Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Is Intuition Your SuperPower?



In hindsight, I see that I knew that something wasn't right. I had asked a friend if I should be concerned about the amount of time my husband was spending with his work assistant (with whom I later learned he was having an affair). I was uncomfortable with the dinners they had when they worked late. But, I reasoned, he told me about this stuff so he didn't seem to be hiding anything. Innocent then, right?
Hardly.
But the whole truth of what was going on came out six months later, on a second "D-day". And I can honestly say that I never ever had a clue that the cheating had been going on, well, since Day 1. For our entire relationship.
So, my "intuition"? Not so reliable.
But maybe my expectations for what "intuition" would tell me were unrealistic. After all, I think that any decent intuition should have told me that there were other women in his life. However, looking back, my intuition was telling me plenty – just not that. But I just wasn't listening. Or rather, I was talking myself out of trusting my intuition because it meant rocking the boat. And I was a longtime calmer of waters. Boat rocking was something I avoided.
A lot of us feel stupid in the wake of betrayal because we should have "known". What kind of idiot doesn't know her husband is cheating, right? Our culture implies that women who don't "stop" it are somehow agreeing to it, as if, rather than actually being ignorant of what's really going on, we're feigning ignorance. It's a longtime defence of plenty of Other Women, who believe that the wife is somehow complicit in the cheating. That she's okay with it as long as he doesn't leave because she doesn't want to "lose her lifestyle". Yep, OW have actually written to me to tell this drivel.
And so a lot of us wonder if our intuition is broken. How come we didn't know? What's wrong with us?
Nothing. Nothing is wrong with us and, likely, nothing is wrong with our intuition. Intuition isn't an inner psychic. It's more a warning system that something just isn't right. Problem is, so many of us have been over-riding this warning system that we barely notice when it goes off. A friend cancels on us for the billionth time? Oh well, she's busy. We might feel a twinge of resentment but we swallow it. We'll just reschedule. A family member volunteers us for something we don't want to do? Oh well, it's no biggie. We can manage. Our husband seems detached? He's just stressed about work.
It takes practice to notice that early warning system. And the warning isn't necessarily that we're being cheated on – at least not in the sense of a sexual betrayal. The warning is more that we're being cheated out of something. Cheated out of our agency. Cheated out of clear boundaries. Cheated out of respect.
Often, we're cheating ourselves out of our voice. We stay silent, swallowing our fury, our disappointment, our resentment. That niggling sense that something isn't quite right? We're just over-reacting, being silly. Those around us are often too happy to confirm this for us because, god forbid, we should begin to act in our own best interests instead of everyone else's. And so they tell us that others mean well, that we're being too sensitive.
And our intuition becomes harder to notice.
But it's not too late to start paying attention. The other night I was in the kitchen facing a sink full of dishes. The inner monologue began: Nobody ever helps me. They're watching TV while I'm in here doing all the work. Blah blah I'm a long-suffering martyr blah. It's a familiar script for me. I can recite it by heart.
This night, however, I tried to pay attention. Maybe not intuition so much as my still small voice. And it was telling me to respect myself, to notice my boundaries, to pay attention to this resentment because it was telling me something important about my relationships – that they didn't feel fair.
And in that time that I stopped and noticed, I also realized that nobody was forcing me into the kitchen. I was welcome to sit on the sofa and watch TV. The dishes wouldn't get done, at least not by me, but they didn't care.
And so I found my voice.
"I'm going to read," I said. "Would someone do these dishes before bed?"
My husband and daughter agreed easily. Sure they would.
And with that, I left the kitchen.
Intuition isn't much more than that. Paying attention to our bodies, our minds, our hearts. Noticing when something just doesn't sit right with us. And we might need lots of practice to really sit with that discomfort and figure out where it's coming from. Our intuition isn't some private investigator, able to present evidence of wrongdoing, necessarily. But, when I think back, the night came when I did somehow just "know" that my husband was cheating on me. That the dinners and the late nights and the "work" was more than a new team dedicated to building a business.
I've let myself off the hook for not "knowing" sooner. I'm not sure what difference it really would have made. But I have tried to learn from the way in which I dismissed my own concerns, the way I bought his excuses that never did quite sound convincing. The way I chose to believe what I wanted to rather than notice that the knot in my stomach never quite went away.
I notice now more than I did. I'm still working on it. Intuition might not quite be my superpower, but it is powerful. And I'm revealing its power more all the time.

58 comments:

  1. Another post, Elle, that just touched me. I've been struggling with this lately because for me, it was more than just intuition. In trying to control anything and everything, I was checking phone records, looking at e-mails when I could and I had signs that he was heading into an EA with a coworker, but nothing I tried made a difference. So it was a struggle to get him to believe me, even when I had hard evidence. I let myself be convinced for a long time that I was crazy. And like you said - maybe it wouldn't have really made a difference even if I had listened to my intuition, to my gut, to the truths. But now - 18 months out of DDay of an EA where there is no evidence it was a PA, too, but my DH still works with OW - I struggle with where this line of control, or seeming control ends and where trusting my intuition begins. I still check things almost obsessively and I have no evidence that I need to check...but it's like it makes me feel like I have control I don't really have. It's almost like the more I look at his e-mail, it keeps me stuck in the past, responding to things as it is the past - not the here and now. Not on the changes I have seen him make. If I slow myself down, in the quiet, I can see the ways he cares for me more than maybe ever. I can feel how things are different. And I can feel that he is almost as scared still as I am - that I will leave. The reality is - if he wanted to stay in an EA with her, he could. Even if they didn't work together - if that is what he wanted, he could do it. There is nothing I could do to stop it. But my job, what I can control is me. I even try to control our healing as a couple, instead of relaxing a bit and letting it happen as it may. Does that make sense? I think lately I've just been feeling this need to let go - really let go - of my need to control. My need to see everything. My need to know it all...and just....breathe. Just live. Otherwise it is keeping me stuck and not moving forward. Does that make sense? Anyone else feel this? Thanks!

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    1. Jules, I was at that point of constantly checking his phone records, email, credit card etc. Then I realized how much it was dragging me down and also as you said stuck in the past. I also agree with what you say that if he wants to find a way to have any type of affair he will. It is still hard over two years out I will admit. But I do try and focus on his words and actions int he present. Nothing changed but at a certain point I just let go of all of that tracking. I did tell my husband that I expect openness and transparency but that I am not going to live acting as a vigilant police detective. That is not a healthy relationship or healthy behavior for me. It made me more anxious. I have also been more direct than ever lately saying what I want and expect from our marriage/relationship. He has heard me. Lots of work left to do but yes I have felt and still feel those things often.

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    2. Jules,
      So much yes to what you said. After the sting is over and the hard reality sets in on how life will be from now on, I do feel faced with two choices. 1. Keeping up vigilance, checking up all the time, and bathing in the fear that this will happen again. 2. Accepting that I'm not in control of if it happens again and letting go so that I can be truly happy with what we have built out of this mess. To be honest, I vacillate between these two states a bit. I know that what feels healthiest is considering myself a whole person despite how my life turns out because of the actions of others and just letting go. Just putting one foot in front of the other and accepting what my H is capable of as part of him. There are other parts too, of course. The ones I'm sticking around for. When I have a twinge of fear or uncertainty, I will know how to check up, but it won't stop him. It will only get me information I can use to decide for me. It does feel like staying scared will stop something, but you're right. It won't. Most days I decide to drop the fear to live a happy life with my bff. Here's hoping you have that today too! hugs.

