The kickass survival site for anyone who's ever been lied to, cheated on and left for dead.
Last night my neighbor commented that it looked like my marriage was very strong and that I suddenly seemed to, "have so much more control now" over my H. I asked her to explain and she talked about how much kinder he was to me. How much less irritable. She assumed that was because I had exerted some kind of wifely control over him and caused these changes. Her perspective from the outside drove home several things for me. First, looking from the outside, it is impossible to know anything about another relationship. There is total distortion when you don't know the facts first hand. And second, there are very important differences between boundaries and control. Boundaries are about ME. Control is about me trying to change YOU. It looked like control to her (she assumed men could not change unless a woman made them change--there are implications from her own experience with a troubled marriage) However, it was actually the surrender of control over him and the creation of boundaries that protect ME. I was definitely guilty of trying to control other people around me before Dday, but now I feel the opposite of that. The letting go of control. Boundaries are the solid line I draw around myself outlining where I end and the world begins. I'm not sure I ever had an outline before. Control is reaching across that line to try to move someone else. I am certainly not doing that anymore. Not sure how I got this old without really understanding the difference between these two things, but glad her statement made me think/grow! Then I see this word hug this morning. To me, you can't express love and affection for yourself without a clear outline of where you end and the world begins (boundaries). If you don't have them, your care/love/concern leaks out everywhere and can't strengthen you anyway. Have a very happy Wednesday!
Ann, I totally agree that I too have learned the difference between boundaries and control. I think it is easier to exert control or what we feel like is control. It just feels better and easier. But in the end it is a false sense of security. Setting boundaries with all those in my life has been a huge change. I also totally agree you have no idea from the outside what is going on in anyone's life. We have always been told how amazing our marriage is and even within weeks of dday I heard it regularly. I have heard more often lately that we seem closer than ever. I will say my husband's friends have noticed the most. He just tells them we are in a really good place. It is sad how the majority of them do anything to get time away, trips away and carve out time without their wives. My husband suggests couples all the time and they say no thanks most of the time.
Ann,You are so inspiring. Before the A I was trying to control everyone and everything around me. If I controlled it i wouldn't get hurt and everything would turn out the way I want it. Now I understand the imporatance of boundaries and how they are so much more beneficial to me than control. I still struggle with control, but things like this make me want to keep trying to surrender the control and embrace my boundaries. Thank you for this.
Ann, I second what you wrote. Our family and especially our adult children comment frequently that we seem more in love than ever. We spend a lot of time together doing things and we certainly laugh a lot more than we ever did. We are closer than ever and we appreciate what we have and fortunately for us, we are retired so spending time together is easy. I know I can't control him and I know that he can control himself and that is what he chooses to do. I have clear boundaries now. Some dear friends are divorcing. We've known them for about twelve years and from the outside they always seemed like a fascinating, interesting, engaging professional couple who had it all. Toward the end of last year he told her that he was being blackmailed because he was sexting with numerous women. Eek, this was a terrible situation for both of them because one of his accounts was hacked and suggestive photos were going to be released. Anyway, to make a long story short, I talked with her yesterday. She said the divorce is almost final, they are still friends and she wishes him well in whatever he decides to do with his life. She said, and I quote, "He is human and humans make stupid choices sometimes but that doesn't mean he is a bad person." Wow, she has no idea about me and my husband so I am sitting with his and admiring her grace and compassion.
I need to really work on this. I often hear myself saying would I say this to my kids or a friend. 99% of the time I say no. I am way too hard on myself.
I never thought that I ever had control over my husband nor do I now. I always felt that we were a team. That boundaries before d-day weren't even thought of. I guess I just assumed that we had mutual respect for each other and didn't need them. We have them now, and hopefully the remorse he has for what he did will help him control himself so we don't ever go down this road to hell again.
Anonymous, I'm with you. This has been one of the hardest things to accept. I thought we were a team, I trusted him unconditionally and assumed he felt and acted the same way I did. Boy was I wrong and now things are clearly in place. He is filled with remorse (at least he says he is) and he acts so differently now. A few weeks ago we were playing Uno with our daughter and son in law and I was fiddling with his phone to change the Pandora station when our daughter said, "Are you looking for Dad's girlfriends? LOL" I did not say a thing because it was a shock and neither did he. I just smiled and looked at her. A few days ago I asked him how he felt about that moment and he said he had a punch in the gut but then thought, "wait, I have nothing to hide anymore". That really was a good thing for both of us to hear him say. We don't have to talk about it anymore because the boundaries are set and if he goes down that road to hell again, he goes alone. Life is pretty darn good and everyday I am filled with gratitude.
