The kickass survival site for anyone who's ever been lied to, cheated on and left for dead.
I just found this site today and so glad I did!It's been a month since Dday and I'm still so fragile. Our sex life had some serious problems after we moved in together 4.5 years ago and we fought about it constantly. Now that I've found out he's been messaging girls online and replying to and posting his own Craigslist and Kijiji ads looking for BJ's and visiting erotic massage parlors for the past 5 YEARS, I can't stand the sight of him let alone his touch. He was doing all this while we were planning our wedding, a week after we got married, while we were trying to conceive and even after we found out I was pregnant. I've decided for the time being to stay and he's been pretty good about reconciling - we're currently in counseling together and separately. Even though it's been a month, I've only begun to sleep in the same bed with him, of corse with no touching. He tried to give me a massage the other day because I was really tense but after a minute or so I couldn't stand him touching me anymore. how long did it take for you to become intimate with your husband again? I'm trying baby steps, like hugging after we have a productive talk but that's as far as I can get at the moment. He said he will patiently wait for whenever I'm ready but I don't think he realizes just how long that might be. To make matters worse, I'm 12 weeks pregnant and horny beyond belief - it's the most frustrating thing to be yearning to have sex with him but then realize how much he disgusts me and how hurt I actually am.
Leens,Is your husband in any sort of treatment for sex addiction or intimacy disorders? It sounds as though he has likely struggled for years with healthy intimacy and needs to know what that looks like/feels like. In the meantime, you can focus on your healing from this and determining whether or not you want to rebuild your marriage. I'm so sorry -- to be dealing with this as well as a pregnancy. But please know, you will get through this. I'm glad you found us.
Will I ever be able to have sex without thinking of the other woman? Our sex life was always good and plentiful. Sex w her, he said was “awkward “. But he kept it up for 4 months. Now that we’re reconciling, our sex life is still very active, but I just can’t get her out of my mind. Any suggestions??? Thanks
suesaris, sometimes right after finding out and while working through reconciling, couples go through what is known as hysterical bonding. Your bond was threatened and so you both are using sex in a totally legitimate way to reconnect. JUst be aware that after the hysterical bonding wears off, some betrayed partners stop feeling like being intimate with partners because the reality of the pain and hurt set it. Specifically about how to get the OW out of your head. Of course those thoughts of them together are like a sneak attack when you are being vulnerable and intimate with your partner. You can try some of the mindfullness and thought interrupting techniques that are discussed elsewhere in the site. If you meditate, you can use the practice of labeling the thought and letting it rise and pass. So you can call it "Mind movies" and try to let the thought go. Some people picture a stop sign, to interrupt the thoughts with a powerful visual and mental no. One of the things that really worked for me, when my mind was running away with thinking about my partner having sex with the OW was to turn it into a slapstick comedy by making him fart enormously in the scene. It honestly becomes about as ridiculous and unsexy as you can image if your partner or the OW can't stop farting in the scene. It used to make me laugh out loud. And in the moment, so what, at least those thoughts are gone and now you are enjoying yourself. I hope that is some help!
I am 8 weeks and 5 days out from learning of my husbands affair. My D-date was 8/2. The first time we had sex was a week out on vacation with our kids. Yup I let him come on vacation. But I wanted everything to be “normal” for our kids. After going out and drinking a few jacks on the rocks, we fought and then back in the room I had angry sex with him. My therapist said I reclaimed him. But, after that, yes I was disgusted at the very sight of him. But, now I decided to work on our marriage. After he got a new job and is really working hard to show me he wants to work hard on us. The sex is incredibly hard and I am still so freaking horned too! Not fair that they he everything away. Changed my life completely. That’s how I feel. But what I found that works for me is saying the Lord’s Prayer during. I know sounds so incredibly weird. But I am a catholic woman and God gave us to each other and he gave us sex as a way to connect with our partner not only physically but spiritually. That’s the connection that he and I want to have. A beautiful spiritual connection. So maybe you can do something like this or find a positive pure quote? He actually is doing the same thing. I hope I helped you.
