The kickass survival site for anyone who's ever been lied to, cheated on and left for dead.
Hi all! I haven't checked in for a while, and just wanted to let you know that I am doing well, and hopefully this gives some hope for those of you who are having a rough time right now.This is a story of being "unstuck", and I hope it gives some hope for those of you who feel stuck. I know what it's like, I was there for what felt forever. We're coming on to three years out from D-day this summer, and I can honestly say we are doing really well. I feel stronger and happier than I ever have before, so much so that I may be able to stop taking anti-depressants soon (been working with my doctor on this). I dusted off my piano after letting it sit for over 5 years without playing a single note and have been learning new pieces. I've also started writing novels again, something I stopped doing over a decade ago.My husband has really gone the extra mile to prove to me he's not that guy anymore. While I know there are no guarantees, he has worked really hard to earn my trust back, and we are happy together. I no longer sit around and regret the day I met him. If I had my life to live over again, would I still be with him? Who knows, but I'm at the point where that doesn't matter anymore. I can now go all day without thinking about it, or if I do, it's just a passing thought, not something that immediately brings me to my knees. And I know that even if the future doesn't include us being together anymore, I will be okay. Better than okay. I've survived hell and made it through victorious, and no one can take that away from me.It's my sincere wish that sharing this with you all gives you some hope. When I first found this site, I never thought I would be writing these words. I never thought I would draw another breath without hurting. Elle and all you ladies here helped me to keep going, and I'm so glad I didn't give up.XO
yay Gee. So great to hear from you and I'm so glad you popped back in to say 'hi' and let others know that you're doing great. It's hell, isn't it? But you've come out the other side.
Gee, music to my ears. I love hearing stories like yours. I'm 20 months out now and really feeling pretty good most of the time. It helps so much to hear from those whose marriages continue to grow stronger after betrayal. "And I know that even if the future doesn't include us being together anymore, I will be okay. Better than okay. I've survived hell and made it through victorious, and no one can take that away from me". Gotta laugh at this quote I took from your post because I just said those exact words to my best friend a few days ago!
Thank you, Gee. Please come back more often.
Gee, That is great! I am so happy for you and thank you for sharing. I am at almost 2 years and just recently everything has clicked. All the work is paying off! I feel like I could have written your post. We say to each other all the time that we hate it happened, but we cannot change the past. However we are glad it came out vs my husband leaving without telling me or just keeping it inside. He had considered leaving me and not telling me since he knew how bad it would be. We are both so happy and thankful we both stuck it out and persevered. I have never seen him so happy and content. Even during high stress situations with work etc he seeks me out and confides in me. It is amazing his transformation.My therapist at my last appointment was so happy and hugged me. So thankful for this site and my therapist!!
Thank you for this! It was right in time. I'm pretty much in the same boat except one thing keeps one foot in the water. I guess I just have one question for you or anyone who cares to chime in. Where do I put the thoughts and feelings of what he said and did, and what I THOUGHT I was SUPPOSE to do about it?I know that may sound silly but he is trying and willing, but something deep inside of me either tells me I have to find a new compartment for what I really wanted or should do in this situation and didnt. I truly WANT to move on, forgive, and heal, but maybe I don't have enough understanding to remove these thoughts from my mind o my own. The thoughts of what he did, the lies he told. Basically the idea that, "how can he be so changed now, saying the same things he said he would do when I married him, but NOW I should believe him?" HELP PLEASE
Anonymous, I've been there and beat myself up about the same things. It was so helpful for me to process those exact feelings/thoughts with my therapist. I've said the exact same thing to my husband to his face in the past when he told me he always loved me and that he never wanted to hurt me. I also said, "You now promise to be faithful to me and honor me yet you said that 37 years ago and look where we are?" He has come a long way from D-day and now has a much clearer picture of all the things in his life beginning in early childhood that led him down the path he took regardless of how he saw himself. He tells me he has many tools in place and is always aware of his environment and that he cannot imagine ever doing anything again that would lead him to hurt me in any way. He sees the world through a new lens after therapy, reading, mindfulness, yoga and just being open and honest with me about his feelings. At some point in the very recent past (I'm 20 months out now) I realized that in order for me to really move forward I had to accept this man I see every day and recognize that he lives his life very differently from how he lived in the past. I am able to give him the benefit of the doubt now even when those exact toxic thoughts about the past try to derail me from where we are today. In my case, I've made it clear that he only gets one chance to get it right and that one slip with porn or whores is a deal-breaker. I'm strong enough now to show him the door and he knows it. I trust that he wants what we now have as much or more than I do. The big difference now is that I know I am strong enough to go forward without him and I'm not so sure he feels that way about himself. This is on him, not me. Remember, those thoughts and feelings you have are toxic to only YOU and not to him. You will figure this out and you will do OK. Sometimes I think I'm doing great and other times I'm just OK but I've not allowed myself to go back to the time when I felt hopeless and helpless. Peace and Love. Hang in there.
Anon, I agree with all that Beach Girl says and we are on similar timing (23 months for me) and similar feelings and place in the process. I am not going to rewrite what she said. I do know some people find visualization powerful. Some people will see the memories, hear the words anything else and put it in a shoe box and visualize putting it on a shelf. Or write it down and burn it in a fire either in real life or in your mind.For me the visualization that was most powerful and helped me to not be stuck was from Steam I believe. I am sure I am not explaining it correctly but it is what did it for me. Basically in 20 years pull out a picture of yourself. Is this picture black and white and crumpled worn etc or is it colorful and full of life. At this point i was following the ow, checking up on my husband all the time whether he knew it or not. All of it was stuff I needed to do at the time. But I read this visualization one day and I thought i do not want to look back at my life with regret or let these affairs take anything more from me. At that moment I made my best effort every day and moment to live in the present and not even worry about the future. And really in the end it was mind of matter. Again I am not saying this was easy, quick or happened without effort. And the timing had to be right for me. But this helped me turn the corner. And I had to decide when it was right for me.I think the therapy and this site have helped me a lot too. Some of this horrible pain I just had to live through. Now though we are past the worst of it. Things are better than ever and as I said I hate it happened but glad we dealt with it and can move forward. This is so liberating but be patient with yourself. When I tired to force myself was when it would backfire.
Gee,Thanks for sharing where you are. It was good for me to hear, as I'm sure it was for many others. Like you, I remember thinking I would never have a day without pain. It's hard to believe in the early days, but it does come. I still have work to do personally, but I know it can't be rushed.❤
Hi Gee,Thanks for sharing this. It makes me hopeful. I know it can be achieved, but in the real deep down darkness, when I can't stop thinking about the specific instances of betrayal...well, i think they are always going to be there if I let them take space in my mind. Sometimes I can stop them. This is good sign because there was a time that I definitely could not. Now I have a little more strength to do so. I have also found recently that talking and talking about ALL of the things that happened at this point really brings me to a very bad place. I guess I'm all talked out, at least for now. I went for therapy twice a week and the last thing my therapist had me do was write down all of the unresolved hurts from the betrayal, the past hurts, and said we needed to heal them one at a time. Well, I filled many, many pages. And in the end it hurt more. Yes, it's great to get these things out there and share the disbelief and hurt with others rather than my husband, but perhaps I've done enough of that.I need to look ahead and perhaps only share what is going on now-there are hurts there too as things come up. It is certainly not getting me anywhere to continually rehash how horrible everything my was that my husband did. I hope i can stop dwelling on this, it seems I am almost there. I'm still stuck but I at least take the blame off myself, which took close to a year of hard work and reflection, even though my husband insisted from day one that his betrayal had nothing to do with what i did or didn't do. It still hurts so so deeply at what i thought we had and what we have lost, even though we are rebuilding something pretty special. When the pain creeps in I take a real step back if I am not feeling strong enough. I think sometimes if I am overwhelmed or tired with other things, I automatically feel weaker and I am just more susceptible to giving in or feeling sorry for myself.We just started intensive Imago therapy. This seemed to have a real effect and seemed to unblock something very deep. I am hopeful. So Gee, if you are like this after three years, maybe I can be too. I thought I would be much better after a year, but I learned right at the year mark that even believing that I should be better set me back. I had a very rough anniversary of discovery time! It lasted almost a month. I am 13 months in. Thanks for your post and my love to everyone!Julia
Sounds like you have made great progress. It is all so hard and each phase poses new challenges. One thing is we initially chose one day a week to talk when we planned for it so we did not focus on it each day or as often. This helped both of us. Once we were past the worst we spread those times out when we would talk. We still check in with each other. I would say at almost two years I am totally non emotional and more factual as to how it affects today and our future. He is still somewhat emotional based out of his guilt and shame. Honestly it makes me feel good that he is still affected by it. He is happier than ever but I know it sits with him and a very serious way. I never thought we would be where we are today at just two years but thankful we are. I think it is good to look back and reflect. It the day to day it is easy to feel like there is no progress but looking back helps me.
