Monday, July 10, 2017

Why You Should Tell. And Who

The first person I told was my mother. Though she and I had a rocky relationship when I was a teen (less to do with my hormones than her addictions), as adults we were the closest of friends. I could, and often did, tell her anything.
Her support was invaluable. While I was trying to hold it together and parent three young children and reeling from the news that my husband had been cheating on me with his assistant, she was my rock.
I then reached out to an old friend whose husband had cheated on her a few years earlier. She was no longer married and, I knew, it still hurt. Her response chilled me. "I couldn't stay married to him," she said of my husband, and made it clear that was pretty much all she had to say on the topic. She even defended the Other Woman, my husband's assistant as being completely entitled to a generous severance. While it might have been technically true, I hardly wanted to hear it.
Not long after, I confessed to a friend who worked in my husband's office. I told her mostly because of her relentless questioning about what the hell was going on between my husband his assistant but there was such relief in the telling and in her response: Her eyes opened wide with shock, then filled with tears. (A few years later, she discovered the same about her own husband and I was able to return the favor of unrelenting support.)
Over time, I told other friends. It wasn't so much intentional as natural. A friend concerned over my weight loss. A friend whose own marriage was dissolving at the same time but who I didn't tell until she was on more solid ground herself.
With that one early exception, those I told responded with concern, with compassion, with incredible kindness. And not just to me. With some time having passed, they could see my husband's shift. He had changed. And now they understood why.
The one exception was painful for me. I had reached out to her almost immediately. She was an old friend but our friendship had been rocky for a time when her boyfriend-turned-husband decided I was bad news. He later cheated on her and she reached out to me again. Now it was my turn. And her response hurt me deeply. I hadn't asked her for advice. I really just wanted someone to commiserate with. To tell me I'd get through this. Instead, I got judgement over how I was handling the worst pain of my life.
Lesson learned. Again.
Betrayal doesn't just change our marriage, it changes us. And it changes relationships around us. I became acutely aware of what role each friend played in my life. The people I spent the most time with – moms on committees at school, running group – weren't the people to whom I turned. I carefully parsed who could be trusted with my pain. My friend going through divorce herself at the time remains a close friend but she's never been good in a crisis. So scratch her off the list, at least right away. My friend who worked in my husband's office wasn't a close friend at the time. But her support and her loyalty to me during such hell meant so much to me. To this day, I know she has my back.
All of this is to say that I don't think I could have made it through this without having people in my life who could help me carry my pain. My therapist was a saint. I'm brought to tears by the memory of her "just happening" to drive my house one morning (she was friends with my neighbor) and stopping her car as I was loading kids in my van for the trip to school. She looked me in the eye, asked how I was doing, and assured me that I was going to be okay. She said it with such conviction that I had no choice but to believe her.
We need those people. The ones who see the pain in our eyes and don't look away. The ones who hold our stories as sacred, who don't turn our agony into gossip, who withhold judgement or advice. The ones who are whole enough to put aside their own feelings about infidelity to make space for our experience.
These people are rare. But sometimes they don't exist so much as they are created by us. Our courage in telling them our story gives them the chance, if they take it, to step up. To be brave themselves. To open their own hearts.
Infidelity triggers a lot of feelings in people. Awful feelings. Fear. Anxiety. Shame. The most judgemental people are usually the most frightened.
Know that.
Know that their fear often comes out as anger or disgust or a need to tell you, exactly, how you should respond.
But know also that there are people who've been through this themselves and learned the hard way about the pain of betrayal. And you might just be surprised at who in your life has learned this lesson.
Take stock of the people in your life. If there isn't a single person you think you can trust with your story, then part of your healing needs to include finding someone. Or a few someones.
None of us should go through this alone. And though this community always always amazes me with the way you reach out to each other, to the way in which you wrap your virtual arms around the most wounded, real-life support is crucial too.
Telling people is an act of self-respect. It is an act of courage. It is a way of insisting that your pain matters. That remains true whether or not people have enough courage to hear it.