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    3. Yes Jules, I think we get to the point that always thinking we have to go through his phone just becomes so exhausting that we soon find ourselves to just let that need go! I still have access to his phone at anytime but looking back kept me stuck in the pain zone for too long. I'm still a work in progress and my h is still learning how to treat me when I have triggers from time to time and when he gets a text when we're together he always makes a point to tell me who it's from and he knows that gives me reassurance that he's not keeping secrets anymore. Sorry for the double post, I think I hit publish instead of notify me. Sending hugs!

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    4. Jules, It's interesting to me that you needed to convince him. You KNEW that there was danger ahead. And yet, you let him over-ride your intuition. I did the same thing so I know how easy it happens. But if nothing else, you should trust yourself. The part you need to learn is how to keep yourself safe when you sense danger. Betrayal makes clear to us that we can't rely on our partners to keep us safe, at least not right now. But we can learn to rely on ourselves. And that's powerful. It helps us feel safe in the world again. It reminds us that we have what we need to heal from this.

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    5. Thank you everyone...your support is so wonderful! I struggle with the added stress that they still work together - they teach in the same grade, so they have daily contact when in school. It is stressful, and in an ideal world it would not be this way...however, like I mentioned before - our relationship is different. My husband is showing remorse, wanting to connect, heal with me...even when I get frustrated if it is not how I want. It is there. We are different. We are healing. He came home yesterday from prepping at school for it to start in a few weeks and said he just wanted to get into his routine. I will always fear that since he has access to her that he could start things up and I wouldn't know. But - I also know that if they didn't work together, I would still fear this to some extent because there are hours and hours he is not at home and can be in touch with her - even if I watch his e-mail and such. So I can't let that fear guide me because I find that when I do - it distracts me from being present, it distracts me from my work, it distracts me from what is real, it distracts me from my kids...and in the end, I can't control him. I can keep being me, healing me, loving myself and working for the better...but I can't control. I am starting to sense much of what you ladies have expressed - that this need to control is holding me back. Am I scared? Yes, I am terrified. But I am strong. I am a survivor. I can do this!!! (Hugs) to all!

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    6. Most of us fear what we can't control. Until we realize that we live all the time with things we can't control -- weather, sickness, accidents. But we've learned to live with that. And we can learn to live with this too. We can learn to accept that we can never ever control another person. But we can control our response to how people treat us. As long as your husband knows that you will not tolerate being in a marriage with someone having any sort of "secret" friendship, then that's all you can do. Set your boundaries. And then know what you will do if anyone violates them. That's all any of us can ever do. Set our boundaries and refuse to compromise when they're violated. It's so hard for those of us who want to be the nice spouse, the supportive spouse, the easygoing spouse. To enforce boundaries requires being not so nice to others but being respectful of ourselves. I'm still learning too. But it makes a lot of difference in how I see the world.

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  2. Hi ladies,

    Well today is my first wedding anniversary post Dday. I have been all over the board emotionally for the past few weeks. First, I hoped H would make a big deal of it, something out of the ordinary. Next, I didn't want to celebrate it at all (I'm concerned I will perseverate too much about broken vows). I didn't share my feelings with H. But I did make an apt to see my IC this afternoon. H made reservations to take me to the nicest restaurant in our city. I told him I wasn't sure I wanted to go because I was worried I might cry. But he kept the reservation. So we are going. I'm actually looking forward to dressing up, etc. I just want H to be the one to raise the elephant in the room - to tell me he knows I must be thinking about his A's today. I don't think that's likely to happen, so off I go to IC to get some advice...

    How did others here handle this?

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    1. We had our 20th anniversary about 5 months after dday. My husband planned a trip. It was not for the exact weekend but more sold to me as time for us alone, time together, time to focus on each other. We did go out to a nice dinner at my favorite restaurant. year two after dday we also did something. I struggle with this too as it approaches. I honestly would rather celebrate dday. To me that is now the day to celebrate. I hate it but I also see the good that came from it. For me the wedding anniversary is all fake. My husband acknowledges all of this and give me a nice card and/or poem. But keep in mind he did this before dday during the 10 years of affairs. So that is bittersweet for me. He tells me often and especially on days like that the he knows are hard that he knows there is only one second chance and everything else he says. Sorry no great answer. In the end if he makes an effort I try to embrace it. I figure if I am in this marriage and he makes an effort to plan and focus on us I will meet him there. For me it makes it easier since he acknowledges the pain and challenge that exists if he acted like nothing happened and yeah let's celebrate it would be harder for me.

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    2. Browneyedgirl,
      Our first post D day anniversary was interesting. The A's were definitely on my mind, but didn't seem to be on his. I'm amazed at how he still loves our wedding pictures and has no problem celebrating our years of marriage. He feels like we have 16 years, but now I feel like we have 1. The truth is, I envy his ease with loving memories of our wedding day. I remember loving those reminders too. I look at my ring, and sometimes it's a trigger all by itself. I'm getting better though. I'm seeing his A's from more of an "aerial view" every day. From there, I can see the rest of our relationship too, and even appreciate it. It wasn't all a lie. Some of those memories were good ones no matter what my H ended up doing. Hugs to you!

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    3. Ann, I like the way you describe seeing the marriage from an "aerial veiw". That is helpful. I too try to not focus only on the bad/negative aspects. It is easy for me intellectually to understand it all just those feelings come into the equation and make it more challenging some days.

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    4. Thanks Hopeful 30 & ann. When we arrived at the restaurant the hostess said "19 years, that's quite a feat these days" I said "yes. yes, it is" with a tone that let my husband know it wasn't lost on me that he was lucky enough to celebrate another anniversary with me. But what I was thinking was 'you don't know the half of it sister'! I didn't cry at all during dinner but I have to confess I did think about the ex-cow. AARRGGHH. That pisses me off, why did my brain do that?!?! I was hoping H would say something romantically profound like he was so fortunate to have been given a last chance and/or that he recognized that I might have moments that this day or my ring reminded me of the vows he broke. No such conversation. I believe he thinks if he ignores the elephant in the room that I won't notice it - nope, it's big & fat and sitting right there. He kept it all in the moment and gave me lots of complements, a nice card, some small gifts and a rose. I too get triggers from reminiscing memories that used to be so positive for me, now they are hijacked by intrusive thoughts of H's A's. Shedding a tear now.

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    5. Aw BEG. This sucks. And it sounds like you handled it with incredible dignity and grace.
      I was reading a book yesterday and the character and her husband celebrate an anniversary. The husband is late and the wife does something benign while she waits. Just a silly scene that moved the plot along. But it dawned on me that there are women, not just fictional, who don't have any doubt when their husband is late that it's possible he's cheating. And I realized that's just a casualty of this. I will never ever again have that innocence. Even with someone new, I would just know that it's possible he's cheating.
      It truly sucks. When you've been yanked from that innocent, naive state into reality. But it does get easier, BEG. It gets easier to state what you need -- ie. "I need you to really make it clear to me this anniversary that you appreciate this second chance. I need to know that you KNOW this." What he does with that information is up to him.

