play semantic games, I'm trying to help you see that you still think of his affair as reflecting your worth to him. (And, suspect, reflecting your worth to yourself.)
      You didn't deserve this, Lynn. His cheating had nothing to do with how lovable you are and what you deserve. It had EVERYTHING to do with his own limitations. He loved you the best he could then...and his best was pretty shitty. Now he's learning to love you better (which likely comes from learning to love himself better, to better handle his own dark feelings, etc.). You haven't changed in that you're as worthy as you've always been. HE has changed.
      Lynn, you chose him for a reason. You chose someone who, to some extent, mimicked your sense of self, which developed from your family of origin. You never really felt loved...and so you, on some level, found someone who felt "familiar" even if, on the surface, he had you convinced that he was different. Hurt people hurt people.
      You can walk away from this marriage and nobody would blame you. Or you can acknowledge that two damaged people found each other...and one inflicted further damage on the other. You can give him the chance to earn back your trust and your faith in your marriage...or you can show him the door. Either choice is perfectly reasonable.
      But you don't want to stay mired in this place where you think his affair is a reflection of your worthiness or lovableness. It's about HIS ability to love. It wouldn't matter if it was you or anyone else.
      Your hurt is about his cheating...but it's also about such old wounds. I've been there. My husband's affair opened up such deep pain (that I thought I'd moved past) about my own worthiness, my own belief in whether someone could ever love me "enough". I was looking for someone to make up for what I didn't get as a kid. That can't happen. Nobody can love us out of painful childhoods. Actually, not true. WE can love ourselves out of painful childhoods. We can accept that the people around us have screwed up and we had the misfortune to be in the way. But their failure isn't our failure.
      You've made such progress. I know how hard you're working to heal from this. But every now and then, I think the pain catches you and you're right back in that horrible place of feeling like "why can't people just love me the way I should be loved". It should be simple. I know. But, again, hurt people hurt people.

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    5. Lynn, Elle said it beautifully. The beginning of her post says exactly what I was going to. Your husband didn't do this to you( he did this for himself - and not in a healthy way, in a desperate way. People love other people the only way they know how to love. Coming from a large family I too did not feel loved. My husband knew that when we first met. For many many years he went out of his way to make sure that I felt loved. Now, after the affair, my question of feeling love still raises its ugly head… Yet, I know I am the only one who can quiet that question. If you love and respect yourself, you will exude that love and light and it will come back to you. If it does not, that's OK too as you don't need it, you have your own love. This is something I know I will continue to strive for the rest of my life. And I must say with my husband's affair, I have made great strides in this area - an area that I thought had been addressed long ago.
      One last thought, I have been listening intently to the Hay House world summit for the past two weeks you can sign up at Hayhouse world summit.org. It is free, yet only for the next couple of weeks. The creator of a house comes to mind. And one of her audios, she noted that every morning when she wakes up she goes to the mirror, looks at her self and says aIoud, "I love you Lynn." She goes so far as to state her first and last name. Years ago when I was going through a very difficult time in my life, I would journal daily and at the end of each entry I would write I love you Melissa.
      Yes Lynn, you absolutely deserve love. Grab a hold of it and take it; it is yours. Love & light Dear.

      Delete
    6. Elle you really got my point. Thank you for posting such a thoughtful and truthful reply. You are right. I just didn't see it. Melissa, Anon, Theresa you all recognized the obvious roadblock and can see it. I think this is the one thing I have been missing in this whole mess. My therapist didn't identify this and you all said how I feel exactly, authentically and no bullshit. I have reread these post multiple times to absorb the full meaning of these powerful words. I can't turn a switch to have this wise mind but I can work on it. If I recognize it, I can change my thoughts about me but without your insight I couldn't see the connection. Thank you all for taking the time to care about me. This site is overwhelming to me at times. A heartfelt thanks. This is the only place I'm understood ever.

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    7. Lynn,
      I'm glad you can see what we're pointing to. And I think it's because so many of us can see ourselves in your story. Too many of us know that buried pain of having never felt "enough" as children. I suspect it's a hurt that never quite goes away.
      But...I love Melissa's point re. loving ourselves. It feels so silly. But something I did, on my therapist's advice, was to stop criticizing my appearance and, instead, compliment myself. Instead of, "what the hell is going on with my boobs", it became "Elle, you have such strong legs" or "I love your dimples, Elle" or whatever. And here's the crazy thing: It works. Affirmations have been scientifically proven to work because our brains can't hold two conflicting thoughts at the same time. By being positive, there's no room for the negative. So make a list of all the ways in which you're absolutely incredible. I'll start: You have such a huge heart. You're so funny. You're incredibly poetic. You have a warrior's determination. Now...it's your turn.

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  10. hi sisters. I got notice about a great opportunity this morning and wanted to share.

    Brene Brown and Kristin Neff are co-teaching an online class in Self Compassion!!! If you are not familiar with these researchers they are fantastic. their work has been so insightful and meaningful to me. I highly recommend their work and expect this class to be great.

    Go to the Courage Works website. And with the promo code of "courage" the class is only $48. What a deal!

    Love and support to all
    Becky.

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    1. Thanks Becky. I love Brené Brown. I'm reading her Rising Strong book right now. Hope some BWC sisters take this opportunity!

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    2. Becky,
      Thank you! I signed up. I'm working on lesson one. Already learning something. I appreciate your sharing it.

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    3. Hi dandelion. - yeah! It is so nice to know we are not alone on this path. I'll be thinking of you.

