Feeling Stuck, Page 22 (PAGE FULL)

203 comments:

  1. Did any of your husbands spoil the AP? My husband does well financially as a lawyer.

    I have very simple taste. I’m not into jewelry, shoes, bags, etc. The perk that I’m most grateful for is that I’m able to stay home and focus on caring for my children as well as helping to care for my elderly parents. I’ve known my husband since undergrad so I’ve been with him when we had very little.

    My husband lied to me about some of the gifts saying they were for aids, office staff. The people who work hard and who make much less than my husband but I’m all about indulging staff for their hard work, especially during the Holiday season. When I thought this was the truth I loved that my husband was willing to be so thoughtful and generous.

    It hit me so hard when I learned the truth about expensive dinners, performances, vacations, and so many expensive gifts. I know I don’t want those things and I don’t want our kids spoiled with material things but I hate that he spent so much money on her!



    Many of the things were during Christmas so as I’m shopping for our family all I can think about is that he did these things for her. I’m just so sad.

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    1. Hi Leah,
      I can imagine how painful it is when you thought he was a "good guy" only to discover that he was indulging HER not his hardworking staff.
      And I wonder how much of your pain is around how different you are from her -- in other words, what did he see in someone so materialistic or focussed on stuff? I ultimately had to just let go of my fury at how much this woman had cost, literally, my family because there was nothing I could do about it. A very expensive lesson indeed.
      But I wonder if you're able to talk this over with your husband or a therapist to figure out what about this makes it such a sticking point for you. I'd be curious too what it meant to your husband to spend that money on her. Did it make him feel "successful" to be able to spoil her? Is it something he wishes he could for you? For so many men, money really is a source of self-esteem and having it rejected or unvalued might feel personal to him. My husband and I sometimes tussle over this. It matters far more to him than it does to me.

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    2. Hi Leah
      Yes, this is my STBX. Whilst I was scrimping on things for myself, the h was spoiling his affair partners with expensive dinners, trips and goodness knows what else. I hate him. He is financially inept and hid many of his credit card expenses, so now we are left in huge debt. As if finding out about the affair isn't enough but being screwed over sexually, emotionally and financially you just sometimes wonder how much more shit you have to be find out and now deal with.
      I hope you are doing ok.
      Hugs
      Gabby xo

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  2. Ugh I’m triggering today and a flood of tears pouring out. It’s been so long since my last one that I thought I was making headway. My h posted something on social media that in my mind is sexual banter to illicit a response. It’s a social media app that I don’t use and have begged/demanded him to delete but he says he uses it for his personal training work which is his job. I’m so tired of pointing out boundaries and what is acceptable.
    A gal posted some quote about if you find a gal with matching panties and a bra that it wasn’t necessarily you that chose to have sex. His reply to that post was “well played.”
    His post yesterday was a quote “ if you could read my mind you would either be traumatized our sexually aroused.” Her reply “well played”


    I don’t know how else to get this through. No amount of sexual banter is okay. With what I’ve gone through the last 2.5 years this is being traumatized. So tired of anxiety attacks that ruin me for days. Anyone have some advise on how to get this through. This is a f’ing place to post your workouts and I’ve said it’s a gateway to more. He doesn’t see this, yet this is where the PA all started. What do I do when he won’t listen?

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    1. Heartfelt,
      Here's the thing. He thinks (and you seem to agree) that he needs to understand that this forum is a potential "gateway". He doesn't need to see that. He needs only to know that it's painful for you. He needs only to know that YOU find his banter over the line and painful. That's it. You don't need to justify it. You don't need to convince him. If he wants to rebuild a relationship with you, then he needs to respect YOUR boundaries. If he can't or won't, then he's telling you that the relationship matters less than what he wants to do. That's a painful thing to discover. But better to know it now then to keep beating your head against a wall for another year, or two, or three.
      He can think you're a prude. He can think it's "unfair". Whatever. He created this dynamic by cheating. He violated your boundaries and now he can learn to respect them or he can find the door. It's really that simple. You need to stop trying to convince him that you're within your rights to make these demands and stop explaining yourself. There isn't a woman on this site who doesn't completely understand how painful this is -- to see a husband flirting openly with another woman online. It's not harmless. Whether it ever goes any further isn't the point. What he's doing is openly disrespectful to you and it's triggering you. And that should matter to him. It should matter to him that he doesn't create any more pain.
      Heartfelt, you need to be REALLY clear about boundaries. What you will and will not tolerate. No explaining. Just "I will not tolerate you openly flirting with someone online. It's painful and humiliating to me." That's it. And then...what are the consequences. Does he sleep on the couch? Do you make an emergency appt. with your counsellor? Do you file separation papers? Whatever it is...you MUST follow through if he violates your boundaries. This isn't about punishing him or controlling him. It's about respecting yourself and keeping yourself emotionally safe. You're doing what so many of us do, which is try to convince him that your needs matter. Just start acting as though your needs matter. He'll either join you...or he won't. Either way...your needs matter.

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    2. Well Played Elle!
      4EvR

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  3. Elle, thanks for responding so fast. It gave me time to read it several times before he got home. I’ve gotten really angry/mad a couple of times to let him know how he’s to treat me and it’s worked both times. I’m a pretty calm and reasonable person but those two instances I kind of snapped and he got that I was serious. It’s just frustrating that I’ve had to do this multiple times.

    So when he arrived home yesterday he could see on my face that something was up and he generally knows that my heart is usually racing and it was. I took your advice and didn’t focus on how he may view it (overreacting, prude or whatever). He asked if I thought something was going on and I said no. “Well then you have nothing to worry about!” I said, well the fact that you think, given what I’ve gone through that you can disrespect me like this after 2.5 years after an affair is unacceptable. I DON’T want to feel like this anymore and I not willing to make any more exceptions. If you cannot respect me along with my feelings and heart, then I’m DONE. You really need to think about why you are doing this? What do you get out of this banter and inappropriate humor that you think is simply passing time and impressing faceless individuals. If that feeling or urge is more important than rebuilding our marriage then I have clear answers today.

    Overall he was receptive and compassionate and apologetic. For those that are new to this and not as far out as I am it may be good to actually physically WRITE out the boundaries and put in a visible place. It’s easy to misinterpret or think after time things are not a big deal. After Dday things will never ease up in my mind.Your boundaries are forever boundaries.
    So we wrapped up the discussion with the statement that I will never get over this. He made a mistake and he’s sorry but he just doesn’t see that I’m getting over things. I said, let me be clear here, this is my pain and my timeline and your statement is defeating to me. You have no idea how far I’ve come. I can now sleep at night and more than 2 hours. I can eat and my health is finally returned along with self esteem. Never having a self esteem problem, mine was tanked. It took 2 full years for all of that to return. He had no idea that for 9 full months I had bowel issues and with my extreme knots in my stomach it made the work day very hard to not spend half my day in the ladies room. He said, why didn’t you ever tell me this? I said, you watched me daily deteriorate to nothing and knew I didn’t sleep. Was I supposed to say it out loud? I think he finally gets that this affair has cost me a lot more than tears and sadness. My health isn’t something I’m ready to give up on at 49 yes for any further stupidity. It’s my health and it’s ME.
    Thanks so much Elle! You gave me a voice and a different approach. I so appreciate your time for all of us. You are loved! Xoxo

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    1. Heartfelt,
      Wow! You are FIERCE. I'm so glad you told him, clearly and in detail, what his affair has cost you...and how far you've come. But also how his behaviour continues to hurt you. The "you'll never get over this" is such a typical response. It's a way of making this YOUR problem and YOUR responsibility and absolving himself. It's total deflection and kudos to you for recognizing that.
      As you know, you'll likely have this conversation a few more times though the behaviour he was engaging in should stop. I would encourage you to create something of an "exit plan" so that if you do discover that he's continuing with the flirting/banter, then you've got your plan: you get a hotel room, or he leaves, or sleeps on the couch, or you present separation papers, or whatever it is. But you absolutely have to follow through or you're simply showing him that you won't back up your words with action.

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    2. Heartfelt, that was a fabulous response to him.
      It has taken my husband over 3 years to really get what was acceptable and what wasn't ie. "My heartbreak, my rules." I suggest the book "How to Help Your Spouse Heal from Your Affair" as a handbook for him to recognize what he needs to be on board with. I basically told my husband, if you can't these things, then forget about it with us. Like you, I was not going to sacrifice my health and wellbeing to accommodate his self-interests. He needed to take on my healing as HIS project as much as it is mine. I started working on my exit plan when he was hemming and hawing, and when he recognized that I was serious, he got serious. My bottom line became--you are going to have to work to keep me in this. Working with my therapist helped me to be able to stand firm in that.

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    3. Thanks MBS! I read a few pages already via amazon. “How to Help Your Spode Heal From Your Affair.” It grabbed my attention at the term zombie, cause that’s how I classify myself just after Dday.

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    4. Heartfelt-OMG woman, you are fabulous! Thank you for sharing that incredible STRENGTH. It's funny, it takes a lot, but once you've tipped toed over that line, you realize how EASY it is to demand what you want. And laying it out in black and white is a GREAT thing. Kudos to you-huge kudos.

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    5. Thank you Steam. Finding our voice thought this ordeal is a process for sure.

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  4. hello this is my first time posting about my husband's affair, although his was not sexual, it was a very strong emotional affair, to where he wanted to leave me to persue the relationship with the ow.its been 6 months since day and 4 months since he decided to stay and work on our relationship. I am 10 weeks pregnant now with our third child. My problem is that he has done everything to show me he wants to work on the relationship, but I can't get over the fact that a 4 month fling to him equals true love in his mind. he was so mean to me during our angry discussions. he told me he loved me but wasn't in love with me. that he resented me for having ppd with our daughter and he looked at me like a motherly figure. All this hit me hard. worse after reading all the conversations between the two. My biggest thing is. I still feel lile walking away even though he is putting effort into the relationship. I still have anxiety, i still feel sick to my stomach when i hear her name (it's a very popular name) and it's hard to believe he tells me he is in love with me and wants to be with me, when he was telling her he was willing to sacrifice his happiness for the kids and stay in this relationship with me. I feel sometimes like walking away and say we gave it a try. But in other times I feel like I want to stay because I miss the love we used to have, but I know it wont ever be that way and that is what makes me want to leave

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    1. Heartbroken,
      I'm so sorry for the pain you're in. Emotional affairs can be every bit as agonizing as sexual ones. It's the betrayal, the lies, the deception that hurts.
      Is he in any kind of counselling to unearth how he allowed himself to get so emotionally entangled with someone? Is he able to acknowledge (and feel genuine remorse) for just how cruel it is to resent YOU for postpartum depression. Surely YOU wish you hadn't had it also.
      And here's the thing, Heartbroken: You can walk away any time you want to. You do not have to stay and work it out. It's all lovely for him that he wants to work on his marriage but he's the one who dropped the bomb, not you. And YOU get to decide now if YOU want to work on a marriage with him. If the best he can offer is that he's willing to sacrifice his happiness for his kids, then you deserve better. You do not need to sacrifice your own happiness so that he can feel like anything other than a total cad. He already made the choice of putting his happiness first when he betrayed your trust.
      So...give yourself time to decide what you really want. Are you in counselling? If not, I would urge you to find someone so that you can really work through what you want.
      In the meantime, he can get his head out of his ass and realize just how much damage he's caused...and see if he's really willing to do the hard work of rebuilding a marriage.
      But please know this: You will never have the same marriage but that doesn't mean it can't still be a wonderful marriage, sometimes even richer for the storms its weathered. The key is a husband willing to fully own the pain he's caused and want to be a better person. Someone who understands that marriage isn't a honeymoon. It's about, day in/day out, choosing each other. Good and bad. Rich and poor. Etc. Not cutting and running at the first sign of a wife having a tough time.

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    2. we are in counseling. he said the reason was because he felt like he couldn't talk to me about his problems. he felt like it added to my plate when i had ppd. he said he resented me because of the way I treated our daughter and felt like I didn't love her like I loved our son. he really didn't understand ppd until after all this went down. he has apologize for being resentful over something i couldn't control. He has lasso learn to open up to me and tells me how he feels. I love him and he sincerely has changed and shows me everyday how he feels. I fear I won't be able to ever forgive him for what he did. he is my second marriage and I also dealt with cheating with my first (which is the reason I divorced). he said the reason he had planned a life with ow was because he knew I wouldn't forgive him and he was accepting the fact that the ow would have to do. he said everything he wrote to her wasn't how he truly felt, it was a way to make ow feel like they could be together. I'm not sure I could believe any of the words he says.

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  5. Oh heartbroken, FFS don't let him throw this back onto you. He thinks he was sparing you by having an affair? sexual or not, he took his ego elsewhere. I am so sorry. AT six months I dont think I would make forgiving him a priority.
    Here's a little secret that I learned and there are books to back it up in the "books for the betrayed" tab on top. You dont need to forgive him, not now, and maybe not ever..and you know what? despite what the MASSES say in public like "forgiveness is a gift you give yourself" and things like that , you CAN get on with your life even with him and even without full forgiveness. I used to call mine Amnesty. Now i don't even give it a name. I'm not resentful anymore, I am not actively angry anymore, I dont throw it in his face, but I really do not forgive him.

    It's a part of me, like losing a member of the family (trust) I have not gotten over it, I have incorporated it into my life, it's just a part of my story, if that makes sense. Please let us know how you are doing.

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  6. Stean-
    I appreciate your comments on forgiveness. I recently posted in the share my story section as anonymous about finding out 7 months ago about an affair my husband had 30 years ago. The fact that it lasted for a year and that they spent a week together are what causes me great pain. I thought that because it was so far in the past that it the pain would be subsiding by now. Unfortunately that it is not the case. I still think about it (and cry) daily. It discourages me that I see no improvement. But I do not think I will be able to forgive him. On the other hand giving up a marriage that has had lots of ups (downs too) for something that for him is ancient history does not make sense either. But I know I can change my mind anytime. I saw a quote "the pain doesnt go away, you just make room for it". I try to imagine burying it deep into my brain. I try to divert my mind to other thoughts. I do not expect to ever be able to forgive him, I just want to stop thinking about it every day.

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    1. Hi mel,
      I didn't discover my H's PA until 10 years after he ended it. So I can tell you that for you & I it fells like it just happened. For them it is ancient history. My H could barely remember any details, I got 7 different versions. I am 15 mos past Dday. At first I was seeking BW like you and I and Hopeful30 and others who didn't have Dday until some significant amount of time had passed after the A ended. My H's PA was with his cousin's wife while I was pregnant. I can tell you this - whatever led your H to cheat is still there unless he has gone to IC & MC and figure out what caused him to hurt you (and it wasn't you, it was him). That doesn't mean he will cheat on you again. It means that no matter how long ago it was, you need to heal the same process as if it ended on your Dday and he needs to do everything reasonable that you ask of him. A couple days after Dday my MIL suggested to H that it was so long ago that I just need to 'get over it'. Spoken like a cheater (MIL was a cheater herself). One of the best books I read after Dday was "How Can I Forgive You: The Courage To Forgive and The Freedom Not To). I think forgiveness is much more grey than black & white and it's a process. I think I have mostly forgiven my H, but not 100%, and I ultimately accepted that is OK. I hope someday I can forgive him completly, but that is more for me than for him.

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  7. I’m looking for advice. I’m one year post D day. We are trying to make things work. He’s been doing well, and I feel like he’s committed, but I am still very fragile. The OW and her family moved across the country. My son (10) and her son were friends. I have been ok with them continuing to connect via email, Skype, etc... although they don’t that often.

    In two weeks, our family will be flying across th country to visit my sister. My parents are coming with us. Last night, my husband asked what I thought about setting up a time where the two boys could get together and play (conveniently, my sister lives about 2 hours drive away from the OW).

    Inside, I was hurt and angry that he would even ask, but I managed to stay calm. My sense is that he really just wants to feel less guilty, and this is a way to do it. My son, although he asks now and then about his friend, is NOT desperate to see him. Making arrangements would also require contact - something I do not want.

    I explained this too him. He still asked me to consider it. I am mad at him for even asking. It makes me feel like he still doesn’t get it. He doesn’t understand what he’s asking!! This would ruin my trip. For what? To make him feel better about himself, and so my son can see a friend he hasn’t talked to in months?? And when I say no, I become the bad guy. In his mind, I’m the one who is selfish. Sigh. I hate this...

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    1. Christine,
      Have you done any of the reading here about boundaries? What you are doing is setting boundaries. And boundaries are good things -- they help you feel emotionally and physically safe. Boundaries are simply what is okay with you and what is not okay with you. Your husband's request is making you feel unsafe because it's indicating to you that your husband doesn't really have a grasp on just how painful this has been for you. Nor does he recognize just how inappropriate this request from him is. If your son asked, that's one thing. But your husband asking?? What the hell????
      So...you simply say it's not a request you're willing to consider from your husband. If your son asks, you can consider it then but, honestly, I'd be inclined to say 'no'. Ten-year-olds will lose interest with each other relatively quickly given the distance and I wouldn't do much to stop that from happening.
      But, Christine, saying 'no' does NOT make you the bad guy. Your husband cheated. HE is the bad guy. You are someone who is doing the incredibly generous thing of giving him a second chance to show his family that he deserves it. You are doing the incredibly hard work of healing from a devastating betrayal. You are keeping yourself emotionally safe by avoiding contact with someone who doesn't respect you or your boundaries (the OW).
      So...stick to your initial instinct to say 'hell no'. And then work on NOT feeling guilty for that or responsible for other people's disappointment. He created this, not you.

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    2. Christine, it is highly unlikely that I would agree to a meeting for anyone's sake. I agree with Elle. Just reading your post makes me uncomfortable and it is clear that your spouse has no appreciation of your willingness to give him another chance to be the man he should have been all along. Honestly, when I do not feel safe I let it be known clearly why and if my husband has difficulty knowing what to do to make me feel safe I tell him exactly what I need and want. No need to feel guilty for not running into traffic because your spouse says it's OK and the traffic is light. Geesh. F**K that S**T as Olivemee likes to say.

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    3. I totally agree there is no way that is okay. And especially the way you describe your son as keeping in touch and not really pushing it. I say no contact for any purpose is a must. And on top of it how you feel about it is the biggest priority. We had very specific rules related to any communication with the ow. He was not to contact them in any way, look them up on social media, call them. And if they reached out to him he was to let me know immediately. And we would decide together what to do. Also the friends that knew the ow, the friends of the ow and the friend that introduced him to the ow were off limits. He had to tell me about every point of contact and could not go out with the friend that introduced him to the ow. It was all very specific. I just told him I could not move forward and even consider trusting him with that to think about. I needed to start to feel safe and that meant nothing related to those ow could be part of my life. I was already coping with enough all his doing.

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  8. "And when I say no, I become the bad guy. In his mind, I’m the one who is selfish."
    That jumped out at me big time. How many here are in marriages where saying no, putting a boundary down, not going along with what he wants, gets manipulated in making you a bad guy? As I explore what is wrong in my relationship, why he cheated--this theme comes up. I have been thinking alot about what it means to say "no" as a woman and the reactions that men have to this. My husband alternately (unconsciously) paper over my "no"s with "love bombing," passive aggressive behavior, tantrums and outright accusations of my needing to control him or wanting things to be my way. My assertiveness is perceived as a threat to him. And my rejection of his tactics becomes 'proof' that I am unloving (and an excuse for his cheating). Does this resonate with anyone else?

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    1. MBS,
      I'd be surprised if it didn't resonate with all of us. Women/girls are socialized to please, to not take up space, to be pliable and agreeable and "nice". Saying "no" is about staking our claim in the world. It's discouraged from such a young age. Despite all the "girl power" t-shirts.

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    2. The thing is, I grew up in a family that had alot of verbal conflict which wasn't great but it was in my birthright to disagree and have an opinion. I realize that I have gotten some messages about being nice but I also internally believe that I have a right to speak up (as I am from a household of women). What I didn't realize is that my husband really can't handle it. His mother is the one who grew up with 1950s values of nice girls and don't make a scene. In his house, his dad made the scenes and his mother made the excuses. Only recently have I noticed his unconscious manipulations to shut down my "scenes"--i.e, my complaints about his immature and selfish behavior. I never noticed it for the longest time but the covert passive-aggressive behavior has been eating up my affection for him over the years. Anyway, I am off to our couples counseling so that is what I am going to bring up. Wish me luck.

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    3. I have always been more of an introvert and a people pleaser for sure and we settled into that in our relationship long ago. Since dday I do not care. I am very firm in what I think and say. I refuse to not speak up. I am not rude but I will say I do not back down and that has taken my husband by surprise. And not anything major just even where we are going out to eat. In the past I would say whatever he wants. Now I am open to suggestions but if I do not want to go somewhere I tell him no. If he wants to go there fine but I do not want to. Interesting how much of what we are working through feels like habits formed long ago.

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  9. Thank you all for the words of support. My husband made many selfish decisions in the past. I am entitled to a few of my own. I know that, and yet it is still a challenge to not feel guilty. It would be one thing if our kids were older, and they could make all the arrangements themselves. But they can’t. And that’s what my husband doesn’t understand. It’s not the act of them playing together that I am avoiding. It’s the required coordination, and communication ahead of time. It’s the face to face contact in the day of. It’s the worrying, and the opportunity for them to enter into my day to day life. Am I strong enough to go through with it? Of course. But i’m also strong enough to say NO. Which is what I am doing. Because when it comes to me and my marriage, I have the right to be selfish.

