The kickass survival site for anyone who's ever been lied to, cheated on and left for dead.
Really stuck again after 15 months D Day. Things are fine for a few weeks and genuinely we are getting along, but the pain of what he does sometimes feels like a cancer eating away.I always think there is something he is keeping back from me, it can wake me in the middle of the night. I want to get rid of this feeling as I cannot imagine living with it for the rest of my life.I also feel terrible anger towards her. I want her to feel disgusted with herself, I want her to have low self esteem, to wake in the night and feel the guilt of what she's done.Today is not a good day. Tomorrow will be better. Feel like a steam train that sometimes has to make a stop for more fuel.
Hi Anonymous,My therapist called it "recycling" not "regressing", even though I sometimes felt I was sliding backwards. Oftentimes it's because something isn't being processed properly. In your case, it sounds kinda post-trauma stuff. There's something called Post Infidelity Stress Disorder (I love that the acronym is "PISD" or "pissed"). But it sounds as if you might have that. I certainly did. And no wonder. Infidelity shakes our sense of safety in the world. It's no wonder we wake up from sound sleep feeling scared and anxious. No wonder that we occasionally fear the future. The key is to go over the memories and ensure that they're processed -- ie. filed in your memory -- in a way that allows you to continue moving forward. Perhaps these occasional lapses are your cue that need to revisit certain aspects of what happened to ensure that you can move through them, which would also help you put to rest so much anger towards the OW. It will begin to matter less what the OW feels. Ideally you'll get to a place where she's of no consequence to you. You'll recognize that she could have been anyone. She was convenient and willing. I hope tomorrow is better. And the next day, better still.Elle
Elle, Thank you for your reply. I think you're bang on the money with the PISD acronym, thing is, as you probably know, the cheater feels that he has revisited the situation enough! Typical response, " We need to move forward from this, I've told you everything, there's nothing more"... how the hell do I satisfy the itch when the person I'm asking to scratch it is sick and tired of the whole thing. How does any man do what he does to a family and then end up making the innocent party feel like a nuisance? I know that sometimes, enough is enough, but I'm finding this really tough to deal with. I don't care what the other woman feels in some ways, I just need to know that that piece of plankton has fear the way I do. Angry beyond belief at the moment. I knew life wasn't fair, but jeez, this is destroying me.
Yeah, I don't buy the "we need to move forward" and "you shouldn't dwell on the past" crap. This isn't "past" to you; it's right now. He was never in the dark about what was happening, YOU were. What these guys can't seem to figure out is that the more they're willing to talk about it with you, the quicker you can move past it. It's not the details you need per se, it's the safety. It's reassurance. It's confirmation that, yes, you know everything; that you're not going to be blindsided again. Telling you that you should be past it is like telling a cancer survivor that she shouldn't need a doctor assuring her it's gone. The anger, in my case, feeds on my husband's resistance. The more he wants to push this chapter of our lives under the rug, the angrier I get. I didn't ask for this. But since he's asked me to accept what he did and move past it, then I get to determine the rules for doing so. And so do you.That said, and as you imply, there are lines that don't want to cross. As you as you're willing to acknowledge when you're starting to "pain-shop", then you should be free to talk about this as much as you need to...with the understanding that the more freedom you have to talk about it, the less you'll need to. Elle
Hey AnonI know exactly how you feel. You want her to hurt as much as you do. I wanted that too. Then I started thinking about it and I am sure she does. She lost. I still stalked her because I believe in keep your friends close, keep your enemies closer. i just needed to know where she was physically. If my H was gone for a while I needed to know she was still at work. So I would do a drive by. I don't do that anymore but I am further out. I made her pay financially for what she did. She lost her job, her car and nearly lost her home. I could take that too is I wanted to pursue it. I chose not to. Eff her and I didn't want to make it easy on him getting the money back. He feels horrible guilt and that's good! Well the biggest thing is I just found out she has Ovarian Cancer and it is everywhere. She doesn't have much longer to live. You would think I would feel elated and in one respect I do because I will never have to do another drive by but I hate myself for not feeling like forgiving this person before she dies. I should feel bad for her but I don't and what does that make me? So be careful what you wish for because when it happens it's a whole new set of problems/emotions you have to deal with. Listen the OW in your life DOES have low self esteem that is why she had an affair with a married man. She is all those things that you wish on her. Know that. Quit romanticizing her. She is NOT romantic, she was a convenient hole! She doesn't feel guilt and she will never feel guilt because that is the personality defect these people have. They are entitled! Others be damned.
Anonymous and Elle,I found out about 10 months ago that my husband cheated with three women throughout our 17 year marriage. Our counselor is preparing me for the pains that can come when "anniversaries" occur (Initial Dday and any other Ddays' that may have come after that). My husband's perspective is quite different than mine as our Ddays' approach. He is proud of all the hard work and strides he has made this year: he has quite drinking, he's very open and honest when I want to know details, he's where he says he is, etc.However, our counselor recognizes that it is not what I am feeling. She is having us each do an exercise about things we are grieving since Dday. Examples, I am grieving being betrayed by my husband and best friend. I am grieving the loss of who I thought we were as a couple. I am grieving the strain this has put on my relationship with God. I am grieving the bitterness that I feel toward these women, my husband, and men in general. I am grieving the loss of security I thought I had. I am grieving the anxiety I feel now when my husband travels. I can go on and on and on. In fact I did- pages worth! I highly recommend this exercise. It has been extremely therapeutic for me.Best of luck. I'll be thinking of you.Nancy
Nancy,Thanks so much for sharing your experience. It sounds as if your counsellor is great. I think I'll try it myself.Elle
The grieving exercise was great! It helped me realize that there are a lot of things that I was still hadn't worked through yet.
Two years ago, my husband cheated on me and left our marriage for an OW, who he plans to marry soon. I thought I was doing predictably well up to this point - I went through the crying and the anger. I felt like a victim. I bashed both of them to anyone who would listen. I blamed her and him and then myself. Then I began to take care of me, and started to feel better. I reconnected with his family, which isn't easy since he will not attend any events if I am going to be there. I even have tried to reach out to him a few times, and while he responds to any of my questions about our grown children, does not seem interested in establishing any kind of relationship with me. However, I felt I was still making progress because my good days were outnumbering the bad ones.That was until his wedding date started drawing closer (I found out though one of our children that he proposed to her, and through one of his relatives the date and the arrangements.) Now all I seem to be able to do is countdown to his wedding day - 2 more months, 6 more weeks, 14 days...I tried reaching out to him again, hoping to offer congratulations, but he responded only with a curt "thanks". I even offered to bring him some things from one of his friends - meaning I was willing to stop by their house and meet his intended - but he politely refused and told me he would pick them up himself. I admit I pressed a little, and he said the OW saw no reason to meet me - EVER.I think the feeling stuck is coming from feeling rejected AGAIN - but this time, by HER. What right does she have to reject ME after what SHE did to our marriage? Has anyone advice for moving over this hump?
I think your answer is right in your message. You wrote that when you focussed on yourself, you truly felt like you were healing. This desire to reconnect is likely rooted in something other than simply wanting to congratulate him. It might be a way to prove to them that you're doing just fine. Or to remind them of what they did. Whatever it is, I'm guessing it's not healthy. And, in any case, they're rejecting your overtures as you've pointed out.So...take the hint. Let them have their marriage. It began in dishonesty and, statistically speaking, is destined to fail. But that's no matter to you. You're going to move forward into your life, free of that baggage. Don't give in to the urge to count down the days. Distract yourself with things that make you feel fulfilled -- volunteer work, friends, exercise, whatever works. And when you slip, remind yourself that you're done with both of them and that you're filling your life with healthy, non-toxic people.Hang in there. This is just a tough time -- a reminder of the cost of his affair. Be extra good to yourself and compassionate with yourself. Let your children participate however they see fit. It hurts, I know. But you've survived worse.Elle
My husbond cheated for a year. We are 5 month from Dday and things are going really well between us. He has from day one done all the right things and i am beginning to have more and more good days. But now i cant seem to stop thinking about him having sex with her. He told me after Dday that they, the most times had sex i her car or out doors. I felt embarrassed, he is 47. They only had sex in her bed a few times. I felt that it couldent be very intimate or romantic in a car or out doors, so even if i hated that he had done it and he broke my heart i could "live"with it. But now i cant stop thinking about it! Every time we are in a car or in the Woods or in a park i think: did they do it here, how did they do it, did he really like it, is he thinking about it when we are driving, or out walking. Then i start thinking if i should have sex with him in the car or outside. So i can be sure that the latest memories he has about these things Will be about him and me. He has never asked me to do any of these things.
I know, it's just awful thinking about the sexual side. Let me give you a tip, the sex with the other woman is not always what they want, it's the fact they shouldn't be doing what they are doing. My husband went with someone he thought was quite repulsive, cheap but willing. You are the one he took his marriage vows with, but he has lost his way or got involved above his head for whatever reason. Usually opportunity. What if he really didn't enjoy the sleazy side of making out in a car? Don't place yourself on the same level, you don't need to compete, you both have your individual unique side to making out. If you feel you would like to share that with him, own it and make it yours. You could spend some time outside in the car with good music on the radio, a kiss and a cuddle and the promise of more when you get home. So glad that things are working out with you. You will have doubts, but really, you don't need to compete. You are unique and he is with you.
That's very true. So often we imagine that the sex was this wild passionate stuff when it was actually awkward and kinda awful. But yes, it was forbidden, which can go a long way in terms of "excitement".The mind movies will start to fade with time. In the meantime, however, I'd avoid anything that triggers you. If being outside in the woods with him is a trigger, put it off for the time being and then start returning to it in brief periods.Or try what "Anonymous" suggested above, reclaiming that part of your relationship. But mostly...it's time.Elle
Thank you so much, of course your right. Sometimes Its like i need to shake my head to think clear. Im writing to you from Denmark so my writing might be a bit akward.Its scary and comforting that the stories from all these women are so alike where ever you come from in the world. When i first found out his affair i thought that i would ask a few questions and if his answers was ok we would leave it all behind us. I would not be one of these women who would go on and on. But then all hell broke loose inside me, i dident know i had it, i scared my self. All these emotions and crying. If i hadnt found this site, i dont know where i would be to day. The Danish sites are not very helpful if you want to save your marrige. Thank you.
Wow I think that you wrote my story.. My husband is 47 too was 46 at the time and was f*****g in the car of his 25 yr old slut. And I mean slut since she saw my husband at the bus stop from work. Eventually they would ride back on the bus to the park and ride lot and have sex there in her car. Then in her work garage. At least prostitutes get paid for sex in the car.. shes a whore through and through...She had a mental problem with all the public sex thing. I too am embarrassed for my husband. Other people from his office ride the same bus. He thinks no one saw them. But I heard rumors. So yes I hate and detest what he did. And I hate that people associate us and wonder what they think. The big thing is when we drive around the places they were or see a car like hers I wonder did he like it better. Did they do it there. Were they walking and kissing and making out there. Places I know how associations and triggers with daily. I am 15 months out from DDay. I often want to curl up and die.. My husband has an illness and last year we had a scare which helped me try to move forward but I am stuck. I am angry and I am mad at him because I was dealing with our daughter and her sports injuries and a major cardiac issue. At the ER he was texting that bitch. Why it wasn't any of her business. And on the day she was having her heart tests he is with her almost all night. I am angry so angry that I don't know if I can ever forgive him. I try to stay calm for my daughter. Next year she goes to university and I am looking for her to go out of state so she can get away from our arguments. She needs peace and her own life independent of our shitty mess. Thanks for this website. I find assurance here that I am not completely mad. Still Angry as Hell
Dear Still Angry,I was "still angry" for a LONG time. I even occasionally feel "still angry" when he does something insensitive and I wonder to myself why the hell I'm still here. However, I suspect that's marriage. Somedays I'm wouldn't want to be without him; other days, I'm ready to leave.However, 15 months out, I would think at least some of this would start to seem less important. And wanting to "curl up and die" is concerning, to say the least.Are you getting counselling for your own feelings around this? Betrayal cuts to the core of who we are and how we value ourselves in the world. I wonder if counselling could help you put much of his behaviour into the "he was nuts" category and you could stop taking it personally. It sounds completely crazy but it had NOTHING to do with you. He was deep into the fog into this parallel non-reality.How has been behaviour been since? Is he truly remorseful? Has he sought help for why he engaged in such betrayal? Do you believe that he's a better man now? If you don't, then THAT's probably why you still feel so stuck. Elle
The feelings described in the first post re feeling stuck and thinking there are things that have been kept from you are exactly how I feel as we are coming up to the first anniversary of D Day. My other half is wishing it could all be forgotten and that I will not ask for reassurance about whether he has told me the truth every few weeks. The comment in the previous post about 'even in ER he was texting the bitch' is precisely what I found out about him. The OW is an ex girlfriend who he dumped over 30 years ago to go out with me. She really thought at the time he would propose to her even though all their friends knew it wouldn't happen. So, part of my hatred for her is the feeling that the affair was carried out for revenge on me that has been served 'very cold'. He said to me that she has proved very difficult to shake off.I hope that the intermittent 'melt downs' I am still having will ease but I still think he expects my pain to just go away because he wants it to. I am dreading the next few weeks.
Anniversaries or, as they're known around here, "anti-versaries" bring with them all sorts of horrible triggers. I survived the first couple of anti-versaries by making plans that focussed on what I wanted to do and that ensured my mind was occupied. In my case, my husband and I spent the day Christmas shopping for our kids and families. We had a nice lunch together and generally turned it into a day that had NOTHING to do with the affair. It became a nice tradition instead of a day to dread. That said, I still find occasional triggers around certain dates. And I still need reassurance that I will never have to go through that again.Can you husband acknowledge that there will undoubtedly be times when you're feeling scared and vulnerable and need assurance? The quickest way to move past those times is for you to feel safe telling him...and for him to respond with support, compassion and the promise that he's working hard to make sure you never have to go through that pain again. And then...let it go. By behaving like a team -- two people who are working together to get through the pain -- you're strengthening your relationship. When he gets defensive or responds from a place of anger or frustration, it puts you on opposing sides, which doesn't help either of you feel closer.Try and tell him that this is a particularly tough time. Remind him of how far you've come and that you're continuing to work hard to forgive him. But that he needs to also be patient with you and support you as you face triggers and memories.Together, this can become a source of strength.Elle
Thank you for such good advice. I like the idea of making D Day anniversary a special day for us. Also I think that he could appreciate the distance we have travelled in one year. My problem is his wish to 'bury' what he did. This may work for him but not for me, it is too much to ask for me to forget. I can forgive but it will stay with me
Update on my earlier post. I said I was dreading the next few weeks and the 'anniversary' of D day next Wednesday. I had a feeling of danger as this time approached and last Sunday night about 3.00am my husband woke to say he had something to tell me. All the alarms went off in me. However he told me that she had been in touch via text message the day before for the first time since February. She wanted to meet up now the 'heat had died down' and resume their affair. He said that he had told her 'no way' and do not contact him again. He said he was not going to tell me as he didn't want to upset me but found the weight of keeping her message a secret was too much and he couldn't lie to me again if I asked if there had been contact. He doesn't know that I would have found out by checking his phone messages and that would have meant a very big upset indeed.The result, strangely is that I feel reassured that he could tell me and that he is realising that she is uncaring about the effects of their betrayal on either myself or her husband (if he ever finds out - or if I choose to let him know.)
Our intuition is a really incredible thing. Yours clearly recognized something.It's great that your husband recognized that the smartest thing - for you and for him - was to be honest with you rather than try and hide something that might get him in trouble, even if he hadn't done anything. It's crucial to rebuilding a marriage that you two become the team that stands against any threat. And great that he recognized that "upsetting" you by telling you was far superior to build trust than laying by omission, even if he never got caught.So...much to feel good about it, even during this horrible, trigger-y anti-versary time. One thing though: Why doesn't her husband know about the affair? I'm an advocate for ensuring that all involved parties know exactly what's happened. I think it's only fair for all parties to be able to determine whether they want to be in the marriage or not, to protect themselves against STDs or determine if they've caught one, and to ensure that deceit is stopped. Elle
Her husband doesn't know and I haven't informed him for a few reasons. We are in our early 60's but her husband is approaching 70 and has a number of serious health issues. I would not want to feel responsible for anything happening to him. Also if I do tell him there is always the possibility of her making things worse as I now have experienced her ability to take revenge. Plus I do not want any involvement in her life or relationships whatsoever. I would not like to think I was responsible for causing another human being such pain as I have had (although I know it is really her who would ultimately be responsible for this).However if I have more cause to suspect any secrets between my husband and her I will not hesitate despite my reasons above.
Fair enough. I generally think that many of us intuit our spouse's infidelity so finding out for sure often makes us feel less crazy. However, I can understand you not wanting to feel responsible for any health issues as a result of disclosure.Crazy though, isn't it, that YOU are the one worrying about her husband's health...not her??Elle
OK so the first anniversary of D Day has passed. Husband tried to pretend he didn't remember the day until later that night. So then more talk and again a bit more information about his affair and where and when they met. He doesn't realise yet that this 'drip feed' is a problem but thinks I don't need to know things he would rather me not know. Anyway I said that she tried to get in touch and start up again. It turned out that she was visiting old friends this weekend, we live in her home town but she now lives about 400 miles away. No contact made as far as I know and he was with me all the time she was here. However I did see a picture on FB of her having lunch with a group of friends as we have a friend in common from years ago. In the pic she looks happy and attractive even though she has put on a lot of weight. I feel resentful and, along with the first poster on this page, I want her to feel pain and rejection. I know this would not help me but some kind of retribution would feel good. I will not cause any repercussions but wishing them makes me feel better and this forum does allow me to express this in a safe place.
To follow on from last night's post she actually texted him again last night. This time he showed me the texts and his reply instead of deleting them. The last text from her said "ok, I know when I'm not wanted" and he thinks that this should end it once and for all. I still think she will keep trying and he has promised to tell me. These latest texts have all appeared when she knows I am not with him. I feel it is still a waiting game although his horrified reaction to her texts is reassuring.
Follow up from the previous post .... whilst I was home alone writing the post she was actually texting my husband again asking to get back in touch . He had the sense to show me the text when he got home and also his reply telling her to stop. To this she texted 'ok, I know when I'm not wanted'. He thinks this means she won't try again but I think she will.
He needs to change his cell phone number so the OW no longer has access to him.
We have considered that but I know that as long as she thinks it is a 'safe' number to call/text him on I will be able to check, without him knowing I have access to his phone records. Then I will be aware if he is keeping any contact secret from me. It does mean I still don't trust but basically, I don't yet though time may help this process I hope..
This time I don't know what to say or how to say it but I will try. I give thanks for this site as a place for me to put down my feelings in safety. From my recent posts things were going well and we have just had a wonderful holiday, plus 1 year on my husband bought me a beautiful diamond ring for my birthday. We were building a new relationship and I do believe we both want that still. I still knew I hadn't had the full story of his affair though. Eventually I got another huge shock. He actually had a previous affair with the same ex girlfriend in 1995 that I did not know about. They finished it (who did the finishing I have yet to know) when she got married but stayed in contact by phone until their recent affair. At the time the original sexual affair started I had just had an emergency life saving operation and I was ill for approx. 2 years. Part of my post operation illness was anxiety and fear but at the time I thought this was a reaction to the shock. Now I think it was the intuition that all was not well in my marriage.He has been in contact or having an affair with this woman for over half my marriage and, from believing we could survive and move on from this I know have to decide all over again what to do. I want to get over what feels like a double betrayal and he does feel ashamed and devastated by my hurt. Why are men surprised by this?Any advice would be helpful
I am ten months out from D Day (found out less than a month into my marriage that my husband was carrying on multiple affairs) and I was wondering if anyone else has gone through a period where you were no longer attracted to your husband and you just weren't, "feeling it"? We have gone through intensive therapy and have made a lot of progress but I feel stuck. I don't know if I'm just thinking about his affairs too much, if he isn't doing enough to win my affection again, or if this is just a "normal" part of the process. Any light you could shed on the subject would be a blessing. Thank you!
Absolutely. In fact, it's something I'm struggling with now. After periods of hyper-sexuality, I'm now finding myself struggling to want intimacy with him. It's generally when I'm feeling distant from him emotionally -- and sex simply doesn't feel "safe".But yes, I think it's normal...but nonetheless something that requires your attention around why you're feeling it right now.Elle
Me too! Totally normal. A year after discovery of long-standing involvements with multiple other women,I'm not as much as angry as grossed out and turned off. Sex in cars? BJs on a golf course from the wife of his college roommate? Emailing ribbon-wrapped pictures of his dick on Christmas am to other women while his daughter opened gifts? I seldom feel anything stronger than repulsion now. Pleasant companionship and co-parenting seems all that I want from him.rhoderunner
Rhoderunner, I'm so sorry to be laughing at your agony…but ribbon-wrapped dicks?? That's hilarious! What the hell makes these guys think their "junk" is so attractive? Does anyone, ever, want to see a picture of this? Totally cracks me up. Elle
It has been 15 months since discovering his affair. Part of the discovery was reading emails with I love you' to one another. The sex part kills me but the I love yous tear me apart. Our therapist said I need to realize that it was lust mistaken for love. I just don't believe that if you really love someone that you could so easily say that to someone else. This is what I will never be able to forgive. The saddest part is that his I love you to me may never feel the same again. It's there but feels broken.
Betrayal is such a deep, deep wound. Another reader noted elsewhere on this site, though, that "love" can mean very different things at different times. She referred to the "love" someone has for their dog or for their car or for their home. Your husband's "love" was likely a euphemism for "lust" or else he would still be with her. More to the point, he likely "loved" who he thought he was when he was with her: exciting, daring, sexy. Men (and women) frequently fall in love with the reflection of themselves they see in their affair partners' eyes. All you can do is trust that he's learning more each day what true "love" is -- based on an absolute acceptance of each other. It's NOT based on sex or fantasy.Elle
My other half tells me that he never told her he loved her - either during his affair or even when he went out with her prior to our marriage. However the text that blew his affair wide open began with 'morning, my love....' This text was sent to me rather than her by his mistake.That hurts more than he will ever know.
It was 2nd Jan 2011 when my husband told me he'd been having a 'fling',his words,for 3 months with a teenage girl he works with,she was 19,he was 45 at the time.We've been together for 28 years,nothing like this had happened before,he was suffering from depression,still is.We had a really hard few years previous to this happening,I lost both my mum and dad in the space of 5 years,who he loved like his own,and we have had money worries too,but I've always been able to cope with everything that happened because I thought we were coping together,but we obviously weren't doing.He has never been able to open up properly,never talked about his feelings,no matter how much I tried to get him too,but that was him,he masked how he was feeling.I've had 6 Ddays,but he has always said he only carried on with it because he felt bad,bad for what he'd done to me,but also bad for her too.He still can't face up to what it has done to us,we never had counselling,we couldn't afford too.It feels like it's killing me daily.The OW just won't give up,still,it's been 2 months since the last DDay,and we are trying,we are better than we had been,and we have made changes,I don't want to tempt fate,but he does seem like he means it this time,I think,and hope he finally gets it and sees the OW for what she is,but it's still so hard.I could write a book on the things the OW has done,the sick little love notes they used to write to one another at work,every time she had a few she would push them through my letterbox for me to see,hoping I would throw him out.The police have been involved as she was stalking my sister and her husband and my husbands elderly parents,I think she needs help,but her family have pushed for her and my husband to be together,last christmas her mother and sister were at my front door,nearly begging my husband to go live with them,I've had drunken phone calls from her mother in the early hours trying to tell me things that she thought I didn't know had happened between her daughter and my husband.It kills me more to know there are such evil people in the world,I've never ever set out to hurt anyone in my life.My husband is now off work and just waiting to be mediacally finished,but the OW won't leave us alone,she has 2 weeks ago,moved in across the street from us,so now we are having to sell up and move,which is going to be so hard on top of everything else.Sorry for waffling,I could have wrote so much more,it's only the tip of the iceberg,I just feel so numb!
I'm so sorry for everything you've had to deal with. Not only his affair but the loss of your parents, your husband's unemployment, moving...and now to deal with such toxic people.I think you should look into getting a restraining order against this girl and her family. If the police have already been involved, I would guess it would relatively easy. These people are clearly unhinged and dangerous and the further you are away from them, the better.In the meantime, can you get yourself a therapist to help you cope with all this? It's crucial that you take care of yourself in order to survive this as best you can. Feeling "numb" is our body's defense against extreme anxiety but can become a habit, which you do not want.Take care of yourself first, get a restraining order and it might be wise for your husband to get counselling too.Elle
I am feeling really stuck. I cant help but feel that I havent got the full truth. Since May, when I asked him to leave having found a text message, he has drip fed aspects of the truth. I find emails and he denies anything is going on yet thy tell a different story-emotional affair and then finally 8 weeks ago he admits a physical affair for a year and a half with an ex girlfriend. I have found out about aspects of the affair from her ad him but they dont match. It finished months ago but I am still finding things out, he has omitted things, says he forgot sucha nd such happened and then more recently lied about having sent pictures and video of himself naked to her and vice versa. I dont understand why he didnt tell me the truth when asked weeks ago. He say it was to protect my feelings. I dont understand why I am still learning more about the affair and why he has said it wasnt meant to continue but what attracted him and one of the reasons it continued was because she was more comfortable with her body. He says I have body image issues. Its true I am not as comfortable as I have had a child but it never stopped me doing anything. My intuition tells me that it wasnt just sex for him but he still denies anything else and I think its because he wants back here and is trying to conceal stuff so it doesnt ruin his chances.
