Friday, December 9, 2016

The Affair was a Fantasy. And Not a Very Good One.

I sometimes look at the search terms that bring women to my site. It's common to see such searches as "things women say during sex" or "is cheating sex better".
And my heart aches.
Because I know that there's a woman in pain at the keyboard, desperately seeking answers for why her husband has betrayed her. Wondering just what it is that's wrong about her, or at least what's better about the other woman, that made her husband hurt her so profoundly.
Almost ten years ago, I was that woman. Googling my heart out for answers.
They came. Eventually. Not nearly as quickly as I would have liked. But, no doubt, they came when I was ready to recognize them.
It's hard to be patient. And it's hard to understand that what our culture tells us about affairs – that they're exciting, that the sex is always outrageously good, that the other woman is enticing and empowered – is complete and utter bullshit.
For a start, make anything forbidden and it will suddenly consume every waking thought. If you don't believe me, you've never tried to give up sugar. Or caffeine. Or bread. THAT is what an affair is. The sudden conviction that this one thing is what you've been missing. That this one thing makes you more you than anything else. And the more forbidden it is, the more you want it. Need it. 
But an affair is more than that. An affair is a distorted mirror that only reflects back what we want to see. Gone are our flaws, replaced by an idealized image of ourselves as sexy and interesting and vibrant. It conveniently shrinks guilt or shame. It refuses to acknowledge the pain created for others. In fact, there's little room is this mirror for others. They're inconvenient. They get in the way of this intoxicating image we see reflected. Even the Other Woman isn't reflected so much as what she represents. A reflection of who we wish we were, instead of the real-life version we really are, one with insecurities and a bald spot. One with fears and disappointments. One that hides behind a mask for a relative stranger rather than show our true face to the person with whom we've committed to spend our life.
An affair is where cowards hide. It's a curtain that obscures deeply broken people.
Which is why I refuse to accept that the only response to a partner's cheating is to walk away. If they're unwilling to acknowledge their brokenness, then yes, it makes sense to mitigate your own future suffering by walking away now. And if they show no awareness or remorse for the pain they've caused, then yes, it makes sense to remove such a sociopath from your life.
But the others, the ones who feel deep guilt for the pain they've caused, who are willing to do the hard work of looking into a true mirror and seeing their mistakes in full, can be worth the time and the pain and the effort it takes to rekindle your love.
Because the other thing I've learned through this is that we only really grow through experiences that challenge us to look more deeply at ourselves. Our pain has lessons for us, about who we are, about what we stand for, about what we value and how we show that – or don't, as the case may be – in our lives.
He might have escaped into an affair to avoid his own pain. And yes, he betrayed you but, if he has any scruples at all, he also betrayed himself. And there's a mountain of pain in that hard truth.
I often say that there is no right way through the agony of betrayal. My response is no more "right" than another's choice to head straight to the divorce lawyer. I have friends who've been cheated on who've done exactly that. Even with a repentant spouse who begged for a second chance, one friend of mine said 'nope'. She's remarried (so is her ex to the OW who doesn't seem to mind that she was first runner-up) and they have an amicable relationship as co-parents to their son. She's mentioned that she thinks they could have rebuilt their marriage. That she doesn't think he would have cheated again, after the devastation he caused. But, she shrugs, doesn't matter now. Things have worked out just fine.
And that's the thing. If you make your healing your goal, it will matter far less whether your marriage survives. Because you will be okay. No matter what. 
And that gives you the freedom to really understand that your husband's affair will never define you. That nothing in that other woman is anything you really want. 
She was a fantasy. The real-life her is just a broken woman willing to settle for second runner-up. You, on the other hand, are in the process of becoming your own number one. 

36 comments:

  1. You have created a footprint on me each time you write like this. You still have a oneness with those who hurt. You humble me. While I remain too angry sometimes when the newly discovered post, angry at their H. Angry they have to hurt. Angry for their tears they are forced to cry.. I'm so angry at these men I want to jump on a plane, Hold these woman tightly and then begin to verbally pummeled these men. You are the purest form of compassion for anyone who hurts. I followed your words like listening to a dear friend. I'm the happiest betrayed wife. I love my life now. It can happen just like you said when the goal is to heal yourself. His affair does not define me and I never thought in a million years I would say that. I must have told you a billion times. Not me. No ever never. I disagreed like a teenager but still listened to what you said. You are still that person who sees this woman in a dark well and reaches down and locks pinky finger to pull her up into the fresh air.

