Feeling Stuck Part 18 (17 IS FULL)

210 comments:

  1. How long is too long to still not be over things? I have to bite my tongue constantly to not say something mean and sarcastic. My husband told me the other day that I looked so pretty and youthful, but I had on no makeup and my hair was a mess. I just shrugged and pointed that out. He said you don't need any. Instead of just accepting the compliment, I reminded him that he used to remind me by asking,"are you going to put on any makeup?".. He said that he had changed and appreciates me now. I stopped myself from bringing up the office whore that he had an affair with. She literally wore five pounds of makeup!! She needed every ounce of it too! She actually asked him how many years younger I was than him after first meeting me,( she and I are almost the same age. I am 45, she soon will be) my husband is only a couple of years older.. These memories don't comfort me, they infuriate me. When I went back to college, (during one of his affairs) I was regularly hit on and spoken to by the fellow students, once even being asked if I was also living on campus. When I told my husband we both shared a laugh. But now all I can think is, what a bastard he was, who did not appreciate anything he had. Our sex life is another example, he did not appreciate what he had,(and he had it all) no more. I just can't seem to get it back. I go from loving feelings to total anger and resentment.I just want to hurt him, and when I do talk to him about it, he turns it around as if I am the mean and petty one.

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    1. Anonymous,
      It sounds as if there's still a mountain of pain there, which is getting in the way of you being able to see that your husband doesn't want to be that bastard anymore. The way I see it, you have a choice. You can continue to focus on all the shit he put you through (and there's no doubt, there's plenty there) or you can try to focus on who he is now. He absolutely should have appreciated you all that time. He never should have cheated. But he didn't appreciate you. He did cheat. And you need to decide whether he's still that guy. Some people change. Unfortunately some need the horrible wakeup call of an affair to realize just how far they've strayed from their own value system. Others, of course, don't have a value system.
      You can punish him for having been that guy...or you can try to give him the room to become better. It's up to you. You don't have to. You can walk. You can show him the door. But to stay and continue to get in the way of your own healing seems like misery for both of you.
      I don't know how long ago you discovered his affair. And there's no question that it takes time to process all that pain. But is there some way to bring him into your healing? For instance, when he makes a remark about how nice you look without makeup, can you, instead of immediately going to thoughts about the OW, tell him that it's hard to believe him given things he's said/done in the past. Explain to him your thought process (which might also help you become more aware of the lightning-quick negative stories you're telling yourself) and see if you can solicit his support. Give him the chance to tell you that he's sorry for all the stupid things he said/did. Let him assure you that was then and this is now. By enlisting him in your healing, it's possible to heal together. Rather than seeing him as just the enemy, he becomes your ally, even though he's the one responsible for your pain.
      Anger generally masks hurt and fear. See if you can pull back that mask and deal with the pain behind it.

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    2. I have had these same feelings. And like Elle said I have tried to frame it differently when talking with my husband. I try to remember to take a step back and tell myself if I want us to work this out I need to approach it differently. All of this especially if he is trying hard and doing things differently. I start everything by saying this is how I feel. Or I tell him when things are said a certain way or a situation occurs it reminds me of the past. And even though he has made major changes it is hard to undo 20 years of habits and reactions/feelings that feel like they are etched on my brain. It is at times like I almost have a physical reaction. Even simple things like his parents will just show up at dinner with us. It will end up he has talked with them and invited them but never told me. Well I have a terrible reaction to this since in my mind at least I feel like he did this in the past to deflect from one on one or family time. It was an extra distraction so he did not have to interact with me. Now it is not that way and I know that intellectually. But when this happens it is like I am flooded with the same feelings again. This happens to me for a lot of situations. And I tell him over and over it is hard for me. He really did treat me poorly and created a lot of situations where he made me feel as if I am the problem or the issue in our relationship and family.

      What has helped me is I speak up as soon as possible with him. I try very hard to not make it feel like an attack on him but more of an explanation as to how I am feeling. It has helped but can be hard still. And in the end I told him what he did for 10 years will take a lot of time to undo. And not just the affairs but how he treated me. He gets it even though it is hard sometimes. My therapist helped me a ton since at first it was hard for me I either felt angry or bad for these situations. But my therapist said this is part of the price he pays for what he did. Of course supporting me dealing with it in a positive way for our relationship.

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    3. Anonymous, PTID (Post Traumatic Infidelity Disorder) research indicates 3-5 years. As Elle has said, it's a lifetime of remembering but in a less painful punch-in-the-face kind of recall. You really are dealing with your recovery in a stellar manner. And I applaud you!

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  2. Soon after our family vacation (visiting with my family, who all love him), my husband told me he thinks we should separate and that he was seeing someone else. We have a daughter who is just a toddler. He started having feelings for his colleague when our baby was 6 months old. He acted on them on the night of her leaving drinks. I didn't go to the party as I was minding our child. He says he is not sure whether to stay with us or go with the colleague (who has relocated, but of course has the same phone number). I am totally fed up with him but still feel love deep down. I am hoping he can wake up and recognise he did wrong and that he needs to recommit to his family. On the other hand, I feel like a fool for trusting him and being patient all this time. He had so many 'late nights at work' and I was exhausted caring for our little one. I don't want to divorce but he seems to be veering that way. I feel like he's waiting for me to kick him out so he won't have the responsibility of making a decision. Ugh, I never thought I could put up with such a weak character. Am I deluded to think he might reform?

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    1. Hi Anon,
      You are in the early stages here. So everything we have been talking about with rebuilding our marraiges, husbands growing up, etc comes way after the stage you are in. Read through this blog and pay attention to the stuff about looking after yourself, setting boundaries, standing up for yourself, affair fog, the 180, protecting your self and your daughter. You cannot expect anything from him right now. He is in his infatuation and will only snap out of it with cold hard reality slapping him in his face. That might mean kicking him out if that is what YOU want.
      You can only look after yourself and your precious child. I am so sorry. This must be so hard when you are just building your family.

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    2. Hi Anon, Beach Girl here. Honestly, like MBS said, you are very early in this trauma and you have a very young child to care for so it is important that you take care of yourself the best you can. I don't know where you live of what your situation is in real life but I think that I might actually call around and get some information about divorce laws and legal separation in your state as all states are different. You are simply looking for concrete knowledge about your financial rights and the future of your family. You cannot control or change your husband's path, you can only control yours. I tend to do a lot of damage control and information gathering up front. My husband is a sex addict, sober for 14 months now and we have been married 37 years so he and I know that pretty much everything we own is half mine including some substantial assets. We are rebuilding our marriage slowly. He never wanted a divorce and we are working on having a better life. I actually sat down for my free 30 minutes with a divorce attorney to get some info about how to protect myself early on. It was good to know. You are in the earlier stages it sounds like so if you tend to need/prefer information about your rights as a wife/mother regarding how a marriage falls apart, even for a "time out" you would benefit from some legal advice. This might also give him a reality jolt. Be kind to yourself. This journey is hard. Beach Girl

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    3. Thank you Beach Girl and MBS. Yes, it's been nearly 3 weeks since he told me- very early days, although time is passing very strangely for me right now. I will read more on the blog & will definitely find out about our legal rights. He's talking about moving out to get time to think, but that will leave me with all the nighttime & morning routines with our little one. No time to 'think' for me so far... Really appreciate your messages. Feeling stronger.

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    4. Anonymous,
      Without any genuine remorse on his part (and it sounds as though there isn't any...just "confusion"), it's impossible to rebuild a marriage. He has one foot out the door.
      I'd be inclined to agree to the separation. See a lawyer. Give him a clear picture on what he'd be losing. Let him experience what it's like to look after a toddler without a wife to do the heavy lifting. I'm not suggesting this to play games with him but to force him into reality. New parenthood throws a lot of guys off. It's exhausting, it changes marriage, it dredges up all sorts of emotions around our own childhoods, etc. The grass often looks a whole lot greener elsewhere. Of course, it rarely is.
      But you don't want to hang in limbo while he "decides" who wins his love. I think it's time for you to take charge. As I said, see a lawyer so you can get a sense of what you're each entitled to in terms of custody, finances, etc. And then, if he does come to his sense and realize just what he's done to his family, you're in a position to insist that he seek counselling to sort himself out before you reconcile.
      And, as the others have noted, please please get yourself some support and guidance. Find some time to nurture yourself. Find a therapist who can help you heal from the pain of this. Be gentle with yourself. You did nothing to bring this on. Sounds, frankly, like a garden-variety mid-life crisis which he may or may not emerge from.

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  3. Hi Anon.

    I am so sorry - we all know and share the painful experience of betrayal. Beach Girl gave some great advice about gathering info even if you are unsure if divorce is going to happen. I totally agree with her.

    We have all felt like fools for all the trust and love we showed over and over again... We have all been there!!! These are very early days and really to most important thing right now is care for yourself and baby. I'm talking the true basics, which we all know in the early days post dday can be super super hard. So please gentle care for yourself: sleep (take on over the counter or prescription sleep aid if you need, I cannot stress enough the importance of sleep for your sanity right now), try and eat, if you can take a few days off work and just breath, set boundaries that feel right and safe for you, think about you and your babies needs, read this site for lots of support and sage advice, also if you drink I would suggest not drinking too much right now. Also, I highly recommend a therapist. I would be lost without mine.

    Finally, about your H.....we never know (especially in early days) if our H's will make changes necessary to truly heal the marriage. Some do the hard healing work with their partners and some don't. There are no guarantees. Right now just breath and take one day and one step at a time.

    With love and support
    Becky.

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    1. Thank you, Becky, for your helpful comments. And thank you, Elle, for creating this site. I hope one day I will be able to give something back to it. Right now, I'm reading and reading (the baby is asleep for once!). You guys have great honesty and insights.

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    2. I'm glad you found us. And I hope I don't sound heartless. I hope he smartens up and realizes what an incredible gift he's considering throwing away for a fantasy of another life.

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    3. Anon, Becky is right. Step one is to take care of yourself. You've had a serious emotional blow, and you are still reeling, and probably still in shock. Focus on yourself and your baby - you don't have to make life decisions right now. Repeat: you don't have to make life decisions right now! Let yourself absorb the shock. Talk to someone you trust, journal, and do little things that give you comfort. Soon enough, you will start making decisions, but take it one easy step at a time. We feel your pain. We understand. Hugs!!!

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    4. Thank you, Phoenix. It is really hard. I'm far from family here and haven't wanted to talk to any friends about the situation yet. Really appreciate the support from this blog.

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  4. Does anyone else go through feeling great and then terrible about their husband and marriage? I am feeling such highs and lows. Nothing specific is happening. My husband is working extra hard, super affectionate, very attentive, saying all the right things, etc... I am not sure if it is still I am not to the same point as he is. He just keeps saying he has never been happier and he never expected to get the second chance so he is going to make the most of it. I know it is me and not him but at times I feel ungrateful. Like I have this great marriage now but why can I not appreciate it fully. I know why because of the betrayal. I just wonder is this it? Will I always have something hanging over me or holding me back? In the early days it was easier, I felt so thankful he was willing to fight for us. Now with the passing of time instead of feeling like it is better and improving I just feel blah.

    I want to talk with him but I really don't know what I would even say. There are a few things I could bring up but really more nit picking than anything pivotal. My therapist says that he feels I am being too guarded and I need to be more vulnerable again. But he said it is normal that this will take time. I just hope this is not it and how I will always feel.

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    1. Hopeful30,
      I was on that rollercoaster for a long time. Years. I would feel really good about things. We've done this, I'd think. We've beaten it. And then...I'd imagine what it was like to be married to someone who never cheated. It usually hit me when I started comparing my marriage or my husband to others. And then the shame and anger would hit me and I'd be furious that I was STUCK with this guy. And I'd start dress rehearsing his death, or our divorce.
      Blah is also pretty common. It's sometimes called "the plain of lethal flatness" on other sites, which describes it pretty well. It can be a place to catch our breath after the roller coaster. It's not a bad thing but we don't want to stay there. And to not stay there, we need to make ourselves vulnerable again. As my therapist explained it to me, it's nice to be able to keep all those bad feelings at bay. To function. To get through the day. To NOT feel agony for a change. BUT...and it's a big but: keeping all that pain at bay also keeps the good feelings at bay. If you bottle up some feelings, you bottle up all feelings. So accessing the good means also sifting through the bad.
      Which means making yourself vulnerable, which is scary. But it's also something you can do.

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    2. Hopeful 30,
      I am your twin. In two days I will be 15 months out from DDay. I don't know whether to laugh or cry after reading Elle say she was on that roller coaster for years because that sounds like death by a thousand cuts at the moment. My husband appears to be walking the right path after an unorthodox post disclosure period. I've been married 37 years. To outsiders, our marriage looks like a model of "how to do it right". In light of the disclosure and learning more about my husbands early childhood experiences and especially how he internalized them and drew his own road map of disfunction I am blown away. To the world of family, friends and strangers I appear to be a happy, well adjusted mature woman but inside my brain it feels like Times Square on New Years Eve. My husband is demonstrating everything right and of course, he feels so good about his new life. He has his porn addiction under control, has developed new pro-social habits, shares his feelings with me and is very loving and attentive. The facts of life for me aren't all that glowing. I am not sure I will ever come to grips with the fact that I married a man who had a well developed private life that included constant sexual thoughts, masterbation and porn plus one early "affair" of sex with a co-worker twice before the later in life acting out with prostitutes. I read this blog several times a day and quite a few others as well. I research sex addiction too much. I look for recovery help for me too much. I maintain my fascade of happiness for my daughter, who has a young child. My husband told me about his life one week before her baby was delivered and what he said was, "I have to tell you that I think I have AIDS. I've had sex with prostitutes". It went downhill from there but of course I had to suck it up because of my daughter. Honestly I don't think a day goes by when I don't wish he would have a heart attack and die. Even though he feels better now that he is on the correct path in life I question every single thing that ever happened in our life. He thinks about suicide every day because of the pain he caused me and I do not discourage him or encourage him. This plane of lethal flatness that Elle mentioned is as hard as the early weeks and months of discovery. I so want to know the love and affection of a man who does not have my husbands history of porn and prostitutes and I've told him that. He feels hurt. Hmmmm, really? I think about his behavior all the time. It sucks. I actually feel hate for him a lot. Then there are times when I feel love and happiness. I'm trying to "fake it till I make it" and hope it doesn't shorten my life too much but I believe it already has. I've lost 40 pounds and continue to feel weepy a lot. I've been robbed of my ability to trust and at this point I question if I will ever trust him again which is sad. I do not believe my husband has been truthful to me about a lot of things, mostly because they cause him pain and he wants to protect himself. Although he took the online test for sex addiction and was off the charts, I find it hard to believe that he had enough self control to only find paid sex when he was out of state. He said, "I had a bubble around our city". Well a true addict does not have control as far as I can read so that leaves just a poor moral code and lack of impulse along with a sense of entitlement, power and narcissism as to "why" did he do all those things? I really hate him for destroying my faith in humanity. He has always been the guy with the high moral standards. Hah. Sometimes I am way too bitter but I hide it well. I've become quite skilled at putting on a happy face to the world and except for my best friend and my therapist, nobody knows the pain I am in. I don't know what I would do without this blog. Honestly, I just do not know. Beach Girl

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    3. My roller-coaster is finally starting to level out as I've passed the two year mark. The highs aren't as high, the lows aren't as low, and I don't swing between the two as much. Not to say that it doesn't still happen, but it has gotten better.

      I really relate to what Elle wrote, how I'll be happy and then it will hit me that I'm married to a guy who cheated on me, and I'll feel betrayed all over again. Like, what am I DOING with this guy? Even though he's done everything he can to be the guy I thought I was marrying.

      My biggest hurdle has been not sabotaging myself when I'm feeling happy. I've had to work hard to overcome the idea that there's absolutely no way I can ever be happy again. It's a false premise that holds me back. I'll never be happy that he did this, but I can be happy in spite of it. I refuse to give his stupid actions that much power over me. I will not let them steal all my happiness for the rest of my life.

      I've done what's been recommended here. I've let myself feel the pain. The anger. The sadness. Boy, have I ever. Now it's time to let myself feel the happiness when it comes, and trust that if my roller-coaster has leveled out this much, it can level out even more.

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    4. I sure do have the feel great one day, wonder why I'm till married to him the next day going on. It used to be a trigger that would set me to wondering but now it's a flash of a question at the least expected times. For me it's trust. In myself & with him & with our marriage. But I'm working on just ME right now, so I'm journaling the "other" stuff for later.

      I think it takes a l.o.n.g. time to get through this whole post traumatic stress, never mind the grieving process.

      I HAVE noticed that every day I feel a tiny bit better about me, however. So I hope that when I pick up my journals and tackle those issues, I will be able to say the same thing after...a while.

      HEY BEACH GIRL....it wasn't humanity that did you wrong. It was your h. So you can have faith in humanity again. Put it on HIM, dear heart.

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    5. Ahhh, Suzanne, thanks for pointing that out to me. I need as many guardian angels as I can get reminding me of corrective thoughts. Hugs, Beach Girl

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    6. Hello All! Thanks for all your thoughts. It is comforting knowing I am not the only one. I think I just feel overwhelmed like I should be so grateful and thankful where things have headed. And years of this does sound like a living nightmare. I agree that the beginning was horrible but this is really hard. It is dragging on. I am tired. I too am tired of putting on the happy face. The only person who knows is my therapist. I feel so many contradictory feelings. One thing I know is I am more true to myself than ever. And maybe this is why I am feeling this way more than ever. I think all of these same thoughts. My husband continues to say to me all I want is for you to trust me and to be happy. I am still not sure how to do that. I keep hearing my voice say if I truly trust myself can I stay with you? I do agree with second chances but I dont' know what he has done seems like it must be woven into his character. I know this is what he "wants" to be and he is doing great. But is it who he really is? I know who I am and I have never wavered. I have matured and learned through life but at my core I am who I have always been back to my earliest memories. For him he was one way for a long time and he has changed but is that right. I want him to be who he should be not just be something for me. That will never last or stand the test of time and life.

      My husband has gotten so good at not being defensive. But as I sit here on our 18 month anniversary of dday 1 I wonder am I taking it easy on him? And not just being nice but am I holding back. Am I worrying more about what I say and how it will affect him. Will it cause him to be hurt, defensive, cold, distant, consider leaving me? Or am I just rehashing what has been said. Nothing can change the past and I am aware of that. But so much of what our marriage stands for is woven in the past. Decisions he made and things he did does affect now. I know for us porn is a huge issue. Or at least for me. Recently we were having a discussion about him going out of town. He said he decided not to since he did not want to but more than anything he wants us and me to be okay. And I said honestly I do not think he would do anything at this point which I believe to be true. He is heavily invested right now. He is drinking less than ever and being more responsible than ever. But I brought up porn. We have had so many discussions about this. I see it as all interconnected. The affairs, online communications with women, porn, our marriage, our intimacy, it is all intertwined. And for him it is not. He said it is different and let's compartmentalize porn. Since he said that I have not been able to get past that and I just keep feeling myself become more distant. I feel like I am retreating into my own world. The world I can control and be safe in. Of course he had to go to work and it has not be discussed since then. All I know it is crystal clear to me that these things are all related. And by him saying what he said to me I feel like he is saying your perspective and your feelings are not valid or realistic and I am the one with the problem. We will see where this takes us but this is what makes me tired. This is when I wonder is he the one for me? Is he worth wasting more years of my life? I never used to feel this way but I am seeing this as a variation on the affairs. Selfishness and self centered as to what is best for him. In any part of this I am not seeing where it is saying trust me and let me make you happy. That feels like he is just saying the right thing.

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    7. Beach Girl -
      These past couple of weeks have been hell. I look anywhere and everywhere for help - something to help me understand, gain more clarity, something - ANYTHING. My H said in front of our marriage counselor - "She just wants me to have some kind of diagnosis". Well, DUH! Who could have possibly lead a completely separate life for the past 18 years and thought it was O.K.?? My H has a very safe, limited vocabulary of "sharing", "compliments" and "support". That is safe for him....going outside that box - Whew! and actually let me know who you are?? Nope, he can't do it yet. I really think my H is in denial about the fallout from his behavior. H was never going to tell me - ever. I happen to catch him....then had to ask him to tell her to never contact him again. No guts.
      My struggle now, almost 15 months out is I just don't know what to do. I want to be happy, I want to love him, be in love with him - but I NEED him to love me back, be in love with me (for gods sake, only me). TRUST - that is huge - because I just don't. I used to ... but look where that got me?? This trust shows itself as anger and fear - and I can't get over that right now.
      I just want someone to tell me what to do, then tell me it's all going to be ok, and that I won't be lonely or that I won't lose what friends I have left. No one knows about all of this crap but my best friend and our marriage counselor and my individual counselor. It's very isolating. Wouldn't all our friends and family be shocked if we divorced??? I would never tell the real reason why - too much humiliation for my grown children and myself. So H wins - lucky him.
      I need to add resentment to my list of FEELINGS. My H says a weight has been lifted - he feels so much better. Gosh, I am so glad - because it's always been about him. I tell my H - "BE ME", "JUST BE ME". I get just a look - and nothing else. I know it hurts him to see me sad or upset or depressed. But I can't worry about how that makes him feel right now. I'm having a hard enough time dealing with my own feelings.

      This blog literally has saved my life and I am so grateful for everyone here. Hang in there Beach Girl - we're going to make it.

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    8. Hopeful 30 I want to first address your very last sentence "I just hope this is not it and how I will always feel." I can PROMISE you that it's NOT! Think about life a week post D-day, a month, a year? I know that roller coaster all too well! I am 2 years 8 months out from D-day and I still feel those feelings. They are not always so intense, a punch to the gut I read someone else posted, but they are still there, and every so often, usually when I'm alone taking a shower and everything is quiet and it's just me and my memories, that's when it hits me. As a matter of fact I don't think I've taken a shower in the last 2 years 8 months without thinking about it. Or when I'm preparing dinner that's a big one for me too. BUT the feelings are usually very fleeting and I can kinda talk myself down from the ledge if you will, whereas 15 mo post D-day I would dwell on those feeling, let them consume me, before ya know it I was ready to hop out of the shower pack me and the kids up in the car and haul butt. I think, no I know what your going through is normal. You're not supposed to be ok with it! One more thing, I have experienced the same thing about my husband saying he's happier than he's ever been, I tell ya when I hear him say that I feel filled with resentment, I have to stop myself from lashing out at him and screaming "well I'm so freakin happy for you, YOU WEREN'T THE ONE WHO WAS BETRAYED!" But these days I don't strike back and I sometimes wind up feeling angry with myself, that "not being grateful" because truly I want him to be happy, I want to be happy, I want us to be happy together. I. Sorry I'm kinda all over the place here lol... You are sticking and staying and not hiding and though that is sooooo tempting you're working through it! You took a chance, scared shitless if you felt anything like I did, but you did it! I remember, heck I'm sure I sometimes still do, wish this was not a part of my present marriage because things are good, but it is and that's sometimes hard to swallow, but I love my husband and I love the relationship we are building day by day so I too choose to stick and stay and figure this thing out!! Like anonymous 1998 posted "we're going to make it."

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  5. Hopeful, yes, I know what you mean. My husband took longer to come around than yours - and I do believe you've had more conversations than my husband and I about the affair. In any case, of course we are guarded! Maybe it's not even guarded - I notice that I can feel entirely free and relaxed with my friends, yet with my husband I am thinking ... "judging" ... as in, how can he be so happy right now? Does he know I think about it daily? Does he know I still have questions - but don't ask ... for what? More pain? Does he know I'm on this blog daily? or delving into other affair research - not at all like I did in the beginning, yet still ... Does he know that I think about the future ... I work with the elderly, mostly women, widows ... they often brag about how wonderful their husbands were ... what will I say? When he dies ... will I remember his love? Or his affair? My therapist tends to tell me to not bring up certain affair issues, that is unless I really must ... I don't feel the need to ... it is not a must. They are questions my h cannot answer; they are mine to answer, and in time. And then like you Hopeful, I am happy with my husband; I laugh at his silly antics and melt when he reaches out to me when I'm in need, even if that need is subtle, he sees it; he knows. Yes Hopeful, I get it. I live it. I do know I want to be here. And with that I will keep striving and know ... know that I am, we are, better than we were at DDay. I will know. And you will know if you no longer want to be where you are. And you have the strength to change. To be wherever you please. You. Strong. Determined. You.