Anon 10/2 this is beautiful. Just know that being repulsed by and also completely horned up by our partners following dday. Especially as recent as you are. That reclaiming thing is a real, biological survival thing. Hopefully it helps to know that everything you are experiencing in this context is normal
I found out about my husband’s 7 month affair in March last year and he stopped seeing her straight away. He has had increasing issues with ED and PE over the years, which he would never discuss, and our sex life options narrowed to accommodate all of this. With her, however, he made the effort to buy and use viagra and consequently they did all sorts of things we’ve either never done or haven’t done for years. As a result I feel repulsed to even think about sex again with him. I feel like he gave all the effort and good stuff to her, and that I’m just a poor substitute that he couldn’t be bothered to sort himself out for.What do I do?
Bluevienna, StillStanding1 (below) has given you really good advice. And there's something I'd like to add that you might consider: Unfaithful men frequently chose women who don't matter to them because any potential rejection therefore doesn't hurt as much. Your husband's willingness to try things with this woman perhaps isn't because he cares MORE about her but because he cares LESS. He, perhaps, cares less that he might disappoint her, cares less that he might struggle with sex/intimacy. And that ability to care less might be exactly why he was able to perform differently. Any pressure (that he likely put in himself) was removed. Any shame was gone.Worth exploring, I think. In any case, I agree with SS1 below that you need to work hard to ensure you don't internalize this shame. There is nothing wrong with you. You are enough and have always been.
Bluevienna, I'm so sorry, how awful for you, all of it. I think given what went down, it is pretty normal to feel icked out by your husband right now. So first, be gentle with yourself and understand that this is not yours alone to fix.I think, from what you wrote "that I’m just a poor substitute that he couldn’t be bothered to sort himself out for" you are providing yourself and him with some important information. You're carrying around shame from your feelings of rejection and also possibly internalizing the shame you think he should feel for what he's done. And finally, this kind of hurt from our partner tends to bring up old wounds, your's might be the belief that you are not worth trying or working for. That you are not good enough. Does that ring true with you? I know a lot of the stuff that came up for me when dealing with my husband's (now ex) infidelity was because it confirmed my deep rooted belief that I was not good enough. Part 2 "What do I do?" I think the question to ask yourself is "What do I need?" and "What do I need from him?" and then talk to him about it. Are you two in therapy together? With a therapist who is qualified to help you navigate infidelity and sex & intimacy issues? not all therapists are trained to do this. It is super important that he be doing everything in his power to work on himself and also to make you feel safe, valued and to work to earn your trust back. You can't open up sexually to him, if he isn't creating a safe and nurturing place for you to do this in. Yes of course, its important that you tune into this together and you work on your own stuff too. But first things first, how is he working to address the damage he's done?
Thank you both for your replies. I have been thinking about what you said over the last few weeks.I’m pretty sure I don’t feel any shame or personal lack of worth as a result of this. I value myself as highly as before and am as confident of my own attractiveness, in a general way. I don’t feel that my husband is very attracted to ME any more though, which is a different thing I think. And, to be fair, he has done nothing to make me think otherwise. I have also realised that he is deeply tarnished in my eyes and I feel that I am worth more than that. Essentially, I have realised I am nowhere near forgiving him for what he did. What is he doing? Well, he cut off all contact with her, and has greatly adapted his social life (they have a mutual time-heavy club interest which they spent a lot of time doing.). He always tells me where he is, and has made more effort to be around for the children. We talked about everything a lot for the first two months, under duress on his part, but then a series of family emergencies took over our life that took precedence. So now in my head we’re 2/3 months into the process but in his head we are nearly a year in. He wants to move on/talk about fixing our marriage (ie fixing me 🙄 ) but I feel like he hasn’t actually put any real thought into why he did what he did or take proper responsibility for it, and that he has got away with that because of the other things that happened in our life. So there is a lot of resentment and anger on my part about that. We aren’t in therapy - neither of us are into that. I have read a lot though, like most of us!Elle - your point about the OW being less important to him. I think that during the affair she was more important to him - she consumed his every waking thought, and he overcame his refusal to address his ED to buy viagra, and used condoms (at least at first) which he has never liked. I don’t compare myself to her - she is a tenth of the person I am, at best. He did still wreck our marriage to have sex with someone else though, whoever that other person was. And that makes him seem rather pathetic and desperate to me (backseat BJs in public car parks etc). None of this makes him look attractive in my eyes.So - I am resentful that he has done so little work on himself, and doesn’t seem ashamed or regretful or even to give his affair much thought any more. I don’t think he truly understands the impact his affair had on me - but do husbands ever? He has never shown any gratitude that I didn’t throw him out and am trying to make things work. I don’t think he finds me very attractive any more, though I do believe he loves me. His behaviour has made him unattractive in my eyes but we still get on really well as people. He did admit to everything when I first asked, and has decimated his social life to avoid seeing her. So quite a mixed bag really.I read somewhere that the betrayer will never be sorry enough for what they have done, in the eyes of the betrayed, and that’s just part of continuing in a marriage after an affair. Maybe I need to accept that before I can go any further.