Anon Feb 22nd at 8:35pm - that is the thing there isn't a compartment big enough to put all this shit in and if there was you would just have to carried it around anyway, like you are now. I felt the same way too. I just wanted the nightmare to be over. It just doesn't work that way. You don't say how far out you are from Dday? For me to get it out of my mind, I had to accept the pain and really feel the pain. I tried to avoid it but couldn't. The other thing is my husband did everything except move the earth for me. Like any tragedy you just have to work through it. There are no books on the market that say feel the pain, think about it until your exhausted. I thought about divorce for a year and half everyday. I still keep one eye on the door and one foot in the water. I cannot trust him, it was too easy for him to lie. Reread Elle's post about feeling the pain. Love to you
What I lost being a betrayed wife:70 lbs.Size 18 clothes for size 10.2 lbs of skin after my mini tummy tuck he paid the bill out of his retirement fund1 lb of skin under my arms he paid the billLow blood pressure Wanting to please everyoneBeing afraid to speak upMy job` My ability to focusFake jewelry that I told him to put up his ass A whored-up house for a new one.Friends that didn't take the time to understand me.Doing things by myselfTrying to please himPuritan sexual attitudePutting off what I wanted due to many of his reasonsAn imperfect husband working his ass off every day to be the man he should have been all along (his words, not mine)Putting people on a pedastal.A big fat critical bitch who held people and herself a standard which could never be met.TrustAny one else?
What I lost as a betrayed spouse:50 poundsSize 16 to size 8-10Rose colored glassesTolerance for fair-weathered friendsUnconditional trust in my husbandSexual inhibitionsThe belief that my spouse was much more perfect than meMy memoryLarge clumps of my hair for monthsMy appetiteMy desire to connect with anyone emotionallyMy love of social gatheringsMy desire to meet my sisters and their spouses in Vegas or New Orleans---too sexually charged for my husbandMy wedding rings and the story behind themMy hope of an untarnished pastMy desire for an untarnished futureMy belief in marriage vowsMy concerns about spending money on myselfMy thoughts about my husband's response to things I want to do.Probably more but this is off my head.Thanks LLP
Wow Lynn This is SO powerful. Making a list like that, I can feel what you've been through. I'm going to try to write a list too...let's see how it goes:What I lost:17 pounds, but I was already thin so I looked sickly and people who didn't know what I was going through were concerned about my health. The ability to wear my engagement ring and wedding ring with any joy, pride or meaningFor a while, my husband because he left me and my kids for two weeksMy sanity for a time, I was so depressed I couldn't take care of my kids or get out of bed. All of my clothes, as I donated everything, including about fifteen gowns, expensive shoes and matching purses that I wore all over the world to attend his opera performances My privacy. I lost this big time because so many people found out that my husband left because my kids told their friends. The ability to just be me without the label of betrayed wife in our town- we had to move but I'm glad we did. The ability to control my anxiety. Some days it's just there and I get sad that I feel that. The freedom of thought. I've lost the ability to keep negative thoughts out of my head at times.Time. I've lost a lot of time wasted on all of this grief and disbelief. There's much more of course. Now what I've gained. HmmmmmmI better understanding of myself and how I look at the world. How I give trust to anyone. I am more selective now which actually is a good thing. Boundaries. They were needed. Acceptance of a new life and saying goodbye to my "fake" lifeA husband who is a lot more loving, attentive, aware and connected to me and my children. Happier kids. Even though they know what happened, and they are dealing with it, they have their father back. He was absent in his connection to them for almost four years before this happened. This doesn't really tell my story, it's just a peak into it. But those are the things that come to mind. I will continue to think about it, more in terms of what I've gained. Trying to move forward. It's hard. Much love, Julia
What a great idea to list gains and losses...So far (husband moved out, but no definitive declaration of separation), I've lost:my wedding and engagement rings (by mysterious accident)my trust in the man I marrieda partner in life - someone to hug and be hugged bydissatisfaction with boring work (because now I struggle to do the most basic tasks and find it hard to concentrate)my hopes for having another childI've gained:greater honesty with my amazing friends - some of whom have also been through betrayalsa clearer sense of my own life story a stronger wish to live life to the full (although I was already pretty good at that)determination not to let self-centred people waste my precious timeTo be continued...
What I lost as a betrayed wife:25 pounds (size 10 to size 6)Any remnant of trust in my husbandAny remnant of respect for my husbandMy few sexual inhibitionsWanting to spend time with ANY of my friends except the 1 who knowsEnjoying any time with my kidsCaring if strangers see me cryingSleeping more than 0-4 hrs/nightMy appetiteMy H's entire mother's side of family (they knew)My love for the holidays (PA happened b/t Thanksgiving & Christmas)Looking fondly at photos of my kids from that time My faith in GodSinging in the church choirMy ability to focus on work and be a great leaderMy belief in marriage vowsPutting everyone else firstNever needing to be on antidepressants, despite an abusive childhoodThe desire to go on livingTrusting my own instinctsBeing proud of my accomplishmentsMy self-esteemBeing the person everyone else could rely onMy generosityWillingness to post happy moments on social mediaRecognition of the woman in the mirrorThe desire to get out of bed and get dressedPeace
I am now 7 years from DDAY. I was never naive that this COULD happen, just not the way it did! Just so low and discusting! Embarrassing really! The first time was when I was pregnant! Really? When I DID find out, he had been with 3 OW, and was setting up a second encounter with the third.I totally resent his image and how everyone thinks he such a "good guy". I'm tired of pretending he is. Just as with you, he has done everything but move the earth to prove himself every since. But that don't mean sh*+ to me. I only stayed because I had a kid. It's not that I don't love him, be his action made me feel as low as hell itself and I'm still not ok after all this time! I know ppl are flawed and human. But that was a lot to take in. I would have rather I done something, to drive him to it! But no, according to him "I had nothing to do with it!" And it's not my fault at all. WOW. That just made it worst. This sticks in my head like a tattoo. Like I married the wrong guy. Why did I stay? I'm still not better? What am I doing wrong? I truly believe I'm more hurt by the fact "I" married someone who basically said. " now that I have slept around ON YOU, I know what I have and I don't want to sleep around anymore?!?!?! WTH"
So sorry you are in that place. I feel so much of what you say. I still struggle with it. There are really good days but I heard similar things from my husband. He swears there is nothing I did that caused it that it was 100% his fault. I have grown to realize that the only person I can control and trust is myself. It has made me more distant and skeptical of others. I was never one to even ask about marriage, we never talked about it, I never pushed him, I moved to a different city rather than follow him before we were married. He asked me. He pushed me to have kids. I never ever pushed for any of that. And I did also get in part of the long list of excuses that we met and married so young he did not get to "play the field". He actually used that as an excuse. It still sits poorly with me. He has backtracked since but at the time I feel like he meant it. I honestly don't think people say things and don't mean them at least a little. He felt entitled to do what he did. For me it started when I was pregnant with our second child. It has been really hard to move past so much of that.I too beat myself up for how dumb was I to think he was a good person and why did I marry him and choose to have kids with him. It is hard some days. I honestly was harder on myself at times than him. I think it is that self doubt. I was not naive and would ask him about other women if he ever did anything or got their attention. And he always lied to me and said never to my face looking me in the eye. He has had to do a lot to work towards what we have now. I work really hard focusing on the now/present/today. I will say even with all of this I am still happier and in a better relationship than any of my friends. They are all distant, unhappy, don't like their spouse etc. Not sure if it is the point we are at in our lives but everyone is so negative about their spouse. So even if there is not broken trust there is not happiness or a quality relationship.In the end I stuck around initially for my kids. He has worked hard and made it worth it so far. But there will always be work to do and I have really high standards now. He knows that and he has to live up to that. And for me it is beyond the affairs and that behavior. As of now I know that is not going on but it is how we treat each other and our quality of life together and the support we give each other. If that is not there then I do not need him. He becomes another child or obligation at that point not a partner in life.
Hi Selkie,I'm so sorry for your pain. I want you to know that I understand. What you said about losing the ability to concentrate really hit home for me. It is so frustrating and it's like a viscous circle. The pain and exhaustion from what I've been through makes my depressed and anxious, and it's difficult to focus. When I realize that I can't do things the way I used to, and I'm just treading water by only being able to do the basics (barely keeping the house in order, but not really) I get really sad and more anxious. I remember why I can't function well, whixh is the sadness from the betrayal which just starts the cycle again. Some days are better than others and I can say I have more better days now than ones where I just give in to it. I'm almost 14 months in. In time I know you will feel some relief from this soon. Being impaired in this way feels so horrible and while Its happening I get scared that this change is permanent. But deep down I know it's not. I'm gaining more capacity and you will too, it's just gradual so you may not feel it right away. I'm glad you have amazing friends. I just wanted you to know that I understand. Love,Julia
Thank you so much, Julia. It's been nearly 6 months since my h told me about his affair. I haven't told any of my colleagues and I do wonder if they can see a change in me... I am on a contract and think I will try to find something else in a few months. It's just so hard to imagine being able to work 'normally' and be present enough to actually do a good job.Treading water is a very good description - sometimes it feels like quicksand. It's so good to hear from someone who can understand the ebb and flow.
