Feeling Stuck? Share your story here... (Part 19)


  1. Well. Hello sister warriors.


    My PPO was done on 12/3/2016. It was a rather peaceful year because the cow could only try to goad me via her FB posts. I know this because my posse would email me with the posts. They were trying to be helpful. Anyhow...

    The PPO contained 95% fabricated crap but my lawyer said to not fight it, a PPO would lend me some peace from the crazy bitch.

    On 12/10 I get emails from friends with links to the cow's Pinterest boards. She is telling me where she went with my husband, how I don't know the truth, how much he loves her, etc.

    So stupidly I go & read it all. Then I make my own board, FORMER MISTRESS OF MY HUSBAND HONORED AND REALITY EXPLAINED.
    I told her I forgave her and loved her.

    THEN she forwarded 8 of the most juicy love notes my husband sent her, right up through when he PROMISED (they most all do this) that he would not have any more contact.

    And told me she was not his first.

    So at 2am Monday morning I go HOWLING into our room and confront him. After screaming and crying and yelling and being a most serious asshole, my husband admits it. It was an EA with lunches and kisses 20 some years ago.

    Well fuck me. The cow was told EVERYTHING about my personal life, the marital secrets, the special anything, EVERYTHING. What plastic surgery I had when. What medical conditions I had. My childhood.

    Fuck me.

    So we go to the therapist after a 2.5 year hiatus. I trust this woman with my life. In fact she is the only human being I trust in the world for the last few years.

    She proceeds to tell us that I must stay in the here and now, must not respond to the cow, I must close my boards, I must have a release for my anger, and the fact that my husband has lied about his affair with the cow (partial disclosure or simply a huge lie) that it CANNOT matter now, 2.5 years later.

    That all of that is in the past and we are in a great marriage.

    I'm torn. A part of me believes her, a part of me wants to run away.

    She says I will never stop having questions about the details and the time for the complete disclosure was 2.5 years ago, the information can't give me what I want (control of the situation and to be a part of the affair).

    He says, as they all do, that he was protecting me from the hurt that truth would bring.


    1. Wow Suzanne. Wow Wow Wow. While I understand your therapist's point, I'm not sure it could ever be that easy. Even your reconciliation has been built on half-truths. And that, of course, makes it shaky.
      I do agree wholeheartedly that you need to keep this OW as far from your mind as possible. It sounds as if you've allowed her (via your friends) to continue to nip around the edges of your marriage. And she's positively toxic. Poison. Dangerous.
      You need to be the one who knows everything while SHE is relegated to 'outsider' status. To persona non grata status.
      And he needs to absolutely that his desire to "protect" you (which, helluva coincidence, really protects him from having to deal with more of your pain) is leaving you vulnerable to exactly the kind of blindsiding you just experienced. He needs to trust your ability to hear the truth from him more than he fears you hearing the truth from someone else.
      I'm so sorry, Suzanne. Here and now, sure. But only with some damage repair.

    2. Ouch Suzanne, my heart hurts for you. Your here and now is that you’ve just discovered another lie. The lie is in the now even if the EA was in the past because you asked for the truth (I am sure) and never got it - which is an ongoing lie. And your emotional response to that is in the now also. I used to be really good at avoiding shit by “being in the now.” lol

      For whatever it’s worth, I think if this were me, this would be much more about the fact that he didn’t come clean than that an EA happened years ago. Not coming clean tells you about who he is right now.

    3. Suzanne, So sorry. I think that this is different than telling you to live in the present. When you are presented new information I know that would feel like a set back to me. It is different but dday 2 for me happened 5 months after dday 1. And what was so hard for me was that I asked very specific and pointed questions for those 5 months and he lied to my face. So any progress we made in those 5 months was a total set back and really a worse betrayal than dday 1 was. That felt like in the past but once he knew I knew honesty and transparency for me was cruical.

      My therapist is very big at if it bothers you then there has to be more to it for you. Do you need more information, to work through the issues, time... Really he will ask me what my issue is and then what do I need. I think that is so important and means a lot to hear that when we are in our shoes. I think yes if this was some piece of information you were bringing up from years ago and not letting go that is different then again you ask why is it bothering me. But this is new information and a new situation.

      No one will ever understand except us after being in our place of being betrayed how hard it is. How some big or small thing can rock our world. I am trying myself to be more open and vulnerable but it can still be hard. The only thing that makes it easier is if my husband truly listens to me and takes it to heart.

      Hang in there and keep us updated.

  2. Suzanne!!!! How can she say that? IT was 2.5 years of lying by omission or straight up lying. Gads I am getting sick of these guys. Thank God for you Elle or I'd be in prison. Ok yes, close the board and no contact between you and her EITHER. She will hopefully shrivel from the lack of attention. Why can some women be uglier than the husbands that screwed around. I'm so sorry.

  3. Thank you Elle. I can't believe he gets to lie for 2.5 years (regardless the motivation behind it)and continue to keep the truth from me. I've ALWAYS read and told women that full disclosure is THE ONLY way to heal, to begin to repair trust, to move forward. Regardless the pain. I would like to have that choice, not the perp(my h). I would like to feel the empowerment. It seems that now I am relegated to silence. And he wins again. And our marriage is supposed to magically heal as long as I keep my mouth shut. Somehow I don't think so. I feel like this is victim-blaming. Yes, if I didn't read that crap we wouldn't be dealing with this. But JUST MAYBE if truth were the basis of our communications, it wouldn't feel like I'm back to square one. I could go on & on but I need to wait. I am quite livid and so confused. YES, my husband has been a role model since DD. The lies have shaken me and made me question what KIND of role model he's been. Therapist says I have no leg to stand on, basically, since he's golden. He lied to protect me.

    Some protection.



  4. Suzanne, just wow. I can't imagine what you must be feeling, suffering.
    Your friends aren't helping you by feeding you this stuff. Please tell them to stop. and if they won't they don't get it, aren't really friends? Carve the OW out of your life, if you can. One day, one second at a time, keep all your energy and attention on you and your health and safety. She's clearly a demented psychopath. Wants no part of your forgiveness, because accepting it would mean she'd have to accept that she's a piece of shit.
    I'm not sure how your h undoes the quadruple, multiple betrayals. I just don't know. Only you and he know what will work for you both. Get help. Don't rely just on him to make you feel better. Fight for yourself.
    I need to stop telling you what to do. I'm just trying to convey how much I feel for you, how much I wish I could take away the suffering.
    I can only tell you that I can see the future a little bit. The sun comes up tomorrow and you are alive in it. Your heart is beating, you are breathing. The sun will come up. You just have to wake up for it. God bless Suzanne.

  5. Oh Suzanne, how betrayed you must feel again! Your therapist needs more training in my humble opinion. How do you move forward with trust, again, after this? Wow, wow, wow! You seem like one smart woman so I'm sure after you catch your breath, you will figure out the next best step. In the mean time, know that we will send warming thoughts to your heart and soul. Get that OW out of your life forever. She is toxic. This is not junior high school. Oh, and in my humble opinion, lying to protect someone is bullshit.

    1. Thank you so very much everyone. My h is holding fast, refusing to tell "the details" (the truth). I told him I would go to see the therapist 3 more times and if she could not convince me that there were other ways to build trust and heal, that I would not ask for the truth. Poor h is so discouraged that we aren't "moving forward" now.

      WELL IF YOU WOULD HAVE TOLD THE TRUTH ABOUT CHEATING IN THE FIRST PLACE WE WOULD PERHAPS BE FURTHER ALONG NOW, RIGHT? Or, silly me for thinking this, perhaps not cheating at all and problem-solving could have helped lol. But noooooo.

      So I am in a holding pattern at present. Lots of self care, took this week off, focusing on need.

      Somehow I can't journal or process this right now. It really is like going back to the beginning.

      And yes, the cow needs to disappear. I would file a PPO but I'm quite sure she would fight it and I would have to see her ugly ass in court. No thanks. I don't hang with ho bags!!!

    2. Thank you so much everyone. Your words all help so very much.

      I would file a PPO but I know the cow would fight it. And I don't want to hang out with a ho.

      I'm doing self care at present. For some reason I can't get my thoughts & feelings down on paper. I do feel like I did on DD.

      My poor h feels bad because we were moving forward.

      WELL WE WOULD STILL BE MOVING FORWARD IF YOU DID NOT LIE. BETTER YET IF YOU WOULD NOT HAVE CHEATED. I think a different way of problem-solving might MIGHT have been better.

      Booger brain.

      I'll come out on top. Like we all are corks, we rise to the top. Unsinkable. Unstoppable. A bit water-logged at times but NEVER do we submerge.

      Hugs to all...


  6. Hi Suzanne,
    I am so sorry you have to deal with this. It is unfair that more is revealed so long after. I too have had to deal with that and it is more devastation.
    I think for your own healing and sanity, shutting the OW and all mention of her from your life is even more important. Your friends aren't doing you any favors and you are not doing yourself any favors. You are letting her control the situation and your mental space. Treat it like an addiction.

    As for your husband and the marital healing, I don't know how the therapist can expect you to put the cat in the bag. Unfortunately, there is new work and processing to be done. New healing. That is the curse of lies and betrayal. The gift that goes on giving.


  7. I saw the OW for the first time since before d-day #1, over 3 years ago. I was not expecting it even though I often fantasize about it in my head.
    I didn't do any of the things I fantasized about but it was in a crowded grocery story so I purposefully got in her way when ever I could. At one point, I wandered the aisle behind her, slapping my green onions in my hand, ever so slightly menacingly. It was a bit of fun. I was actually in the check out line next to hers and stared her down the entire way. Then I forced her to squeeze by me on her way out. It was rather satisfying. I really wanted to say something cutting but I decided it would not serve me very well. But I left the store feeling very triggered and called my sisters. It was good to talk to one of them as she is great at not escalating things (she is a social worker). When I came home, I took a time out in my room as the shock and adrenaline were coursing through me. I told my H what happened and we had a long, difficult check in. We are still struggling but that is another post. Things eventually lightened up when I revealed that the OW was at the store with her latest partner. Without going into detail, lets just say, the latest partner fits into the OW's long history of obvious thrill-seeking, attention grabbing, and ego-centric transgressing through relationships. When I told my H, who her latest was, he was completely yucked out and we both suddenly burst into laugher together for the longest time. His comment, "Oh my god. What a soap opera." And with that, the OW bubble burst.

    1. MBS, That's a great story. Good for you for holding your own in front of this woman. I'm not surprised it was triggering. But it's wonderful that you and your husband were able to see it as allies, and to put it into perspective in a way that makes it clear you're both glad that the "soap opera" is someone else's now.

    2. Oh my gosh MBS, I love this. I can't believe you threatened her with produce. Produce!!! LOL.
      It actually seems perfectly fitting -- rotten tomatoes. This might be my new revenge fantasy :)
      Glad to hear how it worked out with your husband.

    3. MBS
      You lived out my nightmare fantasy! I wish I had an ending as good as yours and I will always look at green onions through different eyes!

  8. Hi
    I have been doing a lot of searching and a lot of reading, a lot of therapy and a lot of crying. My husband and I decided to work hard at reconstructing our marriage after I finally pulled the betrayal out of him. We do really love each other and we have so many wonderful memories, good teamwork, two great kids, a lot to fight for and be thankful for. But I am STUCK.
    It's coming up to one year now....and I still don't have all the facts. There were two long term affairs spanning 4 1/2 years. These women were young and really stupid. They gave him sex whenever he wanted and they travelled to see him (like a whore that paid he own way- so disgusting). My husband travels overseas a lot and he has a hard time being alone. He's now in therapy and he's been told he has a sexual addiction and a compulsive personality...his compulsions shift to other things beside sex that make him happy (like projects or buying things, alcohol or smoking) so I do believe this is true. I've seen it. He had a very rotten childhood with rotten parents...he never learned to trust anyone fully. It's a mess and I feel I'm finally getting to know him well. He has struggled a lot over the years with confidence... I couldn't figure out why. I was always so supportive and always there for him....and he realizes now how horribly he treated me once the affairs started and he started going to strip clubs. Why do men do this? It just hurts so much.
    He has a tremendous amount of shame now. He cries often about what he did and I think sometimes he is in as much shock as I am that he could do this. He's a kind and gentle person. He has a lot of love to give and he's trying so hard to make this up to me. We both thought we had a strong relationship and I trusted him so so much- too much. I was definitely keeping myself in the dark, as I look back now there are so many things that add up and would have pointed his betrayal out to me... if I had only listened to myself more closely. I shut myself down and I started not trusting my own intuition, and that really hurts because I let that happen. I'm building it all back up and the kids are healing, things are really much better in many ways....but I'm frustrated because he has held on to some secrets...some of them I've figured out on my own just by putting the pieces together and rewriting my history...he knows how I feel about this. There are certain things I must know so that I can finish processing my pain and come to an understanding. Some things are still coming to light as recently as one week ago, although small things it's the dishonesty and unwillingness to share what happened that hurts so deeply. It just kills me and sets me back right to the horrific pain. My husband is selfish. It's a problem. His shame is so great it's hard for him to talk about it. In his defense he has opened up many times about what happened and why he thinks it did. But there is more I know that needs to be told. He's not blaming me at all...I'm just trying to get over my own self blame and I'm just starting to let go of that. That's a step in the right direction. I'm starting to get my self confidence back too The betrayal was intense and there were so many lies, it's been very tough. Now it's like he's back to his old self most of the time. He was so mean and terrible when he was wrestling with the guilt and by the end he was a depressed ball of anxiety. I thought it was stress from work and depression from that. It was a bad time. Once we started the healing process things changed a lot and actually I wouldn't take what I have now and trade it for the old days- they got really bad.
    But what can I do?? Suggestions? As the anniversary of the day approaches I am getting very frustrated and angry that he's kept me in this limbo. Unbelievable.

    1. Julia, I've no doubt his shame is so intense that he's keeping some of the info from you. But that's something he needs to work through (hopefully he has a therapist??) in order that he can come clean with you. Discovering these bits of info is really damaging to your relationship. As you noted, it puts you back to square one, at least temporarily. I've heard it described as, when your husband was cheating, he opened a window to the OW and shut the door to you. Now he needs to open the window to you so that you can see exactly what his relationships were like with the OW. YOU get to decide what you want to know, not him. He doesn't get the set the agenda for your healing.
      I would urge you to consider seeing a therapist together and having what's called a "full disclosure" session. It's where he comes completely clean and you have the support of a therapist as you absorb everything. What's more, the therapist gives your husband some sort of assurance that you won't get completely out of control. And then you determine what you want to know (and what you don't want to know). It can be incredibly liberating (albeit painful, of course). To feel as though there aren't any more secrets that can blindside you when you least expect it.
      Your husband is asking you to forgive incredible betrayal. You are asking him to be fully transparent about what HE's asking you to forgive.

    2. Hi Warrior Sisters,

      I have to go back and read Elle's dribbling info piece. I think that's what it's called.

      I was persuasive after the therapist told me that I didn't need to know the details after DD2 and being blindsided by the former cow.

      I forwarded to him 33 articles pulled after a Google search on disclosure. I then was very matter-of-fact and said if he did NOT read the pieces and after I had gone to my therapist 3 times (three seems to be my number, right?) and STILL needed the WHOLE truth, I would not remain in this marriage. It was THAT important for my healing.

      Amazing. He read. He said "Ask anything." I wouldn't for 8 days. Then I did and found out some MORE shocking information, felt the pain, he felt the pain, and something clicked for me. I'm now trying to talk myself into chucking any other questions that come to mind with WHO CARES. I ask myself how the answer could possible help me at this point.

      And you know what Elle? It was your piece of How Do I Want to Live Today that gelled it all together for me.

      I'm not sure if this is a permanent place for me or a simple visit. You all know what I'm hoping for, right?

      So once again I say THANK YOU to all of you and Elle, I am SO grateful for the devotion you have to us.

      I have to say that the details were less painful than what I could come up with in my great imagination. It's so time for my imagination to go in another direction!

      Hugs and Love to you all, I pray for everyone daily. YOU WILL FEEL BETTER WITH TIME. I promise.



    3. Elle,
      "Your husband is asking you to forgive incredible betrayal. You are asking him to be fully transparent about what HE's asking you to forgive."
      That quote belongs in it's own blogpost. So powerful. My CH's A was over a decade ago and I have been trying to get the timeline for 2 months now. Each time his story changed. I can't tell if it's that he didn't want to hurt me more, that he was ashamed of what he did or that he truly didn't remember. The MC thinks he truly doesn't remember because after he ended the A he became depressed, self-medicated and ultimately ended up on anti-depressants (which I thought was because he lost his job). Ultimately the lack of knowing what was going on in MY life and when is keeping me stuck.

    4. Brown Eyed Girl, I went through some of this too. My husband had two sporadic affairs that overlapped over 10 years. The one ow he only saw 3-4 times. I honestly do not remember what he told me now. Funny how that happens. And as of dday he had only emailed or texted her 2x's a year or so if that and had not seen her in 5 years or so. The other one was more often but still would go 6+ months without seeing her. And he broke that off 15 months before dday. I am the person that wants every detail. Well he is the person in life in general who cannot tell you were we went on vacation last spring break or what year we went on x vacation even though it was his favorite. He met both women the same year. The one though he does not know if the actual affair started 3 or 4 years after he met her. He only knows it was the fall. We have gone over this in so much detail among other questions I have had. And my therapist truly believes that he does not remember to that level of detail.

      What my husband has told me is that he knew it was wrong before he ever started it. Once it began he hated himself every time he saw or communicated so he would try to erase it from his brain. He was ashamed. It was nothing to be celebrated. He did not know when their birthdays were or anything about them in much detail. That is an entirely different issue. So basically after going around and around and talking with my therapist and not really seeing what value the exact details would add we moved forward. I chose to focus on how he communicated and met with the ow and what those relationships meant. Again not easy but that in the end was what I felt I needed to know. It the end I would prefer to prevent this from happening again. I really was not going to get any healing from the details at that point I was obsessing over but in the end I wanted him to understand why he did it and what type of behaviors led to it. There were times when I thought should I leave him over this. And maybe if we did not have kids I would have. It is hard to know but I did not want to leave him over that if we could still reconcile and save our family. There are times where I still cringe at thinking about what he did. However this is lessening. He has stepped up in a big way and done a great job. We will see where this takes us.

    5. Hi Suzanne
      Thanks for sharing your story....Are you able to share any of the sights you used for disclosure?
      Thanks and hugs
      Gabby xo

  9. Hi everyone
    Thank you for all of the valuable insight and support. It means so much.
    I wanted to get thoughts from anyone who obsesses over the OW. My story is there were two women, one 14 years younger than me, the other one (and the most damaging one) is 19 years younger. He left the first one for the second, so there was no break. With the first one he tried to stop many times and there were many months "off" but she always took him back for weekends (he travels for work to Europe sometimes and she lives in Germany). She asked for more commitment but he said no. She didn't ask much about me or the kids. The second one was much more devious, she chased him down and traveled all over the world to see him. She initiated it all by traveling to where he was, by then finding him on What's App, asking him out on a date and then asking him back to her hotel room where there were condoms and a huge bottle of Tequila waiting...her words. She put her hand on his knee and that was it. She enjoyed the glamour of it all (my husband is in the entertainment business). It lasted for a year. She tried to get into my life and my kids lives too- she told him "she wanted to get to know the side of him that was a father" and she asked a lot of questions- he told her a lot and I am heart broken over that. She pressured for "exclusivity" ha ha and asked my husband not to sleep with me. He said ok. She pushed him to leave me. Boy was she upset when she found out the truth. What a dumb girl. He said we slept in separate beds to appease her need for "commitment" and she believed him. I guess she thought it was because I was "old" (47). At the time she was 28. Again, stupid stupid girl. It is a saving grace when I'm feeling foolish for being lied to and how I trusted my husband, that she was stupid enough to believe that he wasn't sleeping with me! We actually had a pretty good and regular sex life. It is much better now though that there is honesty between us and the doors to intimacy have opened. The affair discovery helped in many ways but..there are still many many problems. I'm hurting. I think when I can't get what I need out of my husband, or he acts selfish or controlling (he's still working on it and he's accepting that he has a problem with this) I turn my anger onto them. I want to call or write and tell them how angry I am. I want to torture them with words. I want to scare them with outing them (the first one is so religious and such a fraud her reputation would be really destroyed). I have photos of them off the internet and sometimes I obsess over those. Sometimes they help me to look, they are pretty bad photos of bad moments. They are no real beauties... and a bit slutty looking. Obviously lacking in self esteem as they both had affairs with married men before they met my husband, so this was a pattern.
    They were both crushed that I found out. And I sent them horrible letters. I talked to the second one at length. She tried to torture me but I was too trusting to see it at first. I actually gave her the benefit of the doubt. That's just me. I see the good in everyone at first. She actually lost her job, hooray, and it's because of how she handled herself... too hard to explain here but I was so pleased.
    And still.... I want to torture them. Please help me stop.

    1. Dear Julia -- you're having a normal reaction to an outrageous situation. Betrayal is traumatic. Your mind is desperately seeking solutions, control, an escape from the pain. It's so hard to integrate the facts into your memories, your marriage. My PTSD from h's infidelity was worse than when a family member was killed in an accident years ago. You would think I had witnessed it, the way it would hijack my body and mind. As I told h, I feel like I was raped. I don't know how to un-do this.

      It's normal to want control. You didn't get a vote, none of this is your fault, and you would like to avoid future pain. Find articles on this site about mind movies, thought-stopping, pain shopping. I realized that the imagined encounters were actually more of the same, and making me ill. With lots of practice, it gets better. I wrote and re-wrote letters to ow that were never sent (I told her that real women look out for each other. Period.) I still worry about running into her, I still fantasize about her mistaking a handgun for a vibrator (sick, I know), but less and less. Even in my revenge fantasies I have to practice cutting her out, turning it off, throwing down the popcorn and storming out of the movie.

      Cue up the stop sign, make new and better movies to watch. You and h, powerful and strong. Take any good moment and play it 100 times. When ow pops up, I wrap her in yellow caution tape. I imagine my grandmother (long gone), locking ow in the trunk of her big old cadillac and driving her away forever. I imagine a force field around me, my family, my home. Make sure you shift out of the darkness, pull yourself back into the light every time. Let Elle's amazing, powerful words lead you. The warriors will be here, cheering you on.

    2. Julia, I went through phases of this. My husband had ended both of his affairs but I felt like I needed to learn more, track them, see what was bad in their lives... It was hard to stop. In the end one day I finally just thought to myself that if I want to have any hope in repairing my marriage and feeling good about myself that I needed to just stop. I was getting nothing good from searching and looking them up. I always felt worse about myself. Even though I see my life as better it made me feel worse about my husband. I thought about contacting them but decided not to since who knows what they would say to me or if it would be the truth. And the two ow were out of our lives. So I did not want to open that door. Saying all of this I made it non negotiable that there was to be no contact. If there was any contact that I needed to be told and then we would decide together how to respond. Each ow reached out once to him. He showed me and we decided to ignore them since it was one time. It worked and we have never heard from them again. I have made it clear to my husband it is better to tell the truth if they make contact or if he were to make contact with them rather than keeping it a secret even if he views it as innocent. My husband says he lives as if I am next to him or reading everything he types. He said that makes it easy since he does not want to risk his second chance.

      Hang in there and take care of yourself. It is so hard and really once I was able to get past thinking about the two ow then I felt stronger and better about everything.

    3. Julia, A big piece of this is realizing that you are hurting yourself. It's a completely normal impulse to want to know everything about this person but it's also compounding your pain. There is no comparison. You're a loyal loving wife and she's a manipulative, self-centred "child" with someone old enough to be her father. She's a sick person and as my husband's therapist put so beautifully to me: What she's got, you don't want.
      No contact is the way to go FOR BOTH OF YOU. Cut this woman (both women!) out of your life like a cancerous tumour. She's poison.
      And then get down to the business of rebuilding your marriage. Your husband needs to completely own what he did and get to the root of why he risked someone he loved for someone who, ultimately, doesn't matter to him. What was he avoiding?
      And you need to be gentle and kind with yourself, with includes NOT hurting yourself by focussing on this toxic person. Find a counsellor who can help you navigate the pain. Seek out people and activities that make you feel good. Celebrate what an incredible person you are and what a life you've led.

