Feeling Stuck Part 20

202 comments:

  1. 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

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    1. 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.

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    2. 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!

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    3. 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!!

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  2. 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

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    1. 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.

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    2. 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.

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  3. 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

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    1. 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.

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  4. 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

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  5. 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 fund
    1 lb of skin under my arms he paid the bill
    Low blood pressure
    Wanting to please everyone
    Being afraid to speak up
    My job`
    My ability to focus
    Fake 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 myself
    Trying to please him
    Puritan sexual attitude
    Putting off what I wanted due to many of his reasons
    An 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.
    Trust

    Any one else?





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    1. What I lost as a betrayed spouse:

      50 pounds
      Size 16 to size 8-10
      Rose colored glasses
      Tolerance for fair-weathered friends
      Unconditional trust in my husband
      Sexual inhibitions
      The belief that my spouse was much more perfect than me
      My memory
      Large clumps of my hair for months
      My appetite
      My desire to connect with anyone emotionally
      My love of social gatherings
      My desire to meet my sisters and their spouses in Vegas or New Orleans---too sexually charged for my husband
      My wedding rings and the story behind them
      My hope of an untarnished past
      My desire for an untarnished future
      My belief in marriage vows
      My concerns about spending money on myself
      My thoughts about my husband's response to things I want to do.

      Probably more but this is off my head.

      Thanks LLP

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  6. 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 meaning

    For a while, my husband because he left me and my kids for two weeks

    My 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. Hmmmmmm

    I 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" life

    A 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

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  7. 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 married
    a partner in life - someone to hug and be hugged by
    dissatisfaction with boring work (because now I struggle to do the most basic tasks and find it hard to concentrate)
    my hopes for having another child

    I've gained:
    greater honesty with my amazing friends - some of whom have also been through betrayals
    a 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 time

    To be continued...

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    1. What I lost as a betrayed wife:

      25 pounds (size 10 to size 6)
      Any remnant of trust in my husband
      Any remnant of respect for my husband
      My few sexual inhibitions
      Wanting to spend time with ANY of my friends except the 1 who knows
      Enjoying any time with my kids
      Caring if strangers see me crying
      Sleeping more than 0-4 hrs/night
      My appetite
      My 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 God
      Singing in the church choir
      My ability to focus on work and be a great leader
      My belief in marriage vows
      Putting everyone else first
      Never needing to be on antidepressants, despite an abusive childhood
      The desire to go on living
      Trusting my own instincts
      Being proud of my accomplishments
      My self-esteem
      Being the person everyone else could rely on
      My generosity
      Willingness to post happy moments on social media
      Recognition of the woman in the mirror
      The desire to get out of bed and get dressed
      Peace

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  8. 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

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    1. 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.

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    2. 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.

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    3. Hi Selkie,

      How are you holding up? Just checking in with you today.
      Thinking of you.

      Julia

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    4. 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.

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  9. 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

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    1. 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.

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    2. 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

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    3. 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.

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    4. 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.

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    5. 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

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  10. 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.

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    1. 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!

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    2. 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!

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  11. 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.

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  12. 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.

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  13. 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.

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    1. Peggy
      The 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.

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    2. 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.

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    3. 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.

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    4. 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.

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    5. 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.

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  14. 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.

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    1. 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....

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  15. 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.

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    1. 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

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    2. 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.

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  16. 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.

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    1. 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.

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    2. 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.

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  17. 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...?

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    1. Don't respond. It will bother whoever sent it more that you ignored them. Block the #.

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    2. Block the sender. No contact means no contact with anyone who wants to stir up sh*t.

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    3. 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.

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    4. 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

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  18. 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.

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  19. 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.

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  20. 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.

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    1. 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.

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    2. 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.

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    3. 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.

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    4. 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.

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    5. 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!

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    6. 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.

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    7. 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.

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    8. 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.

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    9. 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.

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    10. 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.

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    11. 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.

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    12. 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.

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  21. 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 anniversary
    Thanks again everyone

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    1. 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.

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  22. 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?

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    1. 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.

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    2. 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.

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  23. I tried to post but not sure it went thru how can I tell?

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  24. 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

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    1. 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.

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    2. 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.

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  25. 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

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    1. 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.

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  26. Sadie
    It’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!

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    1. 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!

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    2. Brown eyed girl
      We 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!

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    3. 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! ❤

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  27. 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! =)

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    1. Aelia,
      Wow, 2.5 years. I'm so glad you popped back in to share your experience. You're right in that I think we all feel better when we can map out another's healing. It sounds like you're on a really solid ground. You did exactly what is healthy for you -- identify what you need and then insist upon it.
      And nice to know that, even if we don't hear from you, you're lurking in the shadows.

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  28. 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.

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    1. 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.

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  29. 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.

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  30. Thanks for the timeline updates Aelia (March 28). I find these month/year status posts so helpful.
    Lots of powerful reading on these pages lately. I’ve really been following that March 23 “Changing Our Minds” post. Good stuff.

    Both of these ideas brings me to my question for you ladies…

    I’m at almost two years. Everything is “fine.” He (we) seem to have done most of the hard work and made some real life changes. I don’t hate him anymore. I seem to be past my rage at him and the world (usually). I have triggers and down days, but they seem to be PMS as much as anything. We’re nice to each other. We’re partners. We pay bills, raise kids, fix the house, talk about work, go on vacation. We even talk about the affairs in a matter of fact way.

    But I feel like I’m married to my brother.
    We haven’t had sex since hysterical bonding. My choice. It seems too complicated and I’m afraid it will set me back. Or he’ll read more into it than I’m feeling. He’s being patient, but I'm sure he’s just afraid to push it. (Or on my dark days, I’m sure he’s just having sex with some work whore instead… but even that doesn’t freak me out as much as it probably should. I’m kind of like, well, she can have him. I’ll be okay.)
    I haven’t told him “I love you” since the day before D-Day. Tho he tells me every day. I’m not holding back to punish him. In fact, I only realized I don’t say it anymore the other day when I heard a friend say it to her husband. It just doesn’t occur to me. It doesn’t mean much to me anymore.

    Weirdly, in some ways I feel more acutely that I’m his wife -- as in I made a vow to God to be his wife, so here I am. The wedding rings are replaced. The wedding album is at the dump. The anniversary is off the calendar. But here I am, for better or worse or blah.

    Has anyone else been here? Is this the best I can do now? Is this messed up? Should I go back to counseling, or is this just a natural stage I need to go thru? I think I probably know the answer – I should go back to counseling. I’m just so tired of it all.

    Would really appreciate your perspective ladies.

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    1. Sal,
      Yep, been there. And I think most (all?) marriage go through this at some point. It's just that, post-betrayal, we see everything through a dark lens.
      However, I do think your marriage blahs are more than what strikes other couples without infidelity. Your fear of intimacy is normal, under the circumstances, but certainly not ideal for the long-term health of your marriage. I know the appeal of simply avoiding it because it can conjure up all sorts of awful feelings/memories. But by avoiding it, you're giving it a lot larger shadow in your marriage. Can you try and engage in some of the standard "how to fall back in love" strategies from marriage counsellors: date nights, cuddling, ensuring you have time together to talk about things that matter?
      And yes...counselling. Though I wonder if you might benefit from post-trauma counselling -- EMDR, for instance, to help you get past the fear/distrust of physical intimacy. I remain convinced that betrayal is, for many of us, trauma. And we experience it in our bodies. By making ourselves vulnerable again, physically via intimacy, it feels retraumatizing. Working through that can be really helpful.
      In short, two years is, shockingly, not that long. So what you'er going through isn't necessarily surprising. But that doesn't mean you have to exist like this. Worth considering whether you want to put in the effort to rebuild your marriage or not. If yes, then there are strategies (as I outlined) that can help. But time also helps.

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    2. Sal, I feel ya. It's kinda the Blahs. All business, no pleasure. Things are kinda flat. Been there. Still kinda there.

      I'm the same with no I love yous. My dogs get tons of I love yous. But with him, it feels like I'm making some kind of promise I don't really mean. When I say it to the dogs, I think they just wonder if I have cookies. The pups make my heart sing. The man, not so much.

      For me, I think the blahs are the absence of the misery that was there for a long time and the absence of the old feelings of thinking he was really fantastic and I was really lucky.

      So I'm in the process of figuring out how to just appreciate his good qualities without running them through any filters of past deeds or feeling like they can't be recognized or are permanently diminished by the stupid shit he did. I try to let his positive attributes that I still really admire and which he genuinely displays speak for themselves. It's not that easy.

      That and we just hang out and watch super hero shows together. I forget the shit for a while and play with him. We clown around together. For me, that heals a lot. It hurts when I suddenly do remember but it doesn't last long before I feel more matter of fact about it, remember I am here by choice and I'm hardly the first woman/person this has happened to. There is something in just knowing that this is, sad as it is, a very common thing.

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    3. Sal, Through therapy I had to learn how to see the positives. I had a negative filter in my brain. He does something meaningful goes in my brain then comes out negative in some way. I had a "and" "but" in my mind where I had to learn to stop the second sentence. Like, yes, that a nice a thing you did AND you probably don't mean it. It took me 6 months of therapy to learn my automatic responses. My H learned these responses could not be turned off like a light switch. Instead of a brother it feels more like a companion at 3 years. I don't withhold stuff like I did previously because it wasn't helping me to do so. I think therapy at first was for the affair, the second year was for boundaries and me, the third year was for our marriage, sex, communication, how to disagree just normal marriage stuff. We still go to therapy when there is an issue we are at odds. So I think your reaction is normal. With holding intimacy is an issue that needs to be discussed in therapy individual and couples. Just my thought, he may eventually think, he is never going to meet your expectations as far as being intimate and give up. That is how my husband expressed it. You got this far and it still takes more work, UGH.

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    4. Thank you so much ladies. Really good advice. Just what I needed. This is such a confusing time. Seeing my situation thru your eyes gives me some clarity. So grateful you're out there, offering gentle care to a stranger. xoxoxo

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    5. Yes we got to that point and it has happened several times. Once we got to about 15-18 months past dday life starts to feel "ordinary" and exactly like it was during the affair years. I brought it up to my husband. Even though he had changed I needed more from our marriage. My expectations were elevated now. I was very honest with what I needed more of.

      Even now that we are past two years we have both found that we need to say no to things. The less busy we are and the less stress we feel the better our relationship is. We really focus any energy not spent on work or our kids on us. It makes a big difference for us. We do talk about this a lot and what we need to do for our relationship and individually. We both want this to work so badly and I think that shows and we can feel it. However it is easy to take on too much, get busy with the kids and work.

      For us though it did start with me bringing up the topic with my husband. For me if I do not feel connected on every level the physical intimacy is just mundane. When we are more in sync and working as a true partnership it is amazing. I can totally tell the difference. So I do think it is somewhat natural but I also think it is something to address yourself or in counseling if you feel that support would help you.

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  31. HeartShattered1978March 31, 2017 at 10:17 AM

    Hi Everyone, I'm back again feeling stuck. Actually,it's a limbo feeling. It's almost 2 years to my D-Day. I feel frustrated that I am not further along in my healing. My H has made alot of positive changes since D-Day and in some ways I do feel improved, like I dont have the 24-7 sword through my heart. Lately I feel this frustration with myself. My husband and I are doing good, we haven't fought in a long time. When I am with him everything, the inner anxiety demons, is calm. When I am at work, or at home in the evenings with my daughters by myself (him still at work), I still feel angry. I feel resentful still, that he did this to me. My previous fiance cheated on me, my husband knew what I went through and how much it changed me, but still cheated anyway. I feel let down. Just mad. I am in therapy, have been for years but especially since D Day. We did couples counselling for a while but now it's just me. Therapists have stressed the importance of self-talk when I am feeling anxious or angry, to focus on the progress we have made,etc. I do try, I honestly do. Sometimes it helps, but most of the time it doesn't. I find myself questioning am I too stubborn, am I being too narcissistic, or is it that my soul is that let down, hurt, and disappointed. There is happiness so I am not at the point where I want to leave him but I wonder if I will ever get to that place where it is something in the past. Is it fair to hold this anger and resentment towards him indefinitely when he has made positive changes? I still check his phone. I will still peek at his emails if he leaves it open. And in the almost 2 years since D Day there has been nothing, no contact (unless a secret cell phone..). He has not given me a tangible reason since D Day to doubt him but I don't feel my trust level has improved much at all. Sure it feels like it has improved when he's around or when I know he is at work. But when he has to go on a day road trip or I can't reach him by phone I am instantly in panic mode of "Is he with her? Is he with a different her? Why isn't he there? Is he going where he told me he's going?"

    So my question is how do you all deal with these moments? What do you do when self talk isn't enough? What do you do when the forced trust doesn't turn into actual trust, or at least not fast enough to feel like you're not going crazy? I have gone on a daily antidepressant as well as an as needed antidepressant. I sometimes feel like quitting therapy because it doesn't seem like there is anything she can say or do to mend my head, because that is where it all is. My personal prison.
    Thank you in advance for your help and support. <3

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    1. HS1978,
      I'm sorry that you're feeling so stuck. I know exactly what you're saying. I was there too.
      And here's what I think: What happened to you wasn't fair. Especially when your husband KNEW that you'd been hurt before. Especially when this had already happened to you. You deserved better.
      Instead, you were betrayed.
      But here's the thing. All that anger and frustration and distrust is just about what your husband did but what your fiancee did before that. As my therapist often reminded me, if your reaction to a situation seems bigger than the situation then it's about old stuff. And I suspect that's what happening with you. I'm wondering if this massive unfairness for ALL the pain you've endured by idiots is hard to let go of. Even though it's over. Even though you're healing from it. And even though your husband is doing what he can to not be that idiot any longer.
      At a certain point, 1978, you're going to have a make a decision to hang on to the fury at the unfairness of this or to let it go and trust that YOU can take care of you. Doesn't mean people will never hurt you in the future. Just means that you come to place where you realize that their behaviour has nothing to do with your worth. You deserved better. But life doesn't give us what we deserve. WE give ourselves what we deserve. Self-respect. Kindness. Dignity.
      Somewhere, I think, you're stuck at the "this shouldn't have happened to me" point. And your'e right. It shouldn't have. And people shouldn't get cancer. And people shouldn't lose children in war. But they do. And it's life.
      Your husband made a horrible choice. But it wasn't about you. It was about his own inability to manage his own stuff. And it's not surprising that you picked two guys with messed up hearts. We often do that until we learn better.
      But this one wants to be a better guy.
      You are under no obligation to stick around for that. But, if you do, leave the responsibility for that mess where it belongs. With him. Your responsibility is to you: to treat yourself with kindness and respect and dignity.
      If you think you've reached the end of counselling -- you're not getting anything more from this woman, take a break. Or, if you still feel stuck, consider EMDR, which helps people move past trauma. It's what I did. And it made a world of difference. It dislodged that fury that had taken root in my heart. That "how DARE he" fury.
      Hope that helps.

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  32. HeartShattered1978April 1, 2017 at 4:39 PM

    Thank you, Elle. I think there is alot of truth to what you said. I think I am afraid to let go and trust out of fear of feeling that pain again. I feel ashamed to say that being 2 months pregnant when I found out, and having a 1 year old, is pretty much the only reason I am able to type this here today. I had to tunnel vision focus on them to get through the worst moments, especially since I couldnt have a drink, take a pill, etc. I've never had great self esteem and especially after I was betrayed the 2nd time, I still struggle with believing it didn't have something to do with me. I have thought alot in the last 2 years about my happiness, what would make me happy. Prior to my 1st daughter, i started going back to school. I would like to resume this again someday, but the attention level my daughters need, and my need to enjoy this period in their life, have put that on a shelf for now. I will see if EMDR is something my current therapist does, or possibly look into if there is a therapist in my area that specializes in it.
    I've said it before,... BWC, Elle, and all of my fellow warriors have been a life saver. <3

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    1. Best of luck, Heart Shattered. I know what you mean about that tunnel vision focus on the little ones. I have a two-year-old who is actually probably keeping me sane, because I need to be functional to look after her properly... while her father continues to linger in limboland. Like you, my career is somewhat on hold these days too.

      It's a great idea to have plans for yourself, for when your daughters get a bit older. I need to start thinking ahead about this too.