26 comments:

  1. I needed this today. I've told a handful of people. My closest mainly. I've been struggling with whether or not tell my brother. My H and him get along great. I'm afraid he might not look at him the same way. But my H introduced the OW to my brother when they were out at a game. She even had the nerve to go out to lunch with my brother for business purposes and friend him on social media. After dday I had to contact her to remove herself from his friends. My H on the other hand claims he hasn't told anyone only his two friends that were with him at the time the disclosure happened. But that he doesn't talk about it. I feel as if I have to protect his secret. I've been struggling whether or not to tell my brother. I told his wife and she hasn't told him. Maybe it's time I finally did.

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  2. This is so true. I had NO ONE to tell because to tell my friends would have hurt them tremendously because sadly, my husband is their Pastor and they all deservingly, until now, love and respect him. So I went months without telling anyone and it was hard. I eventually told another Pastor's wife and then my sister, whose husband had cheated on her numerous times. It was such a relief just to know that someone understood and could validate that my pain was real and justified. But you are right. It is hard to know who you can tell and you do need to be careful and to tell for the reason of support and not someone to "side" with you against your spouse. That is counterproductive to any kind of restoration for your marriage if you are choosing to go that route.

    Serenity

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  3. Thanks for sharing your story related to telling others. I wish I felt any slight confidence in someone to share. My parents are a no go for sure. My friends I have felt let down recently in all aspects. I know part of it is my focus on our marriage and I am more distant and less trusting of others. But the big reason is if I do not plan everything then nothing happens. I think before dday I spent a lot of time fostering these relationships. Well out of necessity my time shifted to our marriage and myself. They have just almost faded without me planning everything. If I don't send a text to them then it will be weeks before I hear from them. It just does not instill confidence in that connection. I just do not have it in my to carry their friendships. It is too much for me and I am not interested in that level of work honestly with little to no reciprocity. The other issue is my closest friends have made it very clear that what I am doing which they have no idea obviously would be something they would never tolerate. I know I would have thought that way too but I would have never said it since you just never know. It is too much of a judgmental thing for me to say that is how I am. But they have gone on and on about this and I have left conversations. I mean like 30+ minutes going on how they cannot believe women stay with their husbands when it is more than a one night stand. The one was even criticizing her sister who she is very close to. It just does not instill comfort in me. Then the other aspect is I think it would affect our relationships as couples since my friends are our main couples we do things with.

    My husband has experienced this even more significantly but I think that is due to the fact he has changed so dramatically. He sees his friends differently and is not interested or prioritizing the same things anymore. I am proud of him because he is thinking each time through the decisions he makes where in the past he said yes to everything. And he gets invited to do a lot of things. He also was the organizer with his friends so without him planning it has died down. He has seen his friends drift away too without him planning it all and doing the majority of the work.

    I think about this almost daily that I wish I had someone I felt I could confide in. I do not know anyone that has gone through this or who has made it public. Maybe some day I will find that right person.

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  4. The first person I talked to was my best friend and her husband. But in the end and our move across country our friendship with them has changed and ended. I'm sure she didn't want to hear anymore after the initial few weeks following dday about this from me because her husband cheated on her and she is still dealing with it 9 years later. I remember her husband saying he couldn't look at mine right now. They had come to check on me and my husband had come back home and was upstairs sleeping. Maybe it brought back his issues too. This same friend had seen my husband the day after I kicked him out and told me what a mess he was. He was also part of the group of people out looking for him the day he tried to commit suicide. My husband doesn't even remember seeing him let alone talking to him because he hadn't slept in days. But at that time both of our friends were there for both us. My husband said that felt that he had no one to talk to at this time. He was too embarrassed to confide in anyone. He ended up talking to the woman that originally hired us at this restaurant, they had been friends for 20 years, and she told him to go home, be with your family and work things out Some people, when they found out, even went as far as telling him not to look back. Just keep going forward with her if that's what he really wanted. That his kids would adjust to this was what the manager at the restaurant told him. Because she was part of the plan in helping the OW try and destroy our marriage. No one told me to get rid of him. I got told that to try and work things out with him. I never felt shame, just anger and hurt. My husband is the one who felt the shame and fell of the pedestal that I and others had put him on. To this day I will not speak to any of these people that told him not to look back. The new friends I have made in my new job have been the most supportive in all of this. I think it's because they have gone through it too.
    Cathy