  10. If I helped you feel better just for a minute, it makes me really happy because I know how horrible it feels. I can't imagine getting an email like that and a photo with it, that would just cause me such incredible pain for many reasons, including that this woman is deliberately trying to cause hurt and build herself up. I do truly believe what I said- she is insecure, even though she is stupid in so many ways she's still got something telling her, if not a lot of things nagging at her, that there is a problem. Her relationship with your husband, whatever it was or is or turns out to be will ALWAYS be a relationship built on lies, and for that alone it can never be pure between them. She knows it, she's just trying to prove her way out of it. She's selfish by targeting you in the hopes that she will feel better by sending such hateful and ridiculous emails. I'm sorry you had to read that and see that. I hope she leaves you alone. Let her sit in her own suffering- her time will come. Sending an email like that is the first sign that things are amiss.

  11. Thank you VERY much Snowbird. I am very happy that I checked the "notify me" box when I wrote my post because I now have an easy way to access what you said as it is copied in my emails. I will read and reread. It all makes sense. I will try these ideas. I am suffering. But when people care it makes all the difference. And the fact that you don't even know me, yet you really get me, it is just what I needed. Again, thank you so much.

    1. So glad it helped, Julia. Knowing that smart, strong women are with me on this journey helps me push back against the ow eclipse. Two years in and it's still a lot of work, but Elle's words keep me sane. xxoo

  12. I am finding it hard to move on mentally from something that happened 11 years ago but only really discovered extent of 2 months ago. Was snooping around I admit in husbands drawers when he was away on tour with the band we manage and our tour assistant (who is 42 year old single mum) I was getting quite alarmed about the amount of texting and whatsapping between them. she managed to send approx 1300 whatsapps in 7 months and he sent around 850, similar amounts of texting as well. She is that kind of person I know, she used to do it with me, but I stopped responding as most of it is just general sharing "crap" however he seemed to have taken to it with gusto and was deleting them and never mentioning them. Well having taped conversations a few times and seen some of the messages- it seems to all be rubbish but still not happy about the volume, although once I brought it up with him it has mysteriously decreased considerably. Anyway, as part of this I came across a pile of lyrics 2 months ago that were clearly about a 21 year old girl who was in the same role for us in 2004/2005. They were full of longing, wanting her beautiful mind, not knowing which way to turn, wanting to escape, feeling stuck , etc. Like love letters, only an odd sexual line or two, stuff like "entangled, transfixed without fear or care" Again at the time, there was a lot of texting between them and he told me there was nothing going on, it was all in my head etc and I let them toddle off round the world with the band we manage/sharing rooms etc . I had it out with him just before xmas and he was very upset I had found it all and says it was all in his head , a fantasy kind of thing and nothing happened. I partly find this hard to believe (they had tons of opportunity and I always felt she looked at me like crap and because I also saw 2 texts at the time, one from her which said "thank you my xmas angel" when he sent her a mixtape and one from him where he said "everything is horrible here, wish Iw as there with you now" . At the time his mum was dying and our business was going wrong, so yes I know he wasnt in a great place. The problem is it has totally changed my perception of him and how I feel, I would have said he was an incredibly loyal man and would kill for me. We havent had a fantastic sex life for past 10 years as Im just not particularly that way, have been going through the change. I now find now my son has left home whether I seriously want to stay with someone who seemed to see me at some point as someone to escape from (despite the fact I have run our businesses for 13 years) He is also quite an angry man, there has been a lot of shouting and general agressive nastiness (not physical)when stuff in life/business has gone wrong. It is hard to throw 21 years away but I am serioulsy thinking I just cant see myself wanting a sexual relationship with him again , I feel enormously let down, even though the actual big style letting down was a year ago. I am seeing a councillor myself, he doesnt want to, he just wants me to "move on" mentally and accept he was an idiot and doesnt know why he did it , apart from he was sad at the time. The other night when Iw as upset and sniffing (I thought he was asleep) he said 'everything ok" and when I said no, Iw as just upset, he said "for gods sake if you keep bringing this up you are giving me a stomache ulcer" I must mention I have brought it up 3 or 4 times at the most, he reitterates "nothing happened" and seems to think that its not an affair of any kind as it was one sided and in his head. He also thinks I grossly overacted over the whatsapping and texting last summer as its just "friends" (and yes I have read that book) It seems to me that he was getting a bit of a buzz from it as he works at home on his own. I wanted to say something to the woman who works with us about it and he didnt want me to as he said she would think Im mad!

    1. Anonymous, I'm so sorry for the pain you're in. Everything in your letter reeks of loneliness. You're in a marriage with a man who has spent a lot of time travelling while you're dealing with a child and a business. He's had these fantasies of leaving that weren't JUST in his head -- he shared at least an emotional relationship with this person. And, from what you say, his ability to listen to you, to show he cares about how you're feeling, is stunted at best. So, to me, it's no surprise that intimacy has waned. For women (generalizing of course), sex is intimacy. It begins when we feel valued and listened to and cherished. Is suspect you haven't felt that way for a long time. I think you're at a crossroads. You can stay with this man though it means healing from this betrayal (and it IS a betrayal. Whether or not it was physical, any "secret" relationship is a betrayal) without his support or compassion. You can leave and create a life on your own. Or you can tell him what you've said here. That you are deeply deeply hurt by what you discovered and that if you're going to stay, you need to rebuild a marriage based on true intimacy and honesty and respect for each other. He needs to deal with his anger issues and find healtheir ways to respond to life's setbacks. And you both need to find a way back to safe, nurturing intimacy.
      You get to decide where you go from here. There isn't a right or wrong choice. Just make sure it is a choice and not a reaction to pain.
      As for this woman he works with, if you're uncomfortable with the level of communication, then he needs to respect that. Especially in light of what you discovered. We should at least aim to minimize any hurt we cause our partners. It isn't about you controlling him, it's about you feeling uncomfortable and unsafe. That's legitimate. And he should care enough about you to respond with compassion.

  13. I discovered my husband's affair about 4 months ago. At that time he shared he had been having an ongoing affair for three years, he has a child he fathered a month before our wedding day. We have been married 24 years. He also shared he is a cross dresser We started counseling immediately. He expresses remorse, has ended the affair and is trying desperately to make things right. I am beyond devastated. I have good days and days where I can't focus to read a page in a children's picture book. I want to move but, it would financially not possible without selling our home. It would take a year or more. I have asked for my husband to ask that the OW be removed from working with him. I feel I am making all the accommodations while he goes about business as usual. The OW continues to try to make contact through letters and phone calls. We changed the phone number but, there still exists the issue of working together. Which causes me great distress. I I try not to dwell on the past but, the pain has its own mind. I fight daily to keep negative thoughts at bay. Especially the thoughts of confronting the OW. I feel her husband should be told yet, I don't want to hurt the children or jeopardize my husband's job or his life. I don't know how this man will react to finding out about the affair. I feel that I am the only one suffering in all of this. There are days where the pain and weight and shame and the cover up of it all is beyond what I am capable of. It has taken tremendous strength to even want to stay and work things through. It takes great strength to focus on my light and my value and slap back all the imaginings and triggers I experience. We can't move right away because it will take a while to sell our home he can't change jobs easily. It would be a 6 month to a year search then there is the problem of selling the house which leaves me stuck in a horrible situation. How can I heal knowing there is an opportunity for this to start all over again (although he says it's over). I am in a constant state of the fear of being hit in the head with a sledgehammer again. I am paranoid and suspicious of everything!!! This is not who I am. I cry almost every day. My emotions are unpredictable. I am trying to hide from my teen daughters, my family, my friends what is happening and what has happened. The grief at times is unbearable. As long as he is employed where he is I feel like a sitting duck. In counseling we talked about, even if we move, if he does not put boundaries around our marriage then I am right back in this same spot again. I feel anger that I don't want to feel, yet, I do. I have been given an insurmountable of pain to deal with.
    I am giving everything I have to comprehend and deal with the incomprehensible.
    I have found great hope and comfort here among others who are experiencing similar things.

    1. Anonymous, I'm so sorry for everything you're going through. I suspect that what you're experiencing is post-trauma, which isn't the least surprising given what you're dealing with.
      If you're not in counselling, please find someone to help support you through this. I wonder if some of your doomsday scenarios might not be so dire. Perhaps you can sell the house more quickly than you imagine. Perhaps your husband can request a job transfer or some other accommodation. Expecting you to "trust" that there's nothing going while they continue to work together is an incredible burden on you. Trying to pretend everything is fine feels excruciating. I know. I did it too.
      See if you, with the help of a counsellor, can break down exactly what you need to begin to feel like the ground isn't shifting beneath your feet. Perhaps you can tell the husband anonymously. He's likely not the ogre you fear but a guy who has a gut feeling his wife has cheated on him. Who knows.
      But...start by finding support. And treatment for this post-trauma response. It's a normal response to trauma but it's not helping you at this point.

  14. "If you ever get the chance to treat them the way they treated you, no matter how painful, I hope that you choose to walk away and do better."

    I read this two days ago and it stuck with me. I'm struggling with this in regard to the OW. I'm following through with it in action, but not always in my heart. I wonder if this is the last piece of the puzzle in my healing, letting go of that desire to retaliate. I feel like I've come so far personally and in my marriage.

    I can recite all the reasons trying to get back at her is not worth it. I no longer battle with my own comparisons to her. I see her for what she is. While I used to get some satisfaction from comparing my successes to her failures, I no longer feel the need to do that. My husband has owned his issues. He's worked hard to be a better person. It's been ups and downs and he's weathered a lot of anger from me. We've been through it side by side and the result is a marriage that's more open than its ever been.

    But that anger toward her is still lingering there and when it sneaks in, it makes me feel like a fraud. How can I profess to be in a much better place when I know deep down that if I could get back at her without it affecting my family, I would? Why can't I just accept her brokenness , as I did with my husband? Is it just because I've seen the work he's done to change and seen none of that from her?

    We're coming up on two years. I chose not to contact her husband out of concern for my family. I did send her a lengthy text message the day after our final d-day and received an immediate apology. There's been no direct contact since then, although she has cropped up periodically on Facebook over the two years in an effort to be seen. That kind of petty stuff has eliminated any belief I may have held that her apology was sincere.

    Is there anyone further down the road who has experienced this? Does it eventually just fade to the point where you no longer care? I know there isn't a set schedule for healing but I feel like I've been carrying this for too long.

    1. Hey Dandelion, I was once where you are. The mere thought of her generated bile in my throat. I HATED her with a burning fury that I thought would never die out.
      And then...a while back I was talking with a friend who knows what I went through and I went to make reference to the OW...and I couldn't remember her name. I literally could not remember what her name was. I knew it started with an "s" but...what the hell was it?
      That's how remote she felt to my life now. Just some old nobody whose name I couldn't remember.
      She's not worth your energy. She's a sad person trying to remain relevant in your life (hence the FB appearances). The affair was never about her at all. It was about what she represented. Escape. Fantasy. Avoidance.
      Two years feels like a long time but it's just the beginning of your true healing. You're far along the path -- farther than I ever was at two years. Give yourself time. Try not to give her any more energy. Trust that she's facing further and further away in your rear-view mirror until you can barely see her at all.

  15. Thank you, Elle. I am struggling. And I am ashamed of my thoughts of anger toward these girls...I know they are sick, thank you for reminding me. I know they celebrated in taking something away from me for their own gain....it just hurts so much. My husband let them. He really lost control and let them run the show. He's in therapy, very rigorous therapy to get to the bottom of it. Yes, he was abandoned and abused as a kid...he's been empty and hating himself for a while. Through the affairs he really tapped into that hate- he has had so much shame and guilt that he actually got very sick. He has cancer, but he's in remission now. I really believe that all the negativity and shame brought his immune system down. He said he almost confessed to me when he got sick. I was by his side of course, as always. I wish he had told me then, or any time, I would have worked on it and worked to find out why. He was too scared I would leave. So he kept control over my life by keeping it a secret. He did not give me the option of staying or leaving by not giving me my reality. It's just my nature to get answers. I don't want to sweep anything under the rug. He was brought up in a family where feelings, especially from a boy, were not honored or even allowed. He was taught to swallow everything. My OCD has kicked in big time, and I am not doing well. My PTSD is coming into play because it's anniversary of discovery...just one year. So it's a bad time now, but won't be forever I know. Your words helped me, thank you.

    1. Julia,
      Trust that the answers will come and when they do, they likely won't look like what your'e expecting. Instead, the answers will come in the form of peace and a realization that the details don't matter. That what matters is you, taking care of you, and creating a life of honesty and integrity.
      You and your husband have both been through so much. Much of the pain has been created by him. But I confess I sympathize with someone who endured childhood abuse and it's that old adage: Hurt people hurt people. Until we heal our own wounds, we will inevitably wound others.
      I hope you have support for your OCD. My youngest child has OCD and I know how easy it is to slip down that rabbit hole and start feeding the OCD. Do you have a self-care plan to keep you on track? A relapse-prevention plan? If not, please create one with specific activities/behaviours you can take to help you manage your anxiety. Again, you've had so much to deal with it's incredible how well you're doing. But none of us gets through this alone. Lean on the women here. And you're right. It is bad now. But it won't feel like forever. You're stronger than you know.

    2. Thank you very much, Elle. These were great words for me. I've reread many times. I know you are right- that the answers won't look like what I'm expecting. I know that someday the details won't matter. I can see glimpses of this, I can actually feel it reaching toward that idea, like the pain in my head and my heart is being replaced by understanding and calm, but then something drags me back (trigger) and on my angriest (most hurting) of days I turn to wanting to lash out at the OW as you have read through my posts. I just want it to stop.
      Thank you, yes I do have some OCD help. But not enough and not specific enough. My therapy has concentrated on getting my feelings out and trying not to blame myself and gaining my confidence back...it's taking time. I will see if I can come up with a plan.
      I'm going to keep thinking and reading and writing. It all helps, it's just small steps and time is needed to reflect. There is nothing fast about this process. I thought it would take only one year to be back to normal. Lol so not true!! I think I had read that somewhere. What a disappointment. Now that I know grieving takes time, I am feeling easier on myself for not reaching a better place. Thank you for your kind words. I know my husband is working so hard and trying to get to the bottom of it for himself but to be better for us too. He's suffering, sometimes much more than me. I wish I could always keep that in mind when I'm at my worst. It's just been such a long year and yet it went by fast.

  16. CRAIGSLIST sucks! I found out a year ago that my husband was cheating on me through Craigslist...anonymous meet up sometime at our office while I was at home with our kids! 1 year and I am so angry still! Our life together was a sham! He won't go over any details other than to say he was in a bad spot and now he's better....I don't want a divorce but I don't know what to do anymore! This is his second affair! I am ashamed and don't know what to do

    1. Anonymous, I'm with you. Craigslist does suck.
      Your husband is asking you to forgive his betrayal. What is he doing to deserve that second chance? How is he supporting you as you heal from the agony of betrayal? What is he doing to ensure he never goes down that path again (and no, just saying he won't isn't enough). It's his second affair so what the hell happened that he can't control himself? How many chances is he going to ask you for? And how many are you going to give him? Anonymous, you don't deserve this. If he wants you to give him a SECOND second chance, then he needs to make it very clear to you just how hard he's going to work to figure out why he made the horrible choice to betray your trust and then he's going to tell you EXACTLY how he plans to earn that trust back. And if you don't like what you hear (or you don't believe them), then it's time to walk.

  17. Tonight I am in tears. My H showed remorse and I do believe he truly hates the pain he sees me in now. We had such an incredible love when we started dating & got married. How could he not know I would hurt this much all week he was plotting to meet her for sex while I was pregnant with our 2nd child? He had to drive hours to meet her. How could he not know it would break my heart then? How could he not think 'this will destroy my wife'? I'm having a really sad evening. Even when I've been mad at my CH I have never disrespected him. How could he not know my heart better after a decade together? How could he cheat so many times? I'm hopeful for the future that he cares now. But why not then? I long to be loved the way he made me feel loved in those early years. How does someone forget that love and deliberately break their vows? I could never hurt another person like that. I keep my promises. I just don't understand. It hurts so much.

    1. Hi Browneyedgirl,
      I'm sorry, I'm so sorry. I've been there. It sounds like you are early on in the process. I too couldn't understand how this could happen. I too kept my promises. I couldn't do that to another person, I could never do something that would destroy my family... it means too much to me. My kids mean too much to me and they count on us as parents to be there for them, not go off and take care of some crazy selfish need.
      What I can say is in time your husband will hopefully figure out why it happened and how he could do it. This will help you. It was not about you, it was about him...you didn't make him do it and the OW wasn't anything special. I promise you. Give it time. Since you had such incredible love in the beginning.... it makes it hurt that much more. It gets easier but new challenges arise and it takes time....focus on the love you have for him and on his love for you. It does hurt. I often slip into..."how could you do that and still love me at that time?" I have a hard time understanding it at times, but then when I hear how much he wants to get what we had back, it gets easier. When I hear about the emptiness he struggled with for so many years since childhood due to abuse...it's only surfacing now and makes sense... but it's so so hard. With these reasons I try to be compassionate toward him and this helps. I hope you can feel better soon.
      Best of luck to you.

    2. Browneyedgirl,
      Julia is right on. It wasn't about you or the love you shared with your husband. It was about him and most likely some unresolved issues that led him to make the choices he did.
      My husband says he never stopped loving me. He compartmentalized his life into two parts and in his mind the two never crossed. It's hard to understand when you haven't done it yourself. What I do know is that he was in a very dark place and had over 40 years of unresolved issues that had nothing g to do with me or our marriage. I also know that the affair being found out was his rock bottom. It forced him to look at who he had become and he was ashamed and disgusted. We both hate that it took this to make him realize it.
      We're approaching two years from our final d-day and the changes in him are more than I expected. It's been hard and he's faced a lot of shame and issues that he successfully numbed for a long time. I do believe he has always loved me but it's taken me time and a lot of reading about affairs to get here.
      I hope you're having a better day today.

  18. Hopeful 30, it took me a long time to not consistently think of revenge towards the OW. Elle will probably and does disagree with me. I can't say this enough but with regards to the OW, think of the why's you need to do this or that. The OW doesn't care about you at all. They only care they lost, they weren't good enough, they couldn't steal your life. It is always about them and their black hole they are trying to fill. I used to pray to God please let me run into her. Well I did about 6 months out at Petsmart. I called her out said nasty things at the cash register and then into the parking lot. She just stood there like a whip puppy taking my abusive words and nodding yes. In the parking lot I yelled, get yourself tested for STD and who is the married man you are fucking now? Then I went over to her house 1.5 months out and talked for 2 hours. I want to compare stories and make sure my asshole asteroid H was telling the truth. I was calm when I talked to her. My final action of closure was to write her letter reminding her how she lost him, why she lost, what he hated about her, what lies he told her, she ended up being on-call sex, everyone in town knew she was a whore. etc..... My therapist read the letter too. That was it. I'm over her. I saw her picture on FB and wanted to call animal control. Do what will help you heal. As far as forgiving her? No way and I can live with it. Im not a saint. If I do run into her again I'm going to continue to tell her off. After all,that I know in my heart, from doing what I needed to heal, I'm better than her in every way. You have to do what works for you. I never threatened to harm her in anyway. I guess I just said enough is enough, get yourself up off the floor and do what helps with the full realization of the consequences and potential set backs. She is afraid me and I like it like that. The benefit of confronting her, knowing first hand for myself through my eyes, not his, out weighed the risk. I also don't take " I don't remember". I ask what parts do you remember? It helped me to ask my H what didn't you like about her?

    1. Lynn less pian
      I guess my revenge was telling her through text that she wasn't so special after all the other women in his past were just that gone and in the past. I told her I didn't want to know details of their past and she said it was still very present. I said well after today it's all past. He never met up to answer her questions and it truly is past now! She's still a miserable person, she has nothing I care to be like, and my h had to look back and wonder just what the hell was he thinking when he pursued this worthless piece of pussy! Disgusting the entire affair left him with a very sour taste in his mouth! Revenge is allowing the cow to wallow in her own disgusting life, and pursuing our path to a happier healthier relationship! One day at a time!

    2. I totally agree everyone needs to do what they need to. For me I just knew this was what I needed. As far as the "I don't remember" we went back and forth about this for over a year. One simple question I had was when did the affair start with the second ow. And I must have asked him dozens of times and he says he cannot remember that it was int he fall in one of two years. He knows he met both ow the same summer. But he pushed the one away for 3-4 years. I mean this was a daily conversation. We got into other details but he could not tell me without saying he was lying just to appease me. He would go 6-12 months without communication with either of them so it was odd and not full immersion. He said they would meet up and then he would avoid her for as long as possible. His first ow he only met 3 times in 10 years. Who knows none of it makes sense to me and none of it was anything I would ever do. They are such low level people. At first I questioned if he was telling me the truth but I did get confirmation from a friend without them knowing that it was brought up how the second ow was crazy and stalking him. This is how he described her but really who knows if that was his perception or reality. Well his friend brought it up without knowing the details at all so I am pretty sure that was accurate what he was telling me. In the end as guided by my therapist we focused on what made up these relationships, what they meant and did for him and how he was made vulnerable. This has been a major focus for us. And then what we need to do to make our relationship productive and meaningful.

  19. Dandelion, you took the words right out of my mouth! I really like that saying "If you ever get the chance to treat them the way they treated you, no matter how painful, I hope that you choose to walk away and do better.” That’s how I want to live my life but I’m struggling with this.

    I just got through my D-Day anniversary and I’m feeling a little stuck, I’ve had a lot of those painful feelings fall back into my lap. I really feel that this is the last piece of the puzzle in my healing also. I have thought about writing her a letter to get all of the hate out. But the ow for me is a prostitute, I do have her address but she didn’t pursue my husband. I realize she’s a broken soul herself with probably lots of childhood issues, but I still really hate that she also took part in ripping my heart out! I’m struggling with this hate inside me, it’s so unlike me and it doesn’t sit well within me. I wonder if I did write her a letter and actually sent it would it help release this hate inside me. I would love to hear from others there thought on this.

    I have forgiven my husband, I have seen the hard work he has done to work on our marriage and himself. But this whore does she even realize she takes a huge part in destroying families. I've talked to my husband about this and he told me it's 100% all his doing I should release all this anger on him she's just a broken soul. My brain agrees with this but my heart says something else.

    1. hiking girl,
      Reconciling the head and the heart has also been difficult for me. In my brain, I know the OW is really messed up otherwise she would never have done the things she did. I suppose I naively expected more from someone who is a wife and mother herself. Now I feel it's probably unreasonable for me to expect true remorse from someone who convinced herself sexting, dirty talk and parking lot sex equated to a meaningful relationship. I've not reached a point where I could extend compassion to any of these women. I think, unless they were directly lied to about the marital status of the person they were involved with, that they were very much a party to the damage. I hold my husband 100% accountable for his behavior and her 100% accountable for hers. But I do recognize how screwed up/broken they are. That's why even when I want to rage at her, I think that it probably would be a waste. Can I shame someone who either a) sees nothing wrong with what she did or b) is so screwed up that she felt that was the best she deserved?
      Have you tried sitting down and writing her a letter but not sending it? I've done it multiple times. Sometimes it helps to see it in writing. For me it was a way to verbalize everything I felt she had done to me. Seeing the facts in black and white really took the fantasy out of the affair and revealed it for what it was... two messed up people using each other for different reasons.
      I think a lot of it is just time. We all have to walk our own path and do what feels right to us and that may change multiple times. It certainly has for me. I'm also trying to adjust to the feeling of it just staying unresolved. That's another really difficult feeling for me.
      I hope you find something that works for you.