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    1. Lynnlesspain
      I'm like you when I send an answer to the newly betrayed! I get such a burning anger at both her h and the newest ow intruding into the lives of others that she has no right to be in! I keep coming back to the sight hoping I can offer a small bit of hope for someone who must be like I was when I first found out... I was just a ball of raw nerves and had no idea how I could begin to cope with the feelings that were overwhelming me. The ladies here with Elle have given me the tools to climb back up and live to tell about it. I'm so glad we have this space and each one I have met on the journey! May the newly inducted find as much comfort here as I have!

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    2. Oh Lynn, You have made my heart burst with that comment. I know how hard you've struggled and how hard you've worked to get where you are. And remember, you'll have your slips back when you begin to doubt yourself. But also remember this moment, this day, when you know you've got this, when you really know your own worth.
      You and Theresa and Steam and Phoenix and all the Anns, and Still Standing and Melissa and Beach Girl and the Hopefuls and Hopelesses and the umpteen Anonymouses and anybody else I've missed bring your hearts to this site daily and we're all stronger for it. It's amazing how often I think of each of you during the day, how I picture you in my minds, how my thoughts wander to how you're doing.
      I'm grateful we've all found each other.

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  2. You're right. I can't imagine the lack of self respect that it takes to have sex with somebody who is married. There are plenty of single people out there who are willing to have sex with you. I believe most of the OW that our H's have had sex with have mental illness.

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  3. I cannot begin to tell you how much I have needed this this week. This affair has caused me to doubt everything about myself. And I now know that in order for my marriage to make it through this, I must rebuild myself. To begin to love myself. To get to a point where regardless of what happens I am enough. It scares me to death. I truly have no idea what I would have done without stumbling on this site this past week. Your posts have saved my sanity. And it makes me feel a sense of ease knowing that there is a light at this long dark tunnel. And it sure helps knowing that there is a group of ladies to walk this path with me.

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  4. During this most confusing and painful experience in my life, it is posts like this and people like you all that truly keep my head above water. Choosing to stay or to leave both require so much strength of character. I am proud of myself and my strength, but I am inspired by all of you. I feel so fortunate to be able to share the ups and downs of all this with others who are also showing incredible strength. I cannot imagine going through this without the internet. My crazy google search terms over the past 9 months would make a very interesting blog post or psychological study in itself when lined up chronologically. I should have not cleared my history!

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  5. Thank you for those words again! This post says everything I think and felt in the beginning and where I have gotten to. I never thought I could get to this point. I was so resistant and I guess protective of myself. But I kept listening to you, others on this site and my therapist. All of that support has helped me so much. And you are so right I am to that point where I will be fine no matter what. I can sleep well every night knowing who and what I am and that I will not back down from that. What is interesting the more strong I get the more my husband seems to respect and crave time with me. I feel like now that I am putting out so much positive energy, actions, thoughts etc it is coming back to me. Thanks!

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  6. Elle, I love this post but I struggle to understand how a man like my husband who visited prostitutes fits in your post. No affair. Just young, beautiful Asian girls who would do his bidding. If possible, bring that in for those of us whose husbands use young women and move on. I cringe just typing this. I know the mirror was distorted for him but the knowledge that we now live with his broken brain can unhinge me. There is no OW for me to be angry with or deal with. Just random Asian prostitutes who would do his bidding because he was/is a broken entitled old man. Had another bad dream sequence last night and planning to do a Loving Kindness meditation later to try to work it out. This pain is deep. There is still light.

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    1. Beach Girl, My husband had one long-term affair with his work assistant. But most of his encounters were anonymous sex. And that was his drug. The thinking about it, the planning for it, the searching for it, the actual act in which he was completely in control, in which he cast himself as the macho porn star with a person who wanted him desperately. It was all his way of avoiding real intimacy. Of avoiding the potential for real rejection. Of avoiding truly being seen. Sex was an escape. It was an act. It wasn't about getting close to someone, it was about performing.
      Fast forward ten years and he's had to rewire his brain. He's had to avoid pornography. He's had to develop coping strategies for stress and anxiety that don't involve the Internet and midnight drives to shitty neighborhoods.
      That's what HE had to do. And he had to want to do it. He had to have reached a point where he was so disgusted with his own behaviour that he was going to heal himself whether I stayed with him or not.
      My job was healing myself from the pain and really examining what I brought into the relationship, my own issues from childhood trauma.
      Yes, it hurts. The pain is deep. But the healing can be even deeper.