      Hold on to your dreams, and talk to other people about them. That way you will build up more belief in them (and yourself!) When the time is right, you will have found out plenty of information about how to proceed, and hopefully a network of helpful or likeminded people to accompany you on your journey.

      Studying as a 'mature' student can be really rewarding, as you will bring a wealth of life experience to whatever course you are doing. I salute you!

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    2. HeartShattered1978,
      It breaks my heart when I hear about so many women on this site who somehow believe that their partner's failing has anything to do with them. But...and here's where I sound a bit like a Pollyanna, betrayal can force us to deal with our own issues that have been getting in the way of leading a fuller life. Having low self-esteem has likely always held you back from some things. But you can use this time healing from betrayal to really get to the root of why you devalue yourself and learn to stop doing that.
      HS1978, you have a lot to offer this world. Yes, two young kids will keep you pretty tied up for the foreseeable future. But I love your idea of pursuing school (which can be done at night, or part-time). Be kind to yourself. Be gentle with yourself. And don't ever let anyone else tell you who you are. You'd kick the ass of anyone who tried to tell you your children weren't worth loving well. Well...the same holds for you. You are worth loving well. That he couldn't do that is HIS failure, not yours.

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    3. HeartShattered1978April 5, 2017 at 9:20 AM

      Thank you, Selkie and Elle. I read your replies a couple days ago but wanted to process your replies before I wrote back. Going back to school..hopefully to pursue being a Registered Nurse will give me more confidence in myself, that I can do more to care for my girls and a sense of financial independence. I already do work in the medical field so hopefully that gives me an advantage with the program.
      Elle, your words "You'd kick the ass of anyone who tried to tell you your children weren't worth loving well. Well...the same holds for you" really resonated with me. It is absolutely true that it would enrage me, anyone causing my daughters to question their worth. Over the last couple of days I have been focusing on that. They are so precious. I never want them to lose that inner light, that I feel has been snuffed out in me years ago. I will continue to work on things. For the most part my happiness has been based on being around my loved ones, enjoying their company, feeling that love. But this sets me up to constantly fail, as everyone has their own lives. I guess if you pick it apart, aside from the companionship I want to feel loved and like these people I care about want to be with me as much as I do them. Working on this one.

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    4. Heartshattered1978April 7, 2017 at 6:47 AM

      HELP! I guess I spoke too soon above. Looked at my husband's phone last night and saw a fetish group page in the history. I brought the phone to him to explain. I knew about his fetish and have even indulged, incorporating it into our sex life. He said he is ashamed and always has been but wanted to find other people like him so that he didn't feel so abnormal. Okay, fine, even though I dont like the social website, chat, forum aspect of this, I do understand needing to feel somewhat normal. Where he goes over the line is that he communicated with 2 girls on this page. Initially talking about his history with said fetish, but then slipping into telling them how sexy their pictures are and he got off (WTF!!!) to some of one's pictures. The other girl had more back and forth correspondence. He did (eventually) mention that he was married and that he hoped it didnt weird her out knowing that he was married to continue talking. The explosion was the request to exchange private emails to send pictures of each other because "he didnt want to do it on the public site." He said he send a clothed selfie but states she never sent one back. Website account started 2 months ago, more correspondence 2 days ago, then a quick "where've you been?" message last night. All the while I am home ALONE with our children while he is staying late trying to catch up on work. I blew up at him so bad and he knew that I would find this unacceptable and it was inappropriate communication talking about his sexual fantasies to other women and telling them he got off to them!!! I am so torn, I feel like I should be leaving him because D Day was supposed to be the last straw. He said that he would never cheat on me again, that he gets these overwhelming comulsions to look up photos/ videos of this fetish and reaching out to them was not trying to hook up but to "bond" or whatever ovr these thoughts and fetishes. To the women who have dealt with sex addiction or something similar, what do you do????? I said he needed to go to therapy because this is showing a pattern but he is too humiliated by the nature of his fetish to tell anyone in person. OTher than finding this things have been really good and he has been stepping up. Our older daughter beams with happiness when we are all together as a family unit. I am so afraid it will break her spirit if I was to leave him. He deleted his account and said he would never again but how can I believe this when first the adult friend finder/ Ashley Madison affair, now this? He doesnt even have my frigid bitchy negativity to blame this time.

      Please help!

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  33. lately I feel like every day is a major struggle. I would not call them triggers but maybe more reminders of the past. I am having a hard time of figuring out how to to cope with them. I know I am a fix it person and someone who likes to take action. I waiver between sad, angry and upset. My husband will start reminiscing about past vacations and I find it hard when he brings up trips where they were an anniversary trip and within days or weeks I know he was with one of the ow. Yet he can say wow that was such an amazing trip. I struggle more when they were an anniversary or couple trip. Family vacations I can see the good in. But knowing he was off with these women within days/weeks makes it hard. I think how can he feel that way, like it never happened. I still feel resentful that I gave up everything to fund/get him through his education, move for his career and become the primary parent raising our kids. For some reason I was okay with it when I felt we had a partnership. And since so much time has passed i cannot get that back and reverse time. Even friendships. He placed so much emphasis on his friends. He is the first to come back with the fact that he told me to go anywhere anytime, he never stopped me. But he does not see how self centered he was. And if I did take a trip he did great while I was gone but when I got home I was left with a mess and chaos while he had to run off to work while I was gone. He has surrounded himself with friends who party, travel and do whatever they want usually always without their wives. So he gets asked constantly. My friends are not that way at all. I think partially because of who I surround myself with but also women in general are not typically that way from what I see.

    I try so hard to focus on the present and things that make me happy. I workout, I work a little now, I love to cook, I focus on my kids. We are doing well overall my husband and I but it is like this underlying feeling that drags me down. I have told him I feel fragile. And that is how I feel. He has had a lot of pressure at work and has not been able to talk. I find that frustrating. He has explained it to me in advance so that is helpful and he would have never done that in the past. When I tried explaining my frustrations and there are more I have tried to bring up to him, his immediate response is "maybe this won't work then". He feels like if I am still upset and struggling it is no good. I find this really upsetting. I get where it comes from but it is probably the least helpful thing he can say. He has not said this but I think he feels like he is doing everything right, doing nothing wrong and being a great husband so what is the issue and now that time has passed.

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    1. Hopeful30,
      "Maybe this won't work then?" That, my dear, is a countermove intended to get you to shut up and back down. Even if he's being perfect right now (and it sounds like he's not if he responds to your legitimate frustrations with a slightly veiled threat that the marriage will be over), being able to share your frustrations with him in an open, respectful way is a cornerstone of a healthy marriage. Betrayal changes EVERYTHING. It's just not something we get over at some magical time and then all is forgotten/forgiven. Just doesn't work like that. And his inaccessibility because of work, even if you understand it, is likely triggering those insecurities.
      You need to be a priority to him, and that means listening to you. Of course, you can be flexible when he's in a busy patch. But his work should never be more important than your feelings. That is a recipe for resentment and frustration, which only drives a deeper wedge between you.

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    2. I agree and thank you for your reply. It helps to be reassured. I think that is the hardest thing remaining vigilant and not slipping back into old habits and patterns. It happens so easily. And I get really frustrated with this work priority. Due to nothing in his control it is getting stretched out longer. I understand that it is out of his control but that is my next conversation is what now. He built it up for over a week and now it is extended. When will it end? Why do we need to walk on eggshells around him when he is under work stress? I do get it on some level but work is work but as you said I/we need to be a priority. Part of me can answer this which is he does not want to hear what I have to say. It is easier to deflect and give excuses so he does not have to deal with it or face it directly. And most importantly what I am bringing up is issues that would require effort and change from him. He just does not want to face that or deal with that. Or I am assuming that since we have not been able to talk yet. He is very careful to be extremely complimentary of me and super affectionate. I don't think it is fake since he just could not carry on this long. Hopefully we will have our time to talk soon. I am busy making my notes/outline to follow. That always help me be more concise.

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    3. Hi Hopeful,

      I've been reading your posts and I had some time to think about it. I really hope that this time of struggling has passed for you. From what I've read from you, you have come really far, and it sounds like your husband has too. I suppose reminders will always be there, or at least until a substantial amount of time has passed and the "good" and stable comfortable times outnumber the "bad" and scary painful times. I sometimes try to sees scale in my head. My scale is heavy on the fear and pain still, but at least it's starting to balance out. It will take a very long time for my husband and I because the betrayal was long, so I have many years and events to trigger me. It's just going to take a heap of time.
      I think that perhaps your husband is not trying to silence you by saying "well maybe this won't work then". It doesn't really matter unless you feel silenced by it. If you do, don't take it. Speak up asap. I suspect though that your husband is looking at it in a more clinical way, first because he's a man and second because of his profession, and I bet he's scared which is why he's saying it. He's probably looking for solutions and feels frustrated on some level when it's not going smoothly. What I found is that my husband is a bit surprised after a good period when then something comes up. I guess they get that glimpse of relief and they can forget what they did for a while- it's what they want. Just to move on. Much easier said than done for women in our position. I used to get mad at myself- why can't I just look forward, not back? While my future is somewhat a result of my past, my past will be determined by what I do with it- how I react and carry on and live. My feelings are strong and my despair is great when it takes hold. There is always a trigger behind it. I hope you can talk to your husband soon and get this resolved. Don't give up. Youve come way too far. But do set up boundaries. No more of this drinking with friends stuff, and he must balance his work a little better. If you are hurting I hope he can hear you.
      I wanted to update you on the Imago therapy. It was quite remarkable. I will try to send a link to it. Our sessions were intense but I finally feel like my husband now feels my pain and hears me with new ears. I am hearing him too. He's got stuff to hear that has nothing to do with me, it's a lot of past pain. There is no way to hide with Imago therapy. We have been much closer since the sessions and we practice at home with great breakthroughs. Hopefully it will continue.
      I hope you're doing ok. Stay strong.

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    4. Julia, Thank you for your thoughtful reply. You have captured what I believe his feelings to be and why he reacts this way. I do think he is genuine since as even my therapist has said there is no way he could behave this way and speak the way he does overall to me for over two years. He is not that good while remaining connected. I do know times of extreme business in life and stress make it extra hard. I recognize that for both of us. I am hopeful in a little over a week we can sit down and have a lengthy discussion. I do realize this will always be part of us especially since the affair years lasted for 10 years. That is a long time. We have been together much longer and are still young so we have a lot more time together hopefully.

      I cannot wait to hear about your new therapy experience.

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  34. Hopeful 30, it seems like communication is better but not meeting your expectations. His response of maybe it work then is like a blackmailing you or offering an ultimatum. Maybe you need more from him but he needs to grow/ learn more before he can communicate better. When my H and I have this happening we both talking but not understanding each other then we go a counseling session. He is surprised by what I say and the other way around too. It helps us.

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    1. Yes exactly that is what it feels like to me. I call him on it immediately. One trait he has always had is I do not feel like he fights fairly. He is very good with his words and knows just want to say. I think he says everything for a reason. Also based on his professional background he does not say things by accident. Everything has meaning. I do think he falls back on old habits. This is a response I have heard over the two years. I do think it is a major defense mechanism so he does not have to deal with any criticism or making any changes.

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  35. I have a need to vent and talk to those who understand. What is wrong we me? Great husband, new house, community service, friends, travel. I have left over emotion from a hard trigger. He said, "I'm probably not going to be extravagant at your boirthday as I have previous been. I thought , well you figured out how to buy the OW a $1500 necklace for $150. You can figure out something your are a very clever guy." Well I went down the rabbit hole very bad. Now the next few days it is like I feel nothing. I feel like I'm not married in my mind anymore. I don't feel like kissing him, I don't want him. I feel nothing. I have beat the blues many times. Part of me got to thinking what made me not care about him prior to the affair? I can think of several instances he was mean to me. An asshole disrespecting me mean. I had a flat tire and he refused to come help. I just got out of surgery and he went back to work the next day with me immobile. He would shake his glass if he wanted a freash drink. I don't why I put up with this? I look at him now, he is not that way anymore and admits most of our marriage issues were his fault. I still look at him past meanness and cheater. I don't why I didn't think about the past in this way before but it is sure depressing.

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    1. LLP,
      I'm struck by something you wrote. You mentioned his comment. And then you wrote, "I thought..." and detailed your trip down the rabbit hole, cataloguing every shitty thing he ever did to you.
      At no point did you write, "So I asked him why he was saying that." I wonder if you got curious (see latest blog post!!) and asked him why he didn't think he could be extravagant, if you might have saved yourself a lot of misery. Might he have said, "I'm worried about money right now because of blah blah." Or "I thought if we were frugal, we could afford a great summer vacation." Or...who knows? But I'm betting he wouldn't have said, "I just don't really love you that much so don't feel like spending much money on you." Regardless of what he said, you could have told him that you were a bit stung by the remark. That it reminded you of that horrible time when blah blah blah. That it made you feel unvalued. In other words, it could have been an instance where you each got to know what was in each other's hearts rather than relitigating his admittedly stupid past behaviour.
      LLP, you and I are a lot alike from what I can gather. WE're both so sensitive. And we're both still carrying a fair bit of trauma/baggage from our less-than-stellar childhoods. And we're both a bit prone to melancholy. But it's why you and I really need to find out answers before we leap to conclusions because our conclusions are always going to be about how nobody loves us enough.

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    2. LLP,
      Go back and read your April 1 reply to me -- it was really wise advice and applies here :)
      This "Feeling Stuck" forum is perfectly named. It seems we betrayed wives often are so good at raising each other up, but then our feelings make us stuck when it comes to ourselves. You know what you need to heal -- you show it in your replies to others. Try to trust yourself, even when you have setbacks.
      And I hope venting on here is helpful to you -- reading your vents is surely helpful to me!

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  36. Elle, thank you for pointing this out. All good comments and I agree. You are spot on about getting sad quickly and my sensitive meter is there for sure. Thank you for taking time to respond, it really helped. I think I'm a Five-Yearer.

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  37. I feel like most of the things hers are basically the same here for me. A lot of the same feelings and stories. Mine is he travels. A lot. I stay home and wait. He went to Dubai for some r&r while contracting in Iraq and boy did he r&r. With 3 hookers and a Thai massage happy ending that ended up being a 2 week ordeal. I only found out because he was acting so squirly. I'm 15 months out and still really struggling. He seems to think that I should be farther along. He doesn't think about it at all whilst at times it's all I think about. His travel doesn't help. I go over and over the lies, the deceit, the transferance of quilt, all the things. I still can't believe after everything I've done for him he did this to me. To us. We went thru cancer, prison ( I faithfully waited) kids and drugs the list is long. I've supported his travels and career to the point I gave up my own. Not one person we knew saw this coming. How long will this take? We are both in anti depressants. It seems to be working much better for him. I do feel so stuck. It's either great or crap. I'm obsessed by this woman. Her Instagram is full of love letters ,flowers gifts and pictures of him. I hate her. I dream of going there ordering up one massage and hello. Surprise. I so want to get back to the place of trust. i don't understand why this happened. I think that's part of my issue. He says it didn't have anything to do with me and he never wanted a divorce. He always loved me. This doesn't compute for me.
    Help?

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    1. Kathleeneyrissa,
      It's hard to understand that their choices have nothing to do with us but it's true. It's about escaping into a fantasy to avoid reality. The affair isn't real to them -- it's a chance to feel like someone else. You have the misfortune (!!) of being a real person with real feelings that he's expected to take into account.
      Are you in any sort of therapy? That might help you begin to process this. Because though you're 15 months out, I suspect there's a whole lot of pain you haven't begun to deal with. Anti-depressants work for those with a chemical imbalance in their brains. They're not happy pills. And given your deep sense of sadness and pain, they won't do much for you until you really allow yourself to process all that.
      I would also urge you to take this time to really figure out what YOU want to do with your life. You've sacrificed so much for this guy (drugs? Prison??) and it sounds as if you haven't spent much time figuring out what you want. Your job in life isn't to make someone else happy. It's to live your own best life. When you find a healthy life partner, they want that for you as well.
      Please find a therapist who can help you with all this stuff. You don't deserve the pain you're in and you don't need to live like this. I'm not saying leave him necessarily -- I'm just saying, get clear on what you really want and map a way to achieve it.