  20. Hi Lynn Less Pain,
    I really appreciate your post. Lately I've been struggling a bit extra with the OW (there were two) and I'm finding that I have more thoughts of revenge than ever. I am one year and one week past D Day. Certainly this time of year, looking back on it all has caused these feelings to become stronger. My husband has been working so hard to get to the bottom of what contributed to his affairs and we are definetly getting somewhere. Our marriage is much better, in fact we've had some of our best days yet and we have developed a deeper intimacy that I didn't even know was possible. So why can't I let the OW go? It's the last piece it feels to me. I can bring myself to a place of real pain if I focus and envision what he did with them I regard to the lies and time spent...at this point I don't even care about the sex between them anymore- it was so cheap. When feelings crop up for me though as they do due to triggers and if he's not able to talk about them (due to incredible shame he has) I immediately turn to thoughts revenge on these whores. Both chased, both bullied, both manipulated. They did everything they could to get my husband to leave me. My husband got tired of it with the first one, and when another one came along he went with her. She got his email and phone number from her work and contacted him. She showed up at a city he was working in with condoms packed in her purse and a bottle of Tequila waiting in her room. Sure my husband knew what he was getting into. By this point he was in the habit of hating himself for what he had already done and he felt trapped in his shame. Felt it defined him and decided I didn't love him when we spent so much time apart due to his work. He did not not go into the second affair thinking it would be more than that night, but she pursued and she made it so easy...she was so sexually obliging and spent her own money traveling to visit him on weekends where he worked (it was very enticing to visit him in various European cities and also fun to pretend to be part of his world as he's in the entertainment industry and a name in his field) Basically she's a star f***er.
    So here I am with so much anger and hate towards both of them. I've lashed out through social media and email. I've wrote some amazing letters. I got the second OW fired. One of the best days of the last year for me. It feels great but gets me nowhere as I just want more revenge. How fabulous that you confronted your OW at PetSmart. You are a girl after my own heart. Chasing her into the parking lot- fabulous. I would have done the same. I wouldnt have stopped until I told her everything she needed to hear- you did good.
    Both of the OW in my case live in other countries. I won't run into them...but I have had fantasies about flying out to see them. After all, they both flew out to see my husband on different occasions for "visits" staying with him in his apartment rental and leaving before I arrived with the kids. When all was revealed it added up to over four years and so many lies. It hurt like a knife in my heart. He lied to all of us. He's dealing with a lot right now.
    I'm really trying to let this go...it was helpful to hear you will not forgive her, you are not a saint, and you are comfortable with that. It was great to hear "do what you need to do" "do what works for you" and "she's scared of me and I like it that way". I couldn't agree more. I'm glad it helped you. I hope I can find some relief. Thank you.

    1. Julia, I don't how I would feel if the whores were in another country. Here are my revenge track fantasies about the OW in my mind. AT the end I'll tell you which ones I just couldn't help myself. I want to spray paint on her house, "Gives BJ for free." That's positive right? Send her sex catalogues the really dirty ones. Tell her children that her grandchildren are exposed to an STD. Expose her on social media - she is a retired teacher. Send letters to her school where she still judges art contents that she is infected and a hazard to small children. Tell my physician's to send the state and local department of health she needs to submit a plan to disclose all her sexual contacts and plan how to contact them. Contact the current men she dated right along with my H. OK, the only real one was my physician's wrote the department of health, you should have heard her scream because everyone in the state could know. That scream still makes me smile. My sister and I joke that we can pull my mother out of closet from time to time and reek some pretty good havoc. My mother was a true self-centered bitch and we just grew up observing her.

  21. Dear Elle,
    Thank you for your words of encouragement. I am very grateful for your taking the time to acknowledge my pain and offer guidance.

  22. OMG Lynn Less Pain,
    I'm laughing hard. Thank you!! Laughing out loud. Only my dogs can hear me but im laughing out loud just the same.
    My revenge fantasy is this... it's my latest one, there are others...
    I'd love to go to a sex shop and buy a vibrater. I will put it in a small box with a note that reads, "here is something for you to use next time you feel like you must f**k someone else's husband". That way you can avoid having to run to confession over your sin again and again"
    Most Sincerely,
    I will send it to her and email every day that I wait for her to receive it.
    This bitch is a lost soul, so scared of "God" striking her down. She is the daughter of a Orthodox Christian minister who had numerous affairs himself and left her mother... how bad I felt for her at first. What a fool I was. She deserves everything she gets and if it's a dildo in the mail so be it. Her "apology" to me was the lamest ever. She tried over Twitter at first. I called her on that and easily got her email from my husband's address book. It felt good to call her out but face to face is what I need. Maybe I'll take a trip to Germany. I've considered it. I need a vacation anyway. By the way she is an opera singer so I will send it to her place of work so that she freaks out so badly she can't sing that day. I'm horrible, feel so bad after I write these things. I grapple with it. But who knows, I just may do it simply because she deserves it and I don't want her to forget or move on until I have fully moved on myself.
    Perhaps I'm going at this backwards... but a girl can dream can't she? Angry angry angry at her for praying before she f**ked my husband. He said he'd leave the room... it was her "routine" and he didn't want to be a part of that. She tried to "save" him. But it didn't work!!

  23. Found out my husband has been cheating on me for over 10 years. First 8 years was with webcam models, from my free cams and peekshows . He spent a lot of $$$ on private shows etc... he even sent them money via PayPal WESTERN UNION and money gram.
    I'm not talking small amount either.
    Anyway I caught him on the phone with a tramp he works with and then proceeded to find out he had been seeing her for 2 years.
    This girl is our sons age . To me it makes him one step up from a pedophile. It makes me sick. On top of that she has 2 children she doesn't have custody of because of drugs . ( my husband and I have never been drug users)
    After a lot of tears and anger and frustration. We decided to work it out. Now I can't seem to get a handle on my sadness or my anger at times. I have panic attacks , nightmares and as of late sleep walking.
    He says he feels like we are closer then we ever been but most of the time I feel even more alone.
    It's been a little over a year since I found out and he ended it with her , yet I can't seem to stop feeling sad,angry , and betrayed.
    How do I get through this?
    He refuses to try therapy, I feel like I need therapy yet can't afford it because he ran us into debt giving our money to his tramp . I worked for 15 years at a job and he basically gave my paycheck away.
    I love him , but I feel like my life has been a lie. Like it has all been smoke and mirrors.

    1. Heartofdust, I am so sorry. It all hurts so bad and is so painful. My husband had two affairs over 10 years and some online chat/IM'ing with random women and connecting with others on fb so I understand a little bit. For me it was hard on so many levels. And honestly I still never understood it but just accepted it and moved on.

      As far as getting better I think it all takes us different amounts of time. For me I am at 22 months from dday. We are in a great spot right now. DDay anniversary one was actually not too bad but I slid backwards hard after that. Not sure if it was normal life setting in, feeling like it would be so easy for him to slip up, adjusting to our new normal.... who knows but it was hard.

      I do think therapy is really crucial. My husband did not want to go but he is in the mental health field so our case is slightly different. A few things make sure to double check your insurance. Ours just goes towards our deductible but still it helps at least go towards that. I also would say there are non profits, schools, and many practices offer sliding scales. I know we are in a mid size town and there are at least two places I know of that allow you to pay what you can. I personally travel 1 1/2 hours to see my therapist. I did not want to go see anyone in town due to my husband's profession. And I was able to find someone really good with lots of experience. I also know from my husband's practice if you set up a payment plan he will see you as long as you keep paying. Some people pay $20 per week. I initially went only once a month and now I go every three months. For me that was so helpful but everyone is different. I would also contact any universities in your general area. I think it would be worth pursuing to find a good alternative. For me it has made a world of difference. My husband was the one who suggested I go since I have chosen not to tell anyone. I struggled really hard after dday 2 and my therapist has been so amazing for me and us too in the long run. My therapist has had excellent advice, helped me to be more confident and assertive and just been someone to listen and empathize with me. Otherwise all of that was on my husband I realized he was not really able to satisfy that role as the offender.

      I too felt like everything was a lie, joke, fake and I was used. It was really hard for a long time. But yes in the end I realized this was all him. I was always there and always dedicated challenging wanting to work on our marriage. In the end he is the one who messed up and let himself down more than anything. I went through sadness and feeling really bad about us and unsure even though we were committed and working hard. What worked for us was continuing to set boundaries and really focusing on our marriage. As far as triggers and panic attacks what helped was me trying to anticipate when those would occur. If I ever thought one was possible I would talk to him. He became really understanding and going out of his way to make things not trigger for me.

      Hang in there and give it time but try to find a way to secure a therapist since I bet it would help you so much and support your ability to be in a better place.

    2. I will check with our insurance, his company was recently bought out by another , so our insurance is different now. I have one very close friend that I am able to talk to . When I first found out about everything she was there for me and when I would say I have had enough she would tell me she supported me no matter what , but she also told me that she didn't think I was done. She advised me well that I needed to be 110% sure . She is a good friend.
      I have other friends and family but I'm to ashamed to say anything. Isn't it funny , they do wrong yet we feel the shame.
      I think some of my problem is ,I try and talk calmly and ask questions that I need or explain how I feel and all he does is have outbursts of yelling . Especially questions he doesn't want to answer. Sometimes I have outbursts right back but most of the time, I just clam up let him throw his tantrum.
      The arguments are further apart now , but it doesn't stop the turmoil I feel inside. I want to feel like me again, I want to feel calm and safe again .

    3. Heartofdust,
      Like you, I discovered one day that my husband had been cheating on me for a decade. Ten freaking years of lies, of deception, of betrayal. Like you, I decided to stay. But like you, I felt incredibly alone. I felt like a fraud. I couldn't figure out what of my life was fact and what was fiction. It's incredibly destabilizing.
      Factor in a partner who's finally NOT lying anymore and who is beginning to feel good about himself for the first time in years and it feels even lonelier. I used to feel as though the price for his happiness was my pain.
      There is no easy way through this. But I would start by finding a therapist. Maybe your husband needs to take on extra work to pay for it, maybe he needs to paint houses in the off hours to pay for it (as a friend of mine's husband did after he got them into debt). But he doesn't get to set the rules for your healing. And you don't have to pay for his betrayal with your own sanity.
      You've been traumatized and your body is responding with post-trauma symptoms.
      What's more, I don't buy the "doesn't believe in therapy" stuff. In my experience, those who "don't believe" in it need it the most. There's some dark stuff he's spent a lifetime trying to avoid (and a decade actively avoiding by seeking out distraction in other women) and until he addresses it, it's going to get in the way of, well, everything. He needs to understand why he did what he did and how he was able to lie for so long about it. With that understanding comes the beginning of hope that he won't go down that road again.
      I insisted my husband seek therapy (and a 12-step group) as a condition of our reconciliation. But that's your choice whether you do the same.
      At the very least, however, you need someone to support you as you work through the pain and anger and confusion of betrayal. And he needs to figure out how to pay for it. He created this devastation, not you.

    4. Heart of Dust, you have endured many different type of betrayals on multiple occasions. You sound like a strong woman with a huge heart. Your symptoms of panic attacks and anger are all left-overs from so much going on. Is your husband a sex addict? It sounds like it went from web cam to physical. I think your reaction to many types of betrayals. You are waiting for the other shoe to drop? What has he done to own up to his actions? Is he rug sweeping? Tell him straight up what you need him to do so you feel safer? Better yet write a list and give it to him. I also lost my therapy coverage. I explained the situation to my therapist who agreed to cut her fee down 57% and I pay in cash. Get a credit card in his name and start charging therapy. With all you have been through therapy would help you with this mess. If he is such a great calculator who can figure out how to pay these whore, ask him to figure out how to pay for therapy. I was surprised that my husband stepped up to the plate when I need additional money for myself, he figured out a way. Not because he owed me guilt money but he could see how therapy and other stuff really helped me. One year out is not that long, don't be so judgmental on yourself. Your healing has no deadline or timeline. NOW what I need I verbalize it or if he disagrees then I explain to him my perspective so he can understand that although he disagrees I'm still going to do what I need. In therapy I learned to say, I'm going to the movie would like to join me? I'm going to therapy would you like to join me? If he says no then that's on him not me. My heart goes out to you. This leaves us like a limp dishrag that has soured. It is hard to get moving but you can do this. He owes you these requests. Stay strong, take care.

    5. Heartofdust, like Elle and Hopeful30, my husband also confessed to almost ten years of sex with prostitutes as well as a lifelong habit of porn, strip joints, jerk off joints, etc. This was June 2015. I immediately made therapy appointments for both of us individually and after a bit joint therapy. There were many awful days strung together. My hair fell out in clumps, I lost about 50 pounds, I took up walking and yoga and meditation and told nobody except this group. My husband was willing to do anything and everything he could to fix it and make it right. We both know the past can't be changed and it altered our lives forever but he has managed to achieve great insight into his past and is more mindful of his present life. I still have a hard time even thinking about his life of lies, deceit, although it is getting easier for me to separate the choices he made from what I saw as a reflection on me. It isn't about me at all and it isn't about you. This takes time to process in your head and heart. Elle's blog is full of sage advice. If you have time to go back and read it, please do and read the comments. Much to learn. We are here for you. Thanks for posting and meeting up with all of us recovering souls.

    6. It's hard to say just what will help, but I do think it's important to give yourself permission to say and do the things you need to if it helps you work through the layers of hurt and confusion you are experiencing. I completely understand the loneliness in a marriage that is "better than ever." It's been 2.5 years for me since D-Day #1 and I still feel alone.
      The best therapy I've found is talking to other women (or men) who have been through this. It's taken time, and I've been very selective with who I talk to, but I've connected with two friends who are in similar circumstances. The sad part is that none of us knew about what the others were going through. I discovered the mom of my daughter's best friend was divorcing her unfaithful husband, so I reached out to her and we shared our stories. Another friend told me her story and I practically vomited out mine. Both of them are divorcing, and even though I'm fighting to stay, it's been comforting to know that if my H and I split, I will be okay. It's also allowed me to see him in a different light when compared to their husbands. My advice is to seek out people to talk to. If you look closely, you can spot the ones who have first-hand experience. There are more of us out there than we know. The shame of being cheated on and lied to keeps us silent.

      As for his therapy needs, if you're gonna spend money on a therapist, make it for him. I never really emphasized IC for him, which I regret. We have gone together and he's always been willing, but has only gone once on his own. He's been a different man with regards to our relationship and as a father, so I've let the issue slide. However, last week was the breaking point. It finally hit me that he has traded financial abandonment for sexual and emotional abandonment. He is now unemployed, spends hours surfing the internet everyday, and has not filed taxes (business or personal) in three years. I am beyond furious. Whatever pity I had for him is gone, and I told him that he is essentially saying "Fuck You" to me and our kids. He needs help, and lots of it. Whatever was in him that allowed him to cheat on me for a decade is still in there; it's just manifesting itself differently.

      Keep fighting, and don't accept less than what you want/need.

  24. Hi Hopeful 30,

    I really liked your post. It was so helpful for me because your words are so calming and I can tell you are in a very good place. It gives me hope for myself.
    I've reread what you said a few times.

    My question is for everyone reading: Do you think it is possible for a husband to have unprotected sex (sometimes used condone sometimes not) with their affair partner and still love their wife?
    He put me at such risk. He put our kids at such risk. We are lucky they don't have a half sibling because even though these women (2 over 5 years) claimed they would have an abortion if they did get pregnant, I think that was a lie. They loved my husband and wanted more.
    It sickens me that he put me and my kids at such risk. When I ask why didn't he ALWAYS use a condom, his answer was "I don't know". That was today. I kind of freaked out on him because of course he does know.... or at least give me some kind of lame answer like "it felt better" or "they wanted to feel what it was like". I'm sorry to be so graphic but it hurts so much. What hurts most is his lame answer. I'm grieving and I just want straight forward answers.
    Do you think it's possible if he did love them that he loved me too at that time? He claims he did not love them. He is a sex addict and he's working hard, very hard to fix it. He's in therapy twice a week and full of shame and guilt from this and from childhood experiences. I'm just being able to believe that this had nothing to do with me. Still, it hurts that he could not think of my health or the emotional health of my children if they were suddenly to have a half sibling.
    Feeling very very bad today : (

    1. Julia, I am struggling with this too. My CH had sex 1 time with his cousin's wife but they continued to communicate through email for years afterwards. He said mostly to complain about me, occasionally to 'sext'. But he also said he thought he loved her and thought he had a future with her. I think in time I can "move past" the 1 time sex. But I am struggling with ever getting over him thinking he loved her. Even though it was over a decade ago he looked back and said that is how he felt because she "spoke his love language" (appreciation & sexting). The MC tried to explain to him that isn't love it is lust. Him saying that to me diminishes our love story. There was no reality in their emails. No one ever had to be in the same location, pay a bill, raise a child, no real life. She was a manipulator. I was nurturing. I know some people believe you can "love" two people at once. I don't agree - there are different kinds of love and only one of them is the real thing. They just don't see it. I hope my CH sees it soon so we have a better chance at a future together with out me "being stuck".

    2. Julia,
      I think these guys are masters at compartmentalizing and minimizing. They honestly think they won't get caught, "nobody" is getting hurt and that they can somehow escape the consequences of their incredibly stupid choices. I don't think "love" has anything to do with it at all. My husband, once he finally pulled his head out of his ass, was horrified at how he didn't even really think of these other women as humans. Their sole purpose was to allow him to indulge himself. It was "porn with skin on" as I've sometimes heard sex addiction described.
      So often we betrayed wives try to apply rational thinking to irrational behaviour. We assume they're thinking through their actions logically. And they're not. It's impulsive (and often compulsive). It's feeding an unhealthy hunger for...something. Distraction. Excitement.
      I'm not suggesting you avoid asking for the information you need, I'm simply noting that you're unlikely to ever get the answers you want. Any addict makes selfish choices based only what they believe they need. Everyone else is simply props to help them achieve this. It's only when they acknowledge their choices and do a sort of moral inventory that they can discern their feelings from their impulses.

    3. Julia, glad what I have written had helped you and yes there is reason for hope. I am more of a realist now but I am also much happier. I have been very direct with my husband what I want and if that is not for him then I can find my own happiness. So far so good he feels the same way. But it has been major changes for him. The good thing is he is happier than ever but it took a lot of work and self reflection.

      As far as all of your questions I agree with everything Elle said. I would never be capable of doing what he did. At any point in my life I would never do that and I know my kids even know better. It is an escape, fantasy and selfish. And at least for my husband he can compartmentalize with the best of them. My husband had unprotected sex and his reason was they had no protection. This was after she was dropped off at a bar where she heard he was so she would not have a ride home. Hung out till last call and could not get a cab. So she begged him to give her a ride home. This was after four years of trying to get his cell number. So when he dropped he off and begged him to go in this is what happened. And yes I was appalled and still am. I am not sure what I would have done if he got her pregnant. She is a single mom already. Who knows if that was her plan? We did not have to deal with that. But going to planned parenthood and getting tested for stds was an emotional experience for him.

      My husband claims to have never loved either of his ow. He had 10 year sporadic relationships with both of them. But he told me on dday he was not in love with me but never wanted to leave me or ever spoke negatively of me etc. We went around and around on details of the affairs and he does not even know what year the second affair began. He just knows it was the fall. I mean we had at least 50 discussions about this. I kept pressing him for a lot of details. I spoke at length many times with my therapist a out this and we had great discussions. In the end I chose to focus on what allowed this to happen, how he went about it, how they communcicated. My therapist and I talked a lot and this is his specialty and he said most likely wharever he tells me will not help me heal, feel better or answer all of my questions. But he urged me to look at deeper level questions. I know many people say you need to have all of your questions answered and I think this is personal and situation based. For us in the end after 15 months I was not feeling like I would ever get a real answer and in the end not sure it would have helped me. We turned to focusing on him, his issues and our relationship. He made major strides and we have moved at a good pace for us now. I did get many of my questions asked but I am a type a and remember every detail of my life he does not.

      In the end work to figure out what you need. It took a long time to work past the hurt. My skin would crawl thinking how can I be with this person. My husband is in the mental health field and people come up to me all the time saying how amazing he is and now he has changed their lives for the better by helping them or someone in their family. Ugh make me puke. All I can say is my husband really is a new person. I gave him a second chance and he has not wasted it. My therapist has said it is an amazing transformation. It took a leap of faith and I was very guarded for a long time. Keep at it and give it time!

  25. Ladies- I am now past 3 years, and feeling some of my old self coming back finally. I am not constantly ruminating and even feel some affection to my H again. Anyway, I am thinking about what forgiveness is, and found this article really validating. Wanted to share: http://nymag.com/scienceofus/2017/01/forgiveness-is-not-a-binary-state.html?mid=atlantic

    1. Thank you! This article was exactly what I needed today.

      I had decided not to make forgiveness a priority. I even got "permission" from my priest not to forgive. But still... 20 months out and I'm stuck.

      I've let so much else go -- the OWs, the idea of "once a cheater always a cheater," the biting anger. Well, mostly let go. A few bad days a month.

      But still I am overwhelmed by decisions about what I want for a marriage moving forward. His betrayal feels like a blanket smothering our marriage. I have nightmares of being buried alive. I wake up in a panic.

      So I've been second guessing myself, that maybe I do need to forgive to lift this burden -- but I don't want to forgive! Forgiveness feels like another betrayal. It feels like saying it wasn't really that bad. It was. It was an earthquake. My H and I have both been changed forever. In his case for the better. In my case... I'm still figuring that out. But I feel in a super weird and unexpected way like I need to "honor" what the adultery did to our marriage. I don't want to let it go. But I also don't want to have these nightmares.

      I don't know. I've forgiven other people other hurts. Why not this? Maybe I'm just afraid it won't "work," and I'll still be stuck wondering what is the stupid point of marriage anyhow. Argh.

      So anyhow this article's perspective was super helpful to me. Opened my eyes to a different way. Will discuss with my therapist. Thanks!!!

    2. Thanks for this article. I don't know whether it's that forgiveness was instilled in me from a young age or that I just want to be rid of the burden of anger or resentment as the article mentions. Maybe it's a combination of the two. Now I'm working on being ok with it just being unresolved.

    3. So glad it helps. I felt such relief to hear that is okay that I feel 75% forgiveness and still move on with my life. I don't feel hung up and guilty for not feeling completely free and unguarded. Maybe that number will increase in the years to come but I am good with where I am now. And it is enough for me to relate to my husband in positive ways-mostly. I am also angry at our initial couples therapist who in the immediate days and months after the betrayal spouted all that claptrap about how forgiveness is the like you taking the poison or some other BS. I felt such guilt and judgement for my having real and honest feelings and being told I was the problem. That i was punishing him with my hurt. Oh yeah, and she told me to use crystals and chant so I can forgive. Anyway, I found my way to somewhat forgiveness by honoring my feelings and where I am at. Not by hocus pocus or making myself.

    4. Sal, I am 3 years out and I think you are right as to not make forgiveness a priority. You work out your feelings and then you can find your peace. I think the intention to not fuel resentment is important though. Fostering compassion for where you are, and for other people's effed up stuff, will help you get there. Not feeding vitriol or hate towards the other players helps too. I put my own peace of mind first, and that is how i found myself towards releasing the rage and finding some amount of what might be called forgiveness.

    5. I'm really taking this to heart. I definitely felt that guilt about having real and honest feelings and being told I was the problem. You make a great point about honoring yourself as necessary first step. It's so good for me to hear from others in the same boat. I need this positive reinforcement when I get stuck.

      It's so crazy to me that the big issue for me now is less about the actual adultery/sex/OWs, and more about what do I want from my marriage. Never would I have believed that at DDay!