Feeling Stuck,I call "bullshit" on the body image stuff. I don't care if you keep yourself shrouded from head to toe, that does NOT give him reason to cheat. People cheat for all sorts of reasons but mostly because they are attracted to the ego stroking of an affair, to the danger, to the excitement...which has NOTHING to do with whether you have body images or not. The quickest way to GIVE you body image issues is to cheat on you.All of us have insecurities about our bodies, especially after we have babies. It would be really great if guys assured us that we're more beautiful now, more beloved...not blame us for their affairs. I also call "bullshit" on the "to protect my feelings" stuff. He's withheld information from you because he's scared that if you know the whole story, he'll be in trouble. That's the only reason. If he was really concerned about protecting your feelings, he wouldn't have cheated. It's that simple. So you're absolutely right that he's protecting his "chances."So....what do you do with this? You insist on counselling and, within that counselling, insist that he tell you absolutely everything you need to know. That if you find one scrap of information that he didn't tell you or refused to tell you or whatever, there will be consequences (you get to decide what those are). I'm not clear if you're married, but if you're not, I would strongly advise NOT marrying this guy. If you are and if he's willing to absolutely come clean about his behaviour and seek counselling for himself to determine why he's willing to jeopardize his relationship with you, then it's up to you.But much of his behaviour is classic cheater behaviour -- blame-shifting, trickle truth, manipulation. It doesn't bode well for him.I hope I don't sound unsympathetic. I am soooo sorry for you. But I get really angry when guys pull this crap after they've cheated. It's cruel and shows incredible lack of empathy or kindness or respect. Elle
I'm stuck,I'm 8 months out now, he had a breakdown when I found out and has been off work since, he's getting better, much stronger and healthier, which I'm delighted to see as we have 3 small kids and I want us both to be good healthy role model's for them. After the initial 2 months of complete hell where he'd behaved like a total ba#@ard, blameshifting etc, he's really really trying to make things right, I mean really trying. He's said he always felt nothing he ever did was good enough for me,(i've high standards) but the thing is, everything he ever did WAS good enough, I had him on a pedestal, I idolized him. But now, even though he's going over and above to please me, nothing he can do is good enough. It's like I can do with him not being my perfect man, I find myself sneering at him or rolling my eyes, cause he's not perfect and I want perfect, that was my dream, I was an awesome wife to him, he wanted for nothing in any aspect of our life together. I adored him, and he killed that. I've tryed to explain to him our marriage 14yrs, 18 together, was like a precious vase, I was so proud to show it off...then It got broke, he's trying to glue it together, from the outside it still looks ok, but I'm not feeling it any more, it's imperfections irritate me, I don't want to cherish it in the same way I've always done. Does this make sense? Please don't tell me I'm losing my mind. I don't hate him, I love him, but I'm not in love with him and I'm quite indifferent towards his feelings, my therapist says it's no wonder I'm a mess. I just feel I deserve to be deeply in love and have that butterfly feeling in my life. I've always had it with him but he's killed it now. Can it ever come back? Also in one of the above posts, I read how an OW is dying from ovarian cancer, I don't know her but it made me smile, I always believed myself to be a Christian, and I loathe how I've became a person that can take pleasure in someone else's pain. I hate what this has done to me. Have you heard P!nks new song 'true love'? I feel she wrote that for me...I wanna punch him square in the face!
Crazy,Yeah, I love that Pink song too. You've said a few things that give me pause. I often hear women lament the loss of their fairy tale marriages. Like you, I thought I was so lucky. That my husband would never hurt me. In hindsight, of course, I was delusional. But more than that, I think those attitudes can be dangerous. They don't allow for real-life messiness. They insist on a gleaming, shining marriage instead of the real thing, which includes disappointment, occasional resentment, anger, frustration. The other comment – that your marriage felt like something you could "show off" – also raises a flag, mostly because you remind me of me. I always needed to have a life that was somehow better than everyone else's in order to feel good enough. But that was MY issue. Showing the world that this great guy picked ME was validation. When he turned out to be not-so-great, I felt so let down. Some women people can't or don't want to rebuild a marriage with their spouse. And that's perfectly legitimate. This isn't a one-size-fits-all situation.However, if you choose to rebuild with a genuinely remorseful spouse who's willing to do the hard work of figuring out why he made this choice and how to ensure he doesn't go down that path again, it can be the chance to create a relationship based on a deep understanding of and appreciation of each other INCLUDING OUR FLAWS. Not in spite of them but as much because of them as our assets. Because those wounds are part of who we are.Butterfly feeling? Perhaps. You need to give some thought to what that feeling was all about. Sexual excitement? Pride (which, remember, goeth before a fall)? What you can achieve is a love deeper for having withstood storms. Not all betraying spouses deserve that, frankly. But if you decide that yours does and that you can do the work with him of rebuilding your marriage, then, like Pink says, you'll have True Love.
My husband was arrested a month ago for soliciting a prostitute. We had a "good" marriage, we got along, we were even having sex on a regular basis. The first 2 weeks I was in a fog, didn't eat, didn't work; cried a lot. He cried a lot. We talked and I decided not to leave (our girls are in high school and I just couldn't do it them). Then for about 2 weeks everthing seemed good. I even decided to have sex with him (which I thought I would never ever do again). Problem is, he can't do it. Guess if I were a whore and he paid me, he could. We've made several attempts, but nothing. Then last night it all came rushing back and I became so angry. And I told him I was angry and he actually said "about what"? I'm so hurt. I left the house. I don't know if I can get over this. I don't know if I can stay married to him. We've been married 24-1/2 years. I was so looking forward to celebrating our 25th. And now, I'm not sure we're going to make it there.
Anonymous,This is all incredibly new and raw to you so I'm not the least surprised that you've hit a wall. Your husband's "about what?" response is, sadly, typical. So many of these guys just desperately want to sweep this under a rug. Which, incidentally, does NOT work.Of course you're angry. Of course you're struggling. I suspect you'll be struggling for a long time. Betrayal strikes us so deeply in our core that it can (does!) take years to get past.Have you talked at all about why he would do such a thing? Why he would risk your and his marriage/health/family/reputation? This isn't just a small transgression -- he could have ended up charged.I think there's much to be unearthed around this and, if you want to keep your family intact, you'll need to do some excavating. There's plenty to read here and elsewhere on the Web. I'd also strongly suggest counselling, individually and/or couples.It takes a village...Elle
How did you get over it?
The short version is therapy, some anti-depressants (for a short while), the reassurance of my husband, my incredible children, this blog, many books and time. The longer version is what you'll find on this site -- posts about dealing with triggers, how to handle obsessive thoughts about the Other Woman, what to do about anti-versaries, how to know whether to stay or go and much much more. Pour yourself a tea and dig in. Elle
Stuck is where I am right now. Married to the man I love for 17 years, together for 20. We have two awesome children. Our story is the midlife crisis affair mixed with the much younger spider woman for the mistress. It went on for a year. We have been recovering for the last 14 months. Through research and phenomenal words printed for my heart I saw the way could be made back to us. Thank you Elle. I was unaware and blindly vested in my marriage. Knew we could be better, tried to approach him about the wall between us repeatedly. We had contempt, criticism, defensiveness and stonewalling alot. There was passive aggressiveness which I now know cheating is the ultimate display of this. Felt I was shut down but never thought of ending it. Afterall he didn't beat, cheat or do drugs. I turned to my own interests to fill myself up and to wait till he would come around. Begin textbook afair: hot (to him) young unhappy in her soon to seperated marriage started texting, talking, flattering and presenting me as the unworthy wife. He instead of working on his marriage, inserted manipulative girl at midlife so then he could be happy and put off growing up. I was contemptful during this time and helping prove her right. It took 3.5 months for her to extricate him. Dropped me after 19 years with the I love but not in love speech. I was crushed felt I wasn't worth loving. When she was finally revealed 5 weeks after he left I was actually relieved there was a reason not just me that he left. I was a perfect stander with cheap forgiveness. My only term was zero contact. He came home giving me his heart again. Full disclosure, transparency, we began a love affair that still leaves me breatheless. But as it goes they continued thanks to a trac phone and my blind believing. She wanted him to go back and forth so he could decide. It finally ended for the second time a month after I found a work related email from her mother trust shattered again. We started over again. It went really well for the next 6 months but as I have tried to talk about detail in the last 8 he has basically shut it down. I obsess and worry too much. Even met the mistress 7 months out, we talked at length. My agenda was answers. Pretty sure I got the twisted version from her. Many times I have asked for more if the talking even if just a few minutes once in awhile. Are we slipping back into him stonewalling? Mostly I keep my worry to myself. It is still unclear the deeper truths of why we failed twice in our love. Is 14 months time enough to move on and stop dwelling? One thing he said during his continuing with the mistress was that he thought I would never be able to get over it. This is my worst fear that now it is me that causes our marriage to end. Am I pain shopping? Because no matter how I ask he avoids. Thanks for listening and caring. haswife
Haswife,You've come up against a far-too-common issue when trying to reconcile. After saying/doing all the right things in the short term, husbands are eager, once it seems we're sorta on our feet again, to sweep it all under the rug. They say things like "the past needs to be left in the past" and "don't let the past ruin our future" and other such bullshit.Until we're able to effectively process what happened and trust that it truly IS in the past, make sense of it and feel safe, then the past IS our present and we're left traumatized.Your desperate need for answers is absolutely understandable and appropriate under the circumstances. It's our way of ensuring that we're not going to be blindsided again. It's not unlike someone who's been mugged. That person is going to check and double-check and triple-check every alley and dark corner and parked car to be damn sure it's not going to happen again. And that's the thing that these men just don't seem to get. They knew what was going on. They were in on it. We were not. We need regular reassurance that this is NOT happening again, no matter how unnecessary they think that reassurance is, no matter how much they think that bringing it up makes the pain worse. To use another analogy, it's like people with cancer dealing with others who won't talk about it out of some misguided fear that it'll upset them. The affair happened. You didn't make it happen. HE made it happen. What you now need is a window into the affair that you were blocked out of before. You need to know that you and he are united in healing. That he will never again jeopardize your marriage or betray your love and loyalty again. Though it's counterintuitive, the more we talk about it openly and with compassion and support, the LESS we'll need reassurance going forward.So...no, you're not pain shopping. You're experiencing the very normal, human need that you are safe. Elle
This probably isn't the best place to post this, but I'm feeling desperate and wanted to ask for advice.I've posted here a couple of times about my husband's affair. He told me about it 18 months ago. Our recovery has been very good, albeit extremely difficult. The last couple of months have been even better. I'm actually beginning to feel the anger and resentment really fade, a lot. Things are good between us and within me.The problem is that today a very good male friend who has been married for over 30 years emailed me and, in the midst of a conversation about what's going on in his life, told me he's seriously considering having an affair. I know his history with this. I know he loves his wife. I know there are marital problems, involving sex and intimacy, and that he has tried to solve them, has talked to her about them, has had some progress with that but not enough, has at times come to accept the problems, at other times has been miserable, and at least one other time in the past considered an affair but didn't go through with it.And now he slipped into a conversation that he's considering it again.Of course I want to scream, "No, don't do it! Please...for me." But I haven't told him about my husband's affair (I haven't told anyone but my therapist) and I don't think I'm prepared to do it now.I'm thinking of simply saying, "No, don't do it. If you feel you're that stuck, tell your wife that you're thinking of it. It's the only honest thing to do, and it might very well lead to her really listening and understanding your frustrations." And then maybe send him a link or two that spell out really well why not to do it.Any suggestions for links? In particular I'm thinking of articles/posts written by men who had affairs, especially men in similar situations to my friend, who eloquently explain why it was such a bad mistake. I know I've read articles like that, but now I can't remember where. I guess if I'm not going to reveal my husband's affair, I'll have to find an excuse for having come across that article...Of course it should be obvious he shouldn't have an affair. But he thinks he's tried everything. He thinks it's hopeless. He loves his wife and doesn't want to leave her. They have grown children and grandchildren and a happy life. He knows she'd be devastated by an affair. He would intend for her to never find out. He thinks he's stuck, and he's unhappy.Believe me, I'm not making excuses for him. I want to make sure he doesn't do this! I'm just explaining his thinking in hopes someone can suggest the right words to stop him.Any thoughts?
Mountainsailing,I think this is an appropriate place to post this question and I'm glad to read your other post (below) that you've composed an e-mail to send to him that you're comfortable with.I suspect this is a situation many of us come up against. We want people to learn from our situations...without actually revealing that it's our situation. Sounds as if you've handled it well. I have sometimes resorted to the hypothetical "friend who's going through this..." fallback story in order to pass along information I've learned first-hand without revealing that I learned it first-hand. In casual conversation, if someone brings up anything about cheating/affairs, even celebrity gossip, I'll often say that I know someone who went through it and it's far worse than any of us can really imagine. I think you deserve a lot of credit for trying to stop your friend from making what could be a painful mistake, for both himself and his wife, while maintaining your privacy. You've acted with integrity. And, for what it's worth, even being on the "betrayed" side, I can empathize with your friend's desperate desire for intimacy and sex. It's a basic human need. And it's a shame that his wife can't seem to acknowledge her husband's pain. We all have our breaking points and men who cheat aren't always the bad guys. Life just isn't that black-and-white. That said, the act of cheating, while it may serve needs in the short term, generally wreaks far greater devastation than anyone intended. So I hope he heeds your words.Elle
Thank you so much, yet again! It really does help to have people to talk to.I haven't yet sent the email to my friend, but I will today once I have it just right. I know I can't control what he does, but I feel he MUST not do this. For obvious reasons.I used a cover story of a friend whose father had an affair, which is actually true. I said I had helped my friend look for resources at that time, and listened to her story about her mother's pain. That was my first difficult situation along these lines, when my friend told me last year that her father had had an affair. At first I froze and thought she must know about my husband's affair! I just assumed, for no rational reason, that she was looking at me closely to see my reaction. It took me several minutes to relax and realize she had no way of knowing and really was just telling me about her mother's pain, as well as her own distress. And then, of course, I had to carefully respond without seeming to know too much on the subject.
I sent the email and my friend appreciated the advice and acted on it. Instead of going ahead with the affair, he told his wife what was going on -- told her he was feeling stuck and unhappy and had been considering an affair.I gather things went pretty badly at first...understandably. But they continued to talk, and the last I heard he felt there was some hope that something good will come out of this. It's too soon to tell. But they're listening to each other, and as far as I can tell he will NOT go ahead with the affair. (It certainly wouldn't be a secret now if he did. And I guess his wife will be on guard against the possibility of an affair. That's something few of us had. But really, I can't see him doing it now that the subject is out in the open AND he and his wife are in serious, open discussions.)I've always wondered what would happen if my husband had talked to me instead of having an affair. And I've wondered the same when reading about other affairs. Would it have helped? Would we have been able to move in the right direction at that point? Would I have understood the gravity of the situation? I think I would have, but that's hindsight, and who really knows?
Mountainsailing,I think, no matter what happens, you can feel good about how you handled it -- with compassion, but also respecting your own truth. Yay for you!In my case, if my husband had told me when we met that he was a sex addict (if he'd even had the language to understand it), I would have shown him the door. No question.But certainly in other people's situations, I wonder. There's a man who's been posting here -- Dan -- who had an affair but feels absolutely at the end of his rope with his marriage. It sounds like a case where he tried everything he knew how to do to change things within his marriage but his wife isn't interested. He had the affair, regrets it and is hopeful that his wife now understands just how deeply unhappy he has been within their marriage. I always resist the "affair was good for my marriage" school of thought because it has created so much pain, but sometimes I wonder if it's the only way for some people to find their way back to each other. Elle
I wanted to follow up on this. I was afraid to ask my friend how things were going but I finally did. My friend replied that things are going quite well between him and his wife. Of course his relevation hurt his wife deeply and caused a lot of upset. But by his being completely honest with her, she was finally able to see the pain he was going through.And in turn, he realized he had over time stopped letting her know his feelings, in part to avoid continuing to hurt her with them. He wasn't aware he'd been doing this until she just now began to open up to him. So the change went both ways, which I'm now thinking is one of the big clues to this kind of communication breakthrough. It's almost always the case, no matter who is "wrong" or "right," that we both need to let go of our defense mechanisms.By letting her know he'd been thinking of an affair, he was able to show her in a very concrete way that he wanted -- needed -- to be appreciated and desired, and she finally really saw how strong that need was.So they're both communicating on a more honest level. It has made all the difference, and he sees a good likelihood of them pulling through this to become a happier and stronger couple.Of course there's still a chance they won't be able to reconcile after this, still a form of betrayal. But they'll have dealt with their relationship from a point of honesty, not one where only he knows all the facts. And isn't that what we all wish we'd had? No matter how things work out, I know he made the right decision in telling her.
Firstly I want to say 'thank you' to everyone who's shared their story on this site. I'm feeling stuck. It's been 6 weeks since DDay but it feels like an eternity. I'm not the same person I used to be. I feel like my whole world has been turned upside down, inside out, I feel like a total mess. The emotional roller coaster I've been on and still riding has been hard to handle. I can relate to many stories that I've read and it gives me comfort to know that I'm not alone. My husband and I were high school sweethearts. Married for almost 18 years, together for 20. Had what I thought was a perfect life, I was proud of what we have achieved together, thought the world of my husband and supported him to become successful in his job. We have five daughters whom I care for dearly, if it wasn't for them, I wouldn't be getting out of bed right now. Back to DDay, 6 wks ago I discovered an email from my husbands mistress, had I not found it, he wouldn't have confessed his affair to me. She was known to our family, played netball with my 2 eldest daughters, a sister to my eldest girls , friend, sister to my nieces partner and also work collegue to me and my husband. It was through me that she got the job. However it doesn't end there. My husband also admitted cheating on me over the past 5 years with 4 other women and texting other female collegues over the country who work with our company. I feel so betrayed and angry with him. I hate what he's done to us and our family. Sometimes I even hate him. Like tonight, I hate him so much for what he's done, such a selfish, disgusting act. I hate his lies and deception. I hate him for making me feel like this, for what I'm going through right now. While he's sleeping like a log, I'm wide awake because I can't sleep, too many thoughts running through my head, wondering how he could have sex with someone barely older than our eldest girl-disgusting! Thinking back on the past and being annoyed at myself because the signs were right there. He acted differently, started taking better care of his appearance, travelling more for work, too tired to talk for long when he was away from home, no goodnight calls to the kids, buying him new clothes, addicted to his phone which he refused to let out of his sight, the list goes on. Although I suspected something was going on, I couldn't believe it and now it's reality and I don't know how to overcome it. He's shown remorse, was down and out for 4 weeks, had to take leave then had to face senior management for serious misconduct in having an affair with a collegue. She no longer works for the company but I still don't trust him. He lets me check his phone but because he was so deceitful before, I think he could have her listed under another name and she could've changed her number. I time when he should be home from work or dropping our kids off and if he's a minute late I ring him to check on him. Little triggers set me off and as hard as I try not to, I end up giving him an earful. He listens to me and answers my questions, he doesn't get angry or defensive. But it doesn't give me solace. I told him I forgive him and I'm willing to try and work things out and at times I feel I can but other times like tonight..I feel like I want him out. I don't feel like being intimate with him. He is the only man I've been with and I thought we had something special, but he's destroyed that, we can never have that back because he gave himself to other women. I went to get swabs done and they were clear but I just feel humiliated and embarrassed by what he's put me through. I've been prescribed anti depressants to deal with Post traumatic stress but I don't think they're working because I'm feeling like crap. Sorry for blabbing on and on, it's just that I need to get it off my chest. I read and hear over and over that it takes time, but I want to know how long it will be before I can get over the mind movies?
I'm thinking you might need to switch anti-depressants. If you're not feeling any better, they're not working. You won't feel like sunshine is coming out your butt, but you should feel at least marginally better.That said, six weeks probably feels like an eternity to you but it's really so incredibly new and raw.I'm glad your husband is being transparent and, frankly, that there have been some professional consequences to his behaviour. I'm also glad that the most recent OW has been dispatched elsewhere. You're right that they could still stay in touch but unless your husband had particularly strong feelings, I'm guessing he might be equally relieved to have her gone.Is he seeking help to understand his need to feel attractive to other women? To have that thrill? If not, he should be. In the meantime, your triggery responses are quite normal, under the circumstances. Why wouldn't you worry where he was? Why wouldn't you respond as if you're under threat? Your marriage WAS under threat. He was being deceitful. To now respond as if everything is fine would be rather crazy, don't you think?It'll take a long while (we're talking years, not months) to figure out your new "normal". It won't happen all of a sudden. You'll start to realize that you can go more than an hour without thinking about "it". Then perhaps a day or two. Then a week. Then it might only come up when you're really triggered (ie. you spot him whispering in a woman's ear at a party or somesuch, though I hope he NEVER does that). And yes, you do need to get it off your chest. It's also perfectly normal to need to vent. To have someone who understands tell you that it gets easier. And it really does. A remorseful husband who's willing to open himself up to you will go a long way toward helping you stabilize. But, nonetheless, you know that he's the same man who hurt you. Healing takes time. How long depends on a lot of factors.Elle
Elle, feel free to not allow my post from last night regarding my friend who is considering an affair. Unless, that is, you feel it's useful to others.I was feeling desperate last night and didn't know what to do. Since then I got some input from my husband and have composed an email to my friend. Just a "don't do it" email that I think is good, general friend advice. I'm feeling better about the situation.Thank you for everything you do!
I'm really glad I found this post. I found out about my husband's affair in Nov 2012. I had a suspicion and went on his ipad to look through the emails. He had an affair for almost 3 years, with a married woman who was in our friends circle. What was worse that we all used to meet on weekends, stayed at each others place all throughout the 3 years. They worked together and I or her husband just never doubted the relationship. She had become pregnant twice and lost one to miscarriage and one to abortion. I was devastated and for many days couldn't understand how I could be so stupid and blind. Initially DH blamed it on me. We've had a very rocky marriage from start and after my daughter was born, it had become really bad. A few days after I found out, he became remorseful and said it was big mistake and he wants to rebuild. I accepted and jumped right it. It was another mistake, that I jumped in bed immediately...I thought that was lacking from my side and gave it my 100%. March of this year, the OW contacted me saying DH had approached her again (they were working together, and stay in hotels for work often), and they had slept together again. I confronted him again and he kept crying and asking for forgiveness. He tends to manipulate by harming himself and that is what he did both times...before I could decide how I wanted to proceed, the OW and my DH had an argument at work, and because he was her supervisor, the company let him go, fearing a sexual harassment lawsuit from her. My husband loved his job and he was devastated. I thought it was my duty to support him, and I did. I was with him all the time, to stop him from going into depression. A few days later I saw a chat exchange between the two of them. It wasn’t a formal work related chat (he was helping the team with transition), but a personal one. When I asked him again, he said he’s trying to come out of that relationship, it’s hard because he had fallen in love with her and 3 years is a long time.2 months ago, DH approached me again, saying he is unable to forget her and doesn’t think he wants to spend his life with me. I couldn’t see him in pain, and decided to separate. He approached her again, and started convincing her about the relationship, told her he wants to marry her. They spent a night again in a hotel (I found out later about this). I’m not sure what happened after this, but he backed off. She said she can’t go through it with him, because he still wasn’t sure who he wants to be with. He came back to me saying he wants to be with me and our daughter. In the meantime, her husband found out (he found out originally in Nov, same time as me, then the recent one also same time as me). My husband has been convincing me that we should stay together, that he has stopped all contacts with her and he doesn’t feel anything for her except guilt. None of our friends in our circle know about the affair, and we all met recently, where I saw her again. It brought back all the hurt and pain for me. At some point we started talking about her life, and I found out that her husband refuses to do anything with her, he informed her family and now they are not talking to her. She tried to commit suicide and is on strong anti-depressants. This has taken a toll on me. I feel very guilty about the whole thing. In spite of saying this multiple times that I won’t take him back, I have taken my husband back. He persuaded me to sleep with him again and he’s trying very hard to bring back our life to normal. I’m just unable to understand how to cope with this whole situation. I sometimes feel my husband only wants sex and when she refused to be with him, he came back and pretty much living like nothing has happened. I had a very low self-esteem to begin with, but now I feel my self-respect is shattered. I feel used and hate myself a lot, for sleeping with him in-spite of everything, for taking him back when my heart is not into it.Should I leave because of what he’s done, or should I stay for how he’s changing now and things he’s doing for us now.
