Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Wednesday Word Hug: Forgive Yourself


44 comments:

  1. Oh, this is good, Elle. You are so insightful.

    We beat ourselves up about not catching it before it happened or fast enough to nip it in the bud. I was in the dark not only when it happened but for a decade after it ended. CH and his family all in cahoots to deceive me.

    It's very easy to let your mind go there - how did I not know? How different things would be today if I had known? BW's go through the stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance) and it's only in the last one that we might get to what this hug is about. I have no idea how long it will take me to get to acceptance, but I am going to really think about forgiving myself soon! Everyone tells the CH they have to show remorse, accountability - ask for our forgiveness and also forgive themselves. But no one ever tells the BW to forgive herself.

    Thank you, we needed that hug.

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    1. Brown eye girl
      I'm still working on forgiving myself for lashing out from the last trigger! I'm working through it slowly and it's a lesson Elle has been trying to coach me through since I found this safe warm place! Work in progress, just not there yet! Yes we all need this hug!

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  2. Maiden of the shieldJanuary 25, 2017 at 11:28 AM

    Thank you.

    Forgiveness is a real tough thing for me. It's been something I've always been forced to do. To just give forgiveness because it is demanded. To forgive so that the person demanding it could move on.

    In my IC we are talking about forgiveness and what it really is. Because I don't actually know.

    What is forgiveness? For me it has always been pretty much sweeping things under the rug. We have talked about me working on forgiving him, maybe.....someday.... We haven't mentioned forgiving myself. Maybe that's where I need to start.

    This journey makes me feel so small and infantile. The world is so.....different than I thought it was.







    Thank you for the hug.

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  3. I also struggle to forgive myself for what I did know (or felt somehow. Intuition?) that I didn't press further. In all honesty, I asked my H point-blank a few times about some things I had no way of knowing were actually big deals. He lied right to my face. I even started a word document on the computer with names of girls I suspected, but figured I was crazy and just overreacting because of my sensitivity to things because of a cheating prior boyfriend. I have to remember that I'm not a psychic and no one is expected to be. I asked my H when I felt I needed to and I believed him because (at that time) I had no reason not to believe him. I did not fail some cosmic test because I didn't demand more information when it really wasn't called for at the time as far as I knew. I did OK. I did the best I could have done at the time with the information coming at me. We all did!! That is the nature of deception I guess. I just have to make sure I don't deceive myself if I can help it.

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    1. Ann, I just found so much comfort in your words here this morning. Thank you. Everything you wrote about your husband, your suspicions, the lying... sounds just like me. And you are so right... I did do the best I could with what I was given. This is such a hard thing to come to terms with when you think of those moments now when he was lying to my face. Why is it that we look back and feel "dumb" for not seeing it? I trusted and believed my husband. Not to be immature, but he's the dumb one for betraying his trusting and committed wife. I'm learning a lot (especially about myself) in this crazy, messed-up journey. Thank you again for your comforting words this morning... off to work I go now...

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    2. Call Me Kate,
      Right back at you. You are so right. They were dumb for betraying us (and themselves) by lying to a trusting and committed wife. They will have to figure out how to forgive themselves for that in order to grow.

      I really think I did OK. I did OK before I knew, I even did OK when I found out and was completely crazed, confused, and in great pain (I didn't murder ANYONE! Major accomplishment!), and I'm even doing OK now with the ups and downs of recovery. Not perfect. I'm not doing anything perfectly. But for the first time in my life I see how doing OK is WAY better than being perfect. I did enough then, and I'm doing enough now. This is a big part of loving myself I find. Acknowledging that I am enough. Just like I was then, and just like I am now. That's the only way to keep growing! It's important to note that I'm not saying I always FELT OK through this process. There were times when I definately did not feel OK (felt like dying actually). Looking back at my actions though... I did OK! Feels good.

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    3. I should have added also that I've read hours and hours of posts by all you ladies, and I've never once read about something any of you did before you knew, while you found out, or during your healing that wasn't OK too. There are plenty of things to learn, sure. But learning doesn't mean you can't be OK with your actions before. That was another world, another time, and a different set of circumstances.

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    4. Ann,
      My husband was taken off a scheduled trip, but packed a bag dressed in his uniform and pretended to go on the trip. Instead he spent the weekend with his Coffee, Tea, or Me FA. But as luck would have it, crew schedule called to see if he wanted to take a make up trip. Gotcha! Not a great home coming I'm sure you can guess how that went. But when someone is cheating, they can lie right to your face and you'd never know it. From that point, my therapist said to ask whatever I needed to, not hide feelings, don't feel I needed to protect his reputation because "what's the worse thing that will happen?" That he's going to leave? Well, he's already done that. That was something very soothing to me in the dark hrs of the night.