      It seems my H and I are finally doing the soul searching we should have done before our wedding day. Well, that we should have been doing all along really. We took each other for granted. And we took ourselves for granted.

      Maybe I'll never figure out forgiveness. But maybe it won't matter if I can create a good life with my H anyhow. Maybe that's forgiveness. I don't know. Dang life is complicated!!! :) Trying to keep focused on that next best step...

  26. Hi everyone,

    Since writing my last post about not using condoms at times and my husband claiming he loved me, I got a call from my doctor that I have HPV. It is not the aggressive type but it is the high risk type (the possibly pre cancerous in the future type not the wart type). I was tested in 2013 and I was clear. This was some kind of routine test and I hadn't even realized my doctor had taken it. I had no reason to think I would have anything since I've been with my husband for nearly 20 years now. My husband was with a women since 2011-2014 and then a new one for one year December 2014-December 2015. I suppose I got it from that last girlfriend as she was very promiscuous (she told me herself- so callous). He didn't use condoms from time to time when she was on her period (how gross) and when he couldn't get it up- he finally admitted to me today, which apparently was a problem at times because he was SO guilty and she was so aggressive and obliging to whatever he wanted whenever he wanted it. So apparently he had an easier time without the condom and it was all about performing.
    Anyway, my doctor said since I was clear in 2013 it's likely of course my husband brought this to me recently. My husband feels horrible. I am upset, angry and sad to have her "evil" in me as I told him today. He obviously was only thinking of himself when he did this. How is that love??? I'm lucky I didn't get any other diseases. He has a sexual addiction but he is doing everything in his power to make it up to me. Going back into his childhood and the mess his parents created. They were cruel. What kind of people won't let their little boy call them "mom" and "dad"? Instead they insisted he call them by their first names. The list goes on and on for the neglect he suffered. In turn he neglected me and fed his emptiness while on the road for business with these two women who worshipped him and controlled him with sex on demand any time he wanted. No kids to worry about, no responsibilties. All this while I took care of the kids and provided support and love- a full life and a full home with so much care. Please help me. I'm so distraught. Slipping back after a year of work. It's only one week after my one year anniversary. Thanks to all. Love to all.

    1. Julia,
      I'm so sorry that you've gotten this news on top of the other things you're dealing with. I know that in the midst of this it's hard and you're probably furious with him for what feels like another betrayal. You mentioned that your husband has a sex addiction and, as hard as it is to wrap our heads around it, I truly believe that many of these guys weren't thinking of us at all when they were acting out. And not in a callous, they didn't love us sort of a way, but in a compartmentalized, worlds don't cross sort of way. I hope this makes sense. My husband had a porn addiction which then led to parking lot sex with a co-worker. He also had a relatively crappy childhood and I believe that's the root of most of the issues.
      It's so hard to grasp how they could do the stuff they did, but for me, watching my husband heal and recover, I've realized how well he hid and numbed the pain from those issues. I really have a better sense of how broken he was. None of that excuses the things he did but I know they weren't the decisions of someone who was in a good place.
      I feel for you because I imagine it's a lot to take in right now. It's hard to focus on the work you've been doing when you've been dealt another blow. It's times like this I wish we all knew each other in person so we could sit and talk. Sending you lots of support.

    2. Julia
      I'm so sorry for your set back due to now having to deal with HPV. It's a normal reaction with such a huge trigger. I spent several days in the hospital the first year my h and I became sexually active. I was barely 18 but remember the dr telling me I would have a higher chance for cancer in my later years. Well fast forward to the last year when my h had to go see his dr with a rash you guessed it on his penis! Well I had a major meltdown and he sorta did too. Turned out not to be STD but reminded him that he risked my health as well as his own. This was a major eye opener for him and he was filled with shame all over again. I'm so sorry for the punch in the gut you feel! Hugs from someone dealing with the same new risk for cancer bestowed upon us by our loving spouses!

    3. Julia, I am so sorry that you have to endure this pain and the ongoing reminders of your spouses infidelity. Your journey is still new and most of us were babbling fools at a year out, or at least I was for sure. I had good days and bad days and days I fluctuated between homicidal and suicidal so this setback is understandable in a huge way. If you husband is a sex addict or struggles with compulsive drives he really wasn't thinking of you at all during his acting out and that is still hard to accept. I am only now beginning to soften around the edges with this reality in my life. My husband has done a good job staying on the strait and narrow as far as I know. It took time for him to sort our the voices in his head and to learn how to deal with reality and not fantasy. Hopefully you and your husband can get individual counseling. You both have a lot of work to do. Stay strong and keep the faith.

    4. Julia, I also was given an STD. Vagina herpes. I had some bad break outs but with my GYN doctor it is under control but it took 2 years. His affair lasted 2.5 years. I had break outs then but thought it was yeast infections and he is sitting there knowing what he was doing. I can understand a lot but like you this I don't understand. It just makes the betrayal wound that much deeper. I have not forgiven him for "their" present to me. I'm scared to death of getting HPV. It is in comprehensible to me. It was a trigger big time every time I had a break out. The ladies on this read my pain for months over this. I don't have a good answer. My answer has been just to tolerate the STD breakouts. I feel like she is inside me too. My husband has said he is sorry a million times. It was selfish of him there is no way around that one. It just sucks.

    5. Julia, I am so sorry regarding your HPV news. This is so unfair and one more thing you should not have to deal with. Make sure to take care of yourself and I am glad your dr found it so you can get the best possible care and/monitor it going forward. Thinking of you!!

    6. Thank you Hopeful 30. I took a break from raging at him after I got the news and felt the effects for a few days. Actually I took a break from talking to him all together. This helped put the focus back on me, and taking care of myself. I'm working on ways to boost my physical health, something I have neglected during this process. My husband feels horrible, but here I am, I'm stuck with this and I'll try to beat it and clear the infection. I'm a bit of a germaphobe so I told him "Thanks a lot" (asshole)!beside many many other horrible things. After I raged I felt much better. I could for once feel justified in my anger with this diagnosis- it's something tangible that is such a violation- there's no escaping that it's horrible. It's not that I haven't expressed anger to him through this last year, but I always feel guilty. It's my nature but he also guilts me out aboit it because he says "I can't handle your anger" and "why can't we just be peaceful and loving?" It's saying to me that he just wants to shut me up. When I get upset it's hard for me to stop. It's usually because he's done listening and helping as I feel he should. His Shane takes over. Well no more. I have told him I'm justified to be angry and hurt and afraid and this change in my attitude has helped me feel powerful. I do have rights to feel this way. Thank you again and I hope you are ok !

    7. Hi everyone, I had wanted to write back individually to each of you who were so kind to me about my HPV diagnosis and how it triggered me. I had a rough time accepting it but I'm looking at it as a chance to really step up and take care of myself. Also, with something like this there is just no getting around it and denying the violation- when a doctor calls to tell you these kind of results- it's kind of black and white. There was nothing for my husband to do but understand how stupid he was to risk my health, how uneducated he was to not know about HPV, how immature he was to believe that his mistress was testing herself even though she said she did (I'm sure she did but she's young and probably not concerned with HPV as she should be). She had so many partners she's embarrassed to say- so again, stupidity on my husband's part and a disbelief for me that not only could he do this but that he didn't think about the dangers.
      Thank to all and Dandelion I appreciate your words about sex addicts and compartmentalizing, I needed to hear that. It helped me deal with the how could he aspect of it all.
      Beach Girl, thank you for reminding me that I'm still new to the process. I had not thought I would be in this state a year out. I was regressing even before I got the diagnosis. I put it off because I guess I knew on some level it was a real possibility. I tested for the other things very early on after discovery (a blood test through my physician) but taking that trip to my gyno was difficult. I wish I had done it earlier now but I guess things happen for a reason. I wish I could believe this when I'm asking myself how this whole thing could have happened. Things do happen for reason we do not know and they lead us to places of growth I know. I just need to tell myself again when I slide down into that dark spiral. At least I'm starting to honor my feelings and wash my hands of responsibility. My husband continues to tell me, it had nothing to do with me. I'm finally understanding why and that I need to keep my personal blame out of the picture. It's easy to do for some reason. I guess when I'm feeling bad I'm asking myself to feel worse. Such is the routine of deep depression.
      My goal now is to gain power back. I felt like I lost it without even knowing I had while this was all going on. These women knew things about me and I didn't even know they existed. They looked me up to see photos of me and find out about me. My husband shared very little with them, but the second one really tried to get in their and violate me and my kids. She said "I shat on your efforts to go back to your family". My husband didn't fight her for such a rude and hurtful comment. It bothered him but he let it go. It really hurt to hear it. I think that's why I often have revenge fantasies against his two affair partners, they had pieces of me and he gave them these pieces every time he was with them by just being with them. As I find ways to feel more in control and gain power back, I find I don't need to cause them distress and my focus is on me, not them.
      I watch my husband as he struggles with his shameful thoughts through tears and often saying he has suicidal thoughts. It's not a pretty picture. I help as best I can, I really don't want him to struggle. But when I try to comfort him more than he's comforting me (it seems to go back and forth) then I know I'm headed for trouble.
      Does anyone have ideas on how to regain control in your life, your marriage, your emotions? I'm distracting myself and it's working this week. I'm sure I'll be on a downhill slope again in the near future, but I'd like to think with days like this when I get a peak into some kind of acceptance and peace, that I may be able to look forward to more around the corner. Much love to all.

    8. Julia
      My ow did her best to cause me as much pain as possible in that last six months of contact. In fact, in her delusional state of mind, you would have thought she was the betrayed wife. You read here of the roller coaster ride.? Yes it's full of bright days and then full of dark days. I have found it easier to concentrate on each day as it comes, I am retired from formal work but I stay busy with many hobbies. I'm also caring for a mother with dementia, family time with grown children and grandkids. Distractions that help me stay focused on positive things. And yet, last week I slipped down that dark hole in a major meltdown. This left me ashamed, angry with my h that he didn't understand why I was so upset. In his mind, he's been trying since 2013 to get this woman out of his life, she refused to go away, he sent her to jail for harrassment in April 2015, she broke the no contact order 8 months later, she went back to see the judge, so we were free of her most of 2016, other than she drives by our home, so as we begin 2017, she rides by and I have a meltdown and my h feels like nothing has changed in my coping skills and he's just tired of it. So, we're back to one day at a time. I'm coping with she's mentally unstable so just ignore her, he's left with oh my God not again, but as long as we stay a team, we get through these difficult days together. We are having more normal days, but when one of these kind come along, it takes a few down days to get through it! You will get stronger, more in control, it just takes time! Hugs!

    9. I worked hard to try to remove as much stress as possible. This is one thing that my husband could help me with. I chose to limit what I committed to. So for me it was sleep, eat, work out, take care of the kids and cook and minimal cleaning. Everything else was put on the back burner. I even pulled back as much as I could at work. Then my husband stepped up. This was a way to help him feel effective. He would wake up with the kids, take them to do fun things, clean up more than usual... all of this allowed me to feel less pressure. This has continued to be something I assess even 22 months out from dday. When I feel anxiety or down about everything I start first with my stress level.

      I also turned to music, reading, fitness, cooking, writing in my journal, being with my kids more. Really I did whatever I wanted at the moment. If I needed ear buds in to fall asleep then I did it. I just really worked hard to slow down and listen to what I needed vs what I felt like I had to do.

      And my husband had a major conversation at about 15 months post dday and talked about how I needed more. I was still getting over this/processing it all. I needed him to just listen. I needed to talk about the same things over and over. And some of them could not be fixed some I just had to sit in. I needed him to just listen and now try to fix or defend himself. I also needed him to do more for and with me.

      In the end it took me a while but I had to start listening to myself and speak up for what I needed. This website helped a ton but my therapist helped me a lot. After being married 20 years and knowing each other 25+ years we had both developed habits. I am a very independent person who really has never wanted or needed anyone else around. So I had to take a look at and think about what kind of marriage I wanted. Even though I was fine when he was detached and probably made it easy for him to detach it was not what I wanted now. So we both worked hard. He had to make major changes and I had to open up. This all took a lot of time. There are still good and bad days. But in the end it has been worth it. Be patient and kind to yourself.

  27. Oh boy Julia, he really needs to find a way to make restitution to you for so many things but especially the HPV (BTW he has it too then and men can get cancer from it as well) so you keep your frequent exams with your GYN and if she finds something they will freeze it right away. My CH only put his penis in OW vagina 1 time and said he used a condom, but in the delivery room with baby #2 I tested positive for Group B strep (it's found on the skin in the genital region, it's technically an STI not an STD. So odd to me because I was negative with baby #1 and the prenatal exam prior. I was 8 mos pregnant when he had the A. GBS although a good half of women are carriers and it is benign for them it can give your baby pneumonia, sepsis, death. I got antibiotics in the delivery to prevent transmission to our son, but it remains one of the main things I am angry about. He put our son's health at risk just so he could feel good. Thank God the baby didn't get sick.

  28. Heartshattered1978January 20, 2017 at 9:47 AM

    I need to reach out to my fellow warriors as I cannot turn to anyone else. My husband had his affair 2 yrs ago (affair day 1/16/15, my D day 4/16/15) I found out through the after d day conversations that he was of the many Ashley Madison customers. (Not sure if he's on the list, shamefully I have searched.) Anyway, It has been almost 2 years since d day. In some ways healing has happened, in other ways, ex: If I cannot reach him by work or cell # and he is supposed to be at work, the panic attacks wash over me. He is remorseful but in his own way. Sometimes he does seem to get impatient with my emotional fluctuations but I dont think he gets it. He is sorry but he is pathologically a logic driven person, not an emotion driven person. I am the poster child for emotion driven. Last nght was one of those times I couldnt reach him and I flipped out on him when he finally did come home. He said he left work to get some supplies at hardware store and forgot his cell phone. Aside from initial affair he really hasn't given me a reason to doubt, but I can't help the instant panic and racing thoughts when it happens. The icing on the cake is whn I was watching TV last night a f**king commercial for Ashley Madison came on. Really??? A commercial on TV???? Felt like a knife in my chest. I dont quite know how to process seeing the commercial, it reopens the wound..ALOT. Some of my close loved ones know about the affair, but I withheld The Ashley Madison part so out of respect for trying to work things out, I cant talk about my feelings and "out" him. Can anyone advise on how to process seeing these dreadful, painful, knife-in-wound, moral-less commercials? Please help. Thank you in advance.

    1. For me this happens when I am already stressed. Here he is not reachable and then th ad comes on. Not sure if you would be triggered as bad if he was home? For me the being reachable or telling me where he is after all times was a major boundary. We are 22 months out and he texts or calls if he is doing anything that I do not know or is not part of his daily pattern. My therapist said this is totally acceptable and a consequence he has to pay for breaking my trust. It was really hard at first but as time has gone on he does it naturally now. We have a lot of other boundaries too. All of them helped me a lot with the triggers. Also when I would have a major trigger I would call him immediately and/or he would have to help me when he got home. This was something we both had to face. And many times he was triggered by the same or similar things. Also for a long time I only listened to music or watched streaming shows I knew were safe. I did what I had to in order to protect myself and make myself feel safe. Now if there is any chance I might be triggered I bring it up and we talk about it which lessens the trigger.

    2. HS1978,
      I like what Browneyedgirl wrote (below). Reframing this not as some "sexy" thing but as these ridiculous men being duped might help you. Even the women that were on the site are hardly these hot sexy babes. They're unhappy people looking outside themselves to fill an emptiness inside themselves. They're pitiful. And I would also urge to use this moment to tell your husband that it's really hard. Describe the sensation of feeling like a knife has gone through your chest. Bring him into your pain and see if he's able to support you through it. It's these moments when marriage is again tested and it becomes clear how shaky the foundation is. His own shame might get in the way of being there for you. But tell him anyway. Tell him that you need him to know how hard this is for you. And then urge him to figure out why he can't support you, if that's the case. Or enjoy the intimacy of his ability to support you in your pain, if he can.

    3. Putting yourself and your true feelings out there, hoping your H will take the opportunity to comfort you, understand you, or just BE there with you - is scary. Because the truth is with my H - his shame gets in the way - and instead of using what little he learned during counseling - you have to be prepared for the SHAME to get in the way. For me - that is hearing my H say "Wow, we've had such a great day, and then you say this" or "Why do you have to ruin everything by saying _ _ _". It's almost like he thinks that if I don't bring up any of my fears or triggers, he is home free. I can honestly say now, I recognize his reactions and interactions for what it is...SHAME. Will he ever deal with it? Who knows. But for today, I am grateful for the progress my H and I have made. But, really.... I'm grateful mostly for the progress I HAVE MADE.

    4. Anonymous 1978
      That his shame gets in the way makes so much sense in the case of my meltdown this past weekend. I too feel like I've made so much progress on how I feel about his affair and the trigger this weekend. However, what you've stated has helped me realize that his shame doesn't allow him to hear my pain in the way it needs to be responded to. He's a work in progress too! Thank you for your insight! Hugs!

    5. Heart Shattered1978January 24, 2017 at 6:24 AM

      Anonymous, I am so glad for your progress. I sit and read the stories on this site, empathizing with the ones that bleed heartbreak and gain inspiration and hope from the ones that say it is possible to get through this. I truly hope Elle knows the difference she makes for so many people, and I hope all of the warriors know we are lifting and holding each other up in times of need. This site is a gift for so many people who dont feel like they have anyone they can talk to about all of this. I feel in my own life that my friends/ family tire of hearing me talk about it. I feel like almost 2 yrs out they have a "sh*t or get off the pot" mentality about it. Either leave him or stop dwelling on it. Some of it could be paranoia or exaggerated in my head, but there is that vibe in the background. My husband is not a very verbal person (part of the communication break down that led us down this road). We have had many conversations since D Day and he has opened up and he has expressed many times, sometimes through tears, how sorry he is. He made the efforts to call or email me during the day, came home to spend time with our lil girls around bedtime, even if he had to go back to work after. Alot of positive changes. I do understand the weight of his shop is on his shoulders..its him and one employee. He goes through busier periods where he doesnt have the time to call or reach out. I do get upset when days go by and I dont even get a text or anything when he takes his lunch. He is okay and responds when he can if I initiate contact, but him initiating has slipped off. So this could also be why Im so sensitive to other triggers. He hasnt completely slipped back to where he was before, still rearranges his workload as needed, makes family time on the weekends. I feel caught in between standing my ground for my needs and undestanding how thin he is spread and taking into consideration the other positive changes he has made. Last night was another blow out. He called me around 5:55pm to tell me he forgot he had a phone/ webinar he signed up for starting at 6pm to last about 3 hours. (I remember him telling me in the past he signed up for it, didnt know for when). He said he wanted to let me know so I knew he wouldnt be able to come home to help with the girls, so I knew what his plan was, and that I probably wouldnt be able to get through on the phone during it. That last part triggered me, being told I cant reach him. Ok, so he's letting me know whats going on, calm down... so I went about my evening routine. About 9:15ish I tried to call the shop and went to his busy message. waited a little bit tried his cell, which he usually has at his desk. no answer. rinse and repeat calling both numbers and no answer. I finally lost it and drove up to his shop. There he is sitting at his desk, still on the call for the webinar, cell phone on the window sill in front of him on silent. I angrily grabbed his cell, put it on the desk in front of him and left. He tried to talk to me when he got home but I was still so mad. This morning we didnt speak. So here's whats in my head. no he wasnt doing anything wrong, he was where he said he was, doing what he said he'd be doing..running longer than expected. But after this past weekend of a couple episodes of me freaking out because I couldnt reach him,..the phone was right in front of him. I could definitely be in the wrong this time but it seems that I am being unheard in my need to be able to reach him. It feels like in healing I have long periods where I am okay..really okay. Then I get clusters like this. I dont know what to say to him that I havent said before.

    6. Heart shattered
      I so get the long periods of okay-really okay, and then boom a trigger from hell! I also know the feeling of we've said it all before and his response of why do we have to discuss this again. The thing I have learned in my case is I take a long time to process the trigger and my h has a hard time understanding my reaction to the trigger even though he understands why it bothers me so bad when his cow drives slowly by our house, she seems to have a sick sense of when he's out of town. I thought I had a better coping skill because I know how mentally messed up this person is. However, when I first mentioned this occurred while he was gone, I felt as though he was being dismissive of this both as a trigger and if it had actually occurs. He's only witnessed a few drive bys since she was sent to jail and then had to return to see the judge. I'm sure this is humiliating to him as she continues her obsession with him. When the blow up happened I remember him asking almost screaming would I prefer if he had her locked up again. I don't think that's the answer although I do think if the stalking continues she should have a court ordered mental health evaluation. She's in the business with a license to treat couples as well as abuse of substance. So we tabled that discussion until a less stressful time. One day at a time. Hugs!

    7. HS1978
      I will forever be grateful to Elle - forever. We are 1.5 years out...but I can tell you that sometimes when I see or hear something that triggers me - it's not the same gut punch that brings me to my knees, but it hurts all the same.
      I too felt my H not calling and checking in as much, or not texting and I get resentful - sometimes quietly. But like Elle says, we have to treat them like 5 year olds or was it 2 year olds) - remind them, explain again to them how important it is for them to check in. Yep, I think WTF, why do I have to flippin tell my H, REMIND him - but sadly, we do. Hopefully over time (which feels like it will be FOREVER) they will do more of this on their own. If not, I am trying to find a nicer way of reminding my H.
      Our MC told my H that if he has to put this on his work calendar as a reminder - to DO IT. That pissed me off so much...really, a REMINDER to call your wife. But yes, that's kind of the way it is with some men - my H.
      I think if you can calmly talk to your H and explain how important "checking in" is to you - how it makes you feel when he doesn't. My H will/has made excuses...I've had back to back conference calls, back to back meetings...blah, blah, blah - you know what? It takes all of 30 seconds to send a text, at the very least - I tell him that would make me feel so much better. He needs to hear this - it's important to you - and that's all that matters.
      Regarding your feeling that family/friends don't want to hear it anymore...I feel that way about the one good friend I told. None of my or my H's family know. So my IC and all of these wonderful, brave women are all I have. All of these women, especially Elle and my IC gave me hope - and saved my life when I thought I couldn't bear the pain.
      I would give you a really big hug - because we, you, I - everyone here "gets" it. Thank god for everyone here and Thank you Elle.

    8. Heartshattered1978January 25, 2017 at 5:52 AM

      Theresa, I feel we are in the same marriage. I say this because your comments of how the conversations go mirror how it goes at my house. I am so sorry that OW is a crazy stalker. Talk about making it harder to heal and put everything behind you. As far as I know the OW has not contacted him. I did call her the day I found out. I told her who I was, that I knew, and said that I am not cursing, screaming or calling you names right now, so out of respect to me (approx 2 mos pregnant at the time of D Day) and my children- lose his number. I have asked many times over the last 2 yrs if he has spoken with her, answer is always no. I have access to cell records so at least by cell phone this is true. Shortly after D Day the hoe sent me a facebook friends request, which sent me over the edge. I replied to it asking her intentions, she never wrote back. Funny thing is I knew her name but to find her on FB wouldve been impossible,...until she slipped up and sent the request. Ive done nothing but make a mental note of it, only to take action if she was to continue to contact me. She never did and she actually blocked me, which I laugh at. Oh well. Theresa, I hope she leaves you alone and/or whatever proper legal action can take place. Hugs to you.

      Hopeful, thank you for all of your responses and good advice. Some of it I have tried, but it is a comfort to get that reassurance that Im not alone and its not just me.

      I am really thankful for all of yor support. <3

  29. My H was an Ashley Madison fool in 2015 as well (my Dday #2). Allthough I caught it quickly and it never progressed to a PA. It gives me great pleasure to know most of the "women" on AM are really men paid by AM to pretend to be women and get the male subscribers to pay. HILLARIOUS! Dumb asses. You were flirting with a man pretending to be a woman and their motivation was the almighty dollar - suckers!!