For the first year I really did as little as possible. I only did what I had to do. I found removing stress and distractions helped me to be able to deal with everything more easily. I was able to focus on me and do what I had to do and wanted to do. Work was overwhelming to me. I was too scattered. I spent as much time on the things I found joy in. And yes treading water was exactly it. Some days it felt like drowning and other days I felt like the sun was shinning on me. Or the roller coaster was the other feeling I would have. It gets better with time and work.
Hi Selkie,How are you holding up? Just checking in with you today.Thinking of you.Julia
Thank you Julia and Hopeful30. My brother came to visit this weekend and it was so great to have a positive and functional adult in the house with me. His niece was so excited too! My aim for this week now is to oraganise my time better to minimise work stress. Then to take time for myself next Saturday to draw back and reflect on the bigger picture. I've decided that unless some radical change happens with my h in the next 3 months, I will be preparing to relocate (no idea where yet- maybe 10mins away, maybe very far) and to start looking for another job.
Brown eyed girl ... that's a long list of things you have lost since the betrayal.. if I was you I'd be ticking them of one by one as I regain them back and even adding a few in too... have faith in yourself brown eyed girl your much stronger than you think!!! Big hugs to get you through today my dear xxx
Hi Selkie,Six months is nothing. Although at six months I remember it felt like something, enough to look back, but it was not long enough to look forward with calm and focus. So I'd say you're right where you should be. And change is good. If you're able to go to a new job that you like, why not? Because you are probably reminded even at work by certain things, just because you've been going in while all this has been happening and I'd imagine you had to call in sick a few times or take time off. And wondering what people think...it takes too much energy. I took time off as I couldn't function and my kids knew and were so distraught I needed to keep them out if school for a week. My husband left because he was so ashamed and couldn't live with himself- so he couldn't face us. Unfortunately he didn't break up with his girlfriend (his second) until 10 days after he left. It's a sore spot for my obviously. I can say that as time goes I feel better. The one year mark was very hard because I felt I could look back at the entire year, the good and the bad, and there was a lot of both. But this whole experience has changed me and maybe for the better. I can almost say that. I started to feel better once I stopped blaming myself and being so hard on myself, and this didn't happen until about 10 months in. I hated myself because I felt I could have prevented it, but being hard on myself was something I could focus on the relieve myself from some of the grief. I was just looking for answers. I suffered a lot and I'm still working through much, but at 14 months I see things more positively. I know you will too. And about having more children, I'm so sorry you have lost that hope but don't give up on that, give it time. I'm very sorry for your pain, I do understand. It's the losses that hurt the most. The gains are important to look at and you are doing a great job. Time is what you need and remember that one year isn't even enough to walk away from what you are going through with enough distance to rationalize it. Love from me!Julia
Julia, I agree 10 months was when things started to move forward for me too. I really felt great at one year. I felt like wow look how far we came. I felt bad probably 14-18 months. It almost felt like we slipped back into regular life. I felt like it was ordinary and too similar to how things were during the "affair years". I had a major discussion with my husband about this. We basically had let more distractions slip back in. We streamlined our lives and also really worked to only do the necessary things or what we really wanted to do. We found that we do best when we focus on us. Not sure how long this will last but we both are happier that way. Things have been going really well since 18 months and I am two weeks away from 2 years! We both say regularly that we hate this all happened, we cannot change the past, but we are glad it came out in the open and that both of us committed and did the work to save our marriage. We are both thankful for all of that.
Hi Hopeful 30,I'm always really glad to read your posts. You seem to be working things out so well and thank you for sharing your milestones. I hope my timeline will be similar to yours...you are about 10 months ahead of me. Thank you as always for sharing. It sounds like you and your husband are really a team and that there is a lot of love and understanding there.I feel like I have that with my husband too, we are great friends. much better now than before. we are stronger now than before and in so many ways happier. But I'm not there quite yet...I still have such pain but it's less frequent.. It is not as bad as before if I look at how I am reacting, for instance I do not sob every day. Things that remind me do not cause strong reactions or spiraling thoughts where one horrible betrayal will just tie into another, or a photo that I see where we were having such a good time (like a family vacation) makes me think-during that time this was really going on?The key turning point, and i know Ive already said it, was when suddenly I understood that it was not my fault and that I didn't deserve this...nothing I did or didn't do led to this...that my husband truly had (or has) a problem which he is aware of and is working on. It has less to do with sex than one would think, but more with an emptiness and lack of self love. He is really broken from childhood abuse, which is finally coming to the surface.I struggle some days, because of how I was replaced...the bottom line is he needed the attention and extra companionship while traveling for work, and of course the rush and self esteem boost that sex provides became a preoccupation, so he easily carried these relationships out to fit his needs and help him deal with being alone and being in pain. Now he has to deal with the pain of what he's done. He suffers but it's starting to get easier for him now with therapy, reading, talking, understanding and relief from getting out from under a situation he felt trapped in (I don't really understand how one could get stuck in a situation like that, why not just stop if you're so miserable? But such is the face of addiction i suppose). I'm glad he is becoming for accepting of what he's done, and I dare I say he is starting to let go of some of the shame-I am relieved because his shame was a major obstacle to our healing.Anyway, I'm rambling but I thought I'd write. I'm struggling to release the grief over being replaced on so many business trips. It used to be me on those trips, we'd plan them and look forward to them, such amazing memories. When the kids had to be in school we couldn't go as often to join him. There were trips where we could have gone the last few years but he let the OW come instead or they'd visit right before or after me and the kids came. It still hurts. It is a major violation because these trips were something we really enjoyed together in the beginning especially, and I'm struggling to understand. He will say it was to appease them...or it was just easier (and cheaper) because they paid their way (unbelievable I know but I've checked it out and it's true) or because he had to see them a certain amount to keep the "supply" (sex) happy, so they felt they meant something and in turn they'd be willingly available for the next meeting.It's so sick.It's not my husband, but it is. It's the other side that came out and took over. He says he felt like he lost his soul during that time, he hated himself so much. Turns out he has a personality disorder. Finally diagnosed. This in itself has helped him to figure out how to cope. It's hard.Take care,Julia
Great to read your stories, ladies. I am so impatient with where we are right now. I usually don't react too strongly to reminders of a happier past and am afraid I am blocking or repressing my emotions. But I don't want to break down in front of my little girl and the only time she's not with me I'm either in work or in a public place (my h comes to spend time with her here because I will NOT stand for her going to the apartment where he now lives.. where the affair took place). It's exhausting.I think some day I will have a huge mourning to go through. For now, I'm keeping things going. The idea of not having another child is a big thing for me. My h and I had talked about it so often (and with so much love) and I had actually got folic acid supplements to take just before DDay. You can imagine the shock. I thought we were about to try for another baby. How wrong I was.But then again, there are far worse things in life. Nobody here is ill or dying. I need to keep reminding myself that there are good things here too... even if my h became blind to them.
Marina,So glad anything I put out there might help you or anyone else. It is so powerful for me to be here too. I think you found the same thing I did once I realized it was all his fault it was a huge relief. He was in control of his actions and decisions and never asked me and never reached out to me. I did to him through the years.What is funny last night is I said to him how it was great we are so close but then we as a couple spend so much time together. I feel bad for our kids since it used to be me with them all the time. He was always at work, asleep, busy... He took offense to it at first. Luckily he got over it almost instantly. It was meant to be a compliment but it did hurt him for a second. But it was true he detached and almost neglected us. And not that he was not around but he is such a better dad now. He was around but not present and really did not have much of a clue. It was all delegated to me. And as far as us he was not a good husband. For me that was a huge relief. I used to think what was wrong. I could never put my finger on it. Well knowing has been freeing. Hang in there and keep at it.
Hi Hopeful,I feel that our situations are so similar. Like your husband, mine did not reveal 100% of the truth right away. This was very painful because I started figuring things out bit by bit, rewriting my history, and he also gave me details on his own... but it took a very long time. It held me back a lot and further damaged me. I understand why he couldn't give it all to me right away, the shame and the guilt took over for him. Like your situation, alcohol was involved. He couldn't go through with what he did, especially following through the first time without alcohol. He ended up drinking a lot to dull his pain.Like your husband, mine felt so bad about what he was doing that he almost left me. He knew that what he was doing was the most damaging thing he could do to our marriage. He almost left to set me free without telling me why. How horrible that would have been. He tried to confess but couldn't. Also, my husband was disconnected from me and my kids, like you had said yours was. The affairs kept him busy and distracted, but he found other ways too like projects and going to the gym. In the end I feel like I raised the kids on my own. They are now teenagers. My husband now sees what he missed and he is so upset and shocked at what he missed and how he turned his back on us. This was all to avoid closeness (although closeness was essentially what he wanted) and to keep himself busy to avoid pain and self hatred. Now it's like he's back, like he was as a father and husband in the early days. I guess he could not see clearly before what he had. Now he doesn't want to lose it so he's working hard and is trying to connect with the kids as much as he can. Everyone is happier, but it was a major shift. Before it was me and the kids. They were used to this. My husband was off working or when he was at home, isolating himself, just not getting too involved with us. It didn't start off this way but it developed into this slowly over the years. It hurt like hell. Like you I would wonder what was wrong and I even would blame myself too. I feel now like I didn't press him for answers because I didn't want to fight about his behavior- I had tried but it was a losing battle. He became so filled with shame that sometimes he was impossible to be around. I finally gave up. That's my contribution to this mess. I really deserved better but some how I was willing to put up with such poor behavior and separation and feeling unloved. It makes me so sad that I didn't fight more just out of resiectvfur myself. I know now that I deserved better. When I look back I see how wrong it all was. Now I have my husband back and my kids have their dad! It's pretty wonderful. But it's not without pain. We are still working. It's been 14 months. The bad days are less frequent. But when I go down that road.. if something triggers me, it's just hard to stop feeling sorry for myself. I've become used to the sadness and I deal with depression. Anyhow, I hate that this happened. I hate what he did. But we have a much better friendship now, a better marriage, a better partnership. I wouldn't want my fake life back...the one where I thought we had a good marriage -even with all the distance I actually thought it was a normal marriage and I thought we had something special. It seems crazy now that I thought that way then. Maybe I was in denial. Now I want a truthful marriage and a deeper connection and I really believe we have that and we are working into a deeper place together. I'm trying not to look back. I don't even want to look at the early and good days, it hurts that those have been stained by what happened. So I try to look at the good things that are happening now, the new us. Why this had to happen to bring us here, I don't know. But I've learned a lot about myself, not just my marriage. I still have too much pain to be completely thankful for these changes, but I'm getting there. Thanks again and keep smiling!Julia
DUH, I was thinking the OW was competing with me. When I think of all those times I thought I was competing with her but in reality she was really asking herself - what does she (ME) have that I don't? Why won't he commit to me? Why won't he leave her, am I not good enough? She must be better than me in some way? What does she have that I don't? Don't you think the OW thought that? Crazy LLP drinking wine again.