Bluevienna,I don't think it's strange or wrong for you to simply not respect or admire your husband right now. I was there. I had ZERO respect or admiration for him. And I had thought he was amazing before D-Day.And, honestly, your husband isn't really doing anything worthy or respect or admiration. He's no longer cheating. Whoopee. That's setting the bar pretty low so if that's his accomplishment, he needs to work harder. And it sounds as though that's exactly what you're saying. That you need to see him to do more self-inquiry, to really understand why he risked his marriage. You want to respect and admire him again and yet his behaviour remains unworthy of that. It doesn't just come back.Which brings me to what you said about accepting that the betrayer will never be sorry enough. I don't think that's true. Or rather, it shouldn't be true. If my husband hadn't been sorry enough, if he hadn't worked so hard to become a better person, I wouldn't be here. It wasn't enough for me to have a husband who didn't cheat. I wanted a husband who would work to understand WHY he cheated so that he wouldn't do it again, who would do everything he could to make reparations for the pain he caused, and who was so deeply deeply sorry that nothing I could ever say to him about what he did would be worse than what he had told himself. You deserve that. Someone who is willing to earn back your respect and admiration by being worthy of it.
I'm 9 months out from d-day of discovering my husband's 7 month affair with a co-worker. I'm in therapy. So is he. I'm devastated. I've got a PTSD diagnosis and can't stop getting triggered by the images of the affair. In some ways, I'm dealing with an ideal aftermath of the affair: The affair had zero emotion attached to it - it was completely fantasy based and he had zero issues dropping his affair partner once I found out. He was not in love with her. He has been completely transparent and has made some major changes. I know he is devoted to me and our marriage and trying to move forward. He is extremely remorseful. He was depressed and felt rejected by me and had major negative cognitions about who I was that he now realizes were wrong. I'm a therapist and am Gottman trained, so I feel like I should know what I'm doing to get through all of this, but I'm lost with where to go with one major thing: How do I make the things he did with her feel special to me again? Holding hands, hearing him say "I love you", getting a hug from him, kissing him, and then also sex. It's like he gave those things away to her and I don't own them anymore. They aren't MINE anymore.I get the whole re-claiming thing - but that isn't working for me. I can try to tell myself that I have reclaimed all of that back, but I have a huge blocking thought that I can't believe that. Have any advice for how I make these things feel special and that they are only mine? I feel like she is everywhere whenever he is being intimate with me in any way. I don't ant her in my marriage anymore. I feel like he's put her behind him, and I'm the one keeping here her now.
StillHealing,Your experience isn't uncommon -- it's often easier for the cheater to let go of the affair partner (they frequently meant nothing) than it is for the betrayed. And yes, PTSD complicates things further.Are you in therapy yourself? It might help to have someone who understands PTSD to help you with this. It's a specific diagnosis, as you no doubt know, and often resistant to the usual treatment that can help others. It's like memories get filed wrong in our brains and they feel immediate. A number of us have used EMDR therapy, which is quite effective with PTSD. I hope you won't let your own training get in the way of asking someone else for help. A doctor still goes to another doctor when he has cancer.