    Anyway, if I ever see that commercial I will probably throw something at the TV and break it. OR maybe I will ask my CH to tell my kids what HE thinks about that commercial. Yep.

  30. 1978, TV triggers us both so he or I just turn it off. Your post says I still don't trust him and I'm afraid he is sneakier than I thought so fear is he is trolling for women. Think about what makes you feel safe. For me it was he calls or texts me in the morning, 10am, noon and on his way from work. Now it is just a habit for him. My therapist told me my husband had the emotional maturity of a fetus. My husband went to therapy to learn how to be more open with me and I in turn learned how not to jump his throat. My therapist said my nonemotional husband was drawn to me because I was so emotional. Talking to each other is something that has to be learned sometimes. Tell him what will make you feel safe. Then expect him to do it. Let him know this s a sticking point for you, really important. He has to prove to you he is not trolling. You either have intuition or fear. Elle wrote a great post on that. You are missing something and when you figure it out what you need then expect it from him. Accept no less because you are worth it. This is an important normal need for you that you maybe you haven't explained to him honestly, from your gut and heart the reason why. Either way your will suspicions will be confirmed or he will step up to the plate for you and own his consequences.

    1. LLP, The fetus comment made me laugh so loud. And I feel like I can relate. My kids always say how immature boys are and I think in my head you have no idea. If they only knew. Again not all boys but my husband does not come off immature but deep down yikes. He proved he is immature and poor at making decisions. Luckily he has worked really hard to change all of that.

      I agree with so much of what you said. We took the love language quiz and my kids took them too. those are insightful and helpful.

  31. llp..I love the part your therapist said your h has the emotional maturity of a foetus... couldn't have put it better myself!!!! Xxx

  32. Heartshattered1978January 23, 2017 at 6:26 AM

    Thank you all for your replies. He actually was home at the time of the commercial, sitting on the other side of the couch. (I didnt look over..I couldnt) Not sure if he fell asleep or just didnt say anything, but in all fairness, its not his fault the commercial came on. Usually he is good about telling me if he is going somewhere. I dont want him to feel like a prisoner that every time he moves he has to call me, but I do need the reassurace that if I call I can reach him. I will never say the PA was a good thing...NEVER. But afterwards we are communicating better than we ever have. My panic attacks if I cant reach him, I consider those a PTSD reaction. Most of his affair-despicable activity occured at his work (owns his own business) so late hours to catch up on work to be expected. The affair day he left from work going on a couple of errands so not like his employee or I would suspect anything. So there is why I freak out if he's on the road and I cant reach him. I diligently read and process all of Elle's posts. I am trying to give working things out a true try. I cant help my ptsd/ panic in the meantime, until time and healing take their course. Usually he understands..or accepts this. I know he wishes I was passed this already because he swears it was the biggest mistake he has ever made and swears he will never do it again. But I think the part he doesnt understand is as much as the words are helpful to hear but the time and healing is what will solidify that for me. This is the second time this has happened to me (1st fiance cheated on me) so truthfully I dont know if I will ever be fully relaxed again. The triggers though...that is the worst. Not being able to reach him, certain phrases I know he and OW used, details Ive painfully dug out of him about her/ that night, and now worrying about seeing those damn commercials. I need to figure out how to work through these to give healing a fair shot. I know he loves me very much. Elle said it could take 3-5 years to fully get passed the betrayal and that's what Im trying to do, let the time take time. If after so many years I dont find myself feeling more secure, then I'll have to reevaluate my needs at that time. I am just thankful I have Elle and all of you to catch me when I need help getting back up. Thank you all. <3

    1. For me in the end what has worked best was for my husband to walk through this with me and be by my side. Really he has gone through all of the ups and downs, doubt, misery etc. And triggers he listens to all of them and how they impact me. The other day we were watching showtime and a commercial for The Affair came on. I watched it before dday so I knew what it was. I told him immediately change the channel now please. He asked why and I told him. And he said makes sense. As he says he knows there is no greater pain I could be going through and he wanted to be there for me every step of the way. It was hard since many times he had to just sit and hold me while I cried. Not something he is good at. And all the while knowing he is the reason for the pain. He does have a new level of respect and wanting to honor me which is different than before. And I think it does take a long time but the time is so necessary. At first I wanted it to be over and to move past but I realized I was rushing it. The PTSD/panic attacks are so hard. I know for me the more we talked about them they lessened.

      And I get your comment about not wanting him to be a prisoner etc. But for me to not have the panic/pTSD attacks it really became a non negotiable that he reach out to me. We have set times he calls me and if his plans ever change he calls me. I did not know how that would go or if it would stick. He is self employed and works long hours but he calls and texts me all the time now and it has stuck. part of it is figuring out what works for each person in the marriage. For us that took time and it evolved to a more intense and higher level as we healed. My therapist stressed though to make sure to be assertive and stick to what I needed. He is more than capable of following through and if he says he is not that is wrong since I was not asking for anything unreasonable.

  33. I wonder if there is a way to contact the channel or cable provider to complain about the commercial. I've never seen it but the whole idea of advertising infidelity is SO offensive. We must be able to find some decision maker at that cable company that has a conscious!

  34. This comment has been removed by the author.

  35. I was stuck yesterday, I was convinced my H was pulling back on me. He didn't seem to want sex that much, he was hugging me less, he was on his I pad and it seemed he lost his spark. I pad and less attention equals let's start thinking about his affair. I was determined to figure this out before I went down the rabbit hole of fear. It took me three days to try to process how I felt. I wanted to use what I learned in therapy instead of running to her office. Everyday my H would say what is wrong. I told him I need to talk to you. Please don't be defense, I don't want you to fix anything listen and hear me. So I went through three days of thought mind craziness and told him how I felt, no spark, less attention and I pad is pre-affair and affair behavior. He listened and told me he didn't feel that way at all. He said everyday he fears I'm going to leave him. He says he looks at me and wonders why I stayed with him and how lucky he feels. All of that was in my head. None of it was real. He knew something was bothering me. He said when I get upset about the affair he feels like going outside and shooting himself. He feels that bad. I told him it was hard for me to tell him my fears. I got the extra reassurance and now I'm ok. I told him how much I still hurt and what he did took my self esteem to below zero. He actually understood. He bought me some flowers. Ok then I get a call from a friend I had not seen in 30 years. Last year her husband, officer, west point grad was in an accident and he is 61 years old and paralyzed from C-3. That put things in perspective about what is really life changing. I'm not diminishing the affair but comparing the affair bad to life changing bad.

    1. Lynn Less Pain,

      Thanks for sharing. Glad it those days of feeling stuck ended well for you. I'm not sure what to say/do when they take that stance: fear we will leave them, unable to fathom why we are willing to give another chance, wanting to hurt themselves when they see our pain, feeling like the luckiest man alive to still have us. I have no goal for my CH to self-loathe. But he is the one that caused both of us (and our family, and the OW and her H) all this pain. My pain is real and he did cause it. I don't know how to handle that. Thank goodness CH is willing to go to IC.

      You are right, having empathy for someone else going through a difficult time helps us heal no matter their situation or ours.

    2. LLP your post resonated with me regarding my "mis"interpretation of my husbands mood. We make an effort every night to cuddle when we first go to bed and I'll ask how his day went and if he wanted/needed to tell me anything. He usually says, "No" except I love you and am so glad you are still here with me. In the past two weeks, when I started getting those similar thoughts that you did, I have looked at those voices in my head and asked, "who is doing the talking and who is doing the listening here?" I've started assuming all is well and then touch base when we go to bed at night. It seems easier for me/us to diffuse this every night, even if I have to tell him what I experienced emotionally during the day so he can do some corrective response. So far, so good. He bought me flowers yesterday and always tells me he loves me and that he has been faithful and always will. Usually the last thing I say to him before "I love you" at night is, "Will you have coffee with me in the morning?" Since D-day he has gotten up every day and made coffee and brought it to me. It is kind of a joke now but a very loving and intimate moment before we go to sleep that implies I will be there when you wake up and he will be happy to serve me coffee in bed. I'm loving it! Always love your posts. Peace to you.

    3. Heartshattered1978January 26, 2017 at 8:42 AM

      LLP, I am glad your H was sympathetic and willing to listen. IT sounds like he is truly remorseful for what has happened. I totally understand about life bad vs affair bad. life bad does seem to force us to take a look at how we're handling affair bad. I wish it could be a permanent refocusing. When I hit my low times or triggers, my pain and pride doesn't seem to allow that logic to reevaluate the situation. I do feel affair bad would not be as important(?)- life consuming might be better, if faced with a permanent life bad situation. I also do not mean to minimize the pain, but its definitely a perspective adjuster.

    4. Beach girl- I constantly struggle with is this in my mind or is it real?

      Brow eyed girl - This self loathing is just their consequences. I always thought so what big deal when I compare the differences in a self view post affair. But for a man letting his family down is probably significant. My sympathies end there. Feeling guilty doesn't equal pain and hurt to me.

      HeartS - my Dday was 12-13-2013 and this is the very first time I tried to think something through. I had zero coping skills and even less in figuring out skills. I had to learn more than one of both. I can't permanent refocuse on anything because I don't trust too much anymore anything or anybody except for myself. Life changing is an asteroid hitting earth. It took 3 years of therapy to even kid about that shit.

    5. I have felt this before. It is really easy for pre affair/affair behavior to allow me to question everything. I agree too when he is quiet, on the iPad, calling less, texting less. I have found I have to speak up and I pretty much ask immediately. For a long time I held back more of a wait and see approach. But it is easy to let that go too long. I also just feel bad and like you said he starts to wonder what is wrong with me.

      My husband too has struggled with worrying about me so much and why I am still here. He said his worst nightmare was he would die and I would find out afterwards. Now his worst nightmare is our kids will find out. They would flip out. They are so tightly connected to me I think it would just send them spiraling and question everything. He has learned to deal with all of this but it is not easy. He has all the training and professional experience which has made it hard and pretty much daily reminders through his work.

      One thing to keep in mind for anyone here is he has said it takes at least 6 months of regular practice for anyone to change a habit. And for my husband that was true with the checking in, coming home early, turning down friends for social opportunities... He had never really said no to anything since he always saw it as more fun. Now he says no all the time and he said he is so much happier but he had to learn to re-frame it all. He had lived his life a certain way for really forever and this was all new for him not to be selfish in these ways. He said it is true really of any behavior. Once you commit too and start putting energy into the marriage and relationship the payoffs start to come. It is just getting started and pushing through.

  36. Our counsellor said to my h yesterday, "Your wife really doesn't understand that you are a different person to what she believed" - or something like that. He didn't correct her. All this time, I had been thinking that I had married a basically good person; I put the affair down to temporary craziness brought on by a year of pressure and stress (excessive work, new baby = lack of sleep).

    Now this statement caused me to think. Maybe I was blinded by love (for 9 years).

    I saw our current situation as a swampy vortex where my h was floundering and that he needed to 'wake up' to reality and pull himself up and out (i.e. cease contacting the ow and apologise to me - or make a 'clean' break with me instead of hedging his bets).

    Now I wonder if he was secretly floundering in a pretence of adulthood for many years, whereas inside he was just an adolescent wannabee (he's in his mid-30s). The affair which for me was an aberration, for him may have been a weird form of 'waking up' - telling me (indirectly and in a cowardly way) that he wanted to live differently.

    I don't know if this sounds clear. I feel quite confused. Since I heard about his affair in the late summer, I have been trying my best to be calm and clear - and to reach out with sticks, ropes, life jackets, etc towards the swamp without falling in myself.

    Now I'm wondering if he's pushing me into this swamp of broken trust and indecision and travelling on towards some alternative reality where it is normal to cheat on people and where he and the ow can be together without having to worry about other people.

    I believed I was in love with a butterfly who had a damaged wing.

    Now I'm wondering if I was in love with a caterpillar which is now in the process of emerging as a hideous moth.

    I've loved him so long I don't want to think that. But I woke up at 3am this morning with two words in my mind: "Dear Delusion". It made me think that I was mistaken about his character and that I (despite believing myself to be pretty rational and careful about such life decisions) had been loving an illusion all this time.

    After a night of lonely crying, my feelings are keeping a low profile today. Would anyone have any words or stories to share which might help me see beyond this misty swampland?

    1. Selkie
      I remember telling my h 'you are not the man I thought I married! That man would never hurt me this bad.' That statement crushed my h and he responded, I'm not the same man that was able to hurt you this bad. I've changed. This has changed me. Well maybe he has been changed by the affair. I know it's changed me. Some good but some bad too! I'm still working on me. This was in the first weeks past dday. The problem we had, she refused to go away and caused me to remain in a confused state of mind wondering if he's telling me the truth or what. It's taken me a long time to see that he's being as honest as he can be. That said, I had a meltdown last weekend because she drove by our house. The meltdown occurred because I felt like my h was being dismissive of my feelings of rage towards this woman and it resulted in my rage turning on him. Now for your feelings, if he's still in contact with the ow, but expects you to be ok with that, you will never have the marriage you desire. Your councilor can guide you through this confusion. I've had to explain to my h more than once how emotionally damaged I am by this choice of his to have the affair. He says he gets it. However, when I flip out on him, he doesn't always know how to calm me down. You are still early on this journey and I'm here to tell you that it's a rough rocky road. But if you're both willing to work hard on all of your issues, there can be a better marriage. It just takes work. And as Elle reminded me, we all have setbacks, it's how we handle the after a setback that matters. I'm sorry for your pain! I know the lonely feelings at 3am with tears that seem to be never ending. I still have them every now again. I try to squash them but I find it's better for me to just let them fall! I tell myself tomorrow's a new start. Keep going to see the councilor. Keep reading and venting here! We understand how hard this is! Hugs!

    2. Selkie,
      I can powerfully relate to wondering if all along you'd loved an illusion and what you're seeing now might be the real him. I think we all initially love the idea of who that person is that we've created in our minds. Everyone gets a bit love blinded. I think even in the best relationship we'd have to make the jump from loving the person we thought/hoped they were to loving the real them that shows up over time. Just for some us, we find out that gap is enormous.

      Mine did a good job of hiding most of the real him from me for about 8 years. Then I started to judge him based on how he treated me rather than by what he said and a different man emerged. The affair was two years later. He was hiding a lot beneath the surface that only came out because of the affair as he attempted to justify it/blame it on me I started to figure him out. Not sure yet if he's a broken butterfly or a moth. I know he believes he's a butterfly but I think the moth characteristics run really deep.

    3. I think this is a normal feeling. I too felt it. My husband was younger so no mid life crisis here. He was achieving major success, we had everything, he pushed me to have kids etc. So it was not like I trapped him and forced him to marry me and have kids, career problems or money issues.

      We met young and married at a fairly young age. But we traveled a lot and were achieving high levels of success at work and had a great family. I felt the same way. It was confusing too since he gave me amazing gifts, I have stacks of cards he gave me with amazing words, great vacations as a couple and as a family, I could go on and on. Of course every day was not perfect but it was not like there were any red flags. I was not naive and asked him about when he was on guys trips, out with the guys or at work since he works with all women. He always denied everything and lied right to my face. He had two affairs that both went on for the same 10 years. It was really hard for a long time for me just to process that alone. I still and never will understand how he could do it. I have learned that especially then we were two very different people. It is hard since I feel I have always lived a very transparent and honest life that really has not changed. Of course I have changed and matured but not at the core and who I am.

      Now I am 22 months past dday. One thing I can see looking back is my husband has changed. He was totally different on dday as he was 6 months after dday and 1 year after dday. What I have had to focus on his the changes he has made. I chose to work to preserve our marriage and it was not easy the first year. But since then it has gotten better. Amd I can see how he has evolved. I am very upfront with him when anything concerns or bothers me. I do not care how it might make him feel. I am not a volatile person but I do confront him and try to say it in the best way possible.

      For him he said the first few weeks and months he was scared. He had lived his life one way for so long and he did not know if he could change or wanted to. Even though he was miserable he wanted to be genuine. He decided to give it 6 months. This was filled with a lot of ups and downs and what to me felt like negotiations. We had to figure out what worked for us. We even started having a conversation before he would go golfing or out to watch a game with friends. He found if he discussed it with me as to how much he would drink, when he would be home by, where they would be, if they changed restaurants what would he do... It sounds crazy typing it but for both of us it worked. And he was happiest this way. He said he was so worried about me day and night that it was so much better to talk it out in advance that he felt better and he could tell I felt better. My therapist helped me a lot to not feel bad about the boundaries we put in place. To me it felt like I was his parent but my therapist said he had every opportunity for our entire relationship to not take advantage of me and my trust and he blew it big time. So he has to deal with whatever I/we need to move forward. It might take a short amount of time or it might be something I need forever. The key is what do I need and our relationship need to move forward.

      Over time so many things have become a habit. We talk all the time and are open about everything. He has been honest and told me when things come up he is not comfortable with. He lives by the idea that whatever he says, types, does I am right next to him. So far so good.

    4. Thanks Aelia, the expression 'moth to a flame' keeps coming into my mind- but now I don't know if it's better applied to me or to my h. Ugh!

      Hopeful 30, I see the huge journey you guys are making together. Thanks for describing some of the things that work for you. I really hope we will one day be in a position to try them out...

  37. Hi Selkie,

    I understand. I've experienced that very same realization. It's hard to suddenly see that who you had been loving had another side that could do what he did for reasons that are very hard to understand.

    Yes, there are life stresses, work, family, health...it does happen to everyone and it's interesting to see how different people cope, men vs. women, where they are in their life stages and what they suddenly find themselves looking for or needing to feel whole. You thought you had the same hopes and goals, and you did Im sure. You may still do. But somewhere along the road there was a need to escape for him....this is what happened to me and my husband. I thought he had incredible work stress (which he does) and mental illness which is also a factor. He's been battling depression since I've known him. As his moods grew so irritable and distant, I tried to help him but it didn't work. He lashed out at me often and turned his problems on to me. It was often subtle, sometimes not, but I ended up suffering greatly. It wasn't until right before I found out that he had been engaging in two affairs over a five year period that I myself became very depressed. When I found out I was so shocked, I am still somewhat in disbelief. That's crazy to write but it's true. Even my husband is shocked that he did what he did. It was like I already knew deep inside that things didn't add up for the last year or so, although there were no real clear signals. His guilt made him absolutely impossible to be around at the end before I found out. Since he has to travel for long periods abroad for work, hiding his relationships was simple. I just can't believe how stupid and immature his affair partners were. He too became stupid and immature. I know now he was living in a fantasy and completely disengaged and escaped from all of the responsibilities he had as a husband and father. His affai partners were much younger and free. It's so sad because I counted on this person and I could never have imagined how he carried on. The stories are unbelievable and I am still getting to the bottom of it. He's so ashamed that it is taking forever to uncover everything. But he's working hard and I'm glad we are in the place we are now.

    I'm writing to let you know that what you're feeling is normal and also incredibly painful. I think in time you will find that your husband is the same person but for some reason he was exploring another part of himself, something was damaged, maybe from childhood like my husband, but what you can assured of is that you had nothing to do with it. That is so important to know and once you reach that point you will feel better.

    It's difficult to know the one you love is capable of what he did. I recently told my husband it's not that I thought you would ever do that, it's that I thought you COULD never do that. I realize now obviously that I was wrong, he could and he did. But I also realize that most of him that I know and love is still there too. It's disappointing, yes. I struggle. It's been one year for me. Best of luck to you!!

    1. Julia and Theresa, thank you both. Your words mean so much to me. It is comforting to think that this is just one phase in a bigger story. It is very hard though, and so exhausting. Love and strength to you too on your own journeys. I really hope my h will stop contacting the ow and take the nobler path. I can't count on it though.
      Even if he does, we will have so much silt and damage to get through. I am barely able to imagine the challenges ahead, whichever decision is made...

  38. It's been 2 years and I'm still having such a hard time. I feel like my husband is still struggling with getting the most basic things. He thought it would be funny for Christmas to get a gag gift for a coworker that he knows I dislike. She's crude and loud and i just can't tolerate people like her after Dday. She's vulgar and inappropriate and while I'm sure plenty of people find her amusing - her humor just upsets me.

    However at work she's also very efficient and hardworking so she makes things go smoothly for my husband at work. I know this and have seen it so I was fine with my husband getting her a gift. She's really into wine and making her own so he got her a bottle she likes. But then he saw a penis shaped wine stopper and got her that too .

    My husband told me about the wine but not the stopper prior to purchasing it. It wasn't until he took it out to wrap that I learned that he brought it. When he saw I was upset he threw it out but just the fact that he'd buy a gift like that for a female after everything we went through hurts me so much. Here I am needing him to put up fences to protect our marriage and instead I feel like he's making it more vulnerable. I feel like a gift like that says it's okay to be inappropriate - not sexually but joking but my fear is what that kind of joking relationship can lead to.

    Then yesterday I emailed him an article to read that a betrayed spouse had written. Before bed I said I was going to take a shower and he said he was going to finish the article and we could talk about it after my shower. I came out and he was in bed watching some video. I asked if he read the article and he said no. He said he'd read it then and he did but soon after reading it he fell asleep.

    I told him this morning I felt like i wasn't a priority because he hadn't bothered to read it. He didn't even remember that he had read the article last night. He said he was so tired that's why he couldn't recall reading it. I barely ever send him anything to read. I don't think I sent him anything this last year.

    I feel so hurt by all this. I don't know if I'm being overly sensitive or what but I feel like I was so easily dismissed and disrespected during the affair that it rips me apart when he seems to do it so easily now. I thought after 2 years we'd both me further on but when things like this happens- it doesn't feel like we've made much progress at all!

    1. I am so sorry. I agree that the wine stopper gift especially is totally inappropriate. I think for men they do not see how these gestures can be taken by someone else. And maybe she is someone to not take it the wrong way. But I think men have to learn that this is not okay. My husband would do that for certain women at work almost like small bonuses that were special to them. Well I told him that if you give something it needs to be for all of them. Sure if someone is part time maybe their bonus is smaller but at a certain point they need to be aware that it could be taken in the wrong way even a nice appropriate gift. But that wine stopper sounds totally off base.

      My husband is a mental health professional and he knew what he was doing and still did it but he talks about how slowly his boundaries shifted. He said it happens really gradual in most cases. Nothing intentional but over time you lower what you think is okay and that boundary shifts. For us we had a hard list of what was not okay. And he lives by the standard that if I was with him or next to him I would be okay hearing, readying or seeing what he did. I think this is a hard change for many after they have lived their whole life a certain way. My husband's friends are all successful but what I would call indulgent, selfish and immature. He spends so much less time with them but I still think how can he be around them. But again how do you cut off your friends of 30 years. Basically he has shaped how they spend their time together.

      One other thing that helped us was setting a time to talk. We had the issue of tired, kids, work.... never a good time to talk. This was hard for both of us. My husband really wanted to avoid it. He horrible when any of it came up. He knew we needed to talk but avoided it. But by setting a time it was easier and more expected and the best time for both of us without distractions or excuses. It allowed me to form my thoughts. I would pick one solid topic vs ranting at him which I do well. He would get overwhelmed and shut down. This worked really well for us.

      I do think articles are a good idea. My husband promised to read books and never did. So we settled on articles. and talked about those.

      And finally setting boundaries and expectations really helped us. I had to be very upfront in what I needed and expected if we were to stay married. My expectations were elevated. It was a really high standard. But it has paid off. He has changed so much but it took major effort.

      Do you see a therapist? My therapist helped me a lot figure out how to talk with my husband and gave me confidence to be more assertive and I guess stand up for what I needed and wanted.

    2. I'm not seeing a therapist currently I was before. Maybe I need to start again. We've been out of marriage therapy too for about 7 months but are starting again in a few weeks. I'm hoping that helps. But thank you - I think you bring up a lot of good points. After Dday we were both making time to talk and work on our relationship and now we're not as intentional- it's hard to focus on it constantly but I think we have to make time to talk and connect. When we're disconnected I become fearful and he becomes defensive and we get no where!