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    1. Melissa, Yes, my husband was pretty much done with his affairs. The one had been done for about a year with zero contact. The other one had fizzled out with very sporadic contact only via email. He ended that with one text. So we had no contact from the ow until a mutual friend of both ow died. But he ignored their text and never heard from them again. I think that was helpful and allowed us to move through some of this process more quickly. At the point of dday he was so unhappy. He did not know if he loved me or wanted to stay married. But he promised to give it a try. It was still very hard. I think what was hard for me is he felt like the two affairs were so bad but he did not understand that I was bothered by his fb use, im'ing, emailing etc with other women. He didn't even tell me since he forgot. At the time of dday all he was doing was going on fb and basically tracking the ow and their lives along with other women. Still messed up to me. Again I feel like it ties into the porn. And the porn issue has dragged on and still is a topic. To me it is all related. All of this is secretive and something he could never disclose. It was all done with fake emails, fake fb page, fake everything. And the porn is anonymous. He has admited that he feels like our relationship is better the less he uses porn, that he does not like it or get anything from it. He is using it less than ever. But I am not sure if that is okay with me. I do not think after what we have been through and his personality, behavior and decisions that I can accept porn as normal or boys will be boys. Maybe if this never happened and he only used it if I was out of town and it never affected us but it does. For me this is a huge red flag. Or maybe a bonfire. And I feel like he is pouring gasoline on it the longer he avoids it. If he avoids this what else will he avoid? He told me he would tell me if he watched porn but did he? No. I asked and he did admit it. So of course I wonder do I have to ask him a laundry list of questions to make sure nothing is going on. Have the ow emailed you? Have the ow texted you? etc. And if I don't ask a question will it get left out?

      I too have questions still come into my mind. I know the answers will not provide any true comfort for me. I still question if what he told me regarding the meaning of the relationships is accurate. But I am not sure if he would remember accurately. He had two really long affairs. Both were sporadic. And based on how he is acting it does not matter. I am more concerned about his character, morals, decision making, drinking, who he surrounds himself with etc. My husband is so happy it is great but kind of sickening. Good for him he can do what he did and turn it around this quickly.

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  6. It's been one year since I started a journal trying to figure out what was going on with my husband and our marriage. What a difference a year makes. It's now been three months since D day. I don't even feel like the same person I was writing in that journal last year. Gone is that meek girl who accepted lies without question. At the time, looking back now, I was probably afraid to confirm what my body already knew to be true. It's hard to explain the way I feel lately. It's like I'm a rebellious kid. I picture myself as one of those contemporary dancers as she runs across the stage with a face filled with angst, her partner tries to grab he and pull her close. She kicks her feet and tries to free herself from his grasp but he won't let go. I am The Dancer and God is my partner. He tells me to Be Still. Be Still. Be. Still. But I can't. It's like I'm not ready to stop flailing at the injustice of what has been done to me. To my life. To my marriage. It's like I NEED to kick and lash out. Maybe once I've worn myself out from this thrashing about I will be ready to Be Still. It's ok though because I know without a doubt that Gods still got a hold of my thrashing body. He's whispering to me, "It's ok, get it all out. Let it all out. I've got you and you will be ok." I know without a doubt that He's got me and for now I feel comfortable in my thrashing and kicking self. I feel safe. I'm a Fighter, a Warrior. I Am Strong.

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    1. Dear In Search Of, you bet He has you. He's carrying you, sister. We never know why things happen, but we can take it to the bank that it's for a reason. A sorta close pal told me once that she was closer to God than she ever was because of her h's affair.

      I will never say infidelity is a good thing. It most certainly is NOT.

      We can all chose to make OURSELF a priority, take care of SLEF, and then see how great life is, one day at a time. Or hour. Or minute. We get to learn about stuff about ourselves that we might never have addressed in this lifetime. Okay, the choice was taken from us to find out about that stuff, because we're forced into either staying sick and miserable or we can, as you say, feel safe, be a Fighter, a Warrior, be Strong. At least we have THOSE choices!

      You bet what's been done is unjust. Unfair.

      Since we have not done anything wrong, nothing to deserve this CRAP, we can hold our heads high. Chin up in the air. Back straight. We are each worth the best. And we can love ourselves and carry on.

      Thank you everyone for being here.

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  7. Melissa, you say your H took longer to come around. And I know you were separated for some time and he even asked for mor but you told him that wouldn't work. Can you share with me how long it took, in your estimation, for him to come around? My sis said it took her about 10 months to realize she wanted to stay in her marriage. They are separated with her out of the house for about three, she moved home but they slept in separate rooms for almost another 7, while they worked on things, she was even in touch with her AP sometimes. Said looking back she was like a crazy person addict. So of course, I am always interested in hearing how long people's h's take, because it is like a clue (even if it is a false one, your h and mine only have infidelity in common) but it helps me to see that maybe it is worth hanging in. Thanks for your patience.

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  8. Still standing, I wrote you a very lengthy response… And lost it into the CyberWorld. I will write again at another time when I have time. Ughhh!!

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  9. My husband and I have been together for many years and recently he told me he has been online chatting to a woman off a game for nearly a month. He said he knew it was wrong he was lost, feeling useless that i deserved better (We have had alot as a family going on) and because we are not intimate he felt unwanted. He told her things about our life but said it was only to get free porn as she sent images/videos off her private parts so he could finish. He said he told her things so she would send videos. They talked about moving in togethee and having sex all the time. He said whenever he talked to her it was what he wanted to do with me and always imagined us not her. He said it was never about her and he would never have left me. He said it was two problems in one he was telling her things to make her me and how he wanted us to be in his fantasy world but at the same time it was only about the porn. He has happily done a lie detector answering questions about this situation and the whole of our relationship. He passed all of them including whether he only was thinking of me and it was only about the porn. I am still struggling to understand it as how can he be thinking about me knowing it wasnt me. Can he really do that or is it excuses. Is he likely to do this again. I dont know if i can move on from this he has broken me I never knew anything we always talked about everything else. Our marriage was supposed to be pure with honesty, trust, communication and love and i dont think we can ever have that again. Any advice is appreciated

    Kind Regards

    Leanne

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    1. Hi Leanne- So much of this starts when a spouse goes on-line or begins a relationship with a friend or co-worker. I can't answer how your H could be thinking of you while engaged with another woman, but I can tell you that yes, men know it's wrong, they feel useless, they feel we deserve better. Their self-esteem gets so low for whatever reason. My H told me that his self-esteem was very low- his was a 10 year emotional-with-sexual-overtones affair with two women which started shortly after we'd been married 25 years.
      Men can compartmentalize and these little boxes they have in their heads makes it possible for them to separate events or I suppose, imagine you in place of the other woman. I don't pretend to understand that, but it's true. Sometimes we have to accept things we don't understand. My H is a champion compartmentalizer. I've accepted that, but don't get it at all. That could explain how your H could do what he did.
      It doesn't feel like it, but you're lucky that he told you about it and you didn't discover it, then have him lie about it. That happens a lot. Elle told me a long time ago - okay, probably about a year ago- that what we are entering is our second marriage- the first is gone, dead, if you will. Now it's about making the second marriage the marriage you both want it to be. That helped me a lot.
      At the beginning, I told my husband that he broke me. And he did...but I knew even then, that I was the one who would have to put myself back together. He couldn't do that. We put ourselves back together. We learn that we can survive this, but it takes time. Sounds trite, I know, but so many of us here are now at a point where we can say that we're better, that the roller coaster has leveled out a bit, that we can forgive. But we don't forget and we become different people. We metamorphose.
      Stay on the site- read the stories- you'll be surprised how similar many of them are to yours. Listen to the advice. Take care of yourself and get counseling. Both of you. Will he do it again? Who knows. If he's an addict, probably. Unless he gets help. Keep writing to us- there's much help and empathy here.
      C.

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  10. I did it again… I just said here in a McDonald's parking lot for the last 30 minutes and wrote another lengthy post to you, Still Standing, and I lost it!! Arg!! You would think I would've learned my lesson and copied it first. OK, third time's a charm; I will try again tomorrow. Please know that I am thinking of you, and know that you are going to be just fine. Listen to the meditation titled I am safe. Hugs!!

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  11. Still Standing, in November 2014 my husband told me that he wanted for us to separate. This totally came out of the blue. For the next two months he was an utter and complete basket case, leaving me to stay with his friend on the weekends and also pursuing me like we were first dating. We would have a wonderful time out together, very intimate, and the next day he would say… I am still leaving. It was crazy making. Then, in January 2015 he told me about the affair. In fact, he told me that he had decided to leave me for her, yet he could not do it. For the next 2 1/2 months we were on an emotional roller coaster, to say the least. He could not handle it. He could not handle the situation that he had created. He requested a separation; I reluctantly agreed. The separation was set for a time period of six weeks. Prior to the separation we had discussed specifics yes to length of time, I'm out of contact division of labor… Etc.) He confessed to me that prior to the separation he had reached out to the OW. I made him promise that he would tell me, in person, if he was in touch with her, because if he was, that was fine, I did not want to be with him. He and I saw each other on a regular basis during the separation. I found out later, from him, that he had seen her once… I probably would not have known about this, yet a mutual friend saw them together… I also found out from him that he was in touch with her periodically. He then wanted to extend the separation and that is when I said no. He moved back home at the end of May 2015, reluctantly. For the next several months it was extremely difficult, of course it had been extremely difficult since November 2014. He was obviously very confused. He did not know if he wanted to be with me, if he wanted to be with her, or if he wanted to be alone - he leaned toward wanting to be alone. He had some major breakdowns in front of me, whereby he was crying and reaching out to me and saying, I'm so confused. At other times he was angry and vocal and threatening to file for a divorce while I was at work that day. I lost track of how many times he threatened to leave, or threatened to divorce. Finally I was so exhausted I would call his bluff and just tell him to leave… It wasn't really a bluff, at that point I felt like, "just leave so I can rest." It is rather a blur, but I do recall telling him, ultimately, that I simply could not live like that no more. He never left and slowly, but surely, things have gotten better. I can tell that he really wants to be here now and I too want to be here… Most days LOL. So, all total, I would say it took him about a year and a half to come to his senses. And frankly, I don't believe he is all the way back. I don't know that I am either. Perhaps this is part of what they mean when they say it will never be the same… at least for now, for me, that sense of safety and security with my husband, will never be the same - yet the sense of safety and security in myself, has grown stronger. I guess that's a good thing.
    I am going to continue on another post with some more information.

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  12. Still Standing, I want to share a few other things with you. The husband of one of my closest friends had an affair on her for about 2 1/2 years. For the first year he was living at home and slipping into what my girlfriend thought was a deep depression. As we all did/do she sought out help for him. It came to light that he was having an affair. He moved out of the family home and continued to see his affair partner, while seeing my friend at the same time. This went on for over a year. My friend, unbeknownst to her husband, had access to both his work email and the OW's work email. So my friend knew that when her husband told her he was going away for the weekend on business… She had read the emails that in fact he and the OW were going away together. She never told her husband what she knew. She wanted to continue to have access. What she went through was totally, and utterly insane. She lost so much weight, wasn't sleeping ... We all know the story, yet for me it was even worse for her because she did not reveal her truth. In any case, at one point one of his three daughters went to his apartment (two of the daughters were grown at this point) and she screamed at him, "you need to come home and fix this! you broke it! you fix it!" My friend was at her wits end and she too asked him to come home. His response? I cannot. When asked why he said because she and the girls would never forgive him. This was much like my husband… He often said to me with tears in his eyes that he broke it - he broke us and he would say to me that I do not have to forgive him. Both men did not see a way out from their shame. My friend's husband eventually moved back home and apparently for the next year was found to be in contact with the OW. Finally my friend gave him an ultimatum, if you contact her once more I am filing for divorce. Many people thought she was crazy for putting up with his behavior. When I asked her why she hung in all that time she said because I knew that was not my husband. That was not the man I married over 20 years ago and raised three daughters with. It has been almost seven years since he moved back home. She now has her husband and her family back. She is happy.
    One more point… As for the addictive nature of the affair yes, my husband told me that at one point during the affair he had said to his affair partner, "you are like cocaine to me." Of course I didn't like to hear that, yet I totally understood it. When I had my affair on my first husband, I left him after only six weeks in order to go live with my affair partner. That was the worst relationship of my life and yet I kept going back to it for the next 3 1/2 years. I actually moved out of state to get away and start over. When my affair partner said that he would be following me and move to the same state as I… I got into counseling to find out why I could not break it off for good with him. And a final one… My friend who was an 0W years ago with a married man, told me that it took her about three years to get over him. I watched her go through it. When she was first with him he was her soulmate, he was everything to her, he was leaving his wife for her ... and when that didn't happen and they slowly but surely broke up and yes it was the same situation of continual contact with her even though the wife thought he was no longer in touch with her. My friend is disgusted by her behavior now when she looks back on it. Yet she did tell me that it took her three years to see it in that light.

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  13. Thank you so much Melissa, for all that information. It somehow just helps me to "normalize" my situation, see that our/his/my crazy is not beyond hope. I keep reminding myself that his emotions are all over the place and still clouded, that any hope that contact with the OW ended when he left his old job two weeks ago, is all in my head. And that I am only in my ninth month post dday and apparently this shit takes a while, especially with a guy that has been engaged in "leakage" with porn and prostitutes and blaming me for it, for years before he had his affair. I was going to say 6 month affair, but I don't know if it is even over.
    I've had a massage, eaten some lunch, completely ignored work again and am going to therapy in a bit and giving myself permission to consciously wallow just a little bit while I try to remember how to stand. Its a long road and no one will look back and fault me for hanging in, for giving it my all. So I am going to stop triggering myself on google and reread some of my books to get my head level and think about what I can do again soon to "get away". I have a whole season of theater and symphony tickets which start on Sept 24, really looking forward. My only challenge is finding someone to go with me. Anyone available? ;)

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  14. Wow almost 3 years out and I'm still in pain. I'm working out of town. Ding ding ding. Trigger city. I was out of town a lot while he was at home getting BJ's as many as he wanted. I hate my husband. We just had a huge fight on the phone. He has changed, shows remorse all that stuff. I can't tell you how disgusted I am with him tonight. I feel like he just doesn't get it. Doesn't get how much this affected me, how deeply or how anything else. He is so shallow. Is that the way most men are? The terms he uses and what he thinks is so shallow. So I'm thinking of going through the motions just being a fuck buddy. I am unbelievably disappointed in how he answered my questions and couldn't relate to my concerns. Zero Nadda Nothing I expect him to say X and he says something that is not related to what I'm talking about. He wants his nice little life, some fucking and me to with him. He is happy as shit. I want a man to relate to me. Does one exist? Am I expecting too much? I'm just feeling discouraged tonight.

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  15. Friends, I need to vent. Something happened last week that sounds very small and petty but has led to several days of anger. I'm a little disappointed with myself for how I have let it affect me. My husband and the OW were co-workers. She has since left the company and moved. They have mutual friends at the company (where my husband still works) on social media. She and I have one mutual friend that I know of, a co-worker of my husband. After a work event last week, someone at the office posted about the event along with a few group photos, one of which included my husband. My husband was also tagged in the post. I saw the post and, while we both have her blocked on FB, I coukd see that there was a comment that wasn't visible. I knew it was her based upon her relationship with the person who posted it. Ok, here's the part that I'm embarrassed to admit. I have a secondary FB account that I created back when I was busy trying to keep up with what she was doing. So I logged in and was able to confirm that she had in fact liked the post and commented on it. I was furious. Of course, I lashed out at my husband for all his failures on d-day, even though I know he has no control over this. Frankly, he doesn't even pay enough attention to pick up on it.
    I''m pissed at myself for being pissed off. In my defense, she did a few things via FB shortly after d-day that I felt were jabs at me, so it's a sore spot. Why do I continue to expect her to show a little consideration? Why do I think she will just disappear and I can just ignore the fact that she exists? Why do I feel like after me choosing not to publicize this and humiliate her and choosing to take the high road that the very least she could do is just be invisible? I suppose there is an off chance that she has no clue what she's doing but it sure feels intentional.
    My initial reaction is an overwhelming urge to contact her. But I've gone 15 months without doing so. I want so badly to lash out at her but I am fully aware of the potential consequences. So I sit with all this anger. I fall back into negative behavior like hammering my husband for more information on the affair. Then this morning, after another unpleasant conversation, it occurred to me that I feel powerless. My ability to have a choice in this was taken from me when my husband chose to have an affair, it was taken every time they lied and were deceptive to cover their behavior. It was taken when I chose to take the high road and not do anything to embarrass her for fear that her reaction would affect my family. And now it's being taken again because I know acting out of anger has consequences and I can't risk that. :-(
    I'm just all around sad and pissed and frustrated.

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    1. Dandelion

      This was a huge issue for us or more my hauband. I can understand your frustration. My husband only ever had a secret account that I never knew about. As far as I know he only communicated with two strangers and followed the ow and their family and boyfriends. And by follow I mean look them up daily. He was not friends with them on fb. So it was what I would call a voiyeristic account. On dday 1 he changed the password and supposedly never used it again. He also had a fake email that he used four years before dday 1 to I'm women but stopped on his own. I am still bothered on some level he never deleted these accounts. Granted that is a false sense of security since he could just create new ones. And he could do this all at work where I will never have access. I do not get it. Well one of the ow is friends with the mom of one of our daughters friends. He has no clue how fb works and I am bothered since this friends mom will post photos and tag me. I know she is seeing them. The ow and this mom share a mutual friend. I have told my husband that if any of this affects our kids things will change dramatically and watch out for a whole new layer of work and effort. The only reason I have told no one is I do not want my kids to know. As far as I can tell there is no acting out so we are lucky but these affairs were over before dday 1 for us so that helped I think.

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    2. Dandelion, I wrote the OW a letter a few months ago. I told her how she lost because she wasn't pretty enough, smart enough, zero personality, she was just on call sex. Plus some other things about what a loser she was. I did not say a word about how she hurt me. The OW hate it because they lost. Here is a true OW didn't give a shit story. I enclosed a self stamped addressed envelope to send back the jewlery he gave her as an act of contrition. Ok, so she posted a picture of her wearing the diamond necklace. It just shows you the mindset of the lowest scum wagging vagina, It made me laugh so hard at how she still lost the game she was playing. Intentionally hurting someone is a pure evil vagina. That is really all she is. By the way she looked like smiling shit since my husband dropped her immediately 3 years ago. The OW looked like someone will be calling animal control. The next dumbass man will ask her to put her clothes on. Just because we can't see the OW getting the justice she deserves doesn't mean she is getting it.

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    3. Beach Girl, Hopeful and Lynn, thanks for your responses.

      Beach Girl, I'm a little stubborn so I keep resisting making any changes on FB. Part of me says I've made enough accommodations in regard to the OW and I shouldn't have to do anything else. Another part of me knows that being that stubborn is putting me in this position. But you're right, I can control my "bubble" to a certain extent. My husband has also volunteered to remove himself from FB. Might be something we should revisit.

      Hopeful, how do you cope with knowing the OW can see you on FB? My husband and I both have the OW in our situation blocked. But she can still see us if someone posts a picture of us, even if she doesn't see us tagged in it. My husband pays virtually no attention to it, so he doesn't pick up on it. I, on the other hand, am hypersensitive. I don't want to see what she's doing, but I feel like completely pretending she doesn't exist leaves me open to being blindsided by her.

      Lynn, you are right about many of these women. I do believe there are some OW out there who may have been unaware they were involved with someone who was married. There may also be some who regret what they have done and have made a decision to never do it again. But I don't think that's the case with this OW. She knew my husband was married. She is married herself. I asked her politely to be respectful of my marriage when I still believed it was an emotional affair. She chose not to. I wrote a letter to her with no intent of sending it. It was mainly just to get it off my chest. I let go of my desire to forgive her. And after writing the letter, I felt like I was doing better about not letting her affect me, but crap like this is a reminder of who she is.

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    4. As far as what the ow can see I assume they can only see what the public sees. So I am not sure about that. I never thought about blocking them. But yes one ow and I share one mutual friend. And my daughter is good friends with her daughter so she would see those posts and they would pop up in her fb page. I thought about asking that person not to post anything with my daughter but no one knows and it would be something that would be questioned without giving an explanation. For me and my husband is convinced of this too that they have no desire to confront either of us. There was only one contact by each at the time the mutual friend died. So I feel like they have moved on. I also thought about getting off of fb and that irritated me too. Why do I have to lose connection with family and friends because of his affairs. It is a really hard thing!

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    5. Lynn Less Pain, I agree. COWS have zip in the store that I wanna shop at...and it's precisely why they are available to married men.

      Dandelion and all, my h deleted his social media accounts while I was out of state, to get away from him and the madness. I left 2 weeks after D Day. Then the cow's h called our business, our employee's home also, to say the cow HAD to have my h call him. Turns out she attempted suicide and the crazy shit she made up to help lure my h into the sin was something she needed my h to CONFIRM as true.

      Through the first year, I discovered 2 other social media accounts, quite by accident, and FREAKED OUT. He hadn't used them, but I FREAKED OUT. So he deleted those, saying he didn't even recall having those. I guess at age 60 a man forgets lots of things. Morals, standards, God, you know, stuff.

      I HATE social media, always have, but I understand the need to connect with friends and family. I think you can make your account so that ONLY the folks you invite can see anything. Not sure.

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  16. Dandelion and all, my husband deleted his Facebook account within a few weeks of his disclosure. When we go places and I post our photo or something related to him, I refer to him by a nickname everyone knows. When people contacted him or I about why he isn't their "friend" we just say he hated being that "social" and leave it at that. Honestly I do not have to deal with AP because my spouse preferred prostitutes. I'd probably get off FB myself or at least cut down my contacts to include only people I truly love. Screw the rest...I need my peace bubble around me and I no longer allow anyone to mess with my peaceful place. Beach Girl sending love.

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  17. I feel like a hamster in a wheel. My partner works at night and our children are at their mom's house, so I'm all alone for hours, just turning all this over in my mind.
    Crazy things have been happening. I got another message from someone I am not connected to on facebook telling me that my fiance is cheating. It said that they met in class and that they had been having sex in the car. After confronting my fiance (who at this point has made full disclosure) about this, he continued to deny it. Something made me check my work facebook account--another message! From the same person--this time saying that they'd met on a dating site but hadn't yet met in person. Something started to click in my head... the spelling and punctuation were very bad, but also very distinctive--it was the original OW, using a pseudonym. I struggled to trust my fiance, but the writing was like a signature. Very distinct. And I wondered how the hell anyone would know what kind of car I drove (she mentioned them having sex in my minivan) but I went back to our original conversation and I had TOLD her that I drive a minivan.
    It was really frightening and triggering to have this happen again, but it felt strange and good to be able to believe my fiance that this was actually just smoke and mirrors.
    One thing that came out in all of this, however, was that one of his "flings" is in one of his classes at school. He told me that he really needed the class and that it is a big lecture hall and they have never even spoken. I thought about it overnight and decided that I could not live with that. No contact is no contact. He knows his phone is monitored, but if he sees her every other day, there is an easy way around me. And I feel like condoning this would be like putting an alcoholic in a room with a bottle three days a week, but assuming that nothing would happen and everything would be fine. He has an established sexual relationship with this person and unlike the others (whom he conned into believing that he was single), she knew about me and was "fine with it." I asked him to drop the class and he did with no argument. I don't know if that was fair of me to do, but I do know that I sleep better at night because of it.
    The other night we were talking about his new job and how much better it is for us because I know everyone he works with and am included in parties and invitations. I said I thought it was our saving grace, and he agreed. Then, as I always do, I kept ruminating on it, feeling angrier and angrier that he said that he couldn't keep cheating on me when his friends at work knew me, couldn't let them think that he was that kind of guy. Why does he care more for their good opinion of him than mine?? I asked him why he stopped cheating and he said, "opportunity, honestly." And I appreciate that he is honest with me at last, but that felt terrible to hear. He walked it back after I got upset and said that he was the one who created the lack of opportunity by changing jobs and making sure that I knew all his new friends, etc. I know that is true, but I had still hoped for an answer like, "Because I love you and couldn't bear to hurt us anymore."
    I read that other day that men heal by compartmentalizing, and women heal by touching the wound until there is no longer a charge. That description of touching the wound felt very true to me. Some days I cannot help but sift back through everything I know, matching times and days, lies and deeds. Some days it hurts less and I think I am getting somewhere. Some days I still wish I were dead.
    I know I'm only 4 weeks out and that it will get better. I know he is fighting for me.
    We got our clean STI test results yesterday. I'm relieved, but there is a part of me that wishes I could point to some concrete consequence of his actions, some line on our medical history that I could point to instead of just my anguish, which I sometimes wonder if he truly understands.

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    1. Four weeks out is so early and I can relate to so many of your thoughts. I do think a lot of this is opportunity. According to my husband both ow pursued him and were introduced to him by one friend (who has passed away, sad but has made the healing and closure easier for us). One thing you will read about on here is establishing boundaries. And Elle has said it is not about rules or telling someone what to do but what you need in the relationship to feel safe. I told my husband early on I needed to feel safe to even move forward. Forgiveness and trust would be much later. And it was hard to feel safe and not second guess everything. For my husband he wanted to tell me as little as possible. He was embarrassed and ashamed. He had no idea if I would kick him out, divorce him, take the kids, but he never thought I would stay with him. He thought he had done irrepairble harm. He also had compartamentalized a lot of what he had done. I had this idea of his cheating was fun and like one big party. He said he hated himself and could not even look at himself in the mirror but once he started he felt like he had broken the seal and it was too late to stop. There are a lot more details of course but I do think opportunity and circumstances play a major role in infidelity or at least for us. So we set up boundaries, how late he could stay out, how much he could drink, who he could go out with, where he could go, when out keeping in touch if they changed locations or who he was with, keeping me updated of who he texted or called or emailed, no secret email accounts, no fb, no social media, if any contact was initiated by the ow he was to tell me immediately. One ow lives elsewhere and he has told me when he got a telemarketer call from that area code. He has put himself in my shoes in everything he does. He says he acts as if I am next to him at all times. This has taken a long time. We are 18 months out from dday 1. And my expectations have also increased, I expect more from him and our marriage now than I did on dday. This page and my therapist were helpful in setting boundaries and giving me the confidence to stand up for what I knew was what I needed to feel safe.