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    6. browneyedgirl
      My dday was 10 days after our 36 year anniversary. Unfortunately we were still dealing with his cow for the next anniversary so I had a meal at a very nice restaurant with him and yes I was very triggered but I kept looking at my mental stop sign to keep her out of my thoughts. Last year I insisted that he cook our favorite steak dinner with all the trimmings! This included shopping for the food and cleaning up the dishes. He decided that he wanted to do that. By this time we were finally free from the cow other than a few drive by the house when he would be working. The first year we exchanged cards only but last year he decided that I needed jewelry so he added a special bead to my bracelet. This year I have hopes that it will be a more natural and relaxed weekend with no intrusive thoughts! I still have my mental stop sign if I need it! I'm still working hard on one day at a time! Handing you a tissue and wiping my eyes with you!

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    7. I too just celebrated my anniversary two days ago. I discovered my H's affair only two months after our wedding, so both our first and second anniversaries were post DDay. I dread my anniversary. It reminds me that he ended his affair only a few months before proposing (we lived together for 4 years before getting married). It is a bittersweet day for sure. Buying anniversary cards are very difficult but I do try to stay true and find one that does talk about overcoming troubles. This way I feel like I am not faking it with some blah blah romantic card full of butterflies and flowers. My H also does the same with his card, and I can tell you I do appreciate that because that does acknowledge the elephant in the room and show gratefulness for the second chance. We have also discussed renewing vows when we are more healed and that becoming the day we celebrate. Not ready for that yet, but look forward to being so one day. My heart is with you and empathizing with your pain!

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    8. Carol, the FirstJuly 28, 2017 at 6:49 AM

      My 1st anniversary after DD, our 20th, was spent at a romantic restaurant with dancing. I was still in shock & enjoyed being with him, being wined & dined. My last anniversary, our 55th,was a bit more like the real me. We were out of town at a very fancy restaurant when they brought us a cake with our first names & 55 in a heart. As soon as our waiter left, I took my knife & smeared her/my name off the cake. (not only did we share my H but we share the same first name!) I never spoke a work but my H sure got it!

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  3. I have so many conflicting feelings and points I can relate to in this post. It seems that is how I feel most days lately. I have blamed myself at time for various reasons since dday but then also told myself that I did ask him if there were any other women because I felt like I knew this could happen and each time he looked me in the eye and said no never, absolutely not. So I took him at his word. I asked general and specific questions so I don't think he could justify that I did not ask the right questions. He knew he was flat out lying to me. I never even knew either of these women existed. They were/are not known to me. I have never to this day heard him say their names. He never had their numbers in his phone even hidden. I have thought if I went through phone records I could have seen something. But again with sporadic affairs who knows if I would have picked the right day, week or month. So in the end I try to give myself a break on this but it is still hard.

    The aspect of the martyr routine is familiar. My husband has always said it is not healthy or right for either of us to push what we want done now on the other person. From his professional training an experience he has claimed this is not healthy. He has also always said many things I take on he could care less about. Sure some things he is correct about others do need to get done. So in the end I am torn. Every time I walk into the kitchen which is often during the course of a day these are my surroundings when taking a break from work. He has gotten much better at taking imitative. This has made a big difference in my feelings and attitude. Before I felt like I was in it alone unless he had friends or family coming over otherwise it was all on me. He has apologized for marginalizing me and all I did for all those years while working and taking care of our kids as the primary caregiver and while he was checked out. It does feel good that he has acknowledged that aspect of our past. Before dday and even more recently he was skilled at making it as if it was my issue and I was over the top. However it is a different story now one of appreciation. One thing I have done is as you did in the story I do ask for help and just tell him what I need done. I am not unreasonable and expect instantly but I do have expectations. Before dday something like a light bulb would sit for over 6 months. At one point I told him I would hire a handyman and he was fine with that. Luckily we are past that attitude. I thought he was crazy but now I understand why that dynamic existed and how he framed me during all those years. In the end that gives me peace. I hate that it happened but at least there is an explanation and he has made changes to have the dynamic be different now.

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    1. Hopeful30,
      A handyperson is the greatest thing in the world. Rather than let resentment build or feel overlooked -- just call someone who can get the damn job done! It's paradise!! I do think that far too often I gave away my power -- I needed him to do what I wanted/needed done. And he would take his sweet time (or not do it at all). He's the king of "I just haven't had time to XYZ". Rather than let it poison our marriage (more than it already had), I hire someone to do the things I can't and he won't. If he grumbles, which he sometimes does, I point out that he's welcome to do the jobs himself and save $. If he chooses not to, then I will find someone who will.

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  4. Of all my self care practices, this one is my most important. I often defer my power over to others--"they are right and I am wrong", especially my husband. I am reading the Harriet Lerner books, starting with "The Dance of Anger." Her advice, listen to my anger--don't lash out in anger. When I bitch at my husband, it is because I am not listening to the voice deep inside that tells me what is really wrong and part of me doesn't even trust what I want. When I practice listening and deep acceptance, I can clearly state my needs and expectations and not end up in a crazy making battle.

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    1. I pulled it from a friend's bookshelf recently. Read it years ago but need to reacquaint myself with its wisdom.

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  5. Wow… I feel as if this post was written especially for me to read today. My D day was three years ago and ever since then I have been turning myself inside out to figure out where I went wrong. No matter what I read or what the counselors would tell me , i was sure that it was fixable if only I tried hard enough. My husband has apologized profusely, has said all the right words of remorse, has gone to counseling with me and alone, has sworn to me that it would never happen again. I have forgiven, and yet I have not been able to move on.My intuition has kept telling me that something is still off. I reacted by trying to dance harder. I went back to my counselor and tried to figure out my own issues and how a good marriage for 38 years had ended up in the dark place. Two weeks ago my intuition said danger… I picked up his phone even even though I have not checked up on him in years. There were texts to a woman at work. Personal texts, not sexual texts.And yet, I found the text theat said that the two of them should meet to discuss work issues even though the woman is on medical leave at home. He suggested going to her when I was going to be out of town or having her meet him at our mountain cabin to see the outdoors. My heart stopped. I am in the hole again. But this time I recognize it. I have been here before. This time I am ready to put my own voice and intuition ahead of the lies that I'm being told. What that looks like, I'm not sure. But I know it's time to stop pretending, fixing, blaming myself, and start looking clearly at my situation and what is best for me. Thank you so much for giving me this writing today. It was what I needed to hear.
    The Good Wife

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  6. I thought intuition was my super power. I was wrong. I had no clue what was going on. Not one clue. When I found out I thought noooo wayyyyyy. I'm sure this isn't right.
    I'm still in the first month and because they have to continue working together I feel like any intuition I have is in the blender right now.
    I have nothing to stand on except faith in God.
    Part of my intuition says I should stay because he is remorseful and really wants to save the marriage. The other part of my tuition says this will happen again so run.
    So now my tuition is a power that seems to be working against me instead of for me. Every single work email she sends and every single time he goes to the office my intuition starts a war inside me.
    True he has been mostly working from home since I found out. But he had to go to the office once or twice. The emails and phone calls are an everyday thing. And eventually he will have to go back to his office. What will I do then with my faulty uncooperative intuition.
    What do I do now with my intuition that's giving me two opposite hints at the same time. "You should stay" "You should leave" .
    How long does this stage remain. I thought I decided to save my marriage. Why do I still feel like running. Is it because I'm that hurt or that angry at him. Or is it because I'm worried this will happen again.