      The wine stopper was awful- I just can't understand the lack of judgement he has. He's so dense sometimes I just can't stand it- seriously sometimes I'm so embarrassed to even talk about how stupid his choices are because I feel like I'm a fool for staying with someone who, after all the mess he created, still is so thick he can't see the most obvious things as being wrong!

    3. I so relate to how you are currently feeling. It's been a little over 2 years since Dday. In the beginning, as you,we attended marriage counseling and stopped since we felt we had a handle on everything. We checked in with each other frequently and discussed our feelings. Lately, the days we discuss our feelings are less and less. I don't want us to fall back into our days of not discussing our feelings for fear of upsetting my H, but he knows when I'm having uneasy feelings. It might help to have each of you write down your feelings when uneasiness arises. I know for me, this relieves the immediate feelings bouncing around in my head. You can then exchange the writings, or verbally share them with each other.

      As far as feeling like a fool for staying with someone who has created such a mess, give yourself a break. It takes a strong woman to want to work on a marriage despite the transgressions and comments of others. I often feel the same way and know that the individuals talking behind my back, including my family, have not been in my shoes. It's a daily struggle at times to proceed with life in general, but I know that it's exactly that, ONE DAY AT A TIME. I know it's easier said than done, but you are doing what you feel in your heart is best.

    4. Thank you - I was listening to a podcast last night about good habits for the new year and the guy on it said that him and his wife keep Sunday as a day that they intentionally use to check in. They talk about how their marriage is doing and then go in to discuss finances and other things that impact them emotionally and spiritually.

      I think I just need to keep remembering that my husband wants to change and is trying. Sometimes he still makes decisions that are beyond stupid but I have to try and not get so stuck on thise things that I lose sight of all the good and positive choices he's made!

      It's so easy for people who aren't in this situation to judge but there's so many layers that only we can decide what's best and it's not easy. Whether it's deciding to stay or go it's a hard road! T

    5. It is all hard to comprehend but I think it can take a long time 6-12 months for someone to change a behavior or way of thinking. And that is with major effort. This is based on what my husband has seen professionally.

      Also I would say our discussions relate more to our current marriage than the affairs. Sometimes those issues come up. I honestly think there will always surface at some point. Really it is part of our story now. As long as we are together there will be times where one of us or both of us is reminded of it. And even if I was not with my husband I know it will always be part of me. Sometimes I find it upsetting but I try to re-frame it as being strong, powerful and informed. Honestly there are so many forms of betrayal I have heard not just affairs but very damaging situations and I just continue to think luckily I have the power and knowledge now. Probably the only thing I ever question is would I be with my husband if I did not have children with him. They were the main reason I chose to continue on in the beginning. He swears he is not staying for them. I will say I have documented a lot and continue to in case he leaves me after they go to college or are done with college. I also think about investments and inheritance. It would make me sick to have to split it with him. As of now nothing to worry about but it is in the back of my mind.

  39. Eighteen months since discovery and it's been a rollercoaster, as you all know -- all too well.

    Over the winter holidays, though, I discovered a startling fact about the OW - that 35 years ago, she was the victim of a predatory teacher who sexually abused his teenaged students. It went to trial and he was convicted. I've been looking for a year and a half to understand why it happened. Yes, my husband made some terrible and hurtful decisions. But had she not been so damaged, she would have had decent boundaries and they may have been able to be good friends -- anyway, the discovery has helped me to feel some compassion for her - I now understand why her marriages have failed and how her life is a disaster and why she behaved as she did. And maybe that's enough for me to put this behind me...

    1. Anonymous,
      I've recognized for some time that the OW in my situation is clearly not without issues. You cannot do the things she did without being broken in some way. I often wonder if I can ever find the compassion for the OW's brokenness that you're finding since your discovery of the her awful past. Will I reach a point where I can accept that I may never know the details of what caused her brokenness and allow myself to simply acknowledge it and let go?

    2. Dandelion
      Even though I've come to terms with how broken, manipulative, narcissistic, this person is that my h became involved with, I continue to struggle with the anger I feel toward her. I've. Seen myself transfer this anger several times to my h. I've written this vile person many letters full of all the hurtful words I feel, I tear them up and hope I'm done with her and those feelings. Yet, she drives by my house slowly just because she can and it leaves me reeling. Maybe not the day she does it but it still boils out. It's a daily, sometimes hourly struggle, but more often than not I'm successful. Hugs!

    3. Theresa,
      I've read all the things you've gone through with that crazy OW and I admire your strength. I don't know that I would have the restraint you do if she were driving by my house. The OW in our situation moved several hours away but crops up on Facebook although we both had her blocked. She's my husband's former co-worker and is friends with mutual friends on Facebook. She would take the opportunity to comment on or like photos or posts my husband was in or tagged in. It wasn't hard to figure out that she was doing it. If a co-worker posted anything regarding my husband's very small (under 5 people) section at work, she would do something. And every time she did it, I would flip out on him. After the last time, shortly after Thanksgiving, he went off Facebook completely so she would no longer have the opportunity to do it.
      Not reacting is a struggle. I just keep reminding myself she's screwed up and that I don't want give her the satisfaction of thinking she matters.
      Hugs back to you!

    4. Dandelion
      Early in her relationship she friended two of my h brothers and a couple of mutual friends through the candy crush app. For two years she had access to all of our Facebook posts and liked many of those posts. My h rarely post now but I keep mine public because that's my way of letting her see we've risen above her. I try to stay one step above her level of crazy, sometimes I still come up human.

  40. Anonymous, my CH can compartmentalize things and sleep like a baby even when something horrible is going on. I don't get it. How can they sleep so easily??? Seriously. I haven't slept since DDay almost 3 months ago without a sleeping pill and even then I don't sleep much. I have to wonder what that says about their conscious & subconscious. How they justify & compartmentalize. Perhaps it's a feature of certain personality disorders...

    1. I don't know how they're able to sleep either! After Dday I had such anger towards my husband. I could not believe all the things he did with the ow and all the ways he violated our family and home. How he took advantage of the worst times in my life for his own benefit. I was so angry and constantly hitting him. A few weeks after Dday I finally was able to find a picture of her and I just lost it. In the middle of the night I started cursing and hitting my husband- next thing I know he was on top of me chocking me. When I said I couldn't breathe he finally let go and ran downstairs. I laid in bed shocked. I then went to the bathroom saw. the scratches on my face and body and fell apart. I then got myself together and quietly went downstairs because I was headed to the police station. I passed by the room he was in and he was fast asleep. I didn't have to worry about being quiet. He wasn't going to hear anything. 20 minutes earlier he had his arm wrapped around my throats and now he was sound asleep. He didn't wake up until my kids went downstairs looking for me. I have no idea how they do it. 3 years later and I still can't sleep unless I'm listening to something- it's unbelievable and really unfair- I really don't think he's lost more than a night or two over this!

    2. What is interesting his my husband has always struggled with sleep for a long time or maybe forever. I am able to sleep so sound. After dday not so much. I had to have ear buds in with music on or had to just leave our bedroom. Of course he always would wake up and find me. He i would say is more neurotic about any little thing. But I do think a lot of it had to do with his affairs etc. I think his mind would race at night. Granted he is really good at compartmentalizing. One reason why he is so good in his career. But I think in the end it bites them. My husband said he could not even look himself in the mirror and would almost become physically ill and this lasted for 10 years. I still do not understand how someone can do this to themselves over and over for this long. Crazy!

  41. Need a safe place to vent!January 30, 2017 at 9:01 PM

    I just need to write this down somewhere. I'm just so frustrated with my husband. I know he's trying but he did so much during his almost year long affair that completely shattered me and when I get the feeling that I am being dismissed in any way all those feelings get stirred right back up. My husband will then get defensive and say things that just make me even more angry. It's like he's still in his own reality. He told me how no one at his job has a gps on their phone. Well maybe, its because they weren't caught cheating on their wife you idiot!! Before that he didn't need one either. He didn't need to give me his password for his work prior to that either! I mean how dare he even use that as an argument!!

    Sometimes I really hate how weak he is- his need to be liked and thought of well by others- even if they're only in his life for a brief time is starting to get really pathetic. It's like he's a prisoner to it!! I see how much this means to him and it makes me feel like he's such a loser.

    He's accomplished so much but instead of drawing any value from that it, from his family or any of the good in his life he instead puts those things aside to lap up some shallow admiration from people who add no value or commitment to his life.

    I feel like the more I see this side of him, the more I dislike him. I can't respect a man like that because he's acting like an idiot boy reeking of insecurities and no self awareness or self worth. I can't understand him. He's intelligent, handsome and great in so many ways but he can't see that and it's becoming harder for me to see it when all he seems to show is his- please like me, please notice me, please think I'm great sided to any and every damn person!!

    Here's a guy that I have been crazy about since we were teenagers and now I find myself being repulsed by him. When Dday first occurred I felt like I saw a vulnerable, broken man but it's 2 years later and there's still things that he's still struggling with and I feel like it's at my expense. I feel like cause we've made it 2 years he's gone back to taking me for granted and gone back to his people pleasing ways and it's just ridiculous to me! The past few nights I find myself wondering if I even like him - i look at him and I just see a loser!!

    I know that's harsh and I hate that I feel like this! It's so uncomfortable and unnatural to feel! would never say these things to him. I don't even want to write it down on paper in case he or my kids ever find it and in my heart I don't think that's how I really feel but the last couple of months his need to be liked has caused him to make some really dumb choices and I as a result they've caused me quite a bit of heartbreak!! I just have lost a lot of respect for him and it's hard to want to rebuild something like a marriage with someone you find yourself struggling to like or respect!!

    Thanks for letting me get all that out and thank you Elle for this safe place!

    1. Need a safe place to vent
      I can relate to your feelings! In the early months, my coward of a man said to me when she kept texting, 'just don't let her' this was in reference to the anger that was sure to flair. It was if she could say anything no matter how hurtful and I wasn't allowed to respond. He was afraid of this woman. He had spent most of two years trying to reason with her to go away and leave him alone but she just kept texting. One she told him she lived so many things about him but he was such a coward when it came to facing his true feelings. This was about the same time I was questioning his feelings for me/us. In tears of frustration he asks, why won't either one of you believe me when I tell you how I feel? I responded because you spent so much time lying to both of us when it was convenient to get what you wanted. That was eye opening for him but his nightmare of this woman continued for another year, he filed those charges and damn she still pursued him off and on for another year. From a distance, just driving by our house. Last year in March, she boldly reached out to him to meet up for drinks, no hard feelings. He sent her back to talk to the judge, the lawyer thinks she gets it this time, however, she still drives by our home occasionally. This usually happens when he's traveling out of town. So I'm left to deal with the anger/hurt on my own! Not good for me or my h. I never put gps in my h, he either wants this marriage or he can walk away! His actions however have shown me he's willing to do anything it takes to keep us together. I have written these feelings down! Over and over I've vented here! I'm sure many here are as sick of my h ow as I am! It does help to write this person letters and then I tear them up. I get those vile words out of my head and in paper or here, and then I can return to normal, whatever that word means, until she rides by and yep just like you those feelings of disgust towards my h for bringing this vile person into our lives in the first place slip in again. I'm sure if I ever faced this woman with the words that fill my head, I would be locked away in a padded room! So, each day I get up thinking I'm stronger than yesterday and this person will not pull me down to her level. Keep venting! It helps! Hugs!

    2. I can so understand where you are at. We are almost at 2 years past dday. I really struggled for a long time with how can I be with someone who did this. My husband had two affairs over 10 years. I mean it sometimes still hits me. Any time anything he does slightly bothers me I speak up. If I feel any behavior slipping back at all I call him on it. I do not hold back. He knows that I expect 100% transparency too. He knows this is his second chance. Even if I know where he is but comes home a half hour later it is discussed.

      As far as needing GPS, passwords or anything and no one else needing that. I would say first of all you have no idea what anyone else is doing or how they are monitored. I think there is a lot we don't know about each other. No one would have ever or even today would guess what my husband did ever. And just as I tell my kids I could care less what others are doing. This is our family and this is about what we expect and what works for us. My therapist was adamant that whatever I needed he needed to do. He has told me that over time if my husband proves himself and if I were to hang on to the affair reminding him all the time or pushing his buttons that this is a recipe for disaster. But if I need to discuss something and it relates to his affairs that is different. He said he has had some couples where they husband has done everything possible but the wife still brings up complaints and is upset 4-5 years later and not in a productive way.

      My husband is very much the same too worried about pleasing others over himself, me, our kids or our relationship. He has really needed to work on his priorities is the only way I was able to put it to him. This I think was one of his big issues. As my therapist said why are you always last on his list? Exactly! This has changed dramatically since dday. My therapist has helped me a lot and my husband since he is in the mental health field has worked through it a lot on his own but it has been major work as it is basically re-framing his entire personality and how he sees himself in the world. This is a major task and not easy since he has lived his entire life this way.

    3. Gosh Hopeful30, I love what you wrote! I thought about it all last night.

      On top of being embarrassed about my H's adultery, I'm super self-conscious about the boundaries I've set. The truth is I feel like people would think I was a shrew if they knew about my new boundaries. Like I'm the one with the problems in our marriage and my poor H has to deal with me. Your post is a great reminder that I should focus on what works for me and not worry about anyone else. Easier said than done...

      My H put a lot of limits on himself immediately after he was caught, in a desperate plea for me not to kick him out. He's decided that his life is actually better with them in place. Me too. They have become my non-negotiable boundaries. The biggies are:
      1. No alcohol.
      2. No smartphone.
      3. No social media.
      4. No socializing with anyone who isn't a "friend of the marriage." This includes certain family members.
      5. No friendships with women. Friendly and professional is fine -- one-on-one personal and private relationships are not.
      6. Full transparency on all emails and finances. I don't actually feel the need to look at his emails anymore, but he installed them on my phone, so I could anytime if I wanted to.
      7. Daily spiritual practice.
      8. Routine counseling sessions.
      If he stops following any of these, then that would be a major red flag and I have to reconsider everything about him.

      Some people might think these are crazy and I'm a nutty control freak. But I guess I have to be okay with that. Those people don't have to be married to me either. Because for me, for now, this is the only thing that is possible. And he's happier with who he is now too -- he says he so much less stressed. If it stops making sense for us, then we'll go from there -- we actually talk in a real way to each other now (!) so we'll be able to do that. But for now, we need these. And I'll note that there isn't a thing on this list that I didn't do already and/or haven't done now, with the exception of the smartphone. But then, I have never even been tempted to send a colleague naked photos with it, so that's fair.

      So thanks Hopeful30 for your words of wisdom. They were a relief for me. I'm always telling my teens that they need to care less about what other people think and more about what they think. I need to take that to heart myself. Thanks for this nudge!

    4. Sal, this is a great list and I think it is totally reasonable! CH's filled a void in their lives with those things instead of healthy things and it's like a 12 step program - you can't risk it.

    5. 7 and 8 are soooo important. Imagine all the pain in our lives that could have been avoided if our hs had had a little compassion, self-knowledge, wisdom and grace! Keep it going, Sal!

    6. Sal, Awesome! It is so nice to relate to others. I have found with many aspects of the betrayal that I am having to deprogram myself what I have been told my entire life. It is always what did the wife do, she let herself go, always honestly dumb superficial stuff. And even if those were things what happened to the vows. I have stuck around and been loyal through everything.

      And the boundaries really are a must. It has been the only way for me/us to rebuild. For my husband too he implemented many boundaries himself and found he was happier with them in place. And they have stuck not out of obligation but out of the benefit and happiness they have brought him. It does make it easier to push ahead when I see him working hard on his end.

      And I totally agree so many things I tell my kids I think I need to tell myself that!

  42. Hey Need a Safe Place,
    I hear you. I've been in your shoes. I'm at almost 2 years and recently had a couple months where I just could not stand being in my marriage. I was just so tired of it all. And he seemed so foreign to me.
    I have come to realize that I don't always like my kids or myself even either, but I always love us. So I've decided to give that to my H for now. In a "this too shall pass" sort of way.
    I remember reading shortly after DDay about a H who came back to his marriage and said that some days he is committed to his wife, some days he is committed to his marriage, and some days all he can manage is being committed to his commitment. I get that.
    That said... I can do this because of the mega positive changes in attitude and action that my H has made and is continuing to make. My advice is to set your boundaries and really stick to them. If he can't give you what you need -- and I have come to believe that those boundaries of acceptable behavior are a need, not a want -- you might not be able to live with him anymore. Easier said than done, I know. Really, I know, I get how hard it is -- not just saying that.
    Hang in there. Hugs!

  43. I'm a nurse and it took me awhile to make my husband a priority. Somehow I'm hard wired to take care of others. Fix in the body or mind what is broken. It is a safe place, you are needed, wanted and appreciated. I got my fix from that instead of my H. I had to consciously make myself stop. My therapist said, "ask your self, why is so and so asking you to do this? Is it for them or for you? For example my daughter in law didn't want us to go on a trip at Xmas. Why? Not because she missed me because I would do the cooking, entertaining, decorating, watching grandchildren. So I asked myself the question is this for her or me? If was for her. We left, I got a little snub but so what. I was asked to join a bridge club. Was it for them or me? It was for me, I like bridge. Anyway it took me awhile with conscious practice to make his needs a priority. Compromise is my next step. Maybe your husband needs to take one thing you requested and practice saying no to others and yes to you. Ask him to take you to lunch. It is the little shit right? Hopeful, I enjoy your posts and thoughts. You are so warm, kind and helpful. Thank you

  44. So one last thing this morning...
    This is seriously the hardest thing I've ever done in my life. I read everyone's story and I just want to hug you all. Actually, I just want a hug from you all. Because I really need it. Adultery sucks. I feel like we always hear people say "marriage is hard, you have to work at it, it's not all cake and roses, blah blah blah." My gosh -- that's too vague! I mean, I get it -- it's not the sort of thing you say to someone getting married: "hey, chances are at some point one of you will cheat and as a result you will hurt so bad you'll think you're actually, literally, dying -- so congrats, love the dress!" But gosh. I had no idea. I guess you can't really until it happens to you. But still. Ugh.

    1. Wow Sal - spot on - spot on.

    2. Big hug from me, Sal! Two days after our wedding, my MIL said to us at a family dinner, 'Enjoy this time, being so happy. There'll be harder times ahead.' We thought it was a bit of a downer at the time (and yes, obvious, party delight cannot last!)... but she never could have guessed her son would have acted this way. I guess I'm lucky my parents-in-law are totally shocked by their son's behavior. Of course, I married him though, not them. Huge hugs to all the sisters.

    3. Sal, So true, when I am at a wedding I think if they only knew. And I think I am an aware person who asked questions, was not checked out, worked on our marriage... And I never expected perfection or easy times. But to be lied to etc from someone that puts out there a total false exterior sucks. And I have gotten so many dumb explanations not sure if any my husband really believes from we were married too young (all at his pushing me not me asking ever once to get married), not getting to play the field (again never pushed him to stay together even long distance), having kids was hard on him (again he pushed me to have kids I never once brought it up or was pushing). When I look at the statistics etc the number of marriages affected by betrayal is staggering. I think it needs to be brought more to the forefront and the stereotypes shattered. My husband had all the education, skills, knowledge and still did it. So maybe it was who he was it has to be that. He knew he had 1000 different options. And then me who has not training or education would never do it. So complicated.

      Thankfully we are working towards a better future. We will see. And thankfully I have my kids as part of all of this. They are amazing and I am thankful each day I spend with them.

  45. I am struggling as I feel a need to push away from my friends. I do not enjoy my time with them. Every time we are together it seems like the topic of cheating on spouses comes up, marriages falling apart etc. They are very pro marriage and are against affairs but this is more in talking about others. I would not say they have the best marriages at all or are close to their spouses, I would say my husband and I were always closer and look how that turned out. I have not told anyone about my husband's affairs. We discussed it and my husband left it up to me. I chose not to since i was not sure they would understand, help, and I knew it would change our dynamic as couples. Recently a discussion was started about someone else one of my friends is very close to and how she could not believe that she took her husband back after an affair that was more than a one night stand. And they all just piled on. It went on and on and how their husbands could cheat but never would. They went on how dumb this wife was and how she was just getting used and they were sure more had happened. Maybe it is our age and stage in life but the topic in some form comes up every time we are together. And it is not in a bad negative gossip way but more in a concerned way.

    I am struggling with this since I have tried to change the topic, said let's not discuss this, etc. But it always seems to come up. I know they do not suspect anything with me since they talk about it so open and honest. I think they look to me at times since my husband is in the mental health field but I do not want to get into it. It has gotten to the point where I just do not want to hang out with them or make any effort to be with them. In time I feel more and more isolated or seeking out friends that are more surface level friendships since we don't cover topics like this.

    Has anyone else experienced this?

    1. Well believe it or not, I spoke to a friend about my experience a little while ago. She listened so well and asked really intelligent and sensitive questions. Towards the end of our lunch, I asked her how she was getting on and she told me with a wry smile that she had actually also been through a betrayal just recently. The difference is, her partner is extremely sorry and really wants to rebuild their relationship. (Mine is still in the Swamp of Selfish Confusion.)

      Neither of us could believe that the other had been through such a horrible experience - but both of us were so glad to be face to face with a friend who could understand something of the pain.

      I wonder if you felt there was one of your close friends that you would be able to trust and confide in. If so, she may surprise you with her sensitivity. If not (as in, you couldn't be sure that she would just gossip about you to all the others), maybe start to divide your free time between this current group of 'friends' and taking the chance to meet new people.

      I have not spoken about my situation to most of my friends, but of the few who now know, there is only one I semi regret telling (and that's just because her ideas for 'cheering' me up are a bit too full on).

    2. Hopeful,
      My experience was more like Selkie. I've found 6 (!!!) women now who've also been there. And I didn't even go looking for them! I think there are more of us around than you'd think. One of them kept her man also so she particularly understands.

      I think I've found our "secret handshake". lol Anytime you see that women who gives and gives, works her ass off and is kind and tries to be fair to everyone - even the assholes - chances are really, really good that you've found one of us.

      I haven't seen that whole group judging scene that you experienced. That had to have been tough. I would've said something stupid for sure LOL I have had people be shockingly, immediately dismissive. Those people are either not friends or are people I just won't talk to again about this stuff. Which is fine by me.

      My gut response if they were my friends and I had miraculously kept my mouth shut, would be to phase them out of my inner life. They might be well-intentioned people but I wouldn't make sense to them. I'd keep it superficial and look for people who do understand.

    3. Selkie, Thank you so much for your thoughts and experience. I so wish I had someone I felt that would be a good sounding board/resource.

      I have been most hesitant in speaking with anyone I know due to the fact we want to avoid our children finding out at all costs. I do trust my closest friends but I also know how things go. I have chosen to travel a decent amount to see a therapist. I know they must keep it confidential but where we live and due to my husband's career etc and his interaction in the mental health and legal field I am very cautious. I would even go out of town if I was seeking legal advice. I know for many that sounds crazy and these people should not share information but I have seen gossip spread and the only explanation has to be most likely an office worker or something of the sort in a professional office.

      As far as friends go I thought about it a lot and I considered it. I held off since I just did not feel my friends could really help me at all. I am not judging them. However I know I would help my friends in any way but if I had not gone through it I am not sure how much I could have helped them. I would have been there for them of course. After the repeated discussions and the most recent one with my friend blasting this person for staying with their spouse after they had a one year affair I was frustrated but also glad I did not tell them. I mean my husband had two affairs over 10 years. It is hard for me to comprehend and has taken me almost two years to work through and I am still working on it. I know for a fact it would change the dynamic of our time together as couples.

      I do blame some of this on as we talk about on this blog societal stereotypes. I also think people fear if it could happen to this couple that we never thought it would it could happen to us. I think that is a big factor.

