Share Your Story Part 6 (Part 5 is full)

151 comments:

  1. Hello.


    I am presently in the eye of the storm and struggling badly.  A while back my husband had a breakdown which we all assumed was from the pressure of work.  


    Recently I received a message from a girl saying that they had had an affair.  I thought it was a joke or spam and texted my husband lightheartedly not expecting that it was true.


    His reply absolutely blew my world apart.  I have never felt hurt and distress like this and I have been through some stuff in my life.  I can't eat or sleep and have lost just under a stone in a week.  And the rage is like nothing I have ever experienced before.  I'm ashamed to say that I was so disgusted with him it's all I could do not to spit at him.  I have never hit anyone in my life and I swear I could have ripped his head off! (I didnt, obviously...)


    Turned out the breakdown was through guilt and breaking up with her to fix things with me (or so he says).


    I can't understand why he would risk losing his family for someone like her and she is completely opposite to me.  Plastered with make up, false eyelashes, ridiculous looking big fake eyebrows, bleached blond hair, uneducated. Everything I am not and he says she meant nothing to him.  You know, the usual bullshit.


    One of the most difficult things about this whole situation was recognising the state our marriage was in.  We had been effectively separated for years in the same house.  It was never acknowledged. However,  I still thought of him as my husband and thought we would get help and reconcile.


    We both had untreated issues and were hit with a series of bereavements and unemployment which led to him having to work away from home which he did for a few years before the affair.  This led to even more of a disconnect between us and of course gave him the opportunity to cheat with impunity.  He never had to 'work late' or come up with convincing excuses.  If he had, it would have lasted 2 weeks as he is a crap liar!


    I have considered that he thought this would be a good way to end the marriage but the affair has been over for a long time and he is fighting hard for this marriage.  He says that he loves me and doesn't know why he did it.  He has said he was lonely and had depression but I'm not sure that he didnt just see an opportunity which he took.


    We have acknowledged that we both had/have issues which led to the disintegration of our marriage (before the affair) and have discussed addressing these issues to see if we could maybe carry on as all this has brought the underlying love we have for each other to the fore.


    I'm just not sure if I can handle the betrayal.


    Does anyone have any positive stories of being able to forgive and move forward in a new changed relationship?


    Is there a chance that we could get help for our issues and carry onto an even better relationship than before? 


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    1. Anonymous, There isn't a woman on this site who couldn't have written your letter. Maybe the specifics are different but the reactions, the feelings are exactly the same. The shock, the devastation, the rage, the despair, the hopelessness. Yep, yep, yep...
      But here's the thing I hope you can take in right now: The affair was NOT about her. She was convenient, willing and available. That's all she brought to the table. Oh, and she distracted him from the rest of his life which, as you noted, was a particularly difficult period. The affair was like a fantasy, an escape from that. From feelings that he wasn't able to deal with -- loss, loneliness, despair, whatever.
      So...please know this wasn't about you. It wasn't even about her.
      It was about him. And from what you've written, it was likely about the state of your marriage. That's not to place any blame on you -- you were in the same marriage and you didn't cheat. But it is to note that you were both in pain, unable/unwilling to express that to each other.
      This can be the death knell for your marriage or it can be your wakeup call. You can use this experience to rebuild your marriage and, yes, it can feel richer and deeper and more meaningful. You've both learned what happens when you don't feed your marriage. It withers.
      There will be a lot to process and I would urge you to find a therapist who can help you process those deep and legitimate feelings of pain and grief and betrayal. I would encourage your husband to find someone too -- who can help him recognize how he used the affair as escape, who can help him learn how to recognize difficult feelings in himself and learn how to feel them and express them in appropriate healthy ways.
      And then, I hope, with time and intention, you can bring these skills into your marriage. Your marriage can become that place where you both feel safe and valued, where you can share life's ups and downs.
      It takes time and work. But, in my opinion, it's worth it if your husband is genuinely remorseful and willing to do the work. If he's a good guy who did a bad thing, it's worth it.
      I'm not letting him off the hook, of course. He owes it to you to do a LOT of work on himself and he needs to support you as you cry and rage and demand answers. But it sounds as though he's willing to do that.
      I wrote a book (you'll see it at the top of the right-hand column) that's part memoir, part how-to-survive guide about my own experience. You might find it helpful. This blog, too, is filled with women who know exactly what you're going through and who are so smart and so kind and so supportive. You're among friends.

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    2. Thank you Elle. In the last few days we have looked into each other's eyes, held hands, expressed some real genuine emotion to each other for the first time in years (after I stopped trying to kill him!) It's almost like he has been invisible to me for the last few years. When I looked I could see the man I married. He is forever altered but he's still there. We both need help for our own issues and after that we can maybe try marriage counselling. I am by no means certain that this is what I want but at least we can get to the stage where it's an option.

      In a way I think it's the letting go of the person I thought I was too. I never in a million years thought I would ever consider forgiving someone or staying in a relationship with someone after what he has done to me. My initial reaction was 'that's it, it's over, I never want to see you again' in slightly stronger language! When he first started talking about counselling I told him many times to shove it up his arse! I thought he was delusional. That it was the most ridiculous thing I had ever heard. I couldnt see through the abject pain I was in. Now, I'm thinking maybe, just maybe.......

      I'm also conscious of what the few people who know might think of me. Especially, my best friend. She has said that she will support whatever I decide but I dont like the idea that people might be looking at me and thinking that I am a mug or stupid or weak.

      My husband has said a few times that it us up to us what we do. Unfortunately, every time he says this I explode into 'it wasnt just about us when you were fucking someone else whilst I was holding down the fort at home.' You can imagine. It might be true but I'm finding it hard to take from him just now.

      I will have a wee look at your book and thank you for your response. X


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    3. Anonymous,
      Yep, you're pretty much right on script. Not too many of us who EVER thought we'd say to a cheater, "well, sure we can give it another go". Nope. I was absolutely a kick-him-to-the-curb person. Until it happens. And then a whole lot of us look at things differently. And that's also what I'd say about your friend. Unless she's gone through this, she has the same sense that it's impossible to rebuild. Our culture is a "kick-him-to-the-curb" culture. We don't have many public examples of rebuilding. Even those we say, we imagine she's just gritting her teeth and staying out of duty or fear or weakness. But here's the thing: Staying and rebuilding a marriage takes incredible courage and guts and commitment. It's not a sign of weakness at all. Neither is leaving. We each get to walk our own path through this and nobody should stand in judgement, even those of us who've gone through it. Nobody knows what your marriage is about except you. And you are the one who has to live with your choice so please make it based on what feels right for you. Not your friend, not our culture, nobody but you. "My heartbreak, my rules" is our tagline and we mean it.

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    4. Hi, My husband had a breakdown too, one year ago.
      He started to act strange, and coming in late.
      He used to travel a lot, because of work, and I always trusted him, we've been together total of 17 years, 10 of marriage at that point.
      Two kids, and I believed we had a "good marriage".
      But something was happening. I asked him straight, are you happy?. What's going on?. Could you give US an opportunity before, giving it to someone else?.
      Then it all started.
      Total breakdown from him, I've never had seen him cry like that. But he did not tell me anything for days, just crying and like zombie.
      One month passed and we were like roommates.
      I asked him to separate.
      To go and find out what he wanted for his life. Because this life for me was like going thru hell. So, he did, he left, for two weeks.
      Then I received Anonymous messages " your husband is cheating", Yes. The OW.
      I asked him. He denied everything.
      He came back, and then out to travel from work again. This time I asked him if we has coming back was to get help or a final separation.
      He came back, He told me that I was the love of his life, asked for forgiveness, he told me he was going to be a better husband, father, a better man, for his family. That day, he proposed to me again.
      Two days after that, More messages incoming, I always ignored them. But this time, she shared all their pictures together, videos, travel with him, messages between them, everything.
      The shock, and the pain, every inch of my body wanted to tear apart. I knew her, shes the kind of woman that you know, every man looks. Perfect body. I didn't like her before at all, I hated her. I knew he liked my husband at a party just by the way she looked at him.
      He, finally confessed, and I decided to give US a chance. I already had. Before all those pics. ( I knew something was going on, lets face it we all know.)
      It has been very very hard, To work a lot on me, on US, on everything that tore us apart. On Her, she registred her kids at my kids school. When I encounter her, I ignore.. always ignore her.
      It has been difficult, but at the same time, We are better than ever, he really is another man, a compromised Husband and Father.
      She keeps trying to tear us apart. I don't know if it is for fun, or just because she really fell in love ( BS). But a couple of weeks ago, a car pulled on our driveway at 3AM shouting songs and calling out his name, and pledging love for him. ( she is crazy) It has been a year.
      My therapist says that I could expect another year of her craziness.
      Sometimes I get ALL emotions, sometimes I want to get at her, get at him, specially when She does her crazy stuff just for kiks ( @$#%). But I look at my life right now, and everything is better, with all the changes happening, I can realize now, that we lost each other as a couple,we were just a Family team, now everything is different, we do not take anything for granted, and we love each other more.
      I know that I am not ready yet, but someday, I will encounter her and Thank her. Maybe her yelling is a remider for us, to keep working for our relationship and love.
      I pray for my forgiveness, to me, to him and to her.Everyday.
      What I am saying is .. there IS a chance for Love to work thru everything.





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    5. Wow. You've gone through so much and WOW, your ability to see the silver lining is incredible. She sure sounds crazy. And I hope she moves her crazy somewhere else soon. But thank-you for sharing your story. And kudos to you for your huge heart.

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    6. Thank you Elle, everyday is a struggle and sometimes I think I'm going crazy in my mind.
      I still get very anxious and over my head.
      I find her in the supermarket and she looks at me like she wants to kill me.. like I if I was the one who stole him from her!.. So I try to avoid that supermarket, and avoid all those places that I know we can bump into each other, I even avoid some school activities. She looks that opportunity, she is drop dead curvilicious and manages to go to the school plays all dressed up, just to look for him.
      In my heart, there still is a lot to heal, a lot of insecurity, because of all the things I saw, and I still have to coupe for with her attitude.
      Sometimes I i get so mad at him, everything is his fault ( but he knows, he has a lot of guilt) he is so mad at her for all of what she has done.
      I thank that I found all of you, even after a year. Because I still need help.
      Thank you all

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    7. We all needed help for a whole lot longer than we ever imagined we would. Glad you found us.

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  2. This is just something which sprang to mind just now.

    I just cant understand why his girlfriend decided to destroy me. The affair was over. He wasnt going to leave me. Almost two years later, shes in another relationship and she decides she is going to destroy me and she has darn near done it.

    It makes me very sad that she could carry on this relationship with someone she knew to be married and knew had children, bearing in mind this information is coming from him. I'm not completely sure if she knew or not but he was a man who works away and then goes home every weekend. It's not hard to work out.

    I dont want to sound like I am blaming her because I'm not. I 100% blame my husband but just dont understand the vindictiveness. I wonder, if she could see me now, would she feel remorse or pleasure. Who knows?

    As an aside, social media is an absolute curse. I couldnt help looking at her and know she knows this. The smugness on her ugly mug (sorry) has to be seen to be believed and it is so deliberate yet I couldnt stop looking. I have been good the last few days, refrained from looking and felt so much better.

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    1. (Part 1 of 2) Dear anonymous,

      I am so, so sorry that you are being forced to go through this. Discovering my husband’s affair, and then, two months later, discovering that he had been lying to me daily since d-day about the extent of that affair, remains the most devastatingly painful thing I have ever experienced.

      I was struck by this part of your post: “Is there a chance that we could get help for our issues and carry onto an even better relationship than before?”