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    1. Anonymous,
      In the first month this is exactly how so many of us feel. Elle has said, and I think it's GREAT advice, to avoid putting pressure on yourself to decide. Take in the info as it comes to you and sit with it as long as you like. Seek therapy and practice self care. When I wasn't sure, I did that. Over a year later, I'm still doing it to some degree. Obviously I've decided to stay for now with the info I have, and I'm happy. We're happy. But if the info I get changes my mind down the road, I may change my mind and I reserve that right. We all do. Each day I commit to that one day based on my soul's best interest. I just have never gotten to the "committed forever" phase where I thought I lived before. I'm "committed forever" to my health and wellbeing, but my marriage is very much one-day-at-a-time. I'm learning to actually love and be comfortable with that. Don't worry that you don't know for certain. You may not know much for certain anymore, and that's perfectly ok!

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    2. Anonymous, I felt exactly the same at one month out, I did for a long time, and many days I am still undecided at 8 mos out. Best I could do at 1 month out was to decide I wanted to stay TODAY. In the meantime, I did have a plan B (went to an attorney, gathered evidence on H that would benefit me if there was a custody disagreement, division of assets, etc.). Best I can do now is plan a family vacation a few weeks in advance. I still can not make a 'forever' commitment in my heart to him. I think when your undecided the best thing is to stay put and tell yourself you can ask him to leave at any time if you are not getting what you need (transparency, accountability, therapy, no-contact, etc., etc.) in order for you to be willing to stay. For now. Ann gives good advice: be committed to yourself, forever.

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    3. A lot of experience something akin to post-trauma. The world feels unsafe. The person we thought we could trust turned out to be untrustworthy. And so we doubt ourselves. We don't trust our own ability to keep ourselves safe. It's a horrible, horrible feeling.
      Take some time, if you can, to just learn to be still. It can feel excruciating. We fear the deep well of pain that's there. But if you sit with it, you'll begin to hear that still voice inside. Some call it God, some call it intuition, some call it their inner wisdom. Whatever you call it, learn to notice it. It often shows up in the body. A stiffening when someone comes close, a closing of your heart when someone says something, or a sudden insight into a relationship. It takes time to hone that ability to listen to that still quiet voice. But it's there. And it holds so much of your truth. Give yourself time to absorb the shock of what you're going through. Insist that your husband avoid contact, as much as possible, with the OW. You should not have to deal with that. Trust...but verify any time you feel uncomfortable or unsure.
      And pay attention to your pain. Let yourself process just how deep the pain goes. The only way out is through.

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  7. My intuition was so right on, but i had no idea what it was so right on about. My whole life that year was kinda blinded by my H's then drinking and half hearted efforts and promises to stop. That was my focus of that year. That he was lying about drinking.

    Oh he was lying alright, but it was about more than drinking.
    D-Day 1 still caught me SO off guard--understatement of the year.

    D-Day 2 was in some ways more of a shock and in other ways not a shock at all. Well that's a lie, it was a horrible shock, lol---but 5 days or so ahead of time, I just knew it was coming and I didnt know how it would come or even what it was. I knew he would lie if confronted. That's when I believe God showed me where H kept the phone. Because I was not looking for it when I saw him reach high on a shelf and come down empty handed .

    But I had known something was off for 15 months. This time though I did what therapy and common sense said to do--ask questions, don't drive yourself crazy by second guessing yourself or spying or spinning. So I asked, and I was told i was wrong. There were no other women and there was no more drinking and I that I was simply wrong. but in the end my intuition was so incredibly spot on as to when it started and when it was escalating. But after D-day 1, we had been through so so much, he saw so so much pain that there was no WAY that he would ever ever do that again. Right? Sigh. Wrong.

    Sometimes intuition is like a curse, and mine so messed up from being messed with so badly, that sometimes i wish I didnt have it and sometimes when i hear my little voice, i think I am just losing it.

    I believe my H's self protection will always trump what my inner voice tells me.. I believe that if he ever does this again, I will still need cold hard proof before he admits anything.

    Even if I saw him naked in the kitchen while some hooker in hotpants was walkin out the front door.

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    1. That is how I felt after dday 2. It was way worse than dday 1. For me things did not add up or make sense after dday 1. I questioned my husband and went over things with him. He stuck to his story. Overall it was sort of the same but he minimized everything. And what I questioned him about came out 5 months after dday 1. It was not great what he told me but it was the fact that even after I asked dozens of times he stuck with his story vs being honest with me. Here I thought we were starting new and working towards transparency but I was wrong. It was really hard and I fell apart after that. Even after dday 2 I pushed him for more answers. He said there was no more. I finally wrote him a letter since my spoken words were not getting through to him. I intellectually understand why he minimized what he did and why even after dday 2 he did not want to say everything and answer my questions. I get it but on the flip side this is what hurts the most. I am glad I was persistent and stuck with my line of questioning.

      Even recently in the past few months one of the ow contacted him via text and phone calls along with a friend. That night I could tell something was off. He was snappy and cranky and especially with the kids. Well my gut was right. He was waiting for them to go to bed so he could tell me she had reached out to him. Together we blocked her and her friends numbers and deleted all of the contact. It felt good that I knew something was off with him.

      This is something I am constantly working on to trust myself and the key thing is I speak up if anything even feels slightly off and I challenge it if I do not believe what he is saying.

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    2. Steam,
      I feel the same way about how I found out. I had asked outright, went searching through records, then suddenly God or something (I'm not religious) led me to unzip the liner of his suitcase. Under it was a condom! How would I ever know to look there? I suppressed my intuition so long that it simply screamed at me. Nice to know my intuition is persistent, but I listen sooner now (or I try to!)

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    3. I had asked too. And chose to believe him when he said I was being "ridiculous". "Of course not," he told me. And, given what I knew of the OW, it was easy to believe that I was being ridiculous. Her? Blech.
      Yeah, well....
      It has taken a lot of time to reacquaint myself with my intuition and to realize it told me what I needed to know. I let my desire to believe that he would never do that to me trump the intuition that he was doing exactly that. Emotion over reason. Now, I try and pay more attention to that nudge of reason even if it doesn't make logical sense to me. Our body sometimes knows things before our mind can accept them.