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  18. Hopeful 30, thank you for your thoughtful response. We've set some basic boundaries almost as the terms of our reconciliation. They include what I call my mom negotiable: no sex or romance outside our relationship, with the stipulation that this includes dating sites, Craigslist, chat apps, and any form of sexual and or romantic touching, dating, etc. One boundary is that I need the complete transparency of his digital life in order to feel safe and rebuild trust. That includes knowing his passwords, knowing if the change, and his consent to a digital surveillance system. I'm away from home on mobile now so I can't consult the list (it seems unbelievable that I don't know it by heart. I think that speaks to the sad fact that I spend more time thinking about things that make me feel unsafe than things that make me feel safe.) I know that boundaries are personal to every couple and situation, but are there things I should be considering as we build our list?

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  19. Alone and hurting, not sure if my last post made it since I did not get the usual confirmation. Whe had the immediate boundaries about no contact and sharing all passwords for social media, email, cell, bank accounts and credit cards. What was harder to navigate and took more work and trial and error was lifestyle boundaries. Really my husband created a lifestyle that both did not involve me and allowed himself to detach. Even if it was going to work or spending time with his family. It all allowed him to not get close to me. At first it was an escape but then a way to avoid shame etc. For us boundaries inckude asking before he makes any social plans, checking in whether he is golfing or out with friends, if they switch where they are he needs to fell me. I need to know who he is with, setting a fine he will be home, setting an amount he wink drink (it has helped him a lot to discuss both of these things before heading out. He would get caught up In the moment and just go along with his friends. So we literally discuss what the initial plans are and what time make sense for him to be home. He also will talk about how much he will drink. For example if he is golfing he will say he will of drink in the course and will wait until dinner. By verbalizing it he is more aware and that has helped a lot.), we have set boundaries related to cell phone use (he puts it on do not disturb mode or turns it off or puts it away if he is not on call), when he is out he says since dday he acts as if I am next to him. In his own words all of these things have helped him to be a husband and father he is proud to be and he said it is the happiest he has been in his entire life. I am sure there are other boundaries but these were the ones that have been important to us. The only one that has been a challenge is boundaries related to porn. That is a work in progress. Best wishes!

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  20. Alone - you covered a lot in your boundaries. Here are some of mine. Transparency in bank accounts. No lying, minimizing or omissions about the affair. When he says something I take him at his word. When I say something I'm being honest about it too. We have code words we tell each other so I can brace myself for criticism. An every Sunday meeting to check in with each other is a required attendance. He needs these too although he never comes out and says it. He does say if he resented me that week and why. If I feel like he is not fair, I tell him. If the OW contacts him then he has to tell me. That has not happened after year one. I did see where she was sulking in our town in May.

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    1. Hopeful 30 and Lynn Less Pain, I really appreciate your insights. I am home and able to check our written list. The only thing I left off was honesty regarding whereabouts.
      Strangely, we had started to work on some of the "going out into the world" boundaries that you are talking about, Hopeful30, before this was all revealed, during the time that I knew something was wrong but did not yet know what it was. I asked that he please check in when work is over, ask me if he plans to go out with friends after, let me know where he has been, etc. That's still a work in progress for us. He chafed against what he called "the courtesy" of it at first, but since DDay he does it without fail. He is an impulsive person. It's hard for me to know how to feel. That was something I once valued in him, his spontaneity, compared to my own staid reasoning. Now I see the kinds of situations that his poor impulse control can land us in. He has admitted himself that overspending and overeating are a part of this same "itch." I know it, and I think overdrinking is as well--I think he has very few healthy self-soothing behaviors, but sometimes I admit, I condone the ones that don't hurt me so badly...
      Lynn Less Pain, I really like the idea of code words to brace ourselves for criticism. In the past, I've asked him to hold my hand when we fight, but it's hard for him to remain in physical contact when he is feeling attacked. Maybe that could help us both.

      Thank you to both of you, and to all of you strong and thoughtful ladies for being here. It is sometimes my only solace in this scary new world.

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  21. So I found this blog a little over two years ago when I was having a rough night and I google "my husband had an affair and I want die" I believe I shared my story but I haven't posted since but I ALWAYS read the emails and visit the site pretty regularly, I should say now that I'm sorry I haven't participated I know you got to give if you want to receive, and now I've come here for advice. So just a little background my husband and I did stay together and have a marriage I never even knew was possible and things are really good, not perfect but we do have honesty, trust, and respect. This post isn't really about my marriage it's about me and the OW. She was my best friend for many years and I've had a heck of a time letting go. She's toxic, she's always been toxic, I just never wanted to see that before she hurt me like I saw her to do to many others. I need to let her go, and it's not like we talk because we don't, but I still find myself looking at her Facebook page every day, ok if I'm really honest with you guys she sent me a friend request a year ago I accepted. I don't why I do it, I don't know why I can't stop. I know it's hurting me and I moved on with so many other things in the last 2+ years except this one thing. For a while there I thought if I could find a way to forgive her and we could become friends again it would somehow hurt less. I know crazy right? And then I beat myself up about it, like why am so weak? She's moved on, I mean if there ever was anything to move on from in her mind, so why can't I? When I first found them it felt like a double whammy, the two people I loved the most in the world, next to my kids, hated me so much that betrayed me... TOGETHER. And I've not been able to make any friends, oh quick side note, D-day happened two weeks before my husband and I and our children were to move to TN, so thankfully we don't still live in the same small town together. But since we've moved I've met some really awesome women through work, one in particular who's great but I can't seem to get the point to invite her over for dinner, or even to go have coffee with her. Now on the flip side not having any friends in the beginning was a blessing it gave me and my husband time to bond again and become each other's best friends again, but I do miss having a female friend sometimes. I need to move on and let go, but I just can't figure out how to do it. Anyways guys sorry to ramble on, and thanks to anyone that reads this!

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    1. So glad your marriage is in a good place and if sounds like the move was good. I have wished many times to move and start over. I never knew the two ow existed until dday so my story is a little different but I have had some similar feelings and experiences. I can imagine how hard it is to find out the two closest adults in your life betrayed you. To me it sounds like keeping connected with her in any way is not healthy or benefiting you. I do know getting on social media related to ow that are strangers can be hard for me since one had a mutual friend with me. One idea would be to block her or for you to take a break from social media. See if you feel better. I know a lot of people have done that and I have considered doing that too.

      As far as friends post dday it has been hard for me. no one knows about my husbands affairs except me, my husband and my therapist. So my friends do not know at all. I have a couple very close friends but I feel more distant from them even. I am not a person to share my most deep thoughts and feelings though I am more introverted in that way and keep it all inside. But in general I have grown distant. I feel less authentic with them. This is a huge aspect of my life but with them not knowing it make me feel like there is a barrier there. I am just quieter and observe more. I feel like when we do go out affairs, infidelity, etc come up too often. They totally agree with my morals but it is hard to sit and listen to any talk of it. For my husband and I we too have spent a lot of time just the two of us together watching tv, watching sports, cooking together, taking walks, working out, spending time with the kids etc. it has been good for us but left less time to connect with others and foster relationships outside of our marriage. So I have no good answers for you but I hear what you are going through.

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    2. Tabitha, thank you for posting. My heart goes out to you. I might welcome the opportunity to be able to pick and choose who I let into my life if I moved like you did. I think you have the opportunity to start small with a coffee date and get to explore a new friendship. Knowing me, I always ask about the other person's life, family, interests and goals. I don't disclose much but it is helpful to know "safe" topics of conversation. It takes a long time to really trust new friends but getting your toes wet is probably a good thing. Beach Girl

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    3. TM, why don't you go out to dinner but just not in your home until you are ready. You don't trust your husband enough to bring a friend home and I think that is an ok normal thing. You do need to stop on FB. She may feel guilty or may not. Think of her like NC. Develop a NC mindset. You admit she is toxic. Cut her lose. Friends don't tear apart families. Friends don't sleep with your husband. Friend don't insert themselves into your marriage. Figure out what exactly you are losing by letting her go then fill it with something else that is happy, kind and loyal. She is not your friend. I'm sure you know all this. Ask yourself why are you really hanging on? You are not weak, it just takes a while to figure all this shit out. You sound a little hard on yourself. Why would you want to be her friend when she intentionally hurts people. Sometimes friends which were the most fun to be around are really sick, hiding a black hole in themselves that cannot be fixed ever. Maybe it seems like a competition to you still?

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    4. Maybe my experience can give you some courage to get your feet wet... Three years ago my whole world was crushed when I discovered that my husband - who was the last person I would have thought was able to do such a thing - had been unfaithful. We had just moved to the US, all my close friends are in Europe, and I had no network here. I am a bit introverted, but the friends I have, are true friends, that I feel I can tell everything, and that is how I work. If I cant share with somebody, that person can never be my friend. I was so ashamed that this had happened to me, that I co-dependently kept the truth from almost everybody. I have been so lonely and desperate for three years, because I had expected my husband to keep his promises and work on himself and our marriage.I did everything, and read every book and website about infidelity, suggested ressources and even bought them for him, but he rarely paid attention. I have not made a single friend in three years and my husband has almost been the only person I could turn to.5 days ago, I discovered that he has had an affair with a new woman over the summer. Again, I fell apart, spent three days in bed, drank alcohol (which I never do), smoked cigarettes, which I haven't done for 20 years. I had told my husband that if he ever cheated on me again, there would be two consequences. I would divorce him, and he would have to tell our children. He was desperate to manipulate me into avoiding the consequences, but I stood my ground. It has shocked him. Since I found out, he has been researching and reading and contacting a really great ressource which others may like too EMS on Affairrecovery, to arrange a couples weekend therapy.I have told him , that I am separating myself from him, and only considering what is good for me. I am not looking into any more self-help or therapies or trying to solve the problems as I have been doing for 10 years without his participation.I will participate in that weekend, and he can come up with a plan and carry it through, but I will take no initiative at all. I am looking out for me now, and that has included reaching out to a few wonderful women, who I knew could be my friends, but I was so careful about protecting him, that I didn't dare. Yesterday and today, I have told both these women the full story without shedding a tear. I have laughed at some really grotesque things, and had their validation. I have NOT put my husband down, because he is a wonderful man... he is just a sex addict as it turns out. I have asked them to not judge him, but to understand that he has a weakness, and that I still love him, and would wish for nothing else than my marriage to be saved, but that I am now in a place where I am primarily focused on getting myself to a place where I am no longer co-dependent on him and keeps his secrets, so that if divorcing him feels like the right decision for me, that I will be strong enough to do that. It is as if a heavy weight has been lifted from my chest, and I start to show the real me again... not the haunted, scared, abused wife who everybody has seen for three years. .... and it is very empowering.

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    5. Tabitha and Anonymous,
      That sense of loneliness can be devastating. And that horrible fear that you can't trust your own judgement of people. Thing is, even brilliant people -- even people who study cons for a living -- sometimes get conned.
      Tabitha, your "friend" isn't one. And I wonder if your obsession with her is some attempt to undo what happened. To restore your former life. It's an appealing thought, right? But you can't. She has shown you who she is. I think a big part of moving past this is to...move past it. Stop checking her FB. Block her. Don't make a big deal of it. But just cut her out of your life. I suspect distance might give you a perspective.
      I would also suggest you give some thought (maybe with a therapist) to when, in the past, you had trouble letting go of someone toxic. I suspect this has roots in long ago.
      And then I would urge you to pursue a friendship with this person at work. Start slowly. Notice if you're getting any strong feelings one way or the other -- either loving her or getting that spidey sense. Friendships take time to grow. Just enjoy the courtship and see if it turns into a deeper friendship.
      And Anonymous, I'm so glad you finally confided in your friends. And it's tempting to let infidelity keep us isolated. We feel like we wear a mask. But everybody has secrets. There's nothing shameful about yours but you get to decide who gets to know and who doesn't. I would suggest you do the same as Tabitha. Get to know some other people. Enjoy discovering who they are, what they like, etc. No pressure. Think of it like a buffet -- a bite of this, a bite of that.

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    6. Thank you all for responding! The common thread in all of your replies is the same... block her, STOP this unhealthy behavior, and take a chance. Over the last few days I have gotten so close to unfriending her but I feel over ridden with anxiety and so I stop myself. Lynn Less Pain I think you were so right when you said, "Maybe it seems like a competition to you still?" And YES it does! I find myself posting things solely for her eyes, STILL. like a couple of weeks ago I posted a picture and captioned it "Date night with hubby... Feels so good to be so in love." Now I do really feel that way, but if I'm really honest with myself I posted those exact words just so that she could read them and know that we are still going strong! This past April I went back to school and yes this is embarrassing to admit but more than I was proud of myself for taking this huge step to better myself for me and my family I more wanted her to know. I couldn't wait to post a picture of when I worked my tail off and made the Dean's List that first quarter. Oh my goodness this is embarrassing even admitting this stuff out loud. Hopeful 30 thank you so much for sharing your experience with me �� Where you suffered in silence, not sharing your pain with your friends I lashed out and posted on Facebook what she had done. We were living in small town at the time, the kind where everyone knows everybody and I let the world know. It was not as satisfying as one would think, and what it did do was put my personal business on display. Beach Girl again thank you for taking the time! You're right I was certainly fortunate that we moved almost immediately after D-day, I think back and I was an absolute hot mess the months following D-day and am not sure my marriage would've lasted another 6 months if we would've stayed. And it was so hard to trust you husband 3 states away I would've been unbearable if there was still a real chance he could've ran into her while filling up at the gas station. Anonymous I admire your resolution that it will be him this time, that must make things right! Being a "fixer" by nature I was the one running around trying to fix this for us, even when I knew deep down, now this was after months of going to therapist by myself, that I wasn't the one who had caused this destruction. It was very unhealthy, I didn't know at the time but by doing what I did I was building even more resentment with my husband at that time. Elle your words ring so true!! I was trying to restore my former life, I would even have these wild ideas in my head that if I could just fix this one thing, forgiving the OW, that it would somehow hurt less. I would have my friend back and my heart wouldn't hurt so deeply. When I would reach out and make these pathetic attempts to repair things, she would toy with me. Looking back it so clearly gave her joy to watch me hurt. And even that hurts! I know I've still got a long way to go and my gut is telling me to give my friend at work a real shot. I've got 2 weeks off from school and I think I'm going to text her today and ask her to coffee.

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  22. Almost 15mo out ... i still think about not as much or as obsessively... butcit crosses my mind daily but not always hourly as in intial month lord knows some days and long nights it spun in my head like a reel on repeat. Big sighhh i guess in terms of healing its not the hot poker in my heart but a dull sometimes sharp ache. Is this as good as it gets? Will it ever be so far in the background id have to think hard to recall it? Is this a forever feeling? Pain turns into memory right? How long does that take. I might just be better then functioning and hes trying ... im trying. But damn it .. its still there .... im still standing ... wounded not broken. Staying in the day helps i guess im just venting....im trying to walk it out on the so so days and holding on to better days. Even if its in my mind ... at least im no longer crying on the bathroom floor. Thats improvement right?

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    1. Wounded, We seem to be on a similar path/timeline. I have similar feelings. It was more acceptable to feel pain from the betrayal. I felt like in the beginning since all my feelings seemed to make sense. Now what makes sense. We are 18 months out and I feel lost. I feel like this is an awkward phase. I am like you it does not cause the upset it used to but I still think about it every day.

      For me it lingers. It is just always there in the background. It saddens my husband since he is the happiest ever and he knows he caused this. He continues to reassure me that he will make good decisions and be the husband I deserve. I explained to him the other night that I hear him and I do get it intellectually but I thought we had it all before and nothing was as it seemed. So for me to move forward confidently is just not that simple. He gets it which is comforting but I am tired of this constant feeling. I agree too I am not a mess crying on the bathroom floor or in my closet but it does hit me every day still. I try to really focus on each day and the things that I love to do. I make sure I work out, cook, spend time with my kids. For me it is hardest when we get busy and my husband and I are not able to be together as much. That makes it challenging for me to feel connected to him. We try really hard to avoid that scenario.

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  23. Wounded, all these symptoms are normal for someone who has PTSD. Reliving memories. Unable to concentrate. I tried everything with my therapist who was trying to get me unstuck. She had a list of things we tried longer than Santa's toy list. I don't remember one thing that changed this but it took several things to eventually stop feeling sharpe ache. Your things will come to you too but not all at once. I thought if I can just make it a year... well around one and half years was the hardest for me. You will learn how to tolerate the mind intrusion then it gets easier. It never goes away and that is the sad part. Nothing can make it right for me. It was better for me to look forward to something that we planned together. This helped me the best. But it had to be something I really wanted to do. Like go to a rodeo, we went to a comedy club, we planned a vacation on a river cruise. It helps because your thinking about a new memory untouched by Ms. Wagging Vagina. It helps because you talk to with your husband about something else. It gets the happy going. That was one of my turning points was the river cruise. I remember being on that cruise having a wonderful time with my husband then thinking this mind intrusion is so stupid I have to stop it. By getting away I could see how much of it was hurting me. Then I went for my physical and my blood pressure was the highest it has ever been. That was it for me. I will be damned if the OW takes my health. You are improving a little at a time and that is ok.

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  24. So it has been 3 years out. Our process of healing has been very, very slow. His defensiveness and self protection still wins out though he seems to have become better at taking ownership (better, not good at taking ownership).
    I have been reading Glennon Doyle Melton's book "Love Warrior" and her blog and so much is resonating for me. Namely, a desire to "save my soul." And right now, my soul still hurts from his inability to really meet me with compassion, patience, and understanding. From the outside, he looks far more devoted as a father (which he is) and he is practicing way better communication and having less childish expecations. But he still plays the victim in all of this. I get that he felt like the victim and decided that he deserved to cheat. He certainly has grown up a bit since then. Except he still acts the victim. I am seen as "controlling," "refusing to forgive," "not giving him credit for everything he has done," "abandoning him" because I cannot be physically intimate, "being hard to please".....
    All of this is about his stuff, not mine. But throughout all this, I have been put on the defensive. I am beginning to realize I have had enough of this. I cannot be with someone who cannot embrace full responsibility for his cheating. It is not enough that he is transparent, and better at communicating, or a more responsible father. His attitude doesn't show humility or remorse as much as it shows shame and defensiveness. As if we should just sweep it under the rug. It isn't an attitude that deserves true forgiveness/reconciliation.
    Part of me judges myself for having too high expectations but when I read people like GDM, I know what I value is speaking and knowing my truth. And my truth is, I can't be close and intimate with someone who still is a coward. As GMD says, sometimes you put your pieces back together and you don't fit the old part of your life anymore. So I am trying to prepare myself for the next step and try not to let fear rule...

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    1. MBS,
      I think that's a crucial recognition. I remember hearing someone on Oprah tell a woman that her marriage doesn't have to be horrible for her to want it to be better. We don't have to settle for what isn't serving us. Three years is plenty of time for him to have shown you that he absolutely understands the impact his cheating has had on you and your marriage and that he deeply regrets it. It's long enough for him to have educated himself on just how long it takes betrayed women to heal from such a deep wound. That he's still focussed on how this has affected him doesn't inspire much confidence, does it.

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    2. MBS
      My h is one of those that gets defensive but it usually happens when I lose control of the angry and lash out with hurtful words and then this makes my h feel so hopeless that it's ever going to get better. It's been a few months since I had any real meltdown basically because my h just puts us to bed and stops my tantrum! I finally found out that I begin to act like a little kid when I trigger and can't find the right words to express my pain anger and anxiety when I get triggers. The ow continues to stalk my h on linked in and he was going to show me how she did about a month ago but he suddenly realized that it had happened just two days before and he wasn't aware of that but when I realized that he knew it a month before and withheld from me when he first saw it triggered me as a trust issue. We agreed that if I see her in the neighborhood I'm supposed to tell him right away but I'm as guilty as him for waiting until I feel like I'm able to share with him with out it leading to a major blow up! My mind understands that she's the one that is still obsessed with my h and not my h desiring to resume contact with her. And yet I got triggered by his not trusting me the day he saw it. Hell, it took six months of constant contact before he finally filed the harrassment charges. I was just about ready to throw in the towel and leave him for good. However, each time since then when she reaches out with text wanting to meet up with him, he's called the attorney and she had to go see the judge. Meanwhile, I'm still working on me because I'm not very proud of what this past three years has changed in my personality. I'm slowly returning to the kind of person that I can be proud of. I'm sorry you're having such a hard time with your h but I get how you feel and hope it gets better for you in time. Hugs.

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  25. Mbs it's great to hear from you... I totally appreciate where you are right now.. You sound like you know exactly what you want and what you will not accept.. I love the quote from gmd.. I'll never ever understand why men who cheat feel like the bloody victims it just doesn't make sense, it certainly doesn't sit well with the betrayed wives. We hurt we change we become strong and we decide our path.. you certainly sound like a woman who knows what she wants mbs and we're here right behind you.. Keep us posted you strong lady .. Hi 5 to you mbs xxx

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  26. Wow, I can relate to so much here. So much. It's been about a year and a half for me too ... and it is with me daily. I would not say PTSD for me - not specific memories intruding my thoughts - more of an underlying sadness. I don't even know if my husband knows I think of it daily. I told him a few months back ... it doesn't matter if he knows or not, there is nothing he can do about it. It's funny Hopeful, I often wish that my husband were more open like yours, yet you still feel the same way. Honestly, my best times are like Lynn has said, when we are off doing something new or different together, or even something old, but fun and together. We recently took up bicycle riding, we are involved again in a volunteer group we enjoy, we are making beer, joined a brewing club and are planning a motorcycle/camping/music festival event - all fabulous. And in the back of my mind - "My husband cheated on me." Sometimes, after all this time, it doesn't seem real. In the beginning there was the über pain, and the vigilante/detective work, then the separation, the crazy coming together, with frequent mini explosions and now ... what am I left with? A husband who cheated on me. Regardless of the circumstances, that fact remains. MBS, I am sorry. I recognize that the same can be my future. My husband is sorry, has shown humility and remorse, more apparent just following DDay, yet he simply doesn't want to talk about it - in all fairness, I don't bring it up to him except in passing. He might do the same - yet we don't really talk about it. Would I like to? Maybe. Sometimes. Maybe not. Sometimes. Most times? I don't. The only answer I know for sure - continue to make myself stronger so that I may live in my truth. Right now I'm still not so sure what that is. And that's ok.
    I'm right there with you ladies. Love & Light.

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    1. Melissa
      I can relate to the new memories and or going back to the things we loved before the kids were being raised. You're so right... It doesn't change the fact that he chose to cheat but it changed what caused my h to cheat and as a result it has changed him for the better in many ways. The pain of all these realities will be part of me for the remainder of my life but I refuse to dwell on the past! Hugs!

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    2. So many of us at about the same time... just past 15 months here. I explained to my husband that while things are good in our marriage, there are still those punch in the gut moments where I think, "This really happened in my marriage." I'm grateful to have a husband who talks but even sometimes the talking doesn't help me understand. I don't know that I can ever understand since I'm not him. So lately, after being triggered by something that is trivial in the big picture, I find myself sad. And I have to remind myself that all the regret in the world can't undo what's been done. And wishing for my old marriage back seems silly when I think about it because there were issues. I think mostly what I want is a marriage that doesn't have this in its past. I wonder if I would feel better if I began viewing it as a second marriage as had been said in other posts. I think more often about renewing our vows . I've even contemplated formally ending this marriage and getting remarried. I don't know what that would entail legally. And sometimes I think I might be a little crazy to go through all that effort just to feel like it's a fresh start.

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    3. Dandelion,

      All so true. I have found no matter what my husband does or how great things are the reality is still there. It does not consume me at all times but it is a constant. And yes for things being so great it is always in the background. And as I told my husband this weekend if is really hard since I thought we had something great yet it was all smoke and mirrors. And I told him I have this feeling in the back of my mind no matter how great it seems it might be too good to be true. I feel like if I trust myself I either say run or I will end up regretting it. It is a really hard time for me this 18 month time period. And I wish I could say to my husband do this and it would be all better but there is nothing really he could do to make it that way. It is just sad. He continues to tell me this is his only second chance and he will make the most of it and he wants to be the best husband and father. He seems genuine with his words and actions but still so hard...

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    4. Dandelion,

      It's an impossible task to make sense out of something nonsensical. The world that has people trying to re-victimize the victim (that would be each of as) can bite me. And not in the fun way. I am outraged when I read the "What did YOU do wrong in your marriage that would lead him to wander?" Cheating is a piss-poor problem solving solution. A zero. Having said THAT...

      Blast those triggers. My h isn't so good at handling my responses and when that happens, all hell does break loose.