      Lots of love
      Becky

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  11. The two-year anti-versary is coming up in about 6 weeks. He's been doing everything he's supposed to do. Things are better than ever. And yet, underneath it all, I'm still so sad. It feels like background noise; it's always there. Maybe louder some days, quieter other days, but never really gone. Some days I despair that it will always be there. I keep thinking, it's been almost two years, I just want to be DONE with this already. I feel mad at myself for not being past it.

    Then I read this and reminded myself it's okay. I'm still healing. There's no deadline. I'll be past it when I'm past it. I know I'm not wallowing. I know I'm better than I was. A year ago, I was still bargaining with myself to give it just one more day. I no longer have to do that. I'm actually in the moment now. Even if the moment is painful.

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    1. Gee,
      You're a work in progress. So is your marriage. I'm almost 10 years out (ack!) and there are still moments. It's part of my history. It will never NOT be part of my history. But it's just a part. It's no longer the whole story or even the main story.

      Delete
  12. Ladies: I feel as if perhaps we are all standing upon the same patch of scorched Earth...D-Day for me was Mar 10, 2015. Porn addiction and a one night stand while away on a course (which also occurred ON my birthday) was the mosaic of shit that I had to make sense of. I had thought that I was unearthing new coping mechanisms and a new self concept, then BLAM--just like the initial discovery itself I was choking back rage, pain, loathing and a million different ways to say "I hate you ass hat". All I could think of (despite a year of working toward reconcilliation) was how much I did NOT want this person in my life any more. I even spent an anxious overnight trying to muster the guts to tell him to leave (although somewhere inside of me that didn't feel quite like my truth). Following months of hysterical bonding, maybe my brain had finally received adequate oxygen for it to process the truth...I will ALWAYS hate what he did. Knowing my disposition, I believe that the betrayal will dwell in a room of my heart and periodically like one of those under developed siamese twins from the horror movies, it will flip its shit, arm itself and go on a rampage. I have informed the man in my life that he may be confronted by a silver haired granny in the future who will threaten to bash his head in with her cane. I don't know what will become of us, but I DO know that I will select my path and define contentment on my terms. The man in my life said he was afraid that he had destroyed something in me. In many ways that's true--but he also awoke something. I am a newborn survivor and a recovering self-loather. By God when the chips were down and I was on my knees he helped me up but it was my legs that kept me standing. It was my words that talked me off of my psychic ledge. He's completely changed, but so have I and like childbirth all his pain might result in me growing up and soaring off into the sunset. I hope each one of you experiences whatever comfort you can, whenever that is possible--your worth is extraordinary and the difference you have made in my life is without measure. Shawn.

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    1. Shawn, you make me laugh so hard! I love the "underdeveloped Siamese twin" analogy. LOVE it.
      And I also think that I will look forward to the day when I can go on some sort of granny rampage and beat the shit out of anyone I think is cheating. Lock me up. What will I care at that point! Can't wait...

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  13. !!! Love this Shawn. Laughing.
    And as ever, amazed how much this terrible experience -- which I was certain could only be singular in its absolute horror -- is actually so closely shared among us wives.
    I can go for weeks being relatively okay, in a shit happens sort of way -- people are flawed, we grow, we learn, life is complicated, etc etc etc. Look at me, I am healing. I am reasonable, mature, and dignified. I draw from a deep well of strength and love. Then, as you say -- BLAM! And a million and two ways to hate the ass hat. Not because of any new info. Just because HIM. HER. IT.
    I swear in those moments I can actually feel the siamese twin beast cracking my ribs and scratching and clawing her way right thru my chest, spewing ugly ugly words. Seriously, I feel it in my chest and my fingernails.
    I have tried to explain this to him but it seems I just make a jumble of words and grunts. You said it perfectly -- The betrayal will dwell in a room of my heart. And sometimes it will flip its shit and go on a rampage.
    Weirdly enough, I just today got a random ridiculous article pushed to my iphone news app -- from McSweeney's, titled "How to Dress for Your Body's Parasitic Twin." The author recommends empire waist dresses.

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    Replies
    1. I'm in hysterics! We all have that Siamese twin!! And yes, it will "flip its shit and go on a rampage". But, given my particular body shape, empire dresses are absolutely out. My twin will have to make do with low-rise jeans and tee-shirts and, if I must dress up, a shift.

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  14. OMG!! Shawn and Sal! Thanks for the belly laughs! And oh so flippin' true!!

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  15. Shawn-first off. Laughing my ass off at the under developed Siamese twin! I'm moving the letters sound. Her acronym is now S-U-T and I will call her "sootie". When sootie flips her shit, we will all know about it! And LLP I know it was here, it had to be here, years ago, an entire piece Elle wrote about the fact that it happened. But not TO you. Because it had nothing to do with you. If anyone remembers my d-day I got off the ground SWINGING ( well hello! That must have been mine, and the worlds first meeting with Sootie) I somehow KNEW it wasn't about me. I would not NOT accept, that despite my many flaws, this was not my doing. It was his behavior and I was pissed that his behavior hit me like a ton of bricks right in the kisser. You don't need any more advice from me because the Sisters here--whoa--what a flipping amazing bunch. We all got you. We are your people. Our broken hearts in full swing, in action, for each other. A shitty way to meet but look at how amazing we are. What a bunch.

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  16. My husband had an affair for 8 months and was also sexting 2 other women and sending nude photos. How do I get over images...we have been married 34 years..I m devastated. I found out April 3 when I found intimate emails. He said he was not going to tell me..he didn't think I would ever find out. He said it was a fantasy...but his words turned into actions. It has changed me as a person...