Thanks, Elle. Yes - I've been in therapy since a few weeks after dday. Been doing EMDR for the last 8 months. I found a therapist that I knew would know her stuff. It has definitely helped some - as well as doing some work on ego-state stuff around some childhood trauma (as new trauma often bring up past trauma). I have a large trauma map, so I know it is going to take time. It just sucks. I go through big waves. I know that 2-5 years is common for healing post infidelity betrayal - and I know that 2-5 years seems so enormous to me now, but one day I'll be on the other side of that time and hopefully will look back and see that I didn't just do work that benefited our marriage, but also did some work that benefits me as an individual too. I need to be in a better place so I can also correct behaviors that led to our original marriage not being as healthy as I wanted. I'm not dismissing the affair or taking ownership for that AT ALL, that is ALL his - but I do see some behaviors I could have changed in Marriage #1 with this man that would have been good for us. I don't want Marriage #2 with this man to have those ghosts come back. Thank you so much for this site!!
Still Healing,That was my story as well. Stuff I thought was long in the past came up in huge waves. Stuff that had absolutely affected my marriage and my parenting from when I was a kid. Doing EMDR helped me heal a whole lot of that old stuff, as well as the newer trauma. "A large trauma map" pretty much sums it up. I still struggle. I have an adult daughter with bipolar disorder and when she's struggling, I have a really hard time because I fall back into my old patterns of over-performing and under-feeling. I play the martyr. So even though I've done a ton of work, those old neural pathways become pretty entrenched. But I'm really glad to hear that you're excavating a lot of that old stuff too. And here's the thing -- two to five years is going to pass regardless. And you can either pass them healing yourself or not healing yourself. At the end of that time period, you will either be in a much better place or not. Makes sense for all of us to choose "better". ;)
My lying/cheating wife (who I also still love very much) is extremely beautiful and attractive and she knows she totally owns me sexually. Since I learned about her cheating, we have sex at least once per day - many days even more than that. She has been very remorseful for what she did to me, and she says she would be devastated if I left her. While I love my family, and keeping it together is very important to me, I sometimes wonder if I'm giving her a second chance because I'm so helplessly sexually addicted to her. There is a big part of me that feels like if I was to leave her that I would never find a woman who loves me despite my eccentricities and I will never find a sexual partner like her again. I feel trapped in some ways. Is it normal to smother grief in sex after a traumatic betrayal? Am I overthinking this?
Hey Willie,Yes, it can be quite normal. And it can be quite nice, too. The key is ensuring that sex isn't being used to replace other forms of healing, that it isn't being used to numb feelings or avoid feelings but rather to reconnect.
Miss MissyStillHealing: Wow, I can't tell you how well you described what I am feeling. Right in the middle I start crying! Afterwards I cry! Later I cry myself to sleep! Hard to even bring my lips close to his manhood! (That was her specialty he says) It's like she is standing right beside us waiting for her turn! I have all this intimate apparel and I can't even attempt it! I know full well she is not worth my energy, that she can't hold a candle to me, that he really does love me. But sometimes just looking at him I see her smiling at me beside him and I am disgusted with another gut punch. I'm 6 mo out and honestly should just give him the door. But, after 41 years, soon 42, and 65 years old, I know I love him and wouldn't know what to do without him. He is ADHD much worse than I ever imagined and other things. Terribly sleep drprived. Says he can't remember much about that time and maybe he can't! He cannot comprehend how much pain he has caused me and I think he still thinks it is partly my fault. Bitch is standing by the sink, I am in front of her and my H is behind me. I live with that picture every night, morning, afternoon. I had begged him not to do this but he said nothing back. When I tried to leave before I killed her, she hollars "You didn't want him!". I nearly broke her neck but somehow held it together. Told her she does not get to tell me what I want or don't want. But, this was the night he gave it all to her. I wish someone would tell me how to get rid of that picture. And the one the night before of her car in the drive way at 11:00. He says they were just sleeping. Haha! Before he left he cried and said he couldn't stand it if he drove by and saw a strange car in my driveway. I told him that would never happen. He says he doesn't understand the big deal of HER car in HIS drive way. After the confrontation the next night, he said he sent her away. That he felt guilty. Leading me to believe it was done. A week later while helping him with some bill or something I see a text inviting her to dinner the night after but to leave your car home cause my wife will cause a scene. He claims he was not in his right mind. Maybe but it sure appears to me that he made conscious choices here. I am so utterly broken I don't want to even try anymore. Without knowing it, I think anyway, he sends me right down that rabbit hole time after time and I have to pull myself back up. Says he can't deal with it but I am positive he truly loves me. Yesterday he may have begun to see how much he destroyed me. Time will tell. But at 6 mos I'm right back there in that very dark place again. My husband is unable or unwilling to figure out his why. You, StillHealing, have a man willing to do what it takes. At least it appears from your writing. My H was having a complete nervous breakdown (another story) and this bitch targeted him. He was living in our rental, she stops to inquire, determines he is recently separated, he tells her he has not had sex in awhile. She responds with "I'll have sex with you!" 8-9 days later............. I find out she was taking advantage of another elderly man and thot my man was a better catch. Played the victim so very well and his kind heart fell for it.