I'm so sorry for what you've gone through. You've really been through the wringer.Here's what I think. I think, at the very least, you and your husband need to, separately, seek counselling. Is he being treated for his depression? What about you?I also think you need to stay as far away from this woman as you possibly can. This woman is NOT a friend to you. Unfortunately I can't guarantee that your other friends will support this. I'm always amazed at people who will stick with someone who's deceiving a mutual friend...but it basically depends on how emotionally healthy your friends are. Speaking of emotional health, you need to make your own an absolute priority. Not only for yourself. You have a daughter watching you to see what it means to be a woman. You need to learn and model self-respect and self-care. This will take practice. It sounds as if your own boundaries are pretty fuzzy. Try and find time to be still each day and tap into your own body and heart. Ask yourself what is best for you. What do you need in order to heal...and then give it to yourself. You can never control him and his actions but you can control your own. Determine what's acceptable to you and what is NOT. For example, if you choose to stay with your husband (under the condition that he address his issues), you might insist that there be absolutely NO CONTACT with the OW (in fact, I don't think healing can take place if she's anywhere in your lives). And then determine what you will do if he violates your boundaries. Does he sleep on the couch? Do you separate? This, I suspect, is going to be tough for you but you absolutely need to start here. And then -- this is key -- you need to stick to your consequences. If you've said he's to seek treatment for his depression/choice to cheat, then if he doesn't, you need to follow through with whatever consequence you've set. This isn't about punishing him, it's about self-care. It's about NOT allowing others to violate your boundaries. It's about ensuring your own emotional safety.Sweetie, you've got a long road ahead. You deserve better than a marriage where you feel used and treated like a revolving door. Get clear on why you allow yourself to be treated like this, begin to set boundaries around what you'll tolerate and what you won't, and I guarantee that your next step re. your marriage will become much clearer. And you'll be showing your daughter the crucial act of self-respect.Elle
Thanks for your response. I'm trying to get a grip on myself. I know I've a lot of work to do on myself, before I decide on the relationship.I was wondering if you can direct me to any classes or books I can read for gaining back self respect/ self love.
Be gentle with yourself. You're doing the best you can under extremely trying circumstances. It's hard to know what books will resonate with others but one book that transformed how I saw myself in the world is The Gifts of Imperfection by Brené Brown. Her most recent book is also wonderful -- Daring Greatly, but I'd start with the first one.I also love Anne Lamott. Her books aren't really self-help but through writing about her own trials at self-love, she guides the rest of us along with her. I also turn to Sarah Ban Breathnach's "Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy". Pema Chodron is a Buddhist nun who writes wonderful books about getting through difficult times. There are also the classics for co-dependents: Co-Depenent No More by Melodie Beattie; Women Who Love Too Much. Just remember: You know deep within yourself what is good for you. You know, somewhere deep, how loving and lovable you are. It's there. The key is to remember it.Elle
thank you for the encouraging words.
Does the confusion ever end? H thinks since he's accepted his mistakes and is trying to become a better husband and father, I should be fine with everything. He doesn't understand why I become sad or don't talk to him properly at times.From my side, I'm still stuck, don't know if I want to continue staying together or move out!!! What should I do to get a clarity?
Yes the confusion does end but it takes a long time. Your husband's belief that, now that he's being a good boy, you should be over it shows an incredible lack of empathy around just how deeply deeply wounded you are. Give yourself time and space to heal. Clarity will come...but not quickly or easily.Elle
ElleIs it normal to not 'feel' anything for the husband? He's going away on a trip and he says he's going to miss us a lot. I don't feel miserable or sad that he's going. Last year when he went on trips, he avoided talking to me, would talk to our daughter for some time. I used to try calling him and talking to him.I don't feel the need or urge to talk to him at all. Is that normal?
Yeah...I went through quite a long period where I didn't feel much of anything. My husband would say he missed me and ask if I missed him. And I hadn't. Apart from the sporadic fear I sometimes felt that he was with someone he shouldn't have been doing something he shouldn't have been, I felt a certain amount of relief to not have to deal with him at all while he was away.Your emotions will be all over the place. There really is no "normal" through this beyond accepting that crazy is the new normal. Elle
Thanks again Elle.
Thank you, this site has made me realise that I am not abnormal in still feeling pain nearly two years after our D day. I have berated and castigated myself for still revisiting the hurt and bewilderment that my husbands very short lived affair has caused for all of us, I put it down to my sometimes dodgy mental health.Sometimes you can't see what is in front of you and need others to point it out. I should have recognised the signs, I have been feeling numb, swinging between happiness and despair, known that I haven't been myself. I now realise that I have been displaying PTSD like symptoms. I say I should have known as I have successfully dealt with PTSD before (for a completely unrelated incident in life). It is now time to 'pull myself up by the bootstraps', use the previously learnt strategies and not feel bad about 'feeling bad'.
Not abnormal at all. Those who see betrayal a lot (ie. counsellors/marital experts) generally say it's 2 - 5 years to get through this and resume "normal" life. It was far closer to five years for me. And yes, betray is definitely trauma. To treat it as such generally moves healing along at a quicker pace. I'm so glad you recognize this and can trust yourself to the process of healing, on your own time. So often betrayal opens old wounds that never healed so recovering from it is often about much more than our husband's choices.Elle
I don't know if this is appropriate or not and I haven't seen any posts on what I'm about to ask but here goes... Do any of you wives think about revenge?!! About cheating on them. I find myself looking even though I know it wouldn't make me feel any better and wouldn't take the pain if what he did to me away! I want revenge on him. I want to betray him like he did me...
It's a fair question. I think a lot of us feel that need to even the score. In my case, there had been so many infidelities that I felt I had carte blanche to pretty much do whatever (and whomever!) I wanted. But I also knew deep down that wasn't the answer. I knew that I wouldn't feel better. I suspect it would have made me feel worse. In the end, what mattered to me was being someone I could look in the mirror, someone who could look her kids in the eye, someone who was living life with integrity.Others, though, have found a "revenge" affair made them feel sexy and desirable again.I wonder though if brining another person into an already messy situation is just asking for more trouble. I've also read that when a betrayed spouse has an affair, the partner who originally did the cheating doesn't feel the same level of betrayal. In fact, I've read they actually feel better. Like their own cheating slate has been wiped clean.In the end, of course, it's your choice. But the anger/revenge stage doesn't last, unless you're generally an angry vindictive person. And when the stage passes, you'll want to know that you didn't do anything you regret.Elle
I suspect it would have made me feel worse. In the end, what mattered to me was being someone I could look in the mirror, someone who could look her kids in the eye, someone who was living life with integrity.Your words coming out of my mouth!!!!!I guess I needed the reassurance from you. I needed to ask you. It's so hard. Most days I'm fine and then others when maybe there's the opportunity I'm like I should, he did. I know it sounds crazy but I want to , to see what he said what it was like. How could he do it. I know that in the end that's just not me.... I have always wanted the husband and kids the family. I would never jeopardize it. I just get so mad at him I could scream. I could never look into my babies eyes after being with another man. But he could.... But then the next moment I can. I hope it will pass like you say but like I said it has been awhile and now only now the feelings of cheating on him are coming to surface
Crazy thing is, as I've healed through this, I'm better able to understand how people cheat. I suspect it's like anything -- a little lie that grows easier to tell with time, an increased ability to rationalize that nobody is getting hurt, a sense that "everybody" does this so what's the problem. Marriage isn't about making a choice on a wedding day; it's about making that choice over and over and over. Some people who are less self-aware or who aren't really clear about what drives them, cheating feels less of a choice. Those are the ones who say it just "happened" or "I didn't mean to." In their minds, that's exactly what happened. Which is why they need to really get to the root of their thinking to ensure it doesn't just 'happen' again.The anger will dissipate. I often think the stages of betrayal are like the stages of grief. And we are grieving. The loss of the marriage we thought we had, the loss of what felt like safety, the loss of a future that doesn't have this in it...Elle
I find solace in your blog as it speaks to me, normalises my emotions and experiences and feeds me with little feelings of hope that we can get past this. Thank you for this. I read only websitesby people who have gotten through to that place I want to be - stronger - this pain to mean something in the end. I long for it though I fear it is still further away than I would ever want.I am five months out. I am dealing with it every day. I am not yet day to day, I am hour to hour, but at least past minute by minute. I know everyone is different. I know it will take longer than I want. What I would like to ask you specifically is how to get him to do the “hard work” you speak of. I have asked him to look at himself to understand why this happened. How he could do something he never thought he would do. How he could lie to me. How and why. His reasons are not his. They are formed over background of the daily routine, a bit of nagging and a bit of disheartening work. Most of it lays it at my feet. Or he has taken my words and said it was just weakness. I want him to look at himself, his vulnerabilities and how he could do something that he never thought he himself could do. And I want him to be honest with me about it. He says he will not be able to give that to me, that I will not ever understand, because there will never be a series of tick boxes that answer it. He says he perpetually worries that I ask questions to get to reasons that blame him that he can give me that allow me to understand. He asks how important this is because he does not think he can give any more, does not think there is any more and does not think I will ever understand.I can see it all of it. Much of it like a cliché. He was getting miserable, feeling bored, tired of the family routine, work suffering from a recession, not having a purpose and heading for a mid-life crisis. I saw it months before. I wrote about it. I spoke to him about it. I told him he needed to make a positive choice and that I would support him in whatever he wanted or needed to do. I would have in anything, but this. As I see it, she came along. There was enough of a push, enough of a pursuit and much attention. And so lunches and lunches and lunches. It lasted 5.5 months before I made him tell me what was going on. In truth I knew something from the first week. We are/were that close. He was that transparent. He was/is my best friend. We sit now, plodding through our lives. A few highs and lots of lows. We had a five or six what I would call good weeks, dappled with conversation and issues and a fight or two, but where we were getting through it together and showing each other kindness and love and consideration. We went on a holiday with my entire family. He faced all of them. He apologised to my parents. We got through it and it felt good. Then we came back, resumed our lives and the routine and it stopped from his side, as quickly as it started. We went back to counselling once, but it has been very unsuccessful. I wanted to bound out of it every session feeling good or as if we accomplished something, but nothing, but suppressed anger from him about what was said and we would reel from it for days. I did not feel the counsellor was helpful. She did not make him answer questions. She said she was not “solution orientated” whatever that means. I wanted it only to “do good” but was never left with anything positive. I want to talk. He wants to bury it. He has told me “all he can of the detail.” There is nothing more he says. But what I realised I am missing is the emotion. He will not engage with it. He is miserable, miserable every day. I try to take every day as new and start positive, but I struggle against what I get. I suffer for every conversation as he now questions if it is doing “any good.” And he says we have to balance my need to talk against his need to not. Otherwise it is not good for us. He stopped the kindness, the love, the shows of affection. We sit somewhere, I don’t know where.
I think a lot of us have been where you are right now. Left with all the baggage of a spouse's affair, but none of the upside of a stronger marriage, deeper relationship. Is it possible your husband is depressed? If he's got any sort of mood disorder, it's almost impossible to get him to empathize with you and what you need right now.If I were you, I'd start with individual counselling. You need a place where you can vent and explore what this has done to you. I would also think he would benefit from individual counselling himself, though I suspect that would be a tough sell.Affairs don't just "happen". There's always some sort of framework that builds to it, that allows some people to say "yes" instead of "no". It makes complete sense that you want him to figure this out so that YOU can trust that next time opportunity arises, he's got the tools to give a resounding 'no' and mean it.I suspect your desire to understand it is perceived by him as guilt-inducing or shame-inducing. You say he's "miserable every day". Is he beating himself up over this? Again, counselling for him can help him focus on becoming the man he wished he'd been then. Shame is crippling. I recently wrote a post about what you're dealing this: our desire to talk about the affair, to bring it into the light of day, and our spouse's desire to bury it, to "move on". There's a line, of course, where talking about it becomes harmful. But until that line is crossed, it's crucial to have a spouse who can understand your pain. You can read more here (the point about our spouses is towards the end): http://betrayedwivesclub.blogspot.ca/2013/09/healing-from-betrayal-why-we-must-tell.htmlI'm so sorry for what you're going through. Elle
Elle,Thank you so very much. How you manage to answer everyone with such knowing and kindness and saying all of the right things is truly amazing. I have read that article, thank you. I peck through your blog on a daily basis always finding some thread of positive energy and support. Some days I worry it is like my drug - no shopping, alcohol or gambling - just the BWC blog.I am seeing an individual counselor, she is great. She says that I have a great capacity for understanding and through my reading and thoughts of, around and about him now probably understand this more than he does or may ever be able to. My great concern is that if he doesn't, and chooses to believe it was simply the nagging and routine of everyday, we are not protected and I cannot ever be sure that it won't happen again. She said that I can never be sure of that anyway. That is hard to handle. I have asked him to see someone individually, he will not and has asked me to stop asking him. He speaks to no one really but me, although there are a few friends available, but constantly says "I am not talking to anyone." I think he may be depressed. I think he may have been slightly before. He was always a glass half empty guy - now we struggle to turn the tap on. I try desperately to be positive, but I am not perfect in this of course. I have said sorry, shown him more empathy and acknowledged his emotional discomfort more than he has mine from the beginning. It may be guilt. It may be shame. I get through a number of days positively and then crack at a trigger or at the complete lack of positivity and trying from him. It throws me for a loop and makes me question that this isn't what he wants and I wonder what he is really thinking, feeling and desiring as he can't show me what I clearly state I need. For him each break is the next excuse for an emotional negative response. It is wearing me down. I cannot continue keep myself going and to counsel him. It is as you have said elsewhere "each nursing our own wounds." I do not know how to force him to get more help. He needs it as ultimately we all need it.I want the power and strength from getting through this. I want the trust and honesty that Peggy Vaughn and Shirley Glass speak of. I have asked him to read extracts to try to understand what I cannot seem to explain. I do not want to be guilt-inducing, I want to be the friend that he can talk about things open and honestly about those painful feelings though I struggle with it without the security of knowing that this is what he wants. It all feels circular. Maybe it is too early, maybe it is too raw for both of us. Thank you so much again for every word you write.NJgirlinUK
NJgirl,You can sustain this. You can't continue to hold both of you afloat. It's hard enough keeping ourselves going after betrayal. To manage his healing too is simply more than one person can -- or should -- do.Although there's no way to "make" him get into counselling or read what you'd like him to, you can make it a condition of reconciliation. Without him getting deeper understanding in why he did what he did, he's left with the shame/guilt without the benefit of a toolkit to create a stronger marriage. It's like a drug addict who stops taking drugs. Great first step...but they then have to figure out to live in a world without that particular escape. Given that your husband seems to be dealing with depression, it's tough. The depression makes him less likely to seek help, and the less likely he is to seek help, the deeper the depression becomes.Whatever you decide to do, I hope you'll continue to put your own healing and well-being first. It's not your job to heal him. In fact, it's co-dependent to take responsibility for that. I know that seems contrary to all the "we are one" and "us against the world" marriage stuff we're taught to believe. But the healthiest marriage is one in which each partner takes responsibility for their own stuff and ensures that they're not harming the marriage.Hang in there. Treat yourself well. And consider taking the scary step of insisting he get help or lose you. This can't last long-term.Elle
You say I can sustain this. Some moments I feel strong and determined. Others I feel like I am leaf blowing from a tree. I am still really struggling. We are at 7 months. I haven’t gone as far as make it a condition that he see someone yet. I am still debating whether we should go back into couple’s counselling. It is longer between my upsets. I still cry at some point every day, but I let it happen for a minute or two and then move on with something positive. I cannot do this in front of him. He does not deal at all well with my upset therefore I am guarded and set back which feels unhelpful and unnatural for me. He spends much of his time in avoidance or unhappiness. I have asked him in many different ways for many different things, whether it is giving, touching, talking, reading. He is either unwilling or unable. Maybe crippled as you say. I did ask him if he may be depressed. He was angry that I may think it, frustrated that I may talk to someone else about it, whether it is my counsellor or his mom. He thinks I am still looking for the reason(s) it happened, the tick boxes he calls them, and if he is depressed then I can say that was it. I just want to be able to move forward on at least a slightly upward trajectory. If this is one of Peggy’s plateaus, it is a shit one. My counsellor is trying to get me to separate from it, find other things that make me happy and “lay it down.” I get it. I try to do it. I have been better week on week. I try to get lost in the autumn, the holidays, the children, friends, activities. He is what triggers me over and over for the lack of it all, the hope, the anticipation and the disappointment. I go back and forth now between wanting to do it together and considering the 180. I want us to heal together, be stronger together, walk together, talk together, but it seems no matter how hard I try I mess it up as I desperately feel that I cannot do it alone and cannot get through to him. But how do you 180 in a life with a job, a routine and two beautiful children who you are trying to protect, although seeing cracks all over that bubble I try desperately to patch around them? How do you protect yourself, be kind, be strong, be so controlled (cheerful and outgoing but not overly enthusiastic) and not show any weakness - when the reality is you feel so tender and are looking for that one person to hug you and say it is all okay or going to be?Inchworm
To back up abit I too feel like why shouldn't I cheat too? I never would because it is just not who I am, but when your spouse says things like it just happened, it was just new and different so that made it exciting, you want to respond back, "well then if it was so exciting for you why shouldn't I give it a try too?". It's the answers most say. My spouse too feels so sorry and terrible yet has no real answers except repeating what our counselor has said. That he was purely selfish, thinks only of himself and needs to change that. This still does not answer the why. We are 15 months out so hang in there. This is a lengthy process and not an easy one. I continue to rely on this site for help and Elle does a great job at that along with everyone who shares their story. Stay strong and continue to fight for the answers to you and your husbands happiness.
Thank you for your response.... I have been waiting for other wives to write if they felt the same way also, I suspected I wasn't the only one. I know it is a lengthy process. I am also 15 months out almost 16. It has gotten so much better and I have grown and this whole thing forced me to take a deep look at my own self. That's why I say I could probably never go through with it. In all honesty I do feel a little better when I have a conversation with someone of the opposite sex, which when before this ment nothing to me.... All very strange. I guess I do flirt a little more maybe just cause I'm so mad at him. I think to myself for gods sake you feel like your betraying him by having a conversation with a single dad at soccer practice and he had sex with nearly any women that he came in contact with when you weren't around and he could get away with it!!! Two very different species... Men and women.I would love to hear from someone on this site who did in turn cheat on there cheating spouse and how they felt about it. I suspect for me it would just be the end of my marriage, two wrongs will not make a right!!! Ughhhh it's hard. To all the wonderful strong beautiful women on this site...... Stay wonderful, strong and beautiful together one day at a time. Thank you to the post regarding mine. I appreciate all the kind words and support. Love to all
I just found out that my husband of 10 years has been cheating on me for the last year and a half. I caught him out, I made it so he text me instead of her, but he thought I was onto him because I got my friend to ring her number and try and sus it out first. So the message he sent "her" but it was me was "she didn't say anything, but I feel as though I'm being tested, can we call it for a bit and wait for things to blow over xxx" so that's when it all blew up. I confronted him, told him to piss off and go be with her, but he wouldn't go, said he wanted to end it with her for ages but couldn't because she threatened to tell me all about it, said it was only for the sex, that he loves me and only wants to be with me, will never do it again, wants to work it out etc. He's saying and doing all the right things now, but only cos he got caught. He didn't end it, I did but catching him. I am just so confused, how can it be only sex with her if they send text messages nearly every day, and have sex pretty much every second weekend for over a year, to me that's more that just sex. I'm just so lost, he's being so nice to me now and trying to make up for it all, I can see he's hurting too, scared to lose everything, but I just can't bring myself to fall for it and trust him. I'm still on the fence as to whether to stay or go, how do you know what to do? How do you ever trust them again? How do I ever get intimate with him again without thinking of him with her? I feel so stupid for not knowing earlier. We both knew that cheating was a deal breaker, so he knew that when he did it, and continued to do it. So how can I go back on my morals and my word, does that make me weak if I want to stay and work it out? What message is it sending? Am I saying it's ok to treat me like that?
I'm so sorry. I just spotted your post.So much of what you're going through is "normal". The feeling stupid, the wondering if you can ever trust him, wondering if, by staying, you're letting yourself down...The thing is, none of us knows how we'll respond to cheating unless we've gone through it. ALL of us said it was a deal-breaker. Yet here we are.The key is ensuring that it really is over and that he really is committed to figuring out why he did what he did...and what he's going to do to ensure that he never goes down that road again. He has to rebuild trust, day by day, action by action. He needs to be totally transparent, which means giving you access to all his private e-mail, phone, computer. It is NOT okay to treat you like that and the price he pays is losing access to any privacy, and supporting you through the worst pain of your life. It's always a good idea for both of you to get counselling, either separately, together or both. You're going to have a lot to deal with and he likely has some demons to face around why he allowed himself to do this.If you see a genuinely remorseful man willing to do whatever it takes to become the man he should have been, then you can determine whether to rebuild your marriage or not. It's your call.Elle
I don't know where to begin. I am two and a half years into this journey of healing and acceptance. It took so long to accept it. All of it. I still feel blindsided by small revelations I hadn't even thought of before. My husband and I have been together for 12 years. I've been faithful to him since the day we met. He took my virginity and I cry now for that girl. So in love. So stupid happy. It turns out he was cheating on me while we dated, while we were engaged and planning our wedding, after we were married, while I was pregnant with our first child, and once ( he says) after the baby was born. My husband has sex with strippers. Yes, sex. Apparently, a lot of those places are essentially just "massage parlors ". He had the nerve to tell me once that he told himself it was basically just masturbating. Wow! He has soooo much respect for women! I told him if you went there to touch someone's naked body and dry hump them for an orgasm you had sex with another person. Whether you respect them enough to acknowledge their personhood or not. He did this weekly, sometimes several times a week for years. On his lunch break . To relieve anxiety. My husband had OCD and this was his release. A way to both relieve the pressure he puts on himself and subsequently feel more anxiety. It fed upon itself. I know all these things and I know he's healing through therapy. But I can't heal too. I get worse it seems . I have fantasies, dreams at night of being swept away by a strong man. Not physically strong, just strong in mind and resolve. I've lost so much respect for him. I've become obsessed with what he did. I watch lesbian porn too often. It's the only thing that gets me off and I hate it. I hate myself and feeling like this victim. I picture myself as the other woman. I want to be her . To be the object of desire. Not the sad victim at home, crying and alone. Sex is terrible, I feel nothing but sadness and anger during sex. I don't know where this is going but it can't be good. I'm just hanging on most days.
You are in so much pain. It's palpable through your words.On the one hand, you seem to recognize that your husband's betrayal was all about him, that these women barely registered as human beings, and that he's getting better. On the other hand, you seem caught in that belief that these women were desirable, sexy and exciting.You also mention your own curiosity with lesbian porn, which, frankly, is nothing to be ashamed of.Like you, my husband's sex addiction prompted me to explore some of the deeper curiosities of my own sexuality. It made me aware that our sexuality spans wider than a lot of us acknowledge. And that's healthy and normal.What's not healthy is using other people for our sexual gratification -- dehumanizing them in the process. It sounds as if your husband recognizes that. My husband experienced deep shame around how he treated the people he was with. Their humanity didn't matter to him.I suggest you do some reading about sex addiction, which might help you better understand your husband's mindset and put to rest any belief that these women were somehow more desirable to you. Their appeal was in the lack of emotional connection. It was a transaction. And if you're not in therapy, please find someone, preferably someone familiar with sex addiction.A spouse's sex addiction can mess with our attitudes around sex. I still struggle with how I now view sex. I'm working on it (I ignored it for many years) -- trying to get back to a place where sex is fun and exciting, rather than dirty and meaningless. There's a great book for partners of sex addicts -- Mending a Shattered Heart by Stefanie Carnes (daughter of sex addiction pioneer Patrick Carnes). It might also help you with your view of yourself as a "victim". I hope that helps. Elle
Thank you so much for your very kind and compassionate response. I've talked to so few people about this that it feels good to have someone be so kind about it. I lost a longtime friend after telling her about my husband's cheating because I was too eager to connect with someone who was going through the same thing. She wasn't ready to accept what her husband was doing though and I was selfish in laying my problems on top of hers. I know I should see a therapist but the logistics of that are difficult right now. Or maybe that's just an excuse. I have had two more pregnancies since my husband confessed and this third one is due in December. I guess I keep feeling like I'm ready to move on with our life together and then out of the blue, it hurts like never before. Again and again. Dealing with these emotions while pregnant is insane. During my last pregnancy I had panic attacks over it. The medical doctor that diagnosed it was the first person I ever told and he opened up about his wife's infidelity to me. It felt so good to say it out loud to someone sympathetic. It feels like my life has been stolen from me. Even after he stopped, I feel like the cheating is taking my precious time with my babies. Like I'm short changing them and myself having these good days and bad days. Wrestling with depression while they grow and our time is being stolen by these terrible feelings inside me. All my happy memories of us are tainted with lies and even now, all the memories I make with my family are colored with the knowledge that I may or may not have been "totally there" that day. I know what you mean about triggers. I drive by an area of town with strip clubs for all my many doctor visits and I feel myself start to tense up as my car gets closer to passing one. I may be having a wonderful day and suddenly I can't stop feeling hurt and angry. If I even see billboards on the road for them it starts. I have to work hard to push it away, to not search the parking lot for his car as I pass by. And of course sex is a huge trigger. Unfortunately, I know quite specifically what positions and acts were performed and it makes my skin crawl when we even come close to doing them. If he wants me to do something I know he did with them I always wonder if he's picturing "old times" or if he misses it or thinks of me the way he thought of them. Just a means to an end. I struggle to feel loved by my husband. He tries so hard, too hard, but it all feels fake to me. Obviously, anger is my best friend right now. I try to let go if it, but it clings to me wherever I go. I still love my husband and I know he loves me too, I just need to quiet the angry voices in my head that love to wallow in the sadness.