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    1. Anonymous,
      You give yourself time. You treat yourself gently. You let yourself cry and rage. You write down your feelings every day. You meditate. You exercise when you can. You eat as well as you can.
      In short, you acknowledge the deep deep pain of betrayal and trust in your ability to heal from it. Find yourself a counsellor who can support you through this. Tell your husband that he needs counselling to in order to figure out why he risked everything for a "fantasy". Talk to him about what a good marriage looks like for both of you. Start building it together if that's what you want. Plan a separation if that's what you want.
      There is no "right" way through this pain. You get to decide what happens next. But there is no way through this without dealing with the pain of it.

      Delete
  17. I struggle every minute of every day..so many questions...we have talked with a mediator who says I have to do a 180, take control. I cry on a whim many times in a day. He says he is sorry for the pain he has caused me. I am always wondering what did they talk about...he told her he loved her now when he says he loves me I don't know how to believe him. Right now I don't know if I can move on with him. I had 34 years of a wonderful marriage. He works away a lot and the distance this time was too much. How I wish I had been there more. Had I known..

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    1. Anonymous,
      IN the early days, it really is about triage. What do you need, moment by moment, to feel safe. Can your husband curtail the travelling for a while? Are you talking through what happened? What is his response to the impact of his betrayal? Is he taking full responsibility? Is he willing to rebuild a marriage based on total transparency?
      Give yourself time to absorb this and figure out what's next for you. Be gentle with yourself. Betrayal is a huge shock and it really takes time to fully absorb it and grieve what we've lost -- our faith in our partners, our sense of safety, our trust.

      Delete
  18. I am travelling with him now. He has taken full responsibility and wants to rebuild our marriage. He realizes how foolish and selfish his actions were. I just find everything much more difficult. My self esteem and confidence has melted away. And I don't know how to ever trust again.

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    Replies
    1. I'm not sure how far past D-Day you are but, with work (are you in counselling) and time, you will feel confidence and safety again. So much of our healing is about really addressing the deep wounds created by betrayal -- understanding that our safety lies in ourselves and trusting in our ability to keep ourselves safe, no matter what happens around us. Trust isn't about blindly believing that nobody will ever hurt us. It's about learning to set boundaries that respect ourselves and knowing how to handle it when those boundaries are violated.

      Delete
  19. I have told no one..now I carry his dirty little secret. Is he staying because he doesn't want anyone to know or is he staying because he truly wants to rebuild.

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    Replies
    1. Time will tell but what is your instinct re. why he's staying? Is he remorseful? Is he willing to confess everything so that there are no more secrets? Is he willing to seek treatment to understand why he risked his marriage and betrayed you? And is he willing to do the incredibly hard work of rebuilding a marriage?
      If you don't already have a therapist, I hope you'll find one. Nobody should carry this "dirty secret". It's really important to have a place where you can talk about this and air your feelings, to get support for your pain. A safe place where you're not judged but simply shown compassion and support. This site is one such place but it really helps to have someone who's eyes you can look into and who you can trust to support you.

      Delete
  20. I just found out April 3 so it is very fresh..

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  21. Time, compassion (for yourself) help and healing. It's there. Reach for it. And your husband should be reaching even farther than you need to. He must.

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  22. Anon,
    I'm so sorry your H made his bad choices that gave you this knock out punch and upper cut to your heart. This is pain like nothing else. I was also married 36 years when data had my back in finding out what he had been doing. Unless you unzipped his pants and pulled his penis out and drove it over to the OW house this is not your fault. Elle is right find a therapist. You can afford it for you. Just put it in a credit card in his name, in fact pay in advance. Focus on you and take your time thinking it over. Do something you want to do or always wanted to do. Be selfish. There is nothing wrong with you. There is something wrong with him. In time you will find out the answers to your questions. It is a roller coaster regardless if you stay or go. He has to go no contact, be transparent with all devices so you have access. He has to be remorseful and willing to do anything to deserve a second chance. You will find yourself, inner strength and determination but give yourself some time. He is still going to lie to you as the story is told so verify when you can. Hell im 30 months out and found out new info last week through a bank statement. Like he didn't spend $500 no my H gave her $2000 in cash. Keep in touch we care about you, we deeply understand so reach out to this site please. I would be locked up for good if it wasn't for this site.

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  23. Thank you for your support here. It is all I have right now. He is very remorsefull and wants to do whatever it takes to rebuild. Some say follow your heart..I ask what piece?

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    Replies
    1. Give yourself time. I think so often we believe we have to make an immediate decision about whether to stay in our marriage or go. But betrayal is utterly destabilizing. We need time to really think through what choice we want to make. Don't pressure yourself to know. Do what you can to put yourself on solid ground. See a therapist. Take care of yourself. Be gentle with yourself. And pay attention to what he's doing (or not doing) to support you through this.

      Delete
  24. I have questions but don't want to ask as that will only keep the OW in my marriage. I want to have nothing more to do with her and hope in time my triggers will be less apparent. I cry every day about thoughts and images.

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    Replies
    1. Sometimes the answers to those questions can actually help us move forward and put the OW behind us. Unanswered questions can, sometimes, keep nudging at our brains. Do you need to know? What are you hoping to gain from asking them? What might you lose? I don't think it's as simple as keeping her in your marriage. There are some questions worth asking and others that are simply pain shopping.