      I only discovered Elle’s website six months after D-day. By then I had done a remarkable amount of learning and growing. Still, I gobbled up the posts, ordered her book and read it straight through in 24 hours (highly recommended). I was so, so hungry for narratives of couples who had made it through affairs and were happy. Which is what you asked for.

      What I have come to understand, on the doorstep of my one-year D-Day antiversary, is that what I actually needed to read (although I didn’t know it at the time) were stories of women who had made it through being cheated on and were happy; not couples who had made it through and were happy. I can’t control what happens in my relationship — it take two to make it a success — but I can control what I do with my own mind and heart.

      It would have been more comforting to read the narratives of couples who were happy. It was more helpful and realistic and empowering to read/hear the narratives of women who made it through.

      Apparently it *is* possible for couples to use the trauma of the affair as an opportunity to do a post-mortem, figure out what went wrong in their marriage, and decide to have a new and healthier relationship together. Esther Perel writes about this. (If you haven’t seen or read or heard her stuff, start with her TED Talk on rethinking infidelity.) Most of the stories I hear about these kinds of couples are from Christian sources and not being a religious person, those weren’t very helpful to me.

      Anyway. Yes, I did find one or two narratives of people who made it through infidelity as a couple and thrived, although I’m not sure how much I trust their exuberance. The best example is Beyoncé (watch the Lemonade video series in order — most importantly the introductory poetry written by Warsan Shire). If Beyoncé can be cheated on, literally anyone can be cheated on. Her decision to make Jay-Z’s betrayal into a story in which she, Beyoncé, is the hero, is brilliant and it’s also what I’ve tried to do. I am the hero of the story of my husband’s affair. Why? Because I choose to be. Why should I let anyone else — the other woman, my husband, societal expectations — be in charge of the narrative?

      I found a lot more narratives of people who tried to reconcile but ultimately the marriage ended. But just to be clear: these are not stories of failure. Love Warrior by Glennon Doyle is a great example. (Part two of the book describes the experience of the trauma of infidelity in a way that was so bang on for me.) Glennon writes that when she put herself back together again after the betrayal, she discovered that she just didn’t fit her old life. If you don’t have the time, money or concentration to read, listen to the Oprah SuperSoul Conversations podcast episode Glennon Doyle did on this.

      Mostly, what I found where narratives of people for whom reconciliation wasn’t even an option, either because the cheater wanted out or because the betrayed didn’t want to consider it. But again: those can be empowering stories, too. All four of my friends who have been cheated on were in this camp: two didn’t even want to reconcile because the betrayal was so horrible, and the other two had spouses (one was a man whose wife cheated, the other a woman whose husband did) who just wanted to leave. All of these people are happy now. Things didn’t go the way they wanted, but they still ended up happy. One is happily married (to a HOTTIE!) and has a new baby, one is happily in a relationship (also with a hottie! Hmm... theme?) and two are happily single by choice.

      (continued below!)

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    2. (Part 2 of 2 for anonymous)

      The most useful narratives for me, regardless of the outcome of the marriage/relationship, came from people who used the experience of being cheated on as a catapult that propelled them to enormous growth. Pain can be rocket fuel if you let it. That’s what I chose to do and now, a year later, I feel more powerful than I have in years and more grounded than I ever have. The best narratives of those personal growth experiences are Pema Chodron’s book “When Things Fall Apart”, Glennon Doyle’s book I mentioned earlier, and Elle’s story, as described on the Surviving infidelity podcast from earlier this year. You can’t know how your marriage—or indeed any marriage—is going to turn out. All you can do is take the next right step, as Glennon Doyle writes.

      It’s like driving in fog. You can only see as far as your headlight but it turns out that’s all you need.

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    3. Anonymous, I wondered if it might be helpful to get someone else's experience of the things you mention in your posts. So, I wrote out my experience, not as advice but just to give you insight into what someone else lived. Once I started writing, I just couldn't stop. So, I'm posting it all here, in multiple posts.


      #1 ANGER.

      Girl. When the shock wore off (which took about 12 hours), I didn’t just have anger, I had violent rage. Violent. Rage. A spirit animal — a bird of fire — came and inhabited my body for three straight days. I packed a bag and walked out, leaving my husband with our two little children and with no indication of when or if I’d be back. My anger was so furious that separation was the safest thing for both of us. That’s when my husband realized just how catastrophic his choices were. That was his rock bottom.


      #2 PAIN.

      The pain was more intense than any pain I have ever felt. I gave birth without an epidural or any kind of pain control, and I swear, this was the same level of pain, but sustained for weeks.


      #3 WHAT HURT(S) THE MOST.

      The gaslighting. And the fact that he wanted to share special things with her; not with me and our children. Unlike so many women I’ve heard from, I knew — knew in my gut — that something was wrong as he was starting the affair. Our marriage was in bad shape despite the years of effort I’d been making but even at that, I felt something shift. I forced us into marriage counselling and it turns out that my instincts were bang on. He booked their first date, thus starting the affair, the same day as our first marriage counseling session. I even asked him point blank one night if he was having an affair. (That sense of just knowing that Elle describes? Girl. I had that too.) He denied it all of course and used our therapy sessions to make me think I was imagining things. But I never gaslit myself. I knew something was wrong. His affair “only” lasted two months and the physical component was “only” a week long and, so he claims, never quite made it to being sexual (and yes, I’m defining that terms in the broadest possible sense). But it wasn’t the fact that he made out with her multiple times or even that he came close to sleeping with her once. It’s the fact that he made diner reservations for her, not me. That he sent joking emails to her, not me. That he invited her to go hiking with him, not me. And all the while I was staying home with the two kids, unwittingly facilitating his affair. Girl, that is a punch in the gut, even now.


      #4 WHO TO TELL.

      I didn’t make it a secret that I was going through the experience of discovering I had been cheated on. That said, I didn’t advertise it either. The reason I didn’t make it a secret is because I knew I’d need people supporting me, and those people needed to know the truth. Also, this is apparently something that happens quite a lot in our society, and I really think that if we just TALKED about it more, a lot of the stigma would be reduced and also people who are tempted to think that cheating is something they can just do on the sly without hurting anyone would disabuse themselves of that bullshit. In the very very beginning, I reached out to two women I barely knew that I knew had been cheated on, seeking their advice. I wouldn’t have had those people to turn to if I didn’t know they had been cheated on. Now, maybe I can be that for someone else who is as desperate as I was.

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    4. #5. HOW MY COMMUNITY REACTED.

      My friends were and continue to be awesome, which really speaks to how amazing my chosen community is. I have surrounded myself with a network of women who are smart and strong, who understand and embrace the sticky messiness if life, and who will respect and support me whether I stay or go. Along with those women come the men and women who love them and are their life partners: people who value self-knowledge and are compassionate and kind. The big disappointment for me was my parents. When things fell apart, I literally couldn’t function. I couldn’t eat, couldn’t sleep, couldn’t work, and could not take care of my children. I was in crisis. I really, really, really needed someone to listen without judgement and to physically come in and take care of me and my kids for a while. My parents, who could have done it, chose not to. They wanted to preserve the comfort of their perception of reality and of their routine.

      So who did step up to take care of me when I was incapacitated? Here's where it gets weird. It was my husband, the man whose selfishness put me in that state. And looking back, that was what first made me consider the possibility of staying.


      #6. WHY DID HE DO IT?

      I’m lucky because right from the word go (because of work done by feminists and relationship experts like Elle and like Esther Perel), I knew this was 100% because of him and his issues and 0% because of anything that had to do with me. I’m an awesome catch in every way. But it took a while and lots of therapy with a very very good therapist before my husband finally figured out for himself why he essentially blew up his whole life (and mine and that of our kids). In our case, my husband had an affair because he wanted to escape the problems in our marriage, which existed because of a whole lot of crap from his horrible childhood that he had never had the courage to deal with in a healthy way. But instead of being brave and facing the crap and accepting that HE was the problem in our marriage, he instead chose to create a double-life in which he presented himself as a single dad to the (very) young woman who asked him out one day, taking the opportunity when it arose. I had been working diligently and patiently for years to try and make our marriage better but it turns out that the more effort I put in, the less he felt like he needed to try, and the more he felt entitled to take take take. Ain’t that a kick in the teeth? When I discovered his affair, my boundaries came roaring back into place and my healthy sense of entitlement came roaring back. I could literally hear the roaring in my ears as they came back from wherever I had shoved them down to over the years of self-sacrifice. They are all still firmly in place and will never budge again.

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    5. #7. WHY HER?

      Again, I am soooo lucky that I had very strong resilience going into this. (Which reminds me: read “Resilient” by Rick Hanson. Amazing.) I knew from the beginning that my husband’s affair wasn’t because I lacked something. In fact, when I started to learn about the other woman, it became clear to me that she was inferior to me in every way (except age, if you adhere to our society’s view that youth is superior, and fitness level, where I’m still pretty fit but not compared to someone 13 years younger with no kids who can go to the gym whenever she likes without having to arrange child care). And that was the whole point for my husband. He WANTED someone inferior to me — less confident, less powerful, less accomplished, less educated, less worldly, less well travelled, with lower earning power — because he liked how it made him feel better about himself. Was I making him feel bad about himself in our marriage? Hell, no. I thought he was awesome and sexy and a fantastic dad and told him so all the time. The voice that made him feel inferior wasn’t coming from me, it was coming from inside himself; but he didn’t want to admit that to himself. So what did she, the other woman, have? As Elle wisely says: nothing I want. She is damaged and lacking in confidence and willing to not ask too many questions about why the guy she’s dating kinda still seems to be living with his wife and kids despite his claims that they were separating. Do I want to be like her? Hell, no. The other thing that made him choose her is convenience. She flirted with him. She was available. And would I ever want a man to choose me primarily because I’m available? Duh. No.



      #8. PITYING VS. HATING THE OTHER WOMAN.

      Some people say you shouldn’t hate the other woman but rather pity her. I say do both! She was instrumental in nearly effing up my children’s lives by wrecking their family. Of course I hate that bitch. That pathetic, pitiable bitch.



      #9. DOESN’T SHE CARE THAT SHE RUINED MY FAMILY?

      Nope. Because if she did care, she wouldn’t have done it. You’ll never be able to understand how she can live with herself so don’t even try. The answer is that she is completely messed up. Take solace in the fact that you aren’t. You are in pain, but you are not messed up.

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    6. #10. STAYING FOR THE KIDS.

      I'm not sure if your kids factor into this at all, but they did for me. I’m actually pretty surprised at how rarely I read that kids factor into people’s decisions to give a cheating spouse a second chance or not. Personally, if I didn’t have kids, I would have dumped him immediately. Our marriage was in a terrible state before and I was the one doing all the work to make it stronger. The fact that we had two very young children is the ONLY reason I even contemplated not divorcing him; I was very happy, independent and accomplished before we met and, without kids, and would immediately have gone back to that life. When I discovered his affair I was willing to fight for our family but not for our marriage; he had to fight for that.



      #11. MAKING THE HARD HEALTHY CHOICES.

      It sounds like you're already doing this, Anonymous. After the first few weeks of shock and body-shaking sobbing and furious anger, I decided that I would have to actively rewire my brain so that the unhealthy stuff didn’t have a chance to create entrenched neural pathways. I knew the anger would poison me. I knew that trolling the OW’s social media would make me hurt more. I knew that drinking a bottle of wine every night was just making things worse. So, I forced myself to make them. And Girl: it sucked. But I did it. When the angry thoughts came in, I actively stopped them and forced my brain to think of my awesome children. When self-pity squeezed me, I forced myself to feel gratitude. When I wanted to check the OW’s Instagram, I forced myself to read a gripping fiction novel instead. Forced myself. Forced. It was an act of will. And Girl, as I did it, it felt like it wasn’t helping at all. I was still so angry. I was still so consumed by the injustice of it all. I still obsessed over her. But I kept on doing it. And thank god I did, because within about 2-3 months, all that stuff just got much, much quieter.