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  8. This guilt can be very overwhelming. I remember feeling so sick to my stomach watching these women hanging around my husband. How the sweat was beading on his forehead and how yellow his skin was and how purple his lips were. Why didn't I address it right then and there? I don't know why, I remember wanting to run away from the whole mess and just get home where I felt safer. We were talking about this last night and he told me that he tried to ask me for help but what was coming out of his mouth wasn't I need help. But serotonin syndrome does this to people. I also remember looking at the phone bill a month after he tried to end his life and seeing over a 100 text messages between them the Friday night before I found out what was going on. They ended up being emoji's of lips in a kiss that she was sending him and you get the idea. I found that out last night too and he had said now you know why I hate using emoji's. I didn't ask what he had sent back because I really didn't want to know. But this guilt I carried around with me for almost 2 years. He tried to tell me not to feel
    guilty about it anymore. We had all kinds of signs that told both of us to run away from there and never look back and neither one of us listened to them. So anytime now that my stomach starts to feel that certain feeling I listen to it.

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    1. Wow, Cathy. You have been through a lot. But the guilt isn't yours to carry. We all have to own the role we played in our marriage. But affairs are for the cheater to own.

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    2. The HR people at the nation had to investigate what happened and interviewed everyone we worked with. The head of the HR department kept calling me after my h got out of the hospital and told me that he needed to talk to me. Well I was a mess and could barely talk to these people on the phone let alone go in person. I told them that I wasn't allowed on the Reservation and he demanded to know on whose authority that was, and when I told him that it was the Tadodaho that sent me the letter of restraint you could just feel the anger from him when he hung up. My husband, not trusting any of them wouldn't let me go up there, especially not trusting this chief, took my place and took all of the blame for what happened so that they would stop calling and leave us alone. The clan mothers of the nation wanted the OW fired because everyone they interviewed told them that she went after my h. The chief's wouldn't do it. But when my daughter went into the hospital a few months later I wrote a letter to the HR department and told them everything that had been going on at that time including them compensating his pay and buying him a futon to sleep on in the office among other things. And for the most part telling them that this manager was embezzling money. I had worked at a bank previously. They ended up going and auditing the managers payroll and found that she was paying her boyfriend a lot of money he didn't work for. This manager then went after our friends daughter who worked there too and fired her because her father got mentioned in the letter. They had tried getting information from him when my h went into the h. He had fixed some of the computers there a month before and told her that she needed a certain server to store information on she never got it and he was the second computer person to tell her that. She was also informed by the clan mothers to get a time clock before all of this happened and never did. We signed in and out on notebooks and I will guarantee that they do not exist anymore. My h has owned up to his part in this mess to this day and has had no contact with her except when he threatened her with a restraining order while he was in NM recuperating and attending his uncles funeral. She told me a month and a half ago that I will never know the truth of what she really did to him. You could just hear her laughing in the text. At this point it doesn't matter anymore. I concentrate on me now.

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  9. Here's a general question that I am struggling with. Why is my husband so remorseful and wants to work it out now that he was caught. Would there have been no remorse or need to work on things if he hadn't been caught? This is such a disconnect for me. So now I'm the one who has to decide if it's worth working on. Any thoughts?

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    1. GPS,
      It's illogical to us. But to someone who's learned to compartmentalize, to believe their own bullshit (my wife never listens to me, she's unhappy with me, etc. etc.), to convince themselves that somehow what they're doing is okay, it's "easy" to avoid thinking about the consequences. It's often referred to as a "fog" because they really aren't seeing clearly. Add to that that fact that our culture tends to maximize the excitement of affairs and minimize the fallout/pain, and these guys are often completely stunned at how devastated their wives are and just what they stand to lose. They quickly realize that this fantasy world isn't what they want after all. And they're about to lose everything that actually matters.
      Not everybody responds like that, of course. Some guys really do want out of their marriage (though they're in the minority by a lot), some really can't get out of the fog, some get so addicted to the excitement of the affair that they try and keep it going even after their spouse finds out. But many MANY go 'holy crap, I'm about to lose my family' and feel HORRIBLE about what they've done. It's hard for us to be too sympathetic because, after all, what the hell did they think was going to happen. The answer? They didn't think. It's like they were slowly sinking in quicksand.
      So yes, you get to decide if you want to rebuild your marriage or not. And it's a decision you get to take your time making, assuming he's willing to stick it out. And I would base my choice, not only on whether you want to remain married to this guy, but on how willing he is to really get clear on why he did what he did -- it isn't about the sex, usually. It's about escape. It's about avoiding painful feelings.
      Your call. But it certainly helps to understand that this, as crazy as it sounds, didn't really have anything to do with you. You're collateral damage.

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  10. Elle and others, this post makes so much sense to me and I've actually been reflecting a lot on the past 38 years with this guy. I recognize fully now how I ignored or stuffed that little voice inside when I was not happy with the way things were going in my marriage. It was easier to chalk it up to work, grad school, family stress, time crunch, etc than to just take that step to rock the marriage boat and talk about how unfair I felt life was for me. I never ever thought my husband would cheat and I'll never trust him again because although he says he won't I now know he is capable of doing so. He avoided painful feelings and I did not want to create conflict so being the nice former Catholic first born daughter I did what I could to "fix" things and just put him and his career and needs before mine. I'm planning to cut back on all the google searches I do daily to find things that may help me make sense of this bizarre life I have. A couple of days ago I found a site called Go Ask Suzie and while it was difficult for me to navigate I did manage to save something about what she calls Choice B: The Survivor Path. The Payoffs of the Survivor Path include a few gems. The best one is to change my language from "it's unfair" to "it's unfortunate that this person squandered away so many valuable years and made these poor choices". This feels so right to me because I showed up for all of my kids, every single day and he was emotionally absent and morally bankrupt so much of the time. She also talks about separating out the "mistakes" and the "mistake-maker" as a way to move toward forgiveness. I want to look for the lessons and stop looking at the hurt. Tough challenge but necessary to move forward. I've said before that I had a major shift when I realized I was going to be OK with divorce if it came to that. I don't see that happening but you never know. Our lives together are forever changed because of my husband's choices but I am stronger now and much better able to discuss my stresses with my spouse and he is able to really hear me and help with problem solving. He does not want me to feel stressed by all the things that land on me/us either and it is very clear that he is more than willing to do his part to share the ongoing life challenges that pop up. Just reading this post took me way back to raising young kids and the feelings that I'm doing all this work and he is in the living room reading the paper because somehow his work was so much more important than mine. I worked full time, did laundry, shopped, cooked and shuffled kids around to after school activities. He rarely took a day off to stay home with s sick kid even though he had unlimited sick days. Just looking at my life back then makes me want to forgive myself for not being a better friend to myself. I'm doing so much better moving forward and now I know that my husband is not the guy I thought I married. He is a much more flawed and human person who made many, many mistakes. He is lucky he has a second chance and he tells me that every day. I am so lucky to have all of you in my life, even if it is just a virtual life.

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    1. Beach Girl
      Go Ask Suzie was the first site I found. I really liked what she had to say. But there was also something in our situation that never made sense to me and I went digging. I didn't always like what I found out but I've learn to except it. My issues have been with these other women and this site and Elle and all of you have helped me tremendously. Last year at this time I could barely leave my house because so much change had taken place. Moving forward is easier now that I have more information on what really happened. My h isn't on this pedestal that I and so many had him on. He's the one that feels lucky to have this second chance and makes sure he shows me and tells me every day. I tend to get carried away with writing about what we went through work at this Indian Nation and I think that I write so much about it hoping that this never happens to some other woman who decides to work there.