Miss Missy,Still Healing's advice to you is absolutely spot on. I think your husband is being honest when he says he doesn't really remember. It's a pretty common thing whereby these guys are almost delusional -- they are going through the motions but not really there, if you know what I mean. A nervous breakdown sounds about right.However, that's HIS problem to sort through. Yours is to manage these horrible memories. Still Healing urges you to get a therapist, preferably one who does EMDR and I absolutely agree. You are experiencing post-trauma and you need someone who can help you dislodge those memories and "refile" them in your brain, where they don't cause such distress.And honestly, these Other Women are so utterly toxic.
Part 2: (too long)Boom, he gave her everything. 41 years, our sex, our bed positions, my bathtub I loved in that house, a special pepper I grow, smoothies I used to make for him, dinners on a table we raised our children on, even bought her Pantene instead of going to the dollar store. My pressure cooker, even got a toothbrush from me for her (didn't tell me). Asked for honey which he hates. So, I get that thing where he gave it all to her. I wish I could tell you how to counter those feelings but I can't. I have a bullet hole in my bathroom floor and now scars on my arms from cutting. I feel your pain, really. If you can get thru this, so can I, right?Willie: someone with more stability will answer soon. But know, I - we feel your pain.My new saying: PISS! (Post Infidelity Shit Storm) (Or stress syndrome if you choose)
Miss Missy, (Part 1)I'm sorry you are going through so much. Yes, my husband has taken complete responsibility for his actions. I don't know if she has taken responsibility for hers. She was married too. Affairs aren't usually about the betrayed partner or the OW/OM. The partner who is betraying is often searching for something that they miss about themselves according to Esther Perel's work (I don't totally agree with everything about Esther Perel's work, but I think in this situation she is very correct). It sounds like your husband was having a tough time when the affair started and I bet that his affair has EVERYTHING to do with that and NOT with you. In my situation, my husband was depressed and searching for an ego-boost/attention that he felt he wasn't getting from me. Because of his depression and some regression from some negative self-esteem stuff he was holding over from adolescence, he was not a full partner to me for a long time. It was more like he was my third child. It wasn't a good dynamic. I felt like I had to raise him - he had major memory fog, couldn't make decisions, didn't seem to want to be emotionally connected to me. That all killed my sexual desire for him. He had tunnel vision surrounding sex and now knows that A. I couldn't sleep with him because he felt more like my child at the time than my husband and B. he had turned sex into this holy grail of self-esteem - if he could just have sex and make someone want him, it would mean he was worth something. NONE of that was about me. NONE of that was really about our marriage either. It was HIS stuff. I'd tried to get him help/tried to use my skills as a therapist to help treat his depression (get exercise,made him meals that were healthy, etc.). He couldn't see that 98% of life was good because he was only focused on our sex life due to his tunnel vision/distorted cognitions about me (he'd told himself that I didn't care about him which is complete bullshit and he sees that now).From talking with the OW's husband (I found out about the affair when he called me as I was pulling into a parking lot with my children in the backseat.), I know that he hadn't been around for the OW much due to work and her mother died when she was young. Being a therapist, I'm taking a guess that the affair was about control and attention for her. She initiated all physical interactions with my husband and he fed her all sorts of emotional lies that he didn't mean to keep the attention going. When I talk to my husband - it was all a fantasy. He doesn't even feel like he was there (which echoes your husband's statement a bit). I think that while there are conscious choices being made in affairs, they aren't always grounded in the same reality that we experience in a healthy life. These betrayers don't see the consequences of their actions. Some of them truly believe the affair won't matter to their spouse. My husband had convinced himself that I wouldn't care. I'm still wrapping my mind around it and I have ZERO excuses to make on their behalf, but I do think that there can be some dissociation involved. It was truly "Porn with skin on" for my husband. He didn't really see her as a real person and his porn usage probably helped that happen. It was just porn in real life for him and an ego-boost because she was willing to give him her body. As soon as he knew I knew, I WATCHED him come out of this fog and he never once even remotely wanted to interact with her again. Which shows me just how much a fantasy can't live in the light of real life. He is in therapy now. He's bent over backwards to correct everything and prove to me that he is here for me, but equally importantly, that he has worked on himself. I need that to happen in order to feel safe again.