      I asked THE SAME question about divorce and remarriage. To a priest. To an attorney. To our adult kids. We decided against it because we decided WE WANTED THIS MARRIAGE. With all of it's faults, sins, happiness, joy, sorrow...THIS ONE.

      We opted for a vow renewal. It was a great alternative.

      Elle has a wonderful piece from yesterday about how we ALL change, over time, and when we think that we don't know THIS h, we have changed also. So we get to know each other over & over. Daily. By talk, by laughter, tears, sharing, making love, fighting (hopefully fair fighting), and all those other pieces that make OUR marriage OUR marriage.

      That fucking c.o.w. can drop dead. THIS IS MY HUSBAND and I intend to stick this out. I will make this better daily. And so will he (if not, it's a deal breaker, he gets that).

      I feel sad/who is he/etc. because I'm working on trust. I must say the poor bozo can't breath right some days, it's a trigger ("I bet he breathed like that when he was with HER.") It's been 2 years 3 months and 20 days.

      Not that I'm counting.

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    5. Hopeful, I struggle too with it always just being there. I think it was you who posted once before about how your H has changed but you are still who you've always been. Feels a lot like me. All the things he said he valued in me (honesty, integrity, etc..) weren't enough to stop the affair and he wasn't capable of showing me the same. We've talked a lot lately and yesterday I told him that I came into our marriage an open book. He knew about the alchoholism and drug addiction in my extended family, he knew about my past relationships and my self esteem issues. He knew me. I accused him of hiding his issues from me and he told me that therapy was the first time he addressed his issues from his childhood. This never really occurred to me. I felt like he truly recognized them and just chose not to deal with them. It seems more like he was so accustomed to the dysfunction that he normalized it, which explains how he interacted with his family over the years. I look at him sometimes and think, "Well, lucky you. You've come out of this better." But in the moments that I see the pain he feels knowing that he can't undo what he did, I understand that the road to healing is hard for him too. I feel like some days I'm so busy trying to understand how he was "that person" that I miss seeing who he is now. Living in the present is hard for me. Letting go of control (or the illusion of it) is too. When I really think about it, I suppose I have changed in some ways, although my core values remain the same.

      Suzanne, I read your posts and admire your ability to see through all the pain and know how amazing you are. It inspires me. I'm working on me, but I still have a long way to go. I know in my heart that the OW was chosen because she lacked many of the qualities that I have (loyalty, integrity, etc...). She has nothing I want. But my husband's affair has dredged up some very old issues regarding my self esteem, stuff that I need to work through to feel better about me. I realize now that once I got married, I pushed those issues down rather than dealing with them. So now I will deal with them. It's a slower process than I care to admit.

      Hugs, my warrior sisters! ❤️

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  27. Hi ladies, i love reading your posts, these last few are so familiar to me too. This feeling of great sadness, do you think it is because we have lost that person we thought we knew inside out, the person who was so trustworthy (no question about it at all) the person who made the right decisions that had our best interests at heart. We now have a new person a new person to get to know not that man from a few years ago, not that relationship that felt so comfortable. This makes me so sad too. It does matter what they do, how they try to make everything alright but its like a new dress with a big stain down the front!!! Love to you ladies

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    1. Jilly55,
      I think we grieve in the wake of betrayal. We grieve for the person we thought he was. We grieve for the marriage we thought we had. We grieve for that level of comfort and trust. We grieve for who we were before being shattered by betrayal. I know we can move past that. I know that grief can spark emotional growth and a deeper understanding of ourselves and our partners. But that doesn't mean it isn't hard. That sadness is very real.

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    2. Jilly & Elle, all so true. Two years since d-day, and I am grieving that version of me that believed in fairy tales and happy endings. I grew up worshipping my parents wedding album (how telling). In my darker moments I feel not special, not worthy of a faithful husband. We both hate what he did. It's easy to forget that it's not about me, that he was out of his mind. We've worked hard, there are new memories, but it still hurts. The triggers are less frequent, less intense but this anniversary is rough. We haven't run into ow once, but open house is tonight, so I'm on high alert. The gift that keeps on giving. BWC makes me feel less crazy, less alone, and I thank you all for that. Hugs.

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  28. Jilly55, Beach Girl here. I also feel a deep sense of sadness a lot of time and I know for me it is for all the things you listed in your post. I would never have thought my husband was involved in the things he was involved in and I'm not sure if I will ever get over the shock of disclosure. Because my husband lived with the knowledge of all the things that happened to him as a child and growing up while pretending that he was OK, it took a terrible toll on him. I understand how this happens to people and we have all read stories about the survivors of childhood abuse. My husband is as raw as I am for very different reasons. He has been flooded by memories of things that happened to him as a child and they are not pretty. We arrest and put people who are caught doing those things to children in jail but if nobody tells or gets caught, the victims like my husband grow up to self sooth with sex, porn and ultimately poor boundaries. I know my husband was never looking to replace me with prostitutes as he had difficulty making a true emotion connection to me. Sex with prostitutes and porn was just a release of stress that made him feel terrible about himself. The disclosure has been so painful for both of us. His shame and about his past and his secrecy around porn just intensified over the years until he finally paid for sex. It took the fear of a life-threatening illness for him (he told me he thought he had AIDS) to disclose to me and it was like pus pouring from a pimple for months and months and months. He grew up in a very typical Southern California suburban home in an intact family but what looked true was not. While the parents were partying away and having afternoon cocktails, the children were exploring porn magazines and experimenting on each other. That tends to really screw up a kid and he learned very young that sex made him feel good. I so wish he would have trusted me way back when to share even a little bit about his life and maybe that would have allowed him to trust me enough to take a different path but he didn't and the path ended 15 months ago like an explosive device. I grieve so much about my life with this man and when I am having a "good" day like today, I can be compassionate, loving, understanding and very, very sad for all that was lost over the years. Like Elle wrote, we/I grieve for all the things that made us who we thought we were before the betrayal and now we have to figure out a new way to be who we are. None of us ever thought as a child, "Oh, I would love to grow up to be a betrayed spouse" and I am sure none of our husbands deliberately thought, "Oh I am never going to be an unfaithful husband" but here we are and there we go. My husband says he is committed to "not being that guy" ever again. I want to believe him yet I am not sure I will ever believe him because my early history was filled with many betrayals and loss so putting my full faith and trust into this man I married 37 years ago only to have it blow up on me may very well have made it nearly impossible for me to ever trust another person again. Only time will tell. He knows that and he is doing his best to woo me as only this new guy can. I've read on this site that 15 months is still so raw. For me, this is true. When I go down my rabbit hole we both end up crying, talking and trying to figure out if life is worth living. He often wants to kill himself. I've wanted to die to get out from under the pain I feel. We talk about how this feels and that it would solve nothing for the surviving spouse but acknowledging our pain is helpful. I'm working on feeling happy and there is nothing quite like the squeal of my granddaughter when she sees me to fill my heart with joy. I once felt that for my spouse and I don't know if I will let myself feel like that again. It is the price I may pay. I'm a work in progress as we all are and we all deserve better than we got. Love, peace and hugs, Beach Girl

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    1. Hi Beach Girl, that is one hell of a situation to cope with. Some say i am GLAD for this experience i am stronger, i know what i want i am not the nice person i was I am better i am so much stronger!!! Well what the hell why would you want to go through all that to get to be a stronger better person NO WAY i would prefer to be who i was before all the shit!!! Some cope better than others some take longer but Beach Girl we will get there! xxx

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  29. So ladies, listen to this major dickery.

    I’ve been super sad lately. So very far down. Based on other posts I’m seeing here, it sounds like that’s pretty typical for the year and a half mark. I’ve been looking at my H and thinking, “this is it?” If I’m to have a second marriage because my first is clearly over, do I choose him? It’s so overwhelming.

    My counselor has recommended that I do what I can to take fear off the table. That if I can resolve things that I think might be keeping me in this marriage just because I’m afraid to leave it, then I can know (and my H can know) that I’m staying with him because I choose him, I choose us. And then maybe I can unstuck the sadness and move towards something better.

    So. Typical story, 14 years ago I quit my career to take care of the kids and follow his career around the country. I had loved my career and had made at least as much money as him. But I willingly took one for the team. And then the team captain went off to play with his balls without me. I don’t regret a minute I’ve spent with my kids, I truly I consider it a blessing and do not deny my good fortune. But the fact is I now rely on his income. Despite the value I think it has, “housewife” isn’t a great resume builder. If we divorce, I would lose retirement savings in a way I can’t ever make up at this point. Plus, I wouldn’t have access to his work healthcare policy.

    To his credit, my H gets it. And he agrees he wants fear off the table. So at my request, he contacted a family lawyer to put a legal agreement in place for me. This is basically what he emailed the lawyer:
    “My wife and I are working through serious issues resulting from my infidelity… I am the principal income earner…She has told me that she would feel more secure in trying to repair our relationship if she had financial protection… I am 100% committed to doing whatever I can to save our marriage. Therefore I want a legally binding document that says should we divorce she remains entitled to 50% of my entire retirement accounts (not only what was contributed during the marriage) and to health care coverage equivalent to what she would have under my work policy… what are the options in this state?”

    This is what lawyer wrote back, based solely on that email:
    “She’s playing you. That’s my educated guess. Anytime I hear about the spouse who claims ‘I will stay married if you guarantee I’ll be in the catbird seat financially if we divorce’ I smell a rat. If I were you, if and when the divorce arose, I would let her fend for herself. I would make no promises in advance of divorce UNLESS I wished to provide extra for her out of a sense of honor or guilt or some combination of the two. Does this make sense?”

    Can you believe it?!?!?!?! What a dick.
    Yeah, I’m totally playing my H. Got him pretty good, didn’t I? Just sitting up here on my rat's ass in the catbird seat enjoying all the advantages of his betrayal. AAAAAAAAAARGH!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    At least my H is horrified. There’s that.

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    1. That lawyer is a sack of shit. Guess we can figure out what HIS values are concerning infidelity, right?

      I insisted on a post-nup the month of D Day. I also wanted our home in my name.

      Why? For 7 days or so he was making his mind up if he wanted to stay or go with her.

      So I decided then & there that if we stayed together, I wanted 70% of the assets in a post-nup.

      And if he left, I wanted 70% of the assets.

      I didn't want to influence his decision. HA!!

      He didn't bat an eye when we filed those papers.

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    2. Sal, I am floored. Dick is absolutely the word that comes to mind. :-(
      I'm sorry that you had to read that response during a time where you are already sad.
      Hugs!

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    3. Sal,

      That is horrible. I am so sorry. It is amazing though the length and money people waste so that their spouse will not get it. My husband sees it all the time. If I were you I would research an attorney that works with couples together. I know based on my husband's work that there are many attorneys who will work with the husband and the wife for their best overall interests. I know not everyone goes that route but then you avoid this type of attorney. Keep us updated.

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    4. Thank you for your sanity ladies, as always.

      My H ended up contacting a WOMAN family law attorney. She was super professional. She gave us suggestions to draft up our own agreement and have it notarized, and said she would be glad to review it for free if we had any Qs. She said she could prepare the agreement for $250, but in our state not necessary to have a lawyer involved for post-nuptial agreements, just a notary public.

      One thing of note for anyone else going thru this -- rules really vary by state. In mine, almost all assets acquired/held during the marriage remain joint property at divorce. So putting home or other shared property in one spouse's name means nothing at divorce -- it is an asset (or liability) of the marriage no matter whose name is on it.
      However retirement investments are treated differently, because of the complications in how they grow and are withdrawn, etc.

      I don't think my H and I will end up going down that road. But good for me to know options.

      Thanks for your support! Really helps to be heard in these sad days.

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  30. Hi Elle, Thank you Elle, so true we grieve for who we were before, i would love to be that person again. Perhaps one day??? xx

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    1. LADIES! I wouldn't give a plug nickel for who I was before my h's affair. I loved me, I adored me.

      I love me MORE now, I adore me MORE now, I am better able to focus on what I I I need/want....I saved money and was frugal like you wouldn't believe it. Now? It's all about me. Not in a lavish selfish way, but I consider myself instead just of him or the adult kids or whatever.

      I lived through a lot of trauma as a young child. A LOT. And it was nothing like this shit storm. However, I AM, I CAN, I WILL be a stronger woman for this. By my design. A work in progress. With sins & faults. But by GOD, I will never want to go back to that total trust/innocent me/it's all about him crap.

      I wonder if feeling as though we've lost "her" as a result of the betrayal is grief? I dunno.

      We are WARRIORS!

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    2. Suzanne, your post was simply marvelous!! Thank you, hope lots of us ladies can find strength in it and come out on the other side as strong as you have!

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    3. I struggle with this nostalgic love for "who I used to be" also. I think like a lot of us, I tried soooo hard to be suuuuch a goooood person. And at the time, I loved who I was and felt good about myself.

      But like Suzanne just hit on.... A lot of that "gooood person" stuff was really, really self-damaging, self-deprecating stuff!!! And I see it now! And no way in HELL would I go back to being her.

      What I really want back is the way I felt about myself. My self-respect, pride and ability to trust my own judgment have taken a hard hit from this but are coming back slowly as I learn to do better now that I know better.

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  31. I am now a person who does not trust my husband. I struggle every time I hear him converse on the phone with another woman and with his job, he has to interact with a lot of support staff and account managers who are woman. Recently he was contacted ( through work email) by a woman he used to flirt with as a young man, and she flirted back,( think Jane lynch, that was her body type..) she also had an affair with the unassuming shy manager of that same office many years ago. When she saw he worked for a company she does business with, she sent him a "welcome" email. Which he promptly ignored and deleted. He did not tell me. He only shared this information when she send another email titled," what the heck", wondering why he had, "ignored her". This time she was fishing for information of where he now lived. He showed me the email and explained that they had never had anything going on..only that he didn't want to upset me and end up rehashing things from the past, which is exactly what ended up happening. He responded to her with something like," keeping busy", and did not share our address. That's fine, because she could just ask anyone in the company and find that out. My question was/ still is.. If they had nothing going on why did he react that way? I also made it clear how it is tough for me to trust,( already knowing all the shit he did to hide things in the past) because his first instinct was to delete the first email and hide it from me. All the B.S statements about me being able to look at all his stuff, phone, email, etc, ring hollow all the more. Also, the same day, another lady that he does business with invited him to a dinner that her company was putting on.. He declined due to his schedule, her response to the other poor guy who was left alone with her," looks like,it's me and you kid, all the better." Winkey face... These are the woman that I have to be ok with him doing business with. This morning he is having breakfast with her, because dinner didn't work out.. Lovely. At least he does not argue with me about their motives and what type of women they are anymore. The first lady is a known adulterer who is now remarried( as if that means anything) and the second one, I overheard him speaking to on the phone and she was desperately trying to lengthen the conversation, was very unprofessional, joking too much, being too casual and cursing throughout the call. I have never been anything but honest with my husband about how his coworkers and their too casual attitude,( that led to cheating!) made me feel. Now it is something that feels like what I went though before.. It's almost as if I expect him to keep contacting these people because he knows how I feel. I know that may not be rational, but as I said before, the trust is not there..

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    1. That sounds really hard to deal with during recovery from betrayal. My husband and I have had a lot of discussions related to these types of situations. Since as I have said to him his attitude and being naive and now he interacts with women must have lowered his boundaries and also how they react to him. My husband works with all women. One if his secretaries i knew liked him and she took great care of him. What is funny I over the years really probed and pushed him if anything was going on between them and he always denied it and still does to this day. He says he would never allow anything to happen at work. He says it so matter of fact. But in my mind I think how can you really be so sure based on everything else you have done. To me it is an overall judgment that is lacking. I keep going back to why do I just always know the right decision, why do I know when I have had too much to drink and should not drive, when I need to stop drinking so I do not get drunk, who I should and should not talk to, who I should and should not give my number to, who I should give my phone to, how late I should stay out... I could go on and on. And in the end he says he has such trust and comfort with me because of the type of person who I am. Great so glad he has that but I feel like I will never get that with him or anybody. I can only fully trust myself.

      And all these other women are disgusting the way they lead their life especially in a professional setting. Since dday I feel like I hear about or affairs come up in discussion all the time. Maybe it is middle age but man I am tired of hearing about it all the time. It seems like such a major problem in our society.

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  32. Yes, I agree. The sad thing is..the affair between the ridiculously flirty " Jane lynch" type women and the shy manager was revealed to us through another lady who worked in the office as well. It was treated as a joke,mostly because of the lady's looks, but how sad in any case.. For years my husband would downplay the looks of the woman he worked with as if cheating with them was unthinkable. Now that I know the truth ( I was right all along ) and have seen the unattractive woman, ( Mrs bush etc..) obviously that was said just to appease me. I also have a hard time with his revolving morals. If you can meet someone at their house and fuck them in their husbands bed.. Then how is meeting the latest one in the same situation unthinkable! It does not lead believability, and actually makes me question everything I have been told is finally the truth.

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  33. Anonymous, I do think we all have a hard time with the morals of our h's. It will always be a shock to me at any rate. The office flirting wink wink behavior is tough at best. How are you (and Hopeful, too) dealing with boundaries at/outside of the office? So many positions don't end at 5:00pm but continue on the phone and emails. Do you both have access to all of your h's phones and emails? Do they know what boundaries are now? I'm not talking about anything ridiculous stringent, but healthy.

    Some guys need to have every little thing spelled out.

    I don't think I will ever have "all" the info I want(ed), but I'm so tired of the whole thing that I try to talk myself into thinking of something different when I begin to have those questions roiling around in my head. I'm like "SO WHAT, it's how he acts NOW that I care about." And that seems to work for me at present.

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    1. Suzanne,

      I agree with you so much of this is hard to deal with. It is a work in progress for us. My husband has shifted his perspective a lot.

      Boundaries have been a big part of our work together. I mean he really has none for me or any expectations for me. I have changed very little with the exception of speaking up immediately and being less concerned about his reaction. He has always been very defensive when I bring anything up. Now of course I know why but it did take him a while to not be that way. And he also likes to be in fix it mode but as i have had to explain to him sometimes he cannot fix it and we need to work through it.

      For us boundaries really focused I would say mainly around his time away from home with friends. So it is asking before agreeing to do something with friends, telling me what the plans are in details, who is involved, where they are going, if plans change letting me know, how much he plans to drink (we have found talking about it before he goes out makes him more aware and helps him to create a plan otherwise he gets caught up in what others are doing), how late he will stay out, ability to check his phone at any time or his personal email, bank account passwords, credit card passwords. No contact with the two affair partners.

      As far as work goes this is not really possible since he is in the mental health field. He gets phone calls through a secretary and does not even have voice mail, he has a work email and a work computer but I will never have access to these. And 99% of the people he works with are women. So I will never really have access to that world. At times it is a struggle. We have discussed it at length. He has said nothing has ever happened at work since the implications there would be devastating. He encouraged me to go back to school to become a therapist after all of this and work there too or to be an "office manager" type role. He is never bothered if I want to stop there. As far as no access to the calls or emails I have rationalized it that if we wants to have communication or relationships with other women he can find a way. He can get a throw away phone, create a fake email etc. With technology it really can be done easily and without me knowing. So no amount of detective work can guarantee it does not happen. He says that his behavior should be an indication. He is very aware of communicating with me and how his behaviors affect me. He knows this is his only chance with me to save our marriage. He says for him he thinks about it all the time as if I was next to him. How would I feel if I was listening to him, reading what he just wrote or said etc...

      I hope this helps give some idea of what we have done.

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    2. Everything is as it, "should" be, as far as the appearance of transparency. I have a hard time with that term it is something that I pushed for my entire marriage. I never had any problem sharing my phone conversations or emails. In fact it is ridiculous how open about my entire day/every moment of my life, I was with him. He just pretended to be the same way and hid his contact with other woman who ALL knew he was married. We had so many fights about his secrecy and weird behavior with his phone, ongoing texts with woman from work, etc.. He made me feel bad about myself for questioning his motives for YEARS!Has anyone heard of the term,"crazymaking"? That was basically his strategy. I learned all to well that if someone wants to hide something, they can, and will.Everytime his phone rings, or he gets a text, it is a trigger that I have to fight off. So most of the measures taken to show that he actually is being,"transparent" now do nothing to assure me.Especially when his first gut reaction is to delete an email that might upset me. It is NOT fair to use my reactions or anger against me as a reason not to share something with me. That sends the message that I only deserve honesty if I behave a certain way. Also that he is a chickenshit coward, who can't handle even the possible discussion of the choices HE made!

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  34. I just wanted to stop by to share a note. Shitiversary #2 is now in my rear view mirror. And I am actually grateful. I remember the first time I heard a woman say this, I seriously wanted to kick her hard in uncomfortable places for being so stupid. lol And maybe this doesn't really apply to all the ladies here BUT I am actually soo grateful that I won't be living the rest of my life the way I was living before the shit hit the fan that I am glad it happened. It was my wake up call. I'll happily take the occasional heartache and nasty memories I have now instead.

    I'm sad it took so much to finally shake me awake and get me to start taking care of myself instead of everybody else (read: him) and finally reach the point where I was DONE enough to demand better and was happy to walk if I didn't get it. For me this was the last straw for a whole way of life revolving around believing others would eventually start to treat me the way I treated them. (hint: NOT the way the world works)

    So please take heart ladies who are still in the trenches. I may still eventually leave him but it doesn't matter any more. I'll keep working on myself. I know I'll be fine. And so will all of you! I hope that even if you can't feel that yet, you can maybe take it on faith for a little while.

    With love,
    aelia

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  35. To Aelia and all the Warriors,
    On the topic of finding strength in oneself....thank you for sharing. We are 11 months from d-day. I am thinking that I might be stuck in mourning for the marriage we once had, I miss my "innosence" in feeling "Affair? my husband would never do that"...but he did which has led me down the road of self doubt. What I have discovered in myself which surprizes me is that I am no longer afraid of the thought of being alone, We were married when we were 20 so I went from my parents home to our home,,,never on my own. When d-day came I initaly threw him out, while I was devastated I was not afraid. I took stock in myself and my abilities and discovered that I can /will make it without him. I have found unbelievable strength in this revelation. We are together , working hard but not because I need him to care for me but because I want him here. I'm sure if this makes sense but it is my current reality and it gives me strength and hope because not a day goes by where I don't feel that gut wrenching punch of "Damn, he really did f#$k another woman"
    Thanks to each of you,
    Gage

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    1. Gage
      I think we all get stuck on the same parts of this nightmare. I'm finally past the grieving for what was that fairy tale marriage that I thought we had but it sure took a long time for me to get past that and two years next month and I still look at him some times and think how could you have fucked with and lived with another woman even if for only two months...just how the hell could you!
      However, when those thoughts enter my head, I look at my h and see all the work he's put into himself to help me recover from the shock of the past! He's been out of his fog for the past three years, he just didn't know how to make his cow get out of her fog. I'm not sure what will help you to the point of this popping in your mind so often, but I think a lot depends on how your h is behaving now. I'm glad you reached the point of recognizing that you will be okay with or without your h! For me that was the thing that lead to me getting past the initial grief! It's a long winding road with many twists and turns but it does get easier as more time and new memories begin to be the new normal. Hugs! I know how hard this is!

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    2. Wow. You all are describing so much of where I'm at right now.
      I'm confident that I'd be okay without him, and I'm feeling pretty good about creating a new marriage with the new me and the new him -- but I'm definitely mourning the old marriage / the old me / the old who-I-thought-he-was.
      So most days I'm doing okay, then out of the blue I feel sucker-punched: "oh, right, he cheated on me." I can *usually* feel it now without the rage, but the sadness can be overwhelming -- ok, these are the facts of my life. My H was an adulterer. That really happened. Ugh.
      Glad to know I'm not alone. Hugs to All!!!

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    3. Gage, what you've written is exactly what I feel some days... I hate that reminder that my husband was "that guy". I try to combat that by focusing on the present. So hard for me. I've always been one thinking about what lies years down the road. Now I find myself making a conscious effort to just slow down, appreciate what I have at the moment, know that I can't control tomorrow or the next day. The past few days have been great for me (fewer moments of sadness) and I am determined to embrace that.
      Hugs my dear friends!

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    4. All so true. My husband and I just had a big discussion and it is hard. He is doing a lot to make it better. He has a new macro and micro approach for his life and has worked really hard. He is thinking about his decisions every day and we are his biggest priority. And he said that he even realized for the first time in his life he is happier if he thinks about us and has us as his priority vs himself. He has never thought that way. I found that so interesting and insightful. I now realize how differently we are wired. But glad he is seeing things this way now. I now can see why he made such poor decisions and all in impulse if he just thought about himself.

      But then it is so hard to tell him how sad I am and how it is hard to ever feel happy with him. I have I guess what you would call happy moments but just not sure if I am happy. It sounds odd saying this but I honestly was happy throughtout my life and our 20+ year marriage. But once this happned and he sat and told me what he did and how he felt for so many years I just really feel like that was all fake and I was lied to for all these years. Which I was. I of course have happy memories but really to do with him they have all been put to question. Even our wedding day and before that. He gave me so many dumb excuses for his affairs that went back to that time. He was the one to push me to have kids not me pushing him. Stuff like that makes me skeptical. So now even when I think okay I feel happy or this is a happy moment I feel like is this too good to be true or when will the rug be pulled out from under me. He of course feels so bad and struggles with this but takes it all. He says he just thinks I need more time to learn to trust him again. And I think is this all worth it and can it ever be real? It is so hard and I think he is so on board why am I not embracing him more.