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  38. At the end of our last counseling session my H was talking about how we spent time together doing things we both enjoy and how nice that was. The counselor asked if there was anything we wanted to talk about before leaving. I said maybe just something to think about for the next session, it is precisely BECAUSE we spent so much time together doing things we both enjoy that I am struggling so much now. We WERE doing all those things together and we WERE happy. However, at the same time he was spending time with the OW. I cannot understand that. I am now not sure of anything, how do you make them understand that? I did not have my head buried in the sand, I was not in denial, he was a MASTER OF DECEPTION. How do I now trust any experience? The thing is, I know he was happy, he will be the first one to tell you that! How do I ever believe he is not doing it again?

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  39. HeartShattered1978April 8, 2017 at 6:22 AM

    Part 1: I posted this above but don't know if it got lost in the shuffle. I really need some advise, please:
    "HELP! I guess I spoke too soon above. Looked at my husband's phone last night and saw a fetish group page in the history. I brought the phone to him to explain. I knew about his fetish and have even indulged, incorporating it into our sex life. He said he is ashamed and always has been but wanted to find other people like him so that he didn't feel so abnormal. Okay, fine, even though I dont like the social website, chat, forum aspect of this, I do understand needing to feel somewhat normal. Where he goes over the line is that he communicated with 2 girls on this page. Initially talking about his history with said fetish, but then slipping into telling them how sexy their pictures are and he got off (WTF!!!) to some of one's pictures. The other girl had more back and forth correspondence. He did (eventually) mention that he was married and that he hoped it didnt weird her out knowing that he was married to continue talking. The explosion was the request to exchange private emails to send pictures of each other because "he didnt want to do it on the public site." He said he send a clothed selfie but states she never sent one back. Website account started 2 months ago, more correspondence 2 days ago, then a quick "where've you been?" message last night. All the while I am home ALONE with our children while he is staying late trying to catch up on work. I blew up at him so bad and he knew that I would find this unacceptable and it was inappropriate communication talking about his sexual fantasies to other women and telling them he got off to them!!! I am so torn, I feel like I should be leaving him because D Day was supposed to be the last straw. He said that he would never cheat on me again, that he gets these overwhelming comulsions to look up photos/ videos of this fetish and reaching out to them was not trying to hook up but to "bond" or whatever ovr these thoughts and fetishes. To the women who have dealt with sex addiction or something similar, what do you do????? I said he needed to go to therapy because this is showing a pattern but he is too humiliated by the nature of his fetish to tell anyone in person. OTher than finding this things have been really good and he has been stepping up. Our older daughter beams with happiness when we are all together as a family unit. I am so afraid it will break her spirit if I was to leave him. He deleted his account and said he would never again but how can I believe this when first the adult friend finder/ Ashley Madison affair, now this? He doesnt even have my frigid bitchy negativity to blame this time.
    Please help!"

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  40. HeartShattered1978April 8, 2017 at 6:23 AM

    Part 2: A day+ after the above event I am thinking back on things said. One stupid thing said was "We got out of our routine (sex couple x a week) in January, What happened?" Turns out it was due to his decreased libido, which I mentioned. But WHAT BS!~ Does this enforce that he wont go to the sites as long as we keep up the sex?? BS!!!!!!He said that he gets the urge and tries to suppress, but eventually he has to look. I spoke with my therapist who said sex addiction needs to be viewed the same as alcoholism and drug addiction. It has nothing to do with spiting me, and when he is deep into it just his love for me will not pull him out. She said he needs to really sit and recognize w/o getting defense how it spirals. I really do love him but I dont know that I can trust that in time he will not do this again. Now, he will just be better at hiding it since when I confronted him he now saw where I was going to find history, so he can delete it. I looked at his phone last night and he went in and wiped out the entire web search history, not just the recent stuff. So am I to take this as he is attempting to wipe the slate clean and make a real effort to block that part of his life, or did I just see that he was successful in figuring out how to remove the evidence. We didnt end up talking last night because I was exhausted. I told him this morning we will need to talk later.What do I say to him to hold that mirror up to his face. I've already told him that I started looking into changing the utility bills to his name (they wouldn't let me, he has to call) I am hoping that he realizes this is not one of my past cry wolf "Im leaving" I need him to make this his rock bottom. My therapist said he could go by himself or as a couple therapy to address this.
    Girls, please help me.

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  41. You could purchase a recording device and have it put on his phone. Don't do it behind his back. Tell him you are putting a key logger software on his phone and will be able to see everything he does. Perhaps that will discourage him from doing this. My husband handed over his phone to me on dday and hasn't had a cell phone since.

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    1. HeartShattered1978April 8, 2017 at 6:45 PM

      Thank you fir your reply. I have considered putting software on his phone but haven't because i feel if I have to do this then what is the point. I considered taking phone but one of my triggers is i need to be able to reach him. Plus, what's to stop him from getting a secret phone or use his work computer. .as he's done in the past. I talked to some family today who previously offers to take me in if ever needed. I didn't give details of what happened and said in not 100% sure what I'm gonna do. Just asking in case that's what i decide. My anxiety is so bad right now. Whenever i think about leaving i feel like I'm gonna throw up. I've only eaten one a day since it happened and that was forced.i don't know how in gonna get through this

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  42. You will get through this, I know it doesn't feel like that ,,but you will get through this. When I found out ,I threw up for 3 days. I placed the floor for hours and didn't even realize I was doing it until my legs shook so bad I could hardly stand.
    I had to keep telling myself that I did nothing wrong,that I deserve better. I still have triggers , music , tv shows , every holiday. Nothing was off limits to him , if he couldn't get away to spend time with her,he was emailing and texting her. I have issues still but it's getting better I think.
    Just hang onto yourself and keep your faith.

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    1. HeartShattered1978April 12, 2017 at 5:48 AM

      Thank you. <3 We have talked extensively as well as fought since me seeing the website. I actually sent him a link from one of Elle's recent posts about what is reasonable. He actually got very upset because he said he looked around the site and said he saw alot of what I've been telling him and my conditions, etc on the site. Meaning he thought I was just spouting off my demands because this site tells me what to demand. Obviously I told him that all of my statements, conditions, etc are my own, that if other women going through the same thing I am have or need similar boundaries then that is what it is. I did give him my list of boundaries/ needs from him and for the most part he has already started working to put them in place. He states he does not want to go down the dark path ever again so he is making a serious effort. The hold out was therapy, but after me giving all of my reasons..for me and for him, plus him talking to a friend that suggested he should give it a try,...he is starting to warm up to it. Thank you very much for your shoulder in this difficult time. <3

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  43. It is becoming so clear to me how broken my husband was. I feel really good about the place I am personally. And I have no doubt that my husband has not done anything to betray me. What I am starting to see is I feel like he is lost. He really lived his life a certain way, selfish all the time. Even way before the affair years it was all about him. And his affair years lasted a long time. He surrounded himself with people that I think made him feel better about himself even though they knew nothing about his affairs. But in general these friends push the limits in their lives in other areas. I hear his words and I know how much I mean to him and I believe that but he said that never waivered even while having his affairs. I do not think there is anything at all with other women at all but he seems to be reminded of his poor behavior when he is around his friends. It drags him down. It is not as if he goes and loves it which he feels is a good sign. But I see him as lost in this all. He has changed and they have not. They want to continue on doing what they have always done and he does not want to anymore. He is not able or capable of just dabbling. For example he does not feel he can play golf and come home. He feels like he has to get drinks and dinner and more drinks. I ask him why and he says that is a great questions. This for me is the root of everything. I see it all connected. Especially while with friends and drinking his judgement is clouded and he is unable to prioritize his feelings and needs. I feel like I see this clear as day. But I am one to go home when I want, not drink if I do not feel like it etc. I even said to him if he had the best time with his friends and loved catching up we would still have boundaries, but instead he comes home with regret that he was out too late, drank too much and would have been happier at home. It almost seems like he feels stuck with these friends. They are lifelong friends but he has less in common with now than ever before. Again it seems so clear to me. He has spent a lot less time with them and they have noticed his absence. Anyone else experience this?

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    1. One last thing is... my husband is so vigilant about his behaviors and never cheating again. I can tell he has thought a lot about it and he said even if he is ever unhappy he would talk to me this time and he has learned. I believe him since I think the impact of all of this has in the end been worse for him. So he tells me all the time he is a new man and would never do that ever. I told him recently that is great but at the point we are at now it is about the quality of our marriage and relationship more than anything. How do I want to live my life and with what type of person even if he never cheats on me. Maybe he is not there yet or maybe he sees things in a more simplified way. I feel like I surprised him with my comment and he thinks all I want to hear is I will never cheat.

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    2. Hopeful 30, I am also becoming very clear on how broken my husband was and how his early life experiences set him up for sex addiction. First of all, he was a premie who was left in the hospital for 6 weeks without much mother contact because they thought he would die. Think about a premie now and how much touch they get and home much handling they get. I also know without a doubt that my husband has not done anything to betray me. He now understands that I love him, I always loved him and that everything I ever said about him to praise him was the truth in my eyes. I still find him handsome and attractive and he marvels when I tell him I still feel the same lust now that I did 37 years ago. Last year, I bought him a copy of John Bradshaw's book Home Coming. This has been an eye opening book for him as he slowly makes his way through the chapters. He is looking at his life experiences through much more open, mature and understanding eyes now that his brain fog around sex for comfort and pain relief is under control. He really doesn't want to hang out with his old friends and luckily for us they all live in other states so they use to get together once or twice a year for "guys weekend" but he would use that opportunity to go to a massage parlor or other house of prostitution. He said he always felt disgusted with himself after. Nobody knows about his past except me and his therapist. He is very different now in so many ways and almost everyone notices. They think it is because he is retired and I'm semi-retired and we travel a lot. We have used the travel as time to regroup without having to interact with our children/grandchildren and extended family. I use to feel very guilty about leaving "home" with him but now I see it as a necessary part of our marriage relationship and healing journey. We need to not feel guilty about our kids/grandkids and other family because we need to focus on us and each other in order to really cement this new bond. Like your husband, mine says he always loved me, never wanted to leave of hurt me and is very grateful that he wakes up next to me every single day. He has daily reminders of how he let himself down and let himself veer from the path of who he wanted to be. I really don't see that happening again unless I die. He has said that he fears he will slip back into drinking again if that happens. For now, we are just taking good care of ourselves and when the opportunity does present itself for him to bow out of something he might say to his old friends, "You know, I'm getting older and I have to be around to keep my wife happy so she will still want to take care of me in my old age." After awhile, they really do stop asking so much. He is maturing and they are not. Your husband may not have reached that place where he can just set better boundaries with his old drinking buddies but it does sound like he is doing much better. He might want to have an alcohol evaluation too. I'm sure it is much more difficult for him because he is a mental health professional and I can tell you that we are our own worst enemies. We think because we read all the books and take the training and "talk the talk" that we can do this on our own. Unlike your husband, I knew from D-day that I needed help and so did he. My ACES met his ACES and there was nothing either of us could do to contain that explosion because he knew about my ACES but I did not know about his. He never told me or anyone the truth about how he grew up so it was a lifelong descent into emotional turmoil and hell for him that only ended when he thought he had AIDS. Thankfully he did not and now we are on the mend. Virtual hugs out to you my secret sister and friend.

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    3. Beach Girl,

      As always so much I can relate to in your words. I think what is hardest is we are still relatively young and these people are part of my husband's day to day life. Almost all of them live near us. I need to research the whole alcohol assessment and ask my therapist. It is tricky since he is in the business. I do know he is careful of his words and not on purpose but that is how he always talks but he says both himself and our marriage are better off the less he drinks. So he has acknowledged that. He limits himself a lot more than his friends which is good but they take things over the top. It is crazy but they will still peer pressure him to drink. He has gone out and not drank and he says they will be relentless. He will stick to it and does not give in. That is good but he does have issues related to this. It is hard since if I was to say my ideal it would be to give up all of his friends. I am not sure if that is healthy or realistic either. We have tried to branch out to other couples but it always revolves around drinking it seems. He has not taken any trips that were not planned and paid for before dday over the past two years. This is a continued issue as they keep on him and have delayed trips since he has said no. I know he has fun hanging out for a while with his friends but he has said to me recently if he never sees them again he could care less that me and the kids are his priority. So he is thinking that way but then I have a feeling he is sitting there thinking will he never have time with any friends. He loves to play golf and does not drink while he does even if his friends do but they always go out forever after that. He really needs to do some work on all of this. I am hoping to sit down with him in the next couple of days and initiate some conversations around these issues.

      That is unreal about your husband's first weeks of life. How different than how they handle it now. That explains a lot in addition to the rest of his upbringing. My husband as far as we know has nothing like that. He was spoiled, indulged and entitled is all I can tell.

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    4. Hopeful 30, I just wanted to say I understand the pressures 'social' drinking puts on people (not to mention relationships). It is virtually impossible to have a social life in our circles too without (often excessive) drinking.

      In my h's case, he sadly started drinking alone some months ago. For one reason or another he is tending to avoid his friends. He has cut back a good bit but is by no means out of the woods.

      I wonder if your h might consider taking up another sport- like a more intense one requiring training (half-marathon?) He could then tell his friends he's in training and can't stay for dinner/ drinks.
      This has been a good face-saving device for several people I know. Most people respect a short-term athletic goal and don't insist. It's so ironic that they wouldn't respect a reason like 'for my mental/emotional health, I need to stop'.

      There may even be a charity run (cancer research or something close to your family's heart) he could sign up for... to make it even more likely that he will follow through. Good role model for kids too.

      My h did some, but is now very stuck in self-sabotage. I stll believe it's a good approach... if the person truly gets on board and wants to keep training to achieve their goal.

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    5. Hopeful 30, I've been thinking about you a lot. As you said, your kids are fairly young and in desperate need of strong parental role models. It must be very difficult for your husband to set strong boundaries with his buddies even though he works in the mental health field. Drinking lowers inhibitions, causes people to misjudge all kinds of things and basically clouds judgement. I don't know you or your husband but in the mental health field, it is not at all uncommon for practitioners to step back from their outside activities and focus on themselves and their families. The IC I see is amazing. She disclosed that she had a drinking problem early in her marriage and described to me how addicts arrange their lives and schedules to be able to justify getting their "fix". She also described the moment when she stopped and looked at what she was doing and how it was affecting her marriage and child and decided to stop drinking and make big changes. She actually told her circle of friends that she believed that she had to quit drinking because it was lowering the quality of her life. She said she lost friends who did not think she had a problem but she told me that she knew she had a problem regardless of if anyone else saw it or not. She pulled back from all of her socializing with the exception of her kids school events and then she started taking classes on Mindfulness. She has incorporated that over many years so that she teaches classes for Mindfulness for Addiction. The people in her class have all kinds of addictions and my husband took that class. Those who came did not disclose what their addiction was but just the other day my H told me it was probably the class that helped him the most but it took four classes before he really understood and "got" it. If your husband has never taken any Mindfulness trainings he might want to look into that. I know in the Pacific Northwest there are several places for training and practice. Many of the therapist offices in Washington state where I live incorporate it into their therapy. It has been very helpful for both of us. You can read about Jon Kabat-Zinn here. http://www.mindful.org/jon-kabat-zinn-defining-mindfulness/ There is so much value in this. Your children and you might also find it beneficial. Here is a link for kids. https://amysmartgirls.com/short-film-just-breathe-helps-kids-deal-with-emotions-1b4f91dac5ad In some ways, I think this has really helped me more than anything, understanding how to control my thoughts and really look at things. I think most importantly is that the peer pressure she felt to socialize after work was intense and when she finally said, "Look, I work in the helping field and my family needs me more than you need me. I love to spend time with you but the cost is too high right now. Maybe someday I can go back to the things I liked to do with you but for the forseeable future I'm going to focus on my work, my family and learning new skills. Honestly this is so hard. My husband also had a very selfish streak and I know it is still there but when I think it is beginning to rear it's ugly head I am able to use some gentle questions to bring things back to even keel. I use to think that life would get easier as I aged. What a shock to find out that it only gets more challenging but as I learn to set and live by better boundaries I feel much better about myself.