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  5. This is an excellent post.

    In addition to who we BW choose to tell, I feel our H need our consent on who they tell. My H told my MIL, the COW's BH told their whole family (and they all kept it from me) my H told his BF (who was also a good friend of mine) and now I feel awkward around all of them. Not one of them gave my H good advice. Not one of them cared about my pain.

    As for me, I told my BF, she has been my rock and has never judged whether I stay or go. My H doesn't know she knows and she treats him so normally he has never asked me. I had too much wine at a work function out late with my closest girlfriend from work and I spilled the beans. She started crying too because 20 yrs earlier her H had cheated on her, back then hen she had no one to tell, I felt SO bad for her to have no one (no BWC back then). I told my Gyn, because I needed to be tested for STD's and also thought I needed antidepressants and she told me her H also cheated on her when she was pregnant. None of my family knows, I think they would all tell me to divorce. Two other friends who don't know have made comments in other context how they could never stay with a cheater. Glad I never told them!

    This blog has been the place where I can be the most raw, share things I don't feel comfortable sharing with anyone else. My new friends. You truly understand.

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    1. I feel so bad for you and your situation. It is just terrible and these people have no understanding of betrayal and should not be giving advice. I think this is an area in society that is so misunderstood. I feel like it is a vicious circle though. There is little pay off or no guarantee of pay off if you disclose to others and maybe even additional pain. However due to the secrecy around betrayal it remains misunderstood.

      I agree this place has been amazing. I have always felt welcome and heard which has meant a lot over these past 2+ years.

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    2. Thanks, Hopeful 30. It's a double whammy when you have to deal with H's betrayal at the same time COW was a married relative and because of his family's knowledge and the malice from my MIL I have cut them out of my life for my own sanity. What hurts me the most is because of the stupid selfish choices of two married family members my children will now never again have a holiday with a big extended family. I guess I am still very angry about that. It was more than just wrecking two marriages - they blew up an entire family. Granted, that family is no big prize, after-all they are the foundation of dysfunction from which so many affairs and divorces arose. They failed to teach my H right from wrong by example as a child. I am at peace without them in my life. But I hold H and his family responsible that the kids childhood experiences are collateral damage. Generally I think of my H as a good dad, but when I think of this I disagree with myself!

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    3. browneyedgirl,
      I have to say I'm grateful that the OW is not someone I know. It probably made it easier for her to justify her actions since I was a stranger. I can understand the anger for the family experiences your kids will miss. I can't imagine the fallout of having too many in my family know that my husband cheated and that's with someone none of us know. As far as who I've told, only one family member knows and that's my aunt who has been on both sides and of infidelity. Her husband cheated and then she cheated on him.
      But you hit on something... the selfishness and the dysfunction. The OW in my case risked her husband and three kids for what amounted to sex in my husband's truck on lunch breaks, next to my son's car seat. Gross. She got a few free lunches out of it and one evening meeting for drinks when I was out of town. It's just so nasty to me. And the family dysfunction... thtough therapy, we traced my husband's selfishness and avoidant behavior back to childhood. His less than stellar childhood wasn't a secret to me but I had no awareness of the damage. He hid it well. His father has passed but I struggle with resentment toward his mother. She's recently moved to be closer to us and it's really hard. She's a nice woman but sometimes I think she has no clue as to how his childhood affected him and I know she doesn't know the fallout. On the positive side, I've now seen my husband put boundaries in place and stand up for our family.