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  36. I wanted to crow about something in therapy today. It was something that was festering for awhile and finally I had the chance to address it. My husband keeps trying to paint me as controlling. He wants me to admit that because of my childhood issues, I am always trying to control things. It is part of the narrative he has that cause him to have an affair--kind of like how and angry teen defies mom's rules. Well, I owned my childhood issues but trying to control others wasn't part of it. My issue is that people didn't pay that much attention to me because I was the most competent and least needy of all the kids (though I would have loved some attention for my inner life,emotions, etc--that's my childhood issue). And I am a competent woman who can take care of stuff. I turned his accusation on its head and I asked him to look at how he is part of a culture that accuses competent women as controlling. I also brought up how I reached out to him to grow up with me and start to take responsibility for our adult life with financial responsibility, planning, raising kids, and chores but he balked. So I did it myself.
    Next week I am going to raise the possibility that he resents me for being able to do things that he struggles with (as I likely resent him for being good at things I struggle with). From here on in, I am challenging his narrative--its the story he tells himself that led to his feeling entitled to cheat and behave like a petulant teenager. Also, I more clearly see how sexist and misogynistic ideas about women affect us in our relationships and contribute to affairs. I realize that is something that isn't even talked about. (p.s.--Love Warrior, talks about it, if you haven't read it yet.)

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    1. MBS - YEEEESSSSS! Folks like your h and mine are most comfortable blaming others, being a victim, because it means they don't have to take responsibility for their own shit.
      You are not controlling, just getting shit done!

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    2. MBS, I too had a petulant teenager. He translated all requests into attempts to control him. Then he later pouted that he didn't feel needed because I took care of everything myself. It didn't even occur to him that there was any contradiction in this until I spelled it out. Both feeling controlled and feeling unneeded were given as reasons for the OW.

      Interesting your comment about culture... I think mine picked it up largely from his controlling/manipulative mother. He decided that's what all women really were so therefore that's what I was, no evidence required. I have wondered how he could have maintained that idea as an adult and I think you might be on to something with it being reinforced in general culture that competent women are controlling. Going to ponder this one for sure!

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  37. So a major issue came up this weekend that my husband feels guilty that I have backed away from my closest friends. On dday I was supposed to meet my one close childhood friend. I canceled with her since I found the texts I did in his iPad, his secret fb page etc. That was 18 months ago and I have not seen her and only had casual exchanges on fb with her. in general I am more isolated from my friends. My husband and I talked and we decided we were not going to tell anyone since we felt it was best for our kids since we decided to work to preserve our marriage. My therapist agreed with us and supported this plan.

    I brought up this childhood friend and not in a way that I do not see her or he is to blame. But he said he thinks it is so unfair that my friends have no idea why I am more distant and cold to them. That they must wonder every day what is wrong with me and it is not right that I am doing that to them. This really has upset me a lot. I feel so hurt by this. First of all for 18 months I push him to talk with me about anything related fo this. He refused to go to therapy with me and will talk with me but it is very much me directing what I need. This was totally him blurting this out since he feels bad about my friendships, I resent he has held this in. He chose to bring this up while he was out of town and had been drinking. That bothers me. I feel like he is so measured and cautious when he has not been drinking. Also, he has never once asked me about my friend and our friendship. He assumes so much. He is so self centered to think if is all because of him and what he did. I tried to explain to him since that day she has never asked me to do anything and had not been the one to make an effort or plans for the past 12-15 years. It was always on me. And in general I feel like that is how my friends are. I am the facilitator. I have to do the planning. And since dday I do not feel like I have the ability, energy or desire to be the facilitator with my friends, I do not turn down opportunities but I am not putting the effort into them either. I do feel like it is not as enjoyable to be with others as I honestly feel like affairs, divorces and minor gossiping are always discussed. I feel like this came to a head this week since I told him I struggle to feel happy, that I feel a hole in me. He even said he hates being responsible for me being too depressed and unhappy to spend time with my friends. I told him everything has changed and I know I have some fear of being let down by others. I have always been the steady, dependable go to person in our marriage and with my friends. And this has made me take a step back, I also have spent a lot of that time i did with friends devoted to myself instead now. Then he says maybe we need to tell everyone, maybe the fact that we now have this major secret is doing the same thing to me and our marriage it did to him for years. It made him depressed and ate away at him. I am just not sure what to think of this, I never really wanted to tell anyone mainly for our kids sake if we could make this work. I am upset, lost and unhappy in a new way. He says all of this to me in what feels like such a harsh way but then says I am all that matters to him. It is one if those situations where I have no idea what the outcome would be. I could lose friends also I'd relationships could change. I am not crazy about this being a focal point of my life with everyone, I have worked so hard fo process and deal with this to be open now seems like opening the wound up. So I sit here hurt and confused right now.

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    1. Hopeful 30, I felt the same way. It is almost like I was shell shocked from life and didn't really want to talk to anyone. Everything triggered me. I tried to go out and would end up in the bathroom crying. My live was in a balance bubble as long as I kept all things the same. So meeting a friend for lunch was way outside my comfort zone. As I developed more confidence then slowly over a year I tested the waters with a low cost test. Did he say why this worries him? Does he want you to "get back to normal" for him? I think you are wise not to rush back to friends which will take your mind back as well. If your friends have not called you then they don't miss you either. Your doing great. I was the planner too. I found out that my planning really didn't matter to that many people when I stopped being the planner. I kept two friends from the past and they kept me. I made so many new friends and we are developing a deeper relationship as time goes on. One boundary is I don't do anything I don't really want to do. Your not confused.

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    2. LLP,

      He did give me some reasons why it worries him. He feels guilty that I do not have the friendships I had before. He is bothered that I have not kept in touch with my best friend I was supposed to meet on dday. He said he feels bad for my friends since they must notice how cold and cut off I have been from them compared to before and they would appreciate or benefit from an explanation. He feels that my friends would embrace me and give me support I do not have now. He feels that it would be good to have friends that would feel sorry for me/show me empathy. He feels like I am taking care of him by keeping this a secret to hide his shame. He feels like I am only focused on him and us.

      He continues to say he wants me to be happy and trust him. So I think he wants me to be back to my old self. He wants me to I guess be more happy and open.

      What I struggle with are various things related to this. If this has bothered him so much why not bring it up to me. I am the one that has to bring up any topic and it gets discussed briefly and we move on. He does not like discussing any of this or his feelings. He also does feel he is at his happiest ever. He brought this up when he had been drinking which is a concern. Is that the only time he can have insight, lower his inhibitions, open up? He was out of town so is it easier for him to open up when he is away, is he missing me, why can't he discuss these things in every day life? He never really had a quality discussion about this with me. We have talked a lot about his friends since I think there are moral and integrity issues. Where my friends are solid and no issues. So I feel like he wants change since he feels bad about what has happened personally. He said he did not want to be responsible for me being cold, depressed and alone. He called me back and back tracked saying he just wants me to be happy and do what I want and if that means telling my friends, his parents our kids then let's do that. It was a whirlwind discussion and caught me off guard. I am still struggling with it. He thinks it is all fine.

      Thank you for understanding how I feel. Your words helped me so much. I am tired of him saying or feeling like my feelings are not valid or normal. I know there is no normal. I know I have to take care of myself. And part of that as I tried to explain to him was focusing on myself and if my friends are not planning or reaching out to me then I needed to back off. I do not have the energy to plan and facilitate all the fun even at 18 months past dday. I might never feel like that again. And yes I do sometimes not want to be with others. I hate when affairs come up. I look at things differently now. Thank you so much!

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    3. Hopeful, I feel like there might be a little bit of guilt he's giving you in what he said... "oh your poor friends must wonder what's wrong". Maybe I'm reading into it? Probably even... But even wrongly hearing that would be upsetting for me. It sounds more like you're just in the process of weeding out the friends who don't put in enough effort. Would people you need to chase in order to stay friends likely be that supportive of you even if you did tell them?

      Personally, the only people I'm really glad I told are the people I've learned have been there and a few good girlfriends who've been like the "control group" in an experiment for me in addition to just being good friends. But I find those who haven't been there just don't quite understand.

      If only we had a secret handshake to pick each other out of a crowd before we spill the beans. But luckily we have BWC!

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    4. Aelia,

      I have had a lot of thoughts on this conversation with my husband. I brought it up and how it was upsetting the next day and he thought we had resolved it that night by the end. He just has no clue really at times. So we are scheduled to talk as soon as possible when the kids are not around and we are both not working which seems like forever. It a good way though it gives me more time to process my thoughts so i can be more clear and concise vs emotional.

      I agree with you I do not think that these friends would be bad or mean to me they are my closest and best friends however not having gone through it I am not sure they can offer a lot except maybe feeding into the victim role and woe is me. I mean of course they would take my side and think he is a jerk. But where do we go from there. Without experiencing it I am not sure. I worry about awkward moments for them and me and couples get togethers would never be the same. These are the couples we do the most with as a group.

      The flip side of this is I think there probably is some projection on his part. Since dday his life has changed a lot. His relationship with his friends is not even close to what it was. He says he is happy and in the best place ever. However, I wonder how much he misses aspects of that. He knows he messed up and it is all his fault and he says he does not want that lifestyle back. He gets pressured by his friends to go on guys trips and do what he used to do. His friends have cancelled trips since he has said no. He was the facilitator among his friends. He says he wants to do couples trips etc and they just stare at him. They have no desire to have their wives on these trips. The friends even said I could come along they would just not tell their wives. I mean it is all odd. But I wonder how much of this is how he feels.

      I think alcohol and being away overnight also played a part in this. My biggest issue is this is an issue on any level and the only time you can bring it up is on the phone while out of town after drinking then there is a problem. Repressing something that is that bothersome to him is what most likely led to some of his affair behavior and boundary shifting.

      I went to my therapist this week and he is stumped. Based on everything else he is saying and doing he was perplexed. He wants to think about it until our next appointment in a month. Not the most comforting that my therapist was concerned but also it validated my high level of concern vs my husband feeling like it was over with and discussed.

      And yes a secret handshake or signal to know who else was in this club would be amazing. I often walk around and meet people and think has this happened to you or are you an OW.

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    5. Hopeful30,

      My heart aches for the loneliness and confusion you have been expressing lately. Your posts are so thoughtful and you deserve much understanding in return. Life can be so unfair.

      I also have withdrawn from my friends. The circle of people that I consider true friends is VERY small now. As in my sister. And even her -- I am guarded, I think for her sake as well as mine. I don't feel shame. I just feel protective, of me and of her. I need some more time to figure out what this all means.

      In large sense I "blame" my H for my loneliness -- this change in me is directly because of the trauma of his adultery. But I think what makes me most sad is that I'm actually feeling okay about stepping away -- I'm sad for what that says about my past friendships...

      I'm with Aelia. I want a secret handshake :) And thank Heavens for BWC.

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    6. Sal, Thanks for your thoughtful reply. I agree with all that you say. And I feel somewhat at in impasse for my husband to not understand how this has changed me. What he did was so damaging. I guess my therapist's reaction gave me some comfort since this took him by surprise and he is an expert who does only marital therapy for 30+ years. Not that it is great but I feel better that I cannot find the answers myself.

      I am also in the position of being an only child. So I have no sibling. And as I told my husband I have never once complained about him in all these years to anyone. That is just not me. I feel if we need to work this out it has to be between us. I have seen too many friends depend on others and really they seem the other extreme of needing others validation. I am on the other extreme. I know my husband is feeling responsible for all of this and he is, he made all of these bad decisions for so long. He is really working hard and has changed but I just wonder if it is too late. I think about how long his affairs went on and his poor behavior. Ugh.

      And this is crazy but at this point things are going so well but I still want to have a conversation where we can talk about all of this. It is so hard since I feel like the kids are around or we are working etc. Whenever we have a chance it is such a short amount of time, we are so tired and it is late at night or we are at lunch etc. I know he knows I want to talk with him but why is it so hard to start the talk.

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  38. I am very contemplative of late. My husband and I spoke of a divorce just a few weeks back, yet neither of us have moved forward to make it happen. In fact, we continue to go on "dates" ... Even though we are more like really good friends who happen to cuddle and hold hands and sleep together ( no sex, yet cuddling and holding hands in private and in public ) - some may be happy with that and actually find that an improvement in their marriage - I find it simply odd. We used to be the type that would call or text each other throughout the day just to say hi tell each other we love each other we missed each other - always rather the mushy type of couple. So this simply feels strange. I pretty much recognize that my husband needs counseling or we need to divorce and maybe get back together at another time… in order for him to come back to really appreciating what we had and could have. I recognize that by not pushing for one of the two… Counseling for him or a divorce… I am living in limbo, simply because I am avoiding pain. And you know what, I'm OK with that right now because I truly don't know what to do. My individual therapist said he needed to think about the situation. Sometimes I just get so pissed that I married a man who is so fucked up in the head.
    Thank you ladies for all your input and insight. I really do get so much out of reading what you have to say. Question? Would you recommend Love Warrior? And should I read her first book 1st? I never followed her blog but through all this I've read some of her pieces and I love them. I particularly love that she wants to live her truth… And when I ask myself Melissa, what is your truth? The truth is I want a man in my life who values me enough that he will go the extra mile for me. My husband used to be crazy about me ... He couldn't spend enough time with me, he gave me lovely cards and little surprise notes, hugged and cuddled and kissed me all the time, and yes sex although not as frequent in the latter part of our 20 year marriage as the beginning - that's what I want again… And if he can't do that, is it selfish of me to want to find someone who can? I could certainly continue to be patient if he was working toward a resolution, yet he does not appear to be doing that. He is the type of person who involves himself with distractions and feels that time, simply time, will heal. And with that, he is able to live ( dysfunctionally) in limbo for a long time… As our marriage counselor had said previously, referencing his affair that he really didn't want to be in any more, yet kept distracting himself and day by day by day went by. OK, back to my point… Given my current situation and for those of you who have read Glennon and her books… Would they be a good read for me? And if there is anyone out there reading this that is in a similar situation please tell me your story. I find that my situation is different than many. Thanks for listening ladies. Love to you all.

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    1. Melissa,

      I read Love Warrior but not Glennon's first book. I found parts of it insightful. There is so much in her story that I cannot relate to her eating disorder, alcohol abuse and her faith. And those are all big parts of her story. In the end it made me question things. For me I did not find it to be the most helpful/beneficial book. I think parts of it are empowering and was something I could relate to easily. I hope that helps some.

      I am not necessarily where you are but I feel the same way. For me I feel as if I am drifting away from my husband. There are a lot of reasons. He feels better after every time we talk and I feel worse. I am struggling to express myself and explain how I am feeling. He wants to go into fix it mode or feels he is doing enough already. For me I have what feels like bigger issues. I feel like when I bring up something that is hard for him he takes it but then it ends there. However I am not sure there is anything he can even do to make these things better. And little things like for our Anniversary I am not a person who needs material gifts or items. But I feel like a card goes a long way. Well for our Anniversary he planned for a babysitter and planned dinner and a movie out. Well during the day he made a point to tell me how he did not get me a gift but cleaned the first floor since he thought that was better. And again not that I mind that but no card nothing. Just happy anniversary at dinner and it felt like a regular date night to me. But I feel like if I bring this up then it will just set us back. And I feel like there are a million other things. If I try to talk to him it will just be with my laundry list of complaints of what he does wrong. Then I will have to hear how he is trying so hard which he is. I feel like I am in a vicious circle and it feels so much like the old days pre affair. Ugh. I just feel sad and tired.

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    2. Hopeful, thank you so!! I wrote a lengthy reply and lost it - will try again later. Hugs!!!

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    3. I also read Love Warrior. I ordered it thinking it would be a great success story of a marriage that survived infidelity. With the news that she and her husband were splitting up shortly before the book was out, I became nervous about it. Would it be hard to read knowing that the outcome was different than what I expected? When it arrived, I decided I was in a good place and could read it. It was tough at times because her experiences in discovering her husband's infidelity brought back some pretty strong emotions. What has been reinforced after reading the book and some of Glennon's posts since then is that healing is going to be different for all of us. While I desperately wanted to know her marriage had survived, her marriage surviving wasn't what was best in her situation. I don't have those same life experiences she has had (eating disorder and alcoholism) but my husband's infidelity has dredged up some old stuff that I have to deal with. It's been one more reminder to live an authentic life. For me that means digging a little deeper to figure stuff out.
      It's odd that I always saw my upbringing as relatively normal. Outside my immediate family, we had plenty of dysfunction, but the three of us were okay. My dad was military and we moved a lot. My relationship with my parents was a close one as it was truly just us three. We were overseas for years and I didn't grow up always having close family nearby. But somewhere along the way, I started to think that I had to be perfect, whether that is the message my parents were sending or just the way I felt. Always getting good grades, never getting in trouble outside the home. God forbid I do something to embarrass my dad in a military environment. And I think once I started dating, I remember always feeling like I wasn't good enough or that I was second best. Each relationship confirmed it for me, whether it was a boyfriend who was emotionally abusive or one who cheated. I reached a point in my late 20s where I decided enough was enough and I wasn't going to tolerate crappy relationships anymore. No one was going to walk all over me anymore. I decided relationships would be on my terms and that I didn't really need a boyfriend anyway. Enter my husband. I finally felt I had met someone who loved me just as I was. Only 14 years later, his infidelity reminded me that I was second best one more time.
      My world blew up. I hated him and wanted him out. And the next minute I loved him and wanted him to stay. And somewhere after that I started to learn through lots of reading and therapy that it wasn't about me. He had issues that led him to make devastating choices. And that story I kept telling myself about how I wasn't worthy of being loved fully was crap. And now nearly a year and a half later, I'm still working on me and those buried issues that have been brought to the surface.
      Wow, I've rambled. That became more about where I am than about the book.
      I would say the book was one more reminder for me that living your truth comes in many different outcomes. And I know that my perspective on healing after infidelity has changed a lot from when I ordered the book in the summer to now.

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  39. How many of you have told your children? My husband and I decided not to and my therapist agreed. My kids on dday were not teenagers yet. One is still not a teenager. I read your stories about your own childhoods and I take your words very seriously. I did not grow up in a home like that so it is hard for me to process something for my kids I do not know. We have decided and did shortly after dday to try to preserve our marriage. We have had no separation. In a way I feel like telling them anytime after dday would be pointless since our marriage is in a totally better and different place. Not that this process has been perfect at all. During the 10 affair years (my youngest's entire life as of dday) I would say my kids saw my husband as busy, distracted and detached. But this is all they knew. Any time my kids asked about him I would just give a matter of fact explanation and many times it was work but also time with his friends. Since dday things are so different. I have no idea if they know anything. I would be surprised if they do. We made it a point to talk when they were at school or we would pick times when they were not around. The most is my kids have asked why I am quiet or if I am okay. My kids are super attached and defensive of me. I do worry about the repercussions. I think they are this way due to the years of time my husband was detached from all of us. My kids just honestly feel like I will be there for them since I have been. Where my husband has chosen other priorities. He is working hard to shift this but it is taking time with them. So many of our memories involve just the three of us without him. And those baby, toddler and elementary years are so crucial and important. Now they are getting busier with friends. I would love thoughts from others with younger children and those who did not have a separation since I know if we did we would have told them then.

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    1. Hi Hopeful30, I'm only in the early stages here and our child is a toddler, but I was just thinking today that, no matter whether my h and I stay together or split, some day I (hopefully we both) will have to tell her. It's part of her history and the background of her babyhood. I don't know when or how to do it, but I think she would have a right to know. We both love her so much and it will be horrible- but it is the truth. I just hope we'll be able to say that we were able to make a new start together afterwards. Anyway, that is just my view about something which for me, is a while in the future. Whatever you decide, I wish you strength and courage. Nobody knows those children better than you.

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    2. We haven't told our children. They range in age from 8-12. The boys are oblivious. Our girl seems extremely aware that something is amiss, though she does not know exactly what. Though I am only her stepmom, she now often wants to hold my hand, give me a kiss, etc. I know she is silently asking if I am leaving. We have sat her down together and told her that we know she is afraid, but that grown ups sometimes hurt each other and that we are working hard to get better and that we both love her and each other very much.
      I don't know whether this will ever be a thing that we tell them. I can imagine having to share this with one of them once they are adults and struggling in their own ways. But I can't imagine damaging their feelings about their father. He was a deployed Marine for much of their early childhoods, and I feel that with my help and the stability of our family, he's only just won over their trust. That's something I would pay a high price to preserve.
      I think where kids are involved, everyone's walking such a fine personal line.

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    3. My kids were 5 and 7 when I found out. They no my husband did something that hurt me deeply. They've seen both of us lose our shit. It's a mess- they both can still pick up on it if something is off between us or if I'm really sad. We plan to talk to them about it in more detail when they're older. Right now affairs aren't in their level of understanding

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  40. Hopeful, Anon, A&H, I will admit my experiences were extreme. I think if children know you love them, they feel safe and they understand your marriage as a "rough patch", "not seeing things the same way". It is not necessary to be specific with details but children know when things are not right. They deserve to know it is not them that is causing the tension. They are watching everything, they are trying to frame it as it relates to their world. My grown up children found out accidentally, he left his therapy homework out. They all still love their dad. My H called them all and told them he was so sorry. I think they harbor some negative feelings but they relate to him like they always did. He was in the military and gone for long stretches, so my children and I are so close from being just us without him. My point is tell them enough to get them through the circumstances. There is no need to tell them anything else. Hug them longer. Kiss them frequently. Never miss tucking them in at night. They will be ok with mom's like you all.

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    1. LLP,

      Thank you for your follow up thoughts. That is very helpful. I think that has naturally happened within our family. I will say I am focused on spending quality time with my kids vs doing things for them. I treasure them more than ever. Our time together is so valuable. I want to be there for them too even if it is just a hug, sometimes nothing needs to be said.

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  41. Do you ladies have certain times that are harder than others? D-Day isn't until January but October is ful of awful triggers for me and I have not been coping well. I think this month more than any other for me epitomes what an absolute selfish, asshole my husband was. I knew it was going to be rough but even still I'm such a mess, - not sleeping or eating well, crying a lot.
    I'm just so tired of it all.

    There really isn't any pain like knowing that someone who should love you, respect you and only want to do good by you would instead choose to intentionally hurt you and manipulate hard times in your life for their selfishness. I feel so damaged right now and it breaks my heart to know it was my husband who damaged me - without a second thought! I really hate living with all this pain!

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    1. Yes absolutely! For me dday anniversary was actually a great day and time of reflection. It still was sad but not horrible or had. What was hard for me were so many other times of the year. My second child's birthday since his first affair started the month before she was born. Our anniversary month since that was when dday 2 was which was way worse for me than dday 1. Holidays, strolling down memory lane etc. I feel like I am falling apart at times. It is so hard some days. Other days I am like I have this and can push through. I try to be preemptive and tell my husband that I am feeling upset and distressed before it spirals. That has helped alleviate some of the stress and he can also be more aware which helps.

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    2. Hi Warriors,

      Read all the posts. I so hope each of us smiles at our reflection in the mirror, look into our eyes and say I GOT THIS. Adding an I LOVE YOU would be grand also. No matter how we feel, we need to BE there for our self.

      Anonymous, this is hard to read, but....you are so new to recovery. I PROMISE that life gets better. WE HAVE ALL BEEN EXACTLY WHERE YOU ARE! The damage isn't as permanent as your h's reputation in your eyes.

      So hold your head up, slap a smile on your beautiful face, hug yourself, and yell: "YIPPEE, I'm alive, and I am recovering, and I LOVE ME." Dare you! Smile through the pain sister, and promise yourself that you have YOU and you will be okay. That how you feel is, unfortunately, normal. But it isn't forever.

      I promise.

      Love to all,

      Suzanne

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    3. Suzanne, you are such a cheerleader on this site! Your encouragement is awesome. I recently read something about betrayal recovery that I found helpful after I thought about it awhile and I cannot recall who wrote it or where I read it but basically, it said soemthing like this, "When you feel down and lost and lonely and sad and hopeless, find that part of yourself who can look at that little girl and put your arms around her. Tell her she will be OK, that none of this was her fault, that she did nothing wrong and that feeling badly about being hurt is very hard but also very normal. Let her know that you will stand by her through this and hug her heart and hold her hand so she won't be alone. Let her know she will never be alone even if she feels isolated and alone. You are your own best friend so treat yourself exactly like you would treat your best friend." Be there for her with unconditional love, patience and understanding of her situation. I am paraphrasing what I read but this is how I remember it. I am trying to take my own painful feelings and throw them over a cliff like a hot coal. Life is imporoving for me every day and the lows are not so low anymore. Love you all, Beach Girl

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    4. Anonymous...the lines that describe someone manipulating and being opportunistic in using your weaknesses to their advantage...is something I struggle to get over as well. My husband's first "date" with his whore of an also married coworker,happened when I was out of town with my mother, helping to care for my dying grandpa.. He was overwhelmingly encouraging at this time and told me he would be home to take care of the kids while I went to help,( I did several weekends, before he died).. My sweet grandma even sent him a card thanking him for helping me so that I could be there with them.. Sad huh..