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    5. Pilot's wife, after discovering the affair, I now have all the work passwords and I check his work board constantly for that very reason! So much opportunity...

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  4. Forgiveness is almost like a foreign concept to me. Before this I thought I was a forgiving person and didn't hold grudges. But now I realize instead of forgiving, like Maiden, I sweep it under the rug. Not only with my H but with everyone around me, including myself. I have gone round and round in my head beating myself up about how I should have know about the A and how I missed all the red flags. How I should have handled the situation. I struggle with this so very much! But I do think that before I am able to forgive anyone else I am going to need to learn how to forgive myself

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  5. Ann, Me too. I never hid or thought it could not happen to me. I asked point blank questions many times. I pushed him either based off of guys trips, his friends behaviors, women at work etc. And every time he said no way. He adamantly denied anything ever. I pressed him to work on our marriage, more time together, more date nights, trips together. We did all of that. Maybe not enough but work and life were the challenges. It never felt like he was not around enough. I look back and I honestly cannot see any point that I should have known. The only thing is if I searched the phone bills. But my husband had two sporadic affairs, secret email account and secret fb account. Granted without him telling me and me being in a constant private detective mode no idea how I could have figured this out. It took me a long time to stop beating myself up. This was hard for me. I really found forgiving myself and my husband were two different things. In a way i found forgiving myself was harder. Crazy but I think it was how society imposes what seems normal and tells us. I really had to take a hard look at reality. I had to sit and tell myself I asked the questions, I was direct, I never hid or pretended I did not see things. But when you are lied directly to your face over and over it is about the person who is lying not me. In the end I am a good, loyal, kind and honest person. And I am going to continue to be that person. Moving forward I am more selfish. I have made it clear to my husband that it is better to be honest to me vs having me find out any lies. Even the smallest lies would set me back or have me lose trust. I am really at a point where I want to preserve our marriage but I do not feel like I need it for my existence at all.

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    1. Hopeful 30,
      Your spot is where I'm striving to be. Where I can work on and care about my marriage but not feel like I need it for existence at the same time. Most days I feel very close to that, but sometimes I move off center in either of those directions. I agree that forgiving myself is harder! Funny how that works. Thank you for your words today!

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    2. Ann, I too beat myself up about not pushing further on my instincts. There were some very ODD things that were red flags and I flat out asked "Are you seeing this person?" I got a very angry response and was told I was not a trusting person. The tone alone told me to not believe this, but since I have a kind heart I ended up apologizing for thinking so (and brushed it under the rug). After the rug was so damn bumpy that I couldn't walk over it, my detective skills kicked in and I set out to prove things otherwise. It was an insane unraveling and I think my gut feelings should have been trusted.

      I too pressed for more time, more of an emotional/physical connection and it all happened, but there was always this feeling that he wasn't putting his ALL into it. I would say it to him - "I feel like you are trying, but something is holding you back" Again he would deny it and move on. It was 7 weeks of straight out lies until I found out the truth.

      I needed to trust myself! I have forgiven myself. I have grown. It's not the route I would have taken, but I'm here.

      I found this on Pinterest just this week...
      You're so hard on yourself.
      Take a moment.
      Sit back.
      Marvel at your life:
      at the grief that softened you,
      at the heartache that wisened you,
      at the suffering that strengthened you.
      Despite everything, you still grow.
      Be proud of this.

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  6. There is an excellent blog on Psychology Today by Tara Well Ph.D called Dealing with Betrayal and it talks about a book called The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz that covers strategies to tell a better story. I'm going to order the book right now but the list of strategies makes good sense for all of us related to this post. I'm also going to look up "hindsight bias" a new concept for me. I now know beyond a shadow of a doubt that my husband was a highly skilled manipulator, liar and gaslighter from way back before I met him. He now accepts and acknowledges that too and does not want to live that way anymore. Hopefully he will keep on the path he is on. For some reason, I also struggled with forgiving myself just like Hopeful 30 described. I've also arrived at the "I want to preserve my marriage but I do not feel like I need it for my existence at all." That is such a good feeling and sustains me now.