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  25. It has been three years since I found out. The first two were magical. He was very attentive and he always told me where he was or called me to reassure me. This last year has been more of a struggle especially lately. I went back to school full time and also worked full time. That didn't leave much time for us. It was something I felt I had to do to protect me. Lately I am getting paranoid like I did at the beginning. He is just getting mad at me for it. He asked me the other night how long I am going to hold one mistake against him. Unfortunately I said I will probably always be extra watchful.I don't know why I am getting this feeling again. I asked him to remove a female from his Facebook page tonight because I don't like her. But I don't know her to not like her. He has talked about her a few times and every time he did something didn't sit well with me. He told me he won't remove her because he is friends with her and her husband. He has never once mentioned her husband only her. Am I being paranoid. I have no clue why I am getting this way again.

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    Replies
    1. Anon, I would say trust your gut instinct it is generally right, the second we feel unsafe in our relationships following betrayal there tends to be a reason why. I too am 3 years out the first two years went by without any reason for me to feel unsafe or be over anxious then the last 6 months felt different he was going out more, gym more than usual and just generally being distant needless to say I have now found out he has been seeing the ow again. I'm not suggesting this is the case with your h just follow up your feelings. Be mindful of what is happening that is making you second guess. I really hope it's just your imagination running wild and nothing more. Keep us posted. Take care of you lots a love xxx

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    2. Anonymous,
      I'm curious what you did to heal from his affair. I think that sometimes, once the "second honeymoon" period wears off, we're back with the same marriage we had pre-betrayal. So even if our partner isn't cheating, we've got the same dynamic that led to one or both partners feeling disconnected. In this case, it sounds as if he doesn't quite grasp just how destabilizing betrayal is. This wasn't "one mistake", this was a freaking nuclear bomb that he dropped on your marriage. You will never "get over" it though you can heal from it. And you now know that he is capable of deliberately deceiving you. The key to rebuilding a marriage is trusting that, while you know he's capable of that, you also believe him unwilling to do that for many reasons, including a desire on his part to be a better person.
      Your discomfort with this Facebook friend doesn't have to be based on a legitimate concern. It's enough that you're uncomfortable with it. You should be able to say to him that, for whatever reason, it makes you uncomfortable and have him respect that. Would you like him to unFriend her? Would you like to be able to meet her so that you can better discern if you're threatened by her? Your emotional safety needs to matter more to him than this FB Friend. If it doesn't, that's a red flag and deserves more discussion.
      Did you seek counselling after the betrayal to help you negotiate these inevitable challenges that any marriage faces? If there's any silver lining in betrayal, it's that it can give us the chance to renegotiate our marriages and have better skills to handle these types of situations. But if we responded to betrayal by gratefully falling into each others' arms and crossing our fingers that it didn't happen again, then we lack the skills we need to cope with the tough times.
      It's not too late, of course, to go to couples counselling. If you had a counsellor, maybe a follow-up appointment to discuss this. If not, I'd recommend finding someone. Your reaction is telling you that you don't feel safe in your marriage right now. That's worth exploring.

      Delete
  26. Those too are my fears...I know I won't go through this again.

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  27. Hi Lynn Less Pain
    Thank you for your words of support. I too thought I was in for the long haul but I guess he thought different. Have you been able to rebuild or have you gone your separate ways?

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  28. My triggers are so intense...it has only been 2 months since I found out. I burst into tears on a whim and then it starts right from day one. ...I find it hard to look into his eyes now. The pain is unbearable most days. My gut says go but my heart although has been shattered says to stay...
    I am strong...we can rebuild.

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    1. Anoymous June 4
      I know just what you mean when you say that the trigger brings you back to day one! At two months I was tears most days and nights! Until I dehydrated myself to the point of no tears left! Your last sentence says it all! You are STRONG! You can rebuild if your h is willing to do what ever it takes to get you through the pain and triggers as well as prove he is worthy of the second chance! Hugs for you to find the strength!

      Delete
    2. Anonymous,
      Two months is still really really raw. I found it hard to breathe at two months. Unbearable is right. Give yourself time. The stay/go choice doesn't have to be made immediately and most experts recommend giving yourself six months minimum because you're likely still in shock. You are strong. Far stronger than you know. But allow yourself to just curl into a ball when necessary. Be so kind to yourself. Be so gentle with yourself.
      And when you fall apart...you're NOT back at day one, though I know it feels like it. Healing from this is taking place in ways that you can't yet feel or see. Trust that it's happening and that you're going to get through this.

      Delete
  29. My H is willing to do whatever it takes to rebuild....I am afraid I will find out more or that he will do it again but be smarter about concealing it. All these things play out in my head every day. I need to believe that we can get past this...right now I don't know if I can.

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    1. Anoymous June 6
      I know the doubt you feel because just cause he says he's changed and won't ever hurt you like that again, yet he did those horrible things and if it was that easy then it's just as easy now! I get that! I had mind movies and nightmares with those same themes! It has taken a lot of work on my h part to prove that he's deserving of his second chance! It's not been easy for him to convince me because we had to deal with a crazy ow that would not go away but through everything she tried to do to come between us and put more doubt in my mind, it has been my h actions that has brought us to this place on our path. Is it easy? No because each and every day I have to make the choice to stay and fight for what I want! I wanted to just pack up and run so many times! I even packed a bag a few times but then once I gained some clarity of what I truly wanted, then I could see a way through it! God only knows how hard it is for both me and my h! But his total commitment to make it right for us is how I have got this far! Are we happy ever after? Not by a long shot but each day gets us closer to finding our happy new place! More hugs and just know I'm thinking of you and the stronger you that I know you will find no matter what your ultimate decision is!