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    1. Christine, it is not selfish at all to have a boundary. I think you are wise to say no. Regardless of your H's motivation, maybe he feels it will ease his guilt if he didn't wreck his son's friendship, maybe it's something else. But it doesn't matter, the risk is not worth the reward. You want to say no, say no and don't feel anything except peace with your decision.

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    2. Christine, You have to make taking care of yourself a priority. You know what you want to do that is your decision. I would ask him why does he find it so important to try to set this up if your son is not pushing it. And honestly if I was in your shoes I would really not be interested in them becoming closer friends. So your boys see each other and become closer then what? Where is this going, what is the point? That is what I would question. I found sticking to boundaries at first hard. Now I am much better at it. I find it hard like I am dealing with a teenager at times. But I am so matter of fact my husband knows I mean business. Stick to what you need to do for you, your marriage and your family.

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  10. This morning I don't know how I should feel. Since I discovered my husbands affair and phone escapades with a woman in June of last year we have been seeking counselling individually. Last night was our first couples counselling session. As usual the first session is the "get to know you" session which is usually uneventful; however, the counselor asked each of us individually to step out of the room while she asked us privately two questions. She then brought us back in the room so that we could let each other know what we had said. Apparently it is a gauge for her to be able to see where the couples are on a healing spectrum. The first question was "How committed are you to repairing your marriage" and the second was "How much do you love your spouse" - we had to answer the question on a 0 to 10 scale. For both of us we answered 7 to the love question. I was not surprised by that seeing as for me, what he did destroyed me and he emotionally walked away from me years ago. We both agree we are building back to where we were in the beginning. However for the commitment question I answered strongly 10 because I want this to work...I will not let that pathetic excuse for a woman destroy my marriage and my family. My husband, who cheated on the other hand, answered 9 for commitment. Am I off my rocker to be upset about this? He cheats on me and he is not 100% committed. He said he is scared I am going to leave him so that is why he is holding back. I look at it as a loop hole...that there is a 10% chance that he will take the easy way out and go back to his former behaviours. His response makes me feel completely unsafe. I feel a huge wall just went up for me. Am I being too sensitive? I don't know.

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    1. Hi anon, there is no such thing as 'off your rocker' after being betrayed. You get to feel how you feel. I would not read too much into him saying 9/10. I'd worry more if it was much lower. A betrayer should naturally be worried that even after they do all the work the betrayed spouse may still choose to leave them because they gave us just cause to leave and your willingness to give him a second chance is the best gift he will ever receive. Remember your first MC is just a starting point.

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  11. Anon, He didn't meet your expectations. He failed again to hit the bar. He let you down. The feelings of a 9 verse 10 means to me he is still holding back a little bit. Sometimes it just takes a little longer to get to a 10. I hate to say this but just because he writes a 9 doesn't mean he feels like a 9, he could feel like a ten or a two. He is a liar. Look for actions not words or numbers. Actions are what he is really feeling. Look for the positive actions it is hard. My husband says I love you when he brings me a cup of coffee. He gets out of the chair to give me a hug. He says, I love you when washes the clothes. You get the picture. You can't believe what a cheater says. My H lied in counseling for 6 months until I caught him in a lie. Look for the signs he is acting like he loves you, adores you and wants to be with you. Also he can't meet your expectations if he doesn't know what they are. Love and hugs to you.

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    1. I agree with the other comments. And LLP is right words are important but judge the actions. And he might need more time. We are at three years out. And my husband has told me how he had to tell himself early on to give it 6 months. That is why he minimized his affairs. He figured why hurt me worse. He said I love you but I am not in love with you etc. And a million other terrible things. He has said though anyone who did what he did to me could not be in love with me. He also said he did not know if he could change. He had already broken up with the ow 15 months earlier. But he hated himself and honestly had some major changes in how he lived his life. Looking back he said dday ended up being the day he grew up and became a man. Totally crazy but it is true. The first year was pretty much focused on me dealing with the pain and recovery. At the one year mark he started facing what he did since I was in a better spot. I would say he still struggles more than me. It took him about two years for him to feel like he is finally starting to like himself. And in the end watch his actions and how he works through all of this. I had a hard time with many things and it felt like a roller coaster, setting boundaries was hard at times. My therapist was awesome and told me he had all the freedom in the world for 20+ years and too bad now it was my rules and wishes. That gave me a lot of confidence.

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    2. Thank you to all of you for your thoughts. I have realized that the number is just that, a number. He has to prove his worthiness to me and I made that very clear. I will not tolerate any less then 100% effort. Hopeful 30 I too am in a similar situation where as Dday was my husband's rock bottom. I also got the "I love you but not in love with you" crap and all the other BS that went with it prior to full disclosure. Guilt and shame make people say and do stupid things. It finally all made sense once Dday hit. We are 9 months into this and he is only starting to understand how seriously this has devastated me and made me doubt everything in my life from who I was, to who I am, to where I thought I was going. I have to say that I feel my husband is being genuine but he too is just starting to grow up and face how childish and selfish he was. The roller coaster is brutal and there are days where I just don't know if I will make it through...I do...always as there is no other option but to make it through. The difference is that it is going to be on my terms and not his anymore. My life has always been about what he wants or needs...not anymore. He knows that if this ever happens again, he will be dead to me and his life as he knows it now will be done. I thank everyone for their thoughts so greatly. They support me and keep me standing when I think I can't.

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  12. Almost 3 years post, and making progress... BUT there's this THING I keep coming back to. After it happened, I asked him to put all of the texts, photos and videos they shared in the safe, in case the OW accused him of sexual harassment. Here's the THING --- I want her to know that I've seen everything. I hate that she might think he didn't share them with me to protect her or to keep their "secret". I want her to know that she's lucky she is still employed, because she used her professional profile and likely her work technology to send the images and videos. And I could have easily shared them with her employer. At the same time, I know it's good practice to not engage with OW. I'm stuck on this bit! You are always so awesome at helping be unstuck! Talk some sense into me!

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    1. Hi Anonymous, does your husband work for the same company as the OW?

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    2. No - they met in the street but she works in broadcasting as an investigative reporter - she’s always complaining and outraged about about something or another and I was worried when I first found out that she might twist things and talk about how a member of the public might stalk and harrass her.

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    3. Anonymous, letting her know this now also lets her know she’s still taking up space in your brain. Don’t give her the satisfaction. Let it be your SECRET weapon. Move on, knowing that she would exploit her professional position, which tells you what kind of person she is. Someone who isn’t worth your time and energy.

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    4. Anon, I wanted to craft a last contact letter, text or email to my husbands two ow. We talked a lot about it and in the end based on his experience (he is in the mental health field) he felt like initiating contact no mater what it was could open a can of worms engaging with them. Instead we made very specific rules/boundaries/guidelines if they were to contact him at all in any way. And both did contact him and we followed the protocol exactly. I even wanted to reach out to them myself but as Elle said my final conclusion is they already took enough from me for long enough and my focus needed to be on me first and our marriage second. I do have all of the screen shots of everything I found saved for my purposes if I ever need them.

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    5. I contacted the OW after DDay #2 and let her know he was all hers ... she replied with a snide lengthy text which really only solidified my suspicions that my husband wasn't her first extra marital affair and it actually just left me feeling angry and stupid.

      I wouldn't waste your time ... but as a legal eagle I would keep the evidence ... although I'm going to guess the statutes of limitations has ran if the contact ended 3 years ago. :)

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  13. Elle! I know you are right! I have actually tried to post this post 10 times and every time I don’t hit Publish, because when I see it written, I always decide that I just need to move on. The niggle keeps returning though. She asked him to never share it all with me, and he promised. I think that’s the piece — that she thinks he’s kept their secret. She is not worth my time. And I’m sick of her being in my head.

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    1. Anonymous, I think the advice you got to not contact the ow is wise. My H's ex-cow remained 'friends' with me on FB (I didn't find out about the A until nearly a decade after it ended). Creeper. She too thought my H and her ex-H would keep their secret. I sent her 1 sentence after Dday: "I know what you did". Then I blocked her and never contacted her again. Although I did write cow a 4 page letter that I shared with our MC, I never sent it to cow. That was writing for me to get it all out, and it felt cathartic but I don't have to loose any sleep wondering if she'll ever respond and cause me to trigger.

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    2. You want to prove to her you are the better person for not ratting her out. You are the better person already. You want her to know he thought more of you to tell you. You already know you are more. You want her to know she was not special. You already know you are special. I understand the need to tell her. Wag it in her face. Let her worry for awhile. I would feel the same way. I did talk to the OW about the STD she gave me, which gave me total satisfaction to see her howl. I told her my GYN wrote a letter to the state DOH, which she did and they would be contacting her to form a plan to tell everyone she had contact with. She howled even louder. That is personal but what you are talking about is the professional world where things can get really nasty. You don't know what she would do or what the fall out would be. So just keep it as evidence and smile. This could easily blow up in your face and give you more grief. If your husband was accused then had to deal with it, what would your satisfaction be? No matter how hard I tried there is no justice attainable in an affair. None, believe me I have tried to get justice. The only Karma bus that came around was my husband got prostate cancer 6 months after D day. The dip stick had been dipped once too many times. My H husband took testosterone injections. It was like putting a match to the prostate. Boy did I get off track here.

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    3. As always — such wise women here! Since I wrote about my niggle, and have heard such consistent ardvice, the niggle is getting smaller. Thanks to all who have taken time to write. I love being a part of this kind and thoughtful community.

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    4. Anonymous
      I read of your ‘niggle’ and the fabulous advice you have been given and I empathise with your thoughts and feelings. My ‘niggle’ 7 months after DD is that the OW has got away with it ‘Scot free’! Her husband doesn’t know and I have told her that I won’t tell him. Her marriage is in tact. She doesn’t wake up at nights having suddenly developed a case of OCD where I have to recite an order of events, lies I was told, dates and so on.... do I sound crazy? She doesn’t spend hours having whispered conversations through gritted teeth, in floods of tears and eventually falling asleep exhausted in the arms of the very man who caused this pain. In my case the OW pursued my H and he was weak. I’m angry that she caused this yet she has no consequences. Am I a bad person to wish her such hateful thoughts? I have printed copies of all her texts, the photographs (including naked ones) that I could send to her / her family. She has a son and a sister like I do. I want to share what I have with them but I won’t. This hurts because she wins doesn’t she?
      Sorry about my rant but as I said this is my niggle!

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    5. SOTS,
      No, she doesn't win but I know it feels like that. And though you told her you wouldn't tell her husband (why, exactly, did you tell her that?), you certainly can change your mind at any time so, in a sense, you have a certain power over her.
      But, Swan, I want you to do your best to shift the focus from her onto you and how you can heal from this. If you choose to tell her husband (and I'm generally of the camp that I think he deserves to know who he's married to), that doesn't change your own pain, which is your responsibility to address. It's not your fault that you are dealing with pain. But it is your responsibility to heal from it. And that starts by seeking help, if you haven't already. Tell a counsellor what you're written here. You're not crazy. You're wounded. And there are steps you can take to begin to process that pain. Have you heard the saying, "living well is the best revenge?" Well, what's really best about it is that, by living well -- by healing from this -- she will cease to matter at all to you.

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    6. Thank you Elle
      You are right, I know I have to seek help to help me heal.
      You ask why I told her I would not tell her husband. The truth is I’m scared. She told me her husband would come looking for my husband and there would be a bloodbath. I have three grownup children - a daughter and two sons 18 and 21. I fear that they would become involved if someone came to hurt their father. They adore their dad and he is a good father. I will protect them always even at my expense.

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  14. Hi all. I am in bed and crying after going through my ex-husband's social media and that of his girlfriend (wjo was his AP). I am stuck and torturing myself.

    Some background...

    The divorce was final just before Christmas. I discovered the affair completely by accident at the end of August 2016 and was blindsided. There were no signs, and then (of course) he blamed me and turned into a cold, petty man. He did not stick around for long after DDay and left saying he would be "honourable" from then on, then was anything but. Everything from discovery to divorce was trauma on trauma for me. We were together 16 years. Now he is living with his much much younger girlfriend and I am battling depression. I am stuck.

    So what do I do? I look at her Instagram. His Facebook. I see that they are travelling, spending time with family. Living. Looking happy. And me? I was discarded. I loved him and supported him (in all ways). When he left he was just starting a new career after I put him through school. He was just going to finally have a career and start being the breadwinner and I was going to get a break, cut back at work, have a rest. But no. He bailed. He went online and found a sex partner and began an affair while I was home doing everything so that he could work long hours and get established. Except he wasn't and I feel so, so used.

    And I'm stuck.

    So I am rambling here looking for support or reason or maybe some strong words. I keep peeking into his new life and hurting myself. Someone here called it shopping for pain. They are right. I.went shopping for pain and found it.

    Thank you for listening.

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    1. MsEss,
      The first step of making change is knowing what needs to change. And you know that what you're doing is causing you pain and not helping you heal in any way.
      If you're not seeing a therapist, I hope you'll find one. You need someone who can help you process the pain you're in and recognize just how abusive this guy is. I have a feeling that he didn't "suddenly" become an ass. I suspect that he's been letting you carry the heavy load of the relationship for a long time. I'm hoping you'll work with a therapist to figure out why you settled for crumbs and how to recognize your own worth.
      MsEss, I think this guy did you a huge favour by leaving because I think he lacks integrity. And I think with some hard work, you're going to create a life for yourself that feeds your soul. But it will take some help. And it begins by getting off his social media and instead of watching him live his life, creating your own. You've got this MsEss. You just need some girlfriends to guide you along.

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    2. Thank you. I had a therapist for a while and now have a psychiatrist, the sadness got too heavy and I started to want to disappear. In my reasonable moments I know that what you said is true, that he probably did me a favour on leaving. Then night falls and the panic hits, and I ruminate and fall apart. I am digging through the posts here more and am making myself reach out more. Thank you for the response. Xo

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    3. MsEss,
      It sometimes feels like the pain is swallowing us whole. We know that feeling well. But we're here to tell you -- to promise you! -- that it gets better. You won't always feel such deep pain. And it's great that you can recognize even a teensy bit of the truth that you are better without him. Hold on to that truth because it will lead you out of the darkness. You deserve so much better than this...and I hope you'll dedicate yourself (with the help of your psychiatrist) to recognizing your worth.

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  15. I found out nearly six years ago that my husband had been having an affair with my friend for three years. Ive just got on with things really but feel sad everyday. He’s never really explained why and not really apologised. I’ve since found out that for most of our like together (25years), he’s messaged other women. I feel so lost and stuck.

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  16. I found out nearly six years ago that my husband had been having an affair with my friend for nearly three years. He’s never really said why or sorry. I’ve since found out that during our 25 year relationship, he’s always messaged other women. I’m so low and sad everyday, I don’t know what to do.

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    1. Debbie. I'm sorry for what you have had to go through and still go through.
      Sadie has given you some really good advise, and lots of good tips
      BC - Boundaries and Counselling. Two things highly recommended.
      Hugs
      Gabby xo

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    2. Debbie,
      I'm so so sorry for the pain you're in. But please know that what you're going through is a pain so many of us have experienced, and please know that you can heal from this. Do you have any support at all? I would urge you to find yourself a therapist who can support you as you process the pain from this. A safe space where you can rage and cry and try and make sense of what next.
      And what's your husband doing right now? Is he in any kind of therapy to figure out why he lied for so many years? Is he remorseful? Does he understand just how devastating his cheating is on you?
      Betrayal is a trust violation and one of the most painful emotional experiences we can have. But it's also something we can heal from. But Debbie, you have to make the choice that you are worth fighting for. Your life is worth fighting for. Please find a therapist who can help you.

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  17. Debbie, start by thinking about what YOU need. That might be answers, so you can understand what has been going on. Maybe you would like to attend counselling so you can start to process this information. Perhaps you need time to yourself, either a day, a weekend or longer, but definitely start finding time for self-care (the things that you enjoy which allow you to forget the world and all the crap!)
    Remember to value yourself and reinstate your boundaries with your husband. Keep coming back to this site, it is a source of so much good support.
    Finally, you don’t have to make any big decisions. You only need to figure out the next right step. One day at a time. You are not alone.Sadiexx

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  18. D day was 5 weeks ago... my husbamd had an emotional affair via social media and whats app and phone calls for 2 years. According to him sexual contact only happend twice.. i came across very grafic FB messages that I read of past 18+ months... she is 30 and do not stay in same town. He is 53. The confusing part is after I confronted him It took me a week before I wanted to claim back my space in bed... after 4 weeks I cannot even look at him. I am so utterly disgusted.we were in a BAD financial space a year ago. I decided to quite my job to get my provident fund to start his/our own bussiness. He convinced me I am safe with him... I worked my ass off... meantime he is betraying me with her. I can maybe get through the affair part...BUT I CANMOT get over the betrayl part of him not STOPPING me from resigning... NOW my funds are depleated and other job to go to... I AM STUCK... How do I forgive him for taking away my options to stay or go... HE was eo selfish... The second part that is worse than the sex is in messages he is drewling about her amazing blue eyes. THAT WAS THE one constant compliment he gave me all the time.. It made me feel great... NOW I CAN NEVER HEAR it again because he told her alll the time... HOW DO I GO ON...HOW DO I FORGIVR... we work together in bussiness that my funds built. I have no where to go..

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  19. Anon (April 8) I’m very sorry for what you’re going through. Yes, the betrayal does seem to be a double dose with the affair messing with your physical security and your business/job messing with your financial security.
    What is he doing to make you feel safe on both fronts? Setting boundaries is what you need to do early on to lock down on your safety. He put you in a difficult spot while he had his cake and ate it. He needs to now be uncomfortable in life and make some changes due to causing you such pain. Is he ready to work and be transparent?
    You get to set your timeline to forgiveness and maybe it never happens. Boundaries and transparency definitely help in gaining back trust. It’s a slow process unfortunately. I’m approaching 3 years and although I will always have moments of sadness, I’m in a better place with myself. I think of this as my 2.0 version and I’m stronger and better! That is one thing I definitely gained from this shit show. There are positives amongst the flood of negatives. Keep your head up. One day at a time. You will find strength as you move forward and trust that you have many places to go. It’s a very isolating experience. If you can find an individual counselor or marriage counselor to talk things out with, that will take some weight off. If you can confide in a trusted friend or journal that also helps. You are in the early stages and probably still in the midst of shock. It took me many weeks to get a grip. I didn’t sleep, eat or function well. Self care is something that each BW talks of on here. It’s the first thing to nose dive, and since no one probably is aware of what you’re going through you need to make YOU your first priority. My H watched me waste away and said nothing. He had no idea of my sleep, bowel and eating issues. Hot mess doesn’t begin to describe what I was like. I was skin and bones and had the glow of a zombie. Looking back, it makes me angry that my health took a major hit. After all I went through emotionally and then physically for his stupid social media chatter. Mine did the same exact thing as yours and then met up with her twice! He was hooked on all the chatter and compliments. All of these women were aware he was married. He used bodyspace.com. It’s an app that allows you to post workouts, progress pics and regular posting plus private. I tracked things for about 18 months after Dday to keep him honest and found some very lost souls out there. It was 100% hookup site in my viewpoint. So many sad, lost people willing to ruin a marriage.
    Hope this helps you. I said no to social media and NO talking with any woman in any format without my knowledge, yet because I did not set it as a boundary initially we revisited it 50 fucking times. Looking back I would have shut that down to a simple NOTHING and I would have said if you think you need any social media acct as we try to repair and heal, there’s the door. It’s a waste of time and detrimental to moving forward as a couple. So have him delete, deactivate and uninstall everything. I waited too long to demand that, due to lies and constant gaslighting.
    Good luck and know you’re in the right spot on this site. Many insightful women to help your journey. You will find more warmth here than you could ever imagine. Hugs!

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    1. Thank you for reply, I want to give you some background. I need an objective opinion, my head is a mess. Husband worked for company abroad that opend a SA branch. All was fine for a while, then thing started to go downhill. The “mother” company did not invest funds as they were supposed to as well as for 18 months did not pay him salary. After month two I said wake up and smell the roses, but NO he believed in them. Both my parents died in 2014 and I received funds in 2015. I had to use the money for expenses and it was intended for kids studies. When my funds were depleated THEN he pushed me to resign so that we canuse my provident money to start his own bussiness in the same trade. I did that, but is was a very big emotional decision. He said I will be fine and safe with him and our company. YEAH right, all along in the middle of that time he had affair, He now says, I was emotionally disconnected from him and a man needs that, the OW validated him. Bullshit, I also suffered emotionally because he caused so much financial strain for 25 years (on and off). Yeas I was withdrawn and sex was far-fetched idea.. But I stuck with him and decided to go all in our new business, and I even started to be the Good Wife again. And gave it ALL in business. But he still carried on with his social media HOT affair. THAT is now why I resent him so much, I gave up ALL, but he took it all and still carried on with his OW ( even if it was later only online and phone calls) still one and the same thing. ALL debt is on my name, Bussiness is at home, I am at home, I have no way out. No money, no credit record ( it was shatterd). How can I not resent him? My parents money was supposed to be a loan, that company was supposed to pay back.. now they are gone, I feel so guilty for using my children’s money ( that was what my parents wish was) How can I ever decide to even make sense of this, let alone get close to him again, He took away my options to move on, by convincing me to resign. He was so selfish. He says he did not think about that at that time… yeah right, for him was it all about feeling “low” and OW made him feel important, I did not. He is now so sorry, but still I cannot get over all the resentment financially and now the affair. WTF? How do I do it? I want to strangle him, but yet it will not help in any way.