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    1. Beach Girl, I will look up this blog and book. Sounds like some great insights. I have committed myself to continue learning and moving forward. I would say I have always had intellectual curiosity and was raised that way. Funny thing is my husband is the total opposite and so is his family. It is just so interesting how someone presents (my husband and his family) but now I see it all in a whole new reality. My husband was raised in a way that I think led to this all. He was never neglected but totally entitled in every way. And as an athlete he was bowed down to and given anything and everything. He was also naturally smart but never had to work at it. I always saw all of this as confidence. It was the total opposite of how I was raised. Hard work is what meant everything in my home and that constant curiosity. He is shifting. It is hard since it really is who he is but he is seeing things in a new way.

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  7. Forgiveness is a process, not a once and done. You come back to it over and over, you sometimes have to choose it over and over.
    Forgiveness may mean accepting the world or someone as they are, not as we wish they would be.
    Forgiveness may mean finally believing deep down that we are enough and we were not at fault for trusting someone who didn't deserve that trust at the time.
    Forgiveness may mean letting go of the need to continue to be hurt by something and the illusion of control it gives us.
    Forgiveness may mean allowing yourself time to fully and biblically (wailing and gnashing of teeth, no lie) grieve so you can let it go.
    Forgiveness may mean accepting that your pain may be triggered again in the future.
    I sometimes get angry at that guy that will soon be my ex. At the lies and the cowardice and the shame he put on me for years. But I work first on forgiving myself for allowing it to happen. Through denial, through magically not seeing what was purposefully and systematically being hidden from me. Because what if, we really all are doing the best that we can? Even if his best sucked, he was doing what he could to survive the pain and damage that was in him. I was, in some ways, a bystander, collateral damage. I actually don't believe he was trying to hurt me. I do believe that his coping strategies, the best he could do, were not good enough. And I can choose not to have that in my life. we can always make that choice. And I can forgive by letting go of the need to be hurt by it. I need no reminders, at least not that kind. No one deserves or is owed our forgiveness, except maybe ourselves. Rambling...

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    1. SS, your evolution is remarkable. Ramble on. You have gained so much insight and I find it inspiring and encouraging in my own life. This is just hard and it will be part of our souls forever.

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    2. Still standing
      You may think your thoughts are rambling, but they are so full of truth and wisdom! I'm in awe of how far you've comet to be this person that's truly STILL STANDING! Hugs!

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    3. Still Standing,
      You are not rambling there. You were saying exactly what my soul needed to hear. I feel the wisdom in your words about all the things forgiveness can mean. I know that that wisdom was won by extreme efforts and learning on your part! I am currently at the point of letting go of my need to continue to be hurt by these memories, and I never thought of it as giving me an illusion of control! That's exactly what's in it for me and why I must be keeping it alive. I also feel like I did my best at the time and probably even my H too (considering the tools he had and the state of his soul at the time). Acknowledging that was difficult but necessary in order to stop living as a good guy (me) and bad guy (my H) in the same house. That dynamic can't work for the long term whether you stay together or not. Thank you for saying it all so well!

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  8. Hello fellow ladies ,

    this blog has been like a light at the end of the tunnel. I am need advice on my situation , perhaps someone has gone through something similar. How can comment ?

    Tried adding my comment to the feeling stuck section but it is not offering me the option .

    sorry for interrupting the flow of positivity on this post.

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  9. Thank you so much, Elle. This site feels like my lifeline sometimes. I don't usually post, but read all the time. I am currently about 7.5 months past dday. Slowly working on healing. My husband and I are young(ish). Married for almost 5 years--31 years old and no kids yet. Although we've started sort-of trying. Some days I think it's a great idea. Other days I think I must be insane.

    We haven't seen a marriage counselor primarily because I don't know how to find a good one that is worth the cost. Also because this site is like therapy for me. But I've been thinking--does anyone refer their husbands to read some of the posts and comments here? Part of me thinks it'd be helpful for him to read these things...to really see what goes through my mind and how Elle articulates it so well. But another part of me is fiercely protective of this place. Almost like it belongs to us ladies and is sacred and deserving of protection and privacy.

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    1. Emma, counseling is so helpful for both of you after infidelity. If you can find a Gottman trained therapist within driving distance to your home I suggest you start there. John Gottman is internationally known for his work with couples. Individual counseling for both of you would also be helpful, especially so your husband can figure out exactly what his motivations were for cheating. Welcome to the club nobody ever wanted to join. We will survive and thrive.