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    4. Dandelion,

      Our H's had the backseat with car seats in common. You would think that would be a deterrent. So creepy on both their parts (CH & COW). Seeing pictures of my kids in their car seats is a trigger for me. I want to see pictures of my babies and not think about their father f'ing his cousin's wife right there.

      After he divorced the COW, H's cousin hosted a family meeting, oh yes, they all (we're talking about a dozen adults) discussed my CH and what to do about it. Not one of them did anything honorable. Not one. I think they're too dysfunctional for Jerry Springer!

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    5. BEG,
      I hear you on the sad loss of extended family for the kids. I think my kids are a bit older than yours (early teens), but I want to share how my H handled this issue with them, because it may help you down the line too. (And I will admit that part of me hates to give my H credit for anything good related to any of this... but as Dandelion says, on the positive side he's put boundaries in place and is standing up for our family. So credit is due.)

      Anyhow, he basically had the "divorce talk" with our kids, in regards to his family. He told them he had been doing a lot of soul searching with our priest and his counselor, and he has come to realize that his family is really unhealthy. He made sure the kids heard that even though we wouldn't be spending time with his family any more, it wasn't because of anything the kids had done -- they were as loved as ever. There's obviously a lot more family specific info, but that's the basic idea.

      I am sad for my kids -- I had always valued our big boisterous family gatherings. But at the same time I am not sad -- those were not healthy relationships. I just never had the guts to stand up and say something -- tho to be fair to myself, until issues came to light in counseling, I had no idea what I was really dealing with -- I can see now that things that were giving me pause should have been screaming stop. Same for him I suppose.

      Oh, and I want to emphasize that this was not an overnight change. It is an evolution. Try not to get discouraged about your H's relationship with his family as long as you are seeing evidence that he is making you and your welfare his priority. This probably feels like a crisis to your H and he'll need some time to sort out his feelings. (I didn't need any time -- I was done the second his sister told me that just because he cheated didn't mean he wasn't a good man. Men have needs you know. ARGGGHHHHHHH. I actually literally hung up the phone and vomited.)

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  6. Goodness -- that last paragraph is so perfect. For me, telling people has definitely been an act of self-respect. I do get courage from speaking my story out loud. Its a feeling of "yes, this happened to me, it was not my fault and it is not my shame, I am stronger than I knew." As in the powerful post from last week -- "I am the storm."

    That said, by nature I am a very private person, even among my immediate family. So I don't broadcast my experience. As possible, I have been very selective in the telling. The only person I've really truly open-heart shared with is my sister, and even she doesn't know details. (Hysterical sobbing on the couch in my boss's office the morning after DDay was a huge messy and unintended tell... But he said a prayer of thanksgiving with me for waterproof mascara, which was super weird and super sweet and a perfect way to remind me that despite it all I was still me and I would still laugh and I will always love him for that.)

    The biggest eye-opener for me in this process was learning how many folks have been hurt by adultery -- folks you wouldn't imagine. Who would have imagined it would have happened to you, right? I definitely recommend being cautious in who and how much you tell. But when you are ready, you might be surprised to discover in the telling that you actually help someone else as much as they help you. And if not, and they are hard-hearted and judgy, well so what really -- Heaven knows if you're here reading this blog then you've suffered worse fools and survived.

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    1. Sal, you are right, when I told my best GF from work after too much wine and she shared she too had been betrayed I was so grateful she shared. She is GORGEOUS. 20 years later they are still married. I may be the only person she ever told. I think Elle's message and yours are spot on - be very discerning with who you tell.