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    2. Strangling would be satisfying until the police broke down your door and carted you away.
      Your anger is justified. Your husband betrayed you in more than one way. And I can understand that feeling of being trapped.
      You also sound overwhelmed, which is completely understandable. But we talk a lot on this site about your Next Right Step. It can feel impossible to imagine how we're going to see our way out of this mess but we don't need to see the whole way right now. We just need to know our Next Right Step. Maybe yours is to sit down with a financial expert to help you sort through your business and begin re-investing some money for your children. I honestly don't know. But I'm guessing you can think of one thing (and only one) you can do today or tomorrow that will begin to untangle some of this.
      I would also urge you to find a counsellor, if you haven't already. I suspect that a lot of your anger is directed at yourself for agreeing to your husband's plan. You KNEW it was a bad idea...and you went along anyway. It's sometimes that betrayal of ourselves and our values that's as bad or worse than others' betrayal of us.
      But that's something you can learn from. You can begin to trust that gut feeling that tells you what feels right and what doesn't.
      Anonymous, I know this feels like it's too big to manage. So break it down. Next Right Step. You can do this. Once you begin to take back some control, I suspect the rest won't feel quite so overwhelming.
      In the meantime, your husband can focus on why the hell he made such stupid decisions and how he's going to become a better man.

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  20. July 6 will be 3 years from the day I found out. At this point I don't feel all of the sad/mad emotions and my triggers are far less (thank God!). Feels like it took me forever to get to this point. Hang in there if you aren't there yet!

    My "problem" is that I'm not sure that I'm in love with my husband anymore. Almost daily I think that we should get a divorce. I always knew that I would love him but I don't think I'm in love any more. I don't hate him ... I just think that the love is gone. Unfortunately he seems more in love with me than ever. If he was miserable then the move toward divorce would make more sense.

    I keep telling myself to hang in there and eventually time will tell or I'll have an 'ah ha' moment to confirm where I should be. My youngest starts high school next year. If I'm still in this state of flux when she graduates then maybe I'll move forward with the divorce.

    ~Sunflower

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    1. Sunflower,
      I think the "out of love" feeling is pretty common. I know I felt it. It's hard to love someone who shattered us. What do you feel toward your husband? That "in love" feeling doesn't come naturally after years together. While I'm not suggesting you have to stay with someone you do't want to be with, what about seeing if you can rekindle something while you're "waiting"?
      What feels like it's missing in your marriage? Is there any sort of playfulness? Do you have any respect for the way your husband has conducted himself since the affair? What does he bring to your life that's positive?
      Some of us hit the "plain of lethal flatness" once the highs/lows of post-betrayal have levelled out. And, of course, some of us just discover that, even if our partner wants the marriage, we no longer do.
      But if you're going to wait a few years anyway, I'd urge you to look a little deeper rather than waiting for some sort of lightning to strike.

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    2. Sunflower,
      "Me too"!

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  21. July 6 will be 3 years from the day I found out. At this point I don't feel all of the sad/mad emotions and my triggers are far less (thank God!). Feels like it took me forever to get to this point. Hang in there if you aren't there yet!

    My "problem" is that I'm not sure that I'm in love with my husband anymore. Almost daily I think that we should get a divorce. I always knew that I would love him but I don't think I'm in love any more. I don't hate him ... I just think that the love is gone. Unfortunately he seems more in love with me than ever. If he was miserable then the move toward divorce would make more sense.

    I keep telling myself to hang in there and eventually time will tell or I'll have an 'ah ha' moment to confirm where I should be. My youngest starts high school next year. If I'm still in this state of flux when she graduates then maybe I'll move forward with the divorce.

    ~Sunflower

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    1. Sunflower, mid June marks my 3 year D-day when he told me about his porn and prostitutes. I am also much calmer in my head and heart after much work and continued work. It feels so bizarre to live with this man for more than 40 years and to know what he did without my permission, consent or knowledge. He does appear to be a changed man and works hard daily to be mindful and aware of his thoughts and circumstances. He says he no longer feels the way he felt about himself which led him to "act out" with porn and prostitutes. Ugh. I have a pretty good life if you are looking in from the outside but I no longer feel the kind of unconditional, warm, fuzzy emotional love for him. I think I feel a true warm affection for him and his new honestly with me. I appreciate his attentiveness and the fact that we can now talk about anything and everything regardless of how boring or mundane or important. We have great sex and I am making the best of this while trying very hard not to wait for the other shoe to drop. He says it will never drop and he will never be that guy again.

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    2. Beach Girl - it's like looking in a mirror. We are the couple who everyone envies; we have the good sex; and I'm waiting on the other shoe to drop which he says won't. It's always reassuring when I realize I'm more "normal" than abnormal in this abnormal situation. Good luck to us both.

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    3. Beach girl and Sunflower! Can I join your tribe? My H visited prostitures for four years. My DDay was 16 months ago. He has done everything to make it right. We will be married 24 years in October. We had a bad fight last night which carried over into today. The fight is always when I have a trigger or I’m sad. He always turns it around to be about him. He told me this morning that he was empty after all the support he gave me last night (ha) and that I needed to build him back up by empathizing with him. This is his new thing. He thinks I should empathize with him after I have had a difficult time. What???? So H thinks I should empathize with him because I have had a trigger because he slept with prostitutes(sometimes unprotected). Does that make sense to anyone?
      So today I stayed away from him and for the first time thought I don’t need him anymore. I feel nothing. I’m wondering if I will ever get it back.
      After reading so much about boundaries I am going to go write mine down right now. The first one is going to be “I will NOT empathize with you after I have had a trigger”
      Thanks you guys. I always feel better after reading your advice.

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    4. Can I also enter the tribe? I am half a month away from four years post D-Day. Unlike most here, we haven't had sex in those four years. Once we got close, but he is just not interested. He identified his behaviour as a sex addict and sought treatment, which he is doing well with, but it's like he's shut off that side of him completely.

      I hear that I am supposed to be a good communicator - so I tell him some basic needs, like: I need the light to be on when he kisses me goodnight. Simple right? Apparently not. I tell him I would love to just make-out on the couch. To build our intimacy outside of the bedroom, with no further expectations. He agrees it's a good plan, and then won't implement it. I tell him I would like a romantic weekend away - in four years, not one. (Note: he used to be very romantic, flowery notes, lining a path in a public park with balloons, and taking me to where he had a blanket, picnic and wine waiting, to give me a gift of a hot air balloon ride. Taking an ad out in a newspaper for our one year anniversary of dating - and planning a full surprise day where he arranged with my boss to have the day off. So there is precedent). Today, he'll occasionally leave flowers in a vase waiting when I come home, and that's about it.

      I *think* I can get over the betrayal. The lies. The putting my health at risk. (It all came out because the AF partner tested falsely positive for HIV). The pain of it starting 3 months after we were married. The pain of going through financial ruin because he lied to his business partner and was kicked out of the partnership and we lost everything. But I cannot seem to *get over* this apathy to our marriage and our life together. He is kind to me. We have fun, and many shared interests, but there is no intimacy (not just even sex, just nothing), and no romance. I am on the cusp of leaving. I have told him. 3 months out - "I am leaving in Nov" - 2 months out. Now 8 days out. (I am planning on moving "home" - 8hrs away, and work commitments kept me till now). And still...nothing from him. I feel so empty all the time. I fight to feel like I'm enough. Like I am a desirable woman (despite first losing 50lbs after D-Day and then gaining it all back), but it's hard to feel like you're enough, when your spouse doesn't care about your needs, or your pain. (We'll, he says he cares, but then continues to do nothing - so actions or lack there of are speaking louder than words).

      Leaving means I leave my job. My dog (my mom's building can't have her). And proximity to my adult children (2.5hrs and 6hrs in opposite direction from where I plan to go). I'm so tired. I don't even care about a divorce. I just want a life (which I don't have as a person who works from home in a rural area), friends (have made one good friend in 11yrs living here, and have 3 best friends and my mom waiting 8hrs away), my dog, and some security. Is that asking too much? His reactions to it all makes it seem like it.

      I'm slipping into depression, and the only thing I can think of to do is leave. But I don't want to live here, and because of aforementioned financial ruin, I don't have the means to live anywhere but with my mom. So I either stay and have my job, my dog, my house, my stuff. Or I leave and start all over, grieving (again) the loss of my marriage, and the loss of my dog. And...it's all just too much.

      Delete
    5. Radlady - I'm sorry you've joined the tribe - both as a betrayed and as someone who has been in limbo for so many years.

      I think from the sounds of it that you've already made up your mind that you want to move forward. But you're scared of what that means. And it is scary! Scary to be in this situation and scary to take a step into the unknown.

      But you've said it - his actions aren't matching his words. It's time for you to live again Radlady ... it's time for you to live again!

      Delete
    6. Radlady,
      Welcome. And I'm so sorry you need to be here.
      Are you able to have an open conversation with him about his lack of sexual desire? Can he be honest with you about what's going on, without resorting to "I promise things will get better" or other general placating that don't really address the root of this. Cause it sounds as though he wants his marriage. But it also sounds as though he lacks sexual desire and I'm wondering if there's something deeper there going on. There is such a thing called sexual anorexia. Would you two consider going to a sex therapist, or even just a really good couples counsellor?
      I'm not saying don't leave because it sounds as though you're at the end of your rope (and who can blame you!). But given what you'd have to give up to leave, I'm wondering if it's worth trying to drill way down into what's going on. Cause I suspect this has NOTHING to do with you and everything to do with something he's refusing to acknowledge.

      Delete
    7. Hi - we have heard of sexual anorexia, and that is definitely something that is happening. I've read books on it (he's read a chapter or two when pressed), and he agrees that is what is going on, except for the fact that he says he "desires" me. I would love to go to a sex therapist. We live in a small Canadian city so there are none here (Though we do have a CSAT and he has been to her). We have now been to a total of 6 counsellors between us. My IC, his IC, two CSATs (one who was his IC so can't do couples counselling for us, and one who helped slightly, but retired from counselling), and two marriage counsellors via Skype. One who was AWFUL, who soured me. We even have spoken individually to our pastor. And nothing changes. With the marriage counsellor that worked slightly, he would give him "homework" to do. But he wouldn't do it. Though he'd agree vehemently that it was needed and that he'd do it. So the counsellor set himself up as an accountability partner and made him call him everynight at 930pm to tell him what homework he had done. He started doing it. Reported it everynight. Things started getting slightly better. The phone calls stopped. He stopped.

      I know deep down that is has nothing to do with me. He "tries" in that he says the right words. He has changed immensely in so many ways. But he still puts himself first. And still won't do the very basics to meet my needs. I don't even care as much about the sex now. But I don't believe the marriage can last without more intimacy.

      It's so surreal. We don't argue about anything but this. We have meals together, share our days, go out with friends, laugh, go on vacation, even kiss (like you would kiss your grandmother), and hold hands (which I call holding cardboard - Because there is no thumb stroking, no warmth). No one looking in would suspect we don't have a good marriage. But when you lie naked next to a man everynight. When you tell him you are grieving the loss of how intimate our evenings used to be. Even down to the silly phrase we would say everynight. When you scream. You cry. You beg. And all he can say is "I don't know why." - I need a "why" - I can work on a "why" - I can't work with a "yes I agree 100%, but I can't seem to do anything about it." - All I can think to do after four years of trying is to leave. And that still isn't motivating him. It's like telling someone that they are dying, but that they can be saved if they just do this one thing, and they say "absolutely" and then do nothing. And die.

      Delete
    8. Oh Radlady, you are in such pain. And it's completely valid, of course.
      Sounds like your'e reaching that juncture where he either gets himself sorted out and answers your "why" along with a pain for addressing it, or you need to decide to leave.
      Not easy, of course. But just because it wouldn't be easy to leave doesn't mean that's not the right choice for you. I think this is one of those choices where it's between shitty and shittier.

      Delete
    9. Indeed. Hence the posting on the "Stuck" feed. I'm stuck. Been stuck for a while. Trying to take the Next Right Step, instead of imagining all that I have to do and all that I have to lose (and maybe all that I have to gain).

      Delete
    10. radlady
      I’m not in the same place as you but I can certainly understand your confusion about how your h is reacting to the situation that y’all are in. It could simply be he’s afraid of not being able to complete the act of sexual satisfaction. My h can’t have sex with out viagra.
      I asked him once how much he spent of our money on his ow and he said that he gave her a couple hundred dollars to buy clothes when she was homeless and I asked him how about the viagra and he said that he couldn’t do it with her without it and I told him that probably was a small fortune! I’m seriously saying that he needs a medical diagnosis as well as a sex therapist. I’m sorry you joined us but I know this is a helpful place to be! Sending you hugs!

      Delete
    11. Thanks for the hugs! A huge part of this is sexually based. He too had Viagra for the OW (didn't use it for us before her). And as a recovering SA I think he feels like he'll "release the beast" if he opens that part of himself up. His ego is as big as a house, and so not being able to "do it well" means he doesn't even want to try. But the other thing that has happened to him over these last four years is a profound loss of confidence. He used to stride into the world and take charge, (One of the things that attracted me to him), and now he cowers and frets and worries about "effing" up. Won't make a move because he's paralysed. He's spoken ad nauseum to counsellors about his fear - but doesn't seem to get that he, and he alone, can overcome them.

      Delete
  22. I'm less than a year post d-day #2. (#1 was exactly 8 years ago, both were 'emotional affairs' so he says). I'm understanding more and more what this "feeling stuck" is all about.

    After affair #1 I didn't talk about how I was feeling or about triggers (I didn't even know the word back then). We went to MC and it was all about how to communicate... Never got to the bottom of things whatsoever and not once did the MC ever say I was going through a traumatic experience. His betrayal was never called that, and was instead described as him "taking a different path in the story of us". Nobody ever said that it wasn't my fault. I had zero validation. He was good at showing his remorse and looked ever so responsible and decent.

    Fast forward to affair #2 and we have a great MC and husband has done the work we both wish he did years ago. I am not hiding my feelings, good or bad, like I did before. Not anymore. When something bothers me, I say it. The anniversary of d-day #1 is this week and I told him that it pisses me off that I had gotten to the point when the day would pass for years & I wouldn't even think about it. Until he had a second affair. I answered a health questionnaire today asking if I ever had sex with someone who had sex with someone who was an IV drug user. I thought- well, I really don't know. I hope he's told me the truth (no sex with ow's he says). All the damn triggers- what I thought were special Mother's days & then discovering the phone calls to her later in the day. There are many more triggers, reminders, questions...

    My question to you all- is there an end point? I feel like when I bring up my triggers and sadness- we talk, and I end up actually feeling relieved and better. I don't think about those things again after we've had even a small discussion. It's like a burden lifted.

    A big part of me does it to get it out so I can let it go. Another part of me does it because I want him to know just how deeply his betrayal has affected my life and my health. Recently I brought up a memory and for the first time, he seemed annoyed. Am I out of line? Is there a time limit here? I understand he's straightened himself out for the better and has been nothing but wonderful. Except this last time he really was annoyed that I brought up a trigger and it's just not sitting well. I appreciate any thoughts!

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    1. Gem, what you are asking is what is reasonable? You had 2 Ddays. Anything directly related to the affair still triggers me and I'm 5 years out. Your reaction is normal. I probably would have asked my H - I'm filling out this heath questions - Did you ever have sex. I need to know my life depends on it. Put HIM on the line - not you. There are softer end points down the road. Healing is bringing up the bad stuff to you H. I think both of your reasons are valid. No you are not out of line. There is no time limit. Too bad if he is annoyed - that is confrontational so both of you probably flinch. The more you talk the better you will be. Ask him why he annoyed - don't avoid it. I learned to ask alot of questions that I previously avoided. It is uncomfortable but it is also growing stronger for yourself. He is not going to leave because he is annoyed. Yes, my H got annoyed at times, disappointed. Let me just relate a story about STD. I ask my H when was the last time you had sex with the OW because my GYN does test based on that. He said Sept. Then when it was time for the next test I said when was the last time you had sex or physical contact? He said Nov. He said I didn't have sex just a blow job. I have vaginal herpes from the OW. My point is my husband thought only fucking was sex. When he didn't cum in her that wasn't sex. No shit but that is how he thought. Put the burden on H because your life depends on it. I don't know his story but wanted to tell you that. Love to you. Sad but you joined a new group of woman those that knew how cruel the world could be and could never be unlearned.

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  23. Hi Gem - I would recommend that you ask him why this time his reaction was to be annoyed. Maybe it was a one time thing or maybe this is how he will react going forward. Best way to find out is to ask him why his response was different than in the recent past. Good luck

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  24. I haven't written anything here for a long time, but I still read and try to absorb some of the hope. However, today, I realize that I am broken and will probably never, ever mend. I have nowhere else to turn to say what I need to say, so I will post it here, anonymously, and try to continue to have the strength to go forward with my life for the sake of my 11 year old daughter. I find out almost five years ago. We had been married 18 years and I thought our marriage was rock solid. I loved, and supported my husband both emotionally and financially, through the loss of his business in the recession. He rejected my love and had an affair. I offered him forgiveness when I found out, he rejected it and moved out. After five weeks, he asked to come back and I let him. He SAYS he is thankful for this second chance. We meet for lunch a couple of times a week. Today, it is my birthday and I am alone. I am still carrying us, working two jobs, to keep things afloat financially. Handling all of the "to do" items at home. I don't have a partner who loves me, I have a man-child who likes what I do for him to make his life easy and fun. My husband admonished me about three years ago to quit coming to this site - telling me that it held me back - so I do it in secret. I have been seeing a counselor, in secret, for a year. I told her that I just wanted peace. I want to feel at peace and stop expecting that I am lovable, that I have any worth or value to anyone, just for being a person. I know that I don't, I just wanted help in finding acceptance in it. I know that my only value is in what I can do for someone. My counselor told me a few weeks ago that this goes against everything she believes. I don't have any love or acceptance from my parents, never have. I don't have any love or acceptance from my husband. I have no one. I just need to find the strength to hold onto this life until my daughter is old enough. I haven't cried in a long time, but, today, I am sobbing. I have to pick up my daughter from school in just a few hours and be ready to be "on" for the evening at the school play. And, I will, I will be the picture of calm, cool and collected. And, tomorrow, I will have buried this stinging disappointment away and get up and go for a really, really long run to take the edge off of my feelings. I appreciate having a safe space where I can write this down and know that someone will see it. I don't feel so alone.

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    1. I love what Elle has written - it made me cry! But she is SPOT on ...

      I find myself talking to myself in the car ... and one of the things I've been saying lately is that I need to love myself like I love my children. They are ever so innocent (including the mini-man who returned from his Freshmen year in college) and want nothing more than to be loved. I wish for them nothing but and I know that they need a healthy mom in order to reach that point. You are doing the work to make yourself a healthy person again ... and your daughter is all the more blessed for it!

      I am so thankful that we have this avenue to come and let our guard down. That we know this place is a safe haven and that we are heard.

      Delete
    2. Happy Birthday! You are heard! I read on this site when I'm having a down day, and with my 3 year DDay anniv coming up this week I'm having a lot of them. Your post reminds me I'm not alone here, even when I'm lonely in my heart. And -- tho my knees are long past days of a "really really long run" -- what I need to do is get my hands in the garden, ASAP. Thanks for the reminder of the things we can do to heal body and soul.