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    2. Emma
      I'm so sorry for your pain! I too feel this space belongs to us women, however, in the beginning if I read something that I felt could help my h understand me and the crazy cycle of pain, I insisted he read it and the we discussed it and it helped us move forward. He doesn't like reading and facing the truth, but he fully understands that this is his mess, and he has to be willing to help me in anyway he can if he truly values us a a couple. I hope this helps! Hugs!

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    3. Emma,

      Definitely do search for a MC/IC. Do your research, call a few, ask them questions in advance that are the things most important to your healing and what experience they have with MC/IC after infidelity. Some have a bias.

      My girlfriend's former IC told her to get a divorce - and there was no infidelity in their marriage - when they fight he gets mean & nasty (gaslighter?). She thought that was bad advice and found another counselor who has taught her how to set boundaries (much healthier).

      For me I needed to know the MC's goal was to preserve our marriage (yes I do realize my marriage to CH may not survive forever), but I didn't want a counselor who was going to tell us to divorce - I need to figure it out on my and in my own time what is best for me with the MC's support in my healing.

      Many times your health insurance will cover a limited # of IC/MC sessions. Some faith based organizations offer it for free. There is nothing more valuable to spend $ on than your own healing.

      If YOU are comfortable letting your CH read this blog that is all that matters. I would not want my CH to read MY posts so that I can be raw on here. But I don't care if someone else's does, if that makes sense.

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    4. Emma, This is a great place to come for sure. I would suggest thought considering IC and/or MC. I do think it is something you need to research since there are a wide variety of professionals and like any professional relationship you fit better with some people.

      My husband is in the mental health field so for that reason he did not want to go to MC/IC but that is very unique. At 5 months right after dday 2 he suggested I see someone. I had decided on my own not to share the infidelity with anyone. So due to that he thought it would be good for me to have someone to talk with and work through all of this. He is helpful but at times I felt like even with his professional training and background he was taking care of/watching out for himself more than me or us.

      I chose to look outside of our community due to his profession. It opened up more opportunities and allowed me to find a better fit than locally. My therapist met with me two times for 1 1/2 hour each due to the travel time in the first month. After that we met every 3-4 weeks for a year. Now it has been where we are meeting every 3-4 months. I looked for someone who was licensed and had experience specifically with couples, marriage and infidelity. It was obvious from the website and the 30+ years of experience from my therapist that they were what I was looking for. I will say you do need to be careful as BrownEyeGirl stated to find a counselor that will fit your needs and listen to you. There are many that are very pro divorce. I know this from my husband and his practice. People come in all the time and tell him about other professionals pushing their thoughts on this topic. My therapist wanted to hear what I wanted. I was asked immediately what my goal was or if I knew. And I was asked if I was being physically abused or felt unsafe in my home. For my situation it was really helpful and has helped me a lot.

      Most therapist will put you on a payment plan. Our insurance did not cover any of it but it was not that much once I was going only once a month and now going every 3-4 months not bad at all.

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  10. Hindsight bias. We have a lot to learn. Be kind to yourself.

    http://www.psychologicalscience.org/news/releases/i-knew-it-all-along-didnt-i-understanding-hindsight-bias.html#.WIt5t5JN_BI

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  11. Very interesting article! I feel myself trying to do this all the time. My mind is all flow-charts with arrows trying to construct timelines and unlock the hidden moment where I made some minor error that caused the beginning of some horrific chain of events leading to my unraveling. This is no movie, and the facts are not as complicated as I try to make them. Someone let me down. It wasn't my fault. I get to decide what happens next.

    I got a huge gift from my mother this weekend. She is the person I always talk to about "deep things" and she has NO idea that I've been through this. She's a counselor herself, and although it would have been so wonderful to have her support during this (and I know I would have had it!), I knew it would alter our family dynamic forever in a way I didn't want to. Anyway, we were having dinner with the whole family and she and I were talking on the side as we often do. We were talking about being vulnerable, not trying to be perfect, Brene' Brown rising strong (etc) and she came out with this statement: "I admire people so much who have been through extremely painful experiences and come out compassionate, forgiving, and introspective. I haven't been through any of the truly tough things in life like addiction, my spouse having an affair, or a violent tragedy, so I always look at those people with awe and amazement. They are heroes to me." I couldn't tell my mom what has happened to me in my marriage, but I got the gift of knowing that she would be more than proud of me and what I'm doing about it (she might murder my H, but she would be proud of me!). When she said it, I just nodded and agreed but I made time slow down a bit so I could take a mental/emotional picture of what that felt like.

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    1. Anne ,thank you for sharing this lifted me up.