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  7. I can appreciate this post but I don't fit into a group of friends that I care to share my rawest emotions with. I've always been the one that listens without judgement of others but I just feel like this is between my h and me to get through together. Our adult children knew when we were having issues but they didn't have to know the details. My best girlfriend also knew when we were having the worst of times but again not the details. She and I talked about how hard marriage in general is and we also talk about our aging parent issues. Someday if I feel the need to share with anyone else I know that I could it's just that for me, my marriage is just between him and me. If others feel like it helps them through, most definitely they should. I appreciate hearing how others get through this and Elle, thanks for sharing how you chose to get through!

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  8. I appreciated hearing this too. My best friend for 60 years who is my cousin & 8 days older than me thought I was very wrong for telling anyone unless I was planning on leaving him. She was ok with me telling her, but she divorced her cheating husband immediately. They were married probably 5 years & we'll have been married 30 next month & that made a difference to me. But I needed to talk about it & have become really close to a friend at work. We worked previously together for several years and were friends & changed jobs with a new company which made us close. I call her my earth angel. It helped me a lot. One person told me it made me look horrible ( the woman my H slept with was her mother) and I shouldn't tell things like that. I told her I did nothing to be ashamed of, my H & his girlfriend did. If that makes them look bad, then they shouldn't have done the deed for 10 months. The OW was well known for going after married men to get sympathy & money.

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  9. Great post, Elle. I told more people than I needed to when I thought my h had moved on in the week following d-day. My head was spinning, and even if he came back I was sure I was done. One BW friend said hang in there, you never know. Another friend reminded me of couples we know that have survived it for the better (I thanked her many months later). My hairdresser said, "Me too," thirty years after her betrayal, saying she had no regrets. Who knew that betrayal came with angels? There are some people who have been less supportive, including one friend's husband who wouldn't speak to h for two years after d-day. I totally agree that his judgment came from fear (his dad had bailed).

    We decided to go forward with friends of the marriage, and leave the rest to themselves. For those dealing with an alcohol component, Al-Anon meetings have been life changing for me. You’re not alone. Find people who get it.

    Last thought: H and I saw the movie “The Big Sick” this weekend. A reference to infidelity, and talking about it, deserves its own post. A pained and remorseful h was a welcome change. I said to h, whoever wrote that scene must have been through it, and wrote that for someone who needed to hear it. Courageous. We were both in tears, but it was the best kind of cry. Wising all at BWC much love.

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  10. This post speaks volumes.

    I have told exactly 2 people in real life, my therapist and my sister. I've regretted telling my sister because she just wasn't the right person. In fact it made me feel worse and since then the only people I've been able to tell are you faceless warrior women and the therapist. I've actually pretty much pushed everyone away. I don't know how to have the same relationships. They expect me to be me, but that person is gone. I'm afraid that they will know something is different.

    Sometimes i wish I could tell everyone so they would understand my crazy. Sometimes I just want a friend.

    This space is the closest I've come to being able to really share the true volume of my pain. Sometimes just reading and realizing others are in this lonely boat too. Sometimes an anon post, sometimes as me. Not sure where I would be without the ears and support offered here. I hope that right person comes along soon. Dealing with this alone has been a hard and really sad process.

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    1. What you speak of is exactly why I don't tell anyone. I do not have anyone I can tell that I know would truly understand and be supportive. I have changed so much both in my expectations from relationships and also what I am able to give others. Part of me feels like this is a big part of my life and the other part feels like this is our marriage and it is between us. In general I feel like I have a lot of conflicting thoughts. I think that makes me feel like I have gridlock and pull away from others even more. I can fake it with others but never really say what I think. I am able to say some thoughts regarding marriage and relationships since people ask me all the time due to my husband's profession. I sneak in what I can but I am not transparent and open. And I do not see that day ever coming.

      I agree I would be a total mess without this site. It has been so supportive and something I value so much.

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  11. Definitely choose wisely who you share with. I have regret of confiding in 1 friend who took it upon herself to share my pain with her immediate family. They were judgemental and not supportive.It became a realization that she was NEVER a true friend to begin with. So then you also have to deal with a husband's betrayal and a friend betrayal at the same time. I have survived and better off.