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    5. Anonymous- same here. I went home to be with a sick parent while they were in the hospital. My husband used that time to bring the whore to our home and sleep with her.

      I also hate that he would talk about our sex life with her! Here this slut gets to know intimate details about my life- sex, sick parent, where I live, what my children look like, she comes into my home. My husband lets her have all this access and I don't even know the whore exists.

      I can't think about all this and not feel such deep anger and hate for him. I can't stand knowing what an ass he was.

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    6. Anonymous, that is one sad read. I share your pain. My h was "caring" for my Alzheimer's mom every Friday night. Guess what!? Little did I know that he was having a sleepover party for 6 months with a cow that "met" him online. I loved my mother-in-law like my own mother, and it's painful to think anyone, let alone her own son, would abuse her innocent trust like that.

      I'm comforted by the knowledge that affairs cause an actual chemical change in the brain...accounting for the insane our h's do when in heat.

      ICK!

      Hugs,

      Suzanne

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  42. Anonymous, you just described exactly the way I'm feeling. It is so much pain. It has been 14 months since the D day and I am so tired of being so unhappy. My husband is doing so much to make my happy and I can really see how much he regreted, but unfortunately he can not erase the past neither my pain. I just wish to live without this pain. How can I be with somebody if I hate him more then I love him??? How can I be with somebody if when he kisses me or when we are have sex I only think about him with the OW? It is a nightmare. I just feel myself in a prison. I just want to feel free again. I just want to love again, a want a "clean" a "pure" love!!! I miss so much to feel happy again. I'm so tired of being sad.

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    1. Ah Rafa, that sounds so hard. I don't have any advice as I'm still waiting for my h to decide if he wants to try to rebuild our relationship. I wish you lots of love and strength.

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  43. This election cycle has been tough. Since Friday it is a lot harder. I am feeling very worn down from all of this. And speaking honestly for me I think it is hard since I see glimmers of my husband. He never acted this way that I know of in a work place but I read plenty of emails, im's etc that were similar. My husband is outraged by this all and says he has never heard anyone in any locker room talk this way. Again he was talking with all willing and knowing women so no sexual assault but it does not feel that different. To me it is about objectifying women and I want what I want and will get it. I guess this entitlement related to women. And all while being married. I am sickened by it all but I do think it is a common behavior among men. I think they think what is the harm. That is how he is treating this. I am not sure how to bring this up to my husband. I know he will take it hard. I know he is very different now but it is all wrapped up in why I am stuck still. I know he is more different than ever which I acknowledge. However, I am trying to get to the point of why I am stuck. I think a lot of it has to do with how he handled disclosure to me. The trickle truth did not help at all. And his minimizing anything but his two affairs sits poorly with me. Basically a lot of what I see as Trump like behavior. All of it was shocking since he never ever spoke that way in front of me in over 20 years. It was like a separate personality reading the im messages and emails. This really is all so hard. I feel very confused and am struggling. If he was a jerk or not doing what I asked of him it would be easy. But he has made changes, dramatic ones. But why the hesitation still. We still have not had our talk about his blow up at me related to my friend relationships. So I am waiting for that. It all makes me cautious.

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    1. Is this a trigger? You know, the Trump-ism women bashing? And trust issues also? I know it's a shock to find out the man you thought you knew so well....well, we don't know so well. I think that's part of the nightmare. And struggling to trust (especially with the trickle of disclosure instead of a flat out THIS IS WHAT I DID disclosure) a man we didn't know "all" about? What a combination.

      Of COURSE it takes time to heal.

      Most reference books describe 3-5 years of healing.

      *sigh

      My h has changed also. So it's hard, I agree. I guess I go to the "here and now" notion....take the man before me, not the one who cheated, or the one I knew before the infidelity.

      But guess what? The guy RIGHT NOW is the one I don' trust, either, since he's so new! lol

      This is SO very tough.

      But we each ARE making it, and will CONTINUE to make it, because we ain't dead, and what doesn't kill ya' makes ya' stronger.

      We're Luke Cage replicas.

      Suzanne : )

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    2. Hopeful, I think I understand some of how you are feeling. I struggle with knowing what my husband's behavior was in the time leading up to and during the affair. It's not the behavior that I saw when I met him or during the first 10-11 years of our marriage. For me, it's hard to grasp the ability for him to objectify and degrade women. I'm not looking to blame my husband's behavior on anything other than his poor choices, but I have to say that I think his use of porn appears to be a major factor. As I've said before it was like it added fuel to a fire. In hindsight, I can see a change in the way he treated me during sex once the regular porn use started. It was almost as if I was merely an object... little to no emotional connection. I don't want to believe that he was "that person" but I know he was. He treated the OW like an unpaid prostitute. Sex between them was a trashy recreation of what he watched on the Internet. He spoke to her in ways he would never speak to me. She was an equally wiling participant and that prompts an entirely separate set of questions. I can't imagine being low enough to tolerate being treated that way. As disgusted and saddened as I am by how he behaved, he is too. It's hard to look at yourself in the mirror when you know you were a person who behaved that way.
      I'm trying to work through it by educating myself. I just read another article last night on porn addiction and how it impacts people. I try to focus on who he is now. It's not easy some days and I have to believe in his ability to change. It's a process and, as Elle has told me before, not a linear one. So we continue to talk, to read about it, to watch video blogs by those who are further down this path than we are. We're both growing as people and I feel optimistic about that.
      Hugs, Hopeful! I hope you're able to get some resolution to what you're feeling.

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    3. I agree with you and feel that porn if anything allowed my husband to become more detached. He also felt okay texting, im'ing, emailing women things he would never say to me and never has. He calls it non sensical behavior. He says the porn has nothing to do with it. We go around and around on this topic. He has progressed and read up in it more but still does not feel it has as much to do with it as I do. I think it is a huge factor and is a concern still. He is a mental health professional so I feel like I am educating him and it is not easy arguing with someone with his level of knowledge and years of experience in practice. Through this entire recovery he has emphasized and focused on his affairs but I feel like everything else is important to get to the bottom of it. My husband says he knows so little about his affair partners. He has a 10 year relationship with both even though they were sporadic that is a long time. Yeah great he was never in love with them but what was so wrong in him to be with them and not know anything about them. And as far as I could tell they did not pursue him when he "broke up" with them. It is all very confusing for me. I thought with time I would feel closure and more at ease I guess. And really it feels like I am even farther away from this.

      And is is in such a better place which is great I can see that. I can see though how he is so insecure. He barely lets me see this but he does. And it does not matter how I treat him or what we do together he always seems to be insecure. And now we have this lifelong guilt piled on top of that and I think that is a lot to carry around. I just have come to realize we are such different people. I am content and happy with who I am. I always have been and now I see he has never had that.

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    4. Suzanne
      I'm feeling triggered by the current political scene but what surprised me is my h reaction to the locker room scandal and the constant Bill reminder is just reminding him of his dumb ass choice and so I think knowing how this is affecting him makes me trigger less the more it's on the news. Time for my h and me to go on our beach/golf trip and unplug from the noise in the world! I'm going to be praying for all of us who are still struggling! Hugs!

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    5. Hopeful, I think I understand a lot of how you are feeling. A new kind of anger bubbled up in me in these last few days and I think it is related to the 'locker room talk's stuff.
      Suddenly, I am really furious at my h, not for hurting me, but for being so incredibly disrespectful, to me, to the life I provide and make possible for him (returning to school as an adult with four children in tow, all still in grade school), to the women he lied to and slept with, to his ex wife.
      I feel like my h is some kind of rapist. He presented himself to these women as single, which means that he did receive their true informed consent. He slept with them until they started having feeling for him and then he dropped them. That's so despicable to me. I know it's unusual to have feelings of sympathy for the OW, but except one, they were nice girls who had no idea what they had gotten into. I feel like how can I love a man who would treat other people as if they had no value, were put on the earth only to service him and be discarded? And then to come home to me, who has been working two jobs and handling all the housework and childcare... lie to me and make use of me and MY body...
      My h posted on fb slamming Donald Trump's words. One of his old Marine buddies replied that my h is a hypocrite and that he'd heard him say much worse. My h wrote that that might be true, but he wasn't running for president, essentially. I just sat there, staring at the screen, seeing him admit to degrading women, and at first I felt surprised, and then I thought, well, why not? He has cheated on and lied to the women who loved him and raise his children, and used and thrown away the women who service his dick. What do I expect? Who is this guy, and how am I ever going to integrate this into the man I share my life with?

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  44. I'm really struggling right now. This is the time of the year when my h was fully engrossed in this affair with the OW. It seems as if the triggers just won't stop - dates on the calendar, store signs on the freeway, hearing a text go off on his phone or iPad. I cried all the way to work because he has to go out of town tonight for work.

    He swears that I'm the only one for him, that he loves me exclusively (although he told the OW in texts that he would always love her, that they would always be friends) - I so wish I could un-see some things, that he won't ever do anything to hurt me again. Until I pass this one year mark (dday is Dec 20...) I feel like I'll be on constant alert and always on the verge of tears.

    I feel like I'm the one to always reach for him, that I initiate intimacy every.time. I just want him to reach for me. To want to be intimate with me. I've thought of not initiating it just to see how long it takes for him to notice. But I guess deep down I think that if he's not intimate with me, then he is being intimate with someone else because that is what was happening when he was deep into his affair with the OW. He initiated it with her, he wanted her. So why not me? Why won't he initiate it with me?!?

    I'm still looking for a new IC. Someone that will hopefully get me through these next few months. I didn't ask for this. I sometimes feel I don't want to do anything any more. I guess I don't know what I want any more.

    I am thankful that I can come here and just let it out.

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    1. Feeling lost. This is so how i feel. The H called me from his pocket whilst they were having sex, OMG i couldnt believe my ears he was crazy for her. Not for me never been like that with me. From what you say you feel he isnt interested in you. This is what i feel too. Some evenings i just want to go to bed to sleep to forget all the hurt still going on in my head. Something must give sometime, it must just slip away at some point??? xxx

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    2. Feeling lost
      October is a hard month here as well, many triggers but I have my band that clearly reads 'The best is yet to come'! I use it to snap myself back into my new present and if I look closer at us as a couple, we've made so much progress and we're making the best each day as it comes! Hugs!
      Jilly 55, I shuddered when I read your post! How horrible to have heard that! Hugs that you are feeling better now than when that happened!

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    3. Feeling Lost -
      Anon 1998 here.... We are 15 months out from my H's 18 year affair. I am still here. My H's affair with OW took place in town via a business relationship for about 7 years, then OW moved about 4 hours away and it continued with less physical frequency and OW moved back locally 6 years ago. My triggers are numerous - the entire first year of "birthdays, holidays, anniversary, etc" thinking of all the texting, face timing, emails, hotel lunches, out of town "business trips" - enough to make me want to die.
      My H is going to IC and we are still attending MC and of course I have been going to IC for over a year. My H loves me, never wanted to hurt me, will NEVER hurt me again, never wants to go back to that life etc. I can honestly say I believe him. But his willingness to be open and honest was painfully slow - and he is emotionally reserved. But I know how he felt about OW and it hurts me so bad. He loved her - he never wanted to hurt her.... The triggers are numerous and frequent - but they no longer bring me to my knees.
      Intimacy - We had desperate sex for the first 5 months ... since this time - he has been more distant - which led me to believe he was talking to OW. He insists he is not. I think this all ebbs and flows. I have come to accept what has happened - to ME. It happened. I accept it - it's not right, he lied, he cheated, he risked everything. I am still scared to some extent, and trust is an issue for me - but I look at my H and he is broken, and ashamed and feels very guilty.
      A lot of what he says and does now is out of guilt and shame.
      Your feelings are so normal...and I know how painful it is...the "not knowing", what he is thinking or feeling etc...;
      Sometimes we just feel DONE - tired of putting ourselves out there; being vulnerable only to be turned down, working hard on ourselves - only to see our H's FROZEN or just lost in their own shit.
      I've wanted to just give up so many times....but I am still here and I am working on me - and for us. I want to make it.
      You are doing great - keep coming back and just let it all out.

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  45. What a great article about what Hillary Clinton should say about her husbands infidelity:

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/commentary/ct-hillary-clinton-bill-clinton-affairs-trump-20161011-story.html

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    1. Thank you so much for sharing. I want to hug the author. At the least I will send her a thank you note. I feel so overwhelmed with gratitude when people "get it."
      I tore into my H last night -- irrationally I knew, but I didn't care -- because I got it into my head that one of his whores was a Hillary supporter. I never even cared much about the Clintons, but I am so protective of Hillary now. I lost it over this OW. I was like "HOW DARE SHE! Hillary doesn't want her skanky support! OWs aren't allowed in our feminist fight club!!!!!"
      LOL my life. I really need this election to be over.

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    2. MBS
      I agree with that article! Thanks for the link!

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    3. Beach girl here. Loved the article. Posted it to FB with my support of it too! Honestly, Bill Clinton is NOT running for president and it is beyond me why anyone would hold his behavior up as her problem or responsibility. Get a life people. Beach Girl, signing off. Had a great time in San Diego but came home sick. Love you all.

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    4. I posted it on FB too. It was so great to have an article about the truth of infidelity that I could share without "outing" myself. I can't believe the amount of shame I carry. Some of my FB "friends" know about it but my real long time friends don't so I don't get a whole lot of support.

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  46. Feeling Lost,

    So sorry. It really is so hard. That first year was really hard. And for me I really felt great at the one year mark. We had really worked through a lot. I somewhat dreaded it but in the end I was really proud of where we/I had been and how far we had come. I looked at that day as a day to reflect and I saw so much good. I thought what if I did not ask him about the text I saw that day and we were still living this life with him detached from me and our kids. I am not sure he would have ever changed. We will never know. My husband before dday had made the promise with himself no more affairs and had broken up with both women. He was still I guess you would call it flirting while out with his friends. What surprised me was that once I started to feel solid at one year it all sank in for him. He really started to think about it and process what he did. I thought well this is easy for him. He knows what he did, he lived it, he had a great time. Well go on to find out he hated himself, could not look himself in the mirror and felt guilty for 10+ years. So he had a lot to deal with. At around a year I did forgive him. I think that was really helpful too. I think there is more for us to work out and as we move through this every step feels like a new phase.

    I have mentioned on here too that I have elevated my expectations at this point so what I accepted on dday is so far from what I accept now. So that changes our dynamic a lot. In the end I really sat and thought do I want this to make my life miserable. If he in the end wants to cheat on me he will find a way no matter how on top of things I am. I did it all before, was a great mom, wife, chef, great job, fun to be with, in great shape.... And it didn't matter. There is nothing I can do to stop him in that way. If he wants to he can create fake accounts or get a throw away phone. I feel like I would know if he was distant or detaching from me again and at least have a feeling about it.

    As far as going away that has been hard. My husband and I had very set boundaries we established and those included when he was travelling too. The one that helped the most was I could call him at any time. And the first trip within 2 months of dday i did call him and I was a mess at times. He was there for me. I think we have become closer since going through this together. He has had to see my pain and know he caused it all himself. He has had to be there for me and learn sometimes he just has to listen and cannot fix it.

    I think it is a great idea to find a new counselor. I started with mine at 5 months and he has been a major help. I do travel over an hour to mine. My husband is in the mental health field and I did not want to see anyone locally and also wanted a specialist. I found someone that had a lot of experience, is licensed, and only deals with couples and individuals related to marriage, infidelity and relationship issues.

    I understand your feelings of not wanting to do anything. It is hard and exhausting doing this. I have really backed off of everything except working out and cooking. And taking care of my kids. Well and work too. It has been good to learn to say no. And I forgive myself and focus only on what I need for my personal happiness.

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  47. Today is my husband's birthday. Four years ago today, unknown to me at the time, he had just embarked on an affair. Instead of spending his birthday with me, and our daughter, he was getting a BJ from a whore who had already broken up three other marriages. We had a nice family dinner tonigh, he had cake and ice cream and lots of good wishes from family and friends and - by his request - his birthday present was an adult-only week-end - a few weeks back - to his favorite city. I gave him a nice card today, also. I just don't feel the same way about him that I did before I found out. I loved him - completely, blindly, unconditionally. Now, he is still my best friend, but I do not have the same feeling of deep, abiding love.

    We don't talk about it anymore. I think about it every day, but it doesn't bring me to my knees every day. I can, almost always, push the pain away when it comes and deal with it when I am alone. I can multi-task and think about something more than the next five minutes, again, (not like I could, but it is better) and anyone who you asked would tell you that I am happy. But, I'm not happy, I don't really feel joy. Now I know that I am expendable and that our relationship isn't anything special. My husband is different, in positive ways, but doesn't have a clue that I am a great actress.

    Does "it" get better, yes, I can say that "it" does get better. But, I am not a better version of myself. I don't believe that that is possible for me. I think it is like a lot of things in life, everyone has their own experiences and it all adds up to the person who they are and what they are capable of becoming. Sometimes, a caterpillar is just a caterpillar and it doesn't have the ability to transform into a butterfly.

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    1. I understand how you feel so well.. I am not to the point that I can say that I am able to push the pain away. I can say that I am a great actress ( I tell myself that ) and have been for years at this point. That is sad to say, because eventually no one will know the real us.. I have had so many health problems since finding out in 2013. I looked up my husbands first affair last night in a moment of weakness and saw that her birthday is just two days after mine( although she is born a year before me) I was immediately angry because questions and answers came to mind that infuriated me, and certain timelines and outright lies have been told.. I know exactly what my husband would say to my questions to dismiss and to insinuate we have already discussed it all before. I think what is going on in the world is a good example of how not to garner trust. As I have said so many times ( to deaf ears ) if it happened, I DESERVE to hear about it!!! When the first affair barely trickled out, I said (after all the semantics,stalling, and minimizing ) If it were me, if I were the one who had the affair and wanted another chance, I would be telling my life story from whatever year it started until now!!! But not him. He gets to be irritated that I occasionally ask questions.. That is really fair, right? And if my tortured brain remember a conversation,or shocking revelation that it can't make sense of, or has a follow up question about.. I am made out to be the one who can't let something go. Here's one.. How many of the women on here would believe this story. My husband meets his first whore at his empty office on a Saturday. She visits with him alone in his office to show off her fake boobs (that her fiance at the time,(now her husband)paid for)and he kissed her boobs and they made out, but they do not have sex. These are people who have had no problem having sex in cars, parks, her husband's bed, etc...and have not seen each other in months ( and are so in love, gag) but, oh no, not this time, not this day.. Really!! How many of you could believe this, I would truly like to know?

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    2. I have finally shared what has happened with my sister. She is now one of only three people in my life who know.. I asked her the question above, and said " what are the chances that they didn't have sex?" She said, None!

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  48. Tomorrow is the 1year anniversay of DD. I feel like I am under a constant bombardment of triggers.For the past year most of my thoughts about his A started with "this time last year...."
    From what I have read I know that the 1year anniversay will not take away the pain ( of course nothing can )..but will it help?I feel like surviving for 1 year gives hope ...We have both worked very hard..my H is 100 %invested in making our marriage work.I am more reserved... trust for me is still an issue..any thoughts?

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  49. I think getting past one year is a huge accomplishment. I'm 22 months out and this year was hard. It was a lot of reliving the affair as well as the shock of the first year. I still have so many days where I still say I can't believe this happened. I think this year a lot of the anger has passed and I felt more sadness. It will take time - don't have too much expectations of yourself- it's still a long road but having a husband who is genuinely remorseful, and committed to your healing and marriage helps so much!

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    1. Gage,

      I agree with Lea. I am at 19 months and the first year was hard and lots of work. I felt really pretty good at the one year. I was proud that I made it through it all and was still standing. I honestly did not know how strong I was. I also was thankful this all came out. I could not control what my husband did but I felt really good that it did so we could work to make our marriage better. I guess I just felt in a really good place.

      I know this is probably not the best thing to say but for me the second year has been harder. I feel like even though no one says take your time and there is no timetable that I should be farther along. That I should feel better. I am tired of having to deal with my thoughts and exhausted from the work. The first year was upset, emotions and discovery. But I agree with Lea I just feel really sad this second year. I feel like now I also remember how it was dday 2, this was when we had this fight. So now just new measures of time. And it is hard to look back at how sad I was and what I went through last year. I also think that just daily life contributes to the challenge. When dday happened we really stopped everything we could and only focused on us. That is not possible forever of course so when we are busy and daily life creeps in it is hard to feel connected. Also, in year two I would say we have talked about deeper level things that are just not as easy to talk about or pin down. It is hard for me to express myself sometimes. And there is not much my husband say when I tell him I am still insecure because of what he did or tell him it still hurts thinking about what he did. And it is all true. But it is just so hard.

      My husband is so committed and changed so much but as I told him it is hard for me to be happy and trust him. Not that I don't have happy moments but it is hard. I thought I was happy for 10 years and based on his actions it all seems fake and why not at any time could he pull the rug out from under me again. He lied to my face for 10 years so how does one rebuild trust after that. I know it is gradual and he is doing what he can but I am thinking it is going to take a long time. And in the end as I said it is hard since he is doing everything right. I feel like I should be farther along but as my therapist said this is a major injury personally and to our relationship so give it time.

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  50. 17mo the first year was a shitstorm that rolled in a flat land of numb and shock ... then that wore off and in rolled the pain. I was nervous about the 1 year mark and the day passed with a big sigh i made it like finishing a long race and then looking up to see its a mile marker not the finish line but a second wind comes along and then maybe a quick but needed feeling ... smile even and realize this dudnt kill me and for a moment you see happiness or real emotion reappear. Thing of the affair still hurts but doesnt cause the hives panic attack crying on the floor but a wanting to realistic see or perhaps be retold it because the initial trama was so wounding some times seem vague or you cant recall. You start putting yourself first picking up old enjoyments or creating new ones and the world blooms again but looks different ..or maybe im different not thru rose colored glasses or smoke and mirrors but authentic unperfect and still mine for the taking or keeping of whatever i choose. A remorseful H certianly does help without that youd definitely be up the creek with no paddle. Continue to be kind and on good days hold on to it and so so days like elle says .. just show up .. your enough everyday as i reflect i must be somewhat better ... on my knees or standing now ...but still feel that little girl inside sobbing on the bathroom floor. I continue to chant wounded not broken and i get to decide how i want to move forward everyday or sit idle or what have you to it becomes clearer. Take care my prettiest.

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    1. So true Wounded. That captured it.

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  51. Part 1/2
    Hi everyone. I'm working on writing down my story to share with you all, but in the meantime I'm hoping you can offer some advice or direction. I'm 3 months out from DDay. My husband was involved in years of transactional activities: prostitutes, erotic massage parlors, and porn. I discovered the infidelity and everything I have learned about it has come from my own research and investigations, which has been excruciating for me. He has offered nothing voluntarily, only corroborated details when faced with evidence. He is extremely remorseful, appalled by the pain he has caused me, and has promised nothing like this will ever happen again. I believe he is truly remorseful. He has refocused his energy on being more present in our life as a couple and family. He checks in with me during his work day to update me on his whereabouts. I don't believe he would go back to his extracurriculars [at least not anytime soon]. As soon as I discovered everything, my gut reaction was to give him a chance and I want our marriage to survive. I love him. As such, I try hard not to rub his nose in his actions or to bring up details that serve no purpose. I try to be positive and to work on myself. I see a therapist individually. H, on the other hand, refuses to see a therapist (doesn't see their value and doesn't want to be categorized and labeled) or talk to anyone at all about the situation. He figures he got himself into this mess, he is the only one who can get out of it. How suffocating that must be for him. He has resorted to stonewalling me whenever the topic of his infidelity comes up and he even said he will not/can't talk about it anymore and he feels like I will never let him live this down. I know it is difficult for him to face his actions, but his unwillingness to talk is hard on me. He did all the things he did along with the lies, deception, and hypocrisy and effectively told me, oh I am so very sorry about all of that...please just try to forget about it and judge me on my actions going forward. That makes sense at a high level - what's done is done - but it is so unsatisfying.

    As you can imagine, it is hard to keep my emotions in check all the time as I process everything. I seem to be on a cycle of keeping my composure for 5 or 6 days and then losing it and having a meltdown in front of H. What really has me stuck and causes me to lash out at him is that while I spend every waking moment searching for a way forward, he seems to be sweeping all of this under the rug and just hoping it goes away. I'm left to wonder if he's having a serious look at WHY he went down the path he chose, if he even knows what his triggers are and if he has a plan for dealing with them? How can he just flip a switch and stop? (and damnit why did it take me finding out for the switch to be flipped) I'm not even asking to be a part of his process; I just want to know he has a process, even if it involves only him. Otherwise I think he leaves himself vulnerable to repeat behavior and that scares the hell out of me; I don't feel strong enough yet to imagine that scenario.