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    2. That is a wonderful gift Ann. My mom and I are very close too and there are days I stare into her eyes and wonder what it would be like to tell her. I know she would cry, hug and talk it over with me, but also know it would change the family dynamic. She knows my H had a very hard childhood and she embraces him like her own. She hugs him a little tighter and is very compassionate. This would be a hard one for her.

      You have lots of insight more than likely due to her raising and love. It's a wonderful feeling inside to know you are your Mom's hero.

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    3. How sweet and even though you could not tell her it sounds like such a great feeling to hear that. What a great conversation. I feel like I hear the opposite how stupid women must be to take back their husband unless it is a one night stand etc. I feel like it comes up all the time now. It is somewhat crushing and causes me to distance myself from those friends and people who talk this way. It is hard since these are my closest friends.

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    4. Ann, I would bask in that warm comfort for the rest of my life if my mom had said that. (She died in 1990) I also chose not to tell anyone about my husband except my best friend and that took me 6 long months of feeling like I wanted to die. Give her an extra hug and kiss from all of us.

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    5. Ann, that is amazing! Thank you for sharing it with us!

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  12. I don't know if I prematurely sent the first part or if I didn't. Anyway we were talking this morning and it is about forgiving myself. I said, I feel like I'm still in competition sometimes with the OW. He told me, he understood but didn't see why I felt that way. I said - ok, you did this and that for her but not me. You talked to her about this and that but not me. What does that tell me about myself? He said, there is no comparison, I was just using her for sex. I said, you knew you were using her the entire time? He said yes, I knew exactly what I was doing. He asked me, You didn't like sex did you? I said, I liked it in high school and college. Then I was married and I learned how not to like it. (he knew what I meant, I was 25 years old when we got married, he was 33 and I had been with about 7 men). So all this competition in my head is nonsense. I'm not being used for sex like her. I asked him did you learn anything from her? You did this and that - you now do for me. I asked him did he learn that from her? He said I brought her flowers because she asked me. I felt obligated because I was using her. I only brought her what she asked for. I would ask her if she wanted me to bring her coffee, and all I was thinking about was getting a BJ. When he didn't want sex he said she was annoying. He told me YOU taught me how to think on my own - I need to get my wife flowers. He said it never even entered his mind before. He said, I never thought about opening your door, you taught me that. Opening a door never entered his mind. He gave me several other examples of what I taught him. Anyway forgiving myself is a process too. I can't believe he is finally telling me the truth about "them" and how he felt. But little by little, I'm forgiving myself. I can't forgive myself without information that all these thoughts I have swirling in my mind is just not true. Anyway SS I loved your post about forgiveness.

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    1. I heard a lot of those same things. In my mind I thought these affairs must have been so fun, amazing etc. Well he said he basically just took what they offered if it worked for him. He said he tried everything possible to avoid learning, knowing or understanding anything about them, their families, lives etc. He said the less he knew the better. He said they knew he had a wife and kids but they never spoke about leaving me/the kids, being together, anything negative about us. He also told me he was relieved when he did not hear from them. Both affairs were sporadic and one he only saw her 3-4 times over 10 years. But it is interesting how he was living both of his lives detached. I asked about the gifts and he said never and he did not even know when their birthdays were. And both affairs lasted 10 years. They never celebrated any holidays together. He ended both affairs, one over a year before dday happened and this was the one that was more frequent and geographically close. It is all so hard for me still to understand and I guess I have learned to accept that we are two very different people. He has changed a lot but it is still hard to understand how he was able to live this life. It is obvious to me and he has told me he hated himself for 10 years. He was never happy, having fun or thought it was great but felt more trapped. What was odd is I have stacks of amazing cards he wrote me through those years. I have tons of amazing gifts. He seemed to know what he had to do, but was still detached. This is all so complicated and I find many of these issues cycle back around.

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    2. Lynn Less Pain, thank you for sharing that. Although all our stories are different the human emotion is so much the same. I am happy to hear you are closer to forgiving yourself. You are a smart, graceful and strong woman.

      I am struggling with my CH having maintained communication with the OW for years after the PA. You see, I was in the dark about the PA not only at the time but for over a decade after the PA and 7 years after their last communication ended. I feel like I will forever be comparing myself to whatever emotional connection he had with her. I had no chance to say "her or me, cease all communication or it's over".

      I can logically see that their A was completely superficial (I never read their communications, but her BH did and my CH paraphrased): 'My husband is a looser', 'My wife doesn't appreciate anything I do', 'I appreciate you','Is everything still cool? your BH is not going to tell my BW we had an A at the next family function, correct?', 'We should leave them and move in together', 'I want to do you', sex talk, blah blah, blah... 99% of it on email.