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  12. I haven't weighed in yet on this topic but it is time. I really wish I had other women to talk with about my situation however initially I did not want anyone to influence my choices or decisions and as I've said our daughter was due to deliver her first baby any day. All of the women in my small circle of friends are dealing with some heavy stuff in their own families and honestly, although my husband's behavior and betrayal sliced my heart open and shattered it into a million pieces, I was not dealing with the severe and chronic medical things affecting my women friends at the time. Actually, their situations have not improved, especially those with very ill husbands. I thought about talking to my sisters but I suspect that neither of them would question my choice to stay although neither would feel good about it either. I knew my oldest and closest friend would be great and once her situation stabilized a bit I did tell her. She is my rock. We talk/text daily. We see each other at least weekly. Like Hopeful 30, I really wanted to control the narrative about my life and I did not want my adult kids to find out unless I or my husband told them. I have not ruled out telling anyone in the future but my life is pretty full and I'm working on finding moments of grace and accepting them. I know before this I was much more mentally critical of my friends in unhappy marriages and I'm especially aware now that some of those same friends who complain bitterly about this, that and the other thing about their spouse are probably conflicted over a lot of things including their children's relationship with their father, money issues and just the emotional energy it takes to break up a long term marriage. For me, I know that things will never be "the same" again in my marriage. I will never look at my husband through the same rose colored glasses and I doubt I will ever fully trust him again. He has apologized and changed his life and although there are times when I feel like it is "too little too late" I seem to recall something Steam wrote last year about "this is the cheater I know and I'm working to rebuild with because if I started anew he might cheat too" or something like that. I believe my husband is deeply remorseful about his past choices and I call them a choice even though he says, "I tried to stop but couldn't". But I am not addicted to anything so I don't know if I would struggle to quit an addictive behavior. Time will work whatever magic it does with me and I'm doing my best to look at all of my husband, not just the part of him that betrayed me. I'm trying to look at the times he was a good husband, father and friend. There are many times in the past when we had a good life and there are many times when the life I thought I had was authentic for me and just a blip on his radar because he was so far down his fantasy road that he was not present at all but that is for him to live with, not me. Although I am here with my husband I do not feel the strong commitment to him or my marriage I did prior to his disclosure. That may be part of my self-preservation tactic. Today I had a cute experience that really made me smile. I was going to my car from the store when an older gentleman (think silver fox) came walking towards me. He looked at me, smiled (I smiled back because that is what I do) and he looked at my hand then said, "All the pretty ones are taken." LOL made my day. I did tell my husband when I got home and he hugged me and said, "Yes, you are taken." So time will tell if I ever get to the point of sharing my deepest pain with anyone else. Right now, I am OK with my choice.

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    1. (i apologize if this shows up 5 times, my computer or something keeps eating this post--I think.)
      OH Wow BeachGirl, I did write something like that. Maybe I am jaded, but the stats are staggering, it's about half the marriages suffer infidelity. With my history, it seems no matter how hard I work on my stuff, I will still zero in subconsciously on the most screwed up guy in the room. I don't see me breaking that habit (because how would I know until it was too late?) anytime soon, and I'm no spring chicken over here, even though I do ok and get little sparks like you got from the silver fox in the store.. I just can't imagine taking the risk on anyone else. So like you, I'm here and I'm doing my best and I am just not as invested as I once was. Maybe that's ok. I still love him. I think he's doing his best. I know he could do more, but maybe this is his best right now and is enough.

      We just had a vacation together and he did need to stay and take care of business we have in that city. I had to get back to work, his schedule is much more flexible. When he was driving me to the airport I got a little tense and a little "puffy"--when I feel like my head might explode and I don't know why--until I said it "please, do not screw up again, just please don't" and i started crying a little and i realized that my tears were not fear of him getting laid or leaving me, but it was the thought of him looking me in the face and lying to me again kind of broke my heart. If he screwed up and told me I MIGHT be Ok with time (he's an addict and knows he's an addict and I know addicts screw up) but if I happen to find out something on my own. Death knell for the marriage. Hugs to you BeachGirl, you and I would get along so well, I'm pretty sure.