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    2. I found that site too. And I have been thinking about a lot of things related to this and our new dynamic I guess I would call it that. In the end I will never be glad this happened to me or us but what makes me the most sad is he did this to himself. I can be proud of everything I did. I showed up each day like you said you did too Beach Girl. I never walked away or gave up on anything in my life no matter what I was going through. I have to be proud of that. He struggles to think about what a poor husband and father he was. He was never bad to our kids but he was not present since he distanced himself from me due to his decisions. It is hard for him and eats away at him. In the end I have to take his word for wanting to live his life with integrity and transparency being the best husband and father he can putting us and our family first above all else. And looking back he has never put anything or anyone ahead of himself so this is a huge shift for him. I need to embrace this if I want to invest in this marriage. I feel the same as you I will never fully trust him now that I know what he is capable of but he knows this second chance is a gift and he tells me he appreciates it all the time and it will not be wasted.

      Also he has been surprising me lately and really rising to my expectations. He went out with friends. Some parts of their day was planned but some was not due to the nature of their day. He texted and called me throughout the day. He surprised me with a call at the end of the night. I decided I was going to give him some space. He knows what I expect of him but I want to get away from this rigid list of things he must do and also long term I want us both to have healthy quality relationship beyond our marriage. He was so happy to talk to me was in a great frame of mind and today he said it was such a good quality night. He did not drink too much just socially which he has never done that I remember with friends. I know some people would say he should never go out with his friends due to what went down but we are working through this to find a way that works for us. I had uneasy feelings at times while he was gone based on his past behavior but his actions are proving he can handle some social time with friends. I know I am guarded and cautious and he gets that. Maybe with time I can soften and be less vigilant and let my guard down. Who knows how long that will take but we will see...

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    3. Listening to that inner voice is something that is so important. There are a few things that I've thought about regarding my husband's past with transactional sex. That is what he did when he was out of town and the last two times happened on Oahu during our anniversary vacation so I've decided we will never go to that island again together. The other times he went out of town to meet up with high school friends for R & R. So my thought now is that if he asks again about a trip with the guys I would tell him that he was free to go but that when he returned he would need to purchase condoms if he wanted any intimacy with me until six weeks after he got back and was tested for all the STD's again. I'm not turning down intimacy, just setting up boundaries. I know his best friend is trying to set up another weekend with the guys which takes time because of crazy work lives but how does everyone feel about this boundary? It seems reasonable to me. No anger, just reality here. Just because he has promised never to betray me again doesn't mean I believe him. I do believe he is sincere when he says it but his history has shown other choices. Thanks for your feedback.

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    4. Beach Girl, We have these discussions often related to time away or potential time away. We talk about everything. And he has made me promise to call or text him at any time. He said when he is even just out for a round of golf he pretty much thinks/worries about me since he does not want me to be stressed or worried.

      Related to your idea of the boundary I think it is totally legitimate. I think in part by having boundaries it allows them to know how serious you are. You are not saying no but you are doing what you need to feel safe. And for us these boundaries have evolved to be very structured and recently I am backing off on the details but now many of the boundaries are habits. In the end discussions related to these trips or time with friends have been good. Nothing is off the table discussion wise and we are both open about everything. I think that is the best part of it. If he was not wanting to discuss it then I would struggle. For us it is finding a way for us to be committed and happy together but also do other things we enjoy. Of course the discussions revolve around his behavior and decisions.And what is great is I can be open and he does not get defensive. I have found I have gotten better at explaining my thoughts and feelings. Good luck and keep us updated.

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  11. Some of the things that happened to me before D-Day #1 that in retrospect, tells me how out of touch with my intuition I was. I started losing weight around the time the emotional affair started. I was so happy, I though that it was because I was taking new vitamin supplements. I also had a really bad dream where I saw a women who fits the description of the OW in bed with my husband, actually in the dream my body morphed into her body. I woke up hysterical, like I had never ever before. But these thoughts were so buried in my unconscious, and my belief that he would never ever betray our marriage or our family, was so firm. I think all along, I have given him far more benefit of the doubt, and doubted my own value and ability, than he ever warranted. I still do that often. I am reminding myself not to put him on a pedestal. He is deeply flawed, and I am not as flawed as I believe I am.

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  13. Sorry for posting this twice but I wanted it to be in a new post and I think I posted the first time in response to something else I wrote. Your feedback and thoughts are appreciated.

    Listening to that inner voice is something that is so important. There are a few things that I've thought about regarding my husband's past with transactional sex. That is what he did when he was out of town and the last two times happened on Oahu during our anniversary vacation so I've decided we will never go to that island again together. The other times he went out of town to meet up with high school friends for R & R. So my thought now is that if he asks again about a trip with the guys I would tell him that he was free to go but that when he returned he would need to purchase condoms if he wanted any intimacy with me until six weeks after he got back and was tested for all the STD's again. I'm not turning down intimacy, just setting up boundaries. I know his best friend is trying to set up another weekend with the guys which takes time because of crazy work lives but how does everyone feel about this boundary? It seems reasonable to me. No anger, just reality here. Just because he has promised never to betray me again doesn't mean I believe him. I do believe he is sincere when he says it but his history has shown other choices. Thanks for your feedback. We are two years and one month post D-day.

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    1. Beach Girl
      My h had to get used to the boundaries that I needed to feel safe! I'm sure it's not been easy for him but he did prove himself a most capable man of lies and secrets so in my opinion, no boundaries that helps us bw to find security again is unreasonable. I'm just glad my h has been patient with the things that we've put into place together. I remember telling him that I didn't want to become the police of our relationship but that when he travels for work, I need to hear from him a few times a day whether it's by text or phone calls and so far he fully understands how this is a trigger for me. Truth is if he wants to be that selfish man again, non of my boundaries could stop him but because of the fear of STDs, he developed a rash that scared him shitless not long after the affair ended, and I've been found clean, that he makes the wrong choices again and it's over. So I don't think any boundaries are off limits. Sending hugs!

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    2. BG,
      Sounds very reasonable to me. As we've found, the only person's actions we can be 100% sure about are our own!
      In my opinion, a betraying spouse had better view every intimate occasion with their betrayed spouse as a gift!! Also, if your h does go away, feel free to share as we will cheer you on through the stress of that! There is the possibility that your h will view his time away differently since he is not hiding secrets anymore. Just a thought.

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    3. Beach Girl, reading your post I have to ask - are you sure you are ready to say he is free to go out of town without you? There is nothing wrong with it if you aren't then don't feel bad about saying 'not yet'.