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    2. Anonymous,
      I echo everything Theresa has written. WE can never ever know that this will never ever happen again. Life doesn't work that way. But we can work hard to get our marriage and ourselves to a place where we can believe that our partner is actively creating change in himself so that he doesn't go down that path again and that we have created change in ourselves to trust that, no matter what our partners do, we can keep ourselves safe and on solid ground. That might mean having an "exit plan" so that, should you discover another affair, you have what you need to leave.
      I can't "know" that my husband isn't cheating and hasn't cheated on me since D-Day. But I can trust what I see in him, which has been someone committed to working really really hard to regain my respect...but also his own self-respect. I trust that he doesn't want to be that guy again. And if he becomes that guy? He knows that I will walk. It will be horrible and devastating and heartbreaking. But it will also be my inevitable response.

      Delete
  30. Theresa June 4
    My H is more than willing. I don't know if I am though. I feel exhausted and so sad I can hardly keep a conversation with anyone including my H. He thinks I am mad which I am but I am more sad and lonely. Not sure if I even want to rebuild at this point.

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    1. Anonymous June 6
      You said you are only two months in and I get the exhausted feeling you have so my advice is wait till you find the strength to know before making any long term decision but concentrate on things that make it easier for you to just get through one day at a time and then you will find clarity! The first months are nothing but pure hell and I sort of lost who I was and am just now finding the old me and my inner strength! Thinking of you!

      Delete
  31. Theresa June 6
    Thank you for your support. One minute at a time...

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  32. I had to laugh today.. Was having a conversation with a colleague about affairs she said ' I know 100% my husband would not have an affair'. I think my face said it all, how very ignorant that she thought that but stupid too. My response was no ones marriage is safe and that it could happen to anyone, she was adamant her h wouldn't do it. I just hope she never has to eat them words.... I know we have talked about how affairs can divide opinions on this site before but it really amazes me at how it can touch people in different ways, I know I'll not change people's views but I wish people were open minded. Just venting my h has been in touch with his ow 3 years after the affair. ... It was a very stupid move on his part one which has left him homeless and marriage less all for nothing yet again it was texts and prob dirty sex for a short period but nonetheless fffing heartbreaking for me. I've no idea what to do from here, just picking myself up again after 3 weeks of finding out..... I know it's all down to me now and what I want just gonna give myself time before I decide ... Xxxx

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    1. Sam A,
      I'm so sorry for what you're going through. And yes, I've had those conversations too. I was one of those smug people who thought my husband would NEVER cheat on me. Ha! Now I just trot out the statistics and suggest that the odds are not in our favour. And I usually remark that I have many "friends" who thought exactly the same thing and that I hope, in her case, she never does have to go through infidelity.
      Hang in there, Sam A. Time is a good idea. Get clear on what you want, protect yourself legally/financially. Gawd, these guys are idiots.

      Delete
  33. Thanks Elle your feedback is always appreciated ..... Your right what a ffffffffing 'idiot' love you ladies lots thank you xx

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  34. My H was emailing and texting while I was in the same room. He even disguised his contacts with fake names so I wouldn't know it was her. After digging I revealed it all. Very sneaky and if they say they don't know how the computer works they are lying. Very easy to set up a Gmail account or any account for that matter. Our H become smarter once they are caught.

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  35. Theresa June 6
    Another meltdown today..He says I need to move on and want us to work. I have to trust him. He has had no contact that I know of and has removed alot of his contacts and old music. I asked him to do all of that and he has. He asks how long will I have meltdowns...and I don't have any answers for him right now. . I so want to trust him and forgive but I just can't get through a day without some image or thought rearing it's ugly head. Please tell me this will pass and I will have just one day of peace..that's all I ask for right now.. just one day and the rest will come I hope.

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    1. Anonymous (melt down)
      He doesn't get to tell you to move on! My melt downs happen as a result of the way my h responds when I get those dark feelings and they are getting fewer and farther between! Time and my h learning how to be there before I begin to escalating out of control. He can tell by my body language even before I realize I am heading into a dark place. How did I find my first day of peace? Well I took Elle's advice about using a stop sign to drive the thoughts out of my head! I would go stand in the front window and stare at the sign until I could get a happy thought back! Some of the early days I spent hours looking at the sign! I also used the band on my wrist to snap me back to the present and focus more on my favorite things to do! I still have trouble with triggers because until one occurred, I had no way of knowing it was a trigger. I also had to 'take back' every inch of space in our house and yard because she tried so hard to drive me out of it in the first six months post dday! The ow in our situation threatened to show up at my front door with 'truth' to the point of having harrassment charges against her and a no contact order from the judge but still 3 months ago she attempted to contact my h for drinks and no hard feelings! So the past 3 months have been full of triggers but my h has been able to calm me during the worst ones! I'm now able to calm myself for the most part and when I get a really bad day, I go back to some of the older posts and read them again and that's when I realized that the bad feelings returned from a trigger and I can see how far I have come on this long journey to get out of the pain of it all! I'm blessed to have many hobbies and I love a clean house so I keep busy and I come to this blog and if I post a problem I'm having there's always a kind compassionate response from Elle or one of the other wonderfully strong women I've met here! What I've learned and my h has had to learn is that this doesn't have a quick fix and in order to get to a better place he had to stop expecting me to get over it nor could I just move on without fully processing all of it! I hope my rambling suggestions can somehow help you on your path! It's a tough battle each and every day but I know I deserve happiness and I also know that I have the power to make my own happiness! Hugs!