      I have pulled back a lot and I would say the majority of my friendships are surface/superficial. I find it hard to connect since deep down I feel this is a huge part of my life now and what has shaped me. My husband has brought up the point and is saddened by the fact that he feels that I now feel how he did for 10 years. He sees me detaching and pulling away from friends since now I am keeping a secret just as he felt keeping the secret from me. I think he is partially true and it is insightful for him to observe this. I am just not sure what the solution is. I try to connect with others but I am more selective. And the people I would gravitate to are what I would call people with high morals like myself. I would never have thought I would still be with him so I understand their take on this. And as we start to approach middle age the affairs, divorce, separations seem to be multiplying by the day.

      It is something I need to work through and figure out. I guess all with time just as working through the betrayal.

    4. Hi Hopeful 30,

      I do understand about small town life and not being able to do anything without the whole world knowing. I've spent many years in places like that!

      It's such an unfair decision for you to have to make, because it's not really YOUR secret. I hope that in time, you will be able to feel more free.

      It's a pity that your friends have no idea. About a month before my h told me about his affair, we were speaking about a couple I knew where the guy had an affair and his wife (my friend) still supported him in his Greencard application. I remember saying that I couldn't believe how generous and giving she was. I now remember how my h said nothing at all.

      Nobody can know how they will react in the situation we are in - and it is so hurtful to hear people without this experience bantering about it. But I guess they'll keep doing that until one of them has a wake-up call... not that we would ever wish that on anybody.

      Sending you courage.

    5. Hopeful 30, I wanted to share that I also have similar feelings and experiences but I've cut my circle so small that I mostly only associate with family and a few friends. Life triggers are just too painful. This past weekend my son's fiance came to stay and attend a baby shower for my daughter in law and since she came alone I was able to get to know her more. Well, she shared with me that as a young college age woman she was groomed by an older man for prostitution and that her life passion now is to advocate against porn and support for trafficking victims. Well, needless to say this was a very long weekend for me and my husband who knew immediately that life would get hard once she left. It triggered a massive meltdown for me and hours of tears and lashing out. This lovely young woman is marrying my son soon and joining our family. Thank goodness she lives many hours away and has children and a full time job so I won't have to be around her a lot. She is passionate about this as I always was and both of us feel strongly that it is the men who should be arrested and not the women. My husband knows this too and has heard me say it for years but it never stopped him from paying for sex. Honestly I am not sure what the future will hold. At almost 20 months out these things bring me to my knees and rip open my heart. Today I am much better after a nap but good grief I never expected to live like this for so long. I've only told my best friend and not all the gory details but enough for her to understand that life is hard for me at times. My husband feels awful about his life choices and I know he has to live with them. He is much better able to compartmentalize those anti-social events but I'm not that good at that. We talked a lot about the fact that infidelity and sex is everywhere from television shows to the Super Bowl half time events. He is always reminded of what a jerk he was and he has tools in place to avert his eyes and remind himself that he does not need to look at or think about those things. I, on the other hand, need to be better and that includes keeping my circle small and maybe smaller. I've only had lunch with a few girlfriends since D-day and thankfully everyone understands when I beg off because of grandchildren and family obligations but I've never felt so lonely in my life. I am a social person and this feels like solitary confinement because I can't be myself. I am always guarded. Much love to you.

    6. Hopeful 30-
      Your responses to myself and others over these past 18 mos have always helped me. I hope I can help you. I also struggle being around friends that don't know my situation, particularly when talk of affairs and infidelity come up, and it's everywhere! On D-day I told my best friend. It came down to that or suicide to be totally honest. Doing that literally saved my life. Over the last 18 mos, I have told 5 other friends in my tight inner circle. My therapist helped me to realize that I am a very authentic person and not sharing with those that I could trust was making the shame in me grow. I was in so much pain because I am so honest, particularly with those that I love most, and the shame was really feeding off my feelings of dishonesty and inauthenticity. Each time I told a friend, it was horribly painful BUT their reaction was always the same. It was shock, then anger (directed at him), concern, empathy, love and a ferocious amount of support and protectiveness. Not one questioned my wanting to reconcile, even though I thought they would as it was always going to be a deal breaker for me! That was what the shame was making me think. It has re-solidified why they are my close friends and helped in my healing too. It is STILL a struggle to be around those that don't know, I spend minimal time with them. One friend is a very good friend, but I know how she feels about infidelity and because of that I will never tell her. I decided that at this time, this is what I need to do. I'm hoping it will become easier with time, to be around the the "unknowing". But until then, this is how it is. Having this close "team" makes my life easier. Sometimes we talk about it and the rest of the time is spent having fun and feeling "normal" to me. They just follow my lead and it doesn't feel forced. I want this for you too. I pray you will be able to find this/these people in your life. I care about you and am your friend too. Xo

    7. Beach Girl, You speak the words I feel. It is so hard feeling this alone. I hate and love the idea that he is the one who is closest to me. In some ways that has made this healing process unique to us. We call it our 2.0 marriage among other things. But yes some days ugh it is so hard. And my therapist is great but my circle is so small.

      Farmwife, that is awesome that you have so many great friends you can share this with. I have thought about it but our kids are close friends with all of their kids. I don't have one friend that is not a family friend. I have one close old friend but she is dealing with a huge personal issue nothing to do with this but not the time to reach out to her.

      We will see what happens with time...

    8. Hopeful 30, I would love to hear how you and your husband managed to negotiate and deal with vacation spots that bring you pain. We have spent years going to Hawaii for our anniversary and in 2014 and 2015 he visited high class escorts during our anniversary trips. The escorts were at a hotel across the street from ours so just typing this brings me trauma, hatred for him and immense sadness. Would you mind sharing how you have a "corrective emotional experience" in the same place your husband fucked prostitutes while celebrating your anniversary? I'd certainly like to hear what he has to say. Now I am pissed about the past again so need to do some deep breathing. I don't want to live there any more but it is so hard.

    9. Beach girl
      I too would like a different perspective from hopeful 30, but I can give you some ideas of how we've worked through some of the places that were tainted by the knowledge that they had dates in those places. We went back together, didn't discuss the past, just enjoyed the night and it left me with a new memory of that place. However, that doesn't work for the main place they played together! I haven't been back to that place since dday and likely never will! We also spent these past two years planning day trips to the same places we visited on our wedding day/night and giggled at our selfie compared to our original pictures creating yet again new memories. We've had one week each of these two years for family vacations with our adult children that helped bring our family closer together since none of us live in the same town. This past year included the grandsons and our new son in law and his family as this week included the wedding! Again brand new special memories. Slowly we return to normal way of living even though there are still some rocky roads to travel as witnessed by my meltdown a couple weeks ago. But you do it slowly. One hurtful memory at a time!

  46. I am listening to this podcast and it is has such great advice for living with the grief and loss, when you can't get over it, when you can't move on (assuming that your partner is doing the work)


    1. Thanks MBS for sharing this,
      My H is doing the work (although we have had serious setbacks along the way). At 3 months out from dday (although the most damaging PA/EA was 7-11 years ago) I can't stop thinking about the betrayal. I so badly want it to have never happened. I want to not be in daily pain. I am listening to the podcast now...

    2. Hi Browneyed,
      3 months is so fresh but actively looking for your own sources of personal healing will get you to the point of not being in daily pain.

      I just want to clarify--you can still get over it, even if he isn't doing the work. This podcast is just as valid, whether you are together or not, or in between.
      I just want to make sure to say that if your partner isn't doing the work, then "moving on," what ever that means, is many times as hard. I just wanted to make sure to acknowledge that if a partner is still acting out, it makes complete sense that you can't get over it. Your own healing is stymied.

    3. My husband ended his two affairs before dday. What is interesting is I thought well him must have dealt with it and be over it. And he must have loved being in those affairs. Well I was wrong on both accounts. And even though he worked hard to reach out to me after he broke off the affairs he had unbelievable guilt and shame that kept him from fully opening up. Dday was the hardest but I am glad it happened. It shed so much light on who he is/was. The worst day for me was dday 2. That was the most crushing. He had to work really hard after that. I did not think it could get worse but it did. And the funny thing was it was no new info he just lied about dates and how long the affairs lasted. It was crushing though.

      It honestly took me the entire first year to really work through the pain and hurt. With the highs and lows from day to day. It did get better as time went but still it was hard. As we approached dday 1 year anniversary I really started to come to peace with it. What was most interesting was once I felt better I saw my husband start to deal with his feelings and open up more. He really for the first year was in fix it mode and make me feel better mode. He did not deal with himself. I figured he was past it since he ended the affairs. But I underestimated how bad he hurt himself with his actions and decisions. This took me by surprise. And over time he finally said he started to not hate himself. I would have never guessed he felt this way. He does not give off that impression but he did hate himself. He said he would have still felt bad but not hated himself if he did not love me. However he said it was crushing for him what he did to me since he always loved me. Weird and something I would never do or truly understand. But as I watched him go through this process it was healing in its own way.

      I think it is hard in a different way when the affairs are in the past and for my husband they lasted a long time even though they were sporadic. He struggled to answer questions and said he forced all the details out of his mind so he could get through his days still unable to look himself in the mirror. He still cannot tell me which year the one affair began he can only say it started in the fall. He said he tried to forget it all.

      Take your time with it and help yourself along. If he is doing everything you need him to and he needs to heal from it his pain then just stick with it. Over time look back if you have a journal and you will be surprised how far you have come. It is easy to want to rush it but be patient. My therapist has been helpful with this and measuring our progress. And one thing I told my husband what I needed to help with the daily pain. If I needed phone calls, texts, hugs, time to talk whatever I spoke up. I worked hard to figure out what I needed. Hang in there.

  47. Thanks Hopeful 30 & MBS,

    We are going to a faith based program every weekend for the past 3 weeks and we have a standing counseling apt on Tuesday evenings. We usually go together and he has gone 3x himself and I have gone 2x myself. I am torn between whether we go together or I go alone or he goes alone tomorrow night. The main problem that caused problems in our marriage is that H has serious issues he has to work on (addiction and probably an attachment disorder). Yet I feel like being selfish for once and focusing on myself. I need to stop crying every day and remembering and reliving the painful details.

    His A was very complicated which is making it harder for me to accept it. Part of me wants us to go together MC tomorrow and another part of me wants to go alone.

    Here's an unrelated "feeling stuck" twist:
    The other thing I am struggling with is how to handle Valentine's day. I can't bring myself to give him one those sappy cards you find about how he has been the best husband... Yet a funny card seems like a bad idea during a time he is at least acknowledging he has issues and committed to putting work into repairing our marriage (albeit with a couple of big setbacks). Maybe Elle can dedicate one of the posts in the next week on how to handle Valentine's day, wedding Anniversaries, etc. I know I expect H to make a big deal about it (1st Valentine's after DDay #3) and will be let down if he doesn't. But how do we BW handle those days??

    1. BEG, like you I struggled/struggle with cards for occasions and have settled on either nothing or a card that is empty inside so I can write a few words. If I do not feel like getting a card, I do not. We are definitely working on staying married so when I do find a card that I think is appropriate I buy it. I found a card before our first anniversary after D-day that had a photo of two carrots that were entwined, you know, "ugly fruit/veggies". I bought it and wrote something short and simple like "better together" and he has bought me a few funny cards. I hate the sentimental ones that he likes. He just doesn't go there anymore and neither do I. I look all the time at cards at unique stores and buy them and put away in case I feel like giving something to him but overall I distrust the message and don't want to shoot the messenger when I know his heart is in the right place. The last card he gave me was for our anniversary in January I think and said something like, "I love you" over and over on the front page and inside he wrote, something about it being our anniversary to boot. Good luck. This holiday/special occasion stuff is one of the hardest things for me. It feels so shallow and stupid.

    2. Brown eyed girl
      Those first cards are the hardest! This past year on our anniversary/ his birthday, yes we were stupid enough to get married way back then, I used a watercolor that I had painted with lots of colors of happy(for me) and I wrote from my heart on the inside of the small painting. It seemed to mean something to him more than the store bought ones as he kept this and it travels in his brief case. I'm not sure what we'll do for Valentine's Day this year but I know he's planning a nice supper out. We'll see. Good luck, I know how hard this is!

    3. I agree holidays, cards, all of it is hard to know what to do yourself or what to expect from your husband. Early on I struggled with buying a card since so many sounded fake and either made me laugh or cry they seemed to perpetuate the fairy tale idea. I agree with Beach Girl I often buy blank cards when I see them. I write words that are genuine at the time. Sometimes it is talking about all of our work we are putting in or something like this. I keep it somewhat simple since the kids will look at the cards. My husband is much more into the words and has written poems etc. That can backfire for him since I have a stack of cards and poems written during the "affair years" that I question the validity. He says he meant it all even with what he was doing. Who knows.

      I think you need to do what feels right at the time. For our first anniversary after dday and actually dday 2 right before it I was at an all time low. So the card was nothing great. I really did not care. One thing I have not backed away from is if I need cards, flowers anything on a holiday or otherwise I make sure to let him know. He is not a mind reader and early on I think it was hard since he was on eggshells. So I made it easy. He always said he would not give me a card or gift on Mother's Day since I am not his mom and nothing for my birthday since he does not care about his birthday. Well I told him after dday in March he better change his ways. I do not need anything extravagant but I need effort and thought.

      Another thing my husband talks about is corrective emotional experiences. If you have a really negative association around a memory especially tied to a holiday, special day or vacation spot for example what can you do to reshape that experience. Maybe you don't want cards but you make a meal together. Or if you always go see a movie together for your anniversary do something different. This has helped a lot. It was hard there were vacation spots I did not want to return to but we had to. He worked with me hard to change my experience so it felt different. We talk extensively before any of these occasions or trips to see what will be triggers.

      I hope this helps a little bit.

    4. Browneyedgirl,
      I hope I'm not being too intrusive... but are you in the Retrouvaille program? If yes, how are you finding it? It hasn't been a feasible option for my H and I due to childcare -- but I'm wondering if we should work harder at finding a solution to attend. Thoughts?

    5. Sal,
      Sorry, just saw this. Not intrusive at all. Yes, Retrouvialle. Honestly I would have much less hope without it. They say they have 80-85% of couples who attend the full program still married after several years. I have no delusions that we are certain to be in the success group. But we are committed to doing what they recommend and I definitely feel it is increasing our chances. Also, I have some degree of peace that in doing this, should it not work out, that I truly gave it everything I could and maybe through the process I will be strong enough to be alone if it comes to that (I hope it doesn't). Yes, find childcare - the commitment is from Friday evening through Sunday evening, then 6 Sunday afternoons (4 hrs) post sessions with optional 1x/mo maintence drop in when you want anytime for the rest of your marriage. It is a peer ministry so the people who facilitate it are survivors of very broken marriages. Some infidelity, some not. For the attending couples though it is completely anonymous - you don't share anything about your situation only your first names. Our kids stayed at a friends and had to miss all their sports activities because of it that weekend. But my husband and I said to each other as we made the decision to go: 'well, it's better to our kids a chance at a stable home for a lifetime than have them go to their sports for 1 weekend'.

    6. Thanks Brown Eyed Girl!

  48. The ups and downs I just don't think I can handle. I go from feeling confident to feeling weak and unsure....
    The PTSD from finding out about my H's 18 year relationship with one OW - was so damn hard. But comments my H made to me after I found out about his affair....I think about off and on.
    I struggle - do I talk about my feelings...I need to talk about them - I need him to hear me.
    I have been working so hard to communicate my feelings in a non-aggressive, confrontational, judgmental way... but my heart is broken again.
    What is the matter with me?? My H shared some of my most vulnerable, weak, moments in our early marriage with his old boss (female of course) all the while he was with OW. He told me he couldn't tell the OW....
    I know this was so many years ago - but it hurts so bad. I am humiliated - embarrassed - let down. Why am I just now, remembering, things my H told me months, ago? It's all too much.
    I cannot reasonably share any feelings with my H without him telling me "All you do is throw it back in my face", "you will never get over it".
    Eggshells - just like it was back when my dad was a drunk...I lived in fear...
    What the hell am I doing?

    1. Anonymous 1998
      I don't think me or my h were prepared for the fall out of the PTSD either. It's been a learning experience for us both and not a very pleasant one. Trust me, I know the mind doing its best to remember every conversation we've had since that October day. Some are emblazoned into my brain and my h has also said how can we move forward if all you do is bring up the past and throw it in my face. He's not ever said that again. I had to find a way to tell him how that made me feel. I was more able to do that in an email format rather than face to face because I'm very emotional when I try to explain my feelings. Yep, he's also said the old you'll never get over this. I explained that one in an email and he gets that now. My h affair for him was only a few months of pleasure followed by almost two years of emotional blackmail from the cow. The last blow up I had was because she drove by our house slowly looking towards the Windows she used to stare out of in the time of the affair. She did this when my h was traveling out of town(I'm sure this is not because she knows he's out of town, she has no way to know) but I chose not to tell him until he was home. When I did try to tell him, I felt like he was being dismissive of my right to be angry with his cow. The fight ended with him being emotionally shut down and me shaking in his arms. It took me a week to put that in perspective and then email the words to him that lead him to understand that his reaction was what led me to be so triggered. I was smug enough to believe that I could handle this drive by casually because when it happened, I felt angry, sad and perplexed as to why after so much time this person could still had the need to drive in this neighborhood! But I was temporally proud of myself for not collapsing into a heap of tears! This I also used an email to carefully explain my emotional meltdown in words my h could understand. That evening he hugged me hard and said once again I'm sorry I understand and I love you. This has been a much better week but I'm sure there are still some rough days yet to get through! It must be even tougher for you knowing how long his affair was! It sounds like he still doesn't understand the depth of your pain and the fact that he deals with pain differently than you! Hugs! I'm hoping he's in therapy!

    2. Anonymous 1998, I too felt that way for a long time. The only thing that worked for me was to tell myself over and over that this was his issue and his choices. When he acted or said what he did he never talked to me once. So even though I was here, talking to him about working on our marriage etc... he chose to lie to me and do what he did. And in a way I separated that out from our recovery. We have still had to deal with his actions and decisions but I have worked hard to eliminate that feeling. He has had to take on that burden entirely.

      And we had many discussions that this will take me a long time to work through. And we will revisit topics over and over. I told him I did not even know how I would feel day to day. This is the biggest violation in a marriage and it takes a lot of time and work.

      Has he read anything related to this or seen anyone? My husband knew it all and is trained in this but he never used it himself until dday. He has been lucky to pull on what he sees professionally and from his education and training. It is a lot for everyone involved. Also if you are not seeing anyone if you are able to I highly suggest it. That was really crucial for me.

  49. I am feeling very fragile right now. Yesterday was the one year anniversary of the start of the affair, in my mind the day my H made the first step in blowing up our world. We were at counseling the day before and I said I was dreading the day, when the counselor asked why I said because it is a significant day for him, he clearly remembered the date he first asked her out so it means something to him, I was also concerned that the OW would either contact him or send me another nasty gram. The counselor said I needed to start letting go and try to move forward. It has been 5 months since D Day, however, it has only been 6 weeks since it ended!
    D day was 9-16, he left and we started to go to counseling, about a month later he moved back in to spare bedroom. 11-7 I found out from my daughter that he was still very much connected to the OW. I confronted him but he lied and said nothing was going on, I demanded to see his phone and right then a loooong text was there from the OW! He moved out again. I didn't hear from him for a week so I tracked him down and forced him to make a decision, me or her. He chose her and said he was leaving for good but would be around to keep up the house. I was stunned, speechless, 33 years of marriage done. He was there the next day and I had a complete emotional breakdown, couldn't stop shaking, crying, etc. He held me and he cried too - most of the day. It was the first time I actually felt something from him. He texted me later and said he wanted to see me the next day. We met for a drink and he said he really wanted to make us work, that crying and hugging really made him understand what he was throwing away. I felt a real connection and had hope. For about 2 weeks we met a couple times during the week and spent the weekends working around the house. I hugged him and kissed him constantly, was really beginning to feel again.
    11-28 I get my first nasty gram from the OW, very detailed about all the things they have done together and letting me know they are still very much together! I was devastated, confronted him again, at first he denies it all but then later admits it is true he is still seeing her but ONLY because he doesn't know how to end it!
    I said all that time during those 2 weeks when I thought things were starting to turn around, I felt so close to him, all that was based on lies because he was still seeing her! He said no he really meant what he had said, it was over with her and he was fully committed to me.

  50. Continued...
    We continued to go to counseling but I don't feel the same. I was trying desperately to believe him and try to move on. Finally starting to be able to relax a little, he is not living at home but we are spending a lot of time together, I told him he should move back in to the spare room so we can start working toward being together but he is dragging his feet.
    12-30 another nasty gram from the OW telling me they are still together, he even bought her xmas gift! Wind knocked out of me! I went to confront him and again, he denied but then admitted when confronted with the actual message from her! Claims he was only with her so she didn't make a scene at work and to protect me so she wouldn't contact me again! UNREAL! I tried to explain to him if that were true and he had told me she wouldn't leave him alone it would have prepared me for her message but instead he chose to continue to lie to my face!
    He finally had a meeting with HR at work with the OW and supposedly it is now really over. He says she hasn't tried to contact him since the meeting but I am having trouble believing him.
    Every time he has a "work" dinner or event I am left wondering if it is true or if he is still lying to me.
    So here we are 6 weeks later and the counselor is telling me I should be letting go and moving on???? She acted surprised when I explained the time-line and said she thought it had been longer!
    I feel like I am going through the motions now, the intense feelings I had when we both had the emotional break are gone. I am worried that all the lies and deception have finally broken me. Has anyone else experienced this? I know it has been five months since the revelation but I feel like the healing process has been stunted and interrupted one time too many. I feel alone and lost.

    1. Peggy,
      Let me start by saying one thing: Your counsellor is utterly insane if she thinks you should be getting over this right now. She has absolutely ZERO understanding of the trauma of betrayal and I can't even imagine how she can be helpful to either one of you. Please please consider finding someone else who really understands this stuff. Most experts says THREE TO FIVE YEARS.
      As for your husband, what the hell is he thinking? Why should you believe him? He's lied repeatedly over time. He has absolutely now credibility in your eyes. He needs to step up and show you that he deserves a second chance. Frankly, I don't see much evidence that he does. I'm sorry Peggy. I don't want to upset you but I am FURIOUS on your behalf. This is utterly cruel what he's put you through. And I want you to dig deep into your own reservoir of strength and fight like hell for yourself. I want you to make it clear that if he even wants you to CONSIDER a relationship with him then he'd better come completely clean, give you any and all access to channels of communication with this lunatic he's been with (she sounds truly toxic) and then beg on his hands and knees for you to give him another chance.
      You have been traumatized by the one person you trusted to always have your back, to be loyal to you. Of course, you feel broken by this. It's shattering what he's does to you. And not once but repeatedly.
      You are not alone, nor are you lost. You have an army of women here who know exactly what you're going through and who are furious about how you've been treated. You did not deserve any of this.
      Please, Peggy, get a counsellor for yourself so you can begin to heal yourself from this. Find someone who really understands betrayal and can help you tap into your own strength and dignity.

    2. Peggy, I second what Elle said. Every single word. Your counselor is incompetent and dangerous to your mental health. Your husband is an idiot and you my dear are being treated inhumanely by the guy who should worship the ground you walk on. Please stop allowing him to do this to you, whatever that means in your life. Although my husband and I are working hard on our marriage the other page here of separating/divorce has some posts from many really strong and courageous women who are heroes to those of us who struggled early on with "what to do". Please find another counselor, someone who understands your grief/loss/betrayal for what it truly is. Trauma. Big T. Love and Peace and thanks for hanging in with all of us. Most of us have been in your shoes and many of us are now across the bridge to becoming who we want to be regardless of the choices our husbands make now or in the future.