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    2. I almost had this same thought early on that one thing I realized after this all hit that you just never know. And there are no guarantees. I guess I realized and have always known the grass is probably not greener and may be way worse. Wish my husband understood this. He would say over and over he wished I had dated and ended up with someone else since he is convinced all of his friends are "good guys" and would not have done what he did. I told him honestly that I did not think that way and statistically his thoughts cannot be true. There is no way none of his friends have not done something that constitutes betrayal. I also will stand by the fact that maybe none of my friends have been cheated on but their marriages are no where near the quality of mine even pre dday which is sad but true. These are the silver linings I cling to and remind myself of daily and that I still have a choice.

      The other day my husband said he struggles at time since he feels like our relationship/marriage is fragile right now. I think it is interesting he feels that way and shared it with me. I am glad he does not think everything is an automatic and I am here no matter what.

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    3. Hopeful 30, your last paragraph is interesting. My husband and I rarely talk about his past. I feel very much like my relationship/marriage is fragile but I don't believe I've ever said that to him and I know he has not verbalized that to me. How do you and your spouse decide on these conversations?

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  13. I haven't shared my story here yet but I'm grateful to have found this group. I have no intentions of telling anyone in my real life about my husband's betrayals. I just can't. I can't even imagine that it would do me a bit of good or make me feel better in any way. I don't want to hash it out with anyone and I don't want advice.
    When my sister got married many years ago I remember crying on the way home from the wedding because I knew her husband would cheat. Sure enough, less than a year later, while she was pregnant, he was cheating in their own bed. My mother told her about what I had said to her right after the wedding and it created a huge wedge between us. A couple of years later, my sister and her husband reconciled but I never looked at him or them the same again.
    I'll never leave my husband so I don't see the point in burdening other people with my pain.

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    1. They say a problem shared is a problem halved anon.. you may or may not feel better for sharing your h betrayal but you'll never know unless you do.. xxx

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  14. The first person I told was my sister. She was supportive but ready to bring a U-Haul to my house. She then waived up/down and got on my stay or go roller coaster with me. She heard it all as the story came out. I told my boss. She didn't take sides but pick up my work load when I couldn't focus. She was fair and could see both sides. She was honest with me in a caring way. I told my best friend. She suddenly dropped me and I only heard from her occasionally in that first year. She never told her husband. After the first year she apologized for not connecting with me. Hearing some words of blame was like feeling the injury of infidelity all over again. I expected everyone to be on my side. I came to the decision, for me, secrets do more harm than good. Society tells woman this is to be dealt with behind closed doors. The topic is very private. I call bullshit. I told my mother after 2 years since she was a betrayed wife also. She vomited and told me why she stayed with dad. Once I became comfortable with not expecting "you should be on my side" reaction then I was more comfortable talking about it. I told two nurses I worked with - one was an OW (I didn't know) who married her married man. One was betrayed herself and I was the first person she told. She was suffering in silence. I told the guy who works on my computer. He also works on the OW computers. I told him to wash his hands after leaving her house because of STD's. He couldn't get in his car fast enough. This helped me take away the shame piece of this mess. If you tell be ready for the "I must have done something wrong". Support may evaporated when friends here your going to give your marriage a second chance. This site is proof all women don't leave cheaters. I'm not weak for giving love a second chance. We expect to get help from other life-changing events. It took until I got my self-esteem back on track and really found my strength to reach out for more help. I had no unintended consequences from telling but that is just my circumstances. If he didn't want anyone to know he should thought about that consequence. He is not going to put his secrets on me.

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    1. Well said llp .. I agree totally!!

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