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    2. Anonymous,
      Theresa is right. It will take as long as it takes. But it will absolutely take longer if he isn't supportive and compassionate and willing to tell you everything you need to know and show you, in actions and in words, that he willing to change himself to ensure he never hurts you like that again. Without him helping to create that emotional safety for you, you're smart to stay on guard. It's ILLOGICAL to trust someone who has shown himself to be untrustworthy.

      Delete
  36. Theresa June 9
    Thank you so much for your support. This is just what I needed today. My H does help me through each trigger and like you said you don't know it's a trigger until you are in it. I too deserve happiness...thank you.

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  37. I took your advise and now have a stop sign symbol that gets me to a better place. Whenever I bring it all up my H says he is getting resentful. He knows what he did...he knows how stupid it was and wants to get back what we had...and I want that too.Resentment is the last thing I want when I am trying to get the strength you rebuild.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous,
      It's amazing the power of a mental stop sign, huh?
      RE. your husband's resentment: I confess I'm a bit stunned that HE's resentful when YOU are the one being asked to forgive a huge betrayal of your trust. It sounds as though he really doesn't get just how devastating betrayal is and how long it takes for a betrayed partner to heal from it even WITH a supportive compassionate partner. I think he needs to swallow his resentment and realize that your willingness to rebuild a marriage is a huge gift and he should be incredibly grateful. Nobody owes him a second chance.

      Delete
  38. You talked earlier about pain shopping...what are things we really need to know and why do we feel we need to know all the details? I wonder when my husband rubs my feet...did he do that with her....does it really matter? Those are the things that make me crazy...but really do I need to care about that stuff?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous,
      Those are the thoughts that will make you crazy. And, ultimately, does it really matter? At a certain point, you need to make the choice of whether to live with thoughts of what may or may not have happened or live in the moment with what is happening right now. The latter offers so much more peace.

      Delete
  39. Why do we stay with these men that have crippled us?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We stay for many reasons. But we need to remember, it's always a choice. If we're staying for reasons that don't feel like a choice (we're afraid, for instance), then we need to work more to get ourselves to a place where we recognize that we have the strength and capability to choose the path that's best for us.

      Delete
  40. Yes I too would like to know why we should stay with someone that has betrayed us..lied to us...and more. Why do they even deserve a second chance. If the tables were turned...would we big for forgiveness. I just don't know if I want to rebuild. I don't want to be going through life always searching and questioning everything all the time. What kind of life is that?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's no kind of life that any of us should want. And if you can't get to a place where you're not always searching and questioning, then it's time to get out. It takes time to get to that place, of course. But if you don't want to rebuild a marriage or if you can't, then that's a perfectly okay choice to make: to leave the marriage. There is no "right" way through this. There's just what feels right to each of us. For some, cheating is a deal-breaker. Full stop. Fair enough. I thought I was one of those people. But if my husband hadn't transformed himself, I wouldn't still be here. If he hadn't devoted himself to understanding why we cheated, I wouldn't still be here. If I was still searching and questioning everything all the time, I wouldn't be here.

      Delete
  41. I worry about all the other people it will devastate if I leave. ..my children especially. Although they are grown up they idolize their dad and it would be very traumatic. I guess he never thought of that...only himself

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's exactly who he thought of. But though your children will be disappointed, it's not your job to protect them from life's pain. In fact, you can't protect them. What you can do is model self-respect and honesty. You can show them that even when someone you love betrays you, you can respond with integrity and that you are stronger and braver than you know. You need to make the choice that is best for you and trust in those around you to be able to handle disappointment. It's disrespectful of you to treat adults like children. I absolutely understand the impulse. You're a mom, after all. But please know that sacrificing your own peace to protect your kids may ultimately backfire. Live YOUR truth.

      Delete
  42. Just another meltdown. Only 2 months in and I still have so much sadness. I just cant get stuff out of my head. I am withdrawn...we hardly say two words to each other and when I do speak it is just one or two word responses. How do we get any communication back when all I see in his eyes is the OW? My days are filled with anxiety nervousness betrayal and sadness. I can't see any light at the end of this dark place. I have to ask what everyone did about returning to a normal sex life? Is it something to hold off on resuming or important to continue building or rebuilding the bond that was once there?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous June 24
      Two months and your head is spinning! I'm so sorry for what I know you are feeling and living through! Slow down and take a deep breath! Now it's different for all of us on this journey! For me, what I've heard described as hysterical sex/bonding began and hasn't stopped. I'm not complaining this is the best sex we have had in years. I'm not sure when this will slow down and at this point I don't care! But to get back to what you need, you have to decide how and when you want to have intimate relationship with him again! It took us a long time to be able to speak without me dissolving into tears or a fit of rage! So the best thing I can say is take it one day at a time and only you will know what feels right! Sending hugs for your confusion and pain!

      Delete
    2. Anonymous,
      Two months is still really raw so I'm not surprised at the depth of your pain. Do you have any support in place? Do you have a counsellor or a wise friend or a pastor or someone who can help you process this incredible pain? There are no shortcuts, you have to go through the pain, trusting that you are stronger than you know.
      In the meantime, what is your husband doing to support you through this? Is he completely remorseful? Willing to work hard on himself to understand why he betrayed you?
      The best advice for you right now is to take care of yourself. Be gentle with yourself. Keep yourself safe. Treat yourself the way you would a beloved friend who was in pain.

      Delete
  43. Anonymous.. For me after d day 1 I wanted to have that sexual bond with my h almost immediately it helped me to reconnect with him and I felt OK with it., I've always enjoyed sex with my h so didn't feel like that had changed just because he had decided to cheat... I didn't have the ow in my thoughts before or during sex I managed to be in that moment for me and my needs.