Hi Lynn,I understand what you're saying and I've read the responses as well. I think every situation is different in regard to the OW. My husband had two of them over five years and he has shared many details with me. What he didn't share I got out of the second OW's mouth and from the first OW by email (too scared to talk to me poor baby- so religious she thinks God is going to strike her down). I can say they both certainly did care. The first one would say to my husband "why can't I have more?" and "I can't compete with your wife and kids" Poor poor OW. Not! The second OW tried like hell to get him to leave me, but he wouldn't. She threatened to end things with him but it was short lived. She was tortured and upset most of the time. She got frustrated and difficult with him when he wouldn't do what she wanted.She drank a lot and smoked a lot of pot and gave him ANY kind of sex he wanted, how lovely. She wouldn't ask a lot about me because he wouldn't share it. But she followed me on Facebook and google and looked me up to see....she admitted to being very tortured by my existence and she was by the first OW too. She followed her extensively on Twitter and Facebook and would say to my husband.."I know she was special to you..I just can't stop following her". At the time she told me all this I didn't realize how amusing and satisfying this all is.She even had a nickname for herself: "Concubine #2" because she got together with my husband while he was still with the first OW. Disgusting. But she was pleased she "won" over the first OW, and her next attempt was to get rid of me. It hurts that someone could be so mean and selfish. Obviously my husband is the main offender and he's working like crazy to fix things, but the fact remains that these women were sick and messed up and suffering from low self esteem. Their response is to crush others to make themselves feel better. Women like this should be locked up. I could write a book about the things she said and the things I know about her. She ended up losing her job (thanks to my disclosure of her behavior to her boss) which makes me deliriously happy, let me tell you. She was out to get me. She was out to take my husband away from me and my children. So yes, I agree with you. In my case both of the OW were tortured that he wouldn't put them first, I never looked at it the way you described, but you are absolutely right.Thank you!
LLP, I agree one would think that they had those thoughts. I am not sure if my husband's two ow thought that. I am wondering if they cared at all. Not so sure or what they wanted. My husband maintains to this day there was never talk of anything more. And for 10 years with both affairs no one else seems to have known and they did not tell anyone. Sometimes they would go 6+ months without contact. I think they just used each other when needed. Who knows. In the end my husband could have left and never did. He ended it a year before dday. He said he did consider leaving me so I could have a better life with someone I deserve but not telling me. Not sure what he would have used for his excuse. I know he was not thinking level headed at all. I know initially he was most worried about not seeing our kids and what would happen with them. Funny that was my biggest motivator initially was working on our marriage since we have kids. Without them I am not sure I would have stayed. In the end he has had to do a lot more work than me and this I know is hitting him harder. I did not think that was possible since he made the choices but he regrets them every day. The pain I felt was horrible but I have moved through it. I have issues but he is hit hard by it still. These ow who knows I would imagine on some level there had to be times they would reach out and he was not responsive or available. Or we were on an amazing trip as a family or couple. He never went anywhere with them. That had to hit them on some level. These two were major bottom feeders.
I can honestly say ,most of them don't give the wife or children a second thought. The cheating husband has played the ground work so well. He paints his wife in the worst light possible,so by the time he has her feeling so sorry for him ,she thinks she is the best thing that ever happened to him, the rest doesn't matter to her. As for why he won't leave, he will have 101 excuses why it's not a good time to leave. I hate what my husband did , but from all the text messages and emails I recovered from my husband , I was nothing but a blip in her mind. He made me sound as if I was the worst person to walk the earth. He played the victim well. So my point is there was no competition either way. I got into a group at church and one of the things I heard repeatedly was how our husbands had played the victim and made the ow their savior.
I'm with llp I'm hoping the ow compared herself to me, wanted to be me and hated the fact that my h wouldn't leave me and be with her .., I've seen her she's not worth the shit on my shoe my only regret is that I didn't punch her full force in the face when I confronted her.. i didn't want a criminal record or to lose my job was the main reasons.. I'm hoping she's left town after the day of reckoning and I shook her world as much as she did mine.. she's a no body just wish she didn't exist in my brain she ain't worth the head space xx
Have any of you ever gotten an answer to why? I understand there is some denial and that makes it easier to continue but how does it start? After over 30 years of marriage how does it happen? The only answer I have ever gotten is that it was exciting and there was a thrill which on some level I get but that is after it has started. How does someone make that turn? As for the OW, in one of the nasty grams she sent me she apologized saying she was led to believe our marriage was bad but then continued on in explicit detail to tell me what they had done. She sent another nasty gram saying she cannot understand how I can still be with someone who has, "for the better part of a year been spending time with and claiming to love another person". Maybe it is the 30 years we have spent building a life! Oh and she is also married, separated but not divorced. I think she was one of the ones who wonders why he didn't choose her.
PeggyThe best answer my h could come up with, I was just so damn lonely. We were living in different cities due to his job at the time. I was just as lonely but didn't choose an affair. He also said he was curious about different sex. We have been together since high school. I was curious too but I chose different styles of sex with him. There really isn't a good excuse for affairs, there's just the lies they tell themselves to feel better about their shame until it chokes them into ending their affair.
My husband explained it how it got to the point of being possible for him and what he sees clinically. These are general but gives the idea. When we were daring and married he would ignore or almost be rude to say a waitress/female bartender. They would try to strike up a conversation or flirt even and he said it would annoy him. Basically do your job and don't interrupt me. Well as he said over time this boundary softened and not that he sought anything out but he said it is just so common women on the prowl or doing their jobs but flirting. He has many friends that I would say are overly friendly with women I have seen it myself. Who knows if they have cheated. But he said gradually like over a 5 year period he lowered that barrier and didn't give off the signal to leave him alone, not that he sought anyone out ever. He said it was so gradual that he did not recognize it until looking back. Deep down he was selfish and indulged himself but that is how explained how he changed from who he always was. For my husband both of us do not think he would have done what he did without alcohol. He does not blame his friends but they act like college guys and are no where near college age. They just never grow up. And I think many people are influenced by their peers no matter how old they are. And my husband swears the two ow were relentless. The one was more of a whim/one night stand. They would have contact but only every 6-12 months and only saw each other 3x's in 10 years so odd. The other one tracked him and begged for his cell number for 3-4 years. His friends would not give it out but she kept tracking him down somehow. She would get dropped off at bars just to see him and hope he would drive her home. He said no for 3-4 years (he cannot remember what year the affair began...) but then gave in one time. I am sure he was flattered. I know he was drinking way too much in this time period and I am convinced that was a huge reason. Also he said once he cheated with one person he felt like he was a dead man and I would leave him. Overall it is a huge mess. It can be hard to comprehend when it is so against who you are.
Peggy, my husband admitted to having a lifelong fascination with the dark side that started as a young child exposed to porn, inappropriate sexual events, a narcissistic mother and absent father as well as some pretty awful sexual things at a young age. He used masterbation to self-sooth from a young age and it never stopped as he got older but as he got older he was able to go to strip clubs which morphed into jerk-off joints, an early affair when our oldest was a baby and with the introduction of the internet, access to all the porn he could possibly want. Of course during this progression, he was living two lives, one as Mr. Clean and Mr. Great Guy and the other as the guy with a deeply wounded inner child seeking comfort and release via sex. I've read more than I ever needed to read about how people use sex for self-soothing from a young age and although I may be able to "understand" this intellectually it is still very hard to accept that this alien I have been married to for 37 years has managed to live this alternative life and manage to do all the other normal things we did, including raising our children through adulthood. I know now that you never really know anyone except yourself. There really is no answer to "why" and the more I remind myself of that the better I get. In reality, the only one who needs to understand the "why" is the perpetrator so he/she can decide whether they want to get help or not. It is up to them to choose the path to healing. We get to decide if we are going to walk that path with them or not. Elle talks extensively about boundaries on this blog and most of us have pretty firm boundaries with our cheating spouses. Mine is pretty hard. No porn and no other women. One slip and we are done. I'm just not that forgiving and I know it. Much love Peggy. Just take it one day at a time.