      #12. SURVIVING MINUTE TO MINUTE.

      You mentioned being in the eye of the storm and struggling badly. To paraphrase Mira Kirshenbaum from her book “I love you but I don’t trust you” (which I found good but inadequate — it’s better for “smaller” betrayals), if you’re asking yourself “how do I survive this pain?” the answer is that you already are surviving it. You are doing it. My advice, if you find a wave of grief crashing down on you, is to enter the texture of the moment, and breathe. Notice the smell of the room. The texture of what you’re sitting on. The saturation of the colours. The many sounds. Stay in the moment. Breathe. The pain will eventually release you. Then, at the end of every day, make a point of being grateful. In your mind, actively relive all the things you experienced during the day that you are grateful for.

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    7. #13. WHAT COURAGE LOOKS LIKE.

      Make no mistake about it, Anonymous: you are being brave. As a society, by and large, we only value loud courage: the action hero kind of courage. Punching. Shouting. Kicking him out. Calling a lawyer. Going it alone. (We don’t appreciate the phenomenal difficulty that single mothers face every single day, but we do applaud the woman who kicks the bum out.) We don’t value (or even recognize) the silent kinds of courage. The courage to find compassion for yourself and others. The courage to really feel the pain. The courage to stay with someone who has hurt you but is trying like crazy to make amends. The courage to shield our children. The courage of grace. We appreciate things that look physically courageous. We mostly don’t know how to even recognize emotional and spiritual courage. Does it take courage to leave? Yes. Does it take courage to stay? Yes.


      #14. YOU GET TO CHOOSE THE WORDS.

      As a writer, words are extremely important to me. The words “taking him back” make me feel really uncomfortable. They just don’t reflect my experience. Because “him” – the man who cheated on me – is more or less gone at this point. Instead, over the past year of rocket-fuel-pain-powered growth, my husband has become someone amazingly different. That’s why I prefer these words instead: I’m seeing if I the person I have become might want to have a new marriage with the person he has become. Wordier, yes. But accurate.

      I hope some of this helps, Anonymous.

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    8. Chinook,
      Wow. Just...wow. Thank-you so much for all that (on behalf of me and everyone else here). I'd love to copy this and re-post as a stand-alone blog post, if that's okay with you. You can let me know at betrayedwivesclub06@gmail.com. Thank-you. Thank-you so much.

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    9. Chinook, you've got a wealth of great stuff here. Welcome. Anonymous, Chinook has wise words. You are so early in this discovery and honestly when I was where you are I was a puddle of mush and vacillated between wanting to die and wanting him to die. It gets easier to deal with your new life over time but right now you are in no way, shape or form to even think about the future. Just take it a day at a time. There is so much collective wisdom on this site. I could read in small bits because I never believed I'd still be married to my husband after his disclosure. It's been a little over four years and we are stable and moving forward with a totally different life than previously. I will never go back.

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    10. Chinook this thread of posts is outstanding. SO good. Thank you. I love this bit. "I am the hero of the story of my husband’s affair. Why? Because I choose to be. Why should I let anyone else — the other woman, my husband, societal expectations — be in charge of the narrative?"
      I can relate to so much of what you have posted. I hope all the people that need this see this. I wish I had stumbled in here closer to DDay. It's a great idea to make this it's own post Elle. It's quietly reaffirming and empowering.

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    11. Thank you, Elle, Beach Girl and SusannahJ.

      And Anonymous, listen to Beach Girl. She is totally right when she writes "right now you are in no way, shape or form to even think about the future. Just take it a day at a time."

      This is exactly right. Your *only* job right now is to survive, and you do that by taking it one day at a time or, if a whole day is overwhelming, one minute at a time. Let yourself feel the pain without reaching for an escape or something to numb you -- it's the hardest thing you will ever do but it is also the healthiest way I know to heal oneself.

      Delete
  3. Having a bit of a setback today. I know I'm only less than 3 weeks in but thought I had been able to stop the hysterical sobbing.

    Had to iron some clothes today as I have done nothing for 3 weeks and have children running out of clothes to wear!

    Got to thinking of all the shirts of his I would have ironed during the period he was with her and it sent me crazy. Told him I wanted all his shirts from that period thrown out or I was going to take the scissors to them. Thinking back to him coming home on a Friday and putting all his clothes straight in the washing machine. The amount of make up she wears, there us no doubt it would have been on his shirts.

    I cannot think of one time when I can pinpoint him lieing to me face to face as he was away from home so avoided having to do this. I'm sure there were few times but cant think of them. However, it is him sneaking in and putting his shirts in the wash and then me ironing them which is driving me crazy just now!

    The crying has returned with a vengeance. I'm hurting so badly I asked him to hide the sleeping pills the doctor gave me. I feel so desperate.

    Everytime I think I might get through this something else bites me on the arse.

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    Replies
    1. Anonymous,
      Honey...cry. Let yourself cry. Three weeks out? I was barely functional. Seriously. It was a miracle if I was out of my robe with teeth brushed. And here you are ironing. Ironing!! You're a superstar. But right now, you're a superstar who's devastated and so deeply sad.
      And when we're sad, we cry. And then we wipe our tears and get back to mom-ing and wife-ing and all the other roles we have to play. And you will. But when you're sad, don't push it down or away. it will end up coming out in a more harmful way. Just be sad. Trust that the tears won't drown you. Know that you are incredibly strong and brave.
      There will be other bites in the arse. You will manage those with the same strength...and sadness.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous, I so get your feelings about his clothes. The exact thing happened at my house because I knew exactly what he was wearing during the times of his whore shopping and he knew that I knew. He threw out every single thing that he wore during the month we spent in Hawaii when he was whore shopping. Every single piece of clothing. I also deleted all of the photos of him/us during that time and for the previous ten years because he was doing his whores all that time. Everything was deleted. It's been a little over four years since D-day and I do not regret a single delete. Not a single one.

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    3. Beach girl. I so get that. I feel like everything we did during the time of the affair was a lie. We have a couple of places we went on vacation that were special to us as a family and I will never be back as I just can't stop thinking about him sneaking away to text her and how it was all lies. Facebook memories are the worst. Some treasured happy time which pops up in your memories and you initially smile then notice the date and your stomach drops. All false. I hope you have found some happiness beach girl, however you chose to move on from DD. X

      Delete
    4. Anonymous, hey, I understand the issue with FB. Although I've gone back in my FB and deleted photos of my spouse there are some that I missed. When FB reminds me, I go back into my archives and find that memory and delete the photo. None of our anniversary photos show up anymore. I deleted all of them. None of us on vacation in the places where he went whore shopping show up anymore either. As for the initial response, I told him it was just a good thing we had grand children because if it was just our adult kids I would have bought a gun and taken him somewhere an insisted he kill himself. I encouraged him to die. Oh brother was I angry and hostile. The things I said to him will forever be singed into his head. Even in my meltdown two days ago when a very, very painful conversation happened with my daughter about old men hitting on young Asian women, I had to fight with myself to not eviscerate him. He is not that guy anymore and he is the happiest he has ever been according to him. He has a lot to lose. He knows it. Regarding the OW, they are nothing. nothing. pieces of fly shit on our plates. My husband was an Asian whore monger. Paid for his hour and never looked back. That is still very hard for me to live with at times but you know what? He has to live with that plus the knowledge that I know what he did and what he is capable of. Trust will never show up again except that I do trust that he knows if he messes up one more time we are done. 40+ years down the toilet. I won't protect him either. The is his burden now. I'm just doing my best to live my life the way I wish to live it. Much love to you and thanks for posting.

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    5. Got a facebook memory of flowers he had sent me when he was right in the middle of his affair. This sent me into a downward spiral of obsessive thoughts about who sent them. Was it her to mock me or was it both of them together to have a laugh. It was probably just a big heap of guilt on his part though. I cringe at the facebook post of me showing off my flowers. Fucking pathetic.

      Still incredulous at my husband risking all he has for someone with a face like a bulldog chewing a wasp and with a real nasty streak.

      I'm sorry I know I keep repeating the same points but still reeling. X



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    6. So sorry you are going through this. Crying is a release so do lots of it. When I look back I can not believe I went to work every day after crying all night. 3 weeks is sooo new yet. I cryed every day for hours for close to a year and still cry lots 4 1/2 years later. I found getiing mad made ut easier to get things done But sometimes it just had to be crying foe a release of the sorrow. There is so much.try to take care. None of us want to be here.

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  4. Anonymous,

    I completely understand. I felt the exact same way. It's so unfair that even something as simple as ironing is a trigger for you.

    I think it is completely reasonable for you to want to purge your household of anything that might be tied to the other woman, including your husband's shirts. It sounds healthy.

    I'm really glad to hear that you are taking measures to protect yourself from self-harm. I just learned recently that about half of the time, suicide is not pre-planned, which I didn't realize. Asking your husband to hide those pills is responsible and also helps him understand how desperate you feel. Do you have the means to see a counselor or therapist? Not all of them are good at their jobs, and you need to find the right fit, but once you do see someone who is knowledgeable and who is the right fit for you, they can be enormously helpful.

    From one warrior to another: please know that you are not alone. Please hang in there. Please enter the texture of the moment when you feel yourself drowning in sorrow. Please breathe when you feel yourself burning with anger and remember that the past cannot hurt you. When you feel desperate sadness, treat yourself to something that feels wonderful -- a massage, a pedicure, or just a good book and mug of tea in a sunbeam if you don't have the funds for anything different.

    You write "Every time I think I might get through this something else bites me on the arse" but hear this: you ARE getting through this. The pain you're feeling is all part of getting through this. The triggers are all part of it. It hurts SO MUCH and it is so brutally unfair. And you are getting through this.

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  5. Chinook. Thank you so much. There is so much I can take from your posts and so much I could say.

    An interesting point that I was thinking about whilst reading your post was the part about children.

    I have a friend who asked 'what would you do if you didn't have children?' as an instrument to get me to separate my kids from the equation. I found this question irrelevant and a bit silly because we do have children and if we didn't, who knows where we would be and what we'd be doing. I love my kids more than anything (apart maybe from Chinese food) but kids do come with massive amounts of stress. They change your relationship in so many ways that my idiot husband found hard to cope with. That kind of question just annoys me. It's totally unhelpful.

    On the subject of friends, I have only told two. One my long-standing closest friend and one a newer friend who I love and trust but didn't tell the nitty gritty of the affair. She knows i'm struggling and has been giving me daily support. My closest friend I can feel pulling away from me as she realises that I may not be going for the immediate separation option. It's so hurtful. I get the feeling she is on the brink of the 'stay with him but don't come running to me if he does it again' speech.

    It's heartbreaking because most of my immediate family are dead and this whole thing has made me realise just how badly I was struggling with grief, isolation and anxiety for many, many years. Yesterday, I was lying in my bed thinking that I had not had a genuine happy thought since the first tragedy and that has been a long time. I have been like some kind of a zombie going through the motions. I want my first priority to be sorting myself out and then who knows?

    I'm sorry, I seem to be just going off on rants! I have so much I want to say about your posts but just can't organise my thoughts just now.

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    Replies
    1. Hello Anonymous, it’s been 10 months for me and I still feel pretty much the same. Reading your post it sounds so much like my thoughts. Ironing... I cut up the jacket he wore when he saw that W....... I wish I could remember the shirt pants...
      Today was my first day of therapy... (I think the therapist was falling asleep at times but he’s very kind. Next Friday it’s the next appointment, we will see
      I know what you mean about girlfriends, I only have two and I can tell that they’re tired of hearing me. Unfortunately I’m alone as well, no family and not many people around me. Let’s be strong and continue this journey that life through at us.