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    2. Elle, did your husband actually tell you that? That is sort of what I assume my husband was doing but he has not admitted to that explicitly. He just can't talk about it. He told me the other day that he has put all of the things he did in the past in a box, tied it up tightly and shelved it because "nothing good can come of looking at that ever again". Like you husband, mine has tools in place and has made drastic changes. He wanted to do that and continues to be committed to that healthy living process. He told me a few months ago, at the end of a very hard conversation that he thinks it was about "control". He was not able to continue that conversation and has alluded to the fact that it was just as you described. Ouch. Ouch. Ouch. I want to move forward but these ongoing nightmares are killing me slowly. One day at a time. Thank you for the quick reply. It is so hard for me to "accept" his prostitution events as I see him as a criminal and I hate that. Over the years I've made it known that I thought men who frequented prostitutes should be arrested, not the women. He winced when I said that but continued to pay for sex. My dreams often have me viewing him as the porn star in those events. A fat old man thinking he was a virile stud. Of course he has lost a ton of weight as have I and he doesn't look like that anymore but I saved one old photo of him looking like a fat old man to remind me that "that man" was the disgusting pig and not the man I see before me today. Clearly I have a lot of work to do on myself. The fact that our daughter is Asian makes it hard for me to really get through this. I see him as a predator even though he denies feeling predatory towards her. It sickens me and I've told him that. What kind of father fucks Asian girls younger than his daughter? I've asked him that. He just cries. I really don't know if I will stay in my marriage. It just depends on if I can somehow move through these thoughts and truths of what he did and who he chose to do it with. It is hard to love someone who acted so cruelly.

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  7. BeachGirl my husband is or was just like yours. ALL prostitutes and a couple of Craig's list freebies. It was all about him getting "everything" -and risking "nothing". A prostitute is not going to say no, no she's going to take his money and provide a service in exchange for that cash. Everything else is in his head. It's a compulsion, it's a mental illness. Like a drug . The first time was great so the NEXT time with An extrem amiunt of planning, scheming, will be BETTER. but it never is and they just keep repeating. It's dismal. My H did so much research and documenting and travel that by the time he got to where all his plans led him he had often sobered up and yet went through with it because otherwise it was just wasted him. Total and complete insanity. He is nice and handsome enough to get some real names and phone numbers. Jesus. He wrote a few obsessively. The responded in mostly a mechanical way, but it was enough for him to believe they liked him. They really liked him. It's a freeking horrible condition and every time he did it he felt bad. And his way of coping with bad feelings was sex--so off he went to do it all again. He's in the midst of breaking that habit. But it's been a nightmare.

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    1. Steam, wow, this is probably exactly what my husband went through although he has been unable to say it like that. He has told me the city, what type of sex, and a little more like #1 she came to my hotel but I never did that again. Two times at the same place in Cali. Twice in Denver. Twice in Honolulu during our anniversary travel trip. This is the one that trips me up and it is hard to even write about it. We will never go back to Oahu again together as far as I am concerned. We are now going to Maui at a much greater expense. The thought of him going to the Erotic Review across the street from our hotel then climbing into bed with me enrages me. What a total FU. Ugh. See, I still have work to do on me. He is sitting next to me as I type and at least I'm not thinking I want him dead. That is such progress. He has said it was disgusting, he hated himself, he wanted to stop, etc. I believe he has stopped and he has done a fine job of rewiring his brain. It is my brain that is fried. I am so happy to have a secret friend who understands this type of pain. It sucks to have this experience. I am soooo much better than I was and I believe our marriage will make it as long as he tows the line. I meant it when I said "one chance" and he knows I meant it. He says he is the happiest he has ever been and we are truly having a wonderful time. The past is done and can't be changed although my anger about his past behavior can still hijack me and turn me into a vengeful wife in my mind. Only in my mind. Thank you for sharing your experience, as painful as it must have been. How do you cope with your thoughts?

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  8. I can mark a turning point in my "recovery" from the time I found this site. I came across an article by Elle in a mad google search fit. And article on how we aren't to blame. I went on searching but the article stuck in my mind. It hit home. I found it back and that was what started to really pull me back to sanity.