    The time has to feel right for you and your h, there is no harm in just trying to be close first, maybe sitting beside him, trying to communicate whatever it is that feels comfortable..

    You will move past this stage anon, give yourself more time untill your ready.. Sadness is part of your healing, try to find some joy in your everyday too, take some time out to do something you like exercise, massage, meeting a friend for lunch or some retail therapy.. Sometimes we have to push ourselves to make that effort to feel some other emotions other than pain..

    I'm sorry for your hurt anon, we're here for you.. Please keep posting xxx

    ReplyDelete
  44. Thank you so much for your support..confusion and pain pretty much sums it up. I feel we have become more connected already but I still feel the pain. I have decided to take up anext exercise program to keep my mind busy with healthy things. I know it will take time and my H says he will give me all the time that I need. This is certainly like a roller coaster ride which I hope I can get off of soon.

    ReplyDelete
  45. I still ask H "why"and all he says is he doesn't know..he felt a disconnect not once but for 8 or so months. It was just an opportunity..I remember asking if he was having an affair as I too felt the distance between us. He always denied these allegations. On the last contact with the ow he wasn't even out of our driveway...making arrangements with OW to meet up...8 hours away! I just don't think I can wait to see if things change...I don't know what is a lie and what is truth anymore. I just don't know how to really believe anything he says to me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. he's probably telling the truth when he says he "doesn't know". It takes a fair bit of introspection to really get to the root of what allowed him to cross that line that, I assume, he never imagined he'd cross. There's a difference, of course, between people who don't even have a line (they simply take what they want, other people don't matter) and those who generally aim to life an honest life. If he's the latter, then he was telling himself stories that allowed him to cross that line. And though there might be truth in those stories (marriages do sometimes go through difficult time, partners do let each other down, etc.), there's clearly something more going on when someone can convince themselves that what they're doing is somehow okay. Either they're minimizing the deception or exaggerating the wife's role, etc. That's what gives rise to the clichéd "my wife doesn't understand me" trope of infidelity.
      Of course you won't believe much of what he tells you because he's revealed himself to be an adept liar. Whether you want to give him the chance to prove that he can be a better man is entirely up to you. Maybe he doesn't deserve that chance.

      Delete
  46. Do any of you have grown children? Did you tell them? If so how did you tell them. I have told my H if I decide to leave he will have to tell them. He will have to clean up this mess he has created.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My children are growing but not yet grown. All in their teens now. And I sometimes wonder what will happen if one of them asks me, point blank, if there's ever been infidelity. I've always aimed to be completely honest with my kids and I lean toward telling them a simplified truth. They don't need gory details. I think we might do our kids a disservice by hiding the truth, especially if they suspect something. I"m not sure I'd volunteer the information. I don't think kids need to know everything about their parents' marriage. But if asked...
      As for leaving, I would urge you not to leave it entirely to him. Yes, it's his mess. But they'll feel destabilized and hurt, even as adults, and it would help them to see the impact of infidelity, assuming you're able to make it clear that while you're angry and deeply hurt, you're strong and able to work through this.
      And please don't tell the kids as a way of hurting your husband. You might get that...but at the cost of also causing pain for your children. They need to be free to love both parents, even if one is a total jerk.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous
      We have two adult children and they knew we were having difficulty as a couple but did not ask nor did we feel the need to give them details as we were determined to reconcile our marriage our own way and I felt like I would smother if I had to share that pain with our children! They knew I was struggling with the death of my sister, my aging mother and that there was stress on our marriage. That's all they needed to be supportive of both their dad during job stress and their mother due to her ever increasing stress with caring for a parent with dementia. I'm with Elle, if either ever ask that question then I can tell them that answer! Just how we're dealing with it! Hugs!

      Delete
  47. I am be coming up to my 35 wedding anniversary...all I want to do is cry..how do you celebrate after H has cheated? I am already feeling so much anxiety...do I get a card like I have the last 34?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There's no one way to deal with the reminders that your marriage isn't what you thought it was. Some people celebrate, others ignore the day, still others created something new. I ignored my anniversary for at least a couple of years. As far as I was concerned, I wasn't really married given that my husband's cheating pre-dated our wedding. I've softened that stance and we now celebrate, though I confess it's mostly so our kids can see us placing value on our relationship.
      It's up to you how you approach this. Thank of what might help you through this. A day spent with a good friend? A day in bed with chocolate and tissues? A day at the spa? YOU decide.

      Delete
    2. We had our anniversary 10 days before she blew up my world with the affair truth. First time I received a dozen roses in many years. Usually he gave me flowers with roots so the memories would live on. The first anniversary post dday we simply ate out and exchanged cards... Not sure how the next one will go...

      Delete
  48. Anon, I doubt your going to want to celebrate your anniversary in the same way you have the last 34 years, maybe you and your h could do something completely different this year. See how you feel on the day anon, it's hard to make plans so early after d day as you don't know how you will feel from hour to hour. Try not to put pressure on yourself to do anything, I hope your h will understand if this year is different. Like Elle said just look after yourself, focus on what it is you want right now... Thinking of you ... Take care xxx

    ReplyDelete
  49. It definitely won't be the same. Nit sure how to celebrate it..as a new beginning and fresh start....or just might be a boo hoo day...again..maybe a blank card..that's how I feel right now.

    ReplyDelete
  50. Anon a blank card sounds like a great idea..thinking of you xx

    ReplyDelete
  51. Another meltdown today. I keep dwelling on the past...how do i stop and move on?