That feeling of relief when you share your story is exactly what you will get from a good therapist. You need to lay some of this down. If you can't do it for you, please do it for your children. They need a mother who's whole, who's able to be there for them in all those crucial ways.I would also explore the possibility that you're experiencing post-traumatic stress. I've written often on this site about how so many of us experience PTSD in the wake of betrayal. Our world feels unsafe, we question our judgement about everything, we want to be ready for the next time this happens, and triggers send us right back to that horrible moment when we found out. The fact that you're experiencing triggers this far out indicates that the memory of finding out is still right there, that it hasn't been processed and filed in a healthy way. Please consider finding someone who can help you with this. I honestly don't know how people heal from this without help.Your refusal to see your husband's attempts to help you as "fake" makes me wonder, again, if you're resisting putting this down, out of a fear that by doing so you're letting him off the hook and that you can be blindsided by this again.All of this is "normal" under the circumstances. It's not the least surprising that you'd feel unsafe after discovering this. And, of course, you have pregnancy and post-partum hormones (not to mention sleep deprivation) to complicate things further. In other words, you're dealing with far too much right now.Take a look at that book for a start. And please consider finding a way to get help. I hope you'll keep us posted how you're doing. You're always welcome to share here with those of us who've been where you are and can assure you that you can come out of this to find joy again.Elle
I know you're right, Elle. About all of it. I've felt these things in my heart just as you've said them, for a long time. It is extremely comforting, though, to hear it from someone recovering and finding happiness in recovery like yourself. I will take your advice. I know it's what's best for me and my family. Thank you for the good works you do here on your blog. From the bottom of my heart I believe what you've done here is changing people's lives for the better. Thank you again!
I've just found out that my husband has been cheating on me for the last year and a half, we have been married for 10 years and have 2 girls (9yrs old and 6yrs old) I caught him out, has suspected for a while and set his phone up so if he text "her" it would go to me instead. That way I had hard proof and he couldn't deny anything. So the message he sent her was "all good, she didn't say anything, but I feel as though I'm being tested, can we cool it for a bit and wait for it all to blow over xxx" So I replied "just leave, you don't love her anyway" but it showed up as my name so he knew I knew. Anyway he says now it was just sex, he never loved her, never told her he loved her, never went out for dinner with her, only ever did it at her place when she didnt' have her kids every other weekend (if I wasn't around) Their only communication was via text message because he thought if he deleted them every day there was no way I would find out. Only thing is, that means there's hundreds of text messages. I don't understand how he can say he had no feelings for her when they were doing it for so long and was talking via text so much? That just doesn't make any sense to me. He's very very remorseful and is doing anything and everything to try and prove to me that he loves me and that he wants to be with me. Trouble is, I'm now repulsed by him and don't want to touch him. I don't trust him and I think his words mean nothing. We both knew cheating was a deal breaker. But now I'm asking myself, why haven't I run a mile? What am I saying if I stay, am I saying this is ok? What sort of example am I setting if my kids ever find out, that it's ok to be with a man that is not faithful? I'm so torn as to whether I should stay or go. How do I trust my own judgement?
At this point you don't trust your judgement. Post-discovery is crazy time. It's post-trauma. It's a roller coaster. If you're unsure what's next, give yourself some time to sort it out. Get clear on whether this is something you can get through together or whether it's something you can't or won't forgive.The whole "it was just sex" thing isn't good enough. Why was he willing to risk his marriage for just sex. I'm not saying it wasn't "just sex" -- it probably was. In many, many cases the Other Woman is simply convenient and available. But there's deeper reasons around what he was getting from it. And without probing those deeper reasons, there's little reason for you to trust that it won't happen again. As for what you're teaching your girls? I've thought long and hard about that myself, given that I have three kids (none of whom know at this point). What I think I'm teaching them is that even the people we love and trust the most can hurt us deeply. That we make mistakes. That we're capable of going against our moral code if we don't make commitments to ourself to resist temptation. That, when we do make mistakes, we do everything we can to make amends but that, in the end, we have to face the consequences, whatever they are. And that it's possible to overcome the worst kind of pain. To grow from it and learn from it and, in a way, be grateful for it.Most experts recommend not making any big decisions for six months to a year. In the meantime, don't push yourself to feel anything you don't. If you can't be intimate with him, don't be. If you need space from him, give it to yourself. In that time, he can also be doing some soul-searching (ideally with a therapist) about why he engaged in a "deal-breaker". This might help you open up to trust him a bit more. But trusting again takes a long time. It takes consistent proof that he's being transparent and honest.Elle
Thank you for your reply, I'm still confused as to how he can say it was a mistake when it goes on for so long. To me a year and a half is a relationship, not some stupid mistake, every time he went back to her he new what he was risking, and he obviously thought she was so fantastic she was worth it - which means I'm not worth his time. He did say it was easy, convenient, and she pretty much threw herself at him and when he said he was married, she said she didn't care and gave him her ph number. But.... he still had to then take the next step to call her to go meet her. It was still his choice to go, no one made him. Then he made the choice to just keep going back!! If it was such a mistake you would think the guilt would stop them at once? He says it's not my fault and he's not blaming me...but....He didn't feel loved by me, and he love the attention she gave him and how she made him feel. Our sex life wasn't great, so basically I should've seen it coming and what did I expect? I feel like he's passively blaming me, not outright saying it, but the way I translate it is the harsh version. Probably because I feel like a worthless piece of s**t now. The other woman puts all this crap on fb about how much she loves him and how she'll never forget all the things he said to her, she'll never stop loving him, how smart girls should choose to be single than to be lied to, cheated on and disrespected. It annoys the hell out of me, but part of me knows she's hoping that she still has a chance to be with him. I just wish she's bugger off and leave us alone, she still tries to ring him on a private number late at night (only when she's been out on the booze though) and hubby has been telling me when she does try to contact him. I don't know, I'm just so lost, I don't understand how he can justify doing it for so long if there was supposedly no feelings towards her. I do feel better though that he certainly didn't "trade up" I do feel like I'm sort of in competition with her though.
You may never understand why he did it...and how it could go on for so long. You're trying to apply logic to an illogical situation. For many of these guys, once they've crossed the line it's less of big deal to keep crossing it. Sad to say but it becomes easier to cheat once you're a cheater. They learn to compartmentalize the guilt, sometimes even justifying it to themselves (ie. I deserve this, I work hard, my wife has been difficult, blah blah blah).Yes, it was certainly his choice. And he needs to take total responsibility for that. But, and this can be tough to hear, the problems in the marriage (if they're legitimate and not just him trying to find an excuse for what he did) are the responsiblity of BOTH of you. It doesn't for a second make it okay that he did what he did. But if you're going to get through this and rebuild a better marriage, it's crucial that each of you accept your role in what was going wrong. In the meantime, do NOT read anything the OW posts on FB or anywhere else. That's called "pain shopping" and it serves no purpose but to keep you in a state of agony. You do not need to know what she's saying. You DO need to know when she contacts your husband. Both of you need to send her a "no contact" letter, making it clear that there is to be absolutely no contact going forward and letting her know that you have access to his phone, computer, whatever and will be reading anything she sends to him.You are not competing with her. She was simply a convenient ego-boost to him.Put the focus back on you. Elle
Ok thank you. We have been discussing all the things that we both felt were going wrong before this started and we can see where we can both improve. My problem now is, ok I realise that he needed to be shown more love and affection and what I thought was enough before, wasn't enough for him. However, now that he's cheated, how do I get my head around showing him more love after sn affair? A bit hard at the moment anyway since I cringe at the thought of being close to him anyway. I just get images of him with her whenever we're close and wonder, did he do this with her? I've also got in the back of my mind that it's all on me in the fact that if I don't "perform" up to his standards and give him enough attention then he'll just run off and do it again.
And that, of course, is the big problem with affairs. It's like detonating a nuclear bomb to deal with a mosquito. There's not much you can do to rebuild a marriage until all the fallout from the affair has been processed. In the short term, focus on keeping your head above water (sorry to mix all my metaphors). Take care of yourself and concentrate on being civil to each other. Once your marriage feels less fragile, you can begin to focus on rebuilding the foundation. In the meantime, he needs to show you, day in - day out, that he's being honest and transparent and is committed to rebuilding. The time will come when you can go over the issues within your marriage and replace bad habits with better ones. For now it's enough to both commit to wanting that.Elle
I still feel like I'm looking for answers, but is it pain shopping? He's still trying really hard but I just feel empty, like his words mean nothing anyway because for a year and a half he was saying one thing to me but going off whenever he could to be with the OW. So why is it different now? I found out it first all started when he went out with his mates for his birthday, now I hate his birthday and it's coming up. I'm dreading it. He's away with mates this week (he has an annual trip with them) and normally he would just let me know he made it there ok, then I'd only talk to him again when he's leaving so I know when to expect him home. This time he's ringing me every night, messaging me during the day, saying he loves me and misses me etc which is nice, but I feel nothing, I'm empty. I feel like I don't know him because I can't understand how someone can cheat for a year and a half then turn around and say but I love you and don't want to lose you. It makes no sense! I really want to get all the deleted text messages out of his phone so I can see if he ever did say he loved her or did say he ever wanted to leave me, it's like I want to catch him out lying to me again - why do we pain shop? Every time I'm happy or catch myself feeling good, having a "happy" family moment, I'm instantly checking myself, saying this isn't right, remember what happened. I think because the affair went on for so long and the fact that he never stopped it, it only stopped because I caught him out, I feel like my life was a lie. What I thought was ok, wasn't, so now I just question everything. Argh, what a mess my head is.
What you're experiencing is post-trauma. It's a logical response to a situation in which your safety felt completely jeopardized. We become terrified to go through that again so feel as if we always have to be on guard to ensure it doesn't happen again. But, of course, we can't control another person. As well, you're trying to make sense of a situation that likely will never make sense to you. I will never get how my husband could live a double life like he did. And I've given up trying to understand. It has become enough that he doesn't ever want to live like that again. That it was hell. That he feels ashamed of himself and what he did.Give in to those moments of brief joy and happiness. Slowly let them build. Let them thaw your frozen heart which is determined to prevent itself from being broken again. Feeling joy now doesn't negate what happened. It doesn't make what he did okay. It simply shows that the heart has the capacity to heal. That we can feel extreme pain but we can also experience joy in the wake of it. Numb can protect us in the short term...but we don't want to spend our lives feeling numb.Your head isn't a mess at all. It is responding quite "normally" to an incredibly traumatic experience.Elle
To the lady who posted on September 23rd.Try and stay still and calm for a few weeks/months. I'm now 16 months post D Day and I firstly thought my husband would never ever be unfaithful but secondly if he was It was a deal breaker. I'm still here. It won't be easy; be prepared for anger, tears, frustration and shock.From my husbands point of view, he felt flattered by her attention and once he crossed the line he knew he had no way back. It really didn't matter whether they did it once or a million times after that. He said that the day they had sex his life changed forever, all the joy had been taken out of his life. He told her the usual, my wife doesn't sleep with me, we don't talk much, you're so lovely, the best sex ever when in fact he was falling into a very deep depression. No excuses but don't think that its always a breeze with the other woman.My husband is left with self loathing about what he did and he cannot understand how he got to that point. We are re-building our lives and I hope you can find a way, whatever your decision, to weather the storm a little more to see how you feel. This site has saved me on many an occasion. The first few months after finding out I cannot really bring back to the forefront of my memory as it is lost in a feeling of sinking disaster and catching my breathe. I did turn up for work, look after the kids and perform daily routines. God knows how though.Keep strong and do the best you can. Transparency and honesty between the two of you is essential.
I am almost 7 months past the Dday and I still feel like it was yesterday. However I have been able to get better I still have triggers thatswill take me to day 1. I am under anxiety medication which has helped me control my anger, I used to wish the worst on the OW but now when I think of her it makes MD feel nothing but sorry for her. My husband wants me to get over it he said I used to be strong and now weak because I cry, I don't eat or sleep I call out of work at least once a week. Truth is he never seen me hit bottom and he doesn't know how to handle it....but one day I told myself that was enough of burying myself and I needed to be OK with myself for my 6 year old son. I am taking it day by day I'm at the point where I feel bad for my husband I know hr is in pain too....we recently had a small argument because j didn't know how to tell him that I have noticed he is more aggressive during sex I am confused....is it normal?? I mean when I suggest sex he pushes back but then he wakes me up on the middle of the night for hot sex?? Can this have an explanation? Or am I reading too much into it??...I told him I will give him all the time he needs I will wait till time is right...but can't stop wondering why he is acting like this.
I'm so sorry for what you're going through. It takes a long time to get through this. Your husband's comment about now you're "weak" is not only incredibly hurtful it's untrue. You're incredibly strong. He clearly has no idea how devastating this is or he'd recognize your strength. Crying, etc. is an expression of pain, not weakness. I'm glad though that you're focusing on being present for your son. Whether he knows what's happened or not, he'll certainly be tuned into your own sadness which can be frightening for a kid.It sounds as if you and your husband are still struggling with intimacy. What does he say? Why does he push you away when you initiate it, only to initiate it himself later? What does he say about being more "aggressive"? One of the good things that can come out of an affair is increased ability for each partner to express their sexual preferences but it does make it sometimes hard for the betrayed partner to wonder if he wants her to be more like the affair partner. It's crucial that you talk about this.I also wonder whether your husband sought any counselling after his affair. Is he clear on why he cheated? What did he get out of the affair that he thinks he needs? Unless he's figured out what stories he was telling himself to allow him to cheat, it's quite possible that he'll cheat again. Particularly when he's telling himself that you're "weak".I think it's time for your to stand up for yourself, make it clear that experts say it's three to five years to get past a spouse's betrayal and that you're doing your best, and come clean about his own issues around this stuff. You didn't bring this on, he did. He needs to man up and support you in your healing.Elle
We are both seeing a therapist as a couple and individually ....I think he is trying and he is struggling with the guilt and shame that's why I simphatize with him....I don't think he will do it again he is beating himself up because he doesn't know how he got to that point....he has not spoken to her since I found out...we have are good days and bad days I don't think he doesn't know how to handle the situation and sorry he didn't call me weak he said I used to be strong cause o yelled and screamed...I believe in forgiveness and since this happened I have changed my ways I really like the new me...I think the reason why he had the affair was because the lack of communication, the way I treated him I had a very bad attitude and there were times I told him he was worthless I think it was the anger inside me...he was always a good man very quite he is not confrontational guy he is a good man who made a terrible mistake I love him more than anything in this world and I'm so sorry I treated him bad thru out the years...I know its not my fault but I do take responsibility for miss treating him...he loves me I know it I just think that he is having a hard time with the guilt and shame....as per the sex I have not really asked ...it is great but confusing..am I doing the right thing?
I think the "right" thing is whatever makes sense to you. You say he's a good man who did a bad thing. As long as you want to give this good man a second chance, then that's what you should do.I too found that, once I was over the worst of the pain, that I liked myself better post-affair. I was more compassionate, less judgemental, more able to see the shades of grey. It sounds as if both of you have learned through this...which is all any of us can really hope for. That the pain somehow paid off in terms of making us wiser and, ultimately, happier.Elle
This was been definetly an eye opener!!....we both have to change and trust each other again...I don't have a hard time trusting him at all when is out the door...something tells me inside that I should trust him I don't get anxious or nervous when he leaves home..I think I'm almost there....I am learning to live with this and put it in the past...
I just want to thank Elle and others for commenting on this site. It has been so helpful to see there are others that have the same feelings I do. It has been almost 15 months since my D Day and my husband and I are still trying to re-build our marriage, but I do keep feeling as though I should be better emotionally after this much time. He is trying to be patient and help me move forward, but it is so hard to look at him the same way/have the same love for him/confidence in him/support him, etc., every little thing that is annoying to me - which wouldn't have been before - make everything we went through pop up in my head and then the feelings of resentment cause me to be angry, cranky at home, etc.. He had an an emotional, and somewhat physical relationship with a co-worker, he admitted it to me that it had been going on emotionally for months, moved out for a few weeks, and then tried to "figure out his feelings" for several months while I was sort of hanging on trying to convince him of our strong marriage, finally after a final threat from me that I could not wait for him to "figure it out" any longer and keep my sanity, he cut off all communications with her and committed to trying to heal with me. About that time, I also learned he had kissed our babysitter in the meantime while he was being honest about "figuring all of this out" with the OW. Needless to say, she is out of our lives now too, but I have more memories of her because I knew her so well. He never can answer any questions about that other than he was "lost" and felt like he had already messed everything up. We have been trying to re-build for over a year now, and he is being patient, but doesn't have answers to all of my "pain shopping". I kept wanting it to work and to get past it for our kids' sake - they are very young, and don't know any of what went on (were 3 and a newborn during the really bad months), but part of me feels terrible for giving him another chance, when I still have so many hard feelings...then doubts that it will happen again....anger about our friends that may know what happened...then low self confidence in general....then feel like i deserve so much better. I keep trying to find ways I can be a stronger and better person and have a better marriage as a result of all of this - trying to find a reason it all happened - but scared deep down it was happening so that we would divorce. Anyway, I appreciate your comments that other people don't just move on quickly and that it will take time. Also nice to have somewhere to vent - there are only a few people I talk to about this, as I don't want our friends to feel uncomfortable, my family to hate him, etc. Hard to keep it all bottled up...
I'm glad you found us...but so sorry you needed to.You still sound quite conflicted, which I suspect is at least partly a consequence of your husband's waffling. I can imagine how frightening it must be to trust him again. Not only did he betray that trust initially but he took his time determining whether he wanted to be in a marriage with you. That's incredibly painful and would likely bring up all sorts of issues around abandonment, worthiness and your role in his life.Factor in the betrayal by your babysitter -- someone you trusted with your kids -- and you've been through hell. (Oh yeah...and the fact that you're dealing with a toddler and a newborn = EXHAUSTING...)So...what to do about it: if you're not in therapy, I think you should be. You need someone who can help you get clear on how much of your confusion is based on a legitimate concern that this guy isn't the best one for you and how much is baggage from everything you've gone through. It can really help to have someone in whom you can regularly confide everything -- all that rage, fear, disappointment -- who can help you parse through it. If that's not an option, I hope you'll continue to share here...and if you have perhaps one close friend in real life, who will simply let you share and not judge you or him, then that can go a long way too.Bottling it up is the worst thing you can do. As you're discovering, these feelings are going to make themselves known one way or the other. Either as simmering resentment or depression or anger. It's very hard to see your husband clearly through the lens of all these unresolved feelings.Maybe he's a great guy who truly had lost his way, or maybe he's someone who can be a great dad but not husband. Either way, you deserve to figure out your own feelings around this...with no pressure to get over it. We betrayed wives tend to experience our own pain long after the crisis is over...around the time everyone else thinks we should be "over it". Ain't gonna happen. Elle
Three years ago, my husband had his first and only affair. I think what is particularly devastating is that neither of us ever had a date prior to meeting each other. I think this was what the OW found attractive because it made her feel powerful - to give him an experience he never had and never thought he would. (She's the type that never would have looked at him twice had he been single.)When he told me he was in love with her and wanted to move out, I went literally crazy. I had never worked since we married, and he was not only talking about ending our marriage, but that I had to find a job since our kids were grown and he didn't want to support me forever. I utilized all the resources I had to get him to end the affair and move back home. I even wrote a letter to the OW asking her to leave him alone and stop interfering with my marriage. He waivered, but still stayed with her. Finally, a couple of things happened: the OW told him to get off the fence about whether he was leaving me or not; and a good friend who had been having many late talks with him finally got through. He ended the affair with a scathing note to the OW (refused to tell her in person) and cut off all contact with her - changed his email and forbade her to try to talk to him. From what I heard, she was upset but let him go.All good, right? Wrong. I initially told him he shouldn't move back in with me until we had been through counseling. I was really having a hard time with him having sex outside the marriage because we had only ever been with each other. For three months, he seemed like he was trying to do everything he could to get us back where he could move home. Then he found out the OW had started dating someone else. My husband dropped all attempts to heal our marriage and tried to get her to come back to him. She refused, and he started to stalk her until the same friend made him stop.That was over two years ago - and we are still living separately. We thought he would come home last fall, but he changed his mind again. He continues to pursue other women but has not been successful in generating any interest. He says he married me because no one else would have him, and he doesn't want to hurt me, but feels like he got a taste of "true love" from his affair and is not ready to go back to what he "settled" for with me. Yet he won't begin divorce proceedings because our church is so strongly against it, and he thinks he might get it out of his system eventually.I basically feel stuck - I am middle aged, have not worked in 25 years, have a husband who I desperately want back the way we used to be but can't or won't come home. Friends outside the church tell me to get a job and begin divorce proceedings, but my church and husband just tell me to be patient with him and hang in there.
I think you know what you should do. It's just that people in your life who you've given power are telling you not to do it.How long do they want you to be patient? Isn't two years of masochism enough? And what about when he returns home -- IF he returns home?I think you've already been more than patient with someone who is treating you like door number two.You need to treat yourself with respect, particularly when he isn't showing you any. He's been unnecessarily cruel and I think it's time you cut his loose and moved forward with your life. Let him chase other women, let him chase "true love". In the meantime, you can create a life of dignity and self-respect. Anyone who thinks it's okay to chase other women while married but not file for divorce because his church is against it has a really warped view of right and wrong.I hope you'll take steps to move forward with your life. You deserve so much better than this.Elle
To October 9th anonymous.....isn't your church against adultery? Your husband is being a hypocrite. He's only following the church teachings that he wants to follow. There is nothing wrong with getting a job and being physically and financially separate from him until he starts behaving like a man worthy of his marital vows.
Hello everyone. I am writing from home where I have spent most of the past 2 weeks. I've not gone to work, showered a couple times, and only move to care for my 3 month old. My husband, the man of my dreams, cheated on me for months and I only found out the true extent of it 2 weeks ago. For months, he convinced me that their relationship bordered on an emotional affair, but he stopped it. I found hotel charges to his personal credit card to disconfirm his lies. I've always told myself I'd leave when presented with a situation like this. I figured I'd be angry and be able to act. Instead, I am deeply depressed, terrified, and paralyzed. No anger here. I wonder where it went. I want to divorce because I do not want him to think he can treat me and our marriage in such a way and things will return to normal over time. THe problem is that I never considered divorcing him before. I love him. This horrible situation has been placed in my lap and I must deal with it in a way that I am not prepared to. We have a 3 month old which makes this all the more difficult.
Having a three-month-old is exhausting enough...let alone dealing with a spouse's betrayal at the same time. I'm so so sorry.Give yourself time to figure out your next step. Your hormones are probably still wacky postpartum. And with the trauma of betrayal, you're not going to make the best decision. If possible, get yourself a therapist to help you process your emotions. The anger will likely surface. You're probably in survival mode. I too remember feeling utterly terrified and so deeply wounded. The paralysis kept me put because I simply couldn't muster the energy required to leave. Slowly as my energy (and anger) returned, I realized I didn't want to leave. However, I did insist on certain conditions, number one being that my husband get counselling for his own issues.But for now...try and eat healthy. Get sleep when you can. Find a trusted person to confide in who can check in with you and help you through. And please know that you'll get through this. Try, as best you can, to focus on your baby and enjoy that as much as you can. Your problems can wait. Your baby will never be this age again...Elle
I found out about my husband's affair when my son was 8 months old. The affair recovery robbed me of enjoying his infancy. Do all that you can to enjoy your baby. Nothing...not even a happy ending for your marriage will be worth losing that time with your child.