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    6. Hopeful 30, beach girl and Selkie I just wanted to put a spanner in the mix and let you know that my h doesn't drink yet has the social life of someone who does..I can't even blame his affair on alcohol and his jaded judgement he was plain cold sober and still carried it out more than once. Having an alcoholic father I know the devastating effects of the disease, my dad passed away 4 years ago from organ failure ultimately the alcohol killed him one way or another. as I've heard here many times before the men who betray us are lacking something and many self soothe in the most destructive ways. My h used steroids for years he didn't like what he saw in the mirror it upset me so much as I loved him for who he was and hated that he went to such lengths and inject himself with poison but he couldn't see it.. then it got out of hand and the side effects outweighed any benefits, he has probably damaged his liver, again it's the consequences of his poor choices. He's not using them anymore thank god. I do try to understand but find it difficult at times as I think it's selfish and inconsiderate. Why are men such hard work??? I can only hope and pray that I do a better job at raising my sons..

      Us ladies have so much to deal it just shows how compassionate we are .. thanks for listening xxxx

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  44. HI Hopeful,
    I have been wanting to write for a while, sorry it's taken so long.
    I can tell you that I have felt something very similar from my husband. He was lost just like you see in your husband, and he will admit it straight out- his soul was dead, he was not in touch with himself or aware of what was going on with me or the kids in a present way. He missed so so much. And now he has so much regret. It is very difficult for me to watch because it is all true. And our boys are teenagers now. He is doing everything he can to strengthen his relationship with them.
    Just like your husband, I would say that my husband was very self involved. And this led to not facing reality. He lost a lot of control in his life, and just went deeper and deeper down a hole of shame, It was VERY much all about him. Not to say there wasn't a lot of wonderful times, couple times, family times, things we shared, loving gestures, care...we had so much good and connection, .but it dwindled and dwindled. Now I know that when the affairs started it was a sexual need and avoidance of pain. We were separated a lot due to his work. But one of the hardest things, which has just come out in the therapy for me is, is that when it started things were actually very good. It makes it so hard to accept that it happened and he was normal and we were planning vacations and being intimate and good to each other. After the point when he got in too deep, his guilt set in, his shame grew, and excuse my language...but he was most of the time such an asshole to me. I thought it was work stress and depression.
    He had a little circle of friends who knew what he was doing and plenty of colleagues who do the same thing....so we had to set up a plan that he won't associate with them anymore outside of work. He changed his email and phone and we have a new family email so that he can give something out if he needs to, because in his line of work it could be seen as insulting to be so removed. It's not been easy. He's had to dodge dinners and drinks after work while traveling. What we realized is that there can be no drinking. He is not a full blown alcoholic but he can't resist when others are drinking. He did drink heavily during the affairs in order to cope and now it's resulted in somewhat of a problem, but he stopped two weeks ago. Perhaps your husband is in this situation. It's like mine can't just go out with the group unless he drinks just like they do and do what they do. So we agreed it had to be avoided, even at the cost of losing friends. The difference here is that he doesn't care about these friendships much as they are work related. It sounds like your husband has known these people for so long and has relied on them to fulfill something in him. It may be hard to let go of that pattern, or he may feel obligated to them in some strange way, or doesn't want to lose something.
    Maybe you can suggest that he skip some of these outings and that you fill that time with something else.involving you and the kids. In time, once he has had some distance and some time to think, if he wants to see them he may see that all that drinking and bonding is actually childish and not something he wants or needs anymore. He may worry about losing these friends, but the real ones will stick it out with him. It's a difficult situation. The drinking is a big big no no. Even if it's not a drinking problem per se, it's something that he has a hard time avoiding, so boundaries need to be set.
    I'm really quite sure my husband has cleaned up with his affairs and selfishness. the change has been unbelievable. Like he was knocked out of a trance. But still, it's hard to believe that he would do this and still love me as much as he said he always has. I struggle with it.
    I will tell you more about my therapy soon...it's a lot to describe.

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    1. Julia, thank your for writing and sharing your thoughts. It is crazy how similar they were. It was odd since it was not constant. My husband's affairs were sporadic so I think that is why his behavior was confusing. He even said when he would have no contact he would feel less ashamed and put it out of his mind then when there was any communication or contact he would be more distant. Sometimes he would go over a year without contact with the one ow and the other one 6 months or more. He also ended both affairs about 15 months before dday in his own since he hated himself so much.

      And same thing here he missed so much. He was detached at times. I feel bad for our kids and him. He is doing an amazing job now and as a teen and preteen I am glad this all came out now. This is such an important time for him to be more involved in their lives and also supporting me through it all.

      I have thought about an ultimatum regarding his friends. He has pulled back in a major way and as I said they have noticed. I see this as a major issue he needs to confront. He needs to figure out what will be best for him and for us. It is odd since I always thought I would be worried and consumed with affairs and now that is such a distant thought. It is so much more and about how he lives his life. It is tricky we have known each other a long time and we are still fairly young. Many of these friends are some of his earliest friends. They have postponed trips since he has said no. They all think and assume it is money related. They cannot understand him when he says he wants to focus on time with me and our kids, it is foreign to them. He has come so far but this is complicated stuff and I see it as intertwined. He sees it more simplistic. To me it all gets down to his decision making and listening to himself. Whether it is having too many drinks when you really wanted to go home, flirting with a waitress or girl that comes up to you at the bar or golf course, giving out your cell number to me it is all judgement. I question his and if he does what is best or what others want. He has changed so much and that is a good thing but I see this as a major change. As I said if he went out and had the best time ever telling stories and hanging out with his friends and came home later than he said or had a few too many drinks that would be major discussion still but what concerns me is he did that and came home unhappy and wishing he did not do all of that. I am wired so different so as with all of this it makes it complicated.

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    2. HI Hopeful,
      I hope you are doing better today with everything. It may be just a down time where you are struggling with some questions, but I'm sure it will get better. With everything you have written I can see that you and your husband are working so carefully on restoring everything and moving forward. It's been inspiring to me.
      I wanted tell you about the Imago therapy I had mentioned.
      The core of imago therapy is healing together, that in order to heal from hurts caused by your partner, and even some childhood fears, that you must heal with another through connection. This can be your partner, your parent or your child. The basis is to strengthen the connection by being fully present and honest, and even tapping in to your body and how it responds to what you are saying, so you can find and express more. There really is no getting past it, the sessions in imago therapy or when we have done them at home (they are called visits) are extremely intense. I almost don't want to do them at first because the emotions are so strong. I sob and sob, and so does my husband. Some of it is in response to my pain and what he caused, some of it is his own pain. All kind of things come out. I learned so much about him and I still am, and I thought I knew him pretty well (obviously I didn't). I couldnt imagine him betraying me, I'm sure you have been there. It was a big secret life, such a shameful life he lived inside himself. Now I am getting a glimpse of why and where that came from.
      As for me, I learned so much about why I deal with things the way I do, how i was brought up, how I was taught by my parents, why I trust the way i do, why I love the way i do, abandonment issues etc. Through these sessions they say "encounters" or "visits" I've been able to dig deep and he's been able to listen. I in turn listen to him. It's been unbelievably healing to be understood in that way. The Imago people call this "crossing the bridge into the other person's world". When you arrive there you are truly with them.
      It's only the beginning. We've seen great change but we've only done about five visits so far. But we both believe in it and we want to live by it. There is a new language attitude that we need to use and the visits follow a very specific formula. It can seem very stiff at first. But the results are miraculous I feel.
      The other idea of Imago is "the space between us" like magnets that turn toward each other. I had never thought about my relationship with my husband that way, But it is what is created between you when you are connecting with another, good or bad. It's more than walking around with resentment or anger or love and joy. It is actually what happens with those feelings when you are connected to another at that moment. The term they use is "pollution" when the space is not working and is not healthy and clear. When we end a visit we can actually feel a sense of a beautiful space between us. I know it sounds hokey! But I swear it's pretty remarkable. And for me being truly heard has helped me tremendously. I do feel more understood as a person, not just through my pain.
      Thngs will never be the same as they were before all of this. Not for me, not for him and not for us. It will always be part of us, and I wish I had another story. Maybe someday I can look at it in a different way and just see the good, as there is a lot of good. But times are tough to be sure. Growth through pain I guess is what it is, and not easy at all. But if you are doing it together, I think it makes a world of difference.
      Anyway, that's my take on Imago. I recommend it or anything similar. There is a wonderful woman who has taken the idea a step further. She does not call it Imago therapy but she did start off that way. Her name is Hedy Schleifer and she has many videos on Youtube. Our therapist trained with her.
      I hope things are ok with you and that you are able to get some good time talking with your husband. Keep your chin up : )

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    3. Julia, thank you for that breakdown and information. I will need to look into it more. Sounds like a lot of our discussions. I go to therapy alone. But our discussions are very similar to what you describe but I am sure without the structure. Some of it sounds similar to John Gottman's work. I have found his books to be beneficial. Some focus on infidelity but now that I am further along his other books about marriage/relationships/communication have been so helpful. One of his major things is to turn towards your partner even when you don't feel like it or are not super interested. My husband introduced me to him.

      We need to have an in depth talk. Right now he is very focused on us turning down invites from friends and doing what he can for me and the kids besides when he is at work. It goes in cycles which I think is an issue. We will find a time we are both so vigilant that we not talk while the kids are home which makes it tricky.

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    4. Hi Hopeful,

      I read your post a few times through. I think I understand. And I am with you, I don't see any more affairs in my husband's future. He's suffered way too much and opened up way too much. I think I had told you before, he said it would be like ending his life, going back to that dark place, he might as well hold a gun to his head, etc. Also, he would lose the kids, not just me. They have lost respect for him already because they know, and it's just been horrible for him and them to cope with this, although in the long run it's out in the open and the kids are learning a lot about forgiveness and mistakes, human behavior and relationships...it really isn't fun but we are trying to make the best of it. Anyway, what I'm saying is no more affairs I'm sure. Outsiders who don't understand may think what a foolish wife to think that...but I'm quite sure.

      But what I hear you saying I think is that you don't like his behavior and judgement outside of what he did, and you don't feel comfortable with how he is somewhat pushed around by his friends. Maybe you feel it reflects on his character a bit- to make the right decisions. Yes, it's all intertwined. My husband was not good at making the right decisions because he ALWAYS based it on what the other person wanted...he's a people pleaser and gave up so much by trying to please everyone except of course me. I got the leftovers because I knew him the best and he could be himself with me, which during the affairs was a mireabke, irritable, guilty man who knew he compromised everything and he was very very lost. The self hatred is still not resolved.

      I'm with you. It's a trust thing. I'm very watchful now of the decisions my husband makes in all areas. It shows strength of character to make the right ones for the right reasons. Making the right decisions can be uncomfortable at first (like disappointing friends). My husband was not always strong, in fact he was very weak and pushed around and manipulated very easily. He can dish it out too though...so it's a double edged sword. He manipulated me and his two affair partners to get what he needed. They pushed and manipulated him back horribly. But basically it all boils down to priorities that guide one's decisions. If I'm not feeling like the kids and I are a priority I basically get very upset and I struggle inside. I now know how to speak up about that. Before when I did, and I certainly felt my husband was selfish and preoccupied before, he was able to argue his way out of it. I basically gave up trying, and I pulled away.
      So what I think is happening for you is that even though your husband wants to come home or regrets going at all... you feel uncomfortable with his ability to say no. And perhaps that you don't feel first or like a team when he makes these choices. I totally get it. This can be changed. You must talk about it often and he must listen carefully. It's got to be very hard because of his profession in a way.
      You can do it!!!! You've got a great core of your relationship, I can tell. Push him a little... he needs to address this and it's clear he needs your help to see it from outside himself. He doesn't want to lose his friends or appear less than a fun guy, or leave the group...some guys are like pack animals!! I bet most of his friends are not nurturing their marriages. How could they??

      Hugs to you!

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  45. Hopeful 30 my h seems to be in a very similar place to yours. Lifelong friends and as they say old habits die hard.. my h just can't seem to say 'no' to his friends however has no problem saying no to me .. I've made it clear how I feel and wait for him to make that stance and put me first which I know he can he just needs to practice a little more.. I think men share similar things as women do, they have much more time on their hands. We both have good social circles however like you I know when I need to be home with my family and wouldn't jeopardise my time with my family for anyone.. I just keep hoping he will grow up one day, in the mean
    Time I just get on with making my life as best as I can , whether he wants to be part of it or not .. enjoying a holiday with my boys at the moment having the best time.. missing my h a little xx

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    1. Sam, it is really hard. And that is one thing I have learned over these two years that much if this is habit. I think some of these behaviors are from before we met 25+ years ago. And not even the affair behaviors but other stuff. What is so interesting is the friends and behavior connected to them and being immature has always been a topic for us. Even before having kids. I wish I would have listened to my gut more. But I would not have my kids and they are the best. So I am thankful for them. It is tricky. He tells we are his priority and even more me not just the kids. He is super affectionate and said he would give up seeing them ever again all he needs is me/us. It is all great but he has enjoyed his time golfing watching a game etc, he does all of this so much less now. But if he gives it all up will that lead to other issues? I do agree guys have so much more time on their hands. He always tells me to go away with my friends but my friends do not have the time or allocate the money for non family trips.

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  46. Ok here I am, in the same place mother was staying for finances. My mother said to the OW, you can have him but that is all you get. The OW had 6 kids. My mom meant money, and here I sit doing the exactly the same thing. I sacrificed for his retirement. I sacrificed for my retirement. I mean big sacrififices! So I'm willing to give that up up ow just because he liked to put his jizzim on her back breast and whatever? How does this even make sense? Is that my internal torture? Money for security for pain? Is that why I feel no peace only pain? I'm ending up just like my mom. That is so sad. There is no way out. No light. I have tried all the therapy techniques. I mean really tried. Hell I was in therapy for 3 years. I'm not crazy. I took care of thousands of patients with sincerity, concern and used my highly technical skills. He broke me. He killed my soft spot, my soft light.

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    1. Do not let him break you. Have you considered going away somewhere for a week or two to reconnect with your own inner light? (A retreat or a trip to a country with a favourable exchange rate would not be too expensive). Your self-respect and peace of mind are worth more than any money. There is always another way.

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  47. Hi all,
    its Polly here, I have you all to thank for getting through my nightmare, you gave me so much support. Being betrayed is impossible to describe, pain, hurt, despair and horror are just a few words that tell the story NOT it all.
    This ordeal goes on and on , we shop for the pain ,keep on revisiting it ,tormenting ourselves. I for one thought it would never end, the trust was gone!! I didn't know the man I married in 1967.
    I want to tell you all that 4 years later I am on top of the world, my husband and I are better friends than we have ever been. Looking back I can see our relationship had hit rock bottom, we bickered and moaned at each other constantly. The OW made him happy, I can see that now. He admits it was just a sticking plaster over a problem as he still loved me yet was very unhappy. I was too yet we just carried on regardless !!!
    I will not go as far as saying that I am glad he had an affair because I am DEFINATLY not!!! yet by facing the horrendous crisis together it drew us ultimately together. For the first time in years we TALKED!!
    OH I became ill, he became upset at the time it took for me to stop bitching at him . yet day by day we won each battle until the war was won. Day by day the black clouds lifted until once again the sun came out. I finally knew I loved him from the bottom of my heart and that he loves me back and is sorry for the lost time.
    If the OW had not happened I often wonder if we would not have co existed in a half life neither happy or sad just go through the motions. AND HERE I AM, We hold hands cuddle ,kiss and do lots more together now, we cook lovely meals together, have date nights and actually like each other. We are better friends than we EVER were.
    I hope my story helps you to hang in there and get to this point too. THANK YOU ALL FOR HELPING.
    Love always Polly

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    1. Polly,

      Thank you for sharing! And that is great news where you are after all that hard work. I do agree with you that I never can day I am glad my husband did what he did. But I am glad that it came out and we have been able to rebuild our marriage. My husband said he considered leaving me and not telling me to spare me. I am so glad he did not do this. On dday he had end both affairs for over 15 months. I know it was hard for him to admit but it has given him a second chance and our marriage too. We are the best we have ever been but my expectations are elevated so more work to do.

      Thank you for sharing and the inspiration and hope.