Theresa, Hopeful 30, and Beach Girl, thank you for sharing such personal experiences. This is really an amazing community of women. While I know there is no "good" reason for the affair I appreciate your thoughts. I can only hope that some day my head will understand what my heart refuses to accept. Beach Girl you nailed with the "alien" you have been married to! Makes me question who I am married to.
Peggy, I agree. I also know I have said to my husband on many occasions and feel the same way today that there really are no reasons only excuses. My husband with his education and professional training knew what he was doing was wrong, damaging and knew what he could have done instead. He made the choices he did and he has to pay dearly for them. And honestly there is no good reason for this in our case. I am not saying my husband is or was perfect but again based on his background he should have been able to make better choices. Of course he was not raised perfectly but being selfish and indulged is not like abuse. He has the highest level training possible and helps people with these situations every day in his career. So even with all of that he still did this. In the end I did have to let it go and just lay it all out there what I must have and need in order for us to be together. It took a lot of time and work but for us we have gotten to a really good place.
Peggy, My husband told me the "why I had an affair" answer. He has been in therapy, reflecting on his impulsive choice, and with clear vision he can look back. He said," it was a male dominance thing and sex". I didn't quite understand what he meant. Our therapist knows us both very well after 20 months so I thought I will wait and ask her. Although it made me squirm, I listened. She said, remember, you were the bread winner, you had a successful career, you were gone a lot, you were busy with everything except him and sex was routine. He felt like a dominant male around her. He suggested she get on disability, they filled out the papers together. He asked her to sit on his lap, she was emotionally upset and cried to him. He gave her money, she took it. He advised her to find other boyfriends(he was trying to get her hooked up with someone so he could exit), she signed up on every dating web site. Whatever he said, she did it. Whatever sorry state she was in, he was there to tell her it was going to be ok. You get the story line here about feeling like a man. Previously, I was too independent, I didn't need him, I didn't expect anything from him or asked for anything. You can see how I reacted to my husband and the difference of how she reacted to my husband. NOW, I ask, I expect, I share, I need, I show my weakness at times and I found my voice. I want to clarify I'm not trying to be like her but I'm free to be myself, be a wife. (not super nurse who can handle it all). Believe it or not I had to learn how to be a wife. I really didn't know, I was screwed up from how I was raised. I had no role models to know what was normal. He has learned how to be husband. I think we are finding the right balance in a relationship.
Lynn Less Pain, thank you for sharing your very personal experience. I am getting better, instead of every waking moment being consumed by thoughts of why and why her, etc. I am thinking about it "only" several times a day. I am moving forward one day at a time....
This is a really powerful article about apologies and forgiveness "https://www.forbes.com/sites/kathycaprino/2017/01/12/why-wont-you-apologize-relationship-expert-harriet-lerner-teaches-us-how/2/#189bfa1b1631"It really gets to the heart of why I haven't moved on to forgiveness. My husband has done a shitty job of apologizing and making amends.
Thank you mbs great reading.. makes complete sense, I could relate to everything in the interview... didn't realise saying 'sorry' is so hard for some people.. xx
MBS That is a good article. There is an art to apologies and saying sorry. What is ironic is that was one of the biggest sticking points for my husband when our kids were little. They had to make eye contact and state exactly what they had done wrong and apologize to get out of each time out. He emphasized how that was crucial. I agreed and it was good. Our kids learned a lot from a young age doing that. It was always in a kind way but it was a non negotiable. Well all while we were doing that he was having two 10 year affairs. It is just so interesting. He is really good at apologizing and saying the right thing but I think that has more to do with his profession/training and he grew up understanding if he would accept punishment or admit wrong doing he would get to escape and get away faster. He said he never minded getting in trouble since then so what he would get to go to his room and hang out. He never felt guilt in the actual disappointment it was how quick can I get this over with, the path of least resistance.
I was reading a book about forgiveness that gave me a different perspective. Forgiveness is about removing my hands from someone's throat. Can I forgive and still be angry. I believe I can forgive and still be angry about what was done to hurt me. There are many types of anger. Mine is transitional anger, temporary anger. Releasing my hands from around his throat could mean I don't want to kill him. I don't want to choke him until he can't breath. I release my hands so there is no revenge or pay-back. I could release my hands, take my marbles and leave. I'm not forgetting or freeing him from what he did. They really aren't free from what they did to us are they? Ever. We free ourselves from what they did.
LLP, you are so right! They aren't ever free from what they did to us. My husband will comment how he couldn't look himself in the mirror while he was carrying on. I think he'll always be conscious of the hurt he caused me. He's so different now and reminds me to be positive, look forward not backwards, enjoy the new us. Sometimes it's hard, but when I forgave my h I gave myself permission to move forward and also to feel joy again. I hadn't for so long and am still at times holding back on the joy, but it's my healing on my time. I don't think I'll ever forget what happened, I don't think any of us will. We forgive so we can be free to heal in the way that works for us. Hugs to you my friend.
LLP and Feeling Lost, I totally agree. When I forgave it was just that forgave but not forgotten. It will never make it okay or delete what he did. But it allowed me to focus forward. At this point he is more affected and emotional about what he did. He might always be that way. Which in a way I think is good. I feel better that it resonates so strongly deep down in him.
A question for you ladies whose husband is working very hard to repair the mess he made... My h has not heard from the OW since 1week out from D-Day and that was 16 months ago.We were on vacation for our anniversary when out of the blue he gets a text from an unknown sender.This person gives us a run down of the OW medical history since my H left her... The OW has had a heart attack...Needs open heart surgery... has herniated discs....Blah Blah.... Blah. We ignored the text. it just shocked us as it came out of nowhere.My question is should we respond? Is it worth spending a few bucks to trace the call?What do you guys think...?
Don't respond. It will bother whoever sent it more that you ignored them. Block the #.
Block the sender. No contact means no contact with anyone who wants to stir up sh*t.
Do NOT respond. It's an attempt to pull him back in, tugging on some sense of empathy or pity. Don't fall for it. Either of you. No contact is no contact.
I agree we have ignored all contact. My husband did not know how to block a number but I fixed that. One issue we have is one of the ow had contacted him in the past at his office. Not good. But through ignoring they both got the picture. His professional advice is by engaging in them it would possibly reengage and lead to who knows what. These are people we do not want in our lif
My therapist said these women have a black hole always looking to fill it. Ignore it. Why should open up the line of communication with a sicko? The OW may have used someone phone. Block the number. It is in the past and you aren't going that direction anymore. My therapist said these women reach out, hear nothing then after a awhile they do it again, after awhile they do it again. If they hear nothing then eventually they go away. It rung true in our case. Every four months for a year and half then finally she stopped.
Gage, I am so sorry that it had to happen when you were on vacation for your anniversary. I'd have been shaken as well and then would have turned as mad as h3ll! I agree with the others. Ignore it. No contact is no contact. At least your h told you it came through and didn't hide it. That is a fear of mine - that there's been contact but h doesn't tell me.
As I approach dday 1 two year anniversary I found it so interesting the news came out Ben and Jen were going to consider working it out. I saw at least in the news the headlines were Ben and Jen 2.0. That is what my husband coined our relationship name. Our first names 2.0. So interesting. He loved saying that and was proud we were reinventing our marriage. It will be two years on Monday. It was a Friday the 13th two years ago. And it was two years ago tonight that he happened to leave his iPad home for the first time ever while out of town. Some odd texts pinged between 1-2am and woke me up. I never would have looked at his iPad. I had asked him to his face many times especially after guy trips about other women. And he always looked me in the eyes and said never. Well after being woken up and seeing some odd texts I went through his iPad, logged onto our cell phone account. I screen shot and printed out everything I could. I had no idea if I was looking for anything or not but knew this might be the only time I would have access. I went through every text and email available. I found a fake FB account. Nothing was obvious he was having an affair, but there was enough there to ask him what was going on. That next day when he came back home was horrible but I can look back and be thankful he started to open up that day. He told me he had thought about leaving me since he wanted to tell me for a long time about it and come clean. He said it was hard since he knew he had done the most harm he could ever do to our marriage. He was not 100% honest that day about how long the affairs went on or when they started. He tried to cut corners again. The only good thing is both affairs were over and he had ended them. That helped us a little bit I think looking back at it all.So going into the next few days are good and bad. I can see the sad parts but I am working hard to focus on the good that has come out of this and continuing our 2.0.
Hopeful 30 2.0, congratulations on where you are today. Isn't it amazing that we can remember exactly what lead to our discovery of the A. I wish I could unsee the texts, pictures, etc. that were on my h's iPad that lead to our discovery. I just might have to copy and use your 2.0. We've upgraded our relationship to a new point and my h says he's happier than ever. In most ways so am I (work in progress every day:).I'm so glad you're going to focus on the good. Hugs to you.