Whoops -- accidentally deleted this comment when I tried to hit publish. Copying it here...I just wanted to thank you for your posts and I wanted to tell all the ladies on here that their comments and questions have been unbelievably helpful to me. I have been struggling this year after my partner had an affair. After seeking counselling we decided that we both love each other very much and want to work on our relationship. My biggest concern right now is that, after the first two months, I started to feel totally sexually indifferent toward my partner. Before I knew about his affair I was very sexually comfortable, I had a fab sex drive and now I feel that although my drive is still alive and well, I just have no interest in him sexually anymore. I love him deeply, and maybe I'm putting a statute of limitations on my hurt, but I WANT to want my partner. He is being very patient and loving, and seems to understand how I feel better than I do. I find it frustrating and it just makes me feel so depressed. Is there any hope for our relationship? Has anyone else had this problem? Any advice?
Yep. Intimacy is like the last frontier, in terms of letting our guard down. After we've been betrayed, it can be really hard to trust again. And intimacy also opens the door to painful memories, mind movies...and all that stuff we might have successfully relegated to the past. I wonder if you're putting too much pressure on yourself to become intimate too soon. Would you consider just trying to be intimate without sex? Hugging, hand-holding. Affection with to expectation of sex. Betrayal messes with our sense of worthiness, our feelings of attractiveness. For me, the thought of being naked with my husband left me feeling too vulnerable. But going slowly, introducing affection...got things rolling.Elle
Its been 11 years since my husband did the worst thing in the history of affairs. One night after being out drinking (as was the norm for him, usually every night) he came home with some girl - yes girl, she was 19 & she was drunk as well - we were in our mid 20's. He woke me up asking if she could stay because she was nearly assulted by a man we knew & she was scared to be alone. Mind you, at this time we were already having severe issues in our relationship. I don't know what I was thinking but I got up, got her blankets & a pillow & set up on our couch. My husband & her watched a movie while I was in the bedroom with our 1year old. I don't know what possesed me but I got up & went out there. It was dark, no movie playing, but there was plenty of noise. I knew exactly what was going on. I flipped on the light to find them having sex on our couch - with me & our son in the very next room! I kicked her out of our house naked & turned my anger, betrayal, heart break, & devistation on him. I moved out of state a few months later. After 6 months he moved to where we were & tried again. Being 11 years later I still CANNOT get passed it. It still haunts me to this day. I think about it probably 8 times a month... even after all these years. I don't know how to let it go. Just writing this is bringing back the flood of horrifying memories. Maybe its partly because I don't feel like I've ever been truly apologized too even tho we went to counseling & he broke down about it. I just don't know how to let go of this hurt, anger, lack of trust, maddening memory/feeling. Its been a long time & I just want to move on. Even if just for my sake. For my own peace of mind. I don't know what I'll do if I have to live with this every day for the rest of my life. Its not only the memory but I actually re-live that day over & over & over again.
My OH has lied to me through our whole relationship. An emotional affair with an ex. A secret daughter that I only found out about because I was snooping on his Facebook. Stupid lies and secrets for the first 3 years. I thought we were past it all. I thought we had turned a corner. I thought I was safe. Two weeks ago I looked at his computer history and he has created a profile on a hook up / sex site. I confronted him and of course at 1st he denied it but finally admitted it was a banner on a porn site saying "there may be singles in your area" and he got curious. Curious about WHAT??? His user name? Playbuddy and his password is "anytime". I feel sick. That says it all really eh?I am straight down the line - I dont feel that you have to stick your bits in someone for it to be cheating. I am so hurt. Cant eat, sleep, cant stop crying. I cant trust this man but then I love him. Why would he do that? I am usually the one to initiate sex so it isnt that he is deprived. If anything, he is more "vanilla" than I am in the bedroom so I dont understand. I am just so hurt .... I need answers but honestly, how can I ever trust anything this man ever tells me again?
Betrayal is behaving in a way that violates your partner's trust. That's what he's done.As for why he would do that, that's a question for him. And you're completely within your rights to demand he figure it out (preferably via a therapist) to help you understand and be able to trust that he won't do it again. Porn/sex rarely has anything to do with the quantity/quality of the sex at home. It's generally about avoiding uncomfortable feelings -- fear, loss, insecurity... It's a distraction, albeit an unhealthy one.You will only be able to trust him again when he understands why he went down this path...and has something in place to ensure it doesn't happen again. In the meantime, you can focus on processing your own feelings around this. Betrayal impacts us deeply so please allow yourself to feel what you're feeling. Your husband needs to recognize just how deeply he's hurt you and not minimize it.Elle
My husband said he was "done" with me in 2010 and that the affair he started with the "hot" neighbor wasn"t the reason he was leaving me. It turns out he never really loved me. He was a widower and just wanted a mother for his son. I was single, 30 and never been married. I fit the job description. He claims he was miserable all along. He has a laundry list of the ways I was not a good wife. So, in his eyes I was not a good mother to his son either, yet he stayed with me and had 4 other children with me. I found out about their "innocent" flirting and sharing of life's hardships thru secret email accounts affair in March 2012 from her husband who busted her receiving a text from my husband that began with "hey babe". In April 2012 we lost our home of 17 years and we separated. The 5 children (including his son now MY son) came with me. He bounced around between his cousins and sisters house. I found out in July 2012 they had been having a full blown affair all along. He only told me because her husband found out from an anonymous letter. Long story short, her husband kicked her out, she crawled back, then left on her own. My husband ended up spending more and more time with her because they were "in love" and there was just something "natural" about them together. What about the family we created? "I left you, not my children" was his reply. He proceeded to openly see her even though we were still married. Even went so far as to tell his children, 20, 16, 14, 12 that his was in love with this two-bit floozy and they should be happy for him. They basically told him they loved him but wanted NOTHING to do with her. He let them know if that's how they wanted to be he wanted nothing to do with them. Flash forward, she broke up with my husband in March of 2013 and went back home to her family. Her husband had begun seeing someone new and I think she hit panic mode and fund shortage. I stupidly let my husband come sleep on the couch at my house. He lived off of us for four months finally got his own place and guess what???? SHE"S BACK!!! Her husband didn't buy into her return and was giving her a hard time, so now she's back with my husband. And he wants her!!! I wish I was at the point of not giving a damn, but my heart won't listen to me.
I'm so so sorry for what you've had to go through...but now it's time for you to start treating yourself with the respect that he's refusing to treat you with. He has done nothing but demean you, devalue you and disrespect you. I think years of his emotional abuse has likely made you wonder if you have any value at all...but I'm telling you that you are worth TEN of him. You are a loyal wife and devoted mother and you need to tell him to get out of your home. You are NOT going to settle for his scraps.Please get yourself to a counsellor who can help build back up what he has spent years tearing down. You do not deserve to be treated like this. You deserve dignity and kindness and compassion. He clearly won't give it to you so you absolutely must start giving it to yourself. Ask yourself how you would treat your daughter (if you have one) going through this heartbreak. My guess is you would be gentle with her, hold her when she cries and remind her constantly that she is going to be just fine without him. Now do that for yourself. Find a good friend who can do that for you.But whatever you do, get this guy out of your life (except for his duties as father). He and this nutty Other Woman deserve each other. Elle
I found out that my husband cheated January 18, 2011. I am still struggling, although according to him, I should be past it all. Maybe some of you can shed some light as to how to stop being so angry, to trust again, to not worry so much about looking like the smuck who stayed with a man who cheated on her. There are only a handful of people who know. This was, to his relief, my decision. (I have my proof, if should ever need it.) I did not want to explain myself to everyone as to why I was giving this a try, and I certainly did not want to looks of sympathy from anyone, most especially his family. There are a few girlfriends who know, my therapist, a cousin on my side, and his sister whom I am very close too. I am fortunate that this support system is respectfully keeping this quiet. So to begin, some background on our relationship. It was wonderful while dating and the first few years of marriage. I am a very social person, he is not. I knew this and accepted this, he was more than accommodating when it came to me “going out” without him. Sounds like a recipe for disaster right, but it wasn’t. I did not go out with men alone ever. I went out with girlfriends, sometimes, husbands would join, but not mine. It had to be a big occasion to warrant his presence. I honestly never considered cheating, just need to be out, social, a break from housewifedom. It worked, until our first child. (we have a few kiddies) My occasional nights out turned into him having to “babysit” and he never ceased to tell me that me going out showed him I didn’t care about our family if I needed to get away. I promptly told him FATHER’S don’t babysit their kids, they raise them. When I am away it does not turn into babysitting because your raising your child, every day till they are an adult themselves. (Nice Try Dummy)I would ignore the comment of I don’t love my family enough if I feel the need to go out. He felt that because I was not completely fulfilled with him and the kids, I did not love them. I would simply say, I love you all, I just need to get out. The guilt trips would last for a week sometimes longer. I learned to live with this, but I did not stop going out (once a month, or once every 2 months).He was choosing to not join me, he was invited every time. How I would have loved to have blown off some steam with him, laugh with others, get a little tipsy, have a DATE with him with others. I could tell my friends and their husbands loved out nights out, it brought them closer as a couple to let off steam together. Dinner, bowling, whatever…but he could not be swayed to join us. (this back history has point later)
In 2005 my mom passed away, I fell into to a depression. I at the time did not realize that I was depressed. This lasted for awhile, I believe the not recognizing my depression and getting help for it contributed to my husband looking for support elsewhere. (NO Excuse) In 2007 he happend to meet up with and ex (who is married with a couple kids) while scouting a HS football game. Her son was playing on the team he was scouting. They visited for awhile, and somehow she was able to escape her family and my husband (who has no friends or ever goes out, except with his family or mine) didn’t get home that night until 4am. Ummm, yes, I confronted him, and I believed his lies. He was out with the other coaches, they closed the bars and went to breakfast. I thought ok, maybe if he makes some guy friends it might help him bow off some steam, maybe even get him to go out with me and my friends, this small taste of social activity. So lets jump to fall 2010. Unbeknownst to me there was an email, lunch and dinner affair going on during this time, he states is was never physical past some kissing. (hence feeling like a smuck) He also states it was sporadic, they would not see or speak for months at at time. So back up, fall 2010. I still don’t know of his philandering, but he was more than ever distant. A bigger smartass than usual, and sometimes, just mean. And OH the guilt when I would go out with my girlfriends, my monthly or bi-monthy Night out, was out of control. An old female friend of his was reaching out to him. I’ve known her throughout our entire history together. (She was married with kids as well)She begin calling and asking to meet talk again. At first I thought nothing of it, he met her for dinner, then a lunch. She then wanted to go see a local band she liked and he asked me if he could go with her. Had he extend an invite to me, his wife, more than likely I would have said Yes, LET”S GO OUT!!! But he did not. I ever so calmly said to my husband, I’m sorry, this is where I draw the line. Your telling me, you, Mr. Antisocal will go out, to a loud crowded bar for this woman (old friend), but in all these years you won’t go to a place like that with me, or even for me?My answer to you is NO. And I reminded him that on the nights I do, did go out, don’t I always extend an invitation to you? And once have I ever asked to go out alone with an old guy friend? (All my guy friends were invited to dinner, so that I could catch up with them with my husband around)At this he became extremely agitated. So I started digging. On a lonely night in January 2011 I cracked into his email and read four years worth of email. NOT from his old friend whom I told he could not go to the bar with, but his ex whom he rekindled with at the football back in 2007. Remember that night he came home at 4am. So here I am, approaching 3 years later, and I’m asking how do I get rid of the anger? I have moments when I feel I am moving past all of this, and I think, if I just let go and trust, will I be the smuck again?
Slim,It's easy to see how each of you was feeling unvalued, distant within the marriage. I'm not saying it made sense to feel that way...but much of our responses to our spouses is rooted in deeper stuff than just what's happening within the marriage.So...he was feeling like the "babysitter", you were feeling abandoned socially. He find someone who makes him feel appreciated blah blah blah (oldest story in the book) and now you're being told that you should be "over it" by now.Doesn't work that way.I'm glad to read that you have a therapist. I'm curious what he/she is saying about your anger and grief. It's not uncommon for this to take years to get past. You're 2.5 years out...at which point I was still feeling pretty angry and sad. I guess the question is, do you feel as if it's getting better? A lot of us wind up in a state of numbness around 2 years. We're past the wild ups and downs of the first year or so...but haven't quite reconciled ourselves to our new world. Your concern about feeling like a shmuck says to me that you still feel unsafe in your relationship...and that you're worried to let your guard down again.What has your husband done about his behaviour? Is he in therapy? How does he reassure you? Do you have access to his computer/phone/etc.? What more could he be doing to help you feel safe again in the marriage?Many, many of these guys just don't get how devastating betrayal is. They figure that if they're no longer involved in an affair that we should be "over it". But a "trust violation" as the experts call it, goes to the very core of our sense of safety in the world. It shatters our expectations about who we can trust, who has our backs. It makes us feel very, very alone.This is what needs addressing in therapy...and with your husband.Elle
Elle,Thanks for your reply. I am most definitely numb. To my husband, and even the kids at times. This scares me. Therapy says that, that is normal, the numbness. My fear is that it does not pass, then what? Do I continue to live a numb life, for the kids? I am so afraid of being hurt like that again, it’s almost like a comfort to hold onto the anger. Again, I am told this is normal. But I almost feel like at times my therapist is humoring me. I am out of the depression, many thanks to her and my hard work. I almost get a sense that she thinks I should be further down my path to forgiveness, although she has never said that. I have asked if its time to move on (stop therapy or find someone new) and although she has told me she wants to see this through, she is supportive either way. Could be my paranoia carrying over. So not even a year out another therapist told me I need to let my husband have the privacy of his email. But i have access to phone. I crave wanting to read the email, but I don’t ask. When I go down that path, I breathe deeply and try to let it go. Do you still have access to your husbands? Should I ask? Could this little thing be preventing me from moving on? Having peace of mind? How does one bring that back up? Needless to say we no longer see that marriage councilor. We no longer go together to counseling. I became tired of setting up appointments and doing all the legwork. I one day told him, that I would like to continue counseling, but I needed him to schedule and do the leg work. He scheduled one session, we have not been back since. He has many excuses. He essentially is a better dad, I am not letting him be a better husband, but he is trying. He is HERE more, not running away. He s playing taxi cab driver more than ever without complaint. Cooking, laundry, this seems to be his way of showing me I am here….I’m appreciative, and recognize his better behavior. (It was all me in the past, and he complained if asked to contribute in the ways stated above before D day) I know because of his upbringing, he will not leave me or the kids, at the very least until our youngest is done with high school, if not ever. He is remorseful, sorry, etc….but strongly believes I should be “done” with my healing. He does not push, bring it up, but i feel it. I will continue therapy and plugging along. I want that epiphany to hit me that I am past this. I am afraid I may not be able to deal at some point and have no other option but to part ways. We shall see. Thanks for responding.Slim
Hi, Elle - First, thank you for this site. I found out about my husband's nine month betrayal in June. After 17 years of marriage and 22 years exclusively together, it was like being hit by lightening, run over by a car, attacked by a lion, dropped from the Empire State Building, and drowned by a raging river, all at once. I come here to try to help make sense of my feelings and receive some small measure of comfort so I can take the next breath when the waves of despair crash over my head again.The OW could have written the letter you posted on the blog (and hilariously commented upon) last week. She did tell my husband to file from divorce from me, even hired a lawyer for him, and she gave it her very best shot to convince him that I didn't love him. She knew he was married from the start. She has destroyed two other marriages before by being the OW (and she isn't even 40 years old yet!) My husband is (as far as I can tell and I do check), leading an open, honest life with me. He finally came out of his affair fog in late August/early September and it is a relief to me that he sees her, her motives, and what he did from a place of truth and reality now. Besides wanting to thank you for this site, the reason for my post is to ask if you know of any books that I could give DH to read to explain to him my mindset and my steps towards healing. He is usually patient with me, and always loving. I do get held when I cry. I do get space when I want to go for a run to feel better. I do get words of affirmation. However, I can tell he is sometimes frustrated, because we are together, the OW is totally out of our lives, and we are putting our marriage first and our family a close second now. He is a typical guy and he wants to "do something" to help put me back together. I want to give him something to read that will give him guidance, and, in turn, help me. Ideas, suggestions?
You're welcome. I'm glad the site is helping you.I don't know of any books to recommend…but wondered if you might want to print out some of the more pertinent posts on this site to help him understand what you (and, as he'll see, so many others) experience in the wake of betrayal. I know of at least one other reader who asked her husband to read this site…and his response was a greater insight into how wounded we are post-betrayal. If I do come across any books that I think would suit, I'll certainly let you know. Perhaps others might come along and offer up recommendations that have worked for them.Elle
Please help. I feel crazy. It’s been 10 months since D-day. I discovered it before he confessed to a 2 year affair with one of my closest friends. That hurt something extra. I'm 27. They are both 30. He chose on his own to stay. He refuses to let me take any blame for his unfaithfulness. He & OW are very alike in personality. OW was also married @ start of affair. She divorced after 6 months, has never apologized, and actually moved CLOSER to where we live since D-day. Which really unnerves me and pisses me off, tho I do feel I have moved past my anger at her (sent her 1 email with all I had to say back in mo. 2 after D-day and haven't spoken to her since). My husband has practically nothing negative to say about me. He says I'm a wonderful wife, an amazing person, anyone would be lucky to have me, & what a huge mistake leaving me for OW would be. But he STILL battles feelings for OW. Sometimes this makes him distant. Sex drive plummets. I start picking myself apart. He knows this hurts me. He doesn’t know how to change so he won’t hurt me. He loved her, thought they were "soul mates"... but I believe wholeheartedly he's mistaken the fantasy/lust/excitement for love, (ignoring all the OWs lies and fights they had during affair). I try to help him, offer advice, books/articles to read, listen to him without judgment. I've been unbelievably empathetic & patient almost since day 1. I know I must continue to be-- I've read it can take just as long for him to get past OW as for me to feel healed. But I’m stuck. I can’t do or say anything to help him, no matter what I try to do or say. He still lets himself wonder what his life would be like with her. Like he’s afraid he’s missing greener grass on the other side of the fence so he just stares at the neighbor’s yard all day wondering what it would be like to have it instead of the grass dying slowly under his inattentive feet. All that, PLUS I just found out that my parents BOTH had affairs when I was very young and that my mom was the betrayer AND the OW, tho at least she never met his wife. BUT STILL. It's too close to my pain for me to feel okay about it. But she’s my mom and it was 27 years ago. And she stayed and she came clean within a month. I don’t know how to feel! I have been coping gracefully up to this point, but this news has had me feeling unable to cope. A first since D-day. Now I feel there is absolutely no one who is as they seem (given that the first new person I forced myself out of my shell of pain to try and trust again/befriend after D-day turned out to be an OW also, which I didn’t learn until AFTER she’d heard my story, yet she still lied to my face). My H said just yesterday that he does want to keep trying and stay. So there’s that. But I still feel... overwhelmed. Unable to deal. Rudderless. I need someone to rely on. My husband isn’t fitting that bill right now. And after mom's news, I can't think of a single person. Even my friendships I still trust. So I search books and the web for stories of a similar situation. But I haven’t found ANY. My H didn't stay “for the kids” because we don’t have kids. He stayed without that obligation. He stayed because it was the right thing to do and he couldn’t/wouldn’t leave me. He stayed for as many reasons as I stayed. Some romantic/loving, some practical. We are 10 mo. into healing, my emotions aren’t as rollercoastery as before, & my H should be well into letting the OW go. I refuse to give up, so it has to be him that chooses to quit. But any stories that first sound like they would be like mine turn out to have Hs staying for the kids or a struggling sex life (ours was/is incredible) or they've been married for like 15yrs (we are in yr 4) & other things that lend to making sense that the H still has love for the OW but feels obligated to stay. So... is ANYONE else in a similar situation? Or has gone through one like me? I can't be the ONLY person whose situation is/was like this! Right??
I'm so so sorry for what you've been going through. It must seem as if no-one has any scruples. And it's true that infidelity is rampant. That said…there are many who are honest and decent. You note that your husband is taking total "blame" for his affair, which is admirable. But at the same time, he's clearly made you aware that he's not over the OW. That he thought they were "soul-mates". Her moving closer to you likely doesn't help AT ALL. But it seems like some sort of weird emotional abuse. To keep you hanging in there while he tries to get over someone else. I get that it can take time for spouses to get over the OW…but for you to be so aware of it seems perverse to me. I can't help but wonder what he's getting out of this -- some ego boost that two women want him? I think he's either in or he's out. He's a fence-sitter…and though he says he's staying, his actions seem to indicate that he's got a toe out the door. Are you in counselling, individually and as a couple? I think you've been plenty patient enough. And I'm sure he's right that this has nothing to do with you -- you're no doubt an amazing person. So what the hell is his problem?But…that's my thinking. I don't think I could put up with that much ambivalence after someone had betrayed me like that (and with a close friend! That's unbearably cruel!). And to find out your mother was also capable of deception. Well…it's no wonder your head is spinning.You might find this story interesting (http://www.salon.com/2011/04/22/boyfriend_choosing_between_us/). I'm honestly not sure how it played out. I think they split up…but that's conjecture on my part.In the meantime, I hope you'll at least get counselling to help you get clear on what exactly you want out of this.Elle
Thank you. Yeah, I worry sometimes about that, too. But one reason I am so aware of it is because of the kind of person I am. I'm very self aware& my awareness extends to my H cuz I've spent so much time focused on him/his moods, what they mean for me. BUT he doesn't admit to it lightly. Its usually only after I notice his growing distant for about 2 weeks, finally cracking & forcing him to acknowledge that he's been fighting an inner battle & isn’t handling it as well as he thought. That's when he begrudgingly & remorsefully tells me there are still feelings. It never comes from a place of ego, thankfully. I imagine it's a lot like the battles I have every day with my pain/the past. I'm just better at it than him cuz I’m not afraid to dive into my pain & look inside myself. But yes, he is very much a fence-sitter. It’s frustrating. Over the years he has unwittingly nurtured his inability to make decisions & stick to a commitment. This is, I think, where he is a broken person. He is constantly changing cars/phones/etc (always gets great deals tho) reading reviews before he buys & even still, taking days, even weeks, to make a decision & then 90% of the time he isn't happy with the change he made & ends up back with his original choice within a couple days... (Our families joked about this habit of his before we got married. But it has gotten much more prevalent than it was then.) I asked him last night to try therapy again & fix whatever brokenness is inside him that made him cheat -cuz he will never be happy with whomever he's sharing his life with if he can't be happy with himself. He agreed it was time to give it another go. 1 week after D-day I had us in therapy. The mc was ok, but said there wasn't much she could do for both of us until my H had sorted out his issues & he agreed to individual counseling. But it was quickly clear to us both that she was not helping. She didn't give him any guidance, didn't give him a safe place to work through what he'd done & his feelings, etc. She made him feel judged & basically gave only this advice: "looks like you have a choice to make." After that, we dealt with it ourselves & things got better. But 4 mo ago I noticed a shift. It was like he was actually allowing himself to be happy and involved with me till then and then checked himself & started to doubt again. It hasn’t been all ambivalence since then, but it does tend to come up more often now. There have been so many good times of really pronounced healing & forward moving-ness tho... but if he never fixes what’s broken inside him he can never truly hope to fix the damage he’s done to us. But I feel like... I wouldn't feel right if I gave up on him - not being patient or loving enough to stick with him while he fixed what was wrong in himself. I mean, I would hope if the roles were reversed he wouldn't give up on me.I definitely agree with what you’ve said tho. I worry about all this at times, but I feel- and hope- that I’m a strong and smart enough person to know when enough truly is enough and when I just need to keep plowing forward. Thank you for responding so quickly and so insightfully. I have considered going back to therapy as well, just to find a way to cope with news of my mom. Until that happens, I'm so grateful to have found sites like this. It really helps me to read something in moments of worry. Helps me even myself out and proceed with a certain peace through the rest of my day. (also thanks for the link! I'm about to go read it now)
I just found out about my husband having an affair with his co-worker . The only reason it stopped is because i found out. I called her and she sounded so confident, she said they were both in love with each other and that they had a plan. that the only reason he was still with me is because of our kids. I love my husband and i want to work on our marriage . But i'm concerned that he might leave me after my kids turn 18yrs old ..My son is 15yrs and my daughter is 12. I really want to tell her husband but afraid about my husband loosing his job. I feel im going crazy. I was able to check the statements from his checking account, found out they spent a wknd together when i was away visiting my family. Since they work in the same place i will never know whats going on at work. I cant express all the emotions im going thru but i can relate to most of the stories. Should i talk to her husband?