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    2. Polly, thank you for popping in and sharing your light. You made it! Our life is going in much the same way as yours. Can't believe you've been married so long and had to deal with betrayal. Makes my 66 years seem minor. Anyway, you are a beacon of hope and I like that view. I have no idea what your back story is but if you are where you are today after 4 years of fighting for your marriage then that is wonderful.

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  48. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  49. Thank you, Polly! You give me a lot of hope. I'll never say that my husband having an affair was the best thing for our marriage,...I will never be happy about it. But I can see my marriage heading in a MUCH better direction. So if I can get to where you are and keep it that way, I will be very happy!! We are already much better friends after 14 months of struggle and pain and years of unhappiness before that. Thanks so much for sharing where you are now and that it seemed at first like ithe horror would never end. It's a fear of mine. You give me hope!!

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  50. I understand what you are all going through, it really is the worst of times. The feeling of betrayal is horrible, those awful sex thoughts so painful, the thinking about takes your breath as if you were punched in the stomach.
    "this cannot be happening to me!" No one thinks they will be hit like this.
    My story was horrible, I saw selfies of him having sex with OW I heard him declare his love for his "beautiful girlfriend" I hit rock bottom, never believed I would get over it. some members told me to leave him as he was cruel to me after I found out. I had been by his side for 50 years and although I felt so angry, disgusted and broken I still found the strength to remember us through most of those years. Our relationship had deteriated and once I accepted that fact I looked a little closer.
    NO EXCUSE for his affair I knew yet I found I understood he needed being taken notice of and knew I hadn't been doing that. He tells me often now how grateful he is that I saved our marriage tells me he would never have left me and felt ridiculous for succumbing to one of his (adult) STUDENTS ADVANCES!!!we talked long and painfully about it ,I asked horridly awkward questions he found difficult to answer, but he tried!!
    I cannot pretend it was an easy road as it was not. It had several terrible bumps along the way. Yet honestly in the end it is OK I even trust him again something I thought I would NEVER do!!!
    I know he regrets his actions which he says was stupidity.
    I doubt any one of us will ever FORGET their affair all we can do is learn to live with it and honestly one day you realise its an age since you gave it a thought.
    Julia, there IS hope but it sure takes its damn time! love is what conquers it in the end. Now is the time to turn your marriage around. in my case I had to accept it was failing badly yet after 45 years I thought "what can I expect!"
    Actually quiet a lot, I can HONESTLY say we love each other more than ever and treat each other much better.
    Good luck to you all there IS life after this nightmare!!!
    Polly

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    1. Thanks again Polly!
      This is all so inspiring and I appreciate you sharing your story! I will remember it on my journey. We are working very hard, my husband is putting all his efforts into change and rebuilding what we had. I'm so sorry it was lost for a time... it was a long time. So it will take a long time to come out on the other side. Thank you for reminding me that love is what conquers in the end. : ) I'll try not to be so reactive and emotional and lose sight of that. it's not easy but I'm getting there.

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  51. Update after finally having our discussion that I talked about above in earlier comments this week. It went really well. I am glad we were able to finally find a time to talk. I will say I was growing resentful it had to wait and I was even more resentful I had to bring it up. I think that is an issue and deep down I think whatever drove my husband to his affairs was probably something that maybe if he talked about with me I could have helped support him. But never knowing is the hardest part.

    He said he had been very down after last Saturday day and night with friends. It did last for several days. He has thought about it all week but never brought it up and was glad I did. But again why is it always me. I do believe he has not done anything wrong. We both agreed that even if he was not down we need to address the drinking and staying out later than he has. He has made major improvements in the 2+ years but this was a major slip up in that area and shows he is not totally changed or impervious to making less than good decisions. He thought about it a lot and basically while he is away with me he worries about me, what I am thinking, what I am feeling, if I trust him... Then when he comes home he starts to regret being away for the day and questions how to balance wanting to be with me and the kids and having a little bit of time with friends and other family. He basically thinks 85% of his time at least should be focused on us. the other 15% to be divided among his friends, family and anything besides our immediate family and couple time. He said he wants to be vigilant about setting a time he wants to be home by and if he will drink at all lay out a plan. He said this works so well for him. I told him that is great if it works but he has to own it and I am not going to remind him or check up on him. This is up to him to do. I honestly think he is so worried about his behavior when he is not with me and what I am thinking it consumes him. Then he comes home and feels sad like he missed out, let us down and also regrets his past more. I told him I am fine with the time away if boundaries are followed, he stays in touch as agreed, comes home at agreed time, etc. But what I am done with is this staying away all day then coming home down, depressed and teary eyed. To me that is the worst of both worlds. He was not home and then I deal with and see the aftereffects. That I said is something I am not willing to live with even if it happens only 1 time a year or very rarely. It is not what I want and if it is that hard on him then he needs to change something and his behavior and decision making. He totally agreed and I think that was the wake up call. He honestly thinks while he is gone I am sitting around stressed about him being out and his behavior. I am beyond that now but this result of a day/night away is not okay or appropriate. It really boils down to what kind of marriage/relationship I want and this is not it. He was down for 2-3 days because of it. This is no way to live. I hate it for me but it is even worse seeing him do this to himself. And even though I do not worry about an affair or anything like that now it seems like very similar behavior and decision making patterns that would eventually lead to that even if it took years.

    It ended well and I think he has a new perspective. Probably the biggest change or improvement is I was so matter of fact. I am beyond getting really upset or emotional. I think it comes from now more than ever I know what I want. I feel like that is a really good thing. He did make a joke saying that our process/journey reminds him of How to Train a Dragon. It was a good little laugh. I do want to decide how we can check in and also how to get him to speak up. In the past I could see the reason being maybe he would feel attacked or I would get emotional but that is not how it is now. I literally sit and stare at him and listen. I say so little. It is interesting what comes out when you just listen.

    Thank you everyone for always being there! You guys are the best!

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  52. Sounds like you had a really productive chat hopeful, wish I could bring up difficult issues without getting emotional and just listen. You are right though when I have just listened my h will open up and it's then hard to get a word in. Well done hopeful for sticking to your boundaries xxx

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    1. It is really the biggest change I have made not getting emotional and listening. It is so easy to just go off. Especially when I keep things pent up. Then all my husband hears is Charlie Brown's teacher talking. I could be saying the most important thing ever but it is lost. At first I was like who cares you have to take me however I am. No though for me it is about being effective and progress. I was not seeing progress and in the end it was dragging me down. For me the hardest part is bringing it up. Once I do I am all good. We learn a lot through all of this. I think the passing of time has helped me to get to this point.

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  53. I have just read your post about talking about our feelings and experiences, it really got to me (in an helpful way)
    My husbands Affair became known to my WHOLE family at the same moment I found out!!!
    let me explain, It was my birthday ,we were going out for a family meal ,so my parents ,sisters, sons and young nephew were gathered all of us waiting for my husband getting home from work.He should have been home by lunch but work pressure(that's a laugh!!) made him hours late often!!!!
    I was urged to phone him on his mobile, I did!!!!
    How it happened I will never understand as I broke into his conversation with his lover!!!! ON SPEAKER PHONE!!!!!
    the first words we all heard was" I know darling, its not fair!" I thought he was telling me he was sorry he was late, until we heard a womans voice nagging at him "no! its not fair ,we have been in bed all afternoon now you go and take HER out for a meal!! its Friday night it should be us going" He replied "I know my darling, you are who I want to be with ,you know I love you ,my beautiful girlfriend, I will make it up to you" at which point I collapsed !! my family tried to make him hear them but God knows why ,I had broken in to THAT conversation.
    I believe in GOD and came to believe he had showed me what I needed to know!!!
    He arrived home to face IT!! he did so bravely ,held his hands up accepted he was found out and was barraged with every emotion from my family. WHY! HOW COULD YOU!WHATEVER HAS SHE EVER DONE TO DESERVE THIS!!! Oh so many questions as I sat silently heartbroken.
    I asked them all to leave us alone ,we needed to talk
    "Why ? I asked
    " I do not know, she asked me out, I was stupidly flattered"
    "how long?"
    "over a year"
    "how old is she?"(as if it mattered)
    "45"that was 18 years younger than me!!
    "Do you really love her?"
    "yes, no, Oh I don't know, I love you"
    "did you think about me as you knelt above her and put yourself inside her!!?"( a low question but I was distraught)
    "I am so sorry, if its any consolation I had to pretend a lot, I was ashamed "
    I told him to go to her! I will never leave you ,I love you!!!! I told him to F**K OFF!!!
    "I will go tell her but will be back.
    The hour he was gone was AGONY, but when he did come back we talked(for the first time in years.
    We ended up kissing and making love even though he warned me he had slept with her earlier without protection!!STUPID but I was out of my mind and desperate!! We had not made love for a long time, it made him cry like a baby and I could feel his pain.
    Affairs are horrendous , it is a bad choice ,a destructive choice says something about their character we didn't suspect.
    There began 3 years of riding a roller coaster of emotion and horrendous pain as OW would not let go!!
    Why I tell you this is because I had no choice but TALK, I spoke to my entire family, some supportive some not! I became very ill, couldn't eat, sleep and my hair fell out!! I was a mess so even my friends talked to me, THEN there was you!!!
    I told you lot too and slowly began to rid myself of unendurable pain.
    I am so happy to tell you that back to full health, with an head full of hair I am OK.
    All those tears, pain and stages of grief ,I did them all!!!
    As I write this I am sat by my husbands side ,he keeps reaching for my hand, his smile was so loving, I got the man I fell in love with and married in 1967 back and am SO grateful.
    Talking does help my friends ,it helps the pin, it helps you recover so in the end I am glad I was humiliated in public, I had to talk.
    Best wishes , hang in there and trust these brave woman
    Love Polly

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    1. Wow that is a story. But you are right it was the best thing that could have happened in the end.

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  54. Hopeful 30, Your update is great and I think it is amazing that our spouses seem to take so much longer to figure out that if they are married and want to be married, they really need to spend most of their quality time with their families. If it bothers him so much to be away from you and he wonders what you are thinking and doing, it says to me that he really isn't having such a good time. My husband has moved so far past that now. He verbalizes all the time to me and to anyone who is listening that he really prefers to be with me most of the time. Oh he does enjoy hiking, biking or paddle boarding with his guy friends at times because I can't do those things in the same way but if he has a choice between taking me on a hike that I can do or going on the same hike with a friend, he chooses me every time. I've even heard him tell his guy friends who ask him to do something because they don't want to invite their wives or they don't like doing whatever it is with their wife, "I love doing X, Y, or Z with my wife and I'd rather do it with her than anyone." On the rare occasion he does go with a friend to do something, he often feels badly if he missed something fun that I did either alone or with one of my adult kids. We have just recently begun a discussion about a good friend of his whose wife neither of us likes very well but it is because she is just an odd person, always has been and we now think she is on the autism spectrum. Over the 35 years we've known them, she has regurgitated the same conversations over and over again as if she is unable to generate new conversations. The last time we agreed to go out to dinner with them (neither of us really wanted to but they really wanted to treat us) I suggested with do a private game of BINGO with either of us quietly saying the letter if she brought up one of the same things. Both recent times we hit BINGO because she is so predictable. We got a good laugh out of it and it made the experience so much more tolerable. We both know that her husband of almost 50 years understands how bizarre she can be but it is unlikely he would ever ask for a divorce. He really is a good friend to my husband at times but they see each other only once or twice a year for a few hours so we really do our best to be tolerant. That experience also led us to the discussion of boundaries about our own personal needs and how difficult it is to say "no" to people because we don't want to hurt their feelings. It is wonderful that we can have these conversations. Last night he made a comment that it really feels like we have a new beginning in our lives. I hope you get there too because you have been my hero so many times. I know you are younger than us and I know how hard it must be on you so thank you for your honesty and willingness to let me walk along side of you in your journey through this ugly and unwanted process. I so wish we could sit and have coffee.

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    1. That would be the best to have coffee together. We can dream! Yes I think part of this is our age and spot in life. We met and got married young and way earlier. Especially compared to his friends. He has one friend who is older than us and had his first baby with his first wife recently. Crazy. I partially understand why he had his affairs but certainly it was not mid life crisis at all. He was at the height of everything. I think it was more ego and entitlement. I think he was losing parts of his youth even with his success. All I know is he has told me he was miserable and even though he looked like he was even having fun with his friends he said he was never really happy. I think what he is learning now is how to have fun with his friends yet enjoy his time with us. The balance is much better. I also think it has to do with his friends. They do not want their wives around unless they have to have them there. They have even told my husband that he can sneak me on guys trips as long as their wives don't hear. They like me a lot and could care less if I am around. It is all odd to me. But I think they are just going through the paces and none of them are truly happy. So I think he is trying to find a way to have fun with his friends without feeling the way he used to. They do everything in excess. These feelings do not arise when we are together on a trip or out with friends or out alone. And those are his happiest times when it is us alone or with others. He has told me all he needs is me and if he never sees his friends again then he would be good. So I think he is there but hopefully this conversation is the nudge for him to figure out the exact balance.

      We will get there in time...

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  55. 2 years ago when I discovered his affair with a local celebrity, I asked him to gather up all of the evidence - photos texts videos -- and put them in the safe. I was worried she would accuse him of harassment, and wanted to safeguard. I'd forgotten about it as we went about fixing our relationship- it's been a rocky journey for sure -- but we are getting there.

    I just found the disk and looked at it. I was a bit scared that it would open up some scars -- but I am struck -- their conversation were like 13 year olds -- so amazingly juvenile. And the photos -- omg. She would so be fired. So my dilemma --- I want to tell her that I've seen everything- partly to embarrass her and partly to show her I'm a far better person than she is!. But I don't want to get in touch with her! I'm thinking it's best to leave it alone. Thoughts?

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    1. I have no tangible evidence from my husband's affairs. But I am sure they did not include much substance. It was all just to use each other and have fun and escape. I so wanted to contact both women but in the end I decided that it was not worth it. They had already taken up enough space in my life and our marriage. I also know that no matter what I have to say most likely they see it from a different perspective. Anyone that was willing to do what they did I am not concived they are worth my time and energy. Some others have contacted the ow so maybe they will speak up. I in the end did what I felt was best for me. Each woman contacted my husband one time each. Both times we discussed how to handle it and we decided to ignore the contact. And they never reached out again. Good riddance. I have worried how I would react if I would run into the one ow who lives sort of nearby.

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    2. Anonymous 4/22,
      I started a response to you and lost it. I'll try to type a shorter version. I did contact the OW. Twice. Neither was very productive for me personally. The first time was the night she broke no contact with my husband. I was still being lied to and told it was an emotional affair. I called her. I was far too emotional in that moment. She, not surprisingly, attempted to lie to me. After hanging up, I was not satisfied and texted her. I got more lies and an attempt to blame me. I asked her to be respectful of my marriage. She resumed having sex with my husband within a week.
      The second time came the night and day after I discovered the full truth of the affair. I texted her that night letting her know that I knew the full truth and the following day with a longer text telling her what I thought of her and her actions. It was pretty factual and straight forward, no name calling or threats to tell her husband. She immediately responded with a lengthy apology, but what stuck with me was her describing her actions regarding the affair as "setting my own selfish wants above common decency and common sense". Those were her exact words as I sat there with my world in pieces around me. And despite a promise to distance herself completely from my husband, she continued to try to make herself visible on Facebook via mutual friends' posts anytime a picture of him was posted by them. That was all she could see because she was blocked. He finally gave up and deactivated his account.
      So I suppose the choice of whether or not to contact her depends upon what you expect from her. Initially, I wanted to shame her, to let her know that I knew every disgusting detail. But the kind of woman who betrays her own husband, risks her own kids' well-being, and allows herself to be treated like an unpaid prostitute most likely has some pretty serious issues. Maybe those issues and the failure to recognize and/or address them is what allowed her to behave that way in the first place. Unless she is fully aware of the damage she caused and is taking steps to no longer be that kind of person, an apology may not mean that much to you. For me, it hasn't.
      I understand what you're feeling and I still struggle with the desire to contact her, or at a minimum, to expose her. For two years now, it's been a choice not to because I think the potential consequences outweigh the benefit. It's not an easy choice but for me, I think its the right one for now.