      Delete
  25. Anonymous,
    No, you're not alone. There's the secret sisterhood army with you every step of the way.
    Happy birthday, Anonymous! I want you to do something kind for yourself. Maybe it's flowers. Maybe it's a massage or something pretty or an hour's walk in the woods. Maybe you want to wait a day or two until you can plan something that feels right for you. But please...do something for yourself. Think of all of us behind you rooting you on.
    Because you are lovable. You are worthy. You deserve to feel cherished. You deserve someone who sees in you what you see in your daughter. A person worthy of love just because she exists.
    And that's your work. You can't get that from anyone else until you value yourself. I'm not saying your husband is off the hook at all. Because he sounds like a total slacker who doesn't deserve you at all. He sounds like a bully who's secretly scared and covers that up with bluster and demands.
    And I admire your refusal to cave in, to continue to come here because that's what YOU need to do. But I pray for the day when you don't have to hide treating yourself like you matter, like your needs and wants matter. I pray for the day that you have finally recognized that you were this lovable all along, that you have always been worthy of kindness and respect and decency.
    Your value lies in your heart. It lies in your existence. Just like your daughter's. I doubt you have ever, once in your life, valued her for what she's done for you. My guess is that you have always valued her for the beauty she has brought into your life, for the way she's changed how you see the world, for her heart and the unique gifts she's brought the world. That's you too, Anonymous. You were once that little girl even when your parents couldn't see it. And kudos to you for breaking the cycle by cherishing your little girl when you weren't taught how to do that by your own parents. That takes such guts and such heart. You are so much stronger than you know.
    But you should have the chance to not always be strong. You should have the chance to lean on others when you need to. It's time to ask your husband to step up and help. It's long past time when he should be supporting you as you heal from this, whatever that looks like, including reading websites where you feel heard and validated.
    Anonymous, I wrote a post a month or so ago in which I asked this question: Where did you learn to settle for crumbs? And I'm asking you now. It sounds like you were taught at home. But at what point did you accept that as the truth? At what point did you agree that's all you deserved? Because it's not the truth. It's not the truth for anyone.
    You are a fierce incredible woman working two jobs to support your family. You are a strong woman fighting like hell to heal from a partner's betrayal. And you are a proud, big-hearted mother who would never ask your daughter to tolerate what you're tolerating. So don't model that. Show her what it looks like to draw clear boundaries. Show her what it looks like to demand respect. Show her that SHE's worth fighting for by showing her that YOU are worth fighting for.
    And then, tomorrow when you're back from your run, don't bury those feelings. Write them down in a notebook so you don't minimize them. Print off this page. Talk to your therapist about her helping you learn how to value yourself. Talk to YOURSELF about how amazing you are. Remind yourself (even when it feels stupid and weird) that you are strong and fierce and beautiful and kind and loyal and hard-working. Remind yourself of your best features -- your kind eyes, or your strong legs, or your broad shoulders, or your shiny hair. Celebrate YOU, Anonymous. Because you are worth celebrating. On your birthday and every single day of your life.
    Make this the year you stop allowing other people to define your worth.
    And be sure to tell us all how you're doing. Because we know you're going to win this one.

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    Replies
    1. Anonymous, I was just going to write in response to you, but just read what Elle wrote one more time. It says more than i ever could. Love to you.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous 5/23, Yes to everything Elle says. YOU are not alone. Celebrate YOU. Thank you for sharing and know you are loved

      Delete
  26. This essay dives into talking about incels, porn, abuse, cheating, relationships, and some radical feminism but it mainly speaks to the thing I have thinking about for awhile: "Today, most women work outside of the home, but continue to do the bulk of the child rearing and domestic work, meaning men, in marriages, are able to continue to prioritize their own careers while women work double duty. Women are still taught, through socialization, to suffer for “the family,” to compromise, to try to work things out. We still feel we need to stick it out with emotionally deficient men who don’t contribute near the same levels of work in the home, never mind the emotional labour that goes into making a relationship work. It’s incredibly rare to hear a man suggesting couples therapy, for example, and far more common for a woman to have to cajole her partner into participating (and then, of course, do all the work of finding a therapist, making the appointments, etc.) We want to fix things, and men, too often, don’t want to do the work."

    While I am sure there are male partners who can and do "do the work," I think the essay answers for me why I am ending my relationship.
    https://www.feministcurrent.com/2018/05/22/long-men-arent-stepping-womens-empathy-needs-limits/

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    1. MBS, Thanks for posting this. This has been an ongoing topic of conversation I have brought up for years in our marriage. My husband is even in the mental health field but resists and will not go to therapy. I have brought up all of these issues for years, given up my career goals/aspirations, financed his education and business etc... That really all hit me hard when dday came since I at least thought we were on the same "team". I have so much research about even when the woman earns more and has the more high powered career they still do the bulk of the work at home. Every time this topic is raised my husband gets defensive and takes it personally. I do understand that however I have always talked about it being reality. I have asked for his suggestions over the years and it always comes down to me needing to tell him what to do or set up a plan. This was a big part of his gas lighting. I was always the problem. And then also he would reflect on his parents. A totally different generation and I would shoot holes in that since he would say all the things his mom did which I did but I did almost everything his dad did. Then we would get into priorities and who is naturally better at what responsibilities.

      For us things have improved a lot since dday. It feels good since it was making me feel crazy.

      Delete
    2. Fantastic article. Thanks for sharing

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  27. On one level, I am not 'stuck' (whirlwind of activity: work, job applications, raising a child, legal and IC sessions, being involved in local community events) and on another (emotional?) VERY.

    I still can't get a gut feeling as to what to do. I've been trying to nurture insight and intuition, but it's kind of like the Magic Eye. If you try too hard, it slips away.

    Recently (since my h let me know in MC that he felt no desire to be with me as a partner), I have started opening up to a few acquaintances about my situation. (Nothing triggers like an innocent "how did you meet?" from a well-meaning person.)

    I am amazed at how common affairs are. Maybe I am very naive... or hanging out in the wrong places...

    I was lucky to meet a really empathetic woman at a work event. She has been through betrayal (and a miscarriage which she fears resulted from her shock at D-Day) AND... she has been through recovery.

    She just asked me, "are you angry yet?" When I said not really, she told me not to worry. She said, "when the anger comes, you will know what to do".

    I know some ladies here struggle with too much anger, but I really feel I don't have enough!

    Her words comforted me and gave me hope. I am so tired of being in limbo with no idea of how or when to climb out.

    Her empathy and compassion did me so much good.

    I wish that all of us here might find that in real life (as well as on this amazingly supportive and nurturing blog). I hope one day I would have the wisdom to help someone who is starting this journey that nobody would ever choose to take.

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  28. Selkie - I think that for the most part I've swallowed my anger for the first 11 months. But I've started to slowly feel it building. As I got closer to the events ... and now closer to DDay #1 ... the anger is more at myself than at him. I think that anger won't be as easy to swallow down and hide from. Hopefully what she said will be true and finally I'll get a better understanding of which direction to go.

    Today I started thinking about all that transpired leading up to DDay. And I heard myself clear as day - what if he's NOT the one you're supposed to be with. What if he can never be the man that you need?

    I think that's a more powerful question for me at least. Lots to ponder.

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  29. Thanks Kimberly, that question makes me think a lot. I do feel frustrated with myself and impatient for change.

    What would it mean to 'give up' on this relationship (he already has- I'm just holding a string of memories)? Without anything new or hopeful to go towards?

    It's scary. But I think I will choose scariness over psychic imprisonment and gradual deadening of the soul.

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  30. I’m so nervous and quite honestly, just ashamed that I even had to search for a site such as this. After twenty years, four children and one grandchild...it was over and surprise there was someone else. Never in my life have I experienced such pain. I was absolutely brought to my knees and broken. It has been six months and though my husband has changed dramatically, it is now that I am feeling anger and resentment. In truth, the relationship has never been better and that is what infuriates me. I had to endure sheer hell to get to here? Why now after six months am I so extremely angry and questioning things? He has shown such remorse and has grown so much as an individual and is the man I knew he always was. But...I have anxiety everyday (not in regard to him cheating again) just this “can’t catch my breath” and “pain in my chest” and constant feeling of nausea. I apologize for my rambling and must commend all you amazing and strong women on here. I’m sorry we share this journey. Much love

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    1. Anonymous, welcome to the place none of us ever thought we would need to go. I'm so sorry that you're going through this pain.

      I think your husband has had a lot more time than you to 'process' the situation. Not to mention that he knew about it long before you did and that you must have had a horrible shock when you found out.

      You feel what you feel. Anger and anxiety sound like a perfectly natural response to your difficult circumstances.

      I have no advice as I am far from out of the woods! But you have my empathy.

      Wishing you peace and strength.

      Delete
  31. Dear Anon,
    I am so sorry for what you going through.My d-day was 2 1\2 years ago.I just want you to know that everything you are feeling is "normal" in our situation.I wish I could tell you that you will feel better in X number of months but I can't.....What I can tell you is that you will find an inner strength in yourself that you never knew you had. You will not be alone.Your sister warriors will be with you . Hugs
    gage

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  32. can anyone relate or am I losing my mind? husbands affair was 4 years ago now and the pain was unbearable ,it truly broke me ,I became very ill. He couldn't give his lover up, he cried and lied for 6 months after D Day,yet things DID get better ,we worked at our marriage of 40 years and eventually came through the other end. Things are good between us now. Of course the pain has receded but never can be forgotten, it lurks in dusty corners of my mind!!!
    The trouble is within me!!! his lover was 25 years younger than us and an assertive pushy professional We have talked it through many times and I understand he found her exciting, vibrant and young.
    Now I am struggling with myself the usual crap ,too old, too fat, to ordinary even see myself as ugly and unlovable!!!!
    I realise this is because his lover was younger, slimmer and exciting but I have let this feeling invade my soul and self esteem.
    Over the last year my husbands libido has fallen ,he says its just an age thing yet still my mind tells me its my fault and that if I was HER he couldn't keep his hands off of me.
    All very sad ,I wish I could just spring back to be the confident woman I was before SHE entered our lives

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    1. Anonymous,
      I can relate but not because the OW was younger, etc. In my case, she was younger but pretty hideous. Petty, sloppy, mean. Thing is, I've still struggled as you have. Which tells me that the problem isn't that the OW was young and attractive. The problem is what you're telling yourself. It's really REALLY hard for women, as we grow older, to feel attractive and sexy because our culture worships youth. But as long as there's a voice in your head telling you that you're old, fat, unloveable, etc., that's the energy you're going to be putting out in the world. I've felt it too. Something happens to a woman around the age of 45 where she becomes somewhat invisible. I'm fairly attractive and was accustomed to a certain amount of attention. I was crossing the parking lot with my then-17-year-old daughter a few years ago when I noticed some guys in a truck giving me a once-over. And then it hit me. They weren't looking at ME at all. They were looking at my daughter. And sure enough their eyes followed HER as she walked into the store ahead of me. So...reality bites.
      I suspect what's happening is that, in your head, you're "competing" with this OW. Thing is, you're not "competing" with her on moral grounds, or intelligence, or loyalty, or any of the other areas in which you likely have her beat hands down. You're competing with her in an arena in which she's got you beat. You can never be younger than you are. And with age comes certain realities that we can do nothing about.
      What can you do? Well, you can begin noticing those horrible critics in your head that are telling you don't measure up and you can start calling them out. You can start paying attention to the things about yourself that are beautiful no matter what your age -- maybe you've got gorgeous eyes, or a fabulous smile, or strong legs. Maybe you have a kind face. Arms that are great for hugging people. Those things matter too.
      Give yourself compliments. It feels ridiculous at first but it works.
      And, if you're doing it for the right reasons (ie. not to please others but to please yourself), consider doing something that will make you feel stronger and fitter -- running, or a women's soccer league, or tennis, or hiking, or biking. Get a trainer at the gym. Whatever makes you feel strong and confident. It's not about turning back the clock. It IS about reminding yourself that you're not dead yet and you've got a lot of life left and you want to feel strong and sexy and vibrant.
      The sexiest thing of all is a woman who has been true to herself and who hasn't compromised herself. Integrity is sexy.
      What's more, I wonder if your imaginings of your husband's affair are out of whack with what it was really like. I've heard so many stories that sound nothing like steamy romance and more like fumbling, shame-filled escapades. I'm curious what your husband says. Men cheat less because of who the woman is (and how old, etc.) and more because of how it makes them feel -- young, sexy, interesting. He was seeking exactly what you're seeking. Unfortunately, he found it outside your marriage and I imagine he regrets it. It's not real. It's a fantasy.
      Your job is to capture that feeling for yourself without cheating. By reminding yourself that you bring a whole lot to the table that's way more important than unlined skin.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous, I found this hard at times too. My husband had two OW. Both younger, debatable how attractive they were... both single one a mom but single. As I see it they put everything into their efforts with my husband. They both tracked him down. The one worked for 3-4 years to get his phone number. She would find people that knew where he was watching a game, golfing etc and go there. The day the affair started with that one she got dropped off and hung around and then told him she had no way home over 20 minutes away. In our town cabs are not easily accessible. In the end the decisions he made were all his. But I am sure this felt good having these women track him down etc.

      I had feelings like yours too. I am the mom of our kids. I take on a lot of responsibilities. That means I can be tired, I can be cranky and I have high expectations of everyone in our house. With these women they were marginal and I am sure they made their time fun. Also every time they were together they drank. Not one time was there zero alcohol and many times they were drunk.

      Saying all of this during the healing and recovery process I got to the point and even told my husband that I am who I am both physically and personality wise. I work to become a better person daily but for me not for anyone else. I told him that I am not going to go through my life competing with anyone else. He needs to make the commitment to me no matter what. And I do not need the burden of worrying that the grass is greener for him in any way. And besides these OW there is no shortage of OW if he wanted to go that route again. And I do not have the desire to compete with that. I agree our society plays into this but there is no way I can or want to compete. I have to be good enough whether I get old, gain weight, lose weight, cook dinner, order pizza, get sick or feel my best. I just was very point blank with him on this and I refuse to compare and compete with others who are not part of this marriage or relationship. It is a message I work to instill in my kids too. This all took time but I really worked hard to reframe this in my mind for me then the rest was up to him and how he was going to act and behave.

      Delete
    3. Anonymous, I've been there myself and work hard not to visit that place in my mind. We've been married almost 40 years and my 3 year D-day was last week. My husband slept with a young woman way back when but the years between Sept 2007 and January 2015 (our anniversary trip to Hawaii) found him renting young Asian whores for an hour of fun. Honestly it was and still can be excruciatingly painful if I think about it. He has regrets and remorse and shame and, and, and, but it was not enough to stop his behavior until he thought he had AIDS and told me. He admitted to me that the thrill and danger of buying sex was all part of his stupid sexual fantasy. I still cringe inside at times when I see beautiful young Asian women and want to stab him in the crotch just to watch him fall over and clutch himself the way I did for the longest time. We don't often talk about it anymore unless I get really triggered and start dissociating. I feel the change come over my body and someone else takes over. I think of his whores as piglets and I see him as a disgusting fat old white man fucking a pig. I know that I bring a lot to the table and he knows that too. He never was the man I thought he was but over the past three years he has worked very hard to become that man. Since I am barely three years out from disclosure I am in no way an expert on this but those messages you tell yourself are toxic to your brain and day to day life. Take Elle's advice and advice others here have for taking good care of yourself and your heart. Be your own best friend. It is so hard to overcome that depression. In the past when I was so triggered that I could not contain myself I would verbally attack my husband about his little piglets. Here are some of my choice nuggets: "What, you actually think that little whore was sincere in her moaning and groaning as she took your money and did her best to make you come so you would get your fat body off her." "Did you offer to pay more to be #1 fuck for the day or was it a thrill to pay for the #5 spot?" "You didn't really think she liked fucking your fat old body did you?" "You are such a disgusting old drooling dog" Oh, man I have a million of them that would bring him to his knees. When he would be groveling and crying and asking me why I wanted to torture him, I would calmly say, "I want you to never have a doubt how I feel about you and your fucking whores." "Oh, lucky you. Ms. Saigon came to your hotel room." "You disgust me and I see you as a sexual predator." So, now that I've confessed to being a raging, bat-shit crazy 67 year old, I can call up one or more of those terrible things I said to him and actually feel pretty good about "fighting back" and "standing up for myself" and "telling him how I saw it". I really don't feel bad about all that and maybe I'll go to hell if there is such a place but the fact is, for me, all that terrible lashing out gave me some strength to climb out of my hole and fight like a girl. I don't have to do that anymore. BUT, when I start down that road of feeling bad about myself I recall those times when I lashed out and find strength because I know I can stand up for myself. I don't know what you might have in your past after you found out but I still feel better about myself knowing I had the strength to fight back. I'm not planning to ever go there again. I'm a pretty nice, fun and interesting person and I do not need a man. I like this guy and plan to share my life with him as long as he can stay on his side of the road. If your spouse is having ED problems, maybe a trip to the doctor is in order.

      Delete
    4. Beach girl I’m still in the yelling insults phase. Thanks for some new comments to add to my arsenal. My H paid for prostitutes for four years. Last night in a big fight I asked how many? One a week for 52 weeks times four!!!!
      Was it 50 women? A hundred? 200? A total of $40,000 or $50,000! I can do the math!
      His excuse was it was exciting and thrilling wondering if the massage therapist was going to “do it”. When they would ask him what level of firmness did he want with his massage he told me he would tell them “ I just want a woman’s touch “ I want to throw up just typing that. Then he moved on to slides so that when she slid her vagina into his face he could “ well you can imagine” Another vomiting episode for me.
      And he told me he was like a kid in a candy store on the internet.
      Sixteen months and I can’t get the slides out of my head. Help!

      Delete
    5. Hey LilyLove,
      I've been trying to respond to your e-mail re. the retreat and, for some reason, my e-mail isn't going through. Can you comment on this with your e-mail address and I'll try again. I won't publish your e-mail, of course. I'll delete the comment...just want to be sure I have the right one.
      Thanks!!

      Delete
  33. Elle
    Thank you so much, I felt like I was going mad,things are good now I really do have everything I ever wanted, I always have and always will love my husband, that never changed even during the heartbreak and pain.
    I just cant come to terms (in my head) with the woman I have become ,I liked the woman I was who was chatty, giggly vivacious and friendly ,I was confident and optimistic, now I feel so different, almost unworthy.
    Most of my problem I feel sure is depression, I had a bad breakdown during the 6 months after the affair was discovered and he couldn't choose her or me!!!!
    He admitted he would have loved to keep us both .
    He tells me all the time he loves me and always has and could never leave me.
    In my case I feel I have allowed his love affair to change me so that although we have a wonderful life and are once again very close and happy, I am hollow.
    How can people do this to the one they say they love?
    I shall take your advice and try .it feels like the spark /flame that was me has gone out I need to relight my fire.
    thank you for listening to me

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    1. Anonymous,
      Betrayal often causes post-trauma symptoms, which can actually change our brain chemistry. If you think you're feeling depressed, it might be worth a chat with your doctor to see if medication might help. I (reluctantly) went on anti-depressants for about 18 months and they really did help. They lifted the cloud that felt perpetually over my head. They gave me the emotional space to begin to heal myself.
      It's worth considering. Your fire is still burning. But it might need a teensy bit of help to flame up again.

      Delete
  34. Still stuck… D-Day #2 one year anniversary is right around the corner. I’m grateful for the time that has passed, all the ‘anniversary’s’ of events that have come & gone & the new memories made. Husband has completely done the work & made all effort to make our marriage what is was meant to be and who we truly are before things went so wrong.

    Sometimes I feel great but it’s almost as if I don’t trust myself to just let go & feel safe & ok for long. I let old feelings creep in, and I feel completely insecure again. I’m looking again at the old phone records & it of course is a timeline of the deceit & betrayal by he and my “friend”. One year ago was the peak of their affair. I have not forgiven him. I don’t even feel close to forgiving. I forgave him before only for him to betray me again. Looking at the old phone records, there are so many questions I have, places he’d been or said he was at that just don’t add up. This affair, like his first 8 years ago, was not physical beyond kissing. That’s what he’s said and it makes no sense to me. What would anyone get out of a hot affair if it wasn’t physical? I feel like there was more to it & I didn’t get the whole truth. We bw’s know that the trickle truths can be incredibly painful. Am I just pain shopping? I feel like there’s more to what he told me, eventually the REAL TRUTH, what really happened, will surface. Do I confront him with the phone records and ask him to clarify?

    (We are in MC and I’m in IC- therapists ask me if it really matters, he’s explained everything, if that’s it, then that’s it. He’s a different person now, back to himself, and that’s really what is most important. I agree with all of it- but the nagging feeling just won’t go away.)

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    1. Gem,
      I suspect you are pain shopping. What would change if you had more information now? It sounds as though you've both done a lot of work to rebuild your marriage. And you will probably never understand why he risked his marriage for something that wasn't much at all. Whether or not there was a physical relationship is almost immaterial. Betrayal is betrayal.
      I suspect you're going through what a lot of us do after betrayal. Letting go of that hyper-vigilance is frightening. We think we can prepare ourselves in case it happens again but it leaves us in a state of constant fight-or-flight. We can never let our guard down because...what if? Well, that "what if" will sabotage your joy. What if you discover tomorrow that he's cheating again? Well...you will have robbed yourself of today's joy.
      It's a practice, this letting down your guard. It requires letting go of the "what ifs" and just savouring what you have today, right now. It's about realizing that all you can do is make your choice based on what you know right now. What is he doing right now that makes him worth keeping, or not? What has he done to show you that he has learned from his horrible mistake (or not learned, as the case may be). I would really urge you to stop sorting through bills and looking for more evidence. You have asked him to tell you the whole truth. He claims he has. If it ever turns out that he lied about that, well, then, that's an other choice you can make.
      You don' have to forgive him. I don't think I really "forgave" my husband so much as I decided to stop letting his stupid choices define my life or our marriage. There's no way it hasn't shaped us, of course. But that was then. If he ever chooses to be that stupid again, well, buddy, there's the door.
      If you don't have a therapist, I would really encourage you to find one who can help you through the nagging feelings. I absolutely believe our intuition...but I think it gets tripped post-betrayal. Post-trauma keeps us constantly worried.