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  6. Chinook

    My husband's choice of girlfriend was quite a bit more than 13 years younger than me.

    I think about it sometimes but mostly it doesn't bother me. I would like to explain why without sounding superficial and buying into the narrative of a society which values women only on the basis of their attractiveness and encourages us to beat each other down, but fuck that she is not very attractive at all! I have 20 years on her but look better in a dress. I have never seen the inside of a gym but have a better body than that girl and I wont even talk about her face because I havent seen it through all the fakery of makeup and false this, false that. What I have seen of her face isnt very attractive and she has a nasty aura about her. During my internet detective work I found several photos which made me incredulous as to why this was his choice and I know this question has been answered before but I'm just venting.

    The part about your husband supporting you through this hit home too. Its so fucked up. I literally nearly killed him in the first few days. He should not have been here as it was dangerous for us both yet now he is dealing with the kids, making sure I eat etc still saying a lot of stupid things though! I don't want to return to the marital bed as yet and he said 'but it's a fundamental of married life'. He wasnt taking about sex just the closeness but you can imagine my response that a fundamental of married life is not fucking someone else, followed by door slamming and more sobbing! For some reason I am finding some of this comical in its ridiculousness. You couldnt make it up.




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    Replies
    1. Anonymous - The who is irrelevant. The OW was readily available. End of subject. There was nothing special about her other than she was available.

      I would tell you to stop the internet detective work - but I know that it's part of the process. I'm more than 2 years out and I can't stop looking at her social media stuff - even though it's locked down and her latest profile pic is not a selfie.

      Elle's post (http://betrayedwivesclub.blogspot.com/2015/11/what-does-she-have-nothing-you-would.html)has been a lifeline for me when I get too absorbed with the OW.

      Have you found a therapist? I made the mistake of finding the first available one and it was ok for the moment but was nothing that would have sustained me long term. I have had 2 others who were NOT helpful and finally 23 months later I was able to land in the office of a woman who is a God send. My point is ... please take the time to look into finding someone who can help you through this. Girlfriends are great ... but a nonpartisan professional will get you further from this trauma faster!

      As Chinook said - you are NOT alone. I would be lost if not for the sisters I've found here who will hug you, honor you, and push you (lovingly) to doing what's best for you!

      Delete
    2. Kimberley, thanks for your post.

      My husband keeps saying that she meant nothing to him but this somehow does not make me feel better. Part of me wishes it was some big love story where they were irresistibly drawn to each other, were soul mates (whatever that pish means) and were together forever more. This 'she was just available' stuff makes me question the quality of his character even more. After looking at her social media pictures I actually, seriously asked him if she was a prostitute because of the way she looks! She is so completely opposite from me or anyone he would consider marrying or introducing to his family. Maybe that was the fantasy. Who knows?


      Delete
  7. Chinook. How did you shield your babies from this? My poor wee girl is suffering. She knows, she overheard My boy is smaller but can probably still sense the tension (that's putting it mildly). I'm heartbroken for them. So much so that I want to give up and get them out of this atmosphere. I'm getting desperate again. In worried that this has completely ruined their life chances no matter what happens now. How did I get in to this mess? I am the worst mother in the world.

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  8. Oh, Anonymous, my heart breaks for your sadness and worry. Hang in there, fellow warrior. Everything you describe here sounds very familiar.

    My children were both preschool age on D-Day. They both witnessed a horrific fight between my husband and I, which was unprecedented in our household. I am very proactive in talking to my kids about emotions, so as soon as the fight cooled off, despite my shock and grief, I sat us all down on the couch for a debrief. I told my children that Mommy and Daddy had just had a fight, which was wrong and shouldn't have happened, and that we were both very sorry. To help them orient it, I added that the two of them fought together often, and grown-up fights were similar but more rare. I added, repeatedly, that it had nothing to do with them. It was just between Mommy and Daddy, and we both loved them and they did nothing wrong.

    There were many days when I was too depressed to get out of bed. Many days of crying. I never lied to my kids about this. I told them I was very sad. I asked my oldest what he thought was going on, and he said that because Daddy and I had had a fight, the fight broke my heart. This seemed like a good version so I told him he was right and now my heart was healing and it was going to take a long time and I was going to be sad for a long time, but it had nothing to do with them, and Daddy was very sorry he broke my heart and was doing everything he could to make it better.

    Some weeks later, my husband and I separated. My children lived only at the house with me, and my husband came and went. (This arrangement is known as "nesting" -- the things you learn!) I explained to the kids that this was all part of my heart healing.

    The main things that seemed to comfort my kids were: (1) I was always honest about the emotions that were flying around -- no gaslighting of my children! I would often prompt my oldest to see what he had come up with as an explanation, then kept that version or adjusted as necessary. (2) my husband and I both made a Herculean effort to NOT fight in front of the kids. There was also ABSOLUTELY no parental alienation, which can really mess kids up (3) we repeatedly reassured the kids that this was only an adult thing and not related to them in any way, and that we both loved them, and that we were taking care of it and they didn't have to worry about it (4) I did a lot of very fun and comforting things with the kids for many months, like movies all together on the couch even on school nights, etc. (5) Despite my grief, I spent a LOT of time with them.

    I advise that you assure them that it's not their fault and that the grown-ups are handling it. I strongly recommend being honest about your feelings but limit details about what's causing them (just say it's a grown-up thing). Do not fight in front of the kids or within earshot if at all possible. And help keep their routine as consistent as possible, which they'll find reassuring.

    My kids have really taken the whole thing in stride. Once they were reassured that they weren't losing their father despite his moving out, and once my mood started to improve (which took about 3 months), things were fine.

    My husband recently moved back in, but to the guest room, and my kids are taking that in stride too. They don't seem to really care where their father is living as long as everyone is getting along, there's no fighting, they know that both parents are available to them all the time, and they know what routine to expect, more or less, every day.

    Anonymous, I was worried about this hurting my children, too. But if my kids are anything to go by, there is absolutely no need to worry about anything catastrophic.

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  9. Chinook. I was given no space by my husband. He was away for work at the time and came home one day after d day and then refused to leave because he felt like it would be the wrong thing to do. We managed to get the kids away for a few nights and the worst fights were then but my girl who is in her early teens overheard something one night. She woukdnt tell me what but I just said that Daddy had hurt Mummy very badly (which she could tell anyeay) but that it didnt make him a bad person and that we both loved her very much. That sometimes people make mistakes and we were trying to fix it. This was so hard as wanted to scream that he was a lying, cheating, deceitful son of a bitch! Tears running down my face just now as I had the most wonderful of parents. They had a true deep love. They weren't perfect but I can honestly say that I never heard either of them shout in anger and they just lived for one another. I am heartbroken that I could not provide this for my babies. I'm afraid I have not been able to be as controlled as you Chinook but I have not been given a second away from him since this all broke!

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    Replies
    1. Anonymous,

      All of this is very familiar to me. Painfully familiar. I am so sorry you're being forced to go through this. It is so unfair and so undeserved.

      First off, it sounds like you are doing remarkably well. You are validating what your children see (i.e., that you are in deep pain and your husband is the cause of it), which is very important because it builds trust. You are resisting the incredibly powerful urge to trash talk your husband to your/his own children. That is very hard to do but really speaks to your character. And you are intuitively understanding that there is a much larger context for the choices we make as parents, and that past generations of parenting influence that. The first two are actions that can be taught but this last one is so important because it's a way of seeing the world that takes a long time to develop.

      I know how hard it is but please, please don't think of this as a failure in your ability to provide for your babies. It is not true and it is not helpful. If that thought comes into your head, do not allow it to linger. Forcibly change your thoughts, even though it seems weird and fake to do so. Do not allow the neural pathways encoding that thought to become entrenched.

      Instead, find compassion for yourself. You are suffering. You have been hurt in one of the worst possible ways. You are feeling pain that is so huge and powerful it engulfs you. You did nothing to deserve this. And still, you are making healthy and wise choices. You deserve a medal.

      Your husband's affair is NOT a result of your failing as a parent. HE is the one who has failed your children, failed your family; not you.

      I'm not sure if this will help at all, but I chose to adopt a narrative that in my family's darkest hour, when all hope seemed lost, I was the one who put on the bulletproof bracelets, grabbed the lasso of truth, drew on super-strength I didn't even know I had, and ran towards the crumbling buildings and burning fires in order to save us all.

      Dramatic? Yes, it is. But when I was going through something horribly, negatively dramatic, I needed something heroically, positively dramatic as a counterpoint.

      Action movies are full of reluctant heroes. Liam Neeson didn't WANT anyone to kidnap his daughter, but when they did, he broke out a very particular set of skills that made him a nightmare for people like the kidnappers. Wonder Woman didn't WANT the second world war to happen, but when it did, she was willing to fight for those who cannot fight for themselves.

      The bitter pill is this: Yes, Anonymous, this is now a permanent part of your life story and your children's life story. Yes, they will now forever be the children of parents whose marriage was traumatized by infidelity. So are mine. So are the children of every woman and every man in the world who has been cheated on.

      But here's the thing.

      If a person makes it through their entire life unscathed, that person has not really lived.

      Life isn't supposed to be a race to get to the end without anything bad ever happening. As Pierre Teilhard de Chardin wrote: "We are not human beings having a spiritual experience, we are spiritual beings having a human experience."

      You cannot control whether anything bad is ever foisted onto your children by some other person. It is a horrible betrayal that this pain was foisted on them by their own father, who is meant to be their protector. And that is a shame he will carry for the rest of his life (whether he admits it to himself or, like some many cheaters, hides his own shame from himself). But at some point, all of our children will be forced to live with something really hurtful. The way I see it, my job is to give them a framework for that pain that makes it understandable and bearable, and the resilience to make it a part of their life story.

      If you have not yet read "Resilient" by Rick Hanson, I strongly recommend it.


      (continued below)

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    2. Something else that I read in your post relates to boundaries. The fact that you asked your husband to give you space and he refused to do so is very troubling to me. I understand his desperation to not have you leave because it's a desperation to not have reality (i.e., the fact that he cheated) be as it is. But when you say you need something, he should listen. Elle wrote an amazing post about boundaries. Have you read it?

      Some of the best advice I got in the time immediately after D-Day was to not make any decisions but rather to gather information -- information about him but also information about myself and my thoughts and feelings (which is why journaling was so useful to me).

      Cheating husband doesn't know why he had an affair? Interesting. That's good information to have.

      Cheating husband won't respect my boundaries? Interesting. That's good information to have.

      Or: cheating husband is sobbing himself to sleep every night? Cheating husband has bought every book he can find on reconciliation after an affair, taken a week off work, and is reading through them all? Cheating husband is going to weekly therapy?

      Interesting.

      It's all good information to have.