      Only recently is he realizing with help of our MC that OW manipulated him probably to hurt her BH. CH feels like he got duped. He tells me that I am the love of his life that he loves me know more than ever. But also told me just a month or so ago (my dday was only 11-12 weeks ago) that he thought he did love her and had a future with her, hated me, had one foot out the door and he was going to leave me (even though I was 8 mos pregnant with baby #2) had it not been for our children.

      This is at the heart of why I am stuck in non-forgiveness limbo... I can't forgive him for thinking THAT was love. I think in time I will be able to forgive him for the sex (1x in a backseat of our family car is nothing special and the 2nd opportunity he had ED). Sex is NOT ok, but it is easier for me to get past than an emotional connection. At the time of the PA we had 10 years of friendship, 9 years together and 7 years of marriage. We shared everything in life and I have given him the grace of forgiveness for so many other things and the gift of children.

      They never did anything of substance together. Never went on an actual date. Never paid a bill. Never held hands. Never exposed their flaws (except both of their willingness to cheat on their spouses). Never cleaned up after each other. Never shared a meal. Didn't have any friends in common. He never bought her anything Never took her in public. Nothing of substance at all. 4 years of intermittent emails. We were maybe at 4 family functions with me, our kids and her BH.

      My CH is such a fool. I pray one day he can tell me he knows what love is and what it is not. Otherwise you will find me on the separating/divorcing tab. God will never send someone else's wife to love you.

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  13. Brown eyes, That last sentence was a jaw dropper. Wow is all I can say.

    Did your CH ever say why he kept in contact with email? Email is not an intimate connection. I'm sorry but something doesn't add up or maybe I'm not understanding. They had sex twice, then emails and she is the love of his life? Why have 4 years of emails without any other physical contact? That is all it takes for him to fall in love? I dislike the daisy picking of He loves me, he loves me not. My husband never said he loved her. He told her he didn't love her. I would have super big doubts just like you if he did. I also had doubts that my CH loved me. I thought he had other motives for not leaving me. I thought he preferred the OW and really wanted to be with her but she was handicapped and he was too selfish to take care of her. I just watched and waited to see what was going to happen and see if he really loved me. My husband told me a different story right after I found out, she was like crack, fun, bubbly, wild in bed etc... He said that to justify what he was doing. He kept justifying for a year. Finally he realized there was no justification for what he did and he looked at the affair for what it really was. So my CH storied has evolved and changed, the more he learned about himself. Your "never statements" sum up the affair fantasy. You are still in shock and as more information comes out and you continue counseling, he will show you what is in his heart, then you will know for sure. Your words flow from such a warm heart. Your moment of clarity will come.

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    1. Lynn Less Pain & Heartfelt,

      Thank you.

      OW was married to my CH's cousin. So we saw them at occasional family functions (1-2x/year). He said he mainly contacted her prior to those events to make sure that neither she or her BH would tell me because he was afraid I would divorce him if I found out. He says his secondary reason for keeping in touch was to have someone to complain about me to 'misery loves company', he said. And he also admits that their emails were occasionally 'sexting'. The 2nd time they got together (4 years later after she separated from his cousin) he arranged to meet her again and he says she wanted to fool around but he felt guilty, had ED and they didn't have any kind of sex. I'm guessing that means kissing, heavy petting, sex talk, who knows.

      I really truly love my husband. Saturday was a hard day, I spent the day withdrawn feeling like I've totally lost the substance of what makes me who I am for the past 3 months. Then we went to Church as a family and I just felt compelled by the Holy Spirit to forgive him. So I did. It felt like a weight lifted off my shoulders. Not that I will ever forger, not that I condone, not that I will tolerate it again, and we have A LOT of more work to do. But I genuinely forgave him. And I know he was grateful to receive my forgiveness.

      We went to a follow-up from our retreat and really connected over dialoguing. Had a nice family dinner. Had great sex. It was a great day.

      Then at night I found out that he had recently broken a significant promise to me (not an A or anything like that). And we had an enormous fight. So now I am here feeling scared again.

      I am going to my Gyn tomorrow and I'm going to ask for antidepressants. I tried to avoid that for so long. I can't stand the idea of being medicated to get through this. But I am not well and I have to get healthy.