Hopeful 30, you continue to be my hero and mentor and such an inspiration. We are here on Maui till mid-April and the first night I had a major meltdown. It was awful as usual. The next day was my birthday and it was a good day. We have had several good days in a row. Tonight we walked to the local store to buy a few things and picked up the new issue of Maui Times. When we got back I sat down and read the news and on the inside of the last page was numerous ads for "authentic Thai massage" with photos of gorgeous young women, the kind he hired for sex. I just folded the magazine and put it in the trash. I told him I was throwing it away. He looked surprised and asked why? I just said, "Don't ask. Just know that I need to throw it away." He said, "OK" and a little while later he come over to me and hugged me, kissed me and told me he loved me. It worked out fine. Prostitution is everywhere. Our husbands don't really need to look far to find someone willing to take their money. It really sucks but as I write this, I'm doing OK and thinking that I need to appreciate where we are right now. We are in a good space. I can't change the past or his history but I can do my best to enjoy who I am now and who he is now. We are much happier now than ever but those scars remain. The reminders will always be there and I am hopeful that one day I won't zero in on every single one.
Hi Beach Girl,The triggers are so difficult. I face them often and it starts a downward spiral for me that can leave me feeling so anxious and sad. I do hope someday I won't experience so many, or at least i won't have the same physical reactions. Triggers seem to be everywhere for me. So Im with you, I hope I won't give so much attention in my mind to each and every one. They take up such time and energy. They are like a subtle wake up call to remind me of my pain. when I'm actually doing ok. Why does my brain do that? Why can't my brain instead remind me of the good things as quickly as triggers bring up the bad? Somehow it's still easier to see and feel the pain first. I'm exactly 14 months out today from discovery.My husband didn't hire prostitutes. How silly for me to say this-I wish he had and I told him so. Instead he had two on again off again relationships. Dealing with the fact that they shared more than sex is devastating. I hope by me telling you this you can feel relief that you don't need to worry about that side of it. I know it doesn't make it hurt any less, but hopefully you have less to deal with (like wondering what fun things they did together or if there was any "love"there).It sounds like you are doing great! And it sounds like your husband is trying to be there for you and help you heal.. It's wonderful. Hugs to you.
Hi Lynn,After I read your post, I said "Wow" out loud. "They really aren't free from what they did to us, are they? Ever. We free ourselves from what they did" VERY powerful and true. Thank you.
Those triggers are everywhere! And the worst is when they hit you out of the blue. Beach Girl I am glad your husband sounds like mine that he does not get defensive or anything like that. My husband says he understands and will hug/hold me. It helps and I feel like he is making his best effort. It is still not easy but I focus on the good of it all. And sometimes I just want to feel it and cry and I tell him that. He is good and knows he has to deal with it and not hide from it. I think in some ways it is important to feel it. Hang in there and keep posting! I always look forward to hearing from you!
Some days I can almost put it completely aside and feel confident it is behind us. The last couple of days, however, have been extremely emotional for me, for no apparent reason. All I keep thinking is I wasn't enough and then, if that isn't bad enough, the next thought is, why wasn't his love for me strong enough to pull him back? I have been crying for days now, thinking about this. When did that happen? I thought we were that couple that people notice how much they love each other. I need to find a way to put this out of my head.
Hi Peggy,I wish I had the answer. We are doing well and I too feel like things are moving ahead and I can put some of the bad stuff away and leave it in the past. But these last two days like you, are full of emotion. I have been crying and sobbing most of the day for two days. I can't eat. I'm grieving I guess. I have a lot to work out. I can't believe he put these women ahead of me and my kids. My heart is broken. But I'm trying. I'm an absolute mess right now. Just wanted to let you know it sounds like we are going through the same thing at the moment. I don't think I had any triggers... but here I am. Hope tomorrow is a better day for you.
Julia,So sorry you are feeling this way too. I tried to talk to my H about it last night (through sobs) but I don't think he is really listening. He had been drinking so I shouldn't have even tried but I didn't know at first and when I mentioned he had been drinking he got up and walked out of the room. Not a word, with me in a puddle pouring out my heart. Just turned his back and walked out.
Hi Peggy and Julia,I hear you both. It is so painful when someone you love(d) lies to you and doesn't stick around to listen to you as you try to make sense of things. Emotional amoebas? Or expert compartmentalisers? Maybe our respective hs just shut down their tender and vulnerable parts because they can't bear to admit (even to themselves) how shoddily they have treated their supposed partner.I've spent a long time (over 6 months) trying to understand how my h could treat me with such disregard and disrespect. I am no nearer now to any insight or revelation than at the beginning - although his drinking has decreased in a good way. Maybe there are some things that we will never understand.Sending love and patience to you both.
Peggy, I'm so sorry your H could let you cry like that without comforting you. My H did that a couple of times in the early days after the most recent Dday. He said it was because it made him feel too bad about himself. Couldn't put me first. MC keeps telling us to not talk after more than 2 drinks (and to not have more than 2 drinks in the first place). It is good advice, but so much easier said than done. I wish one of us could have been there to hold you.
Peggy and Julia, I wrote a couple long replies and they have not shown up. I hope this is not a duplicate...One thing I cannot remember how far along you are in the healing process. One thing is I went through feeling like everything was great and then it would hit me. I think especially for our husbands the wayward it throws them. Of course they want all of it to be over and would prefer to never talk about it again. My husband is great but every conversation makes him feel horrible and not the greatest. What I found is we did end up rehashing some topics over and over. What worked well for me and us was still talking about our marriage/communication and topics like that. The affairs would come up sometimes but it was not the exact focus. This was after we had gotten through all of the discovery and dealing with all the pain. It really helped since with day to day life being so busy it was hard at times for me. I felt so often like we were slipping back into our old habits. We talked a lot about boundaries and expectations that helped me feel better.
I forgot to mention the alcohol issue. I think this is huge at least it is for my husband. I rarely drink like maybe every few months. And it is rare for me to have more than two drinks. However my husband was a sporadic binge drinker I would say. He drank maybe 4-6 times a month but he could never drink in moderation. His excuse was he was better than his friends. Well that is no prize when you surround yourself with certain people. This was a major issue we addressed for really the entire first year after dday. And honestly we still talk about it. My husband is a mental health professional but he does not see himself the same way I believe he would see a patient (whether drinking or these affairs). Alcohol is a depressant. It does not help anyone feel better. Most people think oh it relaxes me, I feel great.... well I am sure it contributed to my husbands affairs. If he never drank I do not think he would have ever done what he did. The other negatives is it is a depressant and has after effects. It not only affects most people while they are drinking but the day or days after. My husband has not stopped drinking but before he goes out or does anything social we discuss his plan for where he is going, who he will be with, how much he will drink and when he will be home. It sounds crazy and we are two years past dday but this works for us. He said he loves it and feels better himself and he is glad that it helps me feel better when he spends time with his friends. I even wonder if he was clinically depressed between the binge drinking and the affairs and other behaviors. He was miserable for all of those years and hated himself. He did not see good in things and limped/faked his way through life while living all of these lies.My husband will get emotional but it is mainly after he has had some drinks. He gets choked up and cries when he drinks. It is an issue I have brought up with my therapist and he wants me to pursue probing my husband about it. I have not given him an ultimatum to stop drinking since he has been vigilant and has made a commitment and followed how much he drinks, who he is with and when he comes home. And he drinks so much less now and is so much happier. He notices it and says it motivates him to only drink a little socially.Sorry one last thing is I try to only listen when he has been drinking and wants to talk. If he says something I totally disagree about I will speak up. Otherwise I piggy bank the info and talk about it the next day with him. I find this diffuses any emotions connected with the alcohol.Lots to think about.
Thank you everyone for the above advise..I now know that we did the right thing.My husband looked as White as a ghost when he showed me the text.The OW is crazy.. she spent the last 4 months of their 10 month affair blackmailing him... she threatened to come to our home and tell me about their A if my. Hw didn't spend more time with her... The text did catch us of guard but she didn't ruin our anniversaryThanks again everyone
That is one thing that has come out of this is that my husband and I are a team. No matter what we deal with ow, kids, work, financial stresses anything really is we deal with it together. We sort of did before but now I feel like we are in a house locked inside with all the windows and doors closed just the two of us. You know how they say if the window is open then others can get between you. No more of that. So even in the worst times we are in it together.
My "fiance" cheated on me 2 years ago, he had been going being my back for 2 years prior to that and I never knew, I was blindly in love, we have 5 kids together and I always thought we would get married, he asked me to marry him when I was going to leave him for cheating. The two years he was going behind my back was horrible, we had been together then for 9+ years and he started treating me really bad, always mean and everything was my fault, he told me I was crazy I actually went to get help for depression because I thought I was crazy, he body shamed me telling me I should get a go fund me site and have people donate money for a boob job....i was so mortified, and ashamed. Then I find out he is cheating and I'm not crazy... he has apologized and I have heard everything on this site, why should he keep apologizing,he says I am too damaged to heal...nothing has changed except he does not work with "them" anymore. But everyday is a struggle for me, I can't look in a mirror without crying and feeling like there is no hope for me. I feel like I am the only one trying in our relationship, and to make matters worse we live with his mother on an Indian reservation, she is a horrible woman, passive aggressive, she likes to start a fight between us. I have tried so hard to move on ANF get thru but I feel alone and can't help but wonder is it worth the fight, the pain and the humiliation? He has done so much psychological damage I feel afraid to move on, I am only 34 and feel like I am doomed to either live in he'll or die an old never really married spinster...what do I do?