      Delete
  10. Part 1 of 3
    Dear Elle & Betrayed Wives (or girlfriends),
    I recently came across this site and I have to admit that I am so thankful that I have. I am 9 months out from D-Day and I have searched articles and blogs grasping to find similar stories or experiences with minimal luck. I have read books and just constantly searched and here is a community of women all who have been through similar pain. I am not a wife, I am a girlfriend. Which at first made me very hesitant to share my story after reading all of your posts that most have been married for years with kids and a life before an affair happened which made my situation feel kind of silly. But nonetheless, I feel like I need to share for insight and support. Or just for the fact that someone can actually say “I know how you feel” and truly mean it. My boyfriend and I met two years ago and right from the beginning it was unlike anything else I had experienced. We had so much in common, same likes, dislikes, morals, wanted the same things out of life. It was perfect. And I fell in love with him fiercely and quickly. I knew early on that he was the love of my life, and I truly believed he felt the same way. We both came with a past, I had dated a not so nice guy for awhile and he came out of a rocky long-term relationship that he was already checked out of for years until he actually ended it. I felt like we understood each other. We dated for awhile and then decided to move in together. We were talking about buying a house in the Spring and figured we should give it a “trial run” before making that commitment. I had lived with a significant other before and he had not so I thought it was important that we try it out. So, I packed up all my stuff and moved to the other end of the city for love and I was happy to do it.
    We certainly had our ups and downs and looking back now there were red flags that I definitely overlooked at the time. Things that maybe seemed a little odd but I didn’t question because I was either reassured that it was nothing, or I convinced myself that my boyfriend loved me unconditionally and there was nothing else to worry about. Nine months ago I was standing in the middle of a shopping mall when I received a message via Facebook from his ex-girlfriend letting me know that over the course of the last couple months they had seen each other, he had told her he was single, and they had slept together. When I first read those words, I didn’t believe it. What I had known about this girl was that she was pretty dramatic and was just a little crazy. I figured, here she goes trying to stir the pot. I have him read the message, tell him it better not be true, and walk out to the truck to wait for him. He comes out, tells me
    “I’m going to get to the bottom of this” and into the truck he goes. So I’m thinking, okay, you’re right, she’s crazy, he didn’t do anything. So I say
    “Okay, then just tell me you haven’t seen her and then I have nothing to worry about” silence and then “I can’t tell you that” and then I knew. We get home, I pack a bag, we yell, he panics, I ask him over and over again if he did it, denial. So I read the message again and in the message she offers to share messages to back herself up so I say that to him and he goes silent.
    “Did you sleep with her?”
    “Yes”
    And then everything went numb and I left.
    I continued to talk to him that evening (after a few drinks with my sisters) and demanded answers and details. How many times? Where? In our bed? Where was I? What lies were you telling me? And he would not answer anything. So, I had her call me.

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  11. Part 2 of 3
    Looking back now it’s like an out of body experience. I have no idea how I was so calm and collect (shock I suppose) but I was not mean to her, I wasn’t even mad at her, I just told her that woman to woman I needed to know, and she told me. She cried on the phone to me and claimed she truly didn’t know about me. I really didn’t care at that point, I just wanted answers.
    The next few days were a blur. I didn’t go to work, I was in the middle of finishing up at my job to start a new job so I had a week off. I didn’t eat, sleep, or do much of anything. I was staying at my sisters place and I literally felt like a zombie. We went to his place to get my things which was heartbreaking.
    He was remorseful everyday and eventually I agreed to meet him in person to talk. We met, I drank, I cried, I yelled, he cried. It was extremely emotional. And at the end of the night I didn’t want to go back to my sisters house. I wanted to go to my house where I actually felt comfortable. So I went with him. When we got to the house I stood on the street and cried. And then again when I walked into the house. And again when I got upstairs. I cried over and over again. I made us lay on the floor because I refused to lay in the bed. And eventually my crying and shaking turned into use being intimate. I don’t know how or why and for a VERY long time I couldn’t understand how I even wanted that but now reading different things on here I understand that it actually is pretty common. It continued for awhile, and each time I would sob uncontrollably after.
    I went back to my sisters the next day and stayed there for a few more days. When the weekend rolled around I (regrettably) lied to my sister about where I was going and I went straight to his house. I hated lying. But I felt like the only time I had true support was when I was talking about leaving or doing what everyone else thought I should be doing. As soon as I waivered or considered staying with him, the support was out the window which made it really hard. Of course I had some friends that were supportive no matter what, but I felt very disappointed with my family.
    I agreed to counselling so he booked the appointment. The day we were going, an hour or so before our appointment I received a bunch of screenshots from her. It was about ten screenshots of messages exchanged between the two of them over the course of the affair. It was sickening. It was like twisting the knife. The only thing I really gained from it was knowing the exact dates of when the cheating occurred, I could pin point what I was doing, and what he lied to me about during those times. It was incredibly hard to see how truly deceitful he was being and the things he was saying to her while he was in a full on committed relationship with me.

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  12. Part 3 of 3
    The last nearly ten months have been incredibly hard. Some days are easier than others. Some days all I can picture is the two of them together. I picture myself waiting at home for him while he lied about being at work or golfing when really he was with her. I think of all of the red flags or out of the ordinary things I noticed and I kick myself wishing I would have dug deeper. Or known what to look for. I feel like that is the hardest thing now. I grasp at things and I feel like I constantly am looking for something because I missed it before. But I never even knew what to look for, I still don’t.
    He has made significant changes. He has opened up a lot about his past and his issues that he needed to address as well as work on. He has a ton of insecurities which led to where we are. He has explained that he was able to shut off the part of himself that knew what he was doing was wrong. He admits that he was selfish and put his feelings above everyone else’s. He admits that she was someone who actually made him feel more superior because she is such a shitty human being so in some strange way it led him to feel like he was better than her. Even though he wasn’t. They both sucked actually.
    I have days or even weeks at a time that we are good. I still think about it here and there on those days. But then I have days (like yesterday) where I am triggered by the time of year and a negative memory and it all comes flooding back and I see red. And I am mean and lash out and I hate when I do that. I don’t want to be an angry person. I want to be the happy person I was before all this when I thought I had it all figured out.
    I know 9 months is still pretty fresh. From most of what I’ve read it can take years before things start to feel better. I guess I am looking for guidance in the fact that am I insane for staying? We haven’t been together for very long, we aren’t married. Everything is solely based off of love and trying to make it work. I just fear I will let my life pass me by or even worse, that he does it again. I don’t want to be a changed person because of this but I feel like I will either way, whether I chose to stay or to go.
    I want to believe that he is a changed man, he reminds me all of the time about how grateful he is for a second chance and he knows that it can’t be easy for me. He has made significant changes in communication and is way less selfish then what he used to be. He sat down individually with each of my friends and family members apologizing and confronting his demons. I want to love him forever and I want to have the life we had planned but it is equally terrifying.
    I think that a big thing is that I feel stuck. I can’t let me guard down because even when I start to I immediately panic and think that if I let it down for too long that something will happen or I will miss something. I have also read that a big part of healing is forgiveness but I don’t know if I could ever forgive him for this. I just don’t see how. My therapist told me that I need to forgive her as well even though she isn’t sorry. I have nothing but ill things to think or say about her so I don’t know how to get there either.
    I guess I just am venting now, but I do find comfort knowing that there are a lot of bad ass, incredibly strong women out there who have been through similar situations and have dealt with it. So thank-you for this community and for sharing your stories. It has helped more than you know.
    Sincerely,
    Beck

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    1. Hi Beck,

      Welcome. You are among friends. And although I completely understand your need to qualify that you were not married nor parents together, I also know that it does not make any difference when it comes to the excruciating pain of betrayal.

      I am going to give it to you straight, Beck. The things that worry me most in your post are these: "I had dated a not so nice guy for awhile" (your relationship history), and "he came out of a rocky long-term relationship that he was already checked out of for years until he actually ended it" (his relationship history). These two things, combined with the intensity with which you fell in love, make me uneasy.

      Here's why:

      It sounds to me like you find yourself in a situation right now where you are weighing Potential against Actual: the potential for him to be a much, much better man against the actual fact of his past, which is that (1) he had a rocky long-term relationship that he nevertheless continued for YEARS, which shows an ability to be dishonest with himself and his ex about what he really wanted and a lack courage (huge red flag), and that (2) he then re-entered that relationship while simultaneously with you, supposedly the love of his life, while lying to both of you, exposing you both to very serious sexual health risks, and continuing this behavior for several months of a two-year relationship (which is a fairly significant proportion).

      What worries me about your relationship history (i.e., the fact that you were with a not-so-nice guy) and the intensity with which you fell in love with your boyfriend is that you may be allowing these to cloud your judgement as you weigh out the Potential vs. Actual. If you are comparing the Potential against your relationship history, maybe that will make the Potential seem more attractive. If you are letting the intensity of your feelings of love feed the Potential, that might be making it seem bigger than it is.

      Maya Angelou wrote: "When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time." You had a vision of a happy future with this man whom you felt was the love of your life. Just make sure that there isn't a part of you still holding onto that dream that might be obscuring your vision as this man shows you who he is.

      I'm glad to hear that your boyfriend is going to therapy and doing the work required to better understand why he cheated and why cheating is so cruel. But just to make sure that YOU know: that does not mean you owe him a second chance.

      Have you considered individual counseling? I think it's worth exploring all the feelings this is bringing up with a therapist who is focused not on the relationship but on you. If you've never done therapy before, know that there are a lot of not-great therapists out there and also lots who are just not the right fit for you. Shop around. Ask for recommendations. Be choosy.

      Also: have you considered moving into your own place while you continue the process of figuring out what you want and if a relationship with your boyfriend is part of it? What if you just opened up a parenthesis where you can focus on YOUR space, YOUR healing? It wouldn't be making any final decisions, just opening a safe space for you.

      Personally, I found that separating was essential. It allowed me to really feel like my previous relationship with my husband was finished and, when we came back together, that we were starting a new one. It also truly gave him an opportunity to show me who he was.

      You have had a terrible trauma, Beck. It's still very fresh. Be kind to yourself.

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    2. Hi Beck,
      Just shared with you on my past experience. Betrayal is real be it in a marriage or not.

      1st betrayal happened after we've been together for 1 year+ (before marriage). We broke up for a year and eventually back together again. 2nd betrayal where he had few one night stand which happen 2 years later after our 2nd relationship (before marriage). He asked for forgiveness and promise me that he will changed and do anything to gain back my trust. He did it and we are married.
      After 2 years of marriage, he chose to betrayed me again. This time, he is having affair with his colleague. This time, he didn't ask for any forgiveness or felt sorry about it and he told me that he is proud of himself. Not sure what is it so proud of.

      Personally, i feel that separating is a something you need to consider. Be alone for a while to figured out what you really want and whether if he is your "Mr Right". Love yourself before loving others.

      Be strong. I know how you feel as i had been through that.

      Lost_AA

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  13. Anonymous: just a wee note of support. I hope that you are being gentle with yourself as you heal, and that you are feeling the power of this invisible but formidable community behind you.

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  14. Hi there. Recently found this site (via Elle's interview with Samuel on the Overcoming Infidelity podcast) and felt I should add my story to the ever-growing list of stupid-ass anecdotes about ding-dong husbands. So...here it is!