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  56. Hopeful 30
    its Polly here ,you are right my D Day certainly was a horrible one even amongst other rotten ones .I think the moral is WE CAN AND DO SURVIVE!!!!
    Over your comments on contacting the OW , I had too much pride(or was it pain who knows) so I didn't!!
    One evening I was walking home from a friends, my phone rang,it said it was from my husbands mobile!!!! "Where are you???angry woman's voice asked!!
    "who are you??" I replied,
    "Its me his lover"
    "Why have you got his phone?"
    "Cos we just finished F**King he is asleep"
    I was devastated because he had promised no contact 2 months ago on D Day!!!!!
    "put my husband on the phone" I asked angrily
    "He doesn't want to talk to you , Piss off he is with me now!!""
    "Oh no madam NOT till he tells me that to my face, he tells me you are a manipulative liar, you are proving it right now!!!"
    "Well how do I have his phone then?"
    I admit I lost my decorum and called her a few very rude words. I told her she was a fool and some of the things he had told me about her plus told her we had laughed as he showed me the photos of her privates ,told her he said she was a bit smelly(a lie) I opened both barrels at her and SHE ended up crying!!! NOT ME!! WOW I felt so powerful yet bloody angry as I thought hubby was at work.
    Alls well that ends well, he rang me as he drove home I yelled not to bother. He said "the lousy lying bitch! she came to college to collect her things(she was his adult student. He spoke to her but she had picked his phone up off his desk and must have gone into the toilet to phone me!!! SHE had decided to contact me! nothing good can come out of talking to each other. there is too much anger! neither women can really win. We talked about it and it DID set us back for quiet a while.
    Would he have told me he had seen her ? I will never know but whoever contacts who is showing their hand of cards. NOT A GOOD IDEA
    So for what its worth I would advise you all to leave well alone.
    THERE CAN NEVER BE A WINNER JUST TWO LOSERS IF YOU STOOP AS LOW AS THEY DO. STUFF UM I SAY!! all it takes to be the OW is to make yourself available and have no honour.
    keep your chins up high and take tiny steps you WILL get there OW will be an has been as she has been before.
    PEACE AND LOVE TO YOU ALL
    Polly

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  57. Hi Everyone. It has been 4 years since D Day, and I still come here every now and then when I need an emotional "tune up" or advice :) We are doing well, and I'm encouraged that I can make it through whole days where the affair doesn't cross my mind more than a few times! What I'd like to ask, though, is how do you learn to have normal fights with your husband ... those brief spats all healthy marriages have when someone hasn't done their share of the laundry or didn't help out with the kids' school work as promised... kinds of fights. Even though we are doing really well, I find that I sometimes (okay...often) get more angry with him than I should for these small/normal tiffs. I can hear a therapist explaining to me that I'm still hurting from his betrayal, etc. etc. I try to remember that when I'm reacting to a "normal" irritant, but that is easier said than done. Do those of you farther out from D Day have any advice for learning to have a normal marriage spat without over reacting? Thanks!

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    1. This is something we talk about a lot. The same arguments come up often. I mean this is pretty normal. Same issues over and over. But yes some days I am more charged up about it. What has helped us is really working on our communication. And after the argument talking it through. Usually when I am more upset than warranted there is something else bugging me. I have said this elsewhere but we are beyond working on the affairs and that behavior etc but now it is about what type of marriage and relationship do I want and need. For us we talk about this a lot. What we both want and need. I find if we are more open and upfront it curbs the over the top upsets. There will be disagreements and bickering but it has helped us a lot. I also try to remember neither of us is a mind reader. I like reading the Gottman books. Many have helped me with overall relationship communication beyond the affairs. On the flip side I do wonder am I over the pain and what he did? Did he answer my questions sufficiently? Can I be with a man who did this to me, us and himself? More and more we have discussions about this too. I totally see he did not do this to me but he did this to himself. He is taking longer to work through this than I have. Of course it is a different perspective since he made all the decisions. But he failed himself miserably. And lastly we do talk about the affairs, those years and his behaviors more matter of fact now. It is usually related to a potential out of town trip, day of golf, whatever it might be. My husband is hyper aware and so worried about how I will feel. It is good though at this point it is a level headed discussion where I am not emotional and he is not defensive.

      I find as we move through this it is still present but evolves. Congratulations on hitting the 4+year mark and glad you are doing well!

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    2. Many thanks Hopeful 30! I'll check out the Gottman books. I appreciate hearing from you!

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    3. Anonymous, Those are tough, aren't they. It's like you have this trump card. And it's hard to not use it. That whole "yeah well, at least I didn't screw the pool boy" tends to shut down any reasonable discussion.
      I had to learn to just bite my tongue. Took me awhile. But my husband also got good at pointing out to me, usually with an incredibly hurt expression, that he was sorry for what he did but that throwing it in his face wasn't helpful or healthy. And he was right. When we were arguing over whether to take a beach vacation or a ski vacation, the fact that he'd cheated didn't give me a moral high ground to make the choice instead of him.
      It's a learning curve. And it means having to take responsibility for your own anger. It means having to get help for the residual pain that's still there. But it's also about making sure you're not using it as a trump card. The goal is a healthy marriage, not to "win".

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  58. So recent update. It is baby steps but my husband seems to be taking our last talk to heart. He had already cut back with his friends but was still having regrets about time away but trying to learn the balance of time away. I am all for some time away but he was not always happy with his choices or had regret after the fact. Well he has really taken it to heart and is showing that he is spending extra effort and time thinking about this himself. He is also bringing it up to me which is nice so I do not have to be the one to ask. He is walking me through his thought process and seeking my input after he explains his thoughts. I think this is helping him a lot to determine how he wants to spend any time away from us.

    For a while I found this all annoying but after talking with my therapist we did look at it as he had lived most of his life doing whatever he wanted whenever. And all without regret. So if we went and played golf all day for three days in a row and missed everything at home whatever. Now thought he is trying to find the balance of doing things he enjoys but not so over the top. Some of his regret when he is away I think is tied to his shame and guilt. My therapist said it is a good thing that he has these feelings and also that he is content as long as he is willing to work at finding the balance. We shall see if this continues but I am feeling good about it and so glad we had our lengthy discussion about my/our concerns. It is like a weight lifted off my chest too.

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    1. Hopeful 30, it is nice to hear you express how hopeful you feel. It is really challenging to be married to someone who isn't as comfortable in therapy as we are. For me, it is a no brainer to be able to talk to and process my feelings about this whole thing but I am not the one grappling with what I've done with my life and who I hurt along the way. I just want him to figure it out so there will be some resolution in his head and heart about his past.

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    2. Funny you say all of that. Even though my husband I would say is in touch with his feelings and can express himself well especially for a man he is so different than me. I rant, let it all out, everyone knows. I am not a screamer or mean but I do not hold it in. I also said to him yesterday our house's happiness depends on him. If he has a rough day at work tread lightly, he does not like Sundays since it is the beginning of the week and he will not do anything on a sunday. I could go on and on. He has tried to improve on this but he is starting to see this and what I call our relationship dynamic. I think in a way I speak up and say what I think so I am not as likely to go off and lie or cheat or sneak around. Him he holds it in or copes on his own or avoids. Seems like the perfect person to sneak around, lie, cheat. I don't think he is doing anything wrong at all now. But at this point it is about our relationship dynamic and what type of life we want individually and together. I keep focusing on the fact that he is listening to me, not getting defensive and making small strides. I still struggle with reminders and self doubt in my head. But I just keep pushing forward through it all. And I wish he would go to therapy but at this point I am his pseudo therapist. Lucky me...he has said I would get some sort of honorary certificate. At least he gets it.

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  59. I have a question for my warrior sisters whose husbands were abusing alcohol as well as cheating... Both of our individual counselors have stated that my H's abuse of alcohol was a predominant factor in him having an affair...how abusing alcohol blurs the boundaries. I guess I can see that to a point. What I struggle with is he was not a 24/7 drunk. He would only drink when he was home. So he would get up in the morning go to work ( he never missed worked) think of a lie to tell me, go to the OW house then come home for supper and start drinking from supper time to bed and then repeat the pattern all over again. My point being that he was sober when he lied to me before going to her house, we was sober when he was with the OW. To me that is very cold and calculated. I am being asked to accept that the alcohol blurred his thoughts yet all the decisions he made around/with her he was sober. I am struggling . It reminds me of the "70's" TV show with Flip Wilson saying "The Devil Made Me do It" every time he got caught doing something wrong. We are 18 months out and both working very hard to heal our 36+ year marriage.
    Thoughts.....?

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    1. Gage
      I'm thinking about the term functional drunk/alcoholic and my h wasn't drunk when he chose to go on the first date she asked him out for! He was lonely and the concert sounded fun but the next thing he knew he was in a full blown affair! When he broke it off the first time she refused to let go but left him alone for a few weeks. Then she had him back to sex when he wasn't traveling for a few more times. He claims this made him miserable but he kept going back because of his fear of her contacting me. He finally took her on a business trip over night had his last piece of her pussy and spent the entire trip back telling her why this was the last time ever. She spent the trip crying and when they were back to town she again left him alone for a few weeks but soon he met her for lunch to shut her up because they agreed to 'just be friends' no benefits. She asked him to her apartment to fix her cabl

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    2. Gage
      Sorry I hit publish too soon, fix her cable she tried to kiss him and he rejected her a little more firmly and two weeks later she blew up our world with all her truths! So yes I believe that his drinking affected his judgment but he chose to continue the affair it was not just a one night stand! It's been a rough two years but we're still plugging through! Hugs!

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    3. Gage, I understand your frustration. For us alcohol is a major discussion and I think a major factor in his affair, life and personality. Saying that though even during what I call the affair years (10 years) he sometimes only drink 2-4 times a month. Sometimes more but rarely. My husband has never drank at home unless we have company/party etc.For my husband he met both ow when he was drinking and was introduced by the same friend. My husband does not remember ever being with either ow without drinking being part of it. Granted he did communicate with them while he was sober. I do feel that alcohol lowers inhibitions and quality of decision making. However everyone reacts and copes with alcohol differently. My husband will drink one night and he feels the depressive effects for days sometimes three days afterwards. He is down, negative, wants to sleep, eats poorly, miserable about everything. This is from going out for an evening not having 1-2 drinks. I think there are some merits related to alcohol factoring into this. Only you two can figure this out. I don't think it should be used as an excuse though. I have said to my husband unless he was drugged and had no control he could have made a better decision. For me it is about how it affects his current and future behavior. I know even 25 months out he is vigilant and on high alert. However in our relationship I can see where the alcohol does not improve our relationship and most likely is a negative.

      So for me I still found the alcohol reasoning to be one of many excuses for the affair but I did/do want to get to the root of the issue in order for our relationship/marriage to be at its best. We have had major in depth conversations about this and it is really paying off. I find it frustrating walking my husband what i feel is so obvious but we are making progress and I focus on that. I hope that makes sense and not sure it helps but I hope it does.

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    4. Gage, Whether or not your husband was drunk when he was planning his meetings, or acting out, or whatever, an alcoholic has disordered thinking. So, sober or not, he wasn't a rational emotionally healthy person. So, of course, his choices won't be rational or emotionally healthy.
      Gaining an understanding of alcohol abuse (or any addiction) will help you better understand the shame and self-disgust and harm they inflict on themselves and others. There's nothing sexy or exciting about it. It's a damaged person using other people as drugs, as an escape. There's a huge overlap between addiction and affairs.
      This isn't about giving him an excuse for what he did. He still has to own the whole horrible package. But it's about what drove him to his behaviours. It's about getting to the root of why he drank and engaged in behaviours that don't, ultimately, help him achieve what he wants -- peace, comfort, love, belonging.

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  60. Hello, Everyone. I have come to these pages for insight and encouragement over the last 3 years, since I found out my husband was having a torrid love/sexual affair with a woman he met on the internet in May, 2015. Their affair had been ongoing since September, 2014, but I was clueless. I was working trying to keep our finances in order, and while I was at work he was entertaining her in our home, in our bed. When I found out about it, he begged me not to leave. He did better -- for awhile. He treats me well and I know he loves me, however, I found out in February of this year, he has started seeing her again, taking her to lunch, writing to her on a "private" email account. He says they are just "friends" and it's completely innocent. I found selfies she sent him recently (this woman is addicted to taking selfies of herself) -- these were anything but friendly. She was lying across her bed with her lips puckered up. and in a nightgown showing her cleavage. He tells me he loves me, he wants to stay with me and begs me not to go, but he won't give her up. I told him I will no longer facilitate his affair. Time is up. Her or me, period.
    That's sounds so easy to say. But ending my 17 year marriage means losing financial security (I work a lot but I don't make the money he makes); giving up my extended family who have become like my biological family. I love his daughters -- they are like my own children -- I love his sisters -- they are like my sisters. I don't think it is fair at all that he gets to keep his girlfriend AND keep his family from me. Losing him is one thing, but losing all of his family whom I've grown to love is too much. How will our separation affect them? What will I tell my step-daughters and grandchildren? I love them all so much! I am really furious at him for forcing me into a position where I have to end this marriage and lose all the people I love, for a trashy, selfish, phony! I can call her trashy, because she's known he was married since the beginning, and she has worked her schemes to come between us and pursue him all along. Trashy, because she came into my home and slept in my bed with my husband -- a decent woman wouldn't think of doing such a thing. I found out today that she has friended my next door neighbor on Facebook, she's so confident she'll be moving into my house.
    I know I'm rambling -- I guess I've been holding a lot inside for a long time. Help. Advice, please. Thank you all so much for reading this.
    Hurt, angry, confused, befuddled.

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    1. I'm so sorry for the position you're in. I know you feel like between a rock and hard place.
      But you clearly don't want to share him, which means, for your own self-respect and peace of mind, you're going to have to leave the marriage. You might be surprised at how much the others want you to be part of their lives too. As for the financial situation, I'm not sure where you are but you'll certainly divide marital assets, etc. so you might come out just fine.
      What's more, you don't sound like someone who can put a price tag on her dignity.
      He is being utterly disrespectful of you and your willingness to move past his first deep betrayal of you. He is openly lying to you. He is willing to hurt you and continue to hurt you so that he can have what he wants. I suspect he'll wake up at some point and realize what he's done and I hope for his sake, it's sooner than later. But you need to take a stand now. This is not okay. Your heart deserves better. I would consider talking to his family, letting them know what's going on and how much you hope they'll stay in your life. You may also have legal access to your grandchildren.
      See a lawyer. And then take your stand.

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    2. Anonymous, I feel for you and all that you may lose however Elle is correct that you should quickly seek legal counsel so that you know your rights and then make your next best decision. It may be getting a legal separation and having him move out. Once you know what your legal rights are in the state you live in, you will better understand how to make your decision. After you see an attorney, you can then decide which of his family members you want to talk with first. I have a long friendship with my ex husband's siblings that has been strong for decades as we all went to high school together and some of us were good friends prior to my marriage to their brother. He and his subsequent wives have sometimes had a "problem" with that but they made it clear that our friendship had nothing to do with him. Hopefully your husband's family will be able to take that mature approach. Meanwhile, hugs to you. This is not going to be easy but it will be worth it in the long run. I would not share my husband with anyone else. Nobody can blame you for feeling that way.

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    3. Elle, thank you so much for your wise advice. I know in my heart everything you say is true and logical. I know I have to stop being in denial that this marriage can go on the way it is. My emotional self is so dysfunctional it is negatively impacting the rest of my life. I just have to take the actions you are talking about -- I could spend years thinking about doing something -- now is the time I have to act. I've known this, but I'm such a coward I needed your affirmation to approve of my action, and to encourage (literally, give me the courage) to begin the action. His sister is coming to visit us this weekend. This weekend is the opportunity to get this sorted out with his family present.
      Thank you so much for confirming this. And thank you for understanding my concern about the rest of the family. For my part, I will continue to stay in touch with them. I don't know what their reaction will be.
      Well, wish me luck. I am going to confront him this week, with his family present. I may be separated from him by next week. Sad, but necessary.