    Though I mostly just occasionally lurk and silently send love these days- This place is amazing - Elle's guidance and everyone's willingness to lay it bare for the rest of us to see how much we and our stories are all alike. I can't fathom going through this process without it. Elle, you've repeated in this post so many themes that have been so important to healing for me. Thank you. I am happy to report that as I read I'm thinking... Yes, Ma'am! That's the truth!! lol But damn it took a good long while for so much of this to sink into my bones. Thank you for repeating it until it sticks. lol

    To share a random laugh... I remembered the other day that when he first told me and blamed it all on how horribly I treated him, when I knew I had never done so that I was aware of, I immediately thought........
    OMG, I must be schizophrenic!!! My alter ego is a horrible human being saying things to him I'd never say! LOL

    Back to lurking! =)

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  9. This post brought tears of gratitude. Elle, you have such a powerful way of shining a light on the parts of the affair and recovery that are sometimes hard to see in the midst of our hurt.
    I read, "An affair is where cowards hide. It's a curtain that obscures deeply broken people." and wished I had heard those words in the early days. It's what I pray the next woman who discovers her husband's infidelity reads.
    I'm grateful that i found this site on one of those late night Google searches.

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  10. My husband was broken but I don't think that it was so much of a fantasy for him as it was for the OW. My husband was relieved when I found out and wanted me to help him get rid of her. Even in his addled mind of severe sleep deprivation he knew right from wrong but everything happened so fast he couldn't control it. He described it like being on heroin but, what it actually was, was the euphoria he felt from the adderall that she was slipping him. He admitted that he never in his right mind was attracted to her. She's chubby,demanding, has a buck tooth and is a drunk. She is everything he hates in women. He also knew that she had had feelings for him from 20 years ago because she had told him. That in itself should have given him red flags but her attention made him feel good about himself and he let his guard down. Up until 6 months ago this woman was still living in some kind of fantasy world thinking he was going to be with her even after he threatened her with legal action after he tried to commit suicide and she was back with her live in fiance. She found out we were moving across the country to start over and drove to our house in someone else's car to see if it was true. My husband wasn't home at that time but the recognized the car and she left very fast when she saw me. I think that some of these women are more then broken, they are broken for life and it seems to be hereditary trait in this woman's family.

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    1. Our story sounds somewhat the same. She was in love with 20+years ago. So has she been thinking about him the last 20+ years dreaming of a day to hold him again? Sad when you think about it. And when I aske him why her? His words "because she worshipped the ground I walked on and I needed to feel wanted". Yes our marriage was in a horrible place and instead of us talking we kept just pushing each other away. I have actually had days( hard to admit) but maybe this saved us. It was one time and she made sure I found out. I kicked him out that day. And everyday that week he would have an excuse to stop by. I always let him so he could see the kids but I would leave right before he got here. Then he wanted to come by and talk over finances. We made a time we could be alone. While he was here I told him if he wanted me to be able to be civil in any way it stop talking to her. His first response was I was trying to control him. But after he left and thought about it( didn't take long) he called her and told her he was done. She cried ( really!) and then started sending me all kinds of stuff. I text him told him what she was doing and he flipped smooth out on her. I still don't think her husband knows. But what I do know is karma will catch up to her. And I'm not going to worry about her. Should be praying for her for what's headed her way. But I'm going to concentrate on me, my husband and our marriage. That if we would've known how far apart we could've gotten, we would've never let it happen. Not just her, but the not talking, not seeing that our relationship needed to be nurtured instead put on the back burner, waiting until we had time. When the kids didn't need us running them everywhere. Or working on our home instead of spending time just being together. Now our favorite thing, is when we get home from work after dinner and catching up on the kids day. I get to rest my head on his chest. And as much as it means to me, I know when a tear runs down his face and he whispers he couldn't imagine not having me there, right there in that moment I know we are headed down the right path, together!!
      Don't get me wrong. I still have my moments. When my mind is racing and I can't make sense of anything, the anger the rage. I try to remember it could've been way worse. He could've found someone he loved, not just someone to feel a void he needed filled.