    On 5 Jan this year, the hubs' everyday demeanor changed - he’s typically pretty conversational and engaging but was acting weird - enough that I asked a couple times if he was okay. That night after our kids went to bed, I was sitting in bedroom writing in my journal and he came in, sat down and said, “I’ve lacked the courage to tell you something” - my heart sank, like, down through the floor - then, “I’ve been unfaithful to you”. Felt like the entire world was folding in on me. His AP’s husband had come across a phone bill, confronted her and she had confessed, then messaged my hubs to let him know the word was out. She/I had been friends since 2012, they live in our neighborhood, attend same church, our children are friends, we were carpooling, buying each other b-day gifts, swimming at their pool, going out to dinner together, the works. (see: double betrayal) If you had asked me about the state of my marriage before d-day, I would have said things were mostly good, fairly stable, but that the past two years had felt harder for some reason. Personally I was doing a lot of introspective work, trying to become a healthier version of myself, yet feeling more distance from the hubs. He seemed more preoccupied with work and other community events. He also seemed less patient and more irritable with our children and me. I’ve experienced quite a bit of other relational loss over the past decade - have struggled to forgive - and he started telling me I needed to work harder at letting go of those other hurts. I was asking him to be more attentive to our relationship (physical affection, sex, dates, occasional wknd trips, etc), to spend more time with our family, to go to therapy more regularly, but nothing changed. So when he told me he had been having an affair for about two years - the same length of time I was feeling a sense of bewilderment about our marriage - I actually felt some relief. It wasn’t ME. It was HIM. He’d been actively deceiving me and that’s why things felt so off. (continued below...)
    I

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  15. I immediately correctly guessed who the other woman was, this "friend" of mine - my antenna had been up on her since about Feb 2016. I had come across his text thread with her at that time, made up of mostly innocent banter but also a flirty comment or two. I confronted him about that text in 2016 and we continued having in-depth conversations about their friendship, if it’s possible to have close friendships with members of the opposite gender when married, and so on. As I observed their interactions, I could tell they were attracted to each other. It seemed to me she was unhappy/lonely in her marriage and reaching out to my husband. He/I discussed these matters just between the two of us, and also occasionally in therapy. So. I knew she was the AP and would have been surprised if it had been anyone else. Still...the news was stunning. I was shocked. Nearly everyone in our community - friends, family, colleagues - reacted similarly. Even our therapist choked up, not wanting to believe my husband - the proverbial "good guy" who everyone adores - had been unfaithful.

    Hubs' deception was completely out of line with his character, or at least the persona he's put on for his entire life. He’s extroverted, charming, good-natured, and has been regularly affirmed by many; some of the words I’ve heard used to describe him are “exemplar, golden boy, superstar”. When he told me of the affair, I immediately launched into “How?? When?? Where??” He went to work and came home, that’s it. Didn’t work late nights or travel much. But they were meeting on lunch breaks. In his car mostly. But other places too...incl but not limited to her hot tub, our backyard in a tent (with my kids sleeping in the house!), at her parents' house when her parents were out of town (I laughed out loud at that one). My first statement to him: “Do you realize how much you two just fucked up our entire community???” And that they did. Completely obliterated our closest group of friends (us, the AP/her husband, and two other couples). And almost everyone in our community now knows. Parents of AP and husband - they are now divorcing, btw - also attend our church. My parents have been supportive but they live two hours away. Hubs' mother lives in town but is in denial that her perfect baby boy would do such a thing and is of no comfort.
    This event is like nothing I’ve ever experienced in my four plus decades. I truly trusted the hubs more than myself. Almost seven months out and still having trouble wrapping my mind around it - his betrayal as well as hers. Although I do feel - based on all the info I've gathered over the past months - he viewed her as a little something-on-the-side, she was looking to supplant her husband with mine.
    Intrusive thoughts bother me off and on daily but esp when I lay down at night. These thoughts incl them having sex of course, texting every day, sharing their secret when our group of friends was together. Also wondering what it would have been like to catch them in the act, why I couldn’t have figured it out sooner, how this man who I've always categorized as so kind willingly deceived me for almost two years, and of ways I can confront my ex-friend or scare the hell out of her just for funsies. Most of all, I wish the hubs could FEEL the depth of my grief; it’s so profound that I can’t even wholly verbalize it. But I guess you all knew that already.

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    1. Gracia,
      Your story is similar to mine. H is a good guy. I was shocked. Never thought I would ever have to deal with this. We've been together 30 years, 28 married. AP in an unhappy marriage. She was a member of a mostly male club H belonged to. She was "one of the guys" but little did he know she was there for the male attention. He did not participate in the verbal sexual exchanges that the other men did with her. Maybe that's why she targeted him - a challenge? She befriended him, then me. Pounced on him while I was away on a trip. He told her it could never happen again. But she opened up Pandora's box and his brain, in the middle of MLC, took over. He felt young and excited and figured it was his last hurrah. I caught on within a month. He insisted they were "just friends" and wouldn't give up the friendship. We went out as couples with another couple too. It sickens me that the 2 of them planned a dinner out so they could be together, right under my nose. Even brought her to a couple of day trips with me with her son and daughter. There were a few unsuccessful attempts at sex and then it became more of an EA, except for the few times they would see each other at the club and makeout or a quick meetup on the way home from work at the rest stop in the car so she could get fingered. Most of the year it lasted it was an EA. They would use a secret messaging app to call or text. I couldn't trace it, but one day it popped up when I had the phone in my hand. He still denied it. Said he had to use the app because he like talking to her and I would get mad - fuckface. Then I found a screenshot of a message that mentioned that she had no other friends like him along with some other incriminating words that I'd rather not turn up in a search. He still denied it - her words, not his. Went to therapy. He agreed not to text her anymore. Sent him to therapy - 2 sessions - was able to break out of her spell. Therapist treated him for addiction. He was addicted to the feelings of being young again - not her. 9 mos since dday. 7 months since full disclosure. At first I was happy it was over and since my H was suicidal by Dday, felt like we got a second chance at life and love. But lately I've been so sad, hurt and continuing to go over things in my head. Maybe it's the quarantine or maybe the adrenaline is gone and I'm in the middle of grief.

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  16. This never ending is so tough. Last night we sat around the camp fire with some of our kids. One said she can't believe how many ' rub and tug' ( guess that us that they call Asian Massage) places there are and she passes a few on her way to work and she sees men coming out and one time a little lady in a bright pink robe ran out and was talking to a guy. Our daughter said she just wanted to know the story of tbese people. They talkiled about how disgusting it was on and on. I sat and listened a knife plugging my heart with each sentence. The H sat beside me and I was so temped to say ask your father. He has lots of stories. What was up setting after that was all he said was good night when we went to bed. NO ' sorry you had to go through that' no ' sorry I did this to you or us'. What tbe hell is wrong with him. Its been 4 1/2 years of this shit. Giving him 6 more months. I don't want my kids to have to deal with this but I can't take this. He says he gets it. Bull SHIT!

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  17. Married 29 years...together for 33. We separated in 2013...I left out of fear. Alcoholism as well as verbal abuse. Begged me to come back, cried, the whole kit and caboodle. Our daughter got married 2years later which brought us back together. However, he had a girlfriend while we were separated. I knew but he told me he broke it off with her. I moved back home a year ago and found out it is still going on. He keeps saying he would never leave me for her, but he keeps texting her, talking to her and seeing her. Once my son's friend saw him in a restaurant and took his picture thinking he was with my daughter (she is almost 20 years younger than he) and my son showed me. He was with her. They go to the same gym. We have 2 children, grandchild and at this point in my life I am not interested in dating or looking for anyone else. We have so much intertwined financially it would be a complete mess to even begin to separate that. Just trying to get through the pain of the constant betrayal. Getting to the point where I just don't give a crap anymore. But is that really a way to live. I'm a Christian and don't really believe in divorce but the pain and mistrust is not easy to live with. I don't believe a word he says and probably never will. I don't even question him anymore because the fight is never worth it. He just lies and then makes me feel like I'm the crazy one. Sucks.

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    1. Anonymous,
      I'm so sorry for the pain you're in. You are in an abusive relationship. What he is doing to you is abuse. I wonder if, after years of his alcoholism and verbal abuse, if you've become almost used to it. But you don't have to put up with it. I really urge you to see a lawyer and figure out what it would look like, financially, for you to separate. It might be worth any hassle to be able to wake up and have nobody to answer to but yourself. To figure out what YOU want in life, to enjoy your children and grandchildren with this constant betrayal hanging over you. You deserve so much better than this, Anonymous. You deserve peace.

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    2. Thank you for your comments. Sad thing is...he stopped drinking and we get along better than we ever have. I feel like I have everything I want in him. No more verbal abuse, we have fun, get along great, work well together (we have a business together) If he can just get over her. He says he is but I know better. She "was there for him" when I left so they bonded. I almost wished I never took him back but I was unaware of this at the time. I am doing a lot of soul searching. Trying to figure out what I want out of life. I think eventually if I know for sure it doesn't stop, I will leave. It's hard. I feel like I will have to start all over again. And at 53, it is not easy. Thank you again for the support.

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    3. It's not easy at any age. But at 53 (I'm 54), I imagine you also know that you've got a lot of living left to do and that you deserve peace and respect and honesty.

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  18. Hi,
    I am not married or have kids. I feel like most of the resources out there are for married couples. However, I have been with my boyfriend for 8 years and lived together for 2 so in my mind we are basically married. I thought we were doing well. We had are moments of bickering but nothing serious. One weekend when I was out for a bachelorette party, he had some work friends over and ended up sleeping with one of them. He told me two weeks later. Within that two weeks, I guess things blew up at his work with her and she left, now she is trying to sue him which is another problem in itself.

    I was shocked, and not expecting it at all. I always thought cheating happened when your relationship was struggling or someone was not happy in it. Not when everything was good and you were beginning to look at engagement rings. I think the worst part of it was the cliché of him sleeping with his intern in our home, in our bed. I am frequently triggered just by walking around our house or being in our bedroom when I know which parts they had sex in. Did the OW not care about having sex in a room where the girlfriends laundry was lying on the ground? Did my boyfriend not use the pictures of us on the wall as a reminder of oh ya I have a girlfriend? How could he forget about me? About my existence for one night?

    He claims it was a one night stand. He was drinking way too much and he told me because he wants to stay together and needed to be honest. I still can’t get past the WHY part. He drinks with his friends all the time, he has never slept with someone else. I constantly ask him are you not happy? Are you sure you really want this? Do you want her? He says as horrible as the situation is, it has matured him and made him realize what his priorities are. He realized he was taking advantage of our relationship and he is ready to settle down now. When I kept pressuring him for a why, the only thing he could come up with is that he is constantly pressure by friends and family to propose when he isn’t ready, and it could have been subconsciously a rebellion against that? The only argument we did have more than once was the settling down argument. I was at a point in my life that Friday night meant wine and game night, he still wanted to go out to the bars with his friends. Still though, I think so you slept with someone else because you don’t want to marry me? I’m so confused by it all. I feel like he is being honest, and since then has been spending more time with me, not going out as much, and doing things to make me happy but I can’t get past it. I keep thinking there has to be some big underlying reason he did it like I’ve seen in other cases about having things from his past, but nothing ever comes out.

    I still constantly picture them together when walking around my house. I still don’t understand why it happened. And if we were good, how will I know it won’t happen again when we are doing well in the future? I have made the decision to stay with him, but it has been 4 months since D-day and I still can’t go more than a few days without tearing up or breaking down. I think I’m getting stronger and then something triggers me such as a song on the radio or walking past an old picture of us and begin thinking “that picture was from before he cheated”. I still love him but I feel as though my love for him has changed, it feels different, more guarded. I get jealous seeing other coupled friends happy together. We can put on a show, I even had a friend mention recently how much she loves our type of relationship and I was want to SCREAM. YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT IS GOING ON. WE ARE NOT OKAY. I’m trying to heal, I feel as though he is trying to change for the better. I just want this feeling of doubt and uncertainty and low self-esteem to go away. I use to be such a happy and positive person, not this sad, angry, and untrusting person.