      Delete
  35. I've been married for 35 years. I found out a year and a half ago my husband cheated with a co-worker for about 9 months (his words). We went through extensive counseling and he says there has been no reoccurance of his affair, no texts, nothing. I believe him, because he is so devoted to me now. He leaves work and immediately comes home, and is very attentive. I am still imagining the two of them together, and struggling with did I make the right choice. Am I past the point of getting better? Will it always be this uncertainty? I'd like to hear from others who have been through this after so many years.

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    1. Hi Anon,
      I'm pretty sure you posted elsewhere and I responded (??). Hope my memory serves.
      In any case, healing takes a really long time. Usually longer than 1 1/2 years. That hyper-vigilance hangs on, the fear that it will happen again. Rebuilding is brick by brick.
      What's more, those mind movies can really mess with you. But that's on you to deal with. He can't control your thoughts. There are CBT tricks you can use (snapping an elastic on your wrist when you start imagining, picturing a big STOP sign, etc.) that can help. But think of it this way. Those mind movies are like picking at a scab that's trying to heal. They're a constant reminder of what happened.
      You are not past the point of getting "better". And no, you won't necessarily always have this uncertainty. But it sounds to me like you could benefit from some individual therapy to help you sort through this residual pain. And...time.

      Delete
  36. Azure here, I’ve lurked awhile, but have to commiserate with Gem.

    I know the feelings of lingering questions. And because of it, I feel stuck. I also feel “ meh” about my husband and marriage because I can’t get the details I need to heal.

    I am not Pain shopping; I am an analytical kind of person who has to understand something thoroughly,. Especially something my husband wants me to move past.

    D/day was almost 2 years ago. Through intuitive nudges, and detective work on my part, I found evidence of emotional affairs with 3 different women. It seemed to be mostly phone calls, texts, and some lunches.

    As a senior executive, he had the flexibility to make hundreds of texts and calls, some lasting up to 3 hours, when he was out of my presence. Even times as brief as me stepping into the bathroom, or feeding the cat, he’d find the time to contact them.

    When I confronted, asked for details, what they talked about, the nature of their conversations, he couldn’t remember anything. Would get angry when I asked, so I don’t bring it up that often, even though I think about it everyday.The VARs I tried to use were not clear, and didn’t help at all. So I have to rely on him. And he’s not helping. He thinks because I found out, he apologized, said it wouldn’t happen again, did a little stint of IC, all is good. But Im not.

    He buys me nice jewelry, always has. But for our first anniversary after D-day, he bought me a ridiculously expensive item. And it made me sad, and sick. It felt like a guilt gift to me.

    I’ve tried to explain how I feel. Shared excerpts from the Journal I started after D-day. It now has over 520 chapters. Still no answers. I feel like I am losing my feelings for him. I have always been the type of woman who didn’t have to have a man in my life to feel complete. And because of his reticence, I am stuck.

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    1. Azure,
      You are not obliged to give him a second chance, even if he's sorry. It sounds as though he's simply not giving you what you need to help you heal. It's not enough for you to hear "I'm sorry" and get a gift. It sounds as though you need to really understand why/how he did this and how he rationalized it with himself. What's more, he sounds rather compulsive in his behaviour around this, which makes me wonder if there's a mental health component that hasn't been addressed. What did he get out of these dalliances? How can he be sure he won't do it again?
      Is he any more in touch with what's happening in him than he was? If we don't learn from our mistakes, it's more likely we'll repeat them.
      In other words, Azure, you need more from him. It sounds as though there isn't enough true intimacy for you -- genuine emotion and honesty and a willingness to be vulnerable together.
      I don't blame you for losing feelings for him. It seems as though feelings are hard for him to express in an authentic way...which is going to keep each of you arms' distance from each other.

      Delete
    2. Hi Azure
      I too, like you, need to understand things also. My STBX would not give me answers to my questions and "conveniently" forgot many details. He is so full of shit. He also wanted me to get over it and said "I can't see this working if you can't get over it"!!!! WTF.
      I said to him "how can I get over this whilst you are still lying and in contact with your whores - and you don't get to tell me how and when I get over this"....
      In other words, he was still in contact with his whore and other women and didn't want to stop, He is a complete ass-hole.
      Also, he was not acknowledging my pain caused by him - he didn't want to be accountable for anything. Hence we are now separated and he is now with his "another" affair partner. He's a serial cheater.
      My h is also high up in the work place, and it seems the more "power" he gains, the more entitled he feels. His behaviour is that of someone with mental health issues - one thing he denies and does not seek help (IC) as he's such a narcissist, and refuses to admit he is and has problems.
      From MY experience, if the cheating husbands are not willing to do the work to heal the marriage, you will always have these underlying uncertainties withing you.
      My h wasn't willing to change, heal or be a nice person and this was taking a toll on me. I had enough of the disrespect and he wanted out of marriage and responsibilities of being a parent. Now he's gone and with his new affair partner and is being extremely unreasonable with finances. The whole thing just sucks.
      Your husband buying you things may be nice, but is it his way of silencing you, and deflecting from the real issue of discussing what he did and why?
      Keep us posted and I hope you are feeling ok
      Hugs
      Gabby xo

      Delete
  37. I completely agree with your complete sense of confusion in regard to hurting the one we love the most? I truly cannot wrap my head around it because it affects not only the adults, but the children too!!! I’m six months past the infidelity and I’m angry. I was so broken and devastated, but willing to give it a try, but I feel numb a lot of the time. My husband could not be more remorseful, show more love and devotion and yet I look at him and think “you intentionally chose to ruin our marriage and family”. He is now the man I always dreamed of, but it took him making me want to take my own life, to get it. There are days I feel so optimistic and then days he kisses me and I want to punch him. I wanted so much to reconcile this marriage, but how is it possible? How will I ever look at him and not think of what he did? Anonymous, I want you to know I understand exactly how you feel and it’s so important we take care of ourselves. Nutrition, exercise, reading and loving ourselves in every way possible (in whatever form works for you). Much love

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    1. Tam,
      At six months, I still fantasized about smothering my husband in my sleep. And if I'd had the energy, I might have. Instead, I remained mostly curled in the fetal position bawling my eyes out. So, honestly, you, at six months, sound like a warrior.
      Your anger is, of course, legitimate. Anger is also, often, the armour that our pain and fear wears to feel powerful. What is your anger telling you? Likely that what happened to you is unacceptable. That it hurts like hell. That you're terrified of it happening again.
      Part of rebuilding a marriage is doing the work and waiting. Waiting for the anger to abate, waiting to watch and see if there's genuine change in our partners, waiting until our brain chemistry gets back to something close to normal after such a shock.
      Continue to take care of yourself. Focus on what you need for your healing. Your advice for Anonymous is perfect.

      Delete
  38. Azure again.

    Thank you Elle and others for your words. For the first time in 2 years, I feel heard. It feels amazing, and empowering.

    I sought IC as well. When my counselor ( a man) started down the path of “ you had shortcomings that hubby did not like, those women met a need that you didn’t “, I ditched said counselor, and didn’t look back.

    We are “that couple”: long marriage, successful children, beautiful home, great lifestyle. People often seek both of us for advice, or other conversation.

    My hubby is very concerned with image. He is very successful, well liked, very gregarious person. He makes friends easily, male and female. I am more introverted.

    These three women were friends that somehow became more. He still insists it was all friendly conversation. I told him it was more than friends, these were emotional affairs. Because the contact was so secretive, and extensive. In the midst of all of this, he was short-tempered, critical, and less pleasant to be around. In hindsight, I realized that was stereotypical behavior.

    I bought “ Not Just Friends”, and had him read it.

    When I confronted him on D-day, he begged me not to tell anyone. A few months ago, He shared with me that his IC talked to him about establishing boundaries, limiting other’s emotional access to him, etc etc. All fine and good, but my questions remain. What did you get from them, what did you talk about, was our relationship at peril?

    2 of the 3 were professional colleagues, a new associate and a college-era friend. The third was an ex girl friend from high school who reached out to him because she read about him somewhere. Throughout the 2 years, there would be periods where he was in contact with one more than the other, but the high school girlfriend was very consistent with multiple phone calls every day, or at least many times a week, both initiating. The college friend was more 10, 15, 20+ texts a day, in addition to phone calls. How could a reasonable person not think something fishy was going on!!!!!

    I was so stressed out, 1 week after D-day, I was admitted to the ER because I thought I was having a heart attack. I began the journal to have a place to rant, vent, cry, express my thoughts. It was very raw. In my frustration to get him to open up to me, 3 months ago, I shared some of my journal with him so he could understand how wounded I am.

    It made him cry. Snot nosed, and everything. He said he didn’t understand how much I was carry inside about all of this, how badly I was coping, what my concerns and questions were.

    But it still didn’t lead to more answers. My mistake, I found myself consoling him because he was so torn up. We went to sleep, next Day was like nothing had even happened.

    And I began to slide down onto the Plain of Lethal Flatness.

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  39. Azure again. Meant to address you, Elle, in my previous rant.

    Your questions were spot on. I told him I need to understand what his contact with these women were all about, what he got from it, how did he rationalize it to himself. Understanding that, I feel is crucial so that he can make sure he doesn’t end up there again.

    I feel you’re right, Elle by touching on a mental component. The contact seemed almost compulsive because of the frequency, while being so completely hidden from me at the same time. His IC talked about boundaries, limiting access. I think with the concern with image, high achievement, and gregarious nature, there are inner insecurities that need validation, among other issues.

    Sounds like it’s time to call the ICs again.

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    1. For me I am a detailed oriented person with an excellent memory. Even before the affair years my husband could not remember anything even from earlier years before me. I mean like important family vacations nothing bad but something most teens would remember. I still wonder if this is part of his personality. But anyways I wanted exact details for the longest time. For me I cannot understand not remembering and knowing the exact details. My therapist worked with me for a long time focusing on what would those details get me and instead to focus on what these women meant, what these relationships did for him and then now what he was saying and his behaviors. My husband was really honest with me after over a year of me not getting it. He basically said he was miserable and did not celebrate or want to remember anything about these relationships. The one he cannot even remember what year it started. My husband's two affairs were sporadic and happened over 10 years. He did end both 15 months before dday. I mean I wanted to know each time the met and all the details. In the end I realized that was going to get me no where. And he just had so little clue. So after reading a lot, listening to Ether Perel and my therapist we focused on how it happened. What was going on with him. What did he get out of it. In the end I realized that he used them and it was all about him. I see now he let himself down first. He lived as a miserable person for 10 years and hated himself. I can see the change that started on dday. It has taken a ton of work, more from him than me since dday 3 years 3 months ago. I have watched closely to see if his actions match his words. I have been very specific on my boundaries and expectations. No it has not been perfect but there has been transparency and authenticity. We are in a good spot.

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    2. Hopeful - it drives me absolutely bat shit crazy that he couldn't remember something that happened within the last 3 months (the length of his affair) but could remember timing of things that we did when we first started dating 17 years ago.

      Help me - what boundaries did you put into place? I find myself struggling with this. I'm sure it has everything to do with my inability to ask for something ... but I've twisted it in my internal dialogue to I don't know what it would take for me to feel safe since this was all done with the manipulation of technology.

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    3. Kimberly, Sorry for the delay. My phone does not work for posts anymore, they never show up when I publish them then I typed one that was too long last night.

      I feel the same as you about the lack of ability to remember. I worked a lot with my therapist on this. We really went over it for about a year on and off. In the end my therapist really felt it was important for me to decide what more details would do for me and would I ever know everything. Many times my therapist said the details caused pain. My therapist had many patients that over time were never able to let it go or forget details and it in the end destroyed the marriage. Instead we focused on thinking about what I needed to move forward. And asking questions that centered on that instead of on x day what were you doing etc. Not easy but my therapist helped me a lot.

      As far as boundaries I have never needed to set them. I have done it at work and with friends but I watched my parents balance their partnership really well throughout my life and thought I had found that. I realized after dday and all of this work how selfish my husband was and how he was raised with zero consequences and rewarded for superficial things like athletics fed into this. I did not want to feel like his mom putting rules in place. I had always expected that he was doing the right thing as I have and would do. Even when confronted over the years I realized too that he was great at lying to my face when being questioned directly, gas lighting and compartmentalizing.

      My therapist helped me a lot with the boundaries and feeling more comfortable with them. Also this site Elle and others made it clear this is me saying what I need to feel safe to even consider staying in this marriage not just a rule or me telling him what to do. The rest is up to him. I tried to remove emotions from this aspect and make it matter of fact. I will say that the boundaries increased or got more restrictive over time. I think since as we moved farther away from dday my expectations elevated. What was okay on dday was not okay 2 years past dday. That was a little hard to figure out and explain.

      Our boundaries covered everything. It was as simple as call me during lunch, on your way home from work, I needed to know his work schedule each day, if he had any work meetings, he had to talk with me first before committing to anything and by talk I mean on the phone or face to face no texting, if he was going out then with who, where, when, what time would he be home, how much would he drink, if plans change a call to me immediately, if going out of town he made himself available to answer my call at any time, informed me of all plans ahead of time or as they came up, expectations with the kids and around the house were elevated. As far as the ow, he broke up with both ow (he had two sporadic affairs over 10 years) 15 months before dday. But we had a discussion if either was to contact him that he had to tell me first and we would decide if or what he would reply back. I made it very clear that this was his chance to be transparent. If he tried to hide anything it would set us back. He was good about this even though it was hard and would have been easier for him to just manage on his own.

      He himself imposed a mentality that he wanted to be authentic and transparent at all time. He wanted nothing to hide and for me to know everything. His goal since dday was to act as if I am standing next to him at all time. As he said he cannot control if a friend or peer says something not so great but he will remove himself or not feed into it. He says that since dday he has lived up to this and at about 2 years past dday I think it was he told me he was starting not to hate himself.

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    4. Part 2, sorry too long...

      I cannot remember if you are seeing anyone or what your exact situation is however I would urge you at least individually to see someone. I went alone and it was great for me. My husband is in the mental health field so he did not. I think in general wayward spouses should go to. I talked a lot with my therapist about this and they were okay with our situation. My husband did a lot of work and has had an amazing transformation. Not perfect but a big change. He is so much happier and has put it to use at work and feel really good about all of that. I think the hardest part now is juggling life and what type of marriage we want. Try though to think about what you need. I did journal every day. We set aside one time a week to talk and focus on our issues. This helped me be more concise and less scattered when we talked. He also knew and could gear up. This article was great my husband brought it home for work and still refers to it from The Atlantic, Masters of Love. John Gottman is great. I think it can be an approachable starting point. My husband is not going to read lots of books about affairs and his failings but this article was approachable. In the end I figured out I had to find a way to make this work for both of us. It has been a give and take. Keep posting and would love to hear your thoughts.

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  40. At 5 months out since my own D Day, I am clearly not qualified as a voice of experience. But I am married to man with very poor boundaries, and I have seen since he dropped his nuclear bomb that it was only when I voiced my willingness to leave the marriage if he failed to remake himself that he got serious about change. He had said he was sorry, that he wouldn't re-offend, but he wasn't digging deep. And him digging deep was ultimately my bottom line. I can't speak for you, or anyone else. But I was so wounded and so numb, and I knew I couldn't continue my life that way. Think about what your own bottom line is, and whether you have to be willing to lose the marriage to save it. Because in my case, that was where I had to stand.

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  41. I feel redundant but when do we know we can “actually” trust our feelings? What I mean by this is: one day I am loving and positive and completely confident we can conquer the world (really meaning him shattering my soul) and a few days later, I am caught up in this hurricane of contempt and fury and wonder why I don’t care more for myself to leave him and really show him.
    He has completely changed from the person he was and shown such devotion to making amends and salvaging the marriage, and yet I sit here day in and day out wondering how I can ever forgive what he put me through.
    I also feel deep guilt every time I reassure my girls that Daddy will not divorce Mommy again (when he cheated and left, he said he wanted a divorce) and I do not feel that is the truth!! Maybe we will divorce? I don’t know? I’m so angry he screwed up all of our lives and that it continually trickles into our daily life today. He says/does/feels all the right things and yet I fear I can’t get over it.
    How do I ever look at him again and not think about what he did? I’m so PISSED OFF!!! it’s been eight months and I don’t think I’m healing like I should be. Maybe I’m just putting on an act hoping it all works out? I’m so confused. I truly feel as though I cannot get over it, but how much longer do I keep trying for?

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    1. Tam,
      I know eight months feels like an eternity but I am sure you are still raw and wounded. Most experts say two to five YEARS before you feel truly past the pain. I was definitely closer to five. I felt better incrementally, rather than all at once.
      In answer to your question, you can trust your feelings right now. The loving positive feelings are valid. So is the fury. He betrayed you. He left you and said he wanted a divorce. The "new" him might be wonderful but that doesn't erase the "old" him who broke your heart. He is both those people. And you are both someone who can love him and be grateful for the changes he made and someone who can be furious and devastated by the pain he caused you.
      I don't know how old your girls are but I told my kids (youngest was around 4ish, middle 6, eldest 8) that mommy and daddy were having some problems. I pointed to friends who had disappointed them or excluded them and noted that even good friends sometimes hurt each other. And then I told them that I could promise we were working hard on mending our marriage, that we loved each other but that I didn't know how things were going to turn out. I promised them that they were deeply loved by both their parents and to, as best they could, leave it to the adults to deal with the adult stuff. We tried not to fight in front of them but I know they picked up on the tension in the house. That's all you can really do. Don't make promises you can't keep. Better to reassure them that, no matter what, THEY are loved and valued and free to be children right now. That's really what kids want to know: Am I going to be okay?
      Tam, whether or not you will "get over this" remains to be seen. We often say here that nobody really gets over it but they do get through it. This will always be part of your story. My advice is to be far more gentle with yourself. I suspect you're someone who isn't too patient with herself. You're expecting something that I think is unreasonable -- to be over what is likely the most painful experience in your life in months. Be kind to yourself. And trust all your feelings. They're legitimate. It is a total roller coaster for a long time. But the more permission you give yourself to just feel your feelings, the more they'll level out. It's holding yourself to these higher standards that are getting the way. The fury is legitimate and deserves to be felt. But so is the love.
      You may never "forgive" him. I'm not sure I have. But I am grateful for the man he is now. I'm grateful for the love we have. I'm grateful that I chose to stay and work it out. Whatever you ultimately choose to do, your path is yours alone. You get to decide.

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    2. Tam, Elle's advice is so good and has helped me a lot. My kids do not know anything. The only thing they noticed was I lost weight and was quieter. I blamed being busy and tired from work. They also have noticed their dad's increased support and involvement in helping me etc now that he is less detached. I have a few ideas maybe they will help you.

      Especially in the first 2-3 years I journaled daily. And sometimes that would be just a list of words, questions thoughts nothing specific just what I needed to write. My husband had a once a week time we scheduled to talk. We made sure this was when the kids were not home or had a babysitter. Before this weekly time I would look through my notes from the past week. This helped me zero in on what I needed to talk about. I tend to go off on tangents or spiral. I would leave our talks feeling worse. And I really did not want to talk every day about the affair or whatever it was. My husband was better prepared too he did not feel like he was going to get bombarded every day or randomly. It really helped us. Also by looking back at the journal you can see how far you have come. I feel like this process is a roller coaster but by looking back I can see how far I have come.

      As far as dealing with your kids I agree not to make false promises but assure them as Elle said. My therapist and I talked a lot about this. My therapist was helpful in crafting what to say to them and being prepared if they ask more details.

      And your thoughts about trusting yourself is something I went through in a major way. I had been very proactive during our marriage trying to make it better, I had not been naive that my husband could cheat on me. He lied to my face and pushed me away. It was all sporadic so that made it hard to zero in on and understand what was going on with him or our marriage. On dday when this came out I was somewhat relieved that I was not crazy and it was him. However I found it hard to trust myself. Then five months later dday 2 sent me over the edge. It was so hard since I knew something was off and he was still gaslighting me and treating me similar he did to pre dday. I worked a ton with my therapist on this. In the end I had to create appropriate boundaries with him and be very specific what I needed before I even consider trusting him again. Then I sat back and watched to see if his actions matched his words. This has evolved over time since my expectations have elevated.

      Now 3 1/2 years past dday things are a ton better. Not perfect at all that is for sure. It is still painful. I tend to retreat and spend a lot of time being introverted.

      We have both said we wish he had never done what he did. But since he did we are both glad it came out. At a certain point it would have imploded. And I have kids too. My main goal was to put every ounce of effort to make this work. Whatever he did was on him. I can say I am most proud how we have come together and worked through this in time for our kids to benefit. I would hate to see what it would have been like for our kids otherwise. As our kids have gotten older it is more important to support each other and be on the same team. I thought it was hard when they were little but preteen and teen years are way harder.

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  42. I need to express to you both Elle and Hopeful30, that your words are so significant to me. I cannot thank-you enough for taking the time from your busy lives to offer me the support and advice I so needed. As you know all too well, time to think and reflect can be not only painful but dangerous and I am so grateful to have your wisdom and encouragement to battle on. It’s truly what I need from women who actually understand. From my heart, thank you so much.