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    2. I think a lot of this back and forth and up and down is since it is all still so fresh for you. And I thought my husband must be over this the main affair he ended 15 months before dday all on his own. The other affair that lasted 10 years he only saw her 3 times and it had been 7-8 years since he saw her. There would be 6-12 months between contact and just texts or emails. He said he hated it in one way but then it was attention. What I have learned is that he is the one with the issues. I am not saying I am perfect and can't work at anything but as far as an individual and our marriage he is the broken one. And I honestly figured he was having a great time over the 10 years of affairs. Well I was totally wrong it was not all rainbows and unicorns but he was miserable and hated himself. And I underestimated how long it would take for him to face what he had done to me, us and himself. It took him a long time to process all of this and he has the professional background. It was really hard for him to face his shame and guilt and how much damage he had caused. And one thing I noticed is once he lied about one thing it was easier to shift boundaries and lie about whatever. And in his mind nothing was as bad as his two physical affairs so all the other stuff and lies were trivial.

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    3. Brown eyed girl,
      Good for you to take care of yourself by getting help when you need it! You are worth the effort. I too had a setback this weekend after discovering a small lie. Felt like back to square one for a bit! (Not eating, not sleeping, the questions...) luckily I'm feeling stronger already. Any little trust violation becomes a very big deal emotionally. Just a fact!

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  14. Brown Eyed Girl, One thing I remember you saying on another post that really hit me was that your statement that your H feels "inferior" to you. And Hopeful 30 kind of had the same stance with her H. I found that really interesting. I thought about if for a few days and then during an argument I asked the question to my H. In most arguments there is a long pause and thinking before he sometimes responds. Like most times I have to drag things out. What are you thinking....how to you feel...tell me something here. I simply asked, "I've been thinking on this for awhile and I want to know...do you feel inferior to me?" YES flew out of his mouth before I finished the question. Wow. I just stood there. I asked why and he couldn't really answer.

    My H and I need to break through that barrier. We are two different people, but as partners in life, I feel like our strengths and weaknesses compliment each other. I grew up in a very loved home (he did not). He's the one that has taught me more about the need for a hug, small embrace, hand holding, touch, snuggle, etc. Personally, I never really needed that. I was tasked with far too much for about 16 years of our marriage (doing it all with bills, household, child rearing, cars, EVERYTHING. He didn't bring himself to our marriage to help me. He didn't get that I was tasked with it all for so many years and he just did what he did. To him the marriage meant a daily dose of physical touch to make him whole. With all I was doing and the resentment I buried so deep, I clearly did not have time for that shit!

    So...we have worked very hard at balancing what each other needs over the last couple of years. It was always the number one fight for years. You help me out with anything!!! and maybe I will want to be romantic. Now since d day, we've worked hard at 30 second hugs. In the beginning it was a really long time. Many days you hate them during the hug and wish you had arms to crush, but it did help. I was never a hug person until recently. I've endured so much pain since finding out about the affair and need hugs. In the beginning I needed them bad and was really clingy and now it's more of a daily ritual for showing affection and having a moment together. We also read the 5 Love Languages book together just days after d day and learned many things. I feel like all of us BW do lots of reading on the side to make sense of it all, but it's important to also have them read with us. We read aloud and then talked. I wish we did this daily though. We are in a better place but we have setbacks monthly and it's not a bunch of roses most days. We are nearing 2 years in April.

    I'm with you Brown Eyed Girl about the thought of your H HONORING you and RESPECTING you enough to treat you well. My question to you would be, do you think your H honors himself or respects himself and loves himself? In thinking of my H I know he would say no to all 3, that's why he had the affair. He picked someone that he didn't feel inferior to stroke his ego. He got praise praise praise from her repeatedly (undoubtedly because the affair wasn't reality and they didn't need to work around a mortgage, jobs, kids, bills, etc) It was praise for being a perfect partner in a fantasy world. He did and said all the right things and was liked in an unrealistic setting.

    We are good catches! We deserve better than what we've gotten. But maybe instead of me demanding my H treat me better I start with him treating himself better? Like he needs to really work on his inside and then come to the table for me. I can't fix his inside. Does anyones MC or IC say or confirm that this needs to happen first?

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    1. So interesting you got that response regarding feeling inferior. Putting me on a pedestal is what partially led to his affairs. It is so odd since from the outside if you asked anyone they would be shocked he feels this way. He is so successful. Has a ton of great friends that really revere and follow his every word. What is funny though is among almost all of his friends he is the most successful. The friend that introduced him to the to ow was a total low life and the ow were nothing great. He claims to hate what the one is about and thinks one is not a "bad" person. But I would never be friends with them and we are very different people. One thing is both of these ow were very persistent with him. The one pursued him for 3-4 years. I was the total opposite when we met. He had to work hard for me to consider dating him etc. So interesting. I just have a totally different standard and have never pursued any man.