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  19. Hi Cat Lady (wear that badge proud!! I'm a cat lady too!!),
    Married or not married, doesn't matter. You were betrayed by the person you trusted most in the world to not betray you. And that hurts like hell.
    Everything you're feeling/experiencing is perfectly normal under the circumstances. The roller coaster of emotions, the triggers, the confusion, the fear, the sense of feeling like a fraud.
    Like you ,most of us really struggled with the 'why'. Lots of had what we considered really good relationships. There might have been some resentment or the usual ups and downs of a long-term relationship but...cheat? Why?
    Well, alcohol plays a big role often, as it seems to in your case. Not that he cheated because he was drunk but that being drunk made the cheating a lot easier. Just the physiological changes of alcohol in our brain remove the barriers to shitty behaviour. But yes, on some level he was open to it. And that's HIS job to figure out. It sounds as though he's spent some time thinking about it, which is good. And his recognition that he resented the push to get married makes sense. But it's not just a matter of recognizing this, he needs to learn how better to handle those uncomfortable feelings. He needs to recognize them before he's acting out in destructive ways. He gets points for telling you -- that takes guts. But, again, he needs to use this experience to handle things better in the future. And that, likely requires some therapy.
    I would urge you, too, to seek out help to process all this pain. Betrayal is excruciating. None of us ever imagined how painful it was and how long it takes to heal from. It's a trust violation and learning to trust again is tough.
    But...there are many MANY women on this site who have done exactly that: rebuilt a relationship from the ashes of an old one. Continue to read and post here. The women are incredible and will undoubtedly share their wisdom. You'll likely get more response to the more recent posts just because more women read those. But you're welcome here, Cat Lady. Ring or no ring. You've been betrayed. Welcome to the club none of us ever wanted to join.

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  20. Hello sisters ... my story is all too typical for the most part, it seems; married 26 years, each of us with childhood issues and each of us is ADHD; sex dwindled away to nothing about 12-14 years ago, with me trying a few times to get things going again but him showing no interest. He's been a workaholic, and during those "dwindling" years we had several businesses going at once ... sheer insanity and exhaustion ... and he works in the restaurant industry, which means 60-80 hours of work each week, nights and weekends in particular. It's a marriage-killer.
    Nonetheless, we didn't really fight; we seethed internally, but we've been conflict-avoidant. A few years ago he had a breakdown, for lack of a better description, and went into therapy right away. Diagnosed with complex PTSD from both childhood abuse and military years. Was emotionally numb and isolated himself for months. I freaked out, as this triggered all of my own deep fears; we went into marriage counseling, and I went into IT as well.
    The affair was with a young woman (younger than my children) who would frequent the bar of his restaurant. He was struggling and depressed and our counseling wasn't going too well; I understand now that she was simply available and in the right place, but for a long time after finding out, her youth and beauty was a torment to me. I learned of the affair between Christmas and New Year's. It had lasted only a few months and was over by the time I found out; but I was totally devastated and didn't want to live for a while.
    Reading everyone's posts here has been tremendously helpful to me over these past 8 months. We are slowly healing; there's a long way to go, but I am cautiously hopeful.
    Here's why I'm posting -- I need some guidance. Labor Day weekend will mark one year since I first saw him interact with his AP, and I knew intuitively that there was something going on (which he of course denied at the time). As the anniversary gets closer, I am becoming increasingly agitated and have begun having some nightmares again. The images from that time are all too clear and memorable. Not only will Labor Day be the anniversary of when I first saw them being all flirty, but then I will have to get through Oct & Nov, when they were actively sexual, and the end of December when I found out. Do you have any advice for how best to take care of myself during this time? What has it been like for you when these dates roll around? Thanks to anyone who can give me some guidance ... xoxo

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    1. Dear Dhabi,

      Welcome, fellow Warrior. You are among friends.

      First off, you are very wise to know that all these anti-versaries (as Elle calls them) will be terrible triggers, and you are brave to seek advice managing them.

      I'm about four months ahead of you on the timeline. The main things that helped me as I approach the 1-year mark of everything (the affair beginning, the affair happening, me catching him, the subsequent lying, the final reveal, me telling him to move out...) were (1) to be compassionate with myself, (2) to be of service to others, and (3) to redefine my sense of what "success" or "progress" was when it came to recovery. Other things that helped me were (4) ramping up the self-care, and (5) continuing to actively replace bad old memories with good new ones.


      1. Self compassion

      On this front, ask yourself if you are meeting the three components for self compassion. Are you showing yourself kindness? (Or are you judging yourself?) Are you experiencing a sense of common humanity? (Or are you viewing your experience and yourself as isolated?) Are you practicing mindfulness? (Or are you over-identifying with the hurtful thoughts and feelings?) Adjust accordingly.


      2. Service to others

      You can be of service to others in little ways every single day. You can let other people go ahead in line. You can smile. You can tip a little extra. You can pay genuine compliments. You can leave positive reviews of books you have genuinely loved (it's free and boy do writers ever appreciate it). And of course you can offer solace to our fellow Warriors here at this site. (Like I'm doing right now!)


      3. Redefining "success" or "progress"

      This was the hardest one. As the one-year anti-versaries started flowing in, I found myself thinking about the affair way more. I started going back to old questions, re-opening lines of inquiry that I had chosen to close. This felt like back-sliding, which felt like failure; or at least a lack of success. But now that I'm almost through the one-year anti-versaries, I wonder if this is actually a necessary and possibly healthy thing. When I was in it, it felt like I might be picking at the wound. But now that I'm through it and looking back, maybe I needed to debride the wound in order for it to heal more cleanly. I don't know.


      4. Self-care

      Self-care isn't all pedicures and brunch. In fact, it's almost never that. Self-care is going to bed early instead of watching more TV. It's choosing to not eat a second helping when you're no longer hungry. It's having herbal tea instead of Chardonnay. It's choosing to go to the gym every day because that's the most effective way to get rid of the stress that builds up in our bodies when we are fighting tough emotions. Self-care sucks most of the time. But it works.


      5. Actively replacing bad memories with good ones

      Remember when there were cassette tapes? And you could record over top of them? That's what I've tried to do with the places that my AOH went to with his girlfriend. I can never fully erase the knowledge that they went there together (and hopefully he can never fully erase the guilt) but I can layer tons of positive new memories over top so that it doesn't feel so crappy every time I see a place where they were together. It's a slow process and it hurts. But it seems like it's gradually working. I'd love to hear if anyone else is doing this and having success.

      That's my guidance, Dhabi. Hopefully more Warriors will respond. I'd love to know the answer to this myself.

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    2. Dhabi. Chinook has given you wonderful advice to follow. #5 is my favorite and one I still use to this day. I've had far more wonderful days over the course of my 57 years to think about, and today is a day I want to remember good memories.

      3 years ago today my husband and my friend exchanged phone numbers at a mutual friends celebration of life. It didn't even occur to me until I saw a memory on facebook this morning of how he was having stomach issues at this event. 3 years later it hit me why. But I'm choosing to make today special for me. I want to remember my friend that passed at 43 and remember all the good time's we had. I remember how beautiful and fun his celebration of life was. I plan on reading from a book I recently got by Byron Katie, I'm going to do some yard work and art and drink some champagne this afternoon because it was his favorite beverage.

      I've found that with time, certain dates don't pack a punch like they used to. I honor my feelings what ever they may be. In the beginning it was anger and sadness. Now a days it's surreal to think back to the shit storm and I'm good with that. What I've learned over the past 3 years is to mainly focus on myself. I did everything I could to save my marriage, but it wasn't until I realized that fixing my marriage wasn't my salvation, that I realized I have to fix myself, he has to fix himself and along the way we are trying to build something new.

      Chinook, you are amazing. I admire you so much. Thank you for sharing your wisdom. ♥

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    3. Thank you, Chinook and Michelle. I appreciate your wisdom and advice. I knew from reading others' posts that the anti-versary of D-Day would be difficult, but I didn't expect the triggers to start so soon. So much hypersensitivity right now ... it caught me by surprise, and it's comforting to know it's normal. Chinook, I have been doing all of those things but this was a reminder to ramp them up (especially thinking "chamomile instead of Chardonnay" ;-), and the value of going to the gym; it's too easy to feel sad and overwhelmed and tired. My work as a librarian affords me plenty of opportunities to be of service to others, and indeed being at work is the most stable part of my life right now. Michelle, I look forward to a time when the intensity has diminished ... and I so much appreciate your reminder that we have to fix ourselves rather than thinking that fixing the marriage is the priority. I have focused on my relationships to the detriment of myself my entire life, and it's a tough habit to change. This entire situation is indeed the most difficult thing I've ever had to deal with, and I'm grateful to have found you all.

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  21. All things take time. I'm 9 months out from discovering that my husband had a emotional sexting relationship with an acquaintance of ours.

    He decided to "blow up" an almost 33 years marriage because in his words...he lost his "fricken" mind.

    I have decided to work on our marriage with my husband because he did not have a physical sexual relationship with the OW.

    He is completely remorseful and has taken complete responsibility for his actions.

    He has made a complete turn around as to how he treats me.

    He asked me for a divorce on November 25th at 3 pm and I agreed b/c the night before I discovered the phone bill with calls being sent to and from.

    On November 26th around 1pm he said he thought he loved her and she loved him and in the same breath he asked me to work on our marriage. (WHAT)

    It wasn't for another week that the messenger messages that he said were forever deleted, started to pop up on his IPad while he was at work. (Hmmmm) (Screenshot, Print and Saved to a Thumbdrive)

    Last night I broke down b/c I found messages between him and his Motorcycle riding group where he referred to me as his "Warden and Ball and Chain" I got upset b/c it really shows me his frame of mind at the time and how detached he was making himself become from me.

    HERE IS THE GOOD NEWS: My husband and I are making a come back. My husband just wants to put it behind us and he wants us to get back to where we were. He is ashamed.

    I have set my boundaries: This will NOT happen again. I can't go through it another time. I will walk. (and he assures me that I won't have to do that) I told him that I just want to feel safe again.



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    1. All Things Good,
      It's pretty amazing that you selected All Things Good as your name on this site. You sound like an incredibly positive person.
      And it sounds as though, as painful as it is for you, this has been a real wake-up call for your husband. My only cause for concern is your statement "my husband just wants to put it behind us". I understand that impulse -- I'm sure he is ashamed and would prefer to just put it behind him. Thing is...he needs to take a hard look at what allowed him to cross those lines. What stories he was telling himself that somehow made it okay. And YOU are the one who gets to decide whether it's something you continue to talk about and learn from or whether it's truly "in the past".
      But good luck. Glad you found us here. And hope you'll continue to read and share your story.

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  22. Hello Ladies! I'm glad I found this forum because honestly I do not know who or how to turn to anyone I know for advice. My boyfriend of almost 7 years admitted to me last Friday that he received a handjob and blow job from a thai masseuse. Of course he claims the usual "I wasn't expecting it and I didn't mean to" bullshit. All in all, it's at the point now where he's acknowledging he made a terrible mistake and is trying very hard to gain my trust back.

    He's always had issues divulging personal info like finances, work (he owns a business and deals with a lot of employee drama), etc. After the cheating, he's self reflecting to figure out why he's so secretive and vowed to answer anything I ask him this point forward. I do feel he is trying very hard and has answered questions openly that he would never answer before. (like about finances and employee info). The only reason why I am even giving him a chance is because he had been an incredible boyfriend 99% of the time we have been together.

    As I slowly pull out his skeletons, there is one skeleton that he still will not admit to. His best gf had sent and probably would still send him photos of herself in lingerie or topless with her hands covering her nipples. I know this because I snooped through his texts (bad I know). He's admitted after cheating that she had texted him these types of pictures WHEN he was single, however not after. (lies!) In his texts to her, his responses are for the most part objective as that dumb ho is super insecure and texting him all the time about how fat she is and wants his opinion on her body. They have had this type of relationship way before he met me.

    Side fact: don't know if this is important. but this woman is cheating on her own husband and has been for over a decade with another mutual friend they had in college. She doesn't work, only goal in life is to size up her ring, and uses her husbands money to fund her plane rides and hotels to see the guy (who is also married). She's the most insecure, meaningless excuse for a human being I have ever met.