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    4. Anon let us know how you get on, as difficult as this coming meeting maybe it's needed and hopefully you will have some clarity as to what you decide. I'm so sorry your having to deal with the aftermath of your husbands poor decisions but someone has too and you will feel better for taking back some control. Big hugs anon xxx

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    5. Hello, and thank you, Sam and Beach Girl, for your advice and support. I have been writing under "Anonymous", but I think it's time I added a name -- Even Now, as in "even now we are God's children." Well, the final straw came on Thursday when his mistress wrote him an email in nauseating detail about their last sexual exploits. (He was out of town for 2 days so I had the house to myself.) After I vomited, I started making phone calls to family, telling them I was leaving him and why. I told his two grown daughters, his sister, and my sister and brother. All of them understood my situation and expressed extreme disappoint in him. I left him a letter and went to a motel, then on to a home we own in another state. This is so painful and heartbreaking, I continue to feel sick most of the time. His first reaction was to tell me to come home right now, we could snuggle, talk this out, and it could all be better. I asked him when he last spoke with OW and he lied, again. I knew talking to him while he continues to be in denial about what they are doing is useless. His next reaction was livid anger at me for hurting his family by telling them -- it's all my fault because I upset them and I was very mean and selfish to do that. He feels no remorse nor guilt for his behavior being what has upset his family. He is still conspiring with OW about how to deny all and win in court.
      My family and his family are all praying that the Lord will take the blinders off of his eyes concerning this affair, and he can heal and we can heal. For now, I'm taking all of your good advice and seeing a lawyer. I'm going to start packing this week to move out. Thanks again. I really thought we could work it out, if she hadn't pursued him so relentlessly and he hadn't been caught so easily. He seems to me now like a little boy, not a man. I still love him, though.
      Even Now

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  61. True confession: I occasionally look the OW up on FB. I know that is a bad habit but I have to share her post this week, a quote from children's book:
    "Once I had brains, and a heart also; so, having tried them both, I should much rather have a heart, for brains do not make one happy."

    Snicker, snicker... Proof that being an OW means you put your brains on a shelf somewhere or you never had any to begin with....

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    1. MBS
      That's so funny to read this morning! My true confession as well! Yesterday my h and I had a very mature conversation regarding the article that Elle posted giving h advice and I pulled up her fb page to read to my h her fabricated ideals of finally being healed in her relationship with her daughter. I was able to have this with absolutely no emotional upset and for him , it was a bit terrifying as he's still afraid of her thinking he's looking her up to reconnect and he wants no part of that but for me, I got further along in my understanding of that whole mess and felt so much better from our discussion. I think we each have to do what it takes to get through this mess and for me, apparently seeing her pretending she's the happiest she's been in a loooong time felt good! Perhaps she is finally finished stalking me and my h just waiting for my car to be missing from our house! This is not going to happen but it's what she was waiting for in the six months she was harassing us in the beginning! She sent him a text then saying that 'they knew that this would be painful for all of us but she would be there to help him through it'! So I guess we've pretty much come full circle! No I'm positive that his ow has no brain and she has very little heart!

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    2. Insert my eye rolling emoji here for her posting that! Ugh, these OW! The OW in my case once posted a Toby Mac quote along the lines of "Some day you'll look back and realize exactly why it happened." Such the victim! And isn't he a Christian artist? So you posted a Christian artist's quote to support your infidelity? The irony is not lost on me. I had to block her on FB so I wouldn't look, but then I created a second account so I could. I gave that up too. But there are still ways I can check in to see what she's up to when I have the urge. So I think it's a true confession for many of us. I think now when I I do it, it's partially to remind me of who she is and partially in hopes that I'll see some hint of it when her world falls apart. Silly me thinking she would ever put that out there for everyone to see.
      Hugs, ladies. ❤

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    3. I feel your pain!! The OW has recently liked all these Christian pages and daily quotes on FB. And yes it's obsessive of me to look, at least I'm at a place where I can laugh. I mean really...having these daily quotes doesn't make you any less of a whore. You were screwing a married man, while you yourself were married with 4 kids. Puhlease..... I'm glad you feel God will wash all away your sins, because if it was up to me, I'd put you in the passenger seat and drive you straight to hell myself.

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  62. I haven't posted in quite a long time. I'm still seeing my counselor...my H is not seeing anyone. We haven't been to couples counseling in 9 months. This is all fine. For the first time in my life I am concentrating on ME. Not my kids, not my job, not my brother & sisters, not what my Dad did or didn't do when I was growing up...Just me.
    Boundaries... I set them. I meant them. Then, I found out my H accepted a "project" from the OW, when she is NOT a client of his company. The OW just switched jobs and her current employer has a relationship with the company I work for.... this is how I found out she is working for a new company. I mentioned it to my H and he eventually said he already knew. My H assured me he did not speak with OW. It was someone who reported to H... He had no contact ...blah, blah... but we had a DEAL. He would tell me no matter what or how the contact was made, indirect, direct... you name it. H then assured me he assigned oversight to someone else. I didn't freak. A month passed, and I felt, gut feeling something was not right... he was working later, not checking in. I asked to see his phone. I found emails regarding "business" going back and forth. Not nice, kind of shitty, biting comments to each other. I didn't care. I asked him to leave. I told him that the OW was inserting herself back into his work life, our life - and I can't do that.
    The next evening, he showed me an email exchange between him and OW. H called her out - but never made a comment about his own weakness in accepting the project. But OW response was that of a hurt woman, angry - very angry. For someone who stated they were "over it" and had "move on" and was "extremely happy" - it was a long email of "I HATE YOU". OW said my H had a huge ego, that H felt it was all about him.... probably a lot of this is true. She is a skank and I know she was trying to insert herself back into his professional life knowing he is too afraid of letting his subordinates know what was doing all those years.
    Look - my chicken shit H never really broke up with the OW - all he did was ask her to delete his contact info and he would delete hers. At that moment, I accepted that. I was so traumatized at that time - but it was not a "I never want tot see you again thing". I just never said anything - until now.
    He showed me the exchange - and my H - had my back - he told her not to contact him again, no business - no inserting business for pleasure. That my H had my back and he would stand up for me ... I just wanted to cry when I read that. This could end his career - and I told him I would back him 100% - if he lost his job or his company found out.
    So we are OK for now - moving along. I still cannot trust him - I don't know if I ever will.
    It's such hard journey - facing my friggin co-dependent behavior that seems to sabotage my every move..... sadly it's been a part of me since I can remember and I am sad that I am just working through it all at 53... but then I have to tell myself - "Look how far you have come since July 11, 2015".

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    1. Anon 1998, that sounds tough. He both let you down by not being transparent and demonstrated he wants you and kept his own boundaries with the OW. I can see why you're conflicted. Have you considered asking him to go back to the MC to talk through this incident - even if it's just a couple of sessions. I don't know how any of us can not be co-dependent after being in long marriages/relationships with our H's.

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    2. BEG - I should ask H to go back again to MC. My marriage is OK, we get along, we don't have knock down - drag out fights any longer. I have been working hard on me - which keeps me somewhat away from the destructive behavior of my past, dealing with my fears and feelings.
      If I hadn't asked my H for his phone, he would have deleted all his communications with OW. I don't feel the need to spy, I just outright ask. In my eyes, now, H is not good at lying. Whether he purposely does so, or just does it as a matter of what he has done for years. I now trust my gut. The evening I read that exchange between them, and his subsequent promises, I was just "BLEH". It didn't rock my world. It just solidified my sense of "ok - no expectations" And I detached a little more. I love him, I want to be with him - but time is telling me that I will be OK no matter what. In the past, I would have felt helpless, hopeless ....
      I have huge co-dependent issues, I just never knew how to deal. I am working hard on "re-programming" my thinking. This is so hard. I sometimes feel I am just beginning to live - and I grieve that I waited until so late in my life to LIVE.

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  63. It has been 8 months since my husband of 24 years disclosed he has a 23 year old daughter (that he has been paying child support to the mother all this time), he is a cross dresser and if that isn't enough he has been involved in an affair for 3+ years!!!! I have tried to move past all of these transgressions but, inside I am still suffering. The pain I feel at the level of deception and betrayal wavers between compassion, hurt and outright fury! I want to move on but, I find myself right back fighting with rage and sadness. I have not told my mother or my sisters. The OW husband does not know. I feel as if I am hiding in plain sight. I have cried every day for the last 8 months. I only sleep 1-2 hours. The dark circles around my eyes cause me to weep at the vibrant person I used to be. I feel more depressed each day. I once had too low blood pressure it has since skyrocketed to the point of having to take blood pressure medicine. We have not shared this with our teen daughters. They would be devastated. They already suffer from low self esteem. It would be a disastrous blow to learn of their father's behavior. I don't like feeling the rage towards my husband and the OW but, I do. The affair, the child, the pornography, the lies and deception seem more than one human can handle at one time. I want to run far away. I am in some worse now than at disclosure. My husband is trying and he says he is remorseful. He ended the affair immediately but, because of its length the very real thought remains that it may continue. He says he doesn't want to live that life anymore. He says he wants to stay in God's will. I don't know what's fact or fiction. This pain is maddening and debilitating. I have every single symptom of PTSD. I think I need medicine. I can't go on living in this despair. I see a counselor but, I don't feel she addresses the depression I fe.. I feel so unloved despite his efforts to show me love it just hard to believe. It's the hiding and pretending I'm fine to everyone that makes the pain unbearable. I just want to lie down on the floor and stay there. You

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    1. Oh my dear. It is too, too soon to think you can move on, just yet. After so much deception?
      Find good support, if your counselor isn't helping--let her know (and make sure she is a licensed therapist, I had bad time with an unqualified, inexperienced therapist). If there is someone you know will have your back, then reach out to that person. But give yourself permission to feel whatever arises. Don't make moving on your goal. It will come when you feel the things you need to feel. And when he has dealt with his dark closet of secrets. Your entire marriage history has been rewritten, go easy on yourself. You will come out of this madness, it won't consume you. Don't fear.

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    2. Just my opinion but I would get into therapy because a good one can help you navigate through all these different relationships that have the infidelity thread weaved into them. Can you find a retreat somewhere to begin to sort this out and what is best for you? As more truth is revealed it is going to be so hard on you so get yourself some back-up, a soft place to fall. if you want to run then run damn it. I'm so sorry for your loss and pain. What he did is horrible beyond words.

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  64. Hi its Polly,
    Todays e-mail hit me hard. We are doing very well and get along fine ,I trust my husband and things are happy yet reading that story of the fathers deluded ideas on his wife and her drinking and pills hit down into my soul!!!
    It made me think back to my husbands denial, his lies and how he blamed my "mental" nature for his 2 year affair with a much younger woman!!!
    I remembered how I too KNEW!! I had felt it in my gut, I knew something was going on but refused to believe my instincts until one night he was "working" late and I saw him get out of the car on the drive , he was talking on the phone and laughing!! I grabbed a tumbler full of whiskey and downed it in one. I put Dire Straits song "brothers in arms" loud and downed another tumbler of whiskey watching him taking his time getting out of the car, he looked so handsome, so beautiful I began to cry and had another drink.
    He came in smiled at me turned the song down and looked at me... my heart broke right there and then!!! I suddenly was certain and knew I loved him with all my heart.
    I believed in my dizzy drinking that it was ok... So I hugged him, he smelled of her perfume.... "its ok my darling, I know how unhappy you have been ,do what you need to do, I will love you anyway!" I sobbed onto his shoulder, he held me away and looked into my eyes "you silly goose ,whats come over you" and pulled his tie off going to change out of his work suit.
    I calmed down set the table and got our meal out ,he said he was too tired to eat LOL(obviously THEY had eaten)
    He looked into my eyes kissed the tip of my nose and told me I was being silly and paranoid.
    That was Thursday evening ,it was my birthday the next day and became my nightmare D DAY. I heard him speaking to her who he called the love of his life.
    He accepted that he was caught out yet went on for 6 months lying to my face knowing I knew until I was so ill I was in hospital sadly had tried to commit suicide (STUPID!!!)
    Yet here I am 3+ years later and things are good yet will we ever know if they understood the depths we were driven too. They could all think like her father who knows .I just take the happiness I got now and only have negative thoughts when reading stories like that. After all we can forgive yet I doubt we can EVER totally forget.
    Peace and love to you all

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    1. Polly
      I'm sure none of us will ever forget! I suppose I'm lucky my h never thought she was the love of his life! When the affair first began, I'm sure it made him feel young again his cow was 10 years younger than us. But as time went on he began to avoid her and even told her he was working out of town to keep her from just popping in on him. This man did everything in his power to keep her from telling me about the affair until he finally just told her to do whatever she had to do but he wasn't going to continue the affair. The hurt and pain of the affair was bad but her constant harassment for six months almost made us both crazy! My h is a master compartmentalizer! He convinced himself that as long as I never found out there would be no harm. He told me he kept 'us' in a box sheltered from the box he shared time with her in. He's totally capable of living what I considered two separate lives up until he was tired of her and his life of deceit. His affair made him physically sick with constant gastritis! When he finally became more firm with her and said that he would never go back to her and the affair she then began to threaten telling me her truths. When he said do what you have to do to move on with your life without me..,she went after me and she caused ten times the amount stress and pain trying to convince me that my marriage was a fake and he was just too much of a coward to go after what he truly wanted! Those were some very painful months and even though I will never forget any part of that time, I don't carry the same pain if I think about it all which is rarely now and when I read the posts like this one it reminded me more of the pain inflicted upon me by my mother and I try to deal with the pain from that time by saying over and over to myself, yes she did those things but it's because she was messed up mentally and I've had to put this same thing back on the cow. She's one mentally messed up person and all I feel is pity that she thought so little of herself than to become 'a fuck buddie' as she told him she was willing to be. How sad! I'm so glad I don't have to walk in her shoes or look at myself with the memories that she has to! Hugs!

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  65. I understand how you feel ,yet we are all so very complicated , your poor mother sounds so weak in spirit, She had to walk in her own shoes as do us all, we all fail to cope at times, I am ashamed I preferred death to living with the immense pain I was in. It was not a cry for help it was a wish ,I hope my family can forgive my weakness. It was a permanent answer to a tempory problem and I would have missed my beautiful 2 year old grandson. I tried it all ,drink being one answer. I had to see my H cry several times he just didn't know what to do but couldn't leave her.
    He couldn't talk about it and I accepted that in the end I read somewhere that knowing EVERY detail was best, and the reply was that it maybe was pain shopping!!SO I accepted the things that did matter TO ME ,,,he had another woman FULL STOP!, so I will never know why he cried, was it pressure from HER? was it cowardice from him?
    DO YOU KNOW ,I simply do not give a damn now!!!! He got his act together as did I, I realise we all make bad choices!!!
    Me more than most!!!
    I rarely let it enter my mind and when it does I shrug and kiss him knowing it is the PAST!!! our history . SO she became part of that history as did our lovely dogs!! they are our past ,I look onwards and upwards now .
    When I say I have many regrets my H always says "Well don't, they achieve nothing ,what is done is done and taught us a valuable lesson, we just must never make a bad choice again!!"
    Easy said eh.
    Forgiveness and love is the thing to think about now not bad choices .
    Love to you all .Polly

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  66. Well yesterday caught me off guard. I could tell something was not right with my husband. I just knew it. I attributed it to the news and politics since he finds all the current updates very upsetting. But I just knew it was something more. Once the kids were in bed he told me one of the ow and her friend called and texted him yesterday. It has been over two years since the ow has contacted him. At the time he replied leave me alone. After that we discussed talking about it together and deciding if he should respond and how. We also decided he would show me all the communication. So he showed me the two voice mails and showed me he was blocking the numbers. He did get a text from the ow friend about 1 1/2 years ago when the mutual friend who introduced my husband to the ow passed away. He ignored that text. He has not seen this ow in over 7-8 years. The main time there was contact was when she was with this friend drinking. So he guesses that was what they were doing yesterday. It caught me off guard though that after zero contact she comes out of the woodwork. Granted there was not much to it but I was hoping these ow had moved on totally. The good thing is my husband was disgusted and bothered and feels responsible that he brought this on us and me. He did admit he thought about just deleting everything and not telling me vs causing me any upset since he sees this as harmless. But he decided to stick with 100% transparency which I appreciate and earns him some gold stars. So in the end he handled it well but it really knocked me off my feet. I have been struggling for various reasons nothing big. He was supper affectionate and loving and I think he knows more than ever what he risked. This just proves to me that this will be around in some shape or form. In the end he handled it the right way which is positive.