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  11. Elle, you took your traumatic experience, and with your empathy, your wisdom, and your gifts as a wordsmith, you used what you learned from that experience to create this haven, to help so many countless hurting women. I thank God for you and my sisters on this site. I'll never forget what it felt like when people responded to my first post, and enveloped me in acceptance and complete understanding. You have done so much good here. I don't think any of us will ever really know how much.
    One of the things I like best here is that the fact that we do accept each other's choices. Our men and our situations have a lot in common, but they are still unique, as are we. So we can admire the woman who is strong and loving enough to fight for her marriage, and we can admire the woman who is discerning enough to know that it is time to leave a toxic relationship.
    My ex WAS living in a fantasy world. He was deeply depressed. He may never be able to completely face reality. And there's noe doubt the OW is a pitiful, petty, broken person. But we need to hear that again. A lot. Because betrayal needs a lot of healing. I am 15 months past D-Day and 5 months out of my divorce, and I'm not there yet. But I will be. One day, like Lynn, I will be able to say that it does not define me.
    Love you, Elle.

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  12. Thank you. Your site has been a light for me in this very painful experience. I am just beginning the healing process. You are brave to share. Thank you.

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  13. EXCELLENT Article!! Just what I needed to hear and think about right now. It is so encouraging and self healing when I see in words exactly what my mind is thinking and feeling! Thank you so much!!!

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  14. Again, thank you Elle. Your words shed light on the painful confusion of my situation and bring so much clarity and compassion. Sometimes I get caught up in the swirl of crazy selfishness my h has been showing and lose perspective... but your words show me again that people can be decent, caring and generous. Thank you.

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  15. Thank you for this post. I was lucky enough to find this site so soon after D-day, just 2 months ago. I have spent many sleepless nights reading the posts and comments while I cry, but this is the first time I've contributed.
    In my situation the (c)OW was a family friend. We attended each other's weddings, baby showers, birthdays, and plenty of barbecues and dinner parties together. I still don't quite understand how it morphed into something more between her and my husband, but this post makes more sense than anything else I've found.
    My husband was, and is, very broken, and she offered a very tempting fantasy. I know in my heart that he didn't want the reality of a relationship with her, but the fantasy her was a different story.
    He is now trying to rebuild himself, but I've been destroyed in the process and I don't know what I want anymore. How do I decide to stay or go?

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    1. Icequeen,
      I'm sorry you have to be here but glad you found this group. I am 9 months out myself. At 2 months I was not in much of a position to make a big decision about staying or going. All I could do is find ways to care for myself and find a counselor. In those early days I questioned my worth so much, and I wish I hadn't done that. I have learned that his affair was about him and the state of his soul. It was not due to me or how I stacked up next to other women. I have learned to listen to my own needs and take care of myself. It does slowly get better and you can do this! You are stronger than you think and you are not alone. As for when you can decide to stay or go: I think that varies by person and situation. Do know that either decision is perfectly ok!! You will be fine eventually either way if you focus on self care. Hugs!

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    2. Icequeen,
      I should have made it more clear that at 9 months out I still struggle. A lot. And I don't know for sure about staying or going either yet. I do have fewer meltdowns and feel I understand my H's choices a little better. I no longer attribute them to my shortcomings as much, etc. I do feel so much better as time passes, but didn't want to give the impression that I'm done with the pain and growth. Far from it!

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    3. Thank you, Ann.
      I know I don't have to decide yet, but this state of indecision is rough. (or maybe it's just the whole thing that's rough. Ha).
      It's such a huge betrayal, and I am completely overwhelmed with the amount of time it's going to take to feel whole again. Thank you though, it is nice to see it gets easier at some point, even if it never really goes away.

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  16. Beach girl I wrote you a reply but think the Internet ate it :(. If your husband is a sex addict as mine is it's a cycle Of shame, desperation, and a lack of coping skills (or their coping skill is sex). It's awful. It's just like a drug addiction. I highly recommend "your sexually addicted spouse". Highly. It's the only thing that helped me in the early days after dday 2 when I found out he was a sex addict. It's not just the sex, it's the compulsion that goes with it. The planning, rhe scheduling, the choosing. Chasing the high. and so much more that is NOT the sex itself. My only comparison was that I was a casual Cocaine user in the 80s. But when I bought, I bought a lot. I loved the meet up on Thursday or Friday night. The money exchange. The scales to weigh it, cutting it up, I liked a couple of lines. The rest was brain chemistry I just kept doing it--tint lines for two days Felt like crap Monday. Swore it off until Thursday when I could plan the next meet up. Gads, why? I dint know. And I swear I only enjoyed a few lines but it's a cycle that went on for about a year. The Coke wasceasy fir me to
    Stop. I missed the excitement of the set up. My H says the same thing. By the time he'd planned and schemed and traveled to get his whore, often the feeling had passed but he'd invested so much time he did it anyway. It makes me nauseous. But I get it on some level. I am reading a 2nd book called"sex addiction, the partners perspective". I will report back if it's helpful. I'm sorry for this hell yours going through. I know it very well.