Dear Unknown 9:14, maybe you need to look at why this behavior is acceptable to you? It sounds like he is manipulating, blame shifting and rug sweeping. You deserve better. You have 5 kids to think about. This is not a good role model for your kids, to see how their father treats the mother of his children. You are not so stuck that you can't get unstuck. Go see a lawyer who serves the Indian reservation. Find out your options. You do have options and choices. He isn't the only one. Do you have family that can help for a little while until you can think rationally without being bullied? Go back to therapy please and focus on you. There is hope for you. It may not be pleasant circumstances at first but you will see there is strength in you to make it better. Let us know how you are doing? He has his own problems, it is time to think about you. If you are Native American, explore the resources available to get you back,on your feet. I was in an abusive marriage and know how it feels to be brought down with no self esteem. But eventually I had enough of him and although not pleasant, got away and never looked back. I stayed in hiding from his family for 30 years out of fear of retaliation. You are worth it.
Dear Unknown,Wow, that sounds really intense, living with the mother of the man who is trampling on your dreams. Do you get to see your own family? My sisters are great support for me (only by phone, as they live far away, unfortunately, but I feel stronger after talking with them).Your kids look up to you. You are strong. What strength and belief it must have taken you to give this man another chance. If he can't appreciate the treasure you are, then it is his loss.Stand up and show your children what dignity is. At 34, you are entering the prime of a woman's life, old enough to have wisdom from experience, young enough to put it into practice and make a new start.Sending you my virtual support, sister.Luck and strength to you.
I tried to post but not sure it went thru how can I tell?
Hi Peggy,I'm really sorry. That sounds so horrible. Communication is just so difficult sometimes when emotions are so strong. Add alcohol and it makes it worse. I've been going through a lot lately and I'm not sure why. Just reacting strongly to reminders. I noticed also that my trust of my husband had gone down. But not for any reason that I could figure out. I thought I had forgiveness in my heart but I was starting to doubt that too. It's like I took a major step back. I was so bad that I started staying out of the house and I was sobbing so much it was very difficult to have any kind of productive day. I considered going into the hospital if it got any worse, I was just at such a low. My husband was very concerned so finally when we came together he was more willing to talk (he has so much shame that talks are difficult for him- it's frustrating for me). We talked for a very long time and it was not easy. But in the end we came to more of an understanding and I felt much better. What I think helped is that I read a bit at the bookstore. I found a book called "I Love You but I Don't Trust You". There was a chapter there that was called "Feeling Seen". It's about how we really need to be heard, but not only heard but understood from our point of view. It's not enough for our husbands to say how sorry they are, or to cry, or to say that they can't believe that they did it. That's all helpful but something is always missing, I keep feeling like my husband is so guilty and full of shame, and he is. He cries. He hates himself. I wondered why that wasn't enough for me. Sometimes it is. But I realize now that is because he is talking about himself, not about me. I end up still asking the same questions again and again, trying to wrap my head around it all. Once he started to see things from my perspective I felt like a weight had been lifted. I actually had to ask him, "what do you remember that was good from before the affairs?" "What are you trying to get back to in our marriage?" It was helpful. He started to see the scope of it from my angle. It was horribly painful, but I did see that talking like this was very productive and I felt a lot better. It was a different level of understanding. I was at the point where I wondered why my husband even loved me at all, or how he could and still do what he did. At what point did it crumble? It's so so hard. I hope this helps. I'm not sure if this is the answer but I'm pretty sure it's part of it.i was feeling invisible. I actually said that a few times to him before I read this book. So it really resonated with me. I hope things are better for you now Peggy. It's very hard and also steps forward and then back. I wish I had more people to talk to. I feel very isolated. Julia
Julia,It is like you are writing the words as I dictate them to you. You’re right that you feel invisible or at least unheard. My H and I have talked since the last time and I think a big part of the disconnect is his shame and guilt. I was recently reading "After the Affair" and I requested he read it too. I said the parts about the hurt one are spot on and maybe he would be able to tell me if the parts about the one that cheated are also correct. He has started reading it and now says he is a horrible person. I don’t think he is a horrible person but he did a horrible thing. It was very difficult for me not to try and make him feel better but I didn’t. You nailed it with feeling things are starting to go smoothly and then just having days of uncontrollable sadness, etc. I told my H that in the beginning (D-Day 9-16-17) I was more focused on “her” and the relationship they had, my questions were all about that and I think he has finally answered them, at least as much as he is willing to. We have had a lot of starts and stops, him saying it is over and there was no contact several times while he was still continuing the affair. I think it was finally really over 12-30-16. Now I think my deep sadness is the questions about “us”. Why wasn’t I enough? Why did he go outside the marriage and what was he looking for? Why wasn’t his love for me strong enough to keep him honest? These are the questions I have asked him now, he says he doesn’t have the answers but will think about it. I told him I always felt we were a partnership, I felt safe with him and felt like he had my back but not anymore. I didn’t check his phone for a couple of weeks and then while I was feeling low I did, there was an email from her but it was blocked by his employer so he claimed to not know it was there. He went to work and had them release it to him to send to me. He says he doesn’t even think it was for him, that it was a mistake. It was just one line, “just in case you didn’t know….:)” After nearly 3 months I believe she was testing the waters. So now I struggle with feeling I can’t talk to him because he feels ashamed/guilty AND fear of stirring things up. This sucks so bad.
Peggy, I think the entire recovery process is really complicated. I remember feeling the same way. In the beginning I was so focused on what happened, these women, all the details. I did dig a lot and demanded a lot of answers. At a certain point for me which ended up being at about 10 months and after dday 2 at 5 months we had a huge blow up. Probably our biggest most upsetting argument ever. I really let loose which is so not me. I mean I melted down. What was interesting was I had been upset over the 10 months and emotional of course but I finally got so mad and upset. I just let it all go. This was a turning point for me. I really felt like I had taken a huge weight off my shoulders. I think there are phases once I was done focusing on the details which I finally realized I would never know everything I focused on us, me and him. This was a big change. And yes we talked about all the same questions. And in the end he said I could have been the most amazing super model, the most gorgeous actress the most admired humanitarian all wrapped into one and he still would have done what he did. I know it is cliche but it was all about him and his lack of ability to take care of himself. He hurt me and our marriage in the end but honestly where I am today he hurt himself the most. At least in our case he never loved these women and never stopped loving me and never wanted to leave. However he said once he did it just one time it just seemed like he could not go back. He said it was a slippery slope and he hated himself so much it just got worse and worse. Looking back I am sure he was depressed. He drank too much and was just detached in general. He still maintains to this day I did nothing and there was nothing more I could have done to change. I honestly see this as his issues with his decisions and how he treated himself. And at this point I focus on his current behaviors and decisions. It has taken us a while to get to this point though and I know it is different for everyone. For me when I saw him being honest with himself that was what stood out the most to me and allowed me to move forward with more trust.
Thank you, Hopeful. As always such great advice and help from you. I am 14 months out now. The problem is probably that the process of moving through the affairs and the hurt has been really slow. It's like my husband is frozen at points. He even has problems remembering things, it's such a jumble. And of course he hates going back there and pulling out those feelings and how horrible he feels about himself. He did say though, that when he sees it from my side, when he realizes the emotions I am trying to express, it is extremely painful for him. This is different than just saying "I'm so sorry" over and over again which I realize now is not getting me anywhere. Maybe once we have some more time to work through the affairs, without my husband flipping out from the guilt, then our talks will only center around our marriage and our family. We have many talks like that now, and it always helps. My pain is great though and sometimes a trigger just brings me back. He's trying to help me through them, at least now he says he wants me to tell him. He even suggested that I write them down to make sure I can tell him later. This is very different than even two months ago when things were too hard to face. It's taking him an eternity. I guess everyone's time table is a little different. Thanks again and I will remember your words. I look forward to a time when there is less affair talk. Tomorrow we start intensive Imago therapy. I'm hoping it will release some blockages I have- it's not like me not to be able to love fully, with an open heart, and that's one of saddest parts of all. I feel like I lost a piece of who I am. Thanks again. I wish we could all meet. Julia
Julia, It is so hard. I had the impression that he was over it all since my husband ended the affairs. But it has taken him longer. He was in that shut down mode. I wanted to know every detail. Well at a certain point I realized that was not going to happen and not sure I needed/wanted that. My husband had two 10 year long affairs at the same time. I mean that was a long time and a good chunk of our lives. They were both somewhat sporadic, one more so than the other. So he was clueless and even very honestly said he worked as hard as he could to forget as much as possible. I think i was able to let it go at a certain point since he had ended both the affairs over a year before dday on his own since he hated doing it. However it still hung over him. One thing I did do after dday 2 was I felt like there were certain things/feelings I did not understand and needed to know. I wrote him a very detailed letter pouring out my feelings and laying it all on the line. The one like that struck him was "I would rather be slapped with the truth than kissed by a lie". This really sank in. I never got all the details but he did open up a lot and realized I just wanted pure honesty and needed that to move forward. He did admit to me at the time he still thought maybe he should leave me since I would most likely be happier and find the love I truly deserve. I answered that with if he left me I would still be dealing with the pain. I told him he needed to be by my side to help me heal. In the end these things helped both of us. I know he has so much respect for me and sees me as so strong now since I worked through this. I have more respect for him since he has stuck around and worked so hard to make many changes.I hope therapy goes well for you!! The book that helped me the most was Shirley Glass Not Just Friends. I also liked all the Gottman books. I liked the ones that dealt with affairs but also many deal with relationships which was helpful as we moved along through recovery. My husband also loved The Masters of Love article by Gottman in the Atlantic. It was excellent and got my husband moving in a great direction and was less intense than an entire book. And one last suggestion I am not sure if you can find it online but we went to the one man play of Men are from Mars Women are from Venus and it was good for both of us but especially my husband.Hang in there and focus on yourself. Give it time. When I backed off and took the pressure off was when I progressed the most.