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    1. Hopeful 30, wow. I can see how that caught you off guard. I'm 17 mos out and h and I are doing really well, but that is my fear -- that there's been contact and he doesn't tell me. It happened once at about 6 mos out and he didn't tell me. I found out and it caused a huge argument. I told him I would rather him tell me but he said he didn't tell me because he didn't want to upset me. I explained that not telling me and me finding out was way worse. He said he understood so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it hasn't happened again. I'm so glad your husband told you. It gives me hope that if it were to happen to my husband I'd have the same outcome as you.

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    2. Hopeful 30, wow, you would think these OW would just crawl off and find another life to live. I do admire your spouse for sticking to your agreement. I know that on the rare occasion my spouse is triggered or has an unsettling experience, he tells me because he does not want to keep a secret from me, even if he suspects just the disclosure of the trigger may also trigger me. In the end, I still want to know because one "secret" leads to another and another and that is how we all got here. I'm also coming to grips with the fact that this will always be here but hopefully, down the road, just a pesky gnat in my otherwise happy life. Happy Mother's Day to you my friend.

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    3. Hopeful 30
      I so understand how that could trigger you! I'm so glad your h handled it in a positive way! I'm glad you were able to get through it because of his progress on himself! Hugs!

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  67. My original posts are in the multiple affairs thread. I found this site over a year ago...
    It seems as though my husband just can't stop cheating. After a year of working on things, I caught him again. This time he finally expressed remorse, instead of hiding things, trickle truth etc. He agreed immediately to go to counseling, and took an online test to see if he was a sex addict....ya think much?
    He has IC with a regular counselor and IC with a specialist who treats sex addiction. HE's gone twice since the end of March. Two months now and only 2 visits to each one. Not really the dedication to recovery that I need to see....I told him we were done.
    Separating our finances will be challenging but not impossible, I'm just scared to do it. We each earn about the same amount, but we live in a very expensive location. Together, we have carved out a nice comfortable life. Not rich by any standards, but we do fairly well. Living alone will be tough financially.
    I asked him to get a vasectomy. He initially agreed, but has since said "I'm crossing the line by asking that" REALLY? I crossed the line? I'm pretty sure the line was crossed 17 years ago when he had his first affair. And then the line was crossed multiple times since then, with multiple women....including going back to the original slut for a 10 year long relationship. So here I am today. I have so many DD dates that I can't even keep them all straight now. I don't understand why I can't get myself to leave him.
    I really want him to get a vasectomy...I'm terrified he's going to get someone pregnant. Even if we are divorced....I don't think it's fair that my kids will have to split "resources" with a baby conceived with someone else. I know he won't stop cheating. It's just a matter of time before it happens again. We've been married almost 23 years.
    I need to gather the strength to leave.

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    1. I am so sorry you are going through this. Are you seeing anyone yourself personally? I know the right therapist should help you walk through this and give you the support you need. I also think consulting an attorney on your own would give you information and clarity you need. For me sometimes getting that information is enough. In my mind those are your next steps. I have read people say they did all this then decided to try to work it out. By consulting with specialists that it helped them. But if you go ahead in that direction then you are taking care of your best interests and getting the support you need. Come here as often as you need, I know I gain so much strength through posting on here and the support from all of you.

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    2. Mom of 4,
      Yes, you need to gather strength to leave. Don't cancel an appointment with a lawyer. I don't doubt that you're terrified. Leaving a marriage of 23 years is terrifying. But it holds the possibility of peace and the chance to exhale after 17 years of dealing with someone who won't stop cheating. Staying means more of...this. Pain. Lack of respect. Loneliness. Humiliation. Hard to put a price tag on that, isn't it? What's more, your kids are watching you to see what it means to live a full life. Do you want them to play it safe and put up with what you're putting up with? Or do you want them to see a woman who won't compromise her self-respect and who expects those in her life to treat her with dignity and compassion?
      Make an appointment with a lawyer. Get used to the idea of leaving. Give up the vasectomy talk. You don't get to control another's body, despite what he's done to you. Just as he doesn't get to control yours. I don't think this is about protecting resources for your kids. I think it's a way of keeping you locked in battle with your husband because the idea of being completely disconnected is terrifying. But remember. It's terrifying because it's unknown. And unknown doesn't necessarily mean bad. There is a TON of good that can unfold once you're out of this toxic relationship. But that can't happen as long as you're tangled up with this man.
      Be gentle with yourself, Mom of 4, but also fierce in your insistence that you deserve better. So much better. And it's out there.

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    3. Thank you for your reply. It so true, our boys are teenagers. Our oldest is almost 18. I can only imagine how this is shaping the way he will treat women in his future. He knows about the cheating. Obviously he doesn't know the nasty details, but he knows his dad has cheated repeatedly on me. My oldest girl knows dad had a "girlfriend" at one time, and I don't want her to think this behavior is what she has to look forward to in her own relationships. Unfortunately our kids all found out about 18 months ago after I discovered some nasty text messages between him and one of his whores, and I lost it at the house when everyone was home. Not my finest moment. I wish I had handled that with grace and dignity for the sake of our kids. But I didn't. My reaction hurt them just as much as watching and knowing how badly their dad had hurt me.

      I've held on so long because I just wanted him to change. I wanted him to choose me, pick me. Love me. But he can't. He can't even love himself.
      I'm so broken and lonely. Some days are so dark and stormy that it's impossible to remember what it was like when there was light and happiness.

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    4. Mom of 4, I want you to understand a few things. While your response to those texts might have not been your "finest moment", they were you being human in the face of extreme pain. It is NOT the same as him cheating on you. So, please, let yourself off the hook. And please also let yourself off the hook for everything else. I agree with you that it's this desperate desire that he pick you that is keeping you stuck. And I suspect that this isn't the first time you've felt as if you don't matter to someone, that you don't quite measure up. And that is where your healing will begin -- with acknowledging just how deep the pain goes and tending to it. By being gentle with yourself and valuing yourself. Hurt people hurt people and your husband can't even begin to give you what you need because he hasn't a clue how. And he doesn't seem to want to learn.
      He won't change until (and IF) he's ready. But you can change. You can treat yourself with respect and dignity. You can walk away from this toxic relationship. I promise you it will be worth any impact on your financial situation. Of course, it will hurt. But then, it will stop hurting. And you'll realize you are lighter and freer than you've been for years.
      If you don't already have a therapist, please find someone who can guide you through this. Who can help you get to the root of why you feel stuck with someone who doesn't deserve you. Who can remind you of your strength when you feel like you aren't strong enough.
      You can do this, Mom of 4. You need to do this. You owe it to yourself and your children. You owe your husband nothing more.

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    5. Mom of 4, I get your anxiety about your kids -- I'm sure every mom here does. I have huge issues about how this all affects my sons now and in their futures. And so much of my remaining anger has to do with how I feel my H used my sons as props, going on after-work dates and letting his girlfriends ooh and ah over tales of his beautiful children and what a "great father" he was -- even as those children were home with me, waiting hungrily and keeping his dinner warm! He offered up MY hearts for false praise. Unforgivable.
      I recommend that you take your kids to a family counselor who can help them understand what is happening in their family, in an age-appropriate way. They saw their mother be hurt. They know their father is the person who hurt her. That's a lot for a kid to figure out, especially since they have incomplete info (as they should). I bet it will be really helpful for them to talk about it with a neutral party, who is not invested in their reaction and emotions. And now that they've seen you hurt, I'm sure it will be super powerful for them to see you heal.
      Best wishes to you!

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  68. this is my first time reaching out here. I am so so depressed, confused and broken about my husbands infidelity that he confessed to me over 4 years ago and I am extremely embarrassed to say that.. 4 years and still depressed??? I dont know what to do about my life. We are together living our "make believe""normal" daily life. We have been with a therapist all these years, who has brought many many issues to light for us. I have been to my own therapists also. But the bottom line is I can't get all of this pain out of my heart and mind. I dont know what to do.

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    1. I'm so glad you are reaching out but so sorry for the pain you're in. There is no "right" timeline. We each heal in our own time. However, it seems as though something is getting in the way of you moving forward. I'm curious what your therapist says. Does he/she have any ideas why you're stuck? For many of us, betrayal dredges up a whole lot of "old" pain from childhood -- fear of abandonment, feeling like we don't matter/aren't enough, that we're invisible. And, if that's the case, it's important to address that because it will get in the way of healing from betrayal. Betrayal also, for many many of us, creates a post-trauma response. Betrayal is devastating and our brains respond to it as trauma -- and even after the crisis is over, we continue to feel as though we're living it. Panic. Hyper-vigilance. Anxiety. A feeling that our world isn't safe, that people can't be trusted. If that sounds like you, you might want to find someone (maybe your therapist but maybe someone else) who can treat you for post-trauma. EMDR is quite effective for this. But, at the very least, be gentle with yourself. Betrayal is excruciating. Let yourself feel all that sadness, all that grief. Understand that it's normal to feel that pain. And ask yourself if part of the pain is about being in a marriage you don't want to be in. Even if your husband has done everything "right" since you discovered his affair, sometimes the damage is more than a betrayed partner can move past. And that's okay. You get to decide what's next. And it doesn't have to be a big decision. We're fond on this site of talking about the "next right step". What does that look like for you? Different therapy? Taking up a hobby? Talking to a divorce lawyer?

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    2. Anonymous
      I'm so sorry you had a need to find us but glad you did! Elle touched on just about everything that kept me stuck the first two years! I'm curious about how satisfied you were in your relationship before he chose to cheat! Not that I need the answer but you need it for yourself! I was one of those that thought I had the perfect marriage! And yet when I reflected back on the entire 34 year marriage plus 3 years of dating, I have to be honest with myself that there were many issues along the way but we had always worked our way through them together. That said, there was always hidden resentment for me because getting married so young and pregnant at the time, I didn't carry the first three times I was pregnant, interrupted both of us in the pursuit of our education and career choices. He did finish college however my turn had to wait a few years and then when I did go back for my degree, I was pregnant and with our son and my h was busy building up His career. I was able to buy my child development center and so even though busy years we managed to have our daughter and maintain our relationship together. Fast forward to the past 10 years and I have to say some of the old resentments came creeping back to me. My h made a huge career change and by this time both of the children were in college. I had sold both my centers 10 years prior to this in order for my h to make a job transfer back to the state where I grew up so there's that part of past resentment as well. I've struggled through all these years with bouts of depression but I've also had lots of therapy and even medicine when it was suggested by my doctor. I've rambled quite a bit but the gist of what I'm trying to say is about the same as Elle, I've had to revisit the old pain including my childhood pain and somehow incorporating the new pain into the whole story. Keep digging into what you feel stuck on with regards to the pain. I found myself feeling like my abusive mother made me feel as a child, not good enough, and I also felt abandoned by my h just as I did with regards to my biological father. Once I was able to work through those old scars I could begin to process the affair my h chose as his escape. We discussed these things together for the first time in the past five years during which was when he checked out of our marriage and into his affair, but my h claims that he never stopped loving me he just put us in a separate 'box', something that I truly had to research because I wasn't familiar with 'compartmentalism'. My h is a master of that! His world has a separate box for work, family, household responsibility, you name it he can only focus on one at a time. I'm one of those people that has always been emotionally driven and I ran my centers as my passion while multitasking as his wife and the mother of our children. I'm hoping that he's still in therapy with you and both of you are able to be honest with yourself as well as each other. Had my h not been able to step up and finally be honest with his true feelings for how and why his affair happened, I think that I would be as stuck as you are feeling. This repair of our relationship is not finished, it's really just beginning. We're working hard at this one day at a time. When we have setbacks and we have had many, the difference now is we discuss it no matter what it is but we discuss it together. The way healthy relationships are supposed to be! Hugs!

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  69. Elle, thank you for your wise words. And Theresa, thank you for sharing with me. Yes, I do have personal issues. I thought my marriage was very good! (but it did have its own issues). My husband has told me that the reason he cheated was because of his own "demons"..he says it "had nothing to do with me"!?!?!? Ok, so I am aware of his "demons". but to be honest, the bottom line for me is the thoughts and images I have of him being sexually and emotional intimate with other women (yes women). Thats the number one devastation for me. I can't believe he could actually do all of that to our marriage and to me. It shakes my mind and shatters my heart. I honestly feel that he is not the man I thought he was!! It is all so painful!!

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  71. I wish I knew what to do. I have seen a pin on pinterest that said " I HATE YOU & THEN I LOVE YOU. IT'S LIKE I WANT TO THROW YOU OFF A CLIFF, THEN RUSH TO THE BOTTOM TO CATCH YOU". Exactly how I feel. I am 6 months out from D-day and feel I am getting worse instead of better. His infidelity was such a shock, totally blindsided. Lasted 10 months, with texts (that I discovered) and emails full of love & promises of a future together that he swears he never meant and has always loved me. Nov 1st, 2016 he said he wanted a divorce because of my credit card balance he looked up of $20,000. I was never late, always paid much more than minimum and most of those charges were legal fees for my daughter & husband that they couldn't afford, and her filing for divorce for his cheating(but ended up staying together) He had the nerve to tell me he was hurt over my charging, wouldn't speak to me for 2 months, I begged him to forgive me, told him I will work diligently to pay these off. I ended up cashing in stocks to do so.He treated me horribly all of November and December. like he hated my guts because he was sooooo hurt, all the while screwing around on me, which I did not know until I saw the texts 12/31/16. He said as soon as he said he wanted a divorce he knew that he did not, and would never leave me and I was truly the love of his life, but did he bother to tell me this? No, he made me feel like dog poop for 2 months, like I had betrayed him. I ended up telling him I was sick to death of the silent treatment, and acting like he lated being around me. I didn't find out about how much he loved me till death, love of his life, etc, etc, until he got caught cheating on me. He had me feeling so terrible and had been cheating on me all along, and let me take the blame for being a terrible wife for 2 full months. I cannot get over this on top of his betrayal. He says he doesn't know why he treated me like that, he was transferred to another job which he hated , was trying to figure out how to dump her without retaliation, and mad at me, so he said he must have taken it out on me. I told him if he loved me so much, he wouldn't have let me suffer, cry, hurt, beg him to stay by his side and not tell me he didn't want a divorce and planned on not leaving me. I literally walked on egg shells so afraid he was going to leave me. Again, I knew nothing of his betrayal. How do you do that to someone you supposedly love. He no longer sees or talks to her, dumped her that day I found out. He begs me to stay with him, restore our marriage, and truly seems like a changed person, but I am having a really hard time dealing with this. We are going to marriage counseling, I am doing individual counseling, and every detail of the affair he has lied about, and later told the truth (I guess) or I have found out. Help, I am so stuck, I do not know what to do. I do not trust him and have lost a lot of love. 30 years of marriage evidently meant nothing to him, yet he didn't think he would get caught. We are in our early 60's.

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    1. debaw
      I'm so sorry you are living through this! Right now you are likely living in shock as well as the pain and confusion of how he was treating you! My h and I are also approaching the 60 with almost 40 years of marriage and he decided to have an affair because he was lonely. I'm still dealing with this almost 3 years since dday and some days are better than others! I'm glad you're in therapy! My h didn't expect me to ever find out either but his cow wouldn't stop contact with him until after she had blown up my world with her truths! We spent a year just getting her to stay away from us! It made reconciliation of our marriage so much harder. I'm glad your h at least stopped contact. It takes time and working together to move past infidelity! I'm suggesting you begin by taking care of you the best you can. I'm also going to suggest you post on some of the more current blog posts that others are certain to see and this group of women are so supportive and understanding! Each one of us has a different story but the pain is very similar for all of us! It helped me just knowing I wasn't the only one with feelings that felt like a roller coaster. I'm slowly returning to my old normal self but I had to learn to live with the truth. This is not my fault! Just like it's not your fault that your h cheated! He can be mad as hell about the credit card issue but that's not what made him cheat! I'm sorry but the way he was treating you with the silent treatment was likely due to his fear of your finding out about his affair. He sounds like a selfish man who just didn't know how to get out of the mess he made by cheating. I'm so sorry you have a reason to have found this blog but glad you did. It's been a lifesaver for me! Continue to post and just know that you are not alone!

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