Yes, I think you should talk to her husband. He deserves to know what his wife is doing and determine whether he wants to stay married to her. Just give him the facts of what you know…and then completely let go of it. Don't get pulled into their drama, you've got your own.What is your husband saying? Why was he involved with her? What is he telling you about his future? If you two aren't in counselling, please get there. You can't live life wondering if your husband has one foot out the door.You need access to all his communication devices to determine whether he's in contact with anyone he shouldn't be. If he won't provide that, it's a huge red flag.You can only rebuild your marriage if that's what he wants to. Finally, you're not going crazy. Those involved in affairs are the crazy ones…and they pull us into their craziness. Determine what you want, and then determine if he wants the same thing…and if so, how you're going to achieve it.Elle
It's been almost 3 1/2 years since I saw the Fat Whore (OW). My husband & I have done counseling & restored our lives together. However, the longest I have gone without having a thought about the Fat Whore, is about 36 hours. Will it ever go away? Or will I have to spend the rest of my life expecting to think about her at least once a day. Usually more. When does it get better?
Read my response to EB, below. Try some of the tricks to stop thinking about her. It's likely become like a bad habit…Elle
I found out that my husband cheating n me, i am lost. It all started last month when my mother inlaw visited me for asking me to translate a txt message she received, it was n english ans she asked me to translate it in french. i was shocked when i started readin the sms saying that she is the girlfriend of my husband for 7 yrs and thet she is 2 months pregnant by my husband, and that they lived together in Dubai for 6 yrs. She is seeking for advice to my mother inlaw. i felt like dying. On that day too my son in belgium gave me a call to tell me that he received a message from a woman saying that" tell your mother to call me and its very important, with the number i need to call. It is a nightmare. I called up my husband, i told him who that woman is.. he just replied and told me that he is sorry, and i should not listen to the woman as she is just a b**** blackmailing him and we will discuss about everything once he is back home. My husband is working for an oil company, he comes home in every 6weeks for 2 weeks. I am in so much pain, i cant believe that he cheated n me for 7 yrs. he is an ideal father and husband. i feel disgusted that he is making love to me and he is doin it too with someone. i love my husband but how am i going to accept and trust him again. i dont know what to do, i feel like calling the OW.What should i do.
I'm sorry it has taken me so long to respond. I was out of town and just getting back to my desk.I hope you're simply getting yourself through: eat something, sleep when you can, be gentle with yourself.Whatever your husband says, expect it to be only part of the story. These guys often offer up "trickle truth" -- bits and pieces that make it all seem "not so bad". Anticipate that it will be so bad.And then hunker down and know that you're going through hell. It won't last forever but it will feel like it is. He needs to tell you everything that you want to know about. And then, if he's remotely interested in saving his marriage, he needs to figure out how to find some time to be with you as you rage, vent, cry, fall apart. Finally, you both need to get yourself to a counsellor who can help you sort through this mess and at least do triage.There's little point in calling the OW. She'll likely tell you things you don't need to hear (and that might be total lies). You know enough.Hang in there. You will survive this. Elle
This is a combination background and feeling stuck post. Today is D-day plus 6 months. I found out my husband was cheating on me when I looked at his phone and found text messages from a co-worker that were clearly not work related. This was about 2 weeks before our wedding. Things had been off for a while leading up to the wedding, we were both bottling up things that were bothering us and we had become more like roommates. We both told ourselves that it would be better after the wedding. After I found the messages I didn’t say anything at first. I needed to process. I spent that whole day at work basically staring into space trying to figure out what the hell to do. I do love my husband and I wanted to be with him so I decided to try to make it work. Some days I wonder if I made the right decision. The next morning I told him what I had seen and that he needed to make a decision. He didn’t hesitate in saying he wanted to be with me and wanted to marry me. We went through with the wedding. He has apologized, acknowledged how much he hurt me, said it was all a huge mistake that he would erase if he could. As everyone here I’m sure knows there have been a lot of tears, a lot of emotional discussions and a lot of ups and downs. The good news is that she lives in a different state that is about a 4 hour flight away. Based on what he told me it doesn’t even make any sense. As I said she lives far away, she is also divorced with 2 kids and they have completely different lifestyles. The affair was more emotional than anything (lots of phone calls and text messages) because they only saw each other once or twice in the 3 months it was going on, believe me I’ve checked his location during that time. He claims that it only went as far as a kiss, I’m not sure I believe that but I’m not sure it matters. I know he cheated; the extent of it doesn’t really change things. And I think the emotional cheating is actually the most painful part. The bad news is they still work for the same company so there is always the chance he will have to talk to her or someday see her again. For the most part I’m doing a lot better. He makes a point of telling me he loves me every day. We have both made a strong effort to stay more connected, to not bottle things up. We talk about the future and what we want. But some days, like today, I can’t get it out of my head. I think about HER and can’t help comparing myself to her. I know no one is perfect but in my head she is and he misses her. Some days I wonder if I’ll ever get past it. I find myself just expecting something bad to happen and trying to analyze everything he says or does looking for clues that he is hiding something. Even though he recently told me he’s very happy and has no regrets about our decision to stay together. A friend of mine has a PhD in psychology and likened it to PTSD with the intrusive thoughts, anxiety, etc.. I know that I’m just going to make myself crazy if I keep dwelling on it, but there are days it’s really hard to let it go.
PTSD is exactly what it is. I experienced it, as did a lot of women on this site. We often feel a little silly calling it that because, after all we think, we didn't fight in a war. But make no mistake, our bodies responded as if we were. Thinking about the OW is a choice. It might not feel like one…but it is. And because it's a choice, you get to determine if you're going to do it. You need to retrain yourself to stop. We've talked a lot on this site about picturing a big stop sign when you think of her, or snapping an elastic on your wrist when you think of her, or picturing her in the most embarrassing situation possible (can your husband tell you the most embarrassing thing about her? Like she farts really loud or has bad breath or has horrible grammar or thinks Katy Perry is her spirit animal?). I chose to run. I would allow myself the time of my run (about 30 minutes) to think about her. And that was all I would allow myself. Knowing I had "scheduled" time to think about her freed me up the rest of the day to get on with things. Not a perfect solution but I nonetheless got into really good shape…and eventually stopped thinking about her at all.Ultimately it takes time…but you can move things forward by trying some of these strategies or coming up with your own.She was a convenient distraction when your husband was looking for one. That's all. She's just skin covering bones with a heart of stone. Not worth your time or energy.Elle
Thanks Elle! I love this line “She's just skin covering bones with a heart of stone.” I do try to picture the stop sign. I also picture Snuffleupagus from Sesame Street because he was just in Big Bird’s head (or at least for most of the time the show ran). What amazes me about this whole thing is the highs and lows. 2 days ago I felt terrible. Today my attitude is more defiant. One of the things I’ve realized is that post D-day I lost myself. I stopped being me. I was always worrying about what my husband thought because I was afraid of losing him. The me that I became was a scared, people pleaser. And that’s not who I want to be (or who he fell in love with). Some of this has to do with bad habits I’ve had my whole life which have probably ruined past relationships and I’m looking into therapy to help change some of those habits. But I’ve started remembering a few things lately. The only thing I can control is me. I can’t control anyone else’s actions or choices. I haven’t been treating myself very well lately and I need to change that. I’ve recently started running again. It’s something that I used to love but I took time off due to injury and then never started again once the stuff hit the fan because I was more worried about being around for my husband so that he would still love me. So I’m working on changing my inner monologue, the one that worries more about what other people think and is always critical. I found this quote today that I think sums it up (wish I knew where it came from); “At the end of the day all you need is hope and strength. Hope that it will get better and strength to hold on until it does. “
Sounds like you've hit on the perfect blueprint for how to live the rest of your life. As my mother used to say, "just show up." I never really got what she meant until that was all I was capable of doing…and I realized it was enough. I didn't have to please, impress, dazzle, convince. I just had to show up and be me. It's that easy.Elle
2 years ago my husband sat me down and told me he had had two affairs, but it took forever for it to actually come out, he told me over 4 days, at first it was just a kiss, with the first OW and then he admitted that he had slept with her whilst out drinking. Then a few days later he then tells me there was another one. This is the one that I am still having prolems getting my head around, We had only been married 11 months when the first affair happened, (we had been together for 7 years, since we were 16) this was a one night stand with a much older woman, old enough to be his mum. The second affair happened 5 months later, it was with a work colleague. Myself and my husband had been talking about having another baby (We had a 2 nearly 3 year old) he was going to this woman taking her for lunch and saying how he really didn't want a baby etc etc and private things about our marriage. They went away with work for a christmas do, they all go every year, he got drunk and he stayed in her hotel room for the night where they had sex, which i found they also used no protection! From then, decemeber until february, when he told me, he kept seeing her for coffee etc, is what he told me, although to this day i don't believe that it was just coffee. She was telling him to leave me and how i couldn't make him happy. On the day that he told me he rung her to say that he had told me and her words are still in my head, 'ah no, why did you tell her, that poor girl'!! WHY! say poor girl when you slept with my husband!! I hate that she has the audacity to feel sorry for me. She spoke with me on the phone and told me all about her abusive ex, my response wasm why does an abusive ex make it ok for you to sleep with my husband.He still works with her, i wanted to go in so she would have to see me face to face, not to say anything just so i could look at her and she would know who i was. but he's only invited me in when she wasn't there, this annoys me. I went out for a meal, sunday just gone and there she was, with her new boyfriend who happens to be one of my sisters close friends! I can't get rid of her! I wasn't well and had just thrown on some clothes and done my make up so i felt completely ambushed when i saw her! Why can't i get over this!! We have had another baby since i found out about his affairs and i do love him, forgiven him........ not 100% but why was it easier to try and forgive him and i can't stop thinking about her with him, makes me angry with her. I don't want her to be happy!FYI we did go to couselling, maybe i need some more sessions. Just don't want to bring up with hubby again as he gets annoyed.Anyway this probably makes no sense as its so complicated in my head still!
This makes complete sense…and we've all been there. You're giving this woman a whole lot of real estate in your head…and telling yourself stories that are completely untrue. This woman, with her abusive ex, got involved with a married man. That's not the actions of a woman who feels good about herself, or feels like she's got a lot to offer someone. Those are the actions of someone grateful for scraps. Her "oh-poor-me-I'm-a-victim" are the words of someone with so little insight into her own behaviour. You're the victim here…but she made it all about her. So you can add narcissist to her list of attributes, not to mention totally lacking in compassion. The fact that she can recognize that you would be hurt by this (ie. "that poor girl") but going ahead and sleeping with your husband anyway makes her something of a sociopath. So please…don't for a second think she's superior to you in any way.What can you do? Fake it til you make it. Stop giving her any more brain time. Snap an elastic on your wrist anytime you think of her. Imagine her in the worst possible way (one woman on this site started imagining the other woman as a raw chicken in the supermarket with the OW's head on it) when you think of her at all. And slowly you'll stop giving her so much power over you.Elle
I wrote to you once before and I need to ask another question: my husband and I both had affairs, him 10 years ago, me 9 years ago, each for a few months. We found out in August, when he told me and I told him. We have a daughter and I am pregnant, in my 2nd trimester. I forgave my husband very quickly for his affair and I feel I'm over it. But other times I wonder if I am over it, because I am still in complete shock and disbelief. He asked me, back in August, about the details of my affair (which was with a single man) because he really needed to know. I have not asked him to tell me anything about his affair because I know it will make it real and I'm afraid of feeling pain and realizing it actually happened. But sometimes I think it's better for both of us if I don't ask. I take care of our daughter, I have been taking care of him and listening to him every and all times he has needed to talk, which is often, on top of it feeling the nausea, extreme low energy, and having no one of my own to confide in except a therapist. He is very resistent to seeing a therapist. Yes, he saw one three times and that was it. I have been seeing my therapist weekly for a long time. I feel that I can't talk about how I feel hurt, both from his affair and from the fact that he can't forgive me. I forgave him! We have so much to lose-- the children. And it was so long ago. I feel sick to my stomach all the time, my stress is off the roof because he is not sure he can forgive me and is not sure he's going to stay with me. Maybe I'm going to get crucified on this site since I had an affair too, but I am a different person than I was 9 years ago (I was very young then, and stupid to boot, and unhappy) and I feel physically and emotionally unable to keep supporting him when I get very little support from him. He does listen to me when I need to talk, but I don't talk very often because I always find that it makes things worse for him. The hardest thing with all of this is that he thinks my affair was worse than his affair (because I'm a woman). That kills me. He isn't the person I thought he was. I thought we were equals. I feel just sick about this all the time, and it kills me how this is affecting my baby. It worries me when he says he thinks he'd be happier with someone else, when I put myself out there again and again and again, I give and give and give to him and I'm getting very little in return. Thanks.
I will venture that you are not over his affair. It sounds as if you've decided to simply sweep it under the rug rather than feel the pain that goes with it. He, on the other hand, is dealing with his pain by somehow convincing you that what you did was worse than what he did.Your pregnancy means that another little being is depending on you to create a healthy place for him/her to develop. So you need to get your stress under control. Easier said than done, I know. But please consider what you can do -- exercise,meditation, eating well. I'm wondering why your therapist doesn't seem to be helping you more. Perhaps you've outgrown him/her? Sometimes we stay with what's comfortable rather than seek out a therapist who challenges our way of thinking.What does he/she say about your "forgiveness" of your husband?As for your husband, why in the world does he think a woman's infidelity is worst than a man's? What the hell is that about?Rather than play the who-hurt-the-other-more game, why not acknowledge that your marriage was clearly in crisis and neither of you dealt with it in a mature/healthy way? And then take a good look at your marriage now and determine whether you both managed to change enough in yourselves and your marriage in the intervening nine years to feel "safe" in your marriage now. If not, why not? And what do you need to know to create that.I completely get that each of you feels deeply wounded by what the other did. And it makes complete sense that you examine your marriage to figure out why you both went outside your marriage…and what you can do to ensure that neither sees that as a viable option again. You're right -- you have two kids (or 1 1/2 kids) depending on you to create a stable home. And depending on you to show them how to navigate life's ups and downs. This is a huge "down" for sure. And it would certainly help your husband if he got therapy for his own pain around this. He seems instead to be lashing out at you in a way that is neither helpful nor healthy for a still-in-the-womb baby. And perhaps, together with your therapist, figure out why you're giving and giving and giving and getting nothing in return. Is this new? Or has this pretty much summed up your marriage. Affairs are excruciating. But if you choose to, you can use the crisis to take a hard look at what got you there…and how you're going to rebuild.Elle
Hi Elle,Thanks for your reply. It's very helpful. It's interesting that you suggest I may have outgrown my therapist-- he seems to think I'm "over it" too. The more I think about it though, the more I think I've barely begun to process it. I've been working so hard on just keeping our lives together for the sake of the kids that I've completely put my own feelings aside. And yes, that does sum up our marriage-- that I give and give and give, and he gives little back when I need it. He can only give to me when he's feeling good himself. I was deeply hurt and extremely bothered by his thinking my affair was worse because I'm a woman; if there is any truth to that, he is not saying so now or has changed his mind, or maybe it came out wrong? Sometimes I question how I hear things from him. Now he says it's just because of the circumstances of our lives at the time that makes him feel mine was worse, but he was reluctant to answer the question at all since he thinks it's a moot point and doesn't really matter "whose is worse". I agree with you on that, but it matters to me if I'm with someone who thinks mine is worse and is making me feel bad for mine being worse. I think I need to ask him about the details of his affair, both so (primarily) I can begin to process the affair and come to grips with it, and, honestly, also so that it will maybe stop this environment of where it seems like he's the only one who's hurting from an affair. I'm suffering, but more quietly and internally. I had been afraid of how I would feel when I realize he's really not the person I thought he was then. The other thing is, and I haven't come to grips with this either, is that even though that was his only affair, he told me there was one time in the last few years when he was "snuggling" with a girl at a bar after softball practice. He says he was drunk and is pretty sure they didn't kiss. And then there was another time, soon before we started trying to get pregnant with my daughter (both of these instances are three years ago) when he stayed late at a party (also softball-related) and people ended up with their clothes off at the end. He said nothing happened, and I believe him. But one of the girls there, who was on his softball team, has in the years since, every once in awhile, sent him an email. Like, emails wanting to hook up. She sent him a picture recently too (she was wearing clothes). I appreciate his honesty, but it leaves me feeling even worse because I know he really has the hots for her and he has admitted to being obsessed. So on top of everything else, I feel even worse about myself. And I'm pregnant and getting big, and I can't keep up looks-wise with a 20-some year old girl who's not pregnant. I always hear this voice in the back of my head that he doesn't really want to be with me, he wants to be with her. It's excruciating and heartbreaking.
Excruciating and heartbreaking pretty much sums things up. But you don't have to stay with excruciating and heartbreaking.There seems to be an awful lot of cheating on his side. And he seems a master of minimizing it. He should not be getting e-mails from women wanting to hook up. He needs to make it absolutely clear to these women that he is a married man and father and that their e-mails are unwanted and unwelcome. That he isn't doing that sends off alarm bells. And photos? C'mon…that's absolutely NOT okay. If he wouldn't engage in this behaviour with you right beside him, then he shouldn't be engaging in it at all. And he seriously needs to find something other than softball. Since when did softball become about drinking, getting naked and making out with team-mates?As for being obsessed with a woman sending him pictures? WTF is up with that??You need to develop a backbone and make it abundantly clear that what he's doing is unacceptable. You cheated…okay. But that doesn't give him a free pass to pull this kind of bullshit and pretend that it's nothing. He's playing with fire. Of course you're hurting and his inability to recognize that speaks both to his own self-absorption and to your fear of making demands about your own needs. You deserve to be heard. You deserve to be married to someone who doesn't welcome photos of naked women (you're pregnant with his child, for gawdsake!! Where's the respect??). Please…stop putting up with this. It's emotional abuse.Elle
New here hoping this will help me.(my name is Kim) Been married for a year and half one month after we we'd I found out my husband cheated on me with a prostitue off of Craigslist list( yes disgusting I hate even typing it) he was in the military and I had the investigators tell me about it he was completely drunk when it happened still no excuse for what he did.. I couldn't seem to let him go and the. I found out the day after we married he was texting another woman trying to sleep with her basically while we were out with friends... And so after I found all this out I was just cold hearted and a bitch and finally I wanted a divorce butt found out I was pregnant one week later so I decided to stay... And it didn't get any better I didn't want to be around him or him to touch me I was just a constant bitch... Meanwhile he has been nothing but nice trying to make amends for what he has done to me but I wanted nothing of it I kicked him out he had a drinking problem for a little while worked at strip clubs as a bouncer bc he got kicked out of the military basically they wouldn't renew him and he needed to support us he is a hard working man just at the wrong places so we finally got back together in April I had kicked him out in December and all was well going to counseling but things just started to get worse he didn't understand what it is like to be around a pregnant woman with all these hormones ect he would work pretty much 24/7 and I was over it ESP bc I didn't trust him...finally in June out son was born and everything was great in the hospital and we got him he returned to work as usual at the strip club at nights (mind you his cc debt and money has been an issue I'm money smart he isn't and he already totaled his car bc he was DD and lucky didn't kill anyone or himself or get a ticket!! This was back in December before I kicked him out) so we were workin with one car mine and two days after we brought our son home he went out to eat at his strip club with one of his friends and was out till 4 am he swears on his kids n life he didn't do anything but hang out with friends I was and still am furious bc he should have been helping me with the baby... I treated him cold for like 3 weeks or so and I used my car to hold over his head cuz that's all I had against him so he went behind my back saved up 1000$ that should have been for cc bills or counseling and bought a car without even telling me... So I kicked him out and to raise our son and my 5yr old alone (from previous relationship) and he basically dated some girl he worked with at the strip club a cocktail waitress and slept with her n she I think screwed him over he didn't say why but I don't really want to know as my mind and thoughts already go racing as it is about all the crap he has done and this was back in August or so and despite what u may think I still wanted to be with him for what freking reason I wish I knew part of me was like I'm so better off without him n then my other half is like I miss his so much I want my family ect bc despite what he did to me by cheating he was good to me and showed me affection n attention... And now he realized I was the best he ever had he's so sorry for screwing everything up he admits he was wrong for the car the going to eat a steak for everything that he wasn't the father n husband I deserved... And now he wants to make amends for everything and make it better he said that he only dated the girl bc he wanted to get over me n the hurt I caused him.. But it's still hard to think that he could move on so quick and neglect his new born son to be with her n work and to just stay away from me bc he didn't want to be around me so that's why he didn't ever come see his son... Let's just say karma is a bitch the car he bought behind my back he totaled it.. With no insurance on it either.. He roommate just screwed him over n now he has to pay his full rent. He can't
afford he still has all his cc bills he got fired from the strip club and is down to one job he can hardly pay his bills so karma got him pretty good... But I just don't know what to do I feel like she was better than me I think about there sexual relations and just how he could do such a thing I'm hurt and angry I know I deserve better n I know I can do better... But I love him I just don't know how to get past this and move on I want my brain to stop going million miles an hr thinking about the crap he's done I don't know how to trust him anymore.. Help anyone any suggestions would be amazing I hope I got everything written down I tend to jump from one thing to another thank you ladies so much!
Kim,You can't trust him. It's that simple. He has shown you he can't be trusted. Not with money, not with your heart, not with a child, not with a car. He's a mess and you're better off without him.I think you know that…and I know it's not easy. I know we choose the wrong people all the time for reasons that we don't always understand. But maybe his role was to teach you that you deserve better. To make it so clear to you that you deserve better. I'm not sure how men have treated you in life thus far…but imagine what you would want for your child. A partner that would treat him/her with respect and love and kindness and honesty. That's what YOU deserve too.Show your son a mother who knows how to treat herself with respect and refuse to put up with anyone who can't treat you with respect. Feel the heartbreak…but move on. This guy has problems that, unless he's willing to do the incredibly hard work of figuring out why he keeps screwing up, are way beyond your ability to deal with. He doesn't know how to be in a mature, healthy relationship. And I suspect you need to learn that too. Give yourself time to heal and figure out what a healthy relationship looks like. Seek professional help to guide you through. And then find better for yourself.Elle
It's been two months and two days after D-day. My wounds are still open and oozing. My other half has been really supportive and remorseful. He wants us to put this behind us and move forward. Sad to say, this is not easy as he thinks it is. He took out my heart and ground it up in the meat grinder and wants me to move on. I get that he's remorseful but deep inside, there's that inkling that he feels that he had evened up the score. So I question his sincerity. No, I did not cheat. As I mentioned in the the other blog he carried a grudge. What I hate the most is that he undermines things. He tells me it didn't happen a certain way then within that sentence it all comes out. For instance, he was away on business, he got pissed at me, so he called her up just to talk. He said that's all it was. Really? Then I had asked why did you send a picture of your "unit" to her and she sent some sleazy pic of herself to you? You didn't have phone sex? Then he admits it. How can I move on when he is not at all transparent and acts if it's nothing. He said they have been friends. Well, I have a lot of guy friends and I don't screw them. I fantasize about having a few nighters with my ex as he is a real threat to my other half. This is what started this whole mess to begin with. That is the only way to make him feel as much pain as I am in. If it were some other guy, he'd laugh. But of course I wouldn't do such a thing because I'm way above that and oddly enough, I still have some respect for him and our relationship.I don't know how to deal with those sucker punch triggers. We were in therapy last night and my volcano of emotions just exploded after keeping them inside of me for the last two weeks. I want to move forward but this is so still fresh and it's hard. I get that feeling and let me tell you, I just want him to be in my shoes and HURT! I was looking back at a few of our emails and he had spoke to her just like he had talked to me. Boy, I sure feel special. I know hate the word "Absolutely." In the email she had asked right after their fuck fest, if he wants to do it again sometime soon. And he responded. "Absolutely."Elle, what were the things that you had told yourself to help you get over this part? Or when a trigger came out of no where and sucker punched you? I don't believe time heals. I hear people grieving for years about a loss. It how you handle the grief, I suppose. How are surviving your marriage?