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    1. Tam,
      I agree that time to think and reflect can be painful but I don't think it's dangerous. Far more dangerous, I think, to bury the pain in busy-ness. It will find ways to make itself known -- through depression, self-harm, neglect, poor choices. The pain won't swallow you, I promise. It will feel horrible. But if you sit with it, you will discover that it will recede. Maybe slowly. But it will.
      When it arises, let yourself feel it as best you can. When you feel gratitude or love, let yourself also feel that.
      We all learn from each other here. There are undoubtedly many reading your comments who feel exactly the same way and are grateful to someone for articulating their ambivalence.
      Hang in there.

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  43. Please help. I've come to the place I feel nothing for my husband. I don't want to make love to him. We are cordial to each other and he does everything he can to make me feel better. He is trying very hard to make me happy. He is remorseful and ashamed. Sometimes when those feelings of remorse and shame take over him he lashes out at me and says things that are very hurtful to me. Last weekend he said "it was worth the money" I wouldn't have kept doing it if it wasn't worth the money" So if prostitutes were worth the money what am I worth? What was our marriage worth to you? Soul crushing words. He did tell me he felt so guilty sometimes and would tell himself he was never going to do it again. But he did until I caught him. When I asked him how much it cost he told me $200 with tip. I asked how much did you spend over 4 years? He said $28,800 but that was high. I call BS on that and know that is probably on the low end. When I did the math I cratered. 144 times! I collapsed in his arms. He tried to console me and tell me how sorry he was. Why, 18 months later, did it bother me so bad? I guess just hearing the magnitude for the first time was overwhelming. Consequently I feel nothing. Does this change with time?

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    1. Lily Love
      Our stories are different but we both have experienced deep trauma. I went through so many ups and downs and emotions that I couldn’t name them all! I did have days in the first year or two that I was convinced that I felt nothing for my h. I didn’t think I loved him but I didn’t think I hated him either! I decided I hated what he did and I hated her for the way she harassed both of us. Over time I decided that I didn’t even hate her so much as I pitied her because she was so delusional and she ultimately lost everything she held dear in her world. I finally let go of those emotions and I began to experience joy again. This was a very slow process for me! It took me months and months before my tears finally stopped! I think what we’re all entitled to our feelings and that they are pretty much normal! Hugs!

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    2. Thank you Theresa your words give me hope. Hugs to you too!

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  44. I need to add this. People keep saying the marriage was fractured. Therapist - we have to find where the crack in the foundation was. For me, there was no crack. He lived with me and loved me like he always had during those four years of visiting prostitutes (until three months before I discovered) We own a business together, ate lunch together many days, parented our adult children, played and loved on our grandchildren together, fished together nearly every weekend and when we weren't fishing we were making love in our secretly named bay house "The Love shack". Our kids were grown so we were unencumbered and having lots of fun.
    He is my best friend. We watched favorite tv shows together at night and talked politics. Our 24 year marriage ritual is that he tucks me in every night, meaning he lays down with me and hugs me and holds me before I go to sleep. I go to bed earlier than he does so afterwards he stays up and watches tv. (now I know this is when he did his searching for prostitutes on Craigslist) He signed all cards, business notes, etc. IYM (I'm Your Man - Leonard Cohen song) He even wrote it in the concrete at the bottom of our stairs at our bay house.
    How was that fractured? I want to know if I'm crazy. We had our problems too. Normal couple stuff, money, blended family, taking care of an elderly parent (outside of our home)Inlaws, etc. I never felt he was disconnected until the very end before I found out.
    Why can't it just be that the internet is a very provocative place and for a couple hundred bucks a horny guy can show up and get whatever he wants with a woman 30 years younger than his wife!
    Can it possibly not be about the marriage????? And all about him and his bad choices? Why can't it be that he fractured the marriage? That he cracked the foundation by his actions?

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    1. LilyLove,
      Wow. Our stories sound a whole lot alike.
      Does your therapist understand/work with sex addicts? Because that's the thing with what you're dealing with -- this isn't garden-variety cheating. Your husband was compulsively acting out. So the short answer is no, you're not crazy. Your husband had a HUGE secret that he was really good at hiding. The fracture is within him, not necessarily the marriage.
      Have you read Stefanie Carnes, Mending a Shattered Heart? I found it so helpful. It really validates the experience of the wife married to someone acting out compulsively.
      I'm also curious whether your husband is in any sort of treatment/group. (I apologize if you posted about it already -- I can't always keep people's stories straight). Because him turning on you and lashing out in anger is NOT okay and though it's likely a product of his own deep shame, it sets you both back.
      You have every right to ask all those questions. And you will have questions for a LONG time. Those of us duped for many many years have to mentally rewrite our own history. Like you, I spent a lot of nights asleep thinking my husband was up watching TV or "working" on his computer. It shifts our worldview/history to discover that we were utterly wrong.
      Fill me in on what sort of treatment you're both in. And whether he's a diagnosed sex addict (cause it sure as hell sounds like he's one).

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    2. Our MC is an IMAGO therapist so sex addiction hasn't been named. I go to individual therapy and she thinks
      he is an addict. He doesn't think he is because he quit when I caught him. I definitely think he is and he refuses to go to individual therapy for himself! His triggers from his shame always set me back. Now I am in that plain of lethal flatness you talk about.Thanks, I will get the book you recommend. I look at old pictures and think he was doing THAT during that time. You are so right about rewriting our history. It is so difficult and painful to do. It destroys your foundation and security. On some other post you wrote that you weren't ready to leave but you didn't want to stay either. I'm right there. I don't know about anyone else but that place makes me anxious, sad and a touch crazy.

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    3. I can relate in many ways to you LilyLove, My husband had two affairs over 10 years. They were somewhat sporadic. And not everything was perfect but we too were so close and shared so much in common and day to day. I would say even during the affair years we still had the best relationship out of any couples we know. Sad but true. After dday I struggled to grasp all of this but over time and learning more this is about him and his issues. He was the broken one and he lied to me every day and also when asked very direct questions about the possibility of other women. So this is on him. And he takes 100% responsibility. Without hiring a private detective there is no way I would have known. The one affair he only saw her 4 times over 10 years and they would go 12-18 months without texting or emailing. The other one was slightly more frequent but again without being a detective no clue. What this does explain was when there were lows was most likely when he had been with one of them. He has told me he never planned to leave me and had zero desire to be with them. He recently told me he still struggles with the why. He can explain it but still it never seems like a good enough reason to do what he did to the person he loves most in the world.

      My husband said some terrible things to me. He told me we should have never gotten married, he did not have enough time to play the field,..I could go on and on. He does not even remember saying these things and I have a feeling it was a defense mechanism. He said on dday he did not know if he could change and even stay married. He gave himself 6 months of being dedicated to changing. This is a long road for not only us but the ones who cheated. My husband also did this all as a mental health professional. He said he know before he ever did one thing wrong it was not right. He said right before he cheated on me the first time and each time after he was screaming in his head no and to stop. He has all the education, training and real life professional experience too. But he betrayed himself first and foremost.

      My biggest suggestion is to get individual and couples therapy. Ideally with someone who specializes in this. I did travel 1 1/2 hour to see someone that is a specialist. It was great to have a professional that had seen it all and also was there to support what I needed and wanted. I knew I wanted to try 100% to create a new marriage. My therapist was supportive with what I needed. It was so great to have someone just for me.

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    4. Thank you Hopeful 30. How long ago was your DDay?

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    5. Lily Love,you have received a lot of good advice here and my story sounds like yours except that my husband did accept counseling individually and couples. He said he would do anything that I wanted in order to stay married. If your husband is willing to do anything then he needs to figure out why he made those choices. My husband spent 10 years hiring prostitutes and I never knew. He cheated on me in 1982 and I never knew. He still doesn't know why he chose the Asian prostitutes but he knows why he paid for sex. (shame, childhood abuse, etc) He took the online test for sex addicts and scored very high. He feels shame. We are 3 years and a month past D-day. My marriage was not fractured in my eyes. Yes we had problems and challenges but I never thought he managed his self-worth with paid sex and porn and fantasy. Sickens me. I am much more level headed now than after D-day when he confessed because he thought he had AIDS. Wow, it took that fear for him to hit bottom and decide he was probably going to die anyway so he confessed. He hated his life and himself. He thought he was a worthless piece of shit. He always knew it was wrong and did it anyway and he felt worse after the event. I don't know if he will ever go back to porn or prostitutes again but we both know that if he does, he is gone from my life. I work on me and how I feel about me. Statistically speaking, I should outlive him and I want to be healthy as I move forward. We will be married 40 years in January and I am 67 as is he. Our family and friends adore him and he has a lot to lose. He has to look in the mirror every day and see himself. He has triggers every day that remind him what an idiot he was. He gets to make decisions every day as do I. Please find a good therapist. You deserve it. Look into taking a Mindfulness class. It helps so much. Honestly, your husband spent thousands of dollars on whores so he doesn't get to say a single word about what you spend on yourself to feel better. As another BW here once said, "Fuck that shit".

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    6. LilyLove, Dday was 3 1/2 years ago. There was a dday two that was 5 months after dday 1. It is a long road. Lots of good but it is hard.

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  45. LilyLove
    I know how that feels too! That plane of nothingness. It hurts like hell too! I know how you feel about dates of things that happened during ‘that time’. That said for him it was so long ago when it happened and he can’t stand to remember, too painful for him that he was that stupid, so he’s just having to deal with the fall out of my frustration even when it’s not because of him but because of every day stress! Usually they trigger just like we do but it’s with shame and guilt rather then hurt:anger. Not sure if this makes sense but it’s what I have lived through...

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    1. Theresa, you hit the nail on the head! "I trigger with anger, hurt and disgust and he triggers with shame, guilt and regret." I must remember this.

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  46. The past few months have been interesting. More stressful in general so that has caused a lot of our issues. I find it puzzling how my husband and I deal with our thoughts, feelings and emotions so differently. To this day he avoids and sweeps them under the rug as much as possible. I try to cope and use various techniques as much as possible but they will bubble up on me. For me it is not the fear of betrayal again. If he were to do that it is all on him. It is more the coping with the trauma/pain and also feeling like our current life is like the "affair years". I guess we tend to settle into daily life. And a lot of that feels like the affair years. Maybe since his affairs were sporadic which made it impossible to detect them.

    I have explained to him how I have a physical reaction and the only thing I an think is it is my version of ptsd. I do not think intellectually or even in my gut he is doing anything. He then brought up when we went to a new restaurant for dinner how he was panicked that we might run into one of the ow. He said he felt so lucky that we/he never has. He told me his plan if it were to happen. Then he goes through beating himself up about it, his regret, his shame etc. So I know he thinks about it, worries about it but he does not offer up these thoughts.

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    1. Hopeful 30, it is interesting that you posted this today as I've been feeling the same as you. Life now pretty much feels a lot like before D-day in many ways but it has improved exponentially in many ways, especially regarding conversations and intimacy. Maybe it is because we are retired and have a lot of time together now but we also know that his choice of stranger sex means it is unlikely he will ever run into his whore of the day unless he actually went back to the same massage parlor or brothel but again his Asian whores were probably trafficked and moved around despite him thinking not. (Easier for him not to feel worse shame if he thinks they were choosing that field of work.) Because sex is in the news daily and often many times a day thanks to our disgusting POS president, it slaps my husband in the face all the time. As a matter of face, we were watching the news last night and talking about the idiot's tweets when I said, without thinking, "I'm sure he is desperate to buy a whore but can't because there are too many eyes on him." Yikes, it was a spontaneous remark with no ulterior motives or thoughts but we did observe a verbally unrecognized "moment of silence" as both of us processed my comment. That tells me how comfortable I've become in my life at this point 3 years post D-day but it was likely a sucker punch in his gut. The biggest change I see in my husband is that he is no longer chronically grumpy and distant. He does not drink himself into a stupor at night. He smiles a lot and he continually tells me how much he loves me, how much he appreciates his second chance and how happy he is with his life. When you start to live honestly you don't have to worry about covering up lies. That for him is wonderful.

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    2. Beach Girl, Yes the news is tough to watch. I find it hard when my husband criticizes our president for his behaviors considering he was very similar and exhibited many of the same traits. I think it was based on insecurity and his ego, he also was very successful at a young age. That meant lots of money, exciting trips, gambling, strip clubs, nice car etc... This I am sure was attractive to both of these women and all the others. Interesting he was introduced to both ow by one of his lowest level friends.

      My husband tells me that today he feels amazing. He is happier than ever etc. He has brought up that he feels like his negative self image and dark cloud over him has transferred to me. It is an interesting concept. And I think there is some truth to it. He feels like it was an entirely different life. And good for him he can turn the page. I have tried to explain to him he made those choices and I think it is easier for him to put it in the past. He did let himself down but for me it is like this wound that keeps opening up. I wonder if going to my old or a new therapist would help. But then I think it feels like I just keep talking about it. I do not think the grass is greener and leaving him is right yet or will make it all better. We have built a better and more quality marriage and there is lots of good to enjoy daily but it is hard.

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    3. Hopeful 30 & Beach Girl - thank you for continuing to talk this out ... even all of these years later. I feel completely stuck right now and while I am trying silently figure it all out in my head it helps to read from the 2 of you who have been in my shoes and who have made it through ... but still question things. It makes me feel "normal!"

      I had a long post typed out last night on my phone while my H was driving and I hit log out instead of publish. I'm not sure I have it in me to type it all back out but here's the gist.

      I am going through a HUGE trigger period. I find myself ruminating and everything seems to be setting me off. It was a year ago that he told me that he needed to cut off ties with his AP "his way" ... and that he couldn't tell her he couldn't communicate with her anymore because it "would destroy her." He led me to believe for so many months that he'd ended things but he confessed in February that he hadn't stopped communicating with her and that she was actually the one to cut things off.

      I found a Craigslist ad on 3/2 ... and I replied to it. I *knew* it was him. He even replied with his real name. But I let him gaslight me into hoping that it wasn't.

      In late June I found an instagram page where he followed the OW's mother and aunt (and a page that she is a social media specialist for) ... I think I decided then I was done. But a few weeks ago I found his Chrome history and learned that in April she had a lawyer send him a "leave me the fuck alone" letter.

      As I type this I know what I need to do. I just do not think I'm strong enough to get through this with him. But then I look at my baby loves and I am not quite sure I'm strong enough to walk away from this family and hurt them either.

      By all accounts - he wants me to believe he's trying. He wants me to believe he's a "new man" and that he doesn't want to be that man anymore. That he doesn't want to live the double life. That he knew all along that it was me he wanted but he just didn't know how to cut ties with her.

      But I just can't ... or maybe won't ... forgive/forget/move through/get over ... whatever we're supposed to say to this. I know that I'm so close to DDay #gazillion ... (how many more does 1 person have to have)?

      I know I need to find a therapist. The logical person inside of me says so. But the illogical, broken person doesn't want another person to judge my stupidity. Because I *knew* in my gut that he wasn't over with the OW. I *knew* in my gut that the ad in March was him. I *knew* in my gut he wasn't being honest with me. I *knew* ... yet I turned my head and squinted just right to convince myself that it wasn't. That there was another explanation.

      And if truth be told part of me wants to just do the same thing and see what it is that he's trying to convince me of ... even though my gut tells me that's not real either.

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    4. Kimberly, What I have learned is this is hard and something that will be part of my life whether I am with or without my husband. I try to separate that from my kids and everything else.

      I will say if you find the right therapist they will not judge you. They will be there to walk you through what you want and need to do. Some of what they say is not what any of us want to hear but finding the right balance of support but honesty is so helpful. My therapist and I spent a lot of time going over exactly what I should say to my husband. Some of it I never used. I would not say it was role playing but it helped. The biggest thing was my therapist boosted my confidence. I think over the 20+ years together I stopped focusing on my husband and only focused on me. My husband always had a way of hanging around and pointing out others who were worse. Well my therapist said that I had given my husband 100% trust and support. He gave up all of that with his poor decisions. My therapist was so supportive in helping me see what was legitimate and what was over the top that he did. I traveled about 1 1/2 hours to see my therapist. I googled infidelity therapist. My therapist had a lot of experience and was licensed. I was so glad I chose who I did. My first few appointments were double since I had to drive far and to get my therapist up to speed. My therapist had seen and heard it all. Granted my therapist was surprised by what my husband had done based on his profession but also he had never seen anyone change as much has he has. That is one other thing replaying everything to my therapist helped me trust my husband sooner than I would on my own. I was very guarded and felt I could never trust him. Through my monthly appointments my therapist guided me through this.

      The work will never end but honestly my therapist was amazing. This blog is so important but getting the help from a professional was critical for me.

      Try doing a google search. Reach out to a few via email. That is what I did. I picked based on their website and then the email reply. What stood out to me was my therapist said we would talk through everything and they would support me staying in the marriage (as long as there was no abuse) or leaving. I liked that I was going to guide the process. Get the support then your decision will be made easier.

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    5. I agree that it's incredibly helpful to read as Beach Girl and Hopeful30 ruminate on where they are, where they've been, where they're going. And Kimberly, I think your resistance to therapy is about the message you're giving yourself. That you were stupid. That you should have done something then. Etc. We all have that horrible script in our heads at some point or another. BUT...when we know better, we do better. And you know better now. So...what will you do with that.
      When we frame everything as a binary (leave/stay, forgive/condemn), it doesn't leave us much room for anything else.
      What if...you made an appointment for a therapist today. Your Next Right Step. What if...you decided to ask for a separation in order to clear your head? What if...you took a mini-vacation on your own for a few days, again to clear your head? There are lots of other possibilities than divorce/marriage. You're allowed to be uncertain. You're allowed to create whatever scenario works best for you. In fact...that's what each of us should do.

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    6. Kimberly, no therapist worth her/his license would ever criticize or judge you for being who you are and going through this awful pain. Your husband is in desperate need of a therapist to talk to about his vile choices. You do too. It sounds,from your post, that your husband is still active in his pursuit of others and that is unacceptable. (it is to me at least) I suspect that if my husband would not break off with his whore after I found out because it would "destroy her" I'd show him the door and ask him to leave because what he did destroyed my faith in him and he doesn't seem to care about that at all. Get some legal advice right away. I did that. It shocked my husband to find out I did that. I asked him, "What did you expect me to do about our finances knowing how you like to spend on whores, massage clubs and strip joints?" He knew I was serious. Good luck. Find someone to talk with. Use Hopeful30's suggestion for googling someone with the proper credentials. Just do it for you. Your life and the life of your kids depends on you getting yourself back to the place where you can trust yourself.

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  47. Hi Ladies-
    My current struggle is not with my husband, but with the AP/OW. My husband and I are on a good path. Here is some info to bring you up to speed- My husband started an affair on St Patrick’s Day 2017 with a newly (3 months) married woman, 10 yrs younger. She works in the same profession as my husband and I do, but in a different country. We run in a prof. circle where there is a high probability that our paths cross. May 2017, Mother’s Day was DDay. My H severed the affair on our Anniversary in July 2017 (double nice!!). The OW’s husband does not know the physical extent of the affair, nor of a trip they took together.
    Last year, 2 weeks after they severed contact there was a super yearly sporting event open to the professional group held in a different country. For my husband and I, it was high profile as we have been around for years. I found out that the OW would be there, without her husband. Before “he severed”, they had planned on meeting up there, which is why I went. I contacted her about it through a work email and she texted me back that she had no qualms about attending. She did not see it as a problem, even though it had only been 3 weeks. I sent her a very well written email I had ready for an occasion like this that objectively told her all that I knew, showed evidence of what I had and sent pictures of my kids and I so she knew we were human beings. Unfortunately for her, my husband did not hide the abundance of selfies, audio/video clips and copied text messages with quite a bit of gooey details. She asked to call me and we talked. Long story short, the OW did not attend, begged me not to say anything to her husband and sent me her flight cancellation. In the end, I drew a very clear boundary both in the email and on the phone. I told her professionally we will meet. Socially, if she ever comes close to my family ever again, I will tell her husband about the affair. It is her choice and consequences.
    Next week, we are hosting the social event in our country. My husband and I our planning it. My kids will attend part of it. There is a very high probability that she will be there. If she is, do I confront her? Do I tell her husband? I am having some moral issues on the whole thing. I hired a PI to gather all of his contact information. I am sick about this all. My stress level is through the roof.

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    1. Oh Being Patient - the million dollar question right?

      I have all of my OW's husband's information ... I threatened to tell if she came back around ... and guess what ... I didn't. But honestly, I don't regret it. He looks like a perfectly nice guy ... why should I ruin his existence like I sometimes feel she did mine? Honestly though - it's the daughter that keeps me from speaking up. She is the one who would end up hurt in the end.

      I think that showing up with your head held high is the best revenge you could possibly inflict on the OW.

      Delete
    2. Being Patient,
      I'm so sorry for everything you're going through. Must she attend? Will there be enough people that you can avoid her? I had a couple of instances where I worried that I would run into the OW at one of my husband's business events. I had a friend who worked in the same office who basically told me she had my back -- and that did SO much to help me feed confident enough to show up and know that, no matter how it played out, I had someone who was watching out for me. Could you do something like that with your husband? Even role-play running into her? How do you want to handle it? How do you want your husband to handle it? Is there an ally you can enlist to keep an eye out and give you a heads up about where she is, etc? Can you rehearse a response should she seek you out, or you bump into her? I know one woman on this site practised saying "I have nothing to say to you." over and over until it felt rote enough that she wouldn't be lost for words.
      In the end, you, of course, have every reason to hold your own head high. You're the moral victor in this situation. However, I know how destabilizing it can feel.
      Let us know how you decide to handle this. But please know that there's an invisible army of us behind you however you handle it.