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    1. Steam, thank you for the personal feedback. I did read that book at the same time my husband read the George Collins book. I think at some level I really do "get" this and the roots of this and the compulsions. What I struggle with more than anything is his Asian whores younger than our adult daughter. I try to stop those thoughts. He has told me and his therapist has told me that he was never attracted to our daughter but I still struggle to understand how he could do that. He says, "those are the girls in the business" and I said um, maybe those you chose but there are many more to choose from. I need/want to let this go. I found an old post of Elle's that outlined the four things to consider if you want to stay in your marriage and my husband is doing all of them. He has not strayed and I think he actually has not been tempted to act out since the disclosure. He had thoughts that he learned to dismiss. It's the disgust I have about his choice of young Asian prostitutes. We are still in Hawaii and there are many young beautiful Asian girls in skimpy bathing suits. I took LLP's advice and when I see that and my brain fries I tell myself, "I don't need to think about this right now". It actually works to distract me. My life is actually pretty good overall. It is just that those things seep into my head. My 38th wedding anniversary is in January and I dread that day. He tells me he still loves me like he did that day. He took another track in life a few years after that right after our first son was born. He came to me broken and had some good years. I am sure we will have more good years. Thank you again for your kindness.

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  17. Well. My marriage is officially over. We've already been sleeping in separate rooms for 2 years and he was supposed to go to a 12 step group and get a sponsor and that never happened.

    Well, a bunch of relapses later and even with PB on his phone he found away around it and admitted it. He said he won't go to a 12 step group and that it's b/t him and God and he wont' do it anymore

    Whatever. I'm calling a lawyer soon to talk about separation. He said he'll sleep in the van and shower in the YMCA so I can have all the money.

    I said OK. Whatever. I'm just going to take it one day at a time. I've been sick a lot, having a lot of headaches..etc and I think it's ALL related to his porn addiction. I caught him 10 years ago at Christmas time and now we're officially separated and I told him I'm DONE.

    I wished I would have divorced him when I caught him.

    Oh well. I feel like the monkey is off my back and I'm at peace with my decision.

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    1. Anne, you are in my thoughts. This is a tough time of year to go through a divorce but your history and trials with your husband seem to make perfect sense that you are at peace. May you continue to find peace and love in your world. Please stay in touch with us.

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    2. I feel so hurt for you. Prayers & virtual hugs. It is so comforting to have women on here who truly understand each other's pain. I wouldn't wish this on anyone.

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  18. Anne,
    So sorry for your pain, and so inspired by your strength. A very difficult decision, I know. I will be wishing you peace!

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  19. Ann I am so sorry. At least you know you're done. At least I hope there must be some sort of peace with that type of closure.

    I am so truly undecided about my future. We were separated for 5 months and are now out of the country together (the country that is his candy store) until Christmas. I'm getting triggered by stuff and it just pisses me off that this is still happening although I don't think at all that he is acting out in any way at all. I am awY from my personal support group and the people we are with are "our" friends. A tiny town. Really can't talk to anyone and not believe it would be all around town in about a day. Even now 3 years after d-day 1 I am finding things out that led up to that day. Stuff I never knew. I never knew there was a brothel within 6 miles of here thT acts as a regular bat during the day. Since finding that out last week I wonder how many times he'd been. He told me he'd been, just never what it's secondary function was. The biggest bitch? He's a sexaddict. Even if I knew it all ahead of time it wouldn't have stopped him. He was one well before I knew him.
    I get it beachgirl. Someone in his phone was identied as a 19 year old. Maybe a lie but the fact that he called on that ad seeing that age just pisses me off. I hardly cry anymore. I'm just angry. I feel I'm on the road to be that bitter person I never saw myself becoming. And splitting up with him is not the answer yet. It's these damn demons inside that are torturing me, there is the part of me that can't forget. I can get passed it I'm sure. But I don't know that I can forget what he is living with. This dreaded addiction that affects us both. . At least he could have told me,but instead denied it for over two years after D-day 1. Part of me wishes I could just catch him again after all these promisesthat he's stopped . And know I'm done. But would I be done? I'm not even sure anymore.