Your question, "How are you surviving your marriage", is one with very different answers, depending on when you might have asked it. Today, I'm surviving my marriage with a knowledge of what we went through…but with very little pain around those events. They happened. We learned. We're better now.That question asked to me when I, like you, was two months out would have prompted me to answer, "I'm not." I was hanging on by my fingernails and would have told you that I didn't have a marriage. So yes, it definitely comes down to how you process the grief. Too many don't process it…and they are still bitter or resentful or unhappy years and years later.Two months is a tiny blip of time in terms of healing from betrayal. It really does take a long time. First, to absorb what this means to your marriage, to yourself, to your spouse. And then to sift through the emotions -- the anger, the grief, the sadness. And finally, to figure out what this means going forward. The triggers, the loss of "innocence".The triggers will minimize in their impact, assuming you're able to acknowledge them and recognize what's really happening now and what's about the past. Your husband's attempts to minimize what he did or deny/resist simply make his less trustworthy and sabotage your ability to trust that he really gets what he did…and won't do it again. But, even though you're tempted, don't try and "get even". It's childish and, frankly, likely won't give you nearly the satisfaction you think it will. It will probably feel empty and sordid. And will cost you your self-respect.Hang in there. Talk with your therapist and your spouse about how his minimizing what happened makes you feel. How crucial it is for you to feel like he's got your back after all this. That his desire to protect himself isn't greater than his desire to help you heal.I've gone way beyond "surviving" my marriage. It's something I cherish and something I'm very proud of rebuilding.Elle
Married 9 years. In March I left my husband after being suspicious abt a text from an old "friend" who lives 2.5 hrs away. He tried talking in the beginning but never really offered any explanations. After leaving I stayed the night at our home a few times and we had sex a couple times but never resolved anything. He didn't seem very open to resolving our issues.After 2 months he said he was going out of town for a few days and asked if I'd like to stay in our home. Said yes and found a Victoria's Secret receipt on our dresser. I knew he was out of town seeing the tramp (who knows that he's a married man w/a young child). I moved back home that wknd feeling that he was simply using me being away to travel on the wknds since I had our child every wknd. I wanted to be back home.For weeks he traveled every other wknd to see the tramp lying and saying he was going somewhere else with a buddy. I told him I knew where he was going and with whom but he denied everything. During the summer he went to see her for his bday (still lied) and he was planning to leave for another trip w/family when he returned. Stupidly, when he got back from being w/her I had sex with him. He left for his family trip the next day and texted me the entire time. When he returned we continued to talk and have sex. He had weird days when I wondered if he was still talking to the tramp. He finally admitted to the affair, said he had feelings for her and wasn't sure if he'd see her again.After 3 mos of no wknd trips he said he was going out of town again. I yelled, screamed, cussed. I was so disappointed because I thought we were rebuilding our relationship. THEN he posted pics of himself on an island online. They had gone on a sunny vacay together!!! DAYS before our 9th anniversary!!!I packed all of my shit and left while he was gone. Two days later on our anniversary he said he was feeling emotional and wanted to talk. He told me that he loved me but never said anything about working on our marriage. He just said he didn't think things would ever be the same. I honestly felt/feel that he doesn't know where to begin to pick up the pieces. The day after our anni. I saw him and he apologized for hurting me and our family, said he'd always love me, he would try to make it up to me.His behavior towards me now is a lot different than it was before his trip with her. He tells me that he loves me, we talk from time to time, we (stupidly) have had sex a couple times. But I've had many angry days when I just go off on him.A few weeks ago I saw an email that he wrote to her on his way back from their trip where he talked about wanting to spend the rest of his life with her. He didn't say I love you but he didn't have to. Clearly, he wrote this before coming home and seeing I was gone. He has said that I think I know what's going on between the two of them but I'm way off. ??? At this point I don't know if he's still seeing/talking to her or not because I'm not there. He has had our child most wknds so I know he isn't going out of town. I just don't know if I should be hopeful about our marriage. He is much different now than he's been in months. He's much more open w/me abt his feelings towards me, says he's not in love with anyone else, that he'll never love anyone more than me. But still no talk abt resolving the marriage. Oh, and I emailed her before their trip, told her she was a tramp. Her response was basically that she has options, can go back to her ex-husband whenever she wants and that she'd send my husband back to me when she was done with him. Nothing abt love. I saw her response to his love email too. It said nothing about wanting to be with him. She said aww, that made my heart smile and then went on to say she knows he'll do well in his career. She doesn't even love him and he's thrown our marriage away over her.
You simply cannot have a marriage in which he's still carrying on with another woman. It doesn't matter what he says, whether he loves you, how sorry he is. Until he shuts the door on his affair and opens the door to rebuild your marriage, you can't move forward with him.While it sounds as if he's made strides (more open, etc.), it's not enough. You need to get stronger in your own boundaries. He's basically got two of you vying for his attention. Give it some serious thought about whether you want to rebuild your marriage…and if you do, make it clear that's only an option available to him if he ends his affair. If he won't do that, then it's time to move forward without him. He's a total cake-eater -- keeping you in the wings while he screws another woman. Time to treat yourself self-respect and refuse the play the game.Elle
why do i pain shop?
You can read more about it here: http://betrayedwivesclub.blogspot.ca/2010/04/pain-shopping-how-to-stop-seeking-out.html
Part One:(Apparently, you're only allowed a certain amount of characters on here.)What to do about those nasty sucker punch triggers???It's almost as if I hear a Banshee crying without any warning and BAM! My stomach feels as if it exploded. Damn it! Again? It's a hard battle to fight and sometime's I just have to give in to them. Friday, I was having such a hard time after they had hit. Nothing I could say to myself could console them. I just had to go through the emotion. But Damn it! Because with that emotion came the questions. There are questions that I had asked that weren't not answered completely truthful. I'm not stupid and the evidence definitely doesn't add up to what he had told me. I'm trying to convince him that I need to reconcile this in my mind so it will help me on my journey to healing. He asks why is it so important that I know. Really? Do you really want to answer that questions again? But no matter how I say it or what I say will convince him to tell me. He's slightly vague. One incident that is driving me absolutely crazy is that when I started having red flags my intuition was screaming at me, I mean this time it began to hurt me physically and I couldn't really place my finger on it. Bright red flags have been happening for a while, but I there was no evidence except strange and weird excuses. Our trip out west brought him reminder of my past with my ex who now lives out there. That is the reason why we are in this mess. As I've said before, he held a grudge for 4.5 years. When we got back 2 days after, he told me that he's concerned about our future and he has no faith and but has hope. He really knocked me down. That Monday, he went over to F'uglys house.
Part Two:The next week, he had a conference out of town. He had also had given me this beautiful card about us before we had left. He then too apologized for saying those cruel things. Though my intuition was still screaming at me and I just couldn't trust him. Something still wasn't right. So when he arrived at the hotel, he had called me. I had waited for him to get done telling me how his trip was and what was on his agenda at the conference. I was riding that day, and I told him about it too. Then I stopped the small talk and asked him right out that I have a concern. I asked: "Do you really believe in us like that beautiful card said that you had given me?" I begged him if this was true please tell me straight up" I said, I don't want another broken heart again and if this is gonna string me a long please tell me. He started to get a little annoyed rather than console me and reassure me. You'd think he'd feel guilty for what he had just done, right? No, he got so pissed at me and decided not to talk to me the entire time he was away. Now on the day this had happened, F'ugly had written him an email explaining in detail that she had a vivid image of his lips on hers waking up in a long warm body hug. That next day he had responded to her that maybe they can chat after 10 or so. Now the very mean thing is he was acting as if I was the crazy one and he knew what he had just done and he blamed me for something completely stupid. Putting me in the adult time out chair because he was "pissed." I had asked, if you knew you'd never want to go back to her and speak with her again, why the hell did you respond to her email? He said he wanted a friend to talk to. Then he proceeded to tell me that is all that it was, just talking. Really I said? Then why did you send a picture of your "unit'? He evaded that for a while and said that she started talking and it got me going? "So you had phone sex?" He said. "No" Then what was it? "That is how she just talks!." Ok and how did you respond? "I didn't" Really? Then why were you two on the phone for an hour and a picture of her and her girls showed up in your email and a picture of you ended up in your text? Evades again. This had happened in mid August when this was all going on. Oddly enough, the weekend following he put me in the adult time out chair, we had gone out one night on the town and had a blast. He had told me that he's never been so in love and so happy in his life. That weekend we had amazing sex and just really enjoyed each others company. That night she had written to him in this smutty crap and he wrote back a few days later; I wish I was there to touch you?" REALLY??? Now, if I had never found out, the next time he was angry with me, he probably had run to her since those boundaries were crossed and there no consequences to it! He's also not being honest with me about how many times he had seen her. I caught him in another lie too! So now, my mind won't rest as I said, a trigger will sucker punch me. Maybe this is my subconscious's way of keeping me safe? By allowing these triggers to happen, it will remind me of how selfish his behavior was and protect me. It was all about him and his damn insecurities. The thing is, my ex wasn't even a threat. This was 4.5 years ago. Does he now feel better that he'd even'd up the score when there was really nothing to even up but he's ego! As I've mentioned he's remorseful, but God Damn! He knew he screwed up, yeah it's obvious the man who walks on water screwed up and is he kissing my ass because he knows he F'up? Or is it because he's truly remorseful. It's a hard one and a legit question because how do you figure it out when you don't trust him????
BTW, I realized I posted almost the very same thing twice. Obviously, I'm still stuck with my head in a fog. I can't concentrate and like I said, those nasty little sucker punches knock me to my ass. And the times before when he cheated on me... Back in the beginning of the year. Then there was the time, after I through him a surprise party after he received his Masters. Then I found correspondence and that dates back from 2010. Yeah there were friends alright.. to what extent? I do remember seeing her picture several times and thought nothing of it. He worked on tv and women would try to get to him. I feel so duped that I trusted him and to think he screwed that fat ugly thing just makes me wonder who else could he screw?? Sorry as I write this I'm getting a kick in the ass again. She knew about me... that's the thing that makes me want to confront her. I'm positive she's the one that sent me that anonymous email exploiting them so I would get mad and leave him. I don't want to give her that sort of satisfaction. But I'm so afraid she or he will have some contact that it's driving me to point of insanity!!!! Elle, you are a God Send!!!! I'm sorry you had to go through this. You seem really down to Earth and extremely giving. I don't know what I would do without this blog you had set up. Besides our couples therapy each week, and my therapist, you are really helping me out with your strong advice and your wonderful listening skills. BIG HUGS AND THANK YOU!!!!
Your husband's behaviour (getting "angry" at you and then screwing around) is not at all uncommon. It's a crazy way that some of these guys justify what they're doing to themselves. It feels terrible to hurt someone innocent so they make you "guilty" by pretending to themselves that you're being hard on them, don't appreciate them, blah blah blah. For a start, steer clear of any of these women. They're not your friends. They have been complicit in your pain. As for reconciliation, that's only going to work if he's completely remorseful (ie. understands just how he's hurt you) and is willing to listen to you and support you and offer up the information you need to complete the puzzle in your head and move forward. Until he's willing to do that, you'll be beating your head against a wall.As for the triggers, that's our body remembering just how horrible it felt when we found out. They'll diminish with time (and healing) but as long as you're in a relationship in which you don't feel emotionally safe, they'll stick around, almost as a defence mechanism.Your husband sounds too immature to recognize how his cheating has devastated you. And I suspect he feels pretty awful about what he did…so blames you for somehow "making" him. He needs to get some therapy and grow up.Elle
Last March, I discovered that my husband was visiting a strip club (alone) and receiving lap dances in a private, VIP booth. Things between us had not been right for awhile; he has a special-needs son who became violent in 2011 and nearly tore our family apart at the time. At Christmas 2012, all of the gifts he gave me bore tags that read 'To Jxxxt - from your husband'. I remember feeling hurt at the time and asking him why he wrote that - only to receive a blank stare in reply.When I found out about the strip club, my husband immediately told me he wanted us to go to therapy. So, I set it up. We'd go once a week, he'd say all the right things, then he'd come home and remain silent, ignore me, not touch me or speak to me for six days until the next appointment. Then the process would begin all over again.He left us in June, and is still living elsewhere. He refuses to take off his wedding ring, has moved on to another therapist, yet he has not made any progress in deciding whether or not he wants to return to us. We have one child together, a twelve-year-old boy who is grieving the loss of his father. My husband visits, sometimes every evening. He gets dinner, does his laundry here, but that's about it. He refuses to talk to me, will not 'come clean' about what he is up to, what he is doing, where he is or how he feels. I am stuck, stuck, stuck - trying to hold space for him while he does his inner work (alot of his issues stem from being adopted and then rejected by his biological mother) but unable to move in any direction. Sometimes I feel sorry for him, sometimes I feel absolutely enraged about what he did, and that he didn't come entirely clean with me when I discovered it (too long to go into detail here). He also admitted that he had cheated on the mother of his two other children, right after his eldest was born. I think that's the kicker; if he did it to her and then wandered off on me after 16 years of marriage (only emotionally, he says - but still....), how can I EVER trust him again? I am broken.
You sound like a compassionate person who, on some level, recognizes the trauma your husband has experienced via his mother and his son. That, however, doesn't give him license to cheat on you. It sounds as if he wants things to get better but simply lacks the roadmap. What does your therapist say? Does he/she give you tasks in between sessions? Or has the session simply become a dumping ground for grievances?Your husband sounds as if he's emotionally checked out, including on your son, which is incredibly hurtful to a child. He's, in many ways, repeating the rejection he experienced from his mother. Your son doesn't understand on an emotional level that his father has issues that have nothing to do with him. He undoubtedly perceives it as rejection.Is your husband still in therapy? Sounds as if he's got a lot of stuff to process.I would generally advise you to shut him out of your life (ie. no dinners, no laundry…) until he shaped up but something makes me think your husband is really traumatized. And there is the matter of your son, who of course needs a relationship with his dad. What if you left when your husband came home and treated it as visitation with your son? What if you moved forward as if you were done with the marriage? Perhaps you can shake him out of his paralysis. Do you have a therapist? If not, I think you might find it helpful to sort through everything you're dealing with -- the betrayal, the loss, the grief, the anger. In the meantime, you've also got to be two parents to your son, who's going through a hard time.I hope you can find a way through this. At the very least, I hope you're reminding your son daily that this is NOT about him. That sometimes adults just lose their way. And that he can trust that he always has you. He, like you, needs to feel safe.I'm so sorry for what you're going through. Hang in there. You're not broken…just bent. :)Elle
Well... about the therapist. We went as a couple, beginning in March, and then in June I asked him to leave because he was not processing anything or taking any of the therapist's suggestions and putting them into action (like talking to our son about his hostile behaviour towards his dad etc...). Since then, he had been going to this therapist on his own, because I thought that he needed it. When I finally 'lost it' in August and requested an appointment with the therapist, his reply to me was that I could no longer consult with him because it was now a conflict of interest (!!!!). Talk about rejection... well, that's how I felt at the time. However, there was light at the end of the tunnel. Because I could no longer consult with this psychologist, I began to talk to my sister about some inner journey work she has been doing since 2000. I joined an inner journey workshop at the end of October, which was extremely enlightening for me. Since then, I have addressed the whole situation with more of a spiritual (and body-centered) approach. It does work for me, and I am continuing my pilgrimage with various counsellors, but I do still lose it. I am trying, trying, trying to reach out to this man who says he does not love me but that he things he 'might' one day. As a matter of fact, I lost it last night when he told me that he didn't want anyone to know that we were separated, that it was nobody's business but ours. How in the heck do I deal with that? When people talk to me and ask questions as if we were still together? Lie?I read a post a little higher up - one that spoke about us all deserving better, and that maybe we entered into these relationships so that we could finally identify what was NOT working. This is now my second relationship with someone who cheats; I spent twelve years with somebody who cheated on me way more than my husband has, and way more frequently. My father also cheated on my mom; I have been processing that for a few months now. Perhaps my journey is to finally understand WHY I choose emotionally-unavailable men. And you are right, my husband is not there (for anybody) on an emotional level, and he uses work (and perhaps another relationship... I don't know...) to 'numb out' whenever he encounters conflict. Meh........
And you are right, traditional psychology (his current therapist) is really not doing it for him. It IS a dumping ground for grievances, worries and, generally, all the crap that went wrong during the week (I strongly suspect anyway; I'm not actually there anymore to hear him talk). I have told him that I think that he has plateaued with this particular psychologist, and he is in agreement (THAT one took me about a month). Anyway, I found a psychologist for our son who works (sometimes) with alternative methods, is more body-centered and has been doing this work for some time. I mentioned it to my husband, and (to answer your suggestion about giving the impression that I am moving on) I told him that I would not seek mediation for our marriage if he agreed to come back into the family counselling circle and try, finally, to address his issues and talk to me about them. So, we will see what happens with that. Our first family session is this coming Wednesday evening.
I'm so glad you've found support and healing. Of course, you'll still get angry. You're not a machine. But the fact that you're better able to see the situation clearly shows that you're moving in the right direction.Like you, I had frequently chosen relationships in which I was silenced and shut out. Like you, I took this experience as the chance to sift through all that childhood and young adult stuff and figure out what the lesson was. I had never really valued myself…so it ultimately wasn't surprising that others didn't really value me either. What you're now able to teach your son, especially as he deals with this pain, is invaluable. Hopefully this will break the cycle and he'll grow up to be someone in touch with his emotions and able to express them in a healthy way. In the meantime, I think you're going to be fine. You get to set the guidelines for yourself around what you tell people and when you tell them. If he chooses to keep your separation to himself, that's his choice. You get to make the choices that sit right with you. Elle
Where does the hate go?It has been about 2-1/2 years since my husband and I have been back together and over with the very bad times. We are OK. We are actually better than OK. Our family is better and stronger than we have really ever been. With a lot of hard work, a lot of working through some painful stuff, and a lot of not giving up, we really are OK. Dare I say, we are happy.So where do I put all my hate for that woman? I want to put it somewhere, elsewhere, anywhere than in my heart.I know all I need to know. It's not like my husband and I fight about it anymore. I actually don't need to bring it up anymore. I don't want to know more about her. I just want to forget about it and to mostly forget about her. I have never talked with her. She's not big into online and neither are we, so at least I don’t have to obsess about her that way.I wish it would just go away, but I can't figure out what do with my hate and anger toward her. It sort of eats me up from the inside, as I've never really hated anyone in my life until her. I realize that the way I was able to go on and function, especially in the beginning, was to take every bad, sad, scared, depressed thought and turn it into pure hate for her. It was too painful for me to process some of the fear and hurt, but I had to do something. To save myself emotionally, I know I turned everything about it into a huge ball of disgust and hatred for her. I know it's wrong, but I also know it's what allowed me to move on and survive.She was a stranger to me. From the beginning she knew that I and the kids existed. She knew we were there. Even though we knew nothing of her, she knew who we were. The way I see it, each call, each text, each day was a conscious decision she made to harm me and my kids, and to this day, I don’t understand it. We had never harmed her in any way, yet she continued, day after day after day, for nearly two years, to want only the worst for us. Even if she totally hated me for some unknown reason, how could she do that to my kids? To any kids? I truly, truly don’t understand. So where does the hate go?I've sort of trained myself to not think as much about her, and my life certainly isn't all about her anymore as it was for the first while. But I sure wish it would just go away completely. I wish everything about her could just be forgotten. Gone from my thoughts forever – “poof”. That would be best.But yet, even 2-1/2 years later, I simply don't know how to process the strong, stomach churning, absolute disgust I have for this woman. It's one of the worst things about this whole thing. I guess I hate hating someone, but I'm not sure how to stop.
Amy M,You've written such a beautiful post…and it's such an important question. I don't have an easy answer. I'm as surprised as anyone to discover that I don't hate the OW any more. Like yours, the OW in our case knew me, knew my kids, had dinner at our home, etc. It was a conscious decision on her part to try and ruin our family. However, at a certain point I recognized that being her was the worst punishment of all. Worse than anything I could have conceived of (and I came up with some doozies!). To live in that hate-filled body must have been hell. To want what others had so desperately that she sacrificed her self-respect must have been hell. And it was a counsellor saying to me that whatever she had, I didn't want it, that made me really "get" it.However, I get the impression that "hate" is a really uncomfortable feeling for you. But remind yourself, it's just a feeling. It doesn't make you a monster to loathe the person who tried to destroy your happiness. It makes you human. Perhaps if you can forgive yourself for being human, you'll be able to let it go. It served you. That hate kept you afloat during a time when you might have sank under the weight of the pain. But it's not serving you anymore. It's reminding you of a time that's past.Extend compassion to yourself…and you just might find you're able to extend some to her as well. She lost. She sacrificed self-respect and human kindness…and came away empty. That's got to sting. Even if she continues to delude herself about what happened, you know the truth. And so does she, deep down.Hang in there. I think I'll explore this further in a post. You've got me thinking… :)Elle
Thank you for the response, Elle.I am taking one of your ideas and trying to remember it specifically for me:“The hate kept me afloat during a time when I might have sank under the weight of the pain. But it’s not serving me anymore. It’s reminding me of a time that’s past.”And it is past. Everything really is OK now. I just need to find a way to let this emotion go. It is not who I am, and it is just too heavy for me to carry around anymore.
Dear Anon, Where indeed does the hate go.I too struggle after 16 months. She knew everything about me and my children,and we knew nothing about her until D Day.The only help I can share with you are little things that I do to try and cope. My husband was ( in the end) very open to sharing things. I now hear with total astonishment how stupid she was, how needy and how many times she made a fool of herself -I wouldn't even share it here. However, when hate fills my stomach with bile I think of those things and feel incredibly sad for her, almost feeling that she has special needs and that I should show some compassion.. That doesn't always work so I write down on a piece of paper how much I loathe, detest, wish her unhappiness and hate her, I then go outside and burn the piece of paper.Our marriage is a different one but it's good and I thank my lucky stars that I had the strength to see it through.Sometimes it can be trauma that we still haven't dealt with and perhaps its worth seeing a counsellor, I did and there was one thing she said that struck a chord. " Why are you making this person important, she is not worth your time" Well, at the time I wanted to scream, because this bitch needs locking up and she has ruined my life. But, those words sometimes help.Perhaps putting these tips in use may help once/twice or occasionally and if anyone else can add to the post, collectively,we may have some really good tools to get us over a crazy hate day. And yes, it is one of the worst things about the whole torture of dealing with a betraying spouse. Voodoo dolls anyone!
Yes! Yes! Voodoo dolls. You make them and we'll sell them on this site. We can retire, rich and happy!Elle
The OW actually left a voodoo doll hanging in our house, directed at me, and with the symbol for death attached to it. Does this earn some kind of award for the most f*%#ed up OW ever?
It has been 3 months and 14 days since DDay for me, and for me it feels like yesterday. My husband and I had lived in different cities because of our jobs so it was easy for him to lie and get away with it. He carried on a relationship with her for nearly 7 months and when she contacted me she wanted me to know EVERY detail of their relationship. Since confronting him our 2 children and I have moved to live with him, we have began counseling together he has attended one session but he said he is excited to go back. I feel so alone sometimes because who wants to tell their friends and family they have been a fool and been lied to and cheated on. He is open to talking about it when I need to but I often wonder is he finally being completely honest with me or is he telling me just what he thinks will get me to drop the subject? Every time he looks at his phone I wonder who is calling who is texting and so forth. When does this lost feeling go away? When will I be able to trust him again? He tells me I have to stop dwelling on it or we will never get past it, but I don't feel as if I'm dwelling on it. I feel like everything is a trigger and while I don't cry like I used to it has created a great deal of anxiety for me so much that I am now taking medication for anxiety and depression. Last night he left for work earlier then normal and stopped at a bar to get something to eat and I couldn't help but wonder if he was meeting someone there. How do I get to the point that him leaving the house is ok? I have to be able to trust him right?
I will start by assuring you that you are NOT the fool in this scenario. You have nothing to feel embarrassed about or ashamed about. You trusted someone who promised you that he was trustworthy. So please…if there's someone in your life who you think you could share this with and know that they would support you without judgement, then please do share. It's important that we have people to remind us that we're loved and lovable.As for the other questions, three months is really not so long. You're likely still in a bit of shock. And he has got to stop telling you that you shouldn't be "dwelling" on this or you need to drop the subject. That's incredibly typical of these guys…but incredibly unhelpful. In fact, it's harmful. You need to feel heard. You need to have the pain you're feeling acknowledged by him and he needs to be able to reassure you that he is NOT that person anymore and that will not hurt you like that again. This is his chance to show you that he deserves a second chance. It's his chance to help you rebuild your marriage -- the marriage that he damaged.As for trust, you shouldn't trust him right now. He needs to earn back your trust. He's shown you that he can lie, deceive and cheat. He now needs to show you, by example, that he is not lying, deceiving and cheating now. That means he checks in with you and is always available for you to check in with him. It means giving you access to his phone and his computer. It means confirming things with him, if necessary (i.e. if he says he's with a certain friend, that you can check with that friend or his boss or whatever). He squandered your trust. And he needs to build it back up.Your anxiety and depression will go away as you learn to trust yourself and as you begin to feel safe in your marriage again. We've all been there.Elle
Thank you for you response. I am glad there is hope for me. I feel as if lately I have been having more bad days then good I have found myself drinking more sometimes to just help me sleep. I feel that everything is a trigger for me and I find myself reliving the days events over and over again. When we go out I wonder did he do this kind of stuff with her. I know that I have not completely processed everything but I feel when I think about it I become sad and cry. I worry about everything my life has been turned upside down. I feel I developed these new insecurities that I don't know how to deal with. I recently found out that he used to email her from work so now of course I wonder if when he is not emailing me is emailing her? He calls me from time to time and will ask if I called so I now question if she is calling him at work. I question whether he is staying because of my depression and anxiety he says he is not but I struggle with believing this, and this upsets him. He continues to ask me to be myself and I am trying but sometimes I don't know who that is anymore. I have tried to explain to him that when I was 100 percent myself and comfortable with who I was you cheated. Ugh why do I feel almost as if I was the OW or that I am getting someone's sloppy seconds.