    I know he's lying about the extent of nudity and time ine of these photos. Should i confront him about this information, or let it go? I assume he's avoiding the whole truth to 1. prevent me from getting upset again and 2. he truly believes that he will change and never cheat again (whether or not he will or won't who knows?). I'm torn between trying to force this truth, or letting this detail go and giving him a chance to change.

    This is the last secret that is majorly bothering me. Any opinions?

    Thanks so much for taking out the time to read this.

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    1. Dear Life’s Confusing,

      I’m so sorry you’re going through this. Your situation does sound confusing and I think that’s because you are missing an awful lot of information. I'm so glad to hear that your boyfriend has been "an incredible boyfriend 99% of the time we have been together".

      You asked for opinions and I thought I’d respond by touching on four points that seemed very loaded in your description.

      1. Your boyfriend sounds like a “hidden” person.

      By this, I mean that it sounds like he keeps parts of his life hidden from other people -- especially the people he is closest to -- because he fears judgement. That judgement is probably not coming from those people he is close to, including you; it’s probably coming from stuff in his past.

      He may not be fully aware that he is doing this; he may only know that for reasons he can’t explain it feels “safer” to keep a piece of himself held back. He might have been doing it for so long that he think this is just "who he is". Rather than explore those reasons for staying hidden, which could open the door to a whole lot of tough feelings, he might come up with excuses that feel plausible even to him (e.g., "this is just who I am", "it's normal to have some privacy", etc.).

      Having a relationship with a hidden person by definition means you’ll never be able to fully trust and love each other -- and I'm saying this from experience. The alternative to this is having a wholehearted relationship -- which is what I'm trying to have now.

      My husband was a hidden person for our entire 10-year relationship until I discovered his affair and walked out on him (which triggered a catastrophic failure of the walls he had put up in childhood to protect himself). I always knew he was a bit hidden but I thought that if I just made it safe enough for him, if I was just gentle enough with him, he would come out of hiding like a scared bunny learning to trust. But no: the opposite happened. The more understanding and kind I was, the more the promise (or for him, the threat) of real emotional intimacy scared him, and the more selfish he become to compensate, culminating in the affair.

      Have you read about attachment theory? Secure, anxious and avoidant attachments? Hidden people are avoidant. My husband was BIG TIME avoidant. That can make even the most secure woman start to feel a little anxious.


      2. The dynamic between his “best girlfriend” and him is not a healthy friendship dynamic.

      You’re like: “duh, Chinook, obviously!” But it’s important to be very clear about this. That woman has BIG TIME problems. She uses sex to make herself feel like she has worth, even if that ultimately hurts herself and others. She is lying to her husband about her affair and she is lying to herself about her issues.

      So, what is your boyfriend getting out of a friendship with someone like that? Why is he continuing to be friends with someone who is so clearly damaged and who is comfortable making choices that hurt or have the potential to hurt others?

      Does it give him an ego boost to know that there's another woman out there who would be willing to send him suggestive photos? Why does he even need that ego boost? (Spoiler alert: It has nothing whatsoever to do with you!)

      (continued below)

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    2. 3. He admitted to the hand job and that’s a very good sign. It might also be testing the waters.

      The fact that he volunteered the information about the “special” massage he got is a sign that he wants to be more open with you, which is absolutely fantastic. Because you can NEVER change someone who doesn’t want to change.

      Given this and the photos, there might be more he hasn’t told you. You can’t accidentally find yourself in the kind of massage establishment where sex can be purchased... So what led up to him being there? (That's a question for him, not for you.)

      He might have been testing the waters by telling you about this one incident — checking to see how you react before he tells you about anything else.


      4. This is an opportunity to really get it ALL on the table.

      It sounds like your boyfriend could be at a point of personal reckoning, wanting to go from the hidden person he has been to the more open and vulnerable person he could become. This is just my opinion and I'm no expert, but it feels to me like this is an incredible opportunity for the two of you to really get it all out on the table. “All of it” being basically everything he hasn't told you about because there's a part of him that's afraid you will judge him -- and anything you haven't told him because you're afraid he'll judge you. That could be anything from porn use and sexual fantasies to things that are part of every day life but have nothing to do with sex.

      Honestly, Life's Confusing, I think this could be an incredible opportunity for you and your boyfriend to deepen your understanding of yourselves and each other, deepen your trust, and in so doing, deepen your relationship.

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    3. Life's Confusing (yes, it very much is!),
      H'mmm...a boyfriend of seven years isn't something to just dismiss. That's a long, big commitment.
      And, of course, his betrayal of that commitment is devastating, whether or not there's a ring on your finger.
      The hand job was a clear violation of that -- which is why, I assume, he told you about it. He knows it was "a terrible mistake." Nonetheless, it's not enough for him to expect that time will help you trust him again. He needs to understand how/why he put himself in that position, how/why he didn't stop it. Before we get to the actual sex act that, in our culture, usually constitutes cheating, we've already crossed a number of lines and we need to understand what stories we're telling ourselves that allow us to cross those earlier, less serious lines.
      Which brings me to the other betrayal: the nude photos of his female friend. All he needs to know is that this behaviour makes you very uncomfortable. (I suspect it would make most of us very uncomfortable but that isn't the point.) You have told him you don't like it. That should be all he needs to know. You are setting boundaries (though perhaps not very clearly) and he is dismissing them. That's a red flag. The fact that you are snooping is less a symptom of your own disrespect of boundaries (though there is that) than evidence that you do not trust this man to tell you the truth. And that's hardly the basis on which to build a healthy relationship.
      And finally, the secretive approach to finances/work. There are things, I'm sure you understand, that, as an employer, he must keep private. He owes it to his employees to respect their privacy. And I wonder if this would bother you less if you trusted him in other ways. As for his finances, that's something that I think he's entitled to be private about depending on how significantly your finances are intertwined. However, this secretiveness seems to not just be about finances but about anything in which he suspects your disapproval and therefore your wish that he do things differently.
      So...you can walk away. There are enough red flags here (not the mention the sexual cheating) that walking away would be a completely reasonable choice. However, if you choose to stay and work it out, which is also reasonable given that you've spent seven years with this guy and, I assume, see plenty of reasons why he's worthy of your love, I think it's crucial that you two get some couples counselling to learn how to better communicate and to get clear on setting and enforcing your boundaries. And within that context -- of a mutually supportive couples counsellor, I think you need to come clean about your snooping. Lying is lying. But then get to the bottom of your lack of trust in him and his almost chronic dishonesty.
      Life is confusing. Marriage is confusing. And if you both want to continue a life together, then understanding now how to have a healthy relationship can put you on much more solid ground.
      I hope you'll check back in and let us know how you're doing. We often lack relationship skills because we haven't seen a healthy relationship modelled for us in our lives. There's certainly no shame or getting help from an expert. Good luck. Life can be confusing but when we live according to our value system and refuse to compromise that, it can be less so.

      Delete
  23. D day for me was July 28, 2019. He was taking me on a date and wanted me to map the restaurant for him. I asked for his phone to GPS it and he yelled "NO!". I laughed it off and said "what are you worried I will see your girlfriends messages?" and laughed. The look on his face I will never forget as long as I live. It is permanently burned into my memory along with the date. He said it was emotional for 6 months then sexual for 6 months. She was 27 he is 51 I am 47. She broke it off with him because she found a man and moved in with him. She told my husband their age was a problem, and the relationship was going nowhere. I blew up when I found out. The rage was so strong. Then came the gut wrenching pain and the tears they have happened every day for me since D Day. Little background he took a job in Austin TX, but the kids and I stayed in MS so they could finish their schooling. We have two boys 19 & 22. The 19 is very unsure of himself but extremely smart. Graduated HS at 16 and has one semester of Community College left. Plans were to move to Austin where our son would attend University of Texas. Other son is off at MSU. He has always been a head strong independent young man. He goes after what he wants and lets nothing stop him. My husband is a workaholic. I quit my job years ago to be a stay at home mom and support my husband as he climbed the corporate ladder. I took care of everything for many years. He traveled a good bit to begin with. He was there for the birth of our first son but then had to fly out and didn't see him again for 9 months. So the kids have always been with me and I with them. Before he took the job in Austin (because the company here is MS closed and no one else designs computer and cell phone chips in MS) he took a job in Albuquerque NM. He moved out there first and then I followed later. The kids stayed at home at that time, my oldest was there to take care of the youngest, but when he got the job in Austin I came home to be with the youngest because the eldest went off to college. Plus my special needs brother developed colon cancer and I helped take care of him for 4 months until he passed. My husband has always been a loving, wonderful, driven, bread winning, great father and husband and would never cheat on me and had not until moving to Austin when this 27 year old caught his fancy. We would still meet on weekends 4 hrs for me and 4 hrs for him and still took Christmas vacations as a family during the year he was with her.

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  24. Little background on me. I was emotionally and physically abused by my alcoholic father. I and my sister were also molested by my father. I moved out of the family home when I was 16 and no one cared. I felt guilty for leaving my sister (3 yrs younger) at home with my father, but I couldn't take anymore of the abuse and I was too young to take care of myself and my sister. Finished HS with honors, AAS degree with honors. Met my husband at the Community College and married him once we got our AAS degrees. We continued our education as a married couple and received our BS degrees both with honors. I told my husband all about what happened to me as a young girl starting at age 7 before we married. I had never told anyone, but there was something wonderful about this man that I wanted to share everything with. So I held nothing back. I did not realize what that trauma had actually done to me. My husband had a long road of breaking down my walls of protection to get in. Trust is very hard for me you see. But I dropped those walls for him and ended up relying on him all the way (which is something I had vowed never to do with a man). We have had a wonderful and rough marriage as I ended up in counseling to begin to heal from what my father had put me through. I always felt like so what things happen in every family you survived and you are strong this is in the past just get on with your life and let the past remain there. I did not truly understand the impact it had on my life. I had issues with sex. Triggers. PTSD..My husband was there by my side the whole way. He was just wonderful when I was a complete mess. We traveled with the kids each summer for 3 months and made amazing memories which I had never had before. It was also very hard for us to get through, but we did. Then in Austin, he became consumed with work and we began to see less and less of each other. I begged him to make time for us, but he was trying to level up in his job. That was more important than I was or the kids were. Then on our family Christmas vacation I noticed he was so cold and so mean. If I tried to have a conversation with him he just became so angry and would even curse at me. I just thought wow this job is really taking its toll on him. But no it wasn't the job at all. It was another woman.

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  25. So current day. He took 3 weeks off of his job to be home with me, but he is void any emotion at all. If I cry he becomes angry. He says he did it because "he wanted too" He said he caught feelings but were unsure what the feelings really were. He says he loves me but is not in love with me. He says he wants to spend time with me again to get to know me again..to fall in love with me again. Meanwhile, I look at him and my mind thinks "did she touch him there" "did he hold and caress her hair like he does with me after we make love" etc.... He was never the kind of man that would do something like this...yet he was. Everything for the past year seems a complete lie...our memories...our family...because he was leading a double life and I was so daft because I had no idea it was going on...I am crushed beyond words...can't sleep..can't eat..can't even do my job at work (I went to work when the kids were older for something to do). Honestly I have no idea how to handle this....I am so lost....it seems that all the counseling that I have done for the past many years has just come back to square one...but this time I don't have my husband to lean on....

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    1. Oh, Unknown. My heart is breaking for you. I'm so sorry you are being put through this.

      This is a massive double-betrayal: the betrayal of an affair (ew) and the betrayal of being the person who accompanied you as you healed from your childhood abuse. And Unknown, this JUST happened. You JUST found out a month ago. The fact that you could even scrape yourself off the floor and make it to the computer in order to type out this message is amazing.

      First things first: you need self-care and a whole lot of it. High intensity exercise