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  14. Beach Girl,
    Do you go on trips alone for R&R? Reason I ask, is because I haven't in our 19 year marriage. I would have always rather spent money and time vacationing with my H AND the kids. Now since the affair, I feel like more time with him alone is needed more than ever. In the past 19 years he's gone on 5 trips for R&R and some have been spendy. Meanwhile, I've been the rock, figuring out the financing for it and juggling things while he's been away. His work trip 2 years ago led him to fly to a buddies house (to get his thoughts about having the affair) and then onward for 2 days to make the emotional affair then physical with her. So his R&R without me is a huge trigger. My boundary is set. He cannot expect to go on any more non-work related trips without me. Why after all I've been through, do I need to sit home and stress that he may turn stupid and do it all over again. I have no respect for his buddy at all now, as he knows me and my values and yet simply gave him a free pass and blessing. UGH
    I'm 2 years and 3 months post D-day

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  15. In the past, before my husband was retired, I would ask on occasion if I could go on the out of town trips and he always had good reasons why I should not so I didn't. He was, of course, paying for sex on those trips. I don't want to be the police either. I told him that early on. He told me he never even considered paying for sex where we live. Within a week of D-day there was a police bust in our city and they listed the names and ages of the men arrested for soliciting and some were older than him! (He is 66) Anyway, I guess my thoughts are that if he really wants to go play with his old friends and he has a history of also making side trips, he can decide if he wants to go and then follow what would make feel feel more comfortable. He only told me about his alternative lifestyle when he thought he had AIDS. Otherwise I doubt he would have had the courage to tell me. Although he told me he always used a condom, I asked a couple of times, "so why did you think you had AIDS if you used a condom?" and he could/would not answer that. We have not been away from each other overnight anywhere without the other since disclosure. It just makes me feel sick inside to think about this situation and I will address this if/when it comes time but I've been trying to figure out how NOT to control his time and life. It just seems fair that if he wants to go away for a few nights with his guy friends then there is a price to pay. He gets to choose if the price is worth his weekend with the guys. I'm just not sure if I have faulty thinking or not so thank you for the feedback. Keep your thoughts coming. Oh, and I use to travel a lot for work also, including out of the country. I always asked if he wanted to come and he always said "no". He was home enjoying his porn but I did not know that at the time. We travel together a lot now. I have, in the past, gone away for R and R and I typically stayed with a girlfriend. I never went to a resort, hotel, etc alone for R & R.

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    1. Beach Girl: Thanks for answering. I totally get where you are coming from. You don't want to control what he does, but rather make him make the good educated choices for your relationship and marriage. I do that too and it's a struggle.

      I had a major anxiety attack yesterday, as my H went back on Instagram after a major mishap in January. We were at a family event and as I passed behind him I saw he was using it once again and questioned. Oncce again the transparency went out the window and secrecy crept in.

      Dday was April 2015 and it took a full two years for me to get through the fallout. He would see the anxiety come on and my no eating, no sleeping, no nothing, but tended to look the other way like it was my problem. Last night it started and he tried hard to talk to me, but I shut down. I was having a hard time and just opted not to bring it up after the family event. Since he's been off Instagram (Jan 2017) we've had no arguments and that is huge. After all the ups and downs of 2 years I finally felt like I was going to be okay and then he made one of his poor choices and didn't consider my feelings.

      He sat beside me this morning as I was getting ready for work. My eyes welled up with tears and I told him I cannot have these anymore. The anxiety and panic attacks are ruining my insides. My body just goes into a mode of not functioning. He told me that he will do away with the Instagram account so we can avoid further pain. This entire time I thought he understood my pain and could see it in my eyes. He cannot see my insides or feel them. So, over another hurdle today and hopefully a good one that is behind us.

      Controlling his time and his life is not my goal, yet there comes a point where my anxiety and panic trump his R&R. Plus I feel like he spent a lot of time without me through the years pursuing the internet and chatting it up.

      Thanks for all your posts Beach Girl. We appreciate all that you have to say and it's helpful in us finding our way.

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  16. In hindsight, I didn't listen to my intuition. I had a few weird things happen and I never paid attention to them. Things weren't great at home and there were a number of occasions where I would drive to particular spot on my lunch break and just sit in my car and cry. Turns out it's the same parking lot my husband would meet the OW in for sex. Why I went there, I don't know. The strangest thing that happened was when I was with a friend for lunch and as we were in the entrance of the restaurant waiting to be seated, I got an image of my husband at a table in that restaurant with a woman with dark hair. It came out if the blue and I had never seen the OW, who has dark hair, nor was I questioning whether my husband was cheating at that time. It turns out this was one of onle restaurants he had lunch with her at. Strange. I wish now I had questioned it.
    Months latet after a discussion in which he told me he felt like we were "just roommates" and he cried and told me he wanted things to be different, I asked if there was someone else. He told me no. I talked to my aunt about it the next day and she also asked me if I thought there was someone else. I told her I had asked him and he said no.
    Another month went by and I found the phone records, but believed him when he said it wasn't physical. For a long time, I felt stupid for not knowing right then. Now I just remind myself that I trusted him and there was nothing stupid about that.

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  17. SS Part 1
    Hi everyone, been thinking about everyone's comments. First, bravo for all the boundaries and self-care I'm reading about. And for those who are just reaching out for help, you've come to the right place.
    I believe that intuition is not some magical "thing" that we women do. I believe that our brains are powerful tools, and as humans, we are wired to pick up all kinds of information about our environment (and the people in it) and process those into an impression, a "gut" feeling about whether we are safe. This goes all the way back to something about this berry I picked smells bad or something about that dark cave makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up. And then fight or flight suggests the best course of action. Don't move and that big cat might not see you and eat you. Run like hell but juke so the gator won't eat you. Climb that tree so the bear won't eat you. You get the idea. The problem we face today is that we've still got this fabulous, very fine tuned early warning system that can give us a sense that something is just not right, that we are, in fact, not safe, but it is not developed enough to identify the modern source of danger.
    Add in to this equation these things called micro-expressions:
    "Micro expressions are facial expressions that occur within 1/25th of a second and expose a person’s true emotions. These facial expressions are the same on every man, woman and child, regardless of their cultural background. Micro expressions cannot be hidden. They are shown even when a person is attempting to conceal an emotion, consciously or unconsciously."
    Read that again. "Even when a person is attempting to conceal an emotion..." And believe it or not, we are picking up on them unconsciously all the time. And over time, when someone is lying to us or repressing guilt about lying to us, we subconsciously pick up on it and voila! anxiety, depression, chronic dread, a nameless sense that something, somewhere is wrong. If you are like me, then you assume that the something wrong is yourself.
    And that has been my co-dependent job all along; being the broken one, being the not ok one or being the “not enough” one. Started with mom, alcoholic, I was never enough to make her quit (she still hasn’t and oh all kinds of crap is coming up now that we need to move her into assisted living… that’s a whole lot of sessions with my therapist and a separate post), never enough must mean I was somehow flawed. Then I married this guy, who was the first guy I felt safe with after being raped, but there’s the whole damaged goods dynamic. I was instantly cast in the role of broken one and needed to stay there for everything to be OK. More importantly, my not OKness was a necessary feature of our relationship because (as I discovered much later) he was also really not OK and only felt enough when he could feel better than me. Co-dependent as fuck, but makes a twisted kind of sense. I think this explains an almost lifelong battle with depression. My body and brain were screaming at me that something was rotten. Unfortunately, I assumed it was me instead of relationships that didn’t serve my best interests and care.