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  52. Part 2/2
    Today this was heavy on my mind and H asked why I was so sad. I said I was having a hard time with everything and I tried to calmly explain my wanting to know what he was doing for himself to process everything. He stonewalled me per usual. With each minute of silence, I got more frustrated and then increasingly angry, all while saying things I hadn't planned on saying or thought out enough. Then I blew up and started punching the wall and asking why he never has anything to say to me. Why does he get to drop this bomb on my head and then never talk about it except to say how sorry he is that my suffering is because of him. I screamed in agony at the top of my lungs. Then I had to leave for a few hours on some errands and when I came back, H told me he can't handle being jerked around like this...he can't understand how I am so "nice" to him for some days and then become so incredibly angry. He is finding my emotional loose cannons and rollercoaster rides too overwhelming along with the [legitimate] shitty situations he also has going on at work and with his family back home. I feel like whenever I have one of these really bad days, it puts us back to square one. He pulls way back and puts up so many walls. He concludes that my underlying feeling is that he is a horrible person (which isn't true). I don't know how to make him understand I can both love him and hate hate hate what he did at the same time. I don't know how to get through to my stubborn H, who is too proud to consider asking for help and probably too scared to face his shame, that my healing depends on, at the very least, him understanding WHY he did what he did.

    Am I crazy? I sure feel like it sometimes. Is my sticking point completely misguided? Certainly H is going through something terrible and uncomfortable and I feel bad for him. Must I really try to forget about what he is doing (or not doing) to move on from this? Maybe he is tying to figure things out, but not getting any indication whatsoever that he wants to understand what the hell this was all about pushes my anxiety and anger through the roof. I didn't ask for any of this, yet I feel I am doing all the hard work.

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    1. Starboard 79, I could have written your post, almost to the T. Wow, it is hard to imagine that you are walking a similar path to me except my husband told me about his activities on June 14, 2015 because he thought he had AIDS! I actually cut and pasted both your posts into a document and plan to ask him to read them and offer advice now that we are much farther down the line. We both went to counseling individually and together early on but it took many months of me searching the web for information and finally sending him a link to take a test about being a sex addict before he finally broke down and acknowledged that this fit him. He also read a great book by George Collins on overcoming sex addiction. The book gave him some great tools. We both took Mindfulness classes to manage emotions and his was focused on addiction recovery. There is so much more. He finally acknowledged a lot of painful experiences in his childhood and I've discovered that the man I married in 1979 is a man I never knew. I still look at him as a stranger but life is getting better. This group of amazing women is a life-line. Hold on tight. This is a life-long process. Yesterday I read another blog from a survivor who wrote about the hole inside her that was there when the pain finally exited and how it was now time to decide what to put back into that hole inside herself. That resonated with me. I still have pain and triggers and feel love/hate but I am getting stronger and better. I will never trust my husband again and more recently I've looked at my marriage as an "arranged" marriage between me and someone who I am willing to stay with. He is so lucky he was never arrested as is your spouse. Look up George Collins and consider ordering his book for your husband. Be kind to yourself. We understand that you are far from crazy but you are living in crazyland right now.

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    2. Starboard, I'm sorry for pain. All your feelings, actions and rage are normal. Your husbands actions don't seem to resonate. He sounds like an addict who refuses to believe he is addicted. He sounds like he is in over his head and if he can do all that stuff and think he can heal himself is questionable from what I read. Take care of yourself. Be selfish, it is ok. It actually helps. His issues are big ones and only a therapist can help him. You can't fix him so focus on yourself. He sounds so ashamed about his life, he can't talk to anyone. Stay focused on you and what is good for you. He is not any shape to help you. As Elle says - Your hurt your timeline your healing.

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    3. Beach Girl and Lynn, thank you so much for the thoughtful replies.

      Beach Girl, I started reading a George Collins book per your advice and it helped me understand what might be going on in H's head. Also, I am touched that you would even consider asking your H's advice for me. Any ideas on encouraging my H to consider he has a problem bigger than himself?

      Lynn - your words are a good reminder. I'm having trouble being selfish lately and tend to spend all my time trying to figure out how to get through to H. I could use some sleep!

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    4. Starboard....WHY is this about HIM and not about YOU??? YOU are the one that needs reassurances, information, details, ANYTHING THAT YOU NEED. If your H doesn't want to talk about "it" that's too damn bad. He really must stop continuing to be selfish and focus on YOU. And YOU get to focus on YOU. Rather than focusing on how HE needs (fill in the blank) please recall that you are the wronged party. While you focus on him, you divert your attention away from your feelings and what you need. I admire how compassionate you are...I couldn't have done this at all. Well, okay, I still haven't and it's not on my list of things to do.

      Lynn, you said the same thing with so much more grace than I.

      And I agree, your H seems to have an addiction issue...but that's for HIM, and when you are so strong that you are able to focus on him, then you go girl!

      You are a survivor, fight for you!

      Hugs,

      Suzanne : )

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    5. Hi Suzanne - just saw this, thanks! You remind me of a dear college teammate of mine who said I needed to make better use of my middle finger. I love it! Thanks for the reminders. I feel fired up and it's a great place to be. Xx

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  53. Starboard79, wanted to let you know you are heard. Hugs, hugs hugs, What an awful time you are having. You are NOT crazy. You are a rational human, who has been traumatized and dealing with a crazy insane situation. Your h sounds like he is so wrapped up in shame and denial that he refuses to look at his own damage or the damage he has caused you. Sweeping this under the rug (as you say above) won't make this magically go away or get better.
    What do you need to feel safe right now? To get stability? To get to some warm, dry, level ground? Think about you and what you need first and foremost.
    And you can't make your h go to therapy (though I call BS there, of course it would help). But would he be open to reading books, working through a 12 step program, sex addicts anonymous or similar? This is not something you can just magically recover from on your own. Asking for and getting help is a sign of great courage and faith and not a weakness at all.
    I'm not saying lay any ultimatums down, but if his current approach (ignore, deny, rug sweep and blame shifting) isn't working for you, can you write down what will work for you and then share it with him? What does he need to do to make you feel safe and to show he is "doing the work" necessary to become a better person? What are the real consequences if he won't agree to doing what you need and acting in a responsible and transparent way?
    I'm just throwing that out there as food for thought. keep reading here. Other BWC warriors will speak up with their insight and experience. Get your self to a therapist or support group ASAP. Just because he doesn't want therapy doesn't mean it is not good for YOU. And don't be affraid to shop and test them out until you find the right therapist for you with the right experience. Maybe someone who does EMDR (will help you deal with your PTSD symptoms, because trust me love, you've got it. We've all been there.This is some seriously traumatic shit).
    You sound angry. Good. Be angry. You sound hurt. Of course you are. Stand still in the center of that hurt. Feel it in your body and breath through it. The only way out is through. Feed your body. Eat, drink Ensure if you can't. Sleep. See a doctor an dget help with whatever you need help with. Exercise (running and strength training of any kind can help you process. Walking is fantastic for this crap.) Do what feeds your soul (knitting, painting, petting rescue dogs, smelling flowers, meditating). Take care of you. You are the most important thing you've got.

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    1. Still Standing, your reply left me sobbing, but in an "I feel so fortunate to have found you all" kind of way. Thanks for the food for thought. I really think your suggestions will help me refocus and prioritize my thoughts and hopefully spend my energy wisely.

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  54. Starboard 79
    The early months are the most excruciating hardest part of this new world we are in. I'm so sorry you had to walk this path. You are not crazy, the ups and downs you feel are the fallout of realizing what an asshole your h is. My h just didn't understand the depth of pain his choice was for me. I couldn't believe how easy for him just to forget it happened. We didn't get to a better understanding until after the first year or so. It took many discussions with most of them having to be repeated until he was sick of it and I was satisfied that the story stayed the same. Like you I felt like I was the only one working on our marriage but somehow I was able to get my h to really hear my pain and I had to see his efforts of making it better for both of us. It's not an easy path it's full of ups and downs and just standing still and feeling stagnant! There's no right or wrong way to get through it it's part of you and your relationship with your h that the two of you have to come back to an understanding of what it takes to move through the pain and trauma this is causing you. I'm finding most men process life differently than women and men tend to be more selfish than women. I believe that's why women were chosen to be the mother! We tend to put all others ahead of ourselves and at this critical time it's imperative to put you and your needs above all. You decide whether you want to discuss and what you discuss. I shared posts from this site as well as videos that others here suggested with my h...he slowly began to understand. Slow down and breathe deeply. The process is different for everyone here but for all of us, our h and his response to our needs can make or break the relationship. I wish I had more answers for you, but the best I can offer is therapy for both of you. My h refused too. His choice to have his affair with a therapist makes him distrust marriage counseling in general. But and this was critical, he was willing to watch the videos and discuss how they related to what we were living through. They helped him get a better understanding of post traumatic stress. Now we're going forward one day at a time and I feel like I can speak my needs and feelings good or bad with out sending him into defense mode. Sending hugs for encouragement to get to a better place!

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    1. Thanks for the support, Theresa, and for sharing from your experience. Sometimes it's hard to understand why H can't see things the way I do with regard to the pain he caused, but it's encoiraging to hear that with time, he may come around. I like the idea of sharing posts and maybe videos with H. He might be more receptive to that. I will keep you updated!

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  55. Starboard, So sorry for all of this! You are so well spoken and it shows that you have done work and taken this seriously by your posts. You are not crazy at all. There are so many things to say to reply to you. I wish I could just call you. My situation is a little different since my husband is in the mental health field. He is highly educated and has a highly successful career and still did all this. He knew it was wrong. My husband minimized what when on and for how long on dday 1. I knew my gut told me there was more and things did not add up. DDay 2, five months later what I did was write him a letter. I was struggling big time and felt I has tried to explain myself but got no where with it. He still remained in control. I took my time and revised the letter. I explained how I felt and what I needed. I knew he was not being honest with me. The one line that got him is I said I would rather be slapped with the truth than kissed with the lie. I told him I could not really ever expect to move past this. I also told him I need time. If your husband did any research regarding this he would know the cycling through is expected when facing this type of trauma. And healing can take a long time and a lot of work. My husband also struggled in the beginning. He did not know what he thought or felt. He had been numb for so long. He did not know if he could be a good husband and father so he was scared. I found it really took the first year for me to process this and forgive him. Once that happened I saw him start to reflect more on his actions specific to him. Up to that point he was focused on me.

    What helped me most was writing a lot. I would write questions, thoughts etc. I could see my progress. I could see what I needed to talk with him about. We also would talk once a week. That way it was not discussed all the time but also I knew it was a time to talk. My therapist helped me a lot. He helped me establish the boundaries I needed to feel safe and to move forward. It was hard. My husband did not go to therapy a little different but not due to his professional background. I am lucky he does know a lot of this stuff.

    As far as reasons and why it is so hard. My husband even after dday and especially now (19 months from dday) says it is all just excuses. He said he was never happy and hated himself for 10 years. He could not look himself in the mirror. For me I think this is crazy how can someone do something for 10 years like that who is so miserable. Well he said once he did it once he felt like he had ruined everything. He has a lot of other reasons and thoughts too many to name. In the end he made the worst decisions and he owns it. As far as details I have struggled with that but in the end he can never tell me enough. But as others have said be cautious since you cannot unhear things. What I was focused on more what what lead to these decisions and how do we ensure they will not happen again. This is all complicated and hard and unique to every person and couple. Again my therapist helped me a lot.

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  56. This is a process so do not be too hard on yourself. You will feel setbacks. Those are hard. We lean on each other hear. Also my husband is appalled by things he said in the months after dday. He was lost and not sure who he was. But he has done a lot of work and he is the happiest he has ever been. I am still going through a lot. But he is stepping up. And it is still hard. But as my therapist said too bad. He has to be there. I think the once a week talks can help. Also with the writing I was able to be more concise in our discussions and also less emotional. And if he won't go to therapy maybe read a book if he is up for that. Or when things come up in movies or tv shows we pause it and talk about it. Another thing is even a magazine article can be a good spot to start. My husband found in the Atlantic and article about John Gottman (I think called Master of Love) that was really helpful for him. It was less intimidating than a book. It was one of the things he brought to me the first month.

    Also for us once we moved past the betrayal then we have moved onto our relationship and marriage and working on that. What do we each want. The affairs still come up and influence it but it is more about what we each contribute and want.

    Best wishes sorry for the super long post...

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    1. Hopeful, I so appreciate your thoughtful reply. Thanks for reminding me about writing, revising, writing some more. My emotions often get in the way of keeping a clear head when communicating verbally, so spending time gathering what it is I really want to say and adhering to an outline would help, I'm sure. I'll see if H can agree to a weekly talk. Knowing I had a set time for this would likely make it easier not to lash out. Thanks again.

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  57. Starboard79,

    These ladies just gave some excellent advice. You might not be able to hear it / understand it all right now when it is so new -- I know I couldn't. Try to be patient with yourself. It's a long process and it definitely can get better.

    Two things from this advice really stood out for me:

    1. "Asking for and getting help is a sign of great courage and faith and not a weakness at all." Oh my gosh. Truth! I never thought of it so clearly. But when I think back, my H insisting that we see a marriage counselor, and his current visits to an IC, may be the single biggest reason that we remain married. I was screaming mad and wanted to run away. The courage and faith my H demonstrated by insisting on change have kept me here, so far. I still need more time to understand who he/we truly were and who he/we truly are now. But if he weren't working so hard to find out, I would probably still love him at some level, but I couldn't respect him or live with him as my H. If you need him to go to counseling, tell him. Yes, it will be hard for him. But his not going is hard for you -- how is that okay? As someone else here wisely said, "your heartbreak, your rules."

    2. "I wish I could just call you." So true. And give you all a hug.

    Hang in there.

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    1. Thank you, Sal. Hugs as well. I think I'll give H the line about asking for help being a sign of courage and not weakness. Hopefully his frame of mind can shift a bit.

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  58. Oh Starboard. We are here for you and you are not crazy!!! I know you may feel crazy and your H may imply that you are crazy, but.... you are NOT crazy!!! You have just been blind sided in one of the most hurtful ways possible. You are human and the roller coaster of emotions is part of the fall out especially in the early months the highs and lows can be extreme.

    Also your anger is completely justified!! Also anger is a really important emotion and one that will help you set and honor your boundaries. If you don't know much about boundaries - I didn't before my H had an affair- read some back post about them. Elle has lots of great info on boundaries. Try to embrace your anger in a healthy way. Feel it, it's ok, you have permission to be angry, you have permission to be f$&@ing pissed that the person you loved and trusted the most crashed your whole world! I had a really hard time with anger in the beginning (still do ), I would also handle everything for 3 4 days and then exploed or crash whatever. Well the truth is you don't need to handle much of anything, much less everything.... the most important thing right now is to take care of yourself. Basics, eat (simple foods or smoothies, if your nausea all the time) sleep (take a herbal or prescription sleep aid if needed). Sleep is sooooo important, some days I was completely delirious from sleep deprivation. I know it is so hurtful and scary, but if you have a good friend consider confiding in them. I didn't tell anyone for 10 months and I felt very alone. Remember, you are not alone and this is not your fault !! You have lots of sisters on this site to offer support.

    Do you have a therapist or a helpful book on Infedelity. I highly recommend both. Finally, mindfulness meditation really saved me. At all hours of the day or night meditation made a huge difference for me. Do what ever you need to care for you. I know you love your H but the first step is to take care of yourself.

    It sounds like your H maybe needs to rethink what it means to be strong. Asking for help, having the courage to face hard hard things like shame is not weakness!! Infedelity is so traumatic to people and marriages i believe the only way forward individually and with our Hs is with lots of help. Also, honestly and transparency are so important. Your Hs world has also collapsed and sometimes it seems better to just shut down, sweep aside and move on. It takes so much courage to face fears with ourselves and with our partners. Talking with you, caring for you, and getting help is courageous not weakness.

    One hour and one day at a time love. Your sisters are with you.
    Becky.


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    1. Hi Becky, your advice, empathy, and encouragement really touched me - thank you so much.

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  59. It has been a very difficult few days for me. What has become so clear to me is that I'm dealing with some level of addict who is in severe denial. That is such a helpless feeling and I'm lost on how to move on. No one can call someone else an addict - it is up to him to admit a problem and ask for help. I desperately want my marriage to work, but I just can't take H's betrayal lying down although he is remorseful and currently saying/doing all the right things to be a good partner in our marriage. I don't know what my timeline is...I will work hard on me to get stronger and hopefully during that time H will come around, but everyone has a breaking point. I am in agony imagining having to issue an ultimatum at some point. Figure out why you did this or else! I'd have to be prepared to follow through. Anyway, I'm thinking of sending H the below...any thoughts? I tried hard not to label or judge him. Maybe this is something to say to him later, but it helped writing it down on this sleepless night at 2am (blah!!). But maybe let him in on my thoughts sooner than later? Every day of keeping everything swept under the rug lulls him into a sense of progress and then he gets so confused when I explode on him. Thanks so much for the support you wonderful ladies. I never had a sister and now I have so many and for that I am grateful.

    "The bottom line is, you are only living your life differently now because I caught you. I deserve better than that and so do you. In order for me to ever trust you again, I need to know you are doing the hard work to understand HOW and WHY you were able to betray me and most importantly betray YOURSELF. You are not the voice in your head that justified your actions and behaviors and kept you from even considering their many consequences. You have lost nothing in all of this: not your job, not Xxxxx & me, not your family, you were lucky to never be arrested, extorted for money, or have health issues. And yet our little family suffers. I am sifting through unimaginable pain and grief, surely Xxxxx has lost some sense of security witnessing all of this, and you seem to have resigned yourself to this hanging over your head forever, which must be suffocating and terrible to endure. It doesn't have to stay like this and we all deserve better. Please confront the voice in your subconscious, the how and the why. Please get yourself help to do so. I beg you and I even insist. There is no shame in getting help and it is a display of great courage. I don't believe long-term change can come from an apology and promise to never do it again. Those are just words. (Words I've heard before - remember early in our marriage when I happened upon a google search of naked photos of an actress in our laptop's browser history?). And I can't, nor do I want to, police you forever. It is so far from the person I am. Eventually I'll stop reviewing every bank transaction, cell phone record, and GPS movement of your phone. Then what? All I will have left is trust, which I cannot give you 100% unless I know you really looked inside yourself to figure out what the hell this was all about. Until you do that, how will you recognize that voice in your subconscious until you find yourself doing its bidding? I promise you this: I love you and more than anything I want to get past this together and come out stronger on the other side. It is absolutely possible. I am working hard on myself, but I need you to meet me in the middle. I will support you in any way you ask if you find it in yourself to do the hard work. Please do it for yourself first and foremost and your efforts will trickle down and have a direct impact on my healing and ability to get past this difficult time in our lives."

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    1. Well said Starboard....have you considered going to SAA for spouses? Sex Addicts Anonymous. You can be in a room with other spouses who have been where you are in your codependency and gain support and valuable insight on how to deal with your H.

      I pray you are able to focus on YOU an what YOU need. Your H is a lucky man to have a compassionate wife. My H was still counting himself lucky to be among the living!

      Hugs to you,

      Suzanne

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    2. Ha! Thanks Suzanne. I'm beginning to think I do need to start kicking ass where ass kicking is due :). I'm really coming around to accepting I can only control what I do and how I react...so it's definitely time to dig into what I need and how I can get stronger. I will look into SAA for spouses. Thanks!

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  60. Wow Starboard79 that is such a wonderful and intelligent letter to your husband. Incredible in the circumstances. You should be so proud of yourself for the strength and determination and care you show in it. I wonder what the other ladies think but I think it's worth sending/showing it to him right now. My feeling is that he might not comprehend or take in what it means right now and he might try to argue his way out of what you suggest as it is all so new. My husband was remorseful and horrified when he realised what he had done, he even did a short course of individual counselling but he went back in contact and lied about it 9 months later because he hadn't really figured out what it was that he was getting from her, so had not figured his head out. I know from others here that sexual and porn addictions take even more hard work to move from. I know you don't want to set ultimatums (and I personally did not want to throw my husband out because I wanted him to start taking responsibilty for his own choices, not just say that I threw him out) but if you read through the articles on the site, what you need to try to do is set some boundaries for yourself. If he is truly remorseful and wants to make things right, there must be No contact with the OW and you must be able to check phones etc for a period of time until you feel safe, as you so wonderfully put it 'you don't want to police him forever.' Let him know that the experience on this site is that your marriage cannot succeed if he doesn't put the work in to making you feel safe and to exploring why he exploded his own values (if he feels that way.) I wish you all the best and hope he can give you the consideration you deserve.

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  61. Starboard 79,

    I think you are right unless someone wants help or change you cannot make them. That is true in all aspects of life whether it is nutrition, fitness, drugs, alcohol... I think you are right to express your thoughts and feelings to him. I totally agree if you do not express them then they eat away at you. I think your note is respectful and thoughtful. I like how you express how you feel and your perspective. I have been there and writing it down is so helpful. I feel like I get all of my thoughts out in the best way possible. I am sure you have some idea how he will react. I would be prepared for this. Do you specifically want him to see someone alone for individual therapy, couples therapy? I cannot remember if you are in individual therapy. That would be one of my top suggestions for you. Besides this website my therapist has been very helpful. He has been a great sounding board and helped me become more assertive but all in a positive and proactive way. This is a hard process since you are working through all of the not knowing. For me I felt like my husband had all the control. In the beginning it was confusing and hard. There are many layers and years of habits. My husband really said that it took him 6 months since he had lived his life a certain way basically detached for 10+ years. So for those first 6 months it was not easy for him. But he over time changed his habits and is the happiest he has been. It took him time and effort. And he made a lot of changes some on his own but many at my insistence. And we are still working through all of this at 19 months past dday. Now we are less focused on the affairs but more our marriage, relationship and moving forward. But the past impacts us still daily.

    You are doing an amazing job so far and your thoughts have a lot of clarity. I always told myself I am putting in the work and that is all I can be responsible for in the end. I knew I was doing the best I could. Keep up the hard work!

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  62. Starboard79, I think your letter to your husband is very thoughtful. I also like the idea of a letter which would prompt a conversation. Early on my emotions were all over the map and I think I would have benefited from writing things down as I had a tendency to spiral out of control and our conversations turned to arguments. I didn't have the chance to comment on your earlier post, but I will add that like you and the other ladies here have said, it is up to the betrayer or addict to help themselves. My husband was anti-therapy initially and was still in denial and lying for the first month or so of individual counseling. Our final d-day came coincidentally the night before I had an appointment scheduled with our therapist, who we were seeing individually. We ended up going to that appointment together and our therapist heard the full story less than 24 hours after I had found out. When the truth fully came out, my husband didn't want to admit any kind of sex addiction. The more sessions he went to alone and the more joint sessions we had, he started to understand how his childhood and the dynamic in his home impacted him. He had to acknowledge years of stuffing down emotions and choosing not to communicate. It was still some time before we started to address his addiction to porn which then led to an affair. It's tough work and the shame of it can be overwhelming. It would certainly be a lot easier to just apologize and move on with the promise that it will never happen again. I agree though that not acknowledging the cause makes recovering difficult.
    I think your husband is very lucky to have someone with so much compassion and clarity. I was neither as kind nor as compassionate as you in the early days. There was a major shift in our healing and my ability to be compassionate when I saw my husband really digging in and trying to get to the issues that caused him to behave the way he did. And as result of that work, he is happier and healthier than he's been in a long time.
    Hugs! I hope he's willing to hear you and address those unresolved issues.

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  63. Part-1 Starboard79, your letter is so loving and compassionate. As others have said and I will reiterate, it is very possible that your husband is in total denial. It took months of me crying, "talking" to my husband and asking "why" along with internet research before I finally got the courage to send him a link, actually several links, about sex addiction/porn addiction and one included a self-test. He always denied being a sex addict but admitted an addiction to porn. We were in therapy at that time and it was HARD. When he finally took the test, he cried and admitted that it sounded like him. He ordered that book by George of Compulsion Solutions and I ordered the one Living with your Sexually Addictive Spouse. Honestly this was such a HARD time for us. I said mean and hurtful things. He took it and then yelled back. He finally admitted in therapy to some very painful experiences as a young child and some other things that basically led him to shut out the world. That included me off and on in our 37 year marriage. When life got hard in normal ways, I thought we coped and talked however he internalized and sought porn and sexual release for emotional pain. I did not know that. It finally led to him seeking prostitutes. That is still a very hard thing for me to accept. I will never accept it and it is the one thing that will always keep me from ever fully trusting him again. I understand addiction but I also understand people change. There are two major thoughts about addiction. My husband wanted to change and hated his life. Knowing I would give him a second chance has made a big difference and although it was difficult initially for him and it is still hard for him to think and talk about his life with porn and prostitutes I occasionally melt down and demand answers. I think those days are waning. I am feeling stronger and better. The sadness is still gone after five or six days and this is the longest I've felt this stable. You can only take care of yourself and then your family. It takes a long time to really know what that means for you. I did go see an attorney so I would know the laws in my state and what I was entitled to. That shook him to his core. I also told nobody except our therapist initially and then after 6 months I told my best friend. I told my husband if he went back to the old behavior we were done and I would not lie about why. This scares him and he does not want to lose his children and grandchildren but he knows that once they know his history with hookers they won't let him near their kids ever again. He has chosen to fight the choices that are easy, (release stress through isolation and porn) and instead now talks to me. We have a robust sex life and we talk a lot about intimacy, sex, life and what we both want. I'm still not planning to celebrate our original anniversary "ever again" but that is the angry child in me speaking. My inner child is very defensive of me still. (Grin) I don't know what will happen when it comes around again.