(Part Two) for Miss MissyI highly urge you to seek counseling if you are able. While my pain is not gone completely and I'm obviously struggling with feeling like intimacy isn't MINE anymore, a lot of other things are getting better. I see him working hard every day to not only prove he loves me/our marriage, but also working hard at being the man he wants to be. We would not have gotten here if he had not taken full responsibility for his actions. He hasn't made a single excuse. My hope for you is that you can find someone to talk to. Look for a therapist that has EMDR training if you decide to talk to someone because it sounds like you might have some PTSD going on here. Is your husband willing to go to therapy? Is he willing to take any responsibility for his actions? I completely understand that need to cut (I've been there with a razor in my hand, but didn't want my kids to see.) - I know that the pain can be soooo much you just want it OUT somehow, someway! I'm still in this place where I get smacked and crushed and annihilated by waves of pain, but I also tell myself that they are numbered. There will only be so many. That my husband is doing what he can to prove this won't happen again. I can get through the waves as long as I see him continuing to put in the work. If he stops, then I will come up with the next plan - but it won't include letting his affair destroy me completely. She doesn't get that level of control over me. And neither does he. You can get through this pain. We can. We will. But you don't have to do it alone and it might move faster if you talk with a professional that can help validate things for you and help you and your husband talk. I hope he takes ownership for his actions. I know that has been such a huge part of my initial healing.
StillHealing: Thank you very much. Your words have definitely calmed me. He does accept that he did "wrong" but always with a caveat about what got him in the rental to start with. (Again, another whole story) I'm wondering about somethign that may help me butr also may send me over the edge and need input.He bought a $600 bed while there and of course that is the sight of pain. It is still there cause we aren't sure what to do with it. It does pain me even to look at it. New renters will be moving in in a few weeks. I am wondering if I try to reclaim the life we had there before the OW and place the bed as we had it for years and try to make mad passionate love as we used to do there. Will I be reclaiming my territory? Or am I setting myself up for more pain? Ultimately, I must decide that answer but any thoughts would really be appreciated. My wish is that I will stop crying during sex and start to see myself by his side instead of her.He also told me yesterday that he truly cannot process why I or anyone else can't just move on. I do believe with his thot process what it is and what he struggles with that he is telling the truth. But, that doesn't mean he doesn't still need to much more than he is. He is trying in that 18 year old thot process way. Hard to describe.Thanks for any input. And thank you again for your words. Really did help.Miss
Miss Missy,I know that some women really need to do reclaiming and others feel it is too painful to go to places and do things that their partner has done with the OW. I've experienced both sides of that coin. Some things I've felt the need to reclaim and others, I have found that I have limits with that I should not cross. I think you need to listen to your gut about the bed and what to do with it. I also want to say that his inability to try to see your pain and accept that it will take some time is upsetting to me. I think that sounds like a kid who made a mistake and just wants it to go away. But there are consequences of our actions and a consequence of his action is your pain. He needs to be able to help you through it, not ask you to hide it. You deserve to have your feelings. I hope that he will agree to go to counseling with you to work things out. Best to you!