SadieIt’s only been three weeks since my Dday. I’d suspected he was having an affair but I thought he would never do that to me. He has always been a “steady Eddie” and has mocked others for doing just what he has done. OW is a work colleague of his and they’ve known each other for 18 months (the affair has last 8 months). We’ve been together for 18 years (married for nearly 13 years!). I thought he’s made a terrible mistake, but we were happy (mostly – grown apart a bit through family/work) and we can fix this, in time. I didn’t want to give up on our life and our marriage. He had always been a good husband and father. I believe in marriage, in good times and bad, this is a REALLY bad time. After 3 nights at her house and a week and half away in hotels and his family’s, he has returned home.My problem is this – Ok, he’s come back. He decided fairly quickly to come back and try again, but and this is a big but, he still has feelings for her. I’m hoping this is the affair fog, and it will fade, but how long does that take? I’m making efforts/suggestions to make things work. I’m talking to him about my feelings, but I get nothing back from him. I asked him the other day how he feels and he just said he was keeping his head down. He listens to what I say, he is patient and seems to be honest with my questions and he won’t get involved in arguments when I’m made with rage. But he’s not begging for my forgiveness, he’s not trying to make me feel secure. I don’t know how he feels and he’s not willing to talk about it. He is detached.So, me and my imagination are filling in the gaps – he wants to leave! I’m trying really hard and it’s for nothing, because he felt so strongly about her, he walked out on his wife and children, he’s going to leave again!Please help. I need advice. Is it common for the H to be so remote when they return? I don’t know whether to back off and leave him alone, which I did when I just thought he was working so hard (but was actually having an affair) or keep on going at him, trying to get communication a two-way street again. How long will it be before his feelings for the OW go?Thank you for reading. I’m so glad I found this site. It’s good to know there are so many who have gone through the same thing and are surviving and thriving!
Sadie, my H ended his PA 7 years before my Dday, but he never really recognized that the OCW was a manipulative evil slut until we went to MC and MC asked him questions and his answers enlightened him that COW was a truly despicable person. 7 years AFTER the fog, he didn't see it, said that back then he thought he loved her & had a future with her, yet didn't want me to find out because he didn't want a divorce (logical, lol). I've read a lot about the 'fog' and the professional advice that I see is this: 1) ZERO contact. If not already cleanly broken-off have him call her with you on speaker phone and say "I am sitting here with my wife, who I love and am committed to. Do not ever contact me again, I want nothing to do with you." Click.2) Get an apt with MC as soon as possible (it sounds like you want to stay so when you interview them ask if their goal is to preserve the marriage - except in extreme circumstances)3) He probably needs IC We are all holding each other up on here!
Brown eyed girlWe tried the going no contact! My h craved time when his cow wasn't blowing up his phone! Took a night in jail and a year later she reached out to home suggesting they meet up for drinks, no hard feelings, so she had to go back and see the judge and he threatened her with immediate jail time to the full extent of the law, before she finally stopped contact. This Saturday, April Fools Day will be that one full year! She continued to circle in our neighborhood up till s few months ago. This woman was truly delusional, believed she was 'the betrayed' because their relationship was the one he desired, he just wasn't brave enough to reach for what he wanted! In his own words, he's a true coward! Couldn't come clean to me because he didn't want to rip my heart out, yet he allowed this woman to tear it out of my chest one painful text at a time for six long months! I say he allowed casually, he really couldn't stop her! I tried a text from his phone telling her we were sick of her drama and leave us alone! She was very persistent! We're both finally beginning to breathe easier in the evenings and hope that she does finally 'get it' as the lawyer told us following her last court day. Hugs for anyone dealing with a crazy ow!
Sadie, I've read that it sometimes takes time for them to come out of the "fog". My husband was able to successfully lie to me after I found the phone records and tell me it was an emotional affair when in reality it was absolutely the opposite... a relationship based solely on sex on his part. When I asked him to tell her they could no longer be in contact, he delayed, telling me she was "under stress" and it took several days. Then it was another week or so to unfriend her on FB. When she reinitiated contact several weeks later he went back to having sex with her. It wasn't until the full truth came out and I told him that he had 24 hours to decide whether he wanted our marriage or his whore that the reality of what he had done hit him. She was dumped the next day and we were in counseling immediately. And it wasn't until we had some counseling behind us that all the issues started being addressed (childhood stuff, porn addiction). He did tell me very early on that he had been clear with her from day one that he was never leaving and that it was purely sex. It's ironic that he thoughtvhe was manipulating her and the further along we got the more we realized that she was manipulating just as much. And frankly, in hindsight, I think she's a far more skilled liar and cheater than he ever was.If he's not working to earn your forgiveness or to make you feel safe, then you need to know why. It could be "fog", it could be shame. But to figure that out, he's going to have to talk. I highly recommend counseling. We did both individual and joint. My husband had to learn to actually talk about stuff rather than push it down or ignore it. It was uncomfortable to say the least but it was an absolute necessity.Three weeks is very early. You're likely still reeling from the shock of it. Try as best you can to take care of yourself. And keep posting. There are lots of us here to listen.Hugs! ❤
Hello Ladies! Just hit 2.5 years today. Wanted to share a little about where I’m at since I remember how desperately I wanted timelines estimates in the early days. In the last few months, I feel like we turned a corner. I can’t put my finger on it but he had some epiphanies, I’m sure of it. Lol I took the advice you see here all the time - figure out what you need to see from him to feel safe and I realized I needed him to change a set of beliefs he held that led to our problems and therefore him feeling the need to outsource in the first place. This was his belief that he knew what everyone wanted/thought/felt/what was best for them and that you should never directly talk about these things or your fears/weaknesses because then people will know how to manipulate you because they want to control you, not see you happy and enjoy some time with you. Without these ideas, we wouldn’t have had our problems in the first place. As is said here all the time, all the COW really had to do at that point was make herself available, feed his ego and have really low expectations. I can see now that there wasn’t anything I could do until he got the point that he started talking to me. I should have left him when things started to suck but I didn’t. The more I see his actions demonstrate that these ideas have changed the safer I feel. That said, I’ve accepted that it will cross my mind for the rest of my life no matter who I’m with that they might be sneaking and lying. I also know now that I’ll be okay either way and it will never be the surprise it was the first time. I treat the whole relationship like something that will likely end at some point rather than something I need to cling to for dear life. Now, back to lurking and learning from you all! =)
Thank you for your words. Unfortunately I do not have a native tribe I can run too and I do not want to spend 30 years in hiding as you did. Yes I see my family at least once a week, and they help me get thru the days. I have spoken to native lawyers, these laws were set up by tribes and the federal government to ensure culture. Kids are taken from non native family members all the time, weather they have a good living environment or not. I'm sorry I thought you guys may understand.
Anonymous,I'm just stepping in and might have missed an earlier post (I did read one from Unknown -- is that you?).From what you describe, you are in an emotionally abusive relationship. Your living arrangements are keeping you somewhat trapped. Has the lawyer you've spoken with told you that you would lose custody of your children? We're trying to understand but I, for one, don't have even a working knowledge of laws as they impact Native American children and marriages.Are you in therapy? It sounds as if you could benefit from someone to support you as you find a way through this. Your description of your marriage is misery and your husband sounds as if he has no intention of changing. But YOU can change. And you can find the strength to leave. Please fight for yourself. You do not deserve to live like this. Nor do your children.
I apologize to you if I came across as not understanding your situation. I was just relaying to,you how I got out of a similar abusive relationship. I understand how you feel and I'm so sorry this is happening to you. I'm not a lawyer, psychologist or expert in anything. And I can relate to feelings of hopelessness and feeling like there is no way out. Elle had a great idea to seek a counselor who can help guide you and explore possible solutions for your particular situation with tribal regulations that I'm not an expert. I'm so sorry and hurt for you in this situation.