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  52. What would you tell your grown children if you decided to leave? H tells me I need to accept what has happened and once I do...I can move on. Do you agree with that?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No, I don't agree with that. At least not just that. While I do think it's important to "accept what happened", that's not the same as simply moving on. When we "accept what happened", we recognize that "what happened" was traumatizing and we take steps to heal ourselves and, if we want to, heal our marriage. We process all the feelings that accompany betrayal -- the incredible fear, the sadness, the grief, the anxiety around trust. None of that goes away without working through it. And without a supportive partner who recognizes just how deep the wound of betrayal is, it's impossible to rebuild a marriage.
      it sounds as if your husband wants you to just brush aside the pain he's caused. Don't do it. You'd be disrespecting and dishonouring yourself. And a marriage built on one partner ignoring her pain isn't a healthy one.

      Delete
  53. What if you leave..what would you tell your children? Their father chose a different lifestyle?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Anonymous,
      I think what you tell the children depends on their ages. I don't think you tell kids any more than what they need to know in order to continue to love both parents and trust that they will be okay. Their job is to be kids. Ideally you tell them together that the marriage is over but that you each love your children and will do everything you can to ensure that things, even though they'll be different, can still be smooth and respectful. Minimize the disruption to them. Avoid the temptation to make your husband the enemy, even if he's a total jerk. They need to be free to love him without guilt.

      Delete
  54. I am only 3 months out from finding out...I know it takes time but I felt in some way I have already checked out I love my H but not in the same way...I am feeling the longer I take to figure out if I want to stay or go...the more I want to go and wonder why am I still here? How will my love for him ever be the same again? Is this part of acceptance? Or is my gut telling me to leave...I have already made my decision.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous,
      I suppose you leave when it feels right to leave. If that feels like now, then you might as well get the ball rolling. But if you're still ambivalent, there's no harm in waiting (unless, of course, you're in an abusive situation though that doesn't sound like the case). At three months, I was barely breathing. But I had three young children and didn't want to destabilize them until I KNEW that I would be dissolving the marriage for good. By the time I felt ready to leave, I no longer wanted to. In that time, I'd seen my husband work so hard to become a better man and I'd regained my respect for him.
      That doesn't always happen, of course. Sometimes our partners don't do the necessary work. Or sometimes, there's just too much water under the bridge and one or both partners simply wants to move on. Either choice is, of course, legitimate. There's no right or wrong.

      Delete
  55. My children are grown adults...one married and one not. They will want to know why we split if that is what we decide.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous
      Whether or what you choose to tell is entirely your choice. When I'm unsure, I always check my motives. If your motive for telling the kids the whole story is pure and healthy, then go for it. If it's about not wanting to look bad (ie. wanting them to know your husband is the "bad guy"), then you might just be transferring your pain onto your kids. If your motive is simply to be fully honest with your kids, then perhaps both of you can talk to the kids and make it clear that they don't need to pick sides. Our children, even our adult children, don't need to know our entire lives. There's undoubtedly plenty that they don't tell you. But, of course, it's your choice.

      Delete
  56. Thank you for all the advice. It is pretty obvious I am all over the map right now. Just don't know which way to turn right now.

    ReplyDelete
  57. I hope time will heal as everyone keeps telling me. Some days I too find it hard to breathe. I am overcome with sadness and then feel sick to my stomach. The thoughts just run around and around in my head...never stopping. I hope they stop sooner than later before my sadness becomes my everyday life forever. I can't remember when I last laughed...I have such a heavy heart right now. I so want to get my happy back....

    ReplyDelete
  58. When I am alone all I do is go through old texts and pictures over and over. My H has not been forthcoming with some info that I know is untrue from the texts. That is why I continue to throw it back at him. I just want all of the truth...out in the open but he won't talk about it anymore...I feel so alone with no one to talk too. Why can't he just tell me everything and be honest. How do we start to rebuild if I know he hasn't told me everything?

    ReplyDelete
  59. Would you ever contact and confront someone whom you believed your H had sex with but he continues to say he didn't?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anoymous July 10
      I personally don't recommend contact with any ow! The one in our situation was/is mentally unstable and she tried so hard to make me believe the affair meant so much more than my h would admit. I'm sure it is hard not knowing for sure! I had doubts for months again due to the ow refusing to leave us alone to heal together. I'm so sorry for what I know you are living through. Keep reading this blog because I found so much comfort and understanding from the stories of others! Hugs for your pain!

      Delete
  60. Does it not matter to know if there was one other woman or more?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think it matters. I think it's important to really see the whole story, for a couple of reasons. For one thing, it makes the partner fully accountable for everything he did. He needs to take responsibility for ALL of it. And, secondly, it gives you a window into his behaviour, which can help you determine if you want to rebuild a marriage with him, or walk away.

      Delete
  61. So if I have asked if he had sex with this second woman and get says non is that it or should I ask her as well? The texting and photos they sent to each other tells me he is lying about her so who do you believe? Do I just leave it at that and pray he is telling the truth?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous,
      In my experience, there's always more to the story than what they initially cop to. If you can't trust him to give you the whole story, then THAT is a problem. It's difficult if not impossible to heal from an affair when he is still being dishonest about it. The only way to rebuild a HEALTHY marriage is with total honesty and total transparency.

      Delete
  62. Would you have rather this relationship never entered your life?

    Was it worth every tear you now shed?

    It is worth everything...

    ReplyDelete
  63. My dog just passed away..it is almost too much to cope with...first the affair then our anniversary which I was questioning and now this....too much sadness for me.

    ReplyDelete
  64. Fearis temporary...regret is forever

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