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  64. Part-2
    We have new wedding rings. I took the stones from my ring and had them set in a different wedding ring and took off the engagement diamond. He bought our original rings and there is a lovely, emotional backstory but I told him to take off his ring and put it away because every time I looked at it I was reminded of him screwing prostitutes with the ring I put on his hand. He loved "the story" and I simply said, "It was just a story". I plan to sell the bands at some point. We bought simple bands and exchanged them in San Diego. He has promised not to tarnish his new ring ever under any circumstance. We shall see but he sounds and acts sincere. This is after buckets of tears, sleepless nights, weight loss and therapy. He wants this more than I do at this point. I'm finally at peace on many levels. The hole left inside of me when the sad left is waiting for me to fill it up with my choice of things. I plan to be happy and I'm not sure what that will entail but it will be my choice of things, not his. It took me a long time to come to grips with the fact that I love my life with my husband and my life will still have meaning and value if he chooses to blow this second chance. I am hopeful and anticipate things to be good and that we will be able to deal with things that are not good in healthy ways. He has to do his own work, just as your husband has to do his own work. You have to do your work. It is hard and it is worth it. You have a loving support group here. No judgements about your choices. Love and Peace to you. Beach Girl and the rest of the BW-gang.

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  65. Hi Ladies, i have been posting on here for a while. I feel i dont have the wonderful ways in which you guys can express yourself and what you say helps me so much. I am 2 1/2 years from D Day one and 1 year 3 months from D Day two. I have now discovered (completely out of the blue) that my H goes to work and looks at (i wouldnt call it porn) girls, ladies whatever breasts and bits and pieces. After what has happened with the affair i now find myself in this position as with you guys, i am in shock i am now thinking what they hell is happening here??? Beach girl anyone what do you think i didnt think he did this xxx

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    1. Jilly, I'm so sorry for your latest discovery. I don't know what the other ladies will say, but for me, this would be a problem. My husband was addicted to porn leading up to his affair. I don't know if your husband had an issue with porn or not, but if so, I would think looking at photos like that is dangerous territory. Obviously, my view on porn is a little different based upon what iI've experienced with my husband.
      If it's not too personal to ask, how did you discover it? Is it something he was hiding from you or did he tell you? That would be another thing to take into consideration. Even if it's not porn, if it violates anything you agreed upon, it's a problem.
      Initially, my husband thought maybe porn would be ok down the road after d-day until he began to acknowledge that he had a problem. Now, he realizes it's not an option, nor is anything that objectifies women. His whole perspective has changed. And frankly, so has mine. I never had an issue with porn. It wasn't my thing, but I never told my husband not to watch it. The affair and what led up to it had given me a different point of view.

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    2. This is one area we talk about a lot more than the affairs and other behavior. My husband has and sort of still sees it as a different thing than the affairs. I am not sure what qualifies as an issue even. That is up for debate. I do know before dday he was using it a lot more by his own admission. Now barely at all from what he tells me. To me they seem similar and connected. It is a secretive behavior, objectifies women, creates interest for variety, some say as men get older it can cause decrease in sexual interest (not like when men are young and have never ending sexual desire and ability), lowering inhibitions and boundaries related to other women... I have not been able to find a solid answer what an addiction to porn consists of. It seems fuzzy is it how often, what type?? For my husband this concerns me too. Neither of his affairs were ones where he was immersed rather they were both sporadic in nature just like his alcohol use.

      I think it does depend how you found it, if he was hiding it, what your expectations/boundaries were related to it how you approach it with him.

      For me I have recently been very direct and open with him how it makes me feel no matter what he thinks. Before the affairs I am not sure I would have really thought much about it more the all guys watch it mentality. But that attitude is gone just as he lost all of his freedom to do what he wanted with complete trust. He finally is understanding how it makes me feel. I initially brought it up since he does not have a major sex drive. I approached it wondering if he is not sleeping with anyone else then is he watching porn. That spurred our conversation. He said something like he does not have a high sex drive or high interest in sex. Hmmm, well that did not sit well with me or make sense based on his affairs and online communication with other women. So this continues to be an ongoing discussion. Sorry I am not of more help specifically but wanted to share.

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    3. Jilly55, only you can decide the next best steps but if your husband is risking his job and your family's financial security to look at any kind of inappropriate internet photos at work, he has a BIG problem. Like Dandelion said, I never had a problem with porn until my husband told me his story and I began researching it myself. I believe that some people can look at porn and not get confused between fantasy and reality and I know other couples who occasionally look at porn together but for men like my husband who spent hours a day watching porn and then moved on to strip clubs, jerk-off joints and finally escorts and prostitutes, it was a "gateway" drug of sorts. When he stopped getting the brain rush from porn he had to take more risky steps to get his "hit". It nearly killed him and destroyed our marriage. He did tell me, in a terrible and roundabout way, about what was going on. It was only because he thought he had AIDS from a whore that he told me, not because he had an act of conscience or anything that might have meant more to me. No, it was a selfish reason. I am till at a fairly good place, 6 days worth and counting, of knowing I will be OK even if he makes one wrong step. I'm so not going to put up with any bullshit but that is me and you are you. I am financially secure and I know it will be awfully hard to dismantle 38 years of my life but I also know I can and will do that if he screws up. I'm no saint and he is lucky (my personality can lead itself to revenge) I decided to give it a year to see how things went and I did not want to blow up our family without giving him a chance to get his shit together and decide just how much he wanted to be the man everyone thought he was. Think "all around good guy, high morals, everyone looked up to him" but that was not enough for him because deep inside he felt like a "hopeless fucked up failure" based on his early life experiences. Well I am OK reminding him that he is not a "fucked up failure" by any stretch of the imagination but he has to believe that and he has to make the decision every day to walk the strait and narrow path. He seems so much happier now and we have had a lot of joy but the dark cloud of sex addiction is always there and I know he has to take it one day at a time as do I. Please, see an attorney to get some legal advice. I did and it was a good thing to do. It made my husband know I was serious about my future. Much love and a virtual hug, Beach Girl

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    4. Jilly 55
      I agree with the ladies above. It's as individual for each of us and my h knows exactly how I feel if I see him looking at any type of pictures or videos that include other women! It makes something wonderful very dirty in my opinion and from what I've read about how it changed the brain of some people just gives me the creeps! The problem with an ultimatum that he never look again just lays a foundation for more secrets and for me I rather not go that route. So as far as I know my h probably continues to indulge in porn of some kind but as long as it's not shoved in my face and I'm not made to feel like fantasy is more important than time spent with me, I try not to make it an issue. I'm living with a man who never outgrew his middle school years and he sees nothing wrong with lusting over women in general. However, I feel like it's very demeaning of all women! Just how I feel! Hugs! Life is so hard sometimes!

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  66. For those of us feeling stuck and/or worried about sliding back into familiar (and unhealthy) patterns...
    Podcast Recommendation: Love Rice, Monday Oct 24, "Heroic Journeys, Dr. Brad Reedy."
    Really good stuff about boundaries and being authentic.

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  67. Thank you so much everyone for your posts. mY H and i split in 2011 and he had the affair and carried it on when he came home in 2013. He said he started to look at porn then and it has been a habit since then. I found out by looking on his phone history, he was doing it at dinnertime when he stops for a break. It is another secret and i have told him under no circumstances after what happen will i put up with it. Fortunately i own the house we live in i do not have any financial worries at all but as you say Beach Girl he feels like a failure, his business went down the pan, he has been married twice before all went wrong; He is in debt for thousand What may be the biggest problem is he is not able to perform in the bedroom !!! Its down to age, mid life crisis everything that went on previously which as ruined me i am not the same person and he blames himself. He made the excuse he was doing it to help us.... and has promised not to do it again, he didnt think it would affect us as a couple!!!! What will happen next i ask myself. Thank everyone like alot on this blog you are my lifeline xxx

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    1. jilly55,

      From what I have read porn usage can contribute to decreased performance when being intimate with a partner. Especially with age. It seems they are seeing it even with younger and younger men but in the past with age it has caused issues. I know there are all kinds of thoughts related to sexual performance but I think a lot is mental for both men and women. Many men suffer with issues but struggle to find the right help. I think you are right in telling him how it makes you feel.

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  68. Beach Girl, Dandelion, Hopeful, Fragments, Suzanne, and I hope I didn't miss anyone - thank you so much for the time and thoughtful replies you gave me on the letter I wrote for my H. Your experiences and suggestions truly helped me to think more deeply about what I want to get across to H. I read some of the back posts and many comments on boundaries and incorporated mine into what I need to say to H to make things clear to him. I added to and revised the hell out of that document and it is fantastic :). I think my main hang up has been that while I know I can't stay forever in my marriage with the disrespect I feel due to H's unwillingness to address what he did beyond "sorry," I felt that an ultimatum went hand in hand with taking a stand...and I'm just not ready for that. (Don't get me wrong, if H is caught with a hooker again, he is out in some form no matter where I am in my process). Elle commented on a thread about boundaries, and I wish I had noted where, that pulled it all together for me. For my own sense of security and recovery, I can make getting help a "must" for H. If he refuses, I can simply remind him when the topic comes up how it makes me feel...disrespected, unvalued, dismissed etc. I really took to heart that I can and should be assertive, but that ultimately it is up to him and I can only control my own actions and reactions (as helpless as that makes me feel sometimes). At some point, if he still hasn't shown any willingness, I might decide enough is enough, but I don't have to feel pressure right now to entertain that decision. In the meantime, I will focus on me and getting stronger, being responsible for my own happiness, getting my ducks in a row to be independent if that's how things end up (I gave up a good job 5 yrs ago to be a stay at home mom). I'm working on finalizing my letter and boundaries and feel confident that I will be able to stick to my script and keep my composure much better when I talk to H. I will keep you updated!

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    1. That all sounds familiar and that is exactly right. For me I thought how will we have boundaries it sounds like my rules.. But yes for your safety and security. As I have moved through this I have stuck with that as I guess you would say my mantra. I will just say to him I need you to do x because I need to feel safe. I do not want to be in a relationsihp/marriage where I feel unsafe and cannot move forward. Then there is no point in it. I have gotten to the point where I am okay if I had to be alone but that takes time.

      I gave up a lot both career wise and financially for my husband and our family. It was a decision we made together and I was all in since I thought we were a team. That was a major struggle for me as I cannot get back the career, lost income and future income potential is not there. We also moved to a place that does not provide the career opportunity for me in order to support his career. He is very successful both financially and reputation wise but that just made me feel worse. I felt like I gave up everything and he just walked all over me. We have talked about this a lot. There are many sides to it. I am very close to our kids more than he will ever be because of this. But it all comes at a loss for me.

      This recovery process has so many layers and stages. Right when I think we have tackled an area something else pops up. I do think that as time goes by if there is improvement and forward progress my expectations have elevated. Hang in there and stick with it!

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    2. Hi Starboard and hopeful 30 thank you for your reply. The problem i have is my loss of respect for this man and i truly think that may never come back. We can work on ourselves and yes we are great people but i have stands and values and would not treat him or they should not treat us like second class people!!! There are many layers yes but the trust and respect is gone for me at the moment. xxx

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  69. I fact i am getting a little bit tired especially after this last episode .... that is not normal to me looking at porn not in my list of being right with someone.... i may just give it up all together soon, dont you get tired of trying to work someone out!!! xx

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    1. I understand the tired feeling. The pain was so great in the beginning but it feels like a never ending marathon. It gets old. I even said to my husband last week, I feel like I am always the voice of reason and dependable one. Why do I need to point out situations to him. Why am I always the solid one. I expect to need to be that for my kids but for him. And at this point it feel less about habit but more about who we are. I can and will never act the way he did. It is something I will never be even with a gun pointed at my head. Some days are hard to look at him. What kids of person does these things. All I can say is I am trying very hard to give this a second chance but I am confronting him and demanding what I need. As he works with me i very slowly gain more trust and respect. But it is slow going.

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  70. I tried to reply several times in the last few days but the magic board was erased after publish.

    So to wrap it up: One of the ways I was able to find a bit of sanity in the first year especially: I would say VERY loudly: I CHOOSE TO BE HAPPY. NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENS I DESERVE TO BE HAPPY. Okay, I SHOUTED many times: I WILL BE FUCKING HAPPY.

    It worked. At least for a bit each time. Sort of like coming up for a much needed bit of air after being under water too long. It was enough for me to be able to get through that hour, sometimes that whole day.

    The pain does lessen over time. I am at 2 years 5 months November 3rd. Fall is a tough time because the c.o.w. found him in October and met him November 7th. Then sex beginning in December, ending in May.

    What kind of people "do" this to us? Very selfish people. Sometimes literally crazy. And it's tough to love a selfish and/or crazy person.

    We work on ourselves foremost. In the event our partner comes to his/her senses, we are that much the more healthy. If not he/she won't, we are able to move on to something much better.

    I made that sound easy. It sure isn't. Not any of it.

    But we are each worth our efforts.

    Hugs,

    Suzanne

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    1. Yes, Suzanne! Sometimes it's an intentional decision. Today for example, I find myself making an intentional decision to not do something that I know will cause me more sadness. I think time has an amazing way of giving you the perspective from which to do that. In the first year, I would have said f**k it and just dealt with the fallout. A year and a half in and I take the time to think it through. My emotions aren't as raw.

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  71. Hopeful, thats exactly correct. Are we dealing with teenage boys where we have to point out that perhaps that isnt quite the right thing to do whilst in a relationship??? Wouldnt you think it was common sense!!! x

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    1. Yes so true! And my husband is a mental health professional with a lot of education and training. Granted he will admit he knew it was wrong before he did it and every second he did it. But as I know now this is all him. It is his personality that allowed this, his upbringing that allowed this etc. When someone lies to your face over the course of 10+ years it is on them. And as my therapist has said he does need to pay a steep price. What does that mean, no guys trips, fewer if any nights out, less time with friends, less time with family, less time at work, less time on his phone.... I could go on and on. What is interesting is I can tell my husband is so much happier now. I could have never gotten him to change without him wanting to. I am glad it has happened now. We just talked about how what I set as boundaries now have become his habits and things he wants to do. He now goes out with his friends after golf and wants me there. He really has become a different person. Some days that is a struggle. I think is this right to continue in this marriage. But for now it feels right. It is sad how long it took him to mature. But thankfully we got to this point when we did. It is good for us and our future but I am so thankful for our kids.

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    2. Hopeful & Warriors All...

      My H is also a changed man. The man I thought I was marrying 35 years ago. Talk about time it took him to mature! Amen. My H is also totally happy now. We have boundaries now which I begged for...for decades. I also pleaded for marriage therapy.

      I'm a psychotherapist licensed in Marriage & Family Therapy as well as a couple other areas. I knew we were in trouble (because of HIS behaviors, which lead to MY reactions) but he would always say "I'll change, we don't need to go."

      We were in the therapist's office within 3 weeks of D-Day.

      It really is hard some days, isn't it? I thank all of you for being here.

      I read every word, remember most, and e-1 is on my prayer list.

      Elle, be well & again thank you for your time.

      We are alive, we survive, we thrive. And it's all because of OUR behaviors, OUR listening, OUR support. We take all the credit. : )

      Hugs,

      Suzanne

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    3. That's great Suzanne. I feel the same way about my husband. Not that I didn't think he was great (though I didn't have...ummm...all the information) but we've grown in ways that have deepened our relationship and it's wonderful.
      I've learned to become very wary of people who resist therapy. IN my experience, the people whose lives are the biggest messes are always those who say they "don't believe in counselling". Sure. How's that working out for you? ;)
      Thanks for sharing your joy.

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  72. It is really helpful to read your comments on this thread. I don't seem to be able to get over my partner's affair. It has been 5 years since I found out my partner had an affair with his co-worker, who was also his student (he is a professor) at the time. It was awful. To his credit he went through counseling and tried, but while we were nearing the end of our therapy (where an agreement he would be open, not see other women, etc was part of rebuilding trust), I discovered he was hiding a new woman 'friend' from me, seeing her for lunches and phone calls and cute emails back and forth on an email account I did not know about, and that popped up when I went to open my gmail on our computer. This was devastating to me and the trust that I thought we had rebuilt, and I am thinking of leaving him over it. He was unfaithful in his first marriage, too, twice, and doesn't seem to get that he needs to change his behaviour. He went to his own therapist for a while, and worked hard on himself, and I was proud of him. But he stopped going, and I can't seem to find a way to trust him at this point. We fight a lot because the woman he had an affair with shows up in our lives still and I can't handle it. After some years, she eventually left his workplace, but turns up in our lives over and over again - at parties, at church events. I can't face her because I am afraid I may behave in a regretful way, and because the pain is triggered all over again, so I opt out of a lot of events and my partner goes on his own. I get angry at him for going to the events without me. I have asked him to change churches and to rebuild our lives in ways where I don't have to run into her, but he won't. I don't want a life where the ow turns up, and where I have to hide in order to maintain my sanity and well-being. I don't know how I could be at the same party or church as her - how have others done it? Is it worth it? The way I am living is lonely. I don't really do a lot with my partner anymore. We don't celebrate anniversaries. We don't see friends much. I think, at the end of the day, I just don't understand why people cheat in the first place, especially when the relationship is a good one, and the sex so amazing. It has destroyed my belief in love somehow. After I discovered him hiding another woman during the course of our therapy, I can't seem to accept that people - my partner - are that selfish and untrustworthy. Maybe that is the pain that I have to face before I can move on. I would love to hear stories about good men, who are trustworthy, and who do actually change and don't slip back into secrets and betrayal. I would also like to know how I can stop being bitter and resentful and how people have forgiven someone who is like this. Each time I let go a little, she turns up in some way again and she ends up limiting my life (even down to not singing in a Christmas Eve concert this year because she will be there), and I am back to square one feeling wise. I am stuck. Stay or go. Forgive or cut loose. How do you know you can trust somebody>

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    1. Anonymous Nov 1,

      I'm so sad with you. I hear your loneliness. I wish all of us here could come sit with you.

      You say you want to hear stories about good men. My H is becoming one. I am hopeful, based on the real change I have seen. He is the phoenix in our marriage.

      You also say you would like to know how people have forgiven. I have not. And, similar to what Suzanne has said above in this thread, it's not on my to-do list. It was -- I thought I had to forgive, for us, for me, for God -- and it caused me great distress. I let it go. That was a major breakthrough for me. I let it go, and I told my H to let it go too. That was hard for him to do -- he thought my forgiveness would be the measure of whether he was a good man -- nope, that is all on him. We are both more honest for this realization -- and our marriage definitely needed honesty.

      Your partner is tormenting you. Whether his behavior towards you is intentional or just careless, it is unacceptable. You will destroy yourself trying to bear it. Please read Elle's post on boundaries from Oct 28 -- it says everything. You deserve so much more from the people in your life. Choose you.

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    2. Anonymous November 1
      You are so sad and lonely and for that I am truly sorry! You asked how you can know how you can trust someone who has shown repeatedly that he is not worthy of your trust! You have to start with a partner that is really trying to make changes in their behavior not learn how to hide it better. You want stories of success, I think to give you hope.our success is in the first stage. I've finally begun to see the change in my h and his choice to make our relationship better. One of the first things he told me was how glad he was not to have to continue the lies that came from his affair. I saw the shame on his face as we struggled through the details that I needed to move through the first year. We just passed the two years post dday and there is still hurt in my heart, I will probably always have a bit of hurt in my heart, but the hurt isn't breath taking and doesn't bring me to my knees in tears. We have slowly begun to build new memories and we carefully remember some of our treasured memories from before the affair. It's taken real work on both of us to get to this place. My h wanted to earn my trust and he has been doing a good job of it and even if everyday isn't a big memory maker, we start our day off with love and kisses and prayers for each of us to have a good day. It's working for us and if we're going to have our happy ever after we'll have to wait for hopefully a long time together before we know if we are going to make it! It's where we are now compared to where the hell first began! Hugs!

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    3. Anonymous,

      I am so sorry to hear your story and I can understand why you cannot move forward and progress. I know for myself dday was bad but dday 2 was a lot worse. It set me back. I thought after dday even though it would require a lot of work there would be transparency and honesty. But to find out 5 months later he had continued to lie to me. it did not matter that he thought he was protecting me. It was just a continuation of his 10+ years of behavior. It really set us back. It took him a long time to understand how much worse he made things. He felt like since there was no new "bad" behavior or contact that it was not that bad. But what I had to explain to him is even beyond his behaviors his words and treatment of me were just as hurtful and destructive. I still at times pull away (19 months past dday 1) due to the trickle truth and dday 2. Intellectually I understand he was not in a place on dday 1. I caught him off guard and he was not sure if he would ever tell me. So as he entered the worst day/moment of his life he tried to protect me. He says now in case it did not work out or in case it was too much for me to hear.

      As far as hope I agree it is out there. But it can be hard to find and feel on a daily basis. For me my hope has be renewed based on my husband's behaviors and choices. It has been really hard. I have had to push him. I think this website helped me with clarity. Also, my therapist has been a huge help. He helped me to be more assertive and stand up for myself. He helped me realize what I expected was the norm and not my husband's behaviors. I have only gone alone and my husband has not gone (he is in the mental health field so that is part of the reason). I think once we worked through the initial pain and then established boundaries things began to progress forward not just in a healing phase.

      Some days I think what am I doing with him still. It is really hard. I am tired. I think is this real? Is he real? Is this all worth it? These are all hard questions. I do know that I could not make any changes in my husband. He had to want to do it and take action. Of course I pushed and supported and sometimes demanded changes. But in the end it is on him. I told him early on I would not be a detective or his mom for the rest of our lives. That is no way to live. The boundaries we set allowed me to feel better about us over time and let my guard down. Now so many of those boundaries are habits that he has continued all on his own.

      I agree with the post above to read up on any posts related to boundaries on here. Set out what you need in your marriage to feel safe. Until that time you won't ever trust your husband even if he was doing nothing wrong. My therapist keeps telling me these betrayals are huge violations and they take a long time to heal. My husband says that as a general rule most people need 6 months to create a new behavior. That was true for my husband. He had lived his life with a certain mentality. It was hard the first six months. But over time he changed and realized how much happier he became. But it did not happen over night and it needed consistency on his part. For us the number one boundary was no contact. If there was any contact I was to be told and we would deal with it together. I know I would feel the same as you and not feel comfortable around the ow. Keep us updated and thinking of you!

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    4. Anonymous....I think you are a wise woman to not give your trust to your partner. He has not earned it, nor does he show you is worthy of your trust. I agree that boundaries are an issue on his part.

      That he won't change churches and help you to heal so the triggers become less intense, won't keep you company and BE the partner he is supposed to be...that speaks volumes. Again it goes back to boundaries.

      Today is not an easy day for me to talk about changes that men make...but here goes.

      He SEES me again. He thinks of me before he thinks of himself. If he sees a feeling flit across my face that I'm trying to hide, he asks me what he can do to help (although he REFUSES to talk about the affair or anything to do with it at this point, 2.5 years after D-Day...& I agree, the chat wouldn't change a thing for me)...I am THE priority in his life. He does things that are of interest to ME. He is thoughtful. I could go on & on. These are all "new" behaviors for him. He is as he was when we were dating and living together.

      So the partner/spouse CAN change. It's up to him. No haranguing here. I made it quite clear that if he EVER broke the boundaries we designed in therapy, I was out.

      My heart is with you woman. Loving and then being disappointed is a lonely feeling.

      I could say a million more things, but know you are in my prayers. YOU ARE GETTING THROUGH THIS and you are so intelligent. Your words of wisdom have helped me at so many dark times. I'm on your team.

      Suzanne

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  73. Thank you so much to all of you for your amazing and thoughtful replies. I don't feel alone anymore. It was amazing to read them. I don't know if my partner will choose to really change, but it gives me hope to hear how some men do the work and that trust can be rebuilt, if not ever the same. Thank you for saying I don't have to forgive, Sal! I needed to hear that! Yes, my partner is tormenting me. Right now, I have decided to separate from him because he won't do the work in therapy we need to do. I feel at peace with this at the moment. Conversations turn into me being the problem becasue I get upset when I find out he has been hiding a woman 'friend,'...the list goes on. I have blamed myself for many years. Reading your responses has lightened that burden a little for me, and allowed me to finally separate to take some time to think about what I want to do. You're right Theresa, that my partner has shown me that I can't trust him in this area - and if he won't do the work, there is no way to be safe with him. I realized reading your post, Anonymous, that there was not just one betrayal, that there have been several like I described where I discover another hidden 'friend' and that I am not crazy for feeling the grief and pain of it. He minimizes and denies his actions alot. I eventually get so upset I can't stand it. So, hoping these next weeks of separation will be to care for me and hear myself think again, without the voice of blame for why he continues his patterns of behaviour. Thank you, everybody. You are strong women doing it, and you have helped me so much!

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