Beach Girl. That is exactly what happens when anything related to betrayal gets brought up or comes out around us. He is hit just as hard as me and feels it. But he too says that he feels so good about the way he is leading his life now and he never wants to go back. He can sleep at night and look himself in the mirror. I am realizing that he basically put himself in prison and just did not have it in him to pull himself out of it completely. It is good to see that in him, it helps me a lot continue to put the work in from my side.
I recently found out my husband is still cheating on my with the same women for 6 years I though it was over many times..honestly it is not my fault I stayed because of my love, faith, and small children... I used to yell at my husband, plead, and beg with him..of course always accompanied with tremendous tears. Last night I just said I love you, I love our children, but most of all I love myself and do not deserve a husband who treats his wife this way. I calmly said this while sitting on the floor and shedding a few tears. This happened last night but the quote does hit home. I can't make my husband change by trying to control him but I can love myself enough to set boundaries so my children and I do not get respected and abused by his maniplulations. Thanks for listening. I have never posted before but this happened last night and I will be honest it does hurt.
Anonymous,I hope you know how HUGE it is that you no longer refuse to be disrespected (and to have your children disrespected -- so many of these guys don't think they're hurting their children). And of course it hurts. You love him. And it's incredibly hurtful to be lied to and betrayed by someone we believed in and trusted.But...this is about HIS moral failing and it's a reckoning he is going to face.I'm so glad you shared what you're going through and I hope you'll continue to weigh in. This site is full of incredible women who know your pain and have nothing but support and compassion to share with you.
Anonymous, you have the right to be respected as a woman, wife and mother. You have the right and obligation to protect your children. Please see an attorney in your state to understand your rights. Welcome to the club nobody ever wanted to join. We are here to listen and support you in your recovery. Thank you for stepping out of the shadows.
Anonymous, I can definitely relate. My husband has been cheating with the same woman for for 5 years, and they've had two children during that time. Both my family and his want me to get a divorce because I definitely deserve better. It's so hard to move on when you're deeply in love and believe that the person can change. I feel that I am getting close to the point of giving up, but a person can only take so much pain.
Anonymous,People can change. But he's showing absolutely no indication that he wants to change. And without that, it's clear that what you see if what you get.He essentially has two families. And you need to figure out why you're willing to settle for that. I suspect you've spent a lifetime settling for far less than you deserve. And that's where your work is. To understand what messages you got when you were young that made you think that you weren't worthy of love and respect. If you don't have a therapist, please find one who can help you through this, who will support you emotionally as you step away from this toxic man. It's long past time to leave. It's not "giving up", sweetie. It's about treating yourself with the respect that he should have been treating you with all along. It's about loving yourself enough to refuse to be treated this way.
I don't know who said it but I like it "You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better."
Pretty sure that was Anne Lamott. Love her!
It has been one year since I learned of my husband's affair. We have been married 35 years and have two grown children. I have chosen to stay but I do question my decision on a daily basis. Some nights I cry myself to sleep. I am 57 years old. I don't want to be on my own but something keeps thing me to move on..without him. I struggle with so much anxiety and wonder why I can't seem to take that step. I suppose more time might be what I need but can't help feeling that I have this secret when it is his secret but one I cannot tell anyone. I worry if my grown children will find out and ask why I stayed...I worry what they will think of me. Will they tell me I should of left...that I deserve better? The next few months are going to be me doing alot of sole searching to try and find the answer...what's best for me.
Anonymous,You say you've chosen to stay. I'm wondering what that choice was based on. What is your husband doing to support you? How is he changing? It's always a fraught decision but choosing to stay is a whole lot easier when we can see our partner working really hard to fix himself and to support us through the pain. Without that, there's little reason to stay. Without some sort of plan to create a better marriage, why stay?If you are rebuilding, then what's at the root of second-guessing? A lot of us experience post-trauma after betrayal -- we are terrified of this happening again. The world feels unsafe. We don't trust ourselves, let alone our partners. Are you in therapy? If not, would you talk to someone about this so you can get clear on your fears?Anxiety is, sadly, normal after betrayal. And one year isn't actually so long -- it can take three to five years to feel "healed". Which is, again, why it can help to have someone to support you through the limbo stage -- when you just aren't sure you've made the right choice. Soul-searching is an important part of this process. But it's crucial that your husband is giving you evidence that he's doing most of the heavy lifting here.