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  18. SS Part 2
    Fast forward to five years before my marriage came to an ugly, tragic end. We had been Ok for a while. Not perfect but doing well for a couple working their asses off and raising kids (those are tough years y’all, and the reason that divorce happens so much right there. Some don’t know that the light at the end of the tunnel is coming or have the resilience (or integrity) to tough that out). But slowly, my anxiety is increasing and depression, which I was managing without meds, was really coming on. I had weight gain, muscle aches, joint trouble, irritable bowel and I couldn’t figure out why my body was at war with me. I would later find out it was because he was visiting sex workers and hiding it from me.
    Then, in the fall before D-day my anxiety went through the roof. We came back from the family trip to England and he was suddenly just … absent. (turns out he met his chippy on a business trip shortly after we got back). And then we went to the lake and he was “working” a lot and a complete asshole to me. He had more and more business trips and I felt so increasingly anxious that I got a new therapist and some new anxiety meds, because the problem had to be me, right? Talk about being out of touch with my intuition. And then Thanksgiving came and shit got seriously weird. Enough that I had to finally pay attention. I took him (read dragged him because God forbid he do something that mattered to me) to the symphony to see the Firebird, one of my favorite ballets of all time, and I looked over at one point and he had tears in his eyes. Despite being extremely out of character for him, I thought, “yeah, me too. I get emotional listing to the orchestra sometimes.” I hindsight, it was guilt because I had just told him how much sharing this with him meant to me and he had finally had sex with the OW just a few days before. Then he stopped coming to me for sex. This got my attention and I was slowly working myself up to ask what was going on. I knew something was wrong, but never would I allow myself to think it was an affair. Then he was a monumental ass to me on New Year’s. He had already spilled that he wanted a divorce to his sisters and his daughter (read that again) and they all instantly new it was an affair. And then New Year’s Day, which was my D-day 1.
    Looking back, my body had been screaming at me that something was wrong. What I’ve learned since then is that I don’t “have” depression and don’t “have” anxiety. I’m prone to these things because of genetics, sure, but they happen, in my case, when shit is just not right in my relationships. Meditation has taken the place of medication for me. (and look, I am not bashing meds. They are absolutely the right route in so many cases and helped me survive for so long). Looking back, meds masked my connection to reality and what my body and brain knew was going on, on some level. As with so many things, it felt like the entire world was colluding to convince me that I was crazy. I’m not.
    And now, I listen to my body. I’ve learned to notice (thank you meditation) and sit with what I am feeling. Sick feeling in my gut? I don’t feel emotionally safe. Ravenously hungry? I’m lonely. Tightness in my chest? Someone has crossed a boundary and I need to address it. Headache or tense shoulders? I’m worried about money and being able to provide for myself and my kids. And when something new crops up, I sit with it and listen. Here’s the bonus: I’ve even started being able to identify when I am reacting because old stuff has been triggered vs. a new “threat.” And as you can all relate, I definitely still get triggered. But now I can look at it and think, is this about information I am getting now or is this a reaction caused by being afraid of being hurt again. And then I can sit with the old stuff and hug that little girl and tell her it is OK the be scared, remind her that she is actually OK and it makes it better. I’m cultivating this as my new super power.

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    1. Ss I absolutely adore how your write about your thoughts, feelings and actions. I am not a reader but I could read your feedback
      All day. I hate what you've been through ss but I love what you have overcome, your one of my many super heros on this site and you brighten up my day. I'm just relieved your not going through the torment anymore, your free to choose to do exactly what you like.. you should be so bloody proud of yourself .. give yourself a big hug.. lots of love xx

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  19. SS, I am in awe of you and your ability to describe in detail all that your body was telling you and how you had to learn to listen to those messages. I believe I have some similar experiences. Thank you for sharing. You are such a bright light on the horizon regardless of whether we stay in our marriages or leave.

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  20. SS
    Totally get what you are saying here.
    Big hugs
    Gabby xo

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  21. I haven't read the comments but how did you deal with knowing he continued to lie to you between DDay #1 and DDay #2 when all the truth came out? I assume you asked after you found out about the first affair whether there were any others and he denied it? There was a year because Dday #1 and Dday #2 for me. And in that year, he swore that he was telling the truth. He used to even say stuff like "I feel so much better that my conscience is clear now and I don't want to have any more secrets - they are all out" while he was still lying. And I didn't know. I didn't have any intuition for the first 19 years of cheating or for that last year of lying. I admit that I'm stuck. I have been for some time now. I am in therapy but I'm not sure I'm getting anywhere. I guess my hangup is that for that year, I gave him a second chance and he continued to lie (although he did stop the affair). NOW, he's all sorry and going to counseling and 12-step groups, but it just seems meaningless. I should add that I can't work since I have a chronic pain condition so I feel kind of trapped:(.

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    1. That time was such a mess of pain and loss and grief for me. I never quite bought his story that she was the only one. It just didn't make sense to me. So when I finally heard the whole story, it was like I'd found the final puzzle piece that revealed the whole picture. And, in the weeks that followed (including losing my mother suddenly), it was all I could do to just put one foot in front of the other -- I was also supporting three little kids who had just lost their beloved grandmother.
      But D-Day#2 revealed the whole of my husband's brokenness. He fell apart. He sobbed from the depths of his soul. He fully expected me to kick him out. He was emptied out. And I could see how terrified he was that he was going to lose everything. So I could understand, on some level, that fear was driving his actions.
      In that moment, I really did think my marriage would be over when I could muster the strength to find a lawyer. In the meantime, however, I wanted my children's father to be as whole as possible. And that was my motivation for not kicking him out. It was my motivation for insisting he get help (though, unbeknownst to me, he was already seeing a sex addiction counsellor). Also, within the next weeks, he told me everything. In fact, I decided against a full disclosure session with his therapist because I decided I didn't want to actually know any more. I knew enough.
      All of this is a long way of saying, I understood him after D-Day #2 in a way that I didn't after D-Day#1. I understood it as the beginning of his recovery.
      I don't think those of us who've dealt with betrayal, especially of this magnitude, ever really come to totally trust again. I think that's a sad casualty of betrayal. I know he can lie to my face. Again and again.
      So, I have to trust that he has chosen NOT to lie to my face. That he has decided the cost of that is too high, or the risk is too much. I trust that he has learned that not lying is how to create the marriage we want.
      I don't know how else to rebuild a marriage from the wreckage of betrayal except to proceed with intention and integrity.
      You sound stuck. I've been there too. And it took some EMDR work, as well as a conscious choice to watch him and give him the chance to be a better person. It would be insane to magically think he's better because he's in 12-step groups, etc. But if, over time, you see change -- a willingness to talk about tough things, an honesty about things, a desire to live with integrity, then it's so much easier to let go of that old disappointment and pain.

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  22. sorry posting again and checking the notify me. how do I search the blog? I want to find an article you wrote and its very difficult to open each year and search.

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    1. Hi Robert, Unfortunately the "blogger" platform makes searching tough. I've tried in vain to find old posts. However, let me know what post you're looking for and I'll see if I can find it.

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