Hi...This is Ali, the one with the grudge holder for 4.5 years with a smile on his face. What I truly find amazing from these posts is that the majority of us has, is our feelings are almost identical! Two months and a week since d-day and I'm supposed to start moving forward because he promised he'd never do it again!? He can only stand so much talking. He'll then bring up; "Why are you bringing us backwards? I told you so many times she was just a friend & it didn't mean anything. I don't care if I ever see her again!"Please tell me the reassurance there? He texted me yesterday; "I love you, I love you, I love you. If you have any of those sucker punch triggers, please call me. I want to help you heal." But he wants me talk about us moving forward and not processing the pain that is still throbbing. It wasn't my choice to be put in this position. He doesn't understand that he literally took ny heart and stepped all over it. I need coping skills. I can't workout, ride, my main pc has a nasty virus and I can't do any of my photography. I'm having surgery next month because of an injury I had and now have severe arthritis in my hip at my age! I'm a complete mess! He thinks when I talk about "it" it goes no where. I can't get him to understand.
Ali,He's nuts if he thinks you're ready to "move on". Though I think his text indicates that he THINKS he wants to help you…but on his terms. There's a post on this site about how crucial it is for us to tell our stories. And to tell them over and over again. Betrayal is trauma, and we respond similarly. With a need to go over our stories until they seem less terrifying. Guys who cheated HATE this stuff. They think we're punishing them. They just don't want to acknowledge how devastating this is. But that doesn't change the fact that it is devastating. It is trauma. Check out this post: http://betrayedwivesclub.blogspot.ca/2013/09/healing-from-betrayal-why-we-must-tell.html
WOW! How true is that? No matter what the trauma is, you have to process it. I wish to God he would've processed what he was going through 4 years ago. He speculated, never asked questions, became jealous. The few times that he did, I never yelled at him or told him he was acting like an insecure child. I sat and listened to him with great compassion, reassurance and lots of love. But apparently in his mind there was more. What gets me angry is that heck, 4.5 years vs. 2 months? I'm supposed to look forward?? Move on? If I print that off to him and show him, he'd say well, you have a choice and you know I will never do that to you again... let's move forward. I love you!!!! YEAH! Cheaters hate that stuff. Right now, I would love to go to her place and ask her how long has this been going on. Get it right out of the horses mouth. I'm not afraid of the answers I will get. I'm pretty smart and I can put two and two together. But I will give her a lot of satisfaction if I do as she's been trying to get him to leave me. I had written her a nasty email when I had found out telling her flat out that she was being used. and she should feel embarrassed luring him in with sex. I stated meanly as it's true; "I guess with a face like that, I guess that's all you have." So I guess she'd be on high guard. I had also gone to the place where she works so I can see her with my eyes to make this some sort of reality. She has never seen me in person but I guarantee she was thinking but couldn't place my face. I even had a brief conversation with her. I was so disgusted looking at her and in disbelief that he could actually doe the act with that?!. But then, there are guys who get prostitutes too. The feelings of being duped are killing me. When he went over there a few days after the surprise party I threw him, I'm sure he got a BJ from her! I was sitting by the fireplace when he walked in and the look on his face was more than pitiful. I thought it was because his friend who he had taken back to the tv station to say hi was sick, Only if knew the real reason. How could I've been so trusting? Believe me, we have an extremely active sex life that is not at all boring. So I don't get it!!!!!! But yet, asked him why he decided to drop by her house, "We were just friends and nothing happened!" Rigght! This is what I hate, i know he's lying and he won't give it up! And no matter what I say, it won't matter. He says no matter what I say, you're not gonna believe me unless it's something you want to hear. The mere fact he plays that card with me, get's me so infuriated. My blinders and trusting him back that makes me so so sooo sooooooo ANGRY!!!!! Sighhhh!
It is trauma. My husband is a military psychologist and my experience is exactly like his PTSD patients. Triggers, nightmares, wanting to avoid certain topics/places/activities, not feeling safe, needing to process the same information repeatedly, questioning everything about my marriage, the essential nature of love, my religion....everything! We aren't ruminating....we are instinctually doing a form of prolonged exposure. It is a highly effective PTSD treatment. You just keep going over it until your physical and emotional responses diminish. I'm 17 months from the 3rd D day of him still texting her after two months of supposed no contact.
Becca,I discourage you from getting answers from you, simply because you're inviting her into your life, which is dangerous. You want to shut the door on her. Why is he still seeing her, even as a "friend"? He needs to have absolutely no contact with her. And Ice Queen…thank-you so much for weighing in with your experience and your husband's understanding of trauma. It's hard for a lot of us to call it trauma because that feels dramatic and like it's reserved for war veterans and rape victims. But whether we feel comfortable calling it trauma, that's what it is.So thank-you.Elle
I just want to scream! The anxiety, the rage, the sadness, the feeling of hopelessness. The high because he's kissing my butt. The feelings of feeling unsafe knowing that nothing is written in stone. The tears that come but won't shed. The unanswered questions, the wondering on & and on is stealing my time because I feel no closure!I hate the fact she's hijacked my mind and has complete control of me when he tells me he loves me. He's never told her that because he used her but still the pain is jyst as damaging because of why he did it.
I don't know how far out you are from D-Day, but your emotions sound pretty typical. Just keep on going forward. Focus on what you can control, which generally amounts to just yourself. Try and distract yourself when the obsessive thoughts begin. Pinch yourself, or put an elastic around your wrist and give it a good snap. Anything to pull you away from going down that rabbit hole.And hang in there. You won't feel this way forever.Elle
Yesterday we found out that the OW has breast cancer. I don't know how to handle all of the feelings this brings up.They work in the same place, but not together; they can and do avoid each other. In the course of discussing other work related things with my husband, a coworker mentioned that the OW had recently been diagnosed with breast cancer.(My husband doesn't seek out conversations about the OW. He never asks about her and says he will continue to avoid such discussion, even after this latest news.)My feelings are all over the place:-------------To begin, it just stirs things up. It makes me think about her more than I would like.It brings up a relatively minor cancer scare she had during the affair. I even talked to her about it shortly after that diagnosis, trying to reassure her and help bring her down from a panic state.It reminds me that she has a history of exaggerating and clinging to her and her family's illnesses, using them to get attention and manipulate people into caring about her and helping her. Yes, she did this with my husband. Yes, he fully acknowledges that she did this with him and does it with everyone.I hate that this will make my husband think about her. He says his first reaction was concern, quickly followed by the knowledge that it's not his job to worry about her. She has other people for that. But I know he can't help but think about it, and this will bring her into his mind more than I'd like.I'm sure this is making her even more bitter and angry about her life. In her mind, everything bad happens to her.It makes me feel guilty for thinking these things about her, when she's the one with a frightening illness, while I'm healthy.---------------So I know I need to let this go, too. But it's so frustrating to have thoughts of her so fresh and top of mind. I've been struggling with getting her out of my head as it is. This isn't helping, and the guilty feelings make it all even worse.
I think your reaction is quite normal given the dramatic news. It will prompt all sorts of strong reactions in you. I think, with a bit of time, you'll go back to your new "normal". Her news will recede. But this also gives you a chance to talk through this with your husband. Tell him of your fears that this will pull him back in, even just in his mind. It's challenges like this that have the chance to bring you two closer together (on the same team, if you will) or increase a chasm between you. Being fearful about what this means for your relationship isn't being selfish or self-centred. It's about your fears, which are very real, being triggered by an event you have no control over. You didn't give her cancer. So no guilt required.Elle
Thank you, Elle. Yeah, my husband and I talked. Well, really, I broke down and cried when he told me this latest news. And then we talked.We do have an attitude of being on the same team. I sometimes tell him we're "on the same side," and he agrees. :)You're right, this will fade. It already is beginning to, believe it or not! I just hope it doesn't keep coming up at his work. The way things are there, it very well might.
Yes, it might keep coming up…but if you have a strategy that keeps you both focussed on what matters -- each other -- you'll get through.Hang in there.Elle
Two songs to help...idie label but good stuff!Dido; "End of Night"Amos Lee; "Chill in the Air" A definite victim of A cheater. Faith Hill "Cry" Ali ~
Found out a little over 2 months ago that my husband was having an affair. It started before our first anniversary! We have been together for over 8 years and married now 1 1/2 years. I am trying to heal and work on the marriage. The problem I have is that I have to see the mistress almost daily as our children are in the same class together at school. How can I begin to heal when I have to see her all the time?
Ugh! I often think that those of us who have to deal regularly with the OW bear a special kind of chutzpah. I had to deal with the OW in my case for about a month after I found out…but then she conveniently vanished from our lives. Poof! We should all be so lucky.It might help to replace her in your mind with another image. I know one woman on this site used to imagine the OW as a bald, white grocery-store chicken.Sounds crazy but that stuff works. Did your husband ever tell you anything embarrassing about her that you can leverage to come up with a replacement image? If not, does she remind you of anything (a pug? a beetle? a frightened bird?). The key is to see her as something sad and pitiful until you can eliminate that knot in your stomach. No matter how you handle this, please know that you did nothing wrong. You can hold your head high, something she has no right to do. Elle
After I went and faced my OW I told my husband that she looked like a Giraffe. She has really longs legs and BIG feet. she is really tall and I guess she don't wear heels much (which my husband loves) I have long legs but a nice height that I can wear heels and not be taller than my husband.I hang onto the Giraffe thing, it really helps
Dear Mountainsailing,You sound like a very compassionate woman to me, and so sad that you even have to think of her.She is of no importance to you. She has her cross and you certainly had yours when she was having an affair with your husband. Quid pro quo.
Thank you so much for that. It truly helps. This is difficult, but I'm beginning to realize this will fade soon.
Hello. I have considered myself to be a beautiful woman, a great mother if one son, and a great wife who stood by her husband no mattef what. I found out three days before my birthday "by accident" he was having an affair with a woman we knew mutally. I won't say it wasn't known because inside I knew it was happening. He just kept denying it. He made me think I was crazy for nearly 10 to 11 months as I constantly asked about it. I opted to stay with him and nearly six months later I am still in search of something. Maybe even a reason. I am still hurt, I feel unattractive, and I am almost like a nomad in search of an answer. I go on about my day, celebrate holiday but I don't feel as happy as before. I have no fairytale now, no hope. I almost feel like I am waiting to find something else. He has proven he will use EVERY lie in the book to cover his butt. I even felt bad for him that he used all of his lies to the point common coversation can be perceived as deceptive to me. I need help! When will I stop feeling this way?
You'll stop feeling this way when you can have an honest conversation with someone who treats you with respect. Whether or not he's still cheating, your relationship is a lie. You can't trust him. Both of you have walls around your hearts.You need to either rebuild your marriage with him which involves total honesty and transparency or you need to get out. The alternative is to live this sort of half-life that you're living right now.I'm so sorry for the pain you're in. Please know that this has NOTHING to do with your attractiveness or value as a wife. This is about his issues. He's the liar and cheat, not you. Elle
Pleasantly Surprised!Wow, other people do exist and they do talk about their troubles and triumphs. I have been extremely frustrated that I haven't been able to find someone that "understands" my feelings and the hell I am going through. Everyone that I know who has been through an affair is divorced. I don't hear about the stories of real people who actually are trying to work through this horrible life event and still be married at the end of the day. It is just a breath of fresh air to be able to relate to these "real people" - not the stories you hear in a book that are being analyzed by the "professionals". Anyway, My husband cheated on me with a co-worker/mutual friend May of 2013. We have two kids (4 year old and almost 1 year old) - so they were 3 and 5mo during the actual affair. We were in the process of adjusting to life with a new baby, selling our house, moving because we sold it "quicker" than we had planned, and getting ready to move forward into the next chapter of our lives - Medical School. Yes my husband has decided in his mid-30's to become a doctor...so we were uprooting our whole life to help him follow his dreams. And what do I get for a Mother's Day/6 Year Anniversary gift....yes you guessed it, finding out my husband ACTUALLY cheated on me. And of course I found out the worst possible way...he lied, I unraveled the truth, and he only admitted to what I had proof of. I do not do LYING....it is worse than telling me the painful truth. Lying to me made it 100x's worse....insult to injury. I still don't know if I have the whole story. I have tried blaming the OW, blaming my Husband, accepting fault in myself, and also blaming the World. I have tried to fix my husband, fix our past marriage, set expectations for a new marriage, fix myself, etc. I am worn out with all the paths I have traveled down in trying to get through this. I am to the point to where I am just living for the day and trying to control my "outburst". I can go on for days about all the details of my story...but I don't want to take over the blog. My husband is a very smart person...and yet a very dumb person at the same time.My marriage now is good...and I would have been happy with "good" before the affair but now I want "great". I have recently told my husband that I don't know if we actually married for love...I don't feel the "spark". We get along great, he is happy, the kids are happy, but I feel that I am in this world alone and if I could just escape my husband then I would feel relief. I feel like there is more to marriage than just "getting along" - and my husband has fed me full of his "philosophy of marriage" for so long that I believed it....and look at where it got me.
Just to give a little more background - my husband, I say was an alcoholic - he says he admits he had a "drinking problem", is no longer drinking. He was prescribed anti-depressant medication and is a happier person now. We are attending church - and he actually seems to enjoy it and looks forward to going...rather than it being an obligation. He has made several changes and it has made a world of difference. I have been nicer, we don't really fight other than the heated conversations we seem to circle back to about the affair. Not the details of the affairs anymore....but the questions that come out because of it. I am just thinking if all this pain is worth it? This is how I described my situation....in our marriage (right before the affair started) I was at a cliff and looking to jump (divorce). Well when I found out about the affair I actually did jump...but I didn't let go. I am dangling on the side of the cliff while my husband isn't stepping on my fingers trying to get me to let go but he also isn't giving me a helping hand to pull me up....he just sits there and watches. My husband says he doesn't feel like he can help me because he is the one that put me in the position...my councilor has told me I need to find things to grab a hold of myself and find the strength the pull myself back up. So I did...I am back on top....but now that I have dug deep down and found a way to help myself....I feel like since I did all the work myself...what is the point of having my husband around? I am trying to make my husband pay for his affair....but at the same time he doesn't seem to be in pain and the only time he has difficulty getting through the day is when I am having a bad day.Doesn't it just make since for us to just let go of one another? His emotional well being is based on my emotions...he doesn't really have the time that I need from him between his school and father duties. I just feel that I am no longer MAD about the affair - disappointed. The affair is not going to control my existence. But it is a part of my life now...and I can't change that. I don't hate my husband, we have great sex, but it just feels like there should be more. And I can't wait until he gets through medical school, because then it will be an internship, and then a job, and then a move...life is happening now. How long is a good time to say "you gave it a valid and honest effort"? Can a spark be brought back after it has been lost? Thanks for listening to my ramblings! Sincerely - Michele
Before you decide to stay or go, here's my thoughts on being ready to make that decision. And I believe in order to stay...you must get a fantastic marriage...not an OK one. If you're going to forgive the unforgivable...you better get something great in return, right? I first needed to know WHY. And the WHY has many layers. Undiagnosed and untreated ADD that effected our entire marriage and caused us to develop a very dysfunctional lifestyle and relationship layered with his childhood neglect and feelings of unworthiness and my unemotional personality stemming from dealing with alcoholic parents and a borderline personality mom. Add in a decade of stress from moving with the military, 4 kids (a new baby during the affair), and his depression from years of stress from getting his doctorate, being in internship, and not having his dissertation done....perfect storm. He felt like a loser, I added to that with my own behavior, and she just had to step in and be nice. The second step was addressing all of those issues. The third step was to recognize that it was going to take lots of time and bad days to make things good again but it only worked because he is working even harder than I am to be a man of integrity and to be the husband he should have been. Learning about love languages helps us communicate our needs and we work hard to spend as much time together as possible to reignite that flame. I did the Love Dare and that worked wonders for my state of mind. At some point, you have to put energy into your healing on the one hand (transitioning from victim to survivor) and on the other, becoming a great wife. To be in a happy marriage again...you are going to have to do both of those things anyway. And why not try with the father of your babies. A least give it a shot. Love can happen but is going to take work on both sides. Elle and her blog have been the best help I've received and I've read complete blogs and articles from over 5 experts these past 2 years. Nothing has been as healing as this space and the advice that Elle gives. Keep coming here...that will help the most. An affair makes you question everything about yourself, your husband, your marriage, and the very nature of love. I still have weak days but I'll tell you that I am stronger now than I have ever been. I demand a wonderful relationship with my husband and I really am getting it.
Ice Queen - Thanks for the response. You hit this right on the nose. The affair has made me question everything between myself, husband, marriage, and the nature of love. The bad days are getting further between....and when they do come, they don't last for weeks. So it is getting better - I was just concerned that since it is getting easier maybe it is because I am just not caring as much and ready to call it quits. So thank you for getting me! What is the Love Dare, I looked it up, is it a book that you are referring to? And I agree, I don't want to be the victim anymore - I want to transition into the survivor - but a part of me says that in order to be considered the survivor I should be able two walk away on my own two feet from the scene of the accident. And I guess I just need to come up with my own definition of what it means to survive this and strive for that.I am being the good wife - it is so much easier when he is actually contributing to our marriage. I have a very hard time with the "time" factor. And that is just because life is short and I don't want to waste anymore time....I wish I had a magic ball that would tell me if I did this then that would lead to this! But we don't....so it's a leap of faith, and that is something I have to overcome as well. Thank you again, I appreciate the support and understanding!
It is a book but also a movie. Kirk Cameron stars in it and it does talk about God/Jesus so if that doesn't work for you then you might not like it. The overall themes are helpful and it gave me something to focus on each day. It is a 40 day program. Both spouses could do it or just one. I did it alone (I was unaware of the ongoing affair at the time...he had told me the "I love you but not in love with you" so I was trying to fix our relationship.) After he ended the affair, he did some of the book but stopped. Later I found out that she had threatened suicide so he resumed contact until the final Dday when I told him that I wanted him to stop playing games and to just be with her and that I was ok with it. (Wouldn't make life difficult, would be nice to her, and not keep the kids from him.) That was a wake-up call to him and he began counseling that week. It amazes me that the details may change but the overall experience is the same for all of us. I still have days that I want to quit and days that I regret staying but that's because I am angry about the past and fearful about the future. The one person I will never give up on again is myself. I had given up over a decade ago. I stop trying to have a social life, stopped taking care of myself (no makeup, hair in a ponytail EVERY DAY, jeans and a t-shirt), I went from a size 0 in high school to a size 18 in just 10 years. I was miserable. I hated myself and him. But I gave myself a new life and now I'm a size 6/8 even after having another baby...and I get hit on now...BIG boost to the confidence! I had to heal myself and get myself to a better place on my own and that included demanding better behavior from my husband. I have told him that I still reserve the right to leave. I think we all get to determine what happens after the affair since we had no say before and during. It's our turn to have the power!
OH! Here's a link to the book: http://www.amazon.com/Love-Dare-Alex-Kendrick/dp/1433679590/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=&qid=I don't get money from Amazon! Just too lazy to drive the 50 miles to the nearest bookstore!
Ice Queen - that is awesome...way to take care of you! You sound just like me! I was the no makeup, jeans, hair in a ponytail girl too...I still kind of am but I do "get ready" more often than not! I think there is a happy-medium! I will check out the Love Dare. On the days you want to quit and regret staying....do you just keep this to yourself or do you share these thoughts with your husband? And I do need to get a social life...I have been wrapping myself up in my healing, my marriage, and our family. I have several reasons...1. We just moved and with me being pretty much a "single mom" with my husbands schedule, it is hard. 2. I work from home. 3. I am afraid that the grass is greener on the other side and I can be easily persuaded to jump the fence with the latest events of our past. So I felt it was safer to get a grip on life and when I am comfortable again I will start pursuing this portion of my life. But I am sure those are all just excuses and I just need to join the world again and go out there. It's amazing how this completely changes your life, feelings, friendships, etc. I also HATE hearing "If you make past this, then your marriage will be stronger" - no I completely disagree with this statement. I think it is completely destroyed our marriage...and we are basically starting over with a little bit more knowledge of what "not" to do. I think as individuals we may be stronger because of it....but it did not make my marriage better, stronger, or save it. It has tested it to it's limits....And the God thing is for me...I have found he is the only one I can 100% lean on.
my d day was June 19, 2012. I, like all of you, was devistated. I've known my husband since we were children. He was around way back when, when my then longtime boyfriend cheated on me forever..I was so the young fool in those days. Over the years in my now relationship my husband would say things like he would never cheat because of the pain he saw me go thru when we were young. This man that I thought was so much different then anyone was just like everyone else. As soon as I found out he stopped everything. He didn't leave the house unless I was with him, the password on the phone was turned off and he was 100 % in to being transparent so that we could get thru this and be better than before. Other than the 2 "I didn't want to hurt your feelings" lies he has been amazing at working things out and is a better man the the man I married. So why isn't it getting any better for me? I have secrets, I made fake social pages so I could find out more about the OW. it makes me so angry that she is so confident and beautifu, her words not mine. She got fired from her job last month for having another interoffice afair...I was happy because I could finally stop worrying about my husband running into her but mad as he'll because this showed me that she didn't give a cap about what she did to my life. I stay busy to try and not think about it in the presence of my husband I act like I'm fine but I'm not. I have never felt this pain and for what...I didn't do anything. This chuck lives close her kids go to school with my kids. I saw her in a store a few weeks back and would go in. I rearrange my life so that I won't run into her. I'm scared all the time..I guess because I'm grading myself for when this good marriage blows up my face as well as because I'm afraid that my husband is putting on a pretty face for me since I'm doing that. Why can't I find peace. why am I so afraid. I was the good girl that truly loved life and people. I wished everyone well in life...now I can't find that person. I loved who I was but I was so easy to fool that he found a strong attention driven woman to satisfy him instead of me. I just want to feel better on the inside. I just want to find that old me again. The one that I liked because I don't like who I am anymore.
Of course, you don't like who you are anymore. You're NOT that person. You're a loyal, loving wife whose life was hijacked. And now you're behaving like someone who's been traumatized. Which you have been.But you need to stop acting like this person you don't want to be. You need to let go of this woman…stop stalking her, work on stopping the thoughts about her. Your husband chose you. He wants to rebuild a life with you, not her. You can either take that opportunity to create something good out of something awful…or stay focussed on her at a cost to your own self-respect and any possibility of building a better marriage.You weren't a fool. You were someone operating on what you believed -- that your husband wouldn't do that. We were all that person. Every woman here was that person. But we were lied to. That doesn't make us fools, it makes our husbands the fools. Sounds like your husband knows he was a fool and doesn't want to be that guy anymore. Elle
Strong Woman - Not that I would have taken this message well from anyone but myself. But I was you...I was stalking the OW for a long time. Until one day I realized that I "hated" who I had become. I was not going to let the affair decide if my marriage would end or not...I would make that choice. So why would I let the affair have this affect on me individually, to the point of controlling my life. I hated me...so I gave myself a kick in the pants and said pull it together. I will define me, who I am, and what I want to be....not some other woman who could care less about me or my family. I would not let my husbands actions define who I am...I will. I am a loving mother, wife, and in general a happy person. This is still a work in progress. But I have started a photography class, I will be joining the gym here after the Christmas Break, and I will do the things that will make me a better and happier person. If i am happy individually then that makes me a better mom and wife. We all deserve that after the events we have been through. One thing I realized about myself is that I lost me a long time prior to the affair. I was a wife or the girl's mom....but I wasn't just Michele anymore. And one of the issues in my marriage was I had devoted 100% of me to the marriage and the family, my husband chose himself first and then our family and marriage. We were at two ends of the spectrum and that caused a huge rift in our relationship. Now, he is more family and marriage and I am including myself as an individual back into the equation. We are making adjustments in our lives that we both needed. As Elle said - you have to learn to control your thoughts, I am still trying to figure this out. But the more I am self-aware of it the easier it gets. DO NOT waste anymore time of your life on this OW, she doesn't deserve a second thought. Good luck to you. Michele
StrongWoman,Thanks for adding in your thoughts. That's what I mean when I suggest that certain gifts can be gained post-infidelity. Like you (and many others here), I had adopted the role of martyr in my family -- I would sigh with resignation (and resentment) and then do all the things asked of me. I hadn't learned to treat myself with the same regard. Post-infidelity, I felt entitled to actually do things I wanted to do. Not just what everyone else wanted me to do. As a result, I became happier, more interesting to myself, more content, and, paradoxically, "safer" in my marriage because I trust that I can survive without it.But you're right that it's a choice. Letting ourselves be led by our deepest fears (and trying to keep tabs on the OW and then beating ourselves up is fear-based control) doesn't make us better. It makes us bitter. Elle
Hi Elle, I am just over a month from confirmation of my husband's affair. He confirmed that it had been happening and that it was over. He has asked me to stay and try and repair our marriage / relationship (we have been together for 30 years). He says he is truly committed to us BUT he has also said that he has 'feelings' for the OW. How can I believe that he is truly committed when he has feelings for somebody else? How can I make that commitment?