My husband is bending over backwards and reassures me everyday that the affair was stupid and he sees what it has done to me..to us. I just feel different...he says he feels closer to me now than he has for a long time but I am unsure if I will ever feel head over heels ever again. I have talked to counselors who advise tell me it will take time and hard work for our marriage to work. Although a year may not seem like a long time...it feels like an eternity for me.
My choice was based on keeping my family together. I will always second guess my decision. Right now I find it hard to ever have what we had back. Now I feel like we are roommates and not lovers. I hope it will pass and I will feel different as time goes on. That is all I can even hope for right now.
Elle what are your thoughts? How do I get past this?
It's really hard to keep all the "Anonymous"s straight. Is this the same person who has posted here?There is a ton of info on this site that will help so I'd urge you to read deeply and widely. There is no right way through this or "past" this. It takes time and what works for one person just won't fit another.There are, however, a few universals. Time, for a start. Yes, it will take a long time. And while your husband feels closer to you because, for him, he's finally removed the barrier between you and is undoubtedly relieved that he didn't lose everything, you're just dealing with the pain. It's fresh for you. And you're the injured party. It's great that he's doing the hard work of emotionally supporting you through this but there just aren't shortcuts. And sometimes, the damage is too great and the betrayed wife can't or won't reinvest herself back into the marriage. And that's perfectly fair. You get to decide what you want.For me, it was seeing my husband work hard every single day to be a better person that created the conditions to fall in love with him again. But it was a long time. A couple of years, at least. In that time, I worked on healing myself so that, whatever I decided, I would be strong and capable and able to deal. Re. Anonymous below (same person?): putting everyone first breeds resentment. Of course parents consider their children's needs and they should absolutely factor into your decisions. But your job is to keep yourself safe and healthy, and only you know what that looks like.
Is it wrong for me to stay to keep my family intact? I would do anything for my children...young or old. I have always put everyone before myself and this is no different. I am tired of trying to justify every move I make and every thought that crosses my mind. I dont want to think of all the lies I was told for who knows how long..but I do. Sometimes most times that is all I think about all the time. I am so tired of being in my own head. The only one that seems to be hurting....still...is me.
No ,it's not wrong to want to keep your family intact but I don't think it should be at the expense of yourself. This is your life. And you get to do what's best for you, which is, often, what's best for your kids. If your marriage is about resentment and barely concealed disgust, then your kids will know this, on some level.So while their needs matter, of course, so do yours. It's not your job to sacrifice yourself for everybody else and I suspect that's a big piece of this.
Yes I am the same anonomys..you can call me Louise to keep the conversation going. I hope I can and will get to the place where I feel the most content. I believe in time I will find that place. In the meantime I need to be more receptive and willing to accept that much husband has changed because he realizes what he could of lost. Thank you for giving me guidance through this difficult time in my life Elle.
Louise, It certainly helps to give your husband the chance to show you that he's willing to do the hard work of figuring out why he made the choice he did and to make change. But the other side is important too: He needs to recognize how painful this is for you and support you in your healing in whatever way you need. Do you need him to listen more to your feelings? Do you need him to reassure you more? Whatever you need to heal is what's important right now.
I can only hope I will either fall in love again or find the courage to find love again.
When we've been hurt, we're tempted to build something of a wall around our heart. But that only ends up hurting us, keeping us from experiences of love. We need to stay soft. To stay open. To be vulnerable and trust that, no matter what happens, we are strong enough to handle it.
Yes I certainly have built a wall. I just don't know how to even communicate with him anymore. If I laugh I think..Oh no stop that. He will think I don't hurt anymore. He says he sees how he has hurt me. At first he said he thought I would be hurt but not devastated. I don't trust him anymore. I care for him but right now I don't love him, at least not how I used to.
Anonymous, Stay tuned. I'm going to write a blog post about this.
Elle..this is louise. Where should I share more thoughts on this site?
Hi Louise, Welcome. You can share wherever you'd like. There are threads such as "Feeling Stuck" or "Just Found Out" where you can share your story. Or you can just post below any of the more recent posts of mine. Those tend to get the most immediate readers. Wherever you decide, we're glad you found us. You'll find support and compassion here.