      Delete
    3. Being Patient, what happened at this sporting event? Maybe what happened can help others. I care about what happened as this is a never ending dilemma.

      Delete
    4. I wouldn't tell her husband AT the event, but I would meet him & get his contact info and be sure she was scared to death.

      Delete
  48. Being Patient & Elle,
    Elle, that was me who rehearsed “I have nothing to say to you”. You gave me the words, thank you. It really helped! My h and ow work in the same field and unfortunately I’ve had to see her many times. It wasn’t easy even though every time it was from a distance. What my husband and I did beforehand was decide to be together as much as possible during these events. We held each others hand. We were as ready as possible just in case there was a close encounter. I told my husband that I didn’t want to turn around and avoid her. I wanted to stand tall & present a united front. It was doubly difficult because she was someone I considered a dear friend. She knew my kids & had many conversations with them. She had to see them, too.

    A few of our friends knew about their relationship after d-day. One in particular physically helped me stand tall in the presence of the ow. I’ll never forget her kindness. (The others, unfortunately, have seemed to reestablished their friendship with the ow. Triple whammy, another story...)

    It’s been over a year and I still have had no contact with her. It’s a good thing. I still have nothing to say to her. I’ll see her again in the coming months, hopefully it’ll get better.

    BP- stand tall, have a plan, be brave, we are with you.

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  49. Thank you Elle, Kimberly and Gem for your support. I want to take the high road, will have support and am talking with my husband. The part I am having a hard time is with her crossing a very clear boundary that was set and me not following through. This sporting event will all go down next Saturday. I am speculating a 75% chance of her being there considering how she responded to our chat last year. She is a team player loves sports, and highly competitive. She seems to do and get whatever she wants. I can imagine this as a huge challenge for her, perhaps a high. I can also see that she is a driving force in her team and would have a hard time bowing out without a lot of peer pressure. Her husband works outside of our profession and will not be there. All that considered....What do do you think about the boundary set?

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    1. I have not been in your same situation since my husbands affairs were not at work. What I have learned through all of this is that I can only control myself. And I have set boundaries with my husband. I thought about contacting the ow but never have. My husband, therapist and I talked a lot about this. And basically my relationship is with my husband. Also the ow did what she did because of who she is. Most likely neither ow would feel bad or consider my boundaries. My husband made it clear he was married with kids, never planned to leave me, did not love them etc. They could care less. I have worried about running into them or my kids encountering one of them. So far 3 1/2 years and that has not happened. They have reached out to my husband and each time he shared it with me and we blocked their numbers together.

      In the end you have to do what you are comfortable with. How you are describing this woman I am not sure she cares about you, your kids or your boundaries. It is sad but these people are out there. Is there any chance you can eventually switch industries/companies etc?

      Delete
  50. Excellent essay on what real repentance looks like. When men fall short of this, when ego and self-preservation of status still reigns, it is hard to forgive: https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/famous-abusers-seek-easy-forgiveness-rosh-hashanah-teaches-us-repentance-is-hard/2018/09/06/c2dc2cac-b0ab-11e8-9a6a-565d92a3585d_story.html?utm_term=.23e7bdd65370

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    1. That was a really good article. Thanks for sharing. I find this all very interesting. For us it is a secret and no one knows so there is no public shame. My husband does have a lot of friends who ask him why he has changed so much. I will say I think it might be a male thing this moving on. I know I am stereotyping. We have been doing well in general but my husband never sees things through the lens I do of post affair life. I can only attribute it to him wanting to not face the shame. Something came up recently where he was talking about women his divorced friends are dating now.He brought it up how these women cling, fawn over, get drunk, and seem desperate for their attention. To me it was a major trigger since it seems the same/similar to the ow but he was married. He could tell I froze and did not get it. I had to explain to him the connection I felt/saw. He said he would never draw the connection. I guess for me everything is clouded or like a dark cloud of the affects from the affair years. Sigh... But in general I think these men can move past and push this stuff behind them. I would have to say I think it is from the way men go through life...

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    2. Their pain from this is different from our pain. Moving on from having your sense of safety and security and love, is much longer and harder. Alas, there is a fair bit of our healing that doesn't have to do with whether he understands or how he responds.

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    3. MBS -- You always find such great articles.

      I haven't been here for a while, but I've been "feeling stuck" again lately so here I am. My H has done everything right -- per this article and more -- and I trust him now, but I'm still not wanting to be close to him. Various reasons, but mostly I just feel "meh." Its been 3 years.

      Your comment "there is a fair bit of our healing that that doesn't have to do with whether he understands or how he responds" really struck a nerve for me -- I think I know what you mean and I think this explains a lot of my "meh" -- that I'm not done with my healing yet, no matter what work he's done to become a great husband bc maybe its not all about him. But I'd really like to hear more about this idea. Can you elaborate?

      Delete
    4. Sal, I struggle a lot with the meh feeling too. I am at 3 1/2 years. For me I think it relates to life feels a lot like pre dday. Not the bad parts but just how life is busy. And it is hard to find time to do much else besides the necessities. It makes me question everything. I kind of feel like it is that day to day drudgery, status quo. Ugh.

      Delete
    5. Thanks Hopeful30. Its good to be heard. I also feel like I'm questioning everything lately. And my answer is just "wtf???". I feel naive and the fool. Like how did I not notice that everyone was having adultery without me? My husband, my friends, my relatives, pop culture, our politicians, my church, everyone. Good grief folks, can't we just tone it down a notch?
      I know I'm just feeling sorry for myself. And this will pass. I need to work on being more confident with my choices -- I'm not an adulterer and that should be enough for me. No one else's business. But some days... Sigh.

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    6. Sal, Yes Yes Yes!!! I feel like it is all around me too. The current political climate keeps bringing it up or also what I feel like are behaviors that only a person who has betrayed their spouse would do. I think if you lie about that there are other things you lie about and push boundaries. Also even when I am with like minded people it always seems to come up. It comes up at the gym, with friends, volunteering. I get so tired of it. I feel like can no one have morals. It feels like the majority of people focus on what is in it for me. I am at a spot where I trust my husband but then things come up that just rock me to the core. Him not even saying Happy Anniversary this year is still affecting me. Then I start questioning myself and ask why even celebrate it or acknowledge it. But then our kids, parents and friends say things. Makes me want to vomit. He apologized which was fine but you can't go back and undo it. Now going forward if he does anything I feel like it is only for me. Then I go even deeper and think are we just not compatible. He could care less about any holiday or celebration. I am not over the top but it is nice to acknowledge them and feel special once in a while to break up every day life. IDK It is really frustrating.

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    7. Hey Sal,
      I didn't see your reply until now. I guess what I mean about "there is a fair bit of our healing that doesn't have to do with whether he understands or how he responds" is this. My H gets a D in the response department. So I have stopped trying to convince him of what I know to be true--ie, "my heartbreak, my rules" and all the other things Elle writes about. So I have decided to get fully on the horse of dealing with what I need to make my life the way I want it. And I have a ton of baggage to undo. We need to find our strength, spirit, and joy as if our partners weren't in the picture even if they are in the picture. Who are we and what are we about regardless of to whom we are with? A big part of my pain was the reliance I placed on him for strength, spirit and joy. It was as if her ripped that rug out from under me. So I am working on making myself a little bit more resilient. Let me know what you think it means for you.

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    8. Hi MBS and Hopeful30,
      I logged on today after a bit away and I've just been in a zone for about an hour thinking about your responses.
      Strength, spirit, and joy. I think a lot of where I'm at now is a mid-life thing, more than a betrayed wife thing. And if I'm honest with myself (admittedly hard some days!), I have more strength, more spirit, and -- not more, but more deeply felt -- joy than I did before DDay. I'm living more thoughtfully. None of this makes me feel better about my H's adultery, but it does make me feel better about myself. Thanks as always for your feedback -- wise words from wise women!

      Delete
  51. Hi, I have been reading through this site for months and almost always, it has been a lifesaver and inspiring. It has been now almost six months from DD and we went from a terrible start to a slight improvement in our marriage, however, it seems that I am so stuck up with the whole betrayal issue that I cannot move on, I feel I am at my tipping point with anger, tearfulness, frustration and emptiness and unfortunately this leaks to all other aspects of my life, including kids that are getting shouted at unnecessarily for doing kids' things. I feel I can't go on functioning in this mechanical manner any more. I have tried therapist but didn't help, looking for a different one but so hard to choose one. How do you train your brain to look at the positives and stop the ugly voices that keep on leading you on negativity?.

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    1. Anonymous,
      It's a pretty normal stage, which might help you feel a little less crazy. It's like, once the numbness and shock wears off, the anger/frustration/pain takes its place.
      But, you rightfully want to protect your children from this. If you can, build in space between their behaviour and your action. Mindfulness can really help with creating this. Learn to sit with your emotions, just breathing through them. Recognize that you don't need to "do" anything...just sit. It helps us create that space so that rather than react to things, we respond to them. In other words, we act intentionally rather than reactively.
      Place signs around the house to remind you to "stop" before reacting. Maybe it's an actual picture or drawing of a stop sign. Maybe it's some symbol that will remind you -- anything that gets you to pause before getting angry or frustrated with them.
      They're undoubtedly sensing the tension in your house and, quite possibly, acting up out of their own fear or insecurity. You can't shield them from stress or anxiety -- kids are incredibly sensitive. But you can assure them that though mom and dad are having troubles right now, they are loved and safe and their parents are doing their best to work through their problems. You can even enlist them to point out to you when you're being unfair to them though that might open a can of worms that's hard to close again.
      And yes, try another therapist. Don't worry so much about getting it right. Just try. You'll find someone, either now or soon, who can help you.
      And keep a gratitude journal -- write down five things each night that you're grateful for. It will help you "train your brain" to notice the positives. Sometimes the list might be "I'm grateful I didn't get hit by a bus today". Other times, it might include, "I'm grateful my husband is still beside me" or "I'm grateful my kids are healthy and whole enough to drive me nuts." Maybe it's a beautiful sunset, or birdsong, or a great book or movie. Whatever it is, notice it.
      You'll get there, Anonymous. But it's a tough road.

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    2. I will say what helped me most when I was in your spot was cutting back on all non necessary commitments. For the first two years I only did what I absolutely had to. I said no all the time. I needed to do that to protect myself. I focused only on myself and my kids. And not extra things but basic necessities. I was able then to find joy in focusing as much time with my kids. I still find 3 1/2 years later when I get overloaded with whatever it is I do not do well. All I can figure is I am less resilient than I was pre dday. But I also recognize that I protect myself more now. I see that as a healthy thing.

      I think that keeping a journal is very beneficial. I used it to look back every week and see what was bothering me at the time for therapy or to talk with my husband. It allowed me to get out frustrations on paper rather than those around me. And the most beneficial aspect was I was able to look back through my notes and see how far I had come and what I learned. It is really hard while you are in this how far you have come. It made it easy to celebrate even the smallest successes.

      As far as finding a therapist I looked for someone who was licensed. I also searched for someone who was an expert in betrayal. I Could tell by their website they focused on that area. I then exchanged emails and based on the replies I felt like it was a good fit. I wanted a therapist who would support me if I decided to stay, not all do support that as a first choice. My husband is in the mental health field and I was surprised going through this how little his education and training focused on dealing with this. He knows general CBT treatment plans that can be applied to these situations. But they do not take a class on this or anything close to relationships, marriage, betrayal, fidelity etc. It gets covered in different classes but only touched on. Probably the most likely is if someone has a focus on marriage and family therapy. It is not my experience that this is common. And in reality when people have a private practice they do everything typically since that is the reality of running a business. I traveled over 1 1/2 hours to get to a larger metro area that has more specialists. I also made sure this person had experience and was not just doing lots of other therapy or as a side gig. My therapist held double sessions the first few times to help with the time commitment/drive. Then we only met once a month. It was so valuable for me. Along with the website it really helped me separate myself from my husband's poor decisions. This was about him not me then how to deal and cope with it all.

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  52. Anon 09/17/18

    I could easily have typed your exact same post ... even today more than 15 months after DDay I find myself here.

    I would encourage you to keep looking for a new therapist ... a trusted support group ... a good journal ... anything to get the thoughts that cloud our heads out into the light of day. My journal looks so angry and some days it scares me. It's the ONLY place that the true negative thoughts come out.

    I am still in the seeking phase for my new therapist. I have her picked out ... she specializes in trauma and has worked with women who have recovered from infidelity. I just need to make that final call and schedule an appointment.

    I know that several of the other ladies have talked about medication. I have friends who take low doses for anxiety. I think I read someone say that it was just enough to slow the mind so that it would start to repair itself.

    This recovery shit is for the birds ... that's for sure! But just know you are not alone!

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  53. My way of coping these days is to distract myself as much as possible during the day to keep my head clear. I have listened to more Netflix and Amazon Prime than I should ... I'm sure my employer would can me because they'd probably never believe I really do just listen.

    Today I'm listening to Boys on the Side with Mary Louise Parker, Drew Barrymore and Whoopi Goldberg.

    There is a scene when Mary Louise Parker's character is talking to her mom. She's on a trip that she took as a childhood. Here's the interaction:

    “I thought somehow if I made this trip again we’d all be here again in the end like this.” (looking at a picture of her family as a child)

    “You have to let it go.”

    “But I can’t.”

    “But You have to darling, because it’s never gonna come out any differently. No matter how any times you make this trip.”

    This - this right here. It's where I'm at. I know ... therapy ... I get it. But in the mean time this is where I'm at. I keep playing the past 2 years over and over in my head. I look at pictures and I see new meaning behind the look in his eyes. And I'm so tired.

    But it's time to let it go. No matter how many times I replay it - no matter how many times I try to connect the dots - the outcome remains the same.

    And it sucks.

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    1. Kimberly,
      Yes, it sucks. There's just no way around that. And yes, therapy. That's the key that can unlock a future in which you accept that this is your story but that's it's not the whole of your story.

      Delete
    2. Kimberly, I totally get it too. I had/have many of those feelings. Less now at 3 1/2 years past dday. More from outsiders all excited about how we met, getting asked about our wedding or anniversary. When we go to weddings I do not like it....

      For me I really used therapy to the max. We worked through what I needed to do to move forward whatever that meant. My therapist was awesome. Many times we would go over what I would say to my husband. And for me/us in the end we had to work it all out between the two of us. But I felt supported and grounded through the therapy. My husband and I had a weekly meeting and we would talk about different things. Sometimes it was not even the affair. We worked through that on and off. Then a lot of it was what kind of marriage do I want, what are my expectations. Nothing could stay the same. But we had to do this together and it has brought us so close. It was horrible at times but now we are so close. Far from perfect but we are really close. My husband is in the mental health field and from the beginning he talked about corrective emotional experiences. I really try to buy into this. It does help and work, not 100% but I try hard. I am good at anticipating what will bother me and I tell him. Together we come up with a game plan and that helps both of us.

      I know how you feel and for me I made gradual changes and plans along the way to help me move forward. That is all we can do. They have to decide if they want to move forward, change themselves and be there for you too.

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    3. Hopeful30, you just hit one of my sensitive nails on the head regarding other people, including family members, wanting to hear again and again the fairy tale of how we met, fell in love, got engaged and married. From him selling his Harley to buy our rings, etc. Just makes me want to puke and I've told him never to talk about that love story again, ever. I discount every word of that story. I've even told him he should have just kept the motorcycle. Nothing is ever going to be the same again with us individually or in our marriage. I am still figuring out what it all means for me. I take it one day at a time. He knows and has shared that he almost lost the only thing he ever cared about, me. He feels so close to me now. Me? I'm still very cautious about how I feel. I can say "I love you" and mean it in the moment but I'm not banking on those old feelings surfacing again. I'm hoping for new and more authentic feelings. Only time will tell.

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    4. Beach Girl, Yes very much the same for me. He is so authentic and verbalizes his feelings in such touching ways. I feel the same as you. I say I love you and I do love him. I think even if we were not together I would love him after our life together even with the bad times. I think much of that is attributed to our earliest years and the bond of having our kids together. I too hope to have more authentic feelings. Where all I want is to be with him. I miss being excited to spend time with him and just be near him. I hope one day to feel genuinely happy. We will have to wait and see.

      Delete
  54. I feel like I'm right on the edge of something huge and I'm just feeling frozen to the spot. I don't want to stay in this limbo but I'm so scared of what comes next.

    We've been together for 18 years, married for 11. He had an affair 2.5 years ago and we worked really hard to get past it. I felt like we had made good progress but obviously there were still some triggers and rough patches.
    Last week he was weird all week, acting guilty and emotional, and it finally came out that he had been chatting, flirting and had gotten breast pictures from another woman.
    And just to make it extra fucking weird... That woman is his cousin.

    I told him we were done, that I couldn't go through this again but I changed my mind and scheduled counseling for us to give it one last shot.
    Counseling went OK. That night he held me and apologized and talked about needing more sexually. We agreed to get to a better place of trust before venturing into new things.
    Then he went silent for a few days and when I finally called him on it he basically said he needs to think about his needs finally and even though he'll always love me this just might not be what he needs.
    Our counselor had said at one point that she could help us with figuring out custody so we could do that out of court, so I brought that up as what we should talk about our next session. When she said that we had both agreed that we parent well together even when our relationship isn't working, but this time He shot it down saying he wouldn't be fairly represented and that he needs a lawyer.
    In his next breath he said he'd like to try again to work things out. Wtf.

    Everything he is saying is so conflicting. I don't even know what to think This isn't the man I married and I don't know how to deal with him or what to expect next.

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    1. Icequeen,
      I'm so sorry for what you're going through. This guy is messing with your head (though he sounds pretty messed in the head himself). I think you need to be the adult here. Don't take any responsibility for his stuff around needing a lawyer or whatever. You take care of YOU. Make sure you feel as though your interests will be taken care of. I know a separation/divorce is not what you want right now. But I think you need to plan for any eventuality and separation just might be in the cards. So be sure that you and your kids' interests are front of mind.
      And I hope I'm wrong but it sounds to me as though he might be in further than he's telling you. He seems to be acting like someone whose head is somewhere else. Telling himself the marriage is the problem is classic rather than acknowledging that HE is the problem with the marriage.
      Hang in there, Icequeen. No matter what happens, please know that you will get through this. It will hurt but not forever. It will be hard but not forever. You are stronger than this.

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    2. I agree. I bet there is more going on than he has admitted to. For me creating a plan always helps me feel better. If I were you I would set up a meeting with a lawyer just to get a feel for where you stand with things and your options. I totally can see trying to settle things out of court and that is a great idea but at this point he is all over the map. Also what about seeing a therapist individually. I see all of that as creating a support system for you, a sounding board even.

      Delete
    3. Icequeen - I had a post typed out to you this weekend and couldn't get it to post from my phone on one of the other boards. Elle responded with almost everything I could have ... find an attorney ... so that YOU know what you will have and can hopefully alleviate or lessen that fear of the unknown. Even if you NEVER use it ... power is knowledge.

      I want to echo what Hopeful30 is saying. I don't know about how your DDay went ... but I have had so many I've lost count. Trickle Truth is a HUGE thing in my marriage. He will ONLY give up the information that he has been caught in and will occassionally slip and give more but then deny later if I come back to it.

      Shame is a horrendous thing - for everyone - but especially for these backsliders.

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    4. Thank you all for your thoughtful responses.
      I too am afraid that there's more to come. We talked a lot about shame at our last counseling session. He was in tears and said he didn't know how to talk to me about all of these shameful things... And that's where it ended. He even said it would be easier to end the marriage than have to talk to me about everything.
      So I'm terrified of what's to come either way. Either it's a big deep confession of things I don't want to hear, or he leaves.
      I'm trying to plan for both.

      Delete
    5. Icequeen,
      Shame avoidance is HUGE with these guys. Like he said, it seems to him right now that leaving the marriage would be preferable to telling you the truth about everything he's done. Sadly, this is his chance to get free of all that -- to come clean and then focus on being a better man. But shame is so terrifying.
      I hope you'll prepare for Plan B, which is what you'll do if you do learn there's more or if he leaves. Put something in place so that you don't have to think/plan when you're reeling. You may never need to act on it but it might give you some peace of mind.
      Either way, Icequeen, you will survive this. You will get past this. But you need to be in charge of your life.

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    6. Icequeen,
      I am so sorry this is happening and I wish I had advice, but all I can say is this: based on my experiences, when the WS flip flops like that, there is someone else in his ear. I didn't see it for myself, my friends had to point it out to me. And after everything, what helped me most was making "best case scenario" and "worst case scenario" plans. And when I finally got fed up with my WS and I let go of a bit of the fear of losing him, I allowed myself to look at my marriage and realize that it wasn't what I wanted. So when I threw out the ultimatum finally, I had more to say than "pick me". I told him that I wanted us to be together BUT now I had stipulations. I didn't want my old marriage anymore. Or the old him. Or the old me. I forget where I read this, but I told him I wanted a second new marriage to my first husband. Good luck with it all and I hope you get YOUR happiness in the end.