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  20. I so needed this validation tonight. I'm 2 months in, and I thought this would be easier by now, but reading everyone's comments helps me realize my new reality. That this is just the beginning of the rest of my life. Only 3 people (in real life) know what's going on with us, and I can already feel the shock they have that as of right now, I'm trying to stick around and make this work. In general, you tend to hear "If he ever cheats, then I'm OUTTA here," and I was one of them! Then you're actually presented with that scenario and it sucks the kife right out of you. So it's good to hear that I'm not a complete dunce for choosing to stay (again, for now - this is all still fresh for me). I've only ever posted her once as Anonymous, and I thank God I was one of those late-night Googlers that came across this page. I come lurk and read here whenever I'm having a particularly hard day, thank you all for sharing your experiences and being transparent about what all life entails now.

    Our 7th anniversary is coming up in a couple weeks, and I am completely dreading it.

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    1. TooYoung, You're not a dunce. And two months is a blink. I know it feels like forever. So many of us have a "before" and "after" mentality after betrayal. And you're right -- most of us would have said the same thing: "If he EVER cheats, I'll kick him out in a heartbeat." I sure as hell said it. And then it happens and things aren't so simple.
      You're still absorbing the shock of what happened. Give yourself time to digest it all. Give yourself time to see how he responds to this over weeks and months. If you don't have a therapist, please find one. It really really helps to have support as you work through the pain -- someone objective who doesn't have predisposed ideas of whether you're an idiot or not for staying.
      And keep reading here. As you know, the women here are smart and compassionate and clear-eyed about what healing is.

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  21. Storm, my heart reaches out to yours. I know each of us has our own life to live and we are responsible for our own choices. My husband gets that too. I think he knows for sure that I've become strong enough to move on without him although I much prefer to share my life and future with him. I fill my morning tool box with an inbox full of hope via emails from Simple Reminders, The Survivor's Blog, BWC, Bone Sigh Arts, Shambalah Sun, Mindful and a handful of others including the GoodTherapy Facebook page. I bought a book by Vicki Tidwell Palmer on Triggers when it was published but was unable to even start it because of the traumatic feelings/memories/thoughts. I'm going to wait until after my anniversary to open it again to see if I can possibly read it. At this point, I feel strong enough to make my life a good one regardless of his personal demons and choices. I hope he does not force me to make that decision. There is a blog I've read called Eat My Scabs. Wow, that woman is amazing. Look her up. She is one amazingly strong woman. In her last post she disclosed that she is divorced for a year but the trials leading up to her decision read like an affirmation for me. Nobody wants to let go of what they thought they had but there is a certain amount of freedom that comes with leaving that pain behind when the time comes to make a decision. Right now, I feel like my husband and I are individually and as a couple, leaving the pain of his past behind and looking forward to a better future. When the calendar hits January 1, 2017, it will mark the first year of his life without porn, prostitutes, lies and deceit, jerk off joints, strip clubs, etc. since he was a child. That my friend is something to celebrate and now that I just realized what a milestone it is I will make something good happen that day. I am home from Maui now and looking out at the snow in my yard. Got to see one of the kids and granddaughter who would not let me put her down. I've got email to catch up on, laundry to do and bills to pay. Going to be a lovely day. Much love to you.

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  22. Too Young for this
    I should say I'm too old for this! Bless your heart at two months I could barely speak in complete sentences. Elle has the best advice...go slow get a good therapist and watch the way your h transforms into a better man. Not easy for anyone of us and the healing process is different for each as well. When I found this blog, I pretty much read from the beginning to the present and once I started to post, I found I made more progress towards a healing heart. I couldn't have done this if my h didn't do his homework on himself. You'll have to be selfish for a while and by that I mean take extra care of your own needs first. I'm so sorry you found us but I know that these ladies have held my hand and patted me on the shoulder and here there's no judgement on choosing to stay or cutting him out of your life. The only right choice is what you want and need so hang on tight we're all here for you and know that deep pain you feel! Hugs!

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  23. Thank you, much love sent your way. You bet I'll be sticking around here, even if it's just to absorb all of you gals' wisdom <3

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