    3. Elle and Beach Girl,
      Thank you for your kind words and even for your anger on my behalf! I am considering looking for another counselor but I also fear that my H will only think I am doing so because she is "not saying what I think she should say", etc.
      When this first happened I talked to my sisters about it but have since kept it all to myself because I don't want them to hate him if we ever work it out. I have never felt so isolated in my life.
      I have five grown children who are all extremely supportive of me but I have stopped sharing any information with them also because I fear it will irreparably damage their relationship with their father.
      I am just so profoundly sad. I will check out the separating/divorce pages.

    4. Peggy, I agree too that your counselor gave you terrible information. I know mine really emphasized even if you feel better that the feelings will roller coaster or come in waves just as we all read about on here. My therapist said take your time and do not pressure yourself. It is important to process all the pain and information. My therapist really emphasized how it was healthy and good for me to protect myself and keep up my defenses some. And with time gradually start to lower them to begin to trust more. But that was after a lot of work from both me and my husband. There is no set time table and I think so much is dependent upon the actions and decisions post dday. Hang in there!

    5. Peggy, this is about YOUR mental health and your healing. Imagine if you had cancer and this "doctor" was offering you treatment that didn't feel right or make sense. You'd find another doctor. There's a HUGE difference between a counsellor telling us things that are hard to hear and a counsellor telling you things are harmful to your healing. You've got a lot of women here agreeing that your instincts are right.
      I agree that sharing what you're going through with your adult children isn't the wisest choice. You don't want to pull them into this. Continue to post here. And please do find yourself a therapist who's devoted to helping you. You deserve to find peace.

    6. Well we had another counseling session this week and I let the counselor know how upset I was when I left the last time. She apologized and tried to think of a reason she might have said what she did about me letting go. She explained the only reason she should have said something like that was by way of explanation that if my husband was being completely honest with me and doing everything he could to earn my trust then I would be able to let go little by little over time. She apologized several times for causing me additional stress.
      For now I am going to let this go as her having a bad day and it unfortunately happened during our session.
      What I wonder is how my husband, someone who has always been incredibly judgmental of anyone who ever even thought about cheating, would after 35 years together be unfaithful. How does that happen? He doesn’t have any answer, just says, “I don’t know why I did it, I don’t have an answer for you.” He does say that it felt good and he got a “rush” but could that really be it???? I don’t think I will ever understand “denial” in that he just didn’t think about me/us when he was with her. Why her? Why now? I don’t know how to get past this question. Do you ever get an answer? I know everyone is different but I can’t wrap my brain around it.

  51. Theresa & Hopeful 30 -
    My H is not in therapy at present. He is such a busy man and how can he know from week to week what his schedule will be?? He and I went to marriage counseling for about 9 months - every week. He went on his own about 8 times. I have gone every week for the past year 16 months.
    My H's comments are: Counseling is NOT the answer for EVERYTHING. I have expressed to my H that I would like for him to return to counseling - he is resisting. He would go together, I am sure.... but he will not go alone - that means the focus is just on him. He doesn't want to talk about it - not with anyone. He doesn't want to think about it - but HELLO - if staying married to me means you see yourself/actions/past behavior in my eyes every time you look at me? Or wondering what I am thinking if I am lost in my thoughts? That's his fear and shame and then turns to anger.
    It breaks my heart that my H thinks this will all go away on its own....if only I would just shut up about it all and not have a sad or angry feeling.
    My therapist has been a life saver - I have so much personal work to do and I want to be better for me. But underneath it all, I want my H to WANT to be a better man, help himself - I just don't see him making any effort. I may have to accept he never will and then that means I have some hard decisions to make and I don't want to. It just makes me cry - and I don't want to be alone. But I know I can't stay with my H if he is satisfied living in his hell of shame and guilt.

    1. A1998,
      You can't save him. But you can save you, and I'm glad you're doing that. Remember that what you feel right now isn't necessarily what you'll feel a month, a year, a decade from now. In other words, it might feel impossible to leave right now. But it might feel impossible to stay a year from now. Keep the focus on you. The stronger you become, the more fearful he might become because he might sense you pulling away. Conversely, he might relax is you keep the focus on you because he might feel as though he's off the hook. Either way, you can't control him.
      I'm glad you have a good therapist. Learning to let go of someone who won't save himself is so difficult. It's part of that old co-dependence dance. But it's liberating to finally get free of it and learn new steps.

    2. That is great you have found a great fit for your therapist and it sounds like it is a great benefit to you. I know it is hard and I struggle with this. My therapist usually sees couples and was hesitant just to see me. My husband is in the mental health field and basically said initially I will go but only if you make me. My husband suggested that I go to a therapist since I did not want to tell any friends etc. And after dday 2 I was basically crumpling into a mess. My therapist has a lot of experience primarliy only in maritatl therapy and he has been surprised by my case. We talked at length about if he should attend or not and in the end my therapist said that I should just attend. Due to my husbands education and professional experience he felt it would just be an exercise in appeasing me and probably not accomplish a lot. So I basically have used my therapist as a sounding board. I make notes/journal throughout the month. Before my appointment I look for themes and that is what we talk about. My therapist and I talk through it and I gain a strategy, talking points and the right wording to discuss it with my husband. This has helped me a ton as I have always felt at a deficit with my husband due to his level of knowledge. In the end I know my case is different but I had to get over the fact of me trying to trust that he was looking out for me and our marriage. The moment I realized he was in self preservation mode I was able to use therapy to help me move forward and in turn move our marriage forward. And I think it depends how much knowledge, work and effort your husband is putting into the recovery. My therapist has said my husbands turnaround/recovery is remarkable and like none he has ever seen. Hang in there and good for you for finding a good therapist!

    3. Anonymous 1998, continue to take care of yourself because nobody else will do that for you. As for your husband being "too busy" well very early on there was a little push back from my husband who really did not want to look at his pain. I said, "Well if you had cancer and needed treatment you would damn well make time for that so this is our cancer and you get to decide how important the treatment is for us." He went.

  52. Was stuck on Valentines Day coming up next week. Our 1st one after dday (3 mos out). See my note above. I found my solution of what to get him. A big box of different things that say "I Love My Wife" on it. Best I can do. I hope he finds the fun in it. I definitely can not do sappy this year.

    1. Great idea! I know my husband would laugh and appreciate that. I think it is about recreating or as my husband says create a corrective emotional experience. Don't feel like you should do what you have in the past. Create new memories and traditions. Maybe just for this year or maybe it will be different every year.

    2. This is the 2nd since dday and I still struggle with all the lovey dovey stuff.
      In the past I always put a lot of effort into the holiday and the gift. Now I just want to throw up every time I read a card. I just can't convey those kind of feelings for him anymore. I love him but I'm still to sensitive to things. Just tonight I was at Wal-Mart reading cards and had to walk away from the card rack because I could feel myself getting teary eyed. I didn't want to embarrass myself in public. So I walked around the store until I collected myself to check out.
      I went with buying him a popcorn popper that he has wanted and a note card that says be mine. Best I could do .

    3. Heartofdust,
      Don't feel obliged to do anything but be honest about how hard this is for you. Your job is not to please him or make him happy. Our job is only ever to be honest and and respectful, not only to him but to ourselves. I'm not surprised it's hard right now. Feeling forced to declare feelings that aren't consistent with how we really feel is horrible. He needs to understand that. Tell him. See if you can use this difficult time to reconnect with your pain.

    4. My bag full of "I love my wife" stuff went over well. He got a good laugh out of it. And he actually wore/used it. It was a good Valentine's Day, all things considered. But like you Heartofdust, I don't think I will ever be able to do that 'love of my life' card again. I can see H transforming into a better man and that makes me hopeful we might repair enough to be happy together. But he has done way to much damage for me to ever love him the way I once did.

    5. I am almost 2 years post DDay and still have a hard time buying cards for Valentines, Father's Day, Birthday and Anniversary. They all say what a great person he is and I don't feel he is great any more. I'm 2 years post DDay. When does that feeling stop?

      ~Midwest Miserable

  53. hi,its been ages since I wrote to you, I visit and love your e-mails. Some of you may remember my story my name is Polly, I want to give hope to those struggling under this terrible weight of pain and betrayal. I began to think my problems that had been HUGE had killed our marriage. Not so !!
    Its 3.5 years since D DAY and the torment I went through. Your last article about seeing HIS pain was exactly how I began to heal and understand.
    Most men/woman do the despicable because they are lacking in something and are filling a need within themselves.
    I behaved terribly in the 2 years after D Day I hurt him back!!! Yet once I realised he DID love me and was trying to help me understand I began to THINK. Often in those early days we are FULL of hurt and bitterness we tell our story with venom in our hearts. All truth yet in a hateful way which is very natural.
    I am happy now and feel blessed because with understanding came peace which then bought love.
    My heart goes out to you all, we CAN survive and forgive though I doubt any of us will forget.
    love and hugs to you all Polly

    1. Polly, thank you for your uplifting words and thoughts. Hope comes through many avenues and reading stories like yours gives me continued hope.

    2. Polly, Good for you. It is a hard process but I too felt like things shifted when I saw my husband show and express the pain he felt. It is great to hear from you again!

    3. I would love to read the article about how to "see his pain". Twice this week I've seen replies on how others found it helpful to move forward.

      ~Midwest Miserable

    4. Midwest, Perhaps people are talking about this one?

  54. Its Polly again,
    I forgot to thank you all for your support and love given so freely when I was in AGONY. I wish you all love and peace. THANKS Polly

    1. Julia, it was our MC who helped me with that. I would cry in MC office with H and she would need to tell him 'your wife needs a hug' or 'your wife needs you to hold her'. They haven't figured it out yet. Do you go to MC?

      We all feel your loneliness - WE get it even if our H's do not. I wish we could all meet in person and hug, cry, laugh, do something nice for ourselves, volunteer to do something nice for others. You are NOT alone, we are here. I have found that I need a lot of support. I found 1 girlfriend from work who is BW from 20 years ago, they are still married. I have spoken to her about it maybe 3-4 times since dday 3 mos ago. She tells me how back then she had no one to talk to. There were no blogs. I don't know how she managed to heal on her own. I told my best friend and she has been so supportive. I chose to tell her because I knew she would support whatever decision I made and not try to influence it. I haven't told any of my/our other friends about the infidelity. Some know we are going to MC & Retrouvialle but they don't know why. I spoke to a priest. I told my gynecologist since I had to get tested for STD's and start antidepressants. Turns out she is BW also. And I have my/our IC/MC. Still with all those people to support me I feel lonely too - like I need someone to speak to about my pain & uncertainty EVERY day. This blog is the one place I can get that.

  55. Hi everybody,
    I've had such trouble with my posts not going through on my phone...long posts that just disappear. I'm reading everything though and when I have access to my computer, and some privacy (my kids have been home during snow) I will write more.
    I have a question about my husband's level of shame getting in the way of comforting me when I'm at my worst. I'll be crying and sobbing, not lashing out (hopefully most of that is over) and he can't handle it, he'll actually get up to calm himself down in another room. He feels horrible. But not as horrible as I do in that moment, I'm quite sure. It's different I know. He has to live with what he did, and I have to live with how I feel about what he did, which still leaves me in disbelief at times. We have such a strong and deep love and connection. I'm so sad today. I can't get what I need from him, and I've told him so. I also said "the level of comfort you give me at these times is not enough, you'll have to do better". Trust me, the level of support and comfort I've given him though this and throughout our marriage has been selfless and overflowing. That's just me but it was way to much. I didn't take care of myself, but no more. I'm asking for what I need every single time. Feeling rotten though. And like I have no one.
    Sending love to you all,

    1. Julia
      My h has trouble with the tears also. It doesn't matter what caused the tears. He has a way of holding me tight in his arms but has zero emotional words of support. He tries but just doesn't have any. I'm guessing your h is still stuck in his shame and his escape is to a different space. My h does this when I lash out of control which by the way is getting less often based on his actions. If you're in therapy, perhaps the therapist can guide him with words to use to comfort you. Hugs! I know how hard this is!

    2. Julia, I keep having the same problem, my posts do not show up even after I verify them. Oh well.

      I think this is different for all of us. I will say my husband has never reacted well to when I show strong emotions especially crying. This has been hard since with the betrayal he has accepted full responsibility he feels it is all his fault if I am upset, hurting or in pain. It is nice he realized this but it did not really help me. I would say we really both had to work at this. I was going to get emotional and tears were going to happen. Throughout our entire marriage/relationship he always was fix it or let's be happy. I guess sort of sweep it under the rug put on a happy face. Well in this case that was not going to work. I knew I needed to process this and some of it over and over.

      For us we agreed to talk once a week. This helped us both prepare. I was able to zero in on what I needed to talk about vs what I usually do which is rant and go off on tangents. In those cases I feel like nothing is resolved so zeroing in on a topic helped me feel better after our conversations. I also as you said told him what I needed. It was hard since my husband is a mental health professional he wanted to fix it or give me answers without letting me finish my thoughts. So I had to tell him to listen more and talk less. Some of this was about me just saying certain things over and over. I also told him sometimes he just needs to hold/hug me not talk. And he has told me that the pain he feels when I am crying or showing my hurt is the worst thing he has endured. He has said specifically it hurts so bad and he hates himself so much for hurting me, the person he loves most, in this way. So he says he feels like he is going to get physically ill. Sometimes I still have a hard time with this since he made the choices but in the end if I want this to work I have continued to tell him exactly what I need. And there are times where he has had to walk away. He needs to take a breath or compose himself. I think that is healthy as long as it is not the goal to ignore or avoid. For my husband it is for him to compose and get his thoughts together so he will not say anything purely out of emotions.

      Have you had specific discussions about what he is feeling when this scenario happens. We talked about how the communication was playing out in these conversations without any "affair" talk. That helped us a lot. So he knew how I was feeling and him know how I was feeling. I guess maybe this could help you both understand where each person is coming from. That worked for us. Hang in there!

    3. Julia, my husband can't handle it either. He says he doesn't know what to do although I have told him too. His guilt and shame are overwhelming for him, consume him. He says anything he says is wrong. I throw it back in his face. And he is right. There is nothing he can do to help me. Our therapist told him to just leave the room. That diffuses it. I have no one to scream at. The next morning he is always ready to sit down and talk.

  56. We are at 2 years post D-Day, and nearly 2 years without physical intimacy. In the beginning, he was told by his CSAT (yes, he's an addict), that we needed a 3 month abstinence contract. We did that. And it has never stopped. Prior to D-Day I would have described our marriage as wonderful. Romance, laughter, friendship, a healthy sex life. Since D-Day it's been a constant struggle. Lots of counselling, therapy, books, journaling, exercises, "forgiveness" courses, podcasts, etc. We've had some good times, and then as we near intimacy, he rejects me, and pulls away. Finally he has admitted that his addiction has flipped to the opposite side of the coin and he is a sexual anorexic/aversive. I've always thought so, but in that "wonderful" head in the sand way of his, he has always denied it. Now he admits it. Everything about sex scares him.

    Tomorrow is Valentines and our 6th wedding anniversary. He started his 2year affair three months after we got married. (Together for 12 years, a second marriage for both, and he was faithful to his first wife for 23 years (though did masturbate and view porn and they never had a healthy sex life).

    I am just so tired of the constant struggle. Not with what he did, but how he continues to act. He says repeatedly he loves me, he cries in front of me, tells me his feelings (things he never did before), but he's still holding back, still not building a life for himself, and still not willing to face his fears. I have done a lot of work on myself. I no longer believe his aversion is because of me (which was a long hard struggle, especially when he would say he loved me, but seemed repulsed and unable to touch me). I have compassion for the man and know that there is a better man inside him, and that "hurt people, hurt people," but my patience in dealing with the multitude of problems he has is wearing thin.

    Does anyone else have experience with Sexual Anorexia? I'm so tired of never being able to move forward because he can't.

  57. Julie, my husband does the same thing. He says there is nothing he can do to make me feel better. He feels helpless. I told him what I need and I think his guilt makes it impossible for him to overlook his needs at that moment and try to meet mine. He says no matter what he says he can't really help me to stop. Anything he says, he says is I turn it on him. Which I do lash back. At the time I want him to hurt. So anyway our therapist told him to leave the room. The next morning when I'm calm we talk about his affair or the why's. Or whatever I want to talk about. Our therapist says his leaving diffuses my emotions until I calm down. It can take me up to a week to calm down. Hope this helps.

  58. Just venting today. I had a week long trigger. Can anyone top that? I'm 3 years out. we are going to therapy this week so I can learn how to talk to him. I ask him about a behavior he does that really bugs me. I just inquired, about why he does this? I didn't criticize, belittle or anything. We were sitting in a restaurant. This opened up a damn for him. He told me his feelings and I couldn't handle it. He still feels unfucking appreciated! He feels irrelevant. I said I need you to come to therapy so I can understand how to talk to you. I need to know how to approach you. Really thinking he needs some help. He was in therapy about 6 months to deal with his issues. I'll let you know. Whenever I say something about his behavior that bugs me. He immediately goes to I can never live up to your expectations. I have made all these changes and it still isn't enough. Rest menus are the seeds sown for an affair so I don't want to resent him but tell him what I'm feels no, be genuine.

  59. Hi everyone and thank you,

    I feel much better knowing that some other husbands do this too. It really hurts I have to say, because it comes when I'm at my most vulnerable and in the most pain. I know he has to compose himself, and by doing this he helps me and our process, but it feels like he's not facing what happened at that moment, it's on his terms, and it's just too hard for him to accept my pain. I don't get like this too often. I did sob and carry on a lot more last year, so I suppose this is a good thing looking back. But the feelings of despair and hurt are so deep and at that moment so difficult to shake. It's like I have to ride a wave. This one took just over 24 hours. I was in immense pain today, I wasn't even sure if I should be left alone. Luckily I called an old friend, the only other woman I know personally who has experienced this. Although her betrayal was many years ago, she knew what to say and how to listen. I needed that.
    Thank you all who wrote. I need friends and your words were very helpful. Just knowing that others have this same problem was immensely comforting
    I wanted to mention too that I had written (but it was lost) about letting friends know (or not). I felt so bad reading the posts from some of you not being able to tell friends and the isolation that occurs when you can't share what you are going through for fear of judgement or what advice may be given. In my situation so many people know and it's really horrible. No one says anything but I hate that people know my business and make judgements. We can all say we would never take back our husbands if they cheated, but it is so different once it happens to you. I will fight through this pain until I feel better because my husband and I both agree what we have is very special and it's worth fighting for. Some days feel hopeless, that's for sure, but I remind myself that so many days have seemed so low and yet we turn around and continue to have wonderful ones. How can I really explain that to anyone who has not experienced this? It's too hard to understand from the outside. If I had my choice I would just let two really good trusted friends know, and that would be it. I have my own shame and this now feels like it defines me. I think about it all so much. That's how I'm stuck. I didn't do anything to deserve this and yet I'm still trying to understand it. I have a hard time facing some people and I know there's no reason for that. Except the victim gets blamed so often. I hate that. I want to understand why this had to happen. I guess I still have disbelief. As I try to understand I ruminate. It's a horrible cycle and it's exhausting. It's been 13 months now.
    Thank you all. I wish we could meet.

  60. I sympathize with you, my husband has developed a sexual aversion which was AGONY for me as I believed it was because I was not desirable!! which now I too know is far from the truth.
    My husbands affair was very sexual and the only thing I can believe is that it actually put him off!!
    He says he felt guilty during sex with his lover and often had to pretend to climax this got to him and made him feel less than a man when the other woman was 20 years younger than him.
    I believe guilt settles in their heads and becomes a big bad bogey man, I have tried every thing I can yet he isn't interested at all but is SO loving and obviously loves me, our marriage is strong and happy now even without sex yet somehow I LONG for this issue to go away .
    I never even try any more to arouse him and leave well alone hoping he gets his mojo back.
    I honestly believe guilt plays a massive part in this problem though I am no expert.
    Good luck ,I hope we get this problem behind us too one day.

  61. Hi everyone it's been 3 years since my discovery, so I've stuck with it dug in and tried hard. Actually began to feel normal again, able to cope. We have 2 kids so you have to cope. Really thought we were getting somewhere, i had stopped email, phone checking etc...A bit of trust i thought. Well, we were planning to go on a trip at Easter time so i went to look at something on his phone and there it was a thread of messages from one of them, been going on 4months or so. No meeting etc not possible as shes in a different country. Just friendship chat, she even asks hows your wife? I hope you are spending time with your family?

    I am dumbfounded at his stupidity, my stupidity for giving trust. Feel like the last 3 years has been a total waste of time and energy. Bit lost at the moment. Am i overreacting? I'm really confused. I feel like it's a total betrayal all over again.

  62. Hello,

    I'm not sure why I'm writing this other than I need to talk about it somewhere. I found out about my husbands betrayal May 3, 2016 and some days I don't know if I'll ever make it through it but there are more days when I think I can the further away I get from it.
    The OW was a bartender we were both "friends" with since moving to a new town. She was 25, he was 41. It started as her coming to his work and hinting that she needed help kicking a cocaine habit. Him being the kind of guy he is, it was impossible for him to not try and help. He told me the same day about her showing up and I told him I thought it was weird from the outset. They started going to the gym together and after work he'd start going to the bar she worked by himself. From the end of February 2016 to May 3, he had pretty much multiple daily phone calls, which I had no idea because I'd never previously looked at our phone records. What clued me in was she and I were looking at something on her phone one evening and he sent her a message while we were looking at it and she moved the phone so I couldn't see it. It was a harmless message about losing at darts but I thought it was weird. I bit my tongue and we left soon after. The next day at work I couldn't get it out of my head so I went home mid day and charged up his ipad just in time to see a FB message between them. She sent a selfie with her cleavage hanging out with a sign language "I love you". He sent back the same thing. I called him immediately to let him know I knew and then had to escape to think about it. I was devastated, of course. They never had sex, only kissed three times (2 he made sure to say were when he was drunk), he didn't have any deep feelings for her. He said it started out as a friendship and then turned into something a little more because she stroked his ego. He and I were having a little rough patch but nothing worse than the others we'd had before.
    Since I found out, he's done everything he's supposed to do to make us work. I just fear I'll never trust him completely again.

    1. Anonymous,
      You probably never will trust him completely again, or anyone else for that matter. But that's okay. Trusting someone "completely" is a nice idea but naive. We're all capable of things we never thought we would be.
      What you can learn to do is trust yourself. You knew from the get-go that something was weird about this. You didn't trust the situation at all. And your husband clearly has boundary issues.
      So...should you decide to try and rebuild your marriage, step 1 is for him to figure out how he let himself go down this path that even he admits he really didn't want. And to rebuild as much trust as possible, he gives you access to any and all forms of communication -- passwords, etc. A determined cheater will find a way around this, of course. But it sounds as if he's not really that guy.
      When your'e ready, you might want to also see a marriage counsellor to help you process the pain and to learn ways to communicate with each other so that boundaries aren't crossed. So, while you may never FULLY trust him again, you will begin to trust him as much as possible and you will trust yourself to be able to enforce your own boundaries around what you will and will not tolerate in your marriage.

    2. Thank you for your reply.
      You're right. I need to find a comfortable new way to trust him.
      He immediately gave me access to all of his accounts and I even put a tracker on his phone so that I can always see where he is. He'll face time me when it sounds like I'm iffy on what he's telling me he's doing and will send me screen shots of phone calls he's made or received during times I might not have received a timely response from him.
      I'm sure he's been able to figure out how he got there but he's having trouble believing he's the kind of person that could have done that, so it's easier for him to just accept it happened and leave it in the past while still trying to atone for his indiscretions. Of course, that's a lot harder for the betrayed. I'm sure the refrain is familiar but it seems like when I've had a good leap forward, something comes along to send me a couple of steps back again. I'm so hoping for some real closure really soon.

  63. Hi, Can I post my own story - how do I start a new threat? Thanks... Molly Magee

    1. This thread is almost full so I will start a new one (part 20!). And then just...share. Glad you found us. You'll discover a world of soul-warriors here who know your pain. And who can help you heal.



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