      The other revelation I had this week was all of the criticisms my husband had of me over the 10 years were all things I could not change. The only way they would change or improve is if he stepped up and helped out more. He never criticized my looks/weight ever, my ability as a mother, my career, my morals, my ethics, my character. This is really interesting to look back on now. Yet he was not wanting to or able to help or participate. I assume due to his shame and guilt and basic detachment from our family due to those things.

      In the end I think there is a balance between improving the marriage and treatment of us but in the end it has to be how they live their life as an individual. How we act and treat others is a direct reflection of who we are. My therapist totally believes this. You can set boundaries and expectations but in the end my therapist wanted me to give some leeway and see what my husband would do. And you cannot live your entire life in black and white rules. There has to be some gradual move towards openness and vulnerability. I have been very blunt with my husband that if he wants to live his life a certain way then this marriage is not for me. Not a threat to leave but I will not compromise how I live my life and I will not be drug along or strung along just so he can have fun with his friends who are all immature and selfish.

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    2. Heartfelt & Hopeful 30,

      My CH had a job instead of a career and his jobs never really worked out. I have an very advanced degree am the breadwinner - then my career started skyrocketing. I never thought or told him he was inferior. I did want him to work, to contribute, to have a purpose. But because I was around all these highly successful people he incorrectly assumed I wanted one of them instead and regretted marrying him. He was wrong. It was lied and told him I had an affair and he believed them. I thought it was absurd that he wouldn't know I am too afraid of burning in hell to cheat on him. All I wanted was his appreciation for how much stress my job caused me and for him to be his best. All my hard work was for the benefit of our family. All my schooling had me buried under debt and I had to work that hard to get it paid off. I never wanted anyone else or for him to make the same or more money. He definitely 'affaired down' OW was not successful. Had a job, not a career. Didn't have a college education. Married a looser she hardly knew after not much dating. Was taken to court 2x for credit card default. She started another affair with a married man shortly after my husband met her (after the 2nd attempt 4 years later when he had ED). She married the other guy and he makes minimum wage. They live in a small rundown apartment. There is nothing she has that I want except the time and memories she stole from me with my husband.

      Lynn Less Pain,

      It is me who he says is the "love of his life". It's just that he said he loved her at the time of the affair and hated me. It's so hurtful even though it was long ago and he ended it without my knowledge. He said at some point he realized they had nothing to talk about besides complaining about their spouses and when you get together with someone under those circumstances (cheating) you can never really trust the other person. But the person he could trust was cooking him meals, planning our vacations, saving for our future and raising our children. I was love all along and he can see it in the present tense, but not in retrospect. It hurts.

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    3. Hopeful 30 - I could say your exact words.
      "The only way they would change or improve is if he stepped up and helped out more. He never criticized my looks/weight ever, my ability as a mother, my career, my morals, my ethics, my character."

      I also just recently said the same thing as you
      "...if he wants to live his life a certain way then this marriage is not for me."

      I'm no longer afraid of living without, like I was in the early days. I've made it clear and my motto is "A mistake repeated more than once is a choice."

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  15. You heartfelt, hopeful, brown eyed girl, have it exactly right. They DO feel inferior, and it's something inside them. My H has told me that no matter what it looks like he did NOT have a good time. His compulsions led him to, well, compulsive searching of the internet, his compulsion led to the thoughts that "this time it will be perfect" but it never was. Thus, a low low and then a compulsive search for the next high. the ONLY way i can understand this is in the early days my own COMPULSIVE searching on his computer. I did it, i did it a LOT. the pouring over phone bills and his phone thinking "THIS time, I'm going to find something" and i didnt. so i went back and did it again. It was not a good time but i did it anyway--it's the only way that I can make any sense of what he did. I've told him he is free to do whatever he wants--sex with someone different every night, sex with multiple people at the same time--the world is right there if he wants to live his life like that. He just won't be living it with me.
    Lynn Less Pain, your posts constantly keep me thinking--constantly. You made a comment somewhere recently about the cheater should be the one "driving the recommitment" I'm paraphrasing, but you are so right. So now, we are doing well, but in all honesty, I am doing everything for myself. he can keep up or not. but I'm not driving anything right now, except myself, back to sanity. Love you ladies so much you dont even KNOW.

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