      Delete
  55. I posted my story on the Finding Out (6) page but here's the short version: Married 28 years with periods of feeling close and then not so much, as all marriages do. He turned 50 this year and apparently was having a midlife crisis. 9 weeks ago I found out that H was having an affair with a woman who worked at a plant where our company does installations. He spent about 5 weeks over 6 months there and got to the point where he was investigating divorce (all the while I was clueless). He broke it off once with her because he didn't want to be "that guy". All it took was one text from her and he was right back in it. I found out a week after they got back together. I confronted him and he dropped her like a hot rock and has done all of the right things (deleting all social media & messaging apps, answering all of my questions, rebuilding our relationship, etc.) Our marriage is better and stronger than it has ever been. I still have triggers and he is patient with me but I can tell it's wearing on him. Here's my problem: the week between Christmas and New Year, he has to go back to that plant. He has avoided going by sending others in his place, but this time it can't be avoided. He's taking someone with him and has invited me to go too (I've been traveling with him on all business travel and we've had fun), knowing that I will be a basket case. The thing is, that week is really busy will my college aged kids home for the holidays and prep/cooking for family events that will happen the day he gets back. So I'm stuck. If I go with him, I will be spending my days in the hotel just thinking about her and trying desperately not to drive by her house. And when he gets back in the evenings, Im afraid it will be like the first week after I found out, full of angst and tears. If I DON'T go, he will be leaving the day after Christmas and coming home 4 days later and I WILL PROBABLY GO BANANAS. I will also miss a counseling appt. I'm so worried that being back there will trigger warm fuzzy feelings for him. Even though I believe that he absolutely doesn't want her. I don't know what to do.

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    1. ElleBelle - my stomachs in knots for you just reading this!

      Elle's phrase is - what's the next best thing for YOU. Which would bring you less anxiety - sending him away ... or being there with him?

      My WS just went to Vegas for a week. It is NOT a place that has anything to do with his affair ... but it is sin City, he has admitted that he likes to feel desired, and that the first time another woman tried to pick him up was at a conference. He was gone for 5 nights. I survived it by thinking of it as a trial run for living single. I put him out of my mind. I let him talk to the kids and made myself scarce in the evenings. It was the ONLY way I could survive it. And survive I did. :)

      ElleBelle, I wish that a horrific snow storm would appear so that you don't have to endure this ... but know these periods of trials are all around us.

      Delete
    2. For us what has worked is creating a plan together. In the end we both decided we are in this together. Working through this has brought us closer. Even now 3 1/2 years later we discuss each trip, expectations, when we will talk, what we need from each other, etc. We get into great detail. My husband has embraced this as he feels good and more accountable. We both know what to expect. He really do this about everything even if he is going to watch a game with friends for a couple hours. More communication is better. In the end he has done whatever I need to feel better, safer, and more trusting. When he is gone he is pretty much available at any time if I call or text him. It has worked for us. Granted we have not had the occasion for him to be with the ow. There was one event he might have been around her but he was able to not attend that event and just said he had a work conflict. Every time something comes up we discuss it together and create a plan. We move forward as a team.

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    3. ElleBelle,
      I think you've had some good advice here from Hopeful 30 and Kimberly. Put a plan into place. Use this for the two of you to problem-solve as allies -- to help you feel as comfortable as you can while discussing how he can avoid contact with her or what he'll do if he runs into her. Treat her like the enemy that you both need to learn how to deal with.
      It won't be easy. So put as much into place as you can so that you don't just obsess. Plan activities that you enjoy. Keep your therapy appointment. Remind yourself, as much as you can, that the only thing you can EVER control is you. Put something into place whereby you can call him when necessary and check in.
      And, as much as this will suck, it will also help you move forward. It's a tough step but a necessary one.

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    4. Thanks so much for the advice. Having a plan of action sounds like just what I need. We have spent very little time apart since Dday and he calls and texts several times a day while he's at work (which is next door to where we live). He has given me complete access to all of his accounts and shows me his phone without me asking because he's trying very hard to make me feel safe. I think I need to stop hanging on so tight, because it keeps me from doing other things that need to be done. I just hate that our first opportunity for this is at the holiday AND where he will be within minutes of her. Its going to be a struggle for him too to go back there and it actually helps ME stay focused and positive when I'm trying to be there for HIM. We've already rehearsed what he would do/say if she contacts him but it's gonna be rough if he sees her in person. I've told him straight up though that any contact by her should be shared with me immediately and if he has to respond, I'm a part of it. I'm just waiting for her to "just want to talk for closure reasons" and him to feel so guilty about dropping her like a hot rock, that he will want to explain himself. I told him that if she needs to talk to him bad enough, we can BOTH talk to her together. And he put an app on his phone that not only lets me see where he currently is, but where he has been. Hopefully, when this trip is over, I will have gotten all worked up over nothing.
      Thanks again for the great advice. I feel better already.

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    5. It sounds like you are doing a great job together. For us that is what works best. And you are not getting worked up over anything. Going through betrayal is a trauma. Nothing can undo it. Being lied to our faces by the one person we are supposed to trust the most is something we can not just get over. One of the things I spent the most time with my therapist on was learning how to be vulnerable again. It is so easy to pull back, be reserved, protect ourselves in any way possible. I find this is a process. I think it is great that you plan to respond together. What I hear is you two are a team and working together. For us that was a bond that has brought us closer together than ever before. I also focus on my kids and anything else possible. I try to zero in on the good things in life. It all helps a ton. You are going to do great!

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  56. Has anyone received an apology from the OW? Crazy as it may sound, I recently did and my mind is like scrambled eggs. I could really use some feedback, asap!

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    1. Gem
      The first few days his cow texted me a half of an apology. She said she was sorry for my heart ache but she wasn’t sorry for falling in love with my h. He was going no contact but she kept harassing us and he finally made her spend a night in jail. She only made contact twice after that (to my knowledge) and she had to go back to see the judge. She has a very miserable life I’m pretty sure. She gave up everything when she divorced to be with my h but he didn’t love her and she just couldn’t accept the truth. I hope you had a more sincere apology! Hugs!

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    2. Gem,
      I've often wondered how I would feel if I got an apology from the OW. I'm just 10 weeks out from Dday and I still catch myself having conversations with her in my head. I wonder if she would be apologetic or confrontational or nasty or what. I am very curious about your situation...did she call or email? Did she sound honestly repentant and sorry? How did your H handle the news?

      I hesitate to put this out there, but years ago I had a brief emotional affair (mainly texting, with a few lunches) with a married friend. He was older and I wasn't attracted to him, but he offered attention and validation that I wasn't getting from the H. When I realized he wanted to make things physical, I got scared and shut it down. We barely spoke after that. Two months later, his wife found out (I never got the story of how) and she called me about 10 times. Obviously angry (justified in my book) and doubting that there was no sex (how do you tell a betrayed wife that I wasn't physically attracted enough to her H to have sex with him, but he was good enough for emotional support). I have to say, that I offered her an honest and heartfelt apology and answered any and all of her questions. I promised her I would never contact him again even though she had no reason to believe me. I think it made her feel better to hear me say how ashamed I was of myself. She ended up asking ME for advice with him. (Awkward much?) And I told her it wasn't about her, it was about he and I being careless and thoughtless in our interactions. It was then that I realized the depth of how awful what I had done was.

      I know we vilify (for good reason) the OW but she could very well have meant that apology. Can you take it at face value? Does it help to know that she probably hates herself for her participation in the affair?

      And I can tell you from experience that Karma is indeed a bitch. If she is truly sorry, she will doubt herself and judgement for a long time. And hopefully, she will reform her thinking (not that you should care.) After I told my H what I had done, he was heartbroken and said maybe he should just go have an affair to even the field. I told him honestly that I wouldn't wish the shitty feelings I had about myself and the pain I had caused on anyone.

      Which makes what my H did even more horrible. One of the first things he said to me when I found out was that he should have believed me when I told him how awful it felt to have an affair. (And yes, he had a much longer physical and emotional affair, that included taking trips with her and spending our money on her, with the OW to the point that he had convinced himself that we had a bad marriage and he wanted out.) I guess that may be why I have an easier time understating the "affair fog".

      I vacillate between hating the OW (she knew he was married, actively pressured him to leave me and then still pursued him after he broke it off the first time) and feeling bad for her. She's left alone with what she did as well as hurt because she honestly thought he was going to leave me for her. And who is going to feel sorry for her heartbrokenness at the end of a relationship that meant so much to her, when she was having it with a married man?

      I hope I don't upset anyone with my words. I would never justify being an OW or make excuses for it. Its a horrible thing to do. She deserves to feel awful and if she has any decency about her at all, she does feel awful.

      I think I would feel better if the OW apologized and I could hear her say how ashamed she was of what she did. If I could truly believe her, I might not worry so much about her trying to rekindle things. Then again, maybe not.

      Good luck, Gem!

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    3. I have not, but neither of them knows that I know. My husband broke it off 15 months before dday with both ow. They both contacted him after dday but he and I created a simple reply basically saying to leave him alone. We talked about going more in depth but felt that would create a conversation. There was a point I would have liked an apology or admission of guilt however at this point they are like a cancer and I just want them to remain out of my life.

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  57. Theresa & ElleBelle, thanks for your responses! ElleBelle- I'm not upset with your words and regardless of your past.

    I should have given a little more info- me & OW were friends and it happened over a year ago. She knew my family. Double betrayal. Ouch. It was supposedly an emotional affair that never led to actual sex. They fell in love. I still have to see her on occasion. It has taken a long time to heal & I'm not close to feeling normal. H dropped her as soon as I found out, fixed himself up the way he should have before we even met, and we're doing well. It has been hell, though. I don’t trust most people, I don’t trust myself. I’ve lost a lot. My H is a better man & proves it to me every day. I am grateful. They say hitting rock bottom can profoundly change people, right? There’s not a chance in hell that anything will rekindle between them.

    I believe that her apology was sincere. It was a letter. Right now, I feel like I wish I had not heard from her. I was having a great few days and BAM, I hear from her? Trigger much? I’d rather not ever see her or hear her name again. Getting an apology so far has not made me feel better in the least. Where was this conscience of hers when she spent time with my family while texting my H as soon as she got home?

    Generally, I’m a very empathetic person. She admitted to taking advantage of my kindness. She sounded genuinely sorry. I don’t have it in me to think better of her other than she might not be the monster now that she was then. I absolutely accept her apology though I have no plans to contact her.

    The thing is- she has no idea what she’s apologizing for. She couldn’t possibly begin to understand the depth of pain she has caused not just me but to my entire family. When she and my H crossed the line, they sentenced me to a minimum 3 years of hell, distrust, uncertainty, confidence. Add in the time in therapy, the sadness in my eyes, the PTSD, I even began grinding my teeth. I’ve been a zombie, withdrawn at times. I know you ladies understand… betrayal isn’t merely a bad choice. It’s hell.

    Does she want me to feel bad for her? Is she rounding up our old friends to say, “hey I just feel so awful, I can’t believe what I did, I told her I’m sorry” and for them to say, “Gee, nobody’s perfect, she’ll get over it. They’re still together and look at how happy they are”.

    I’m obviously just confused, pissed & venting. I appreciate the ability to do it here.

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    1. Oh gem, I'm sorry you're dealing with this now! That sounds so similar to my situation. An emotional (and sexual but not physical ) affair between a family friend of ours and my H.
      I got an apology on dday but it really didn't seem sincere and my only response was to tell her our friendship was over and for her to fuck off.

      I know you're just venting but I think you should try to just forget you even heard from her. Easier said than done, but worrying about her motives isn't going to move you forward. I definitely think you've got the right idea to not contact her though, don't invite the crazy back into your life!

      Good luck, Gem

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  58. Gem,

    After hearing the circumstances of the apology, I agree with you completely, A FRIEND?? That's awful and yes, a double betrayal. (I have never met and probably will never meet my H's OW as she lives in another state.)

    And it took her a year to apologize? After all the work you've done to get it out of your head (even for small chunks of time) and she just drops it on you out of the blue?

    Sounds like she may have been sincere, but that was a very selfish thing to do. Did she even consider what YOUR feelings would be after reading it? Probably not. It was about her clearing her conscience. Even in the "making amends" step of AA recovery, they tell you to consider carefully if the apology or "amends" will cause more damage. If it will cause even more pain, they say don't do it.

    Sounds like she was finally feeling shitty and was hoping this would help HER. I would be pissed big time.

    And after reflecting on my own previous words about wanting an apology, I realize that I am still so close to Dday that I think about her often. But when I get to a point where I'm not doing it so much, may it be 6 months or 6 years, I would definitely NOT want to hear from her for any reason.

    I'm so sorry she caused even more turmoil in an already awful situation.

    Hang in there!

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    1. So here's a follow-up to the apology letter-

      A week after I received it, there was a social event at a public place that my family always attends. She knew we would all be there. (my kids know about the affair, they know it was her, as she pretended to be their friend also) She was also invited, but if she had any class & if she meant what she said in the letter, she would have restrained herself & not attend.

      She showed up. But that's not the worst part. A very close friend of mine who she works with escorted her in. This friend is someone who I've confided in. I'm absolutely devastated. This friend knew of the affair but nothing about the 'apology' unless she discussed it. The details of what this friend did to get her in was so contrived, I'm so sick over it. I thought that this person had my back. I believe that a true friend would have told her to stay away from me & the event, even if she wanted to go.

      So once again, she played me. First she pretended to be my friend while having an affair with my husband, then she pretended to be sorry. She used my good friend to get in to this event.

      Now I feel that I have no choice but to cut another person out of my life. I can't have people like this around me. I've never asked anyone to choose between me, my husband, or the ow. I understand if my friends have to work with her, but how can they even be friendly with her beyond professional politeness after what she did to me and my family? Its so disgusting and gross. I've had that awful crushing physical pain in my heart for two weeks.

      When is this going to stop? For once, I'd like a friend to say, "You know what, Gem, what she did to you was awful. You didn't deserve this, you were nothing but kind to her. I'm disgusted, and she is no longer my friend. I'm here for you whenever you need me."

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    2. Gem
      Just when I thought she had gone so low to have the balls to apologize and now she just shoved it right back in your face! My God the audacity of this b:tch! I don’t know how small your town is but I know that my h and I cut out a large number of people that were part of the volleyball club that he met her through. We also have avoided the known hang outs that they used to go to. We’re not restricted in choices because we live in a big city with other towns around us that offer more than enough space. In four years we have not had to be in the same space as her and we’re slowly getting a new comfortable us to live with...I’m curious as how your h handled that situation! We’re always adding new people into our lives and we try to balance our alone time with our shared time with our friends... sending hugs!

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    3. Gem,
      I'm just getting caught up on this and I am so sorry for everything she's putting you through. This woman is pure poison, right down to her faux apology letter. She doesn't get it. That is abundantly clear. She has the moral compass of an alleycat. That your so-called friends are getting sucked in is sad but they are the losers in this because they're hitching their wagons to someone who doesn't give a shit about them, who is using them as cover. So yes, I know it's heartbreaking to learn that, once again, someone you trusted has betrayed that trust but they are showing you who they are. By all means cut this person out of your life but, if you think you're up to it, I would tell her exactly why. Just a strightforward, "I trusted you with the worst pain of my life and you nonetheless facilitated in creating further pain by helping this woman. You've shown me I was wrong to trust you."
      I'm so sorry, Gem. I don't know what else to say. You don't deserve any of this. You deserve kindness and compassion and absolute fidelity, by friends and by your husband.

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  59. We met with a new therapist on Tuesday. I left feeling completely traumatized and it imploded with a screaming match that was a long time coming but that I’m NOT proud of.

    I had such hopes. She facilitates a betrayed wives group. She specializes with working with spouses of sex addicts (WH has not been diagnosed but some of his behavior has made me wonder). I went into this with such high expectations.

    She talked to my WH for 10 minutes and throws out something about him being a sex addict and immediately my walls came up and he started to shut down. She starts talking about her journey and how she was married to a SA and how he ... then she goes on to talk about her journey as a love addict. Her next husband was an alcoholic. It just was WAY to much. The final nail was her rather less than tactful statement that the spouses of a SA are “sick” themselves.

    Enter all of the “I’m not good enough” “WTF is wrong with me” battles.

    Needless to say it was everything that I’d feared about going back to therapy. I am still reeling and I’m even more discouraged now than before.

    Anyone else had such an experience?

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    1. Kimberly,
      What she did crossed so many lines that I barely know where to start. She should NOT be making any sort of diagnoses within 10 minutes of meeting you and your H nor should she be disclosing HER experience. It is completely unprofessional and you might want to consider reporting her to whatever oversight body she belongs to.
      I want you to reframe this experience through the lens of truth: You are in a vulnerable position turning to a professional for support and help. Her response was to make your therapy session about HER problems and to make blanket statements without knowing either of you. Your response to her is not surprising but please don't blame yourself for her lack of professionalism and, frankly, empathy. Her behaviour is completely inappropriate and a waste of your time. She used your experience and your vulnerability to talk about her own problems. And look at the damage it did with your husband.
      I hope the two of you can remind each other that you're on the same side -- trying to rebuild a marriage. SHE is on the other side, not you.
      There is nothing "wrong" with you. You are absolutely enough and have always been. Your husband has issues that need attention. Perhaps you have issues too (I've yet to meet someone who doesn't) but that doesn't make you deficient, it makes you human.

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    2. Elle - I used to say that when I was having a rough day I'd open the Bible and it would "lead me" to my message. :) I picked up my Encyclopedia this weekend and oddly enough ... it landed right on the page about therapists and the words there brought me peace.

      I acknowledge I have issues. Clearly. It's why I was there! BUT ... I'm not "sick" ...

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    3. I've long struggled with that whole notion of co-dependence with regards to sex addiction. HOW can I be as sick and as co-dependent when I was utterly unaware of what he was doing? There's a psychologist named Robert Weiss who's pioneering this notion of pro-dependence: https://prodependence.com

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    4. I agree that this therapist sounds completely unprofessional. I think many get into the profession due to their own issues and experiences. Some handle it better than others. My husband is in the mental health field and I have asked if he has disclosed at all. He has not told anyone but me anyways but he said that would be totally against all of his training, education and professional obligations. He says it has made him better at what he does for sure. Based on our experiences he thinks he has been able to help more individuals and couples in a more effective way. I know he was detached before and still did excellent work but this has actually elevated that. I do think he will empathize and relate to patients. Just as our pediatrician will relate something our kids do to her own kids. I think that can make a professional seem more easy to relate to and understanding. My own therapist would site other patients, his own life (wife and kids) but it was in a logical and supportive way.


      I also struggle with how I can be the sick one. I know most therapist see things on a continuum. My therapist did ask me direct questions how I could not know what was going on. I explained everything and my therapist understood more and I think came at it from a point of understanding more of a soft sell. I am far from perfect but I always say when someone lies to your face for over ten years when asked very direct questions and has a wife totally engaged asking to invest and devote to working on any issues she might have or as a couple that it falls on the wayward. My husband had a million other options than doing what he did, he had the education, training and professional background. He knew it was a horrible wrong thing to do on any level emotionally or physically and still did it anyways. He needs to own that 100%. I knew after we established that then we could figure out how to move forward as individuals and as a couple.

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    5. Oh my goodness Kimberly. That is a nightmare. Is that person an MFT or a psyD? My radar around therapists is super acute at this point because their perspectives and training can be all over the place and frankly many are nuts too. I also had therapy trauma. That co-dependence stuff can be bullshit when automatically applied to all spouses of SA. My H is the codependent and addictive one but keeps trying to convince me that I am "equally" damaged. I think it makes it easier for him to not accept responsibility for his behavior. That said, alot of the boundary setting strategies that are shared in co-dependence groups are helpful. Most of us are just normal people who need new skills to deal with serial boundary pushers. Thanks for the "pro-dependence" info, Elle.

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  60. I have been eating up Rob Weiss's podcasts: https://sexandrelationshiphealing.com/blog/category/podcasts/ Thank you Elle for sharing these with me. He is on our side (as well as our spouses but calls out their BS). Marriage therapy has been so traumatizing for me--I actually have PTSD from it having been in crisis and our therapist suggesting that I was somehow at fault and playing head games with me. I wish there were more therapists like him and Terry Real. Listening to Dr Rob, I started crying because I finally felt understood and heard. It is too late for my H and I now, he is deep into his self centered stuff (even though he is in 12 step) and I can't put up with it anymore.

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    1. That is powerful. I am going to look up those podcasts. Thank you for sharing. And you are right there are many non so great therapists or mental health professionals. My husband is one. I was shocked after dday and I started questioning him how little training they receive in betrayal or marriage issues. Some specialize but the reality is most go the general route since who knows where they will find a job. You really have to do your homework to find a licensed well qualified level headed mental health professional. I do like being able to see what they put out on social media and the internet. Also my initial contact with my therapist was in line with my expectations. In general I think there are too many wounded ducks out there in the field.

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    2. I'm glad they've been helpful. You've had so much pain, and for so long, MBS. Your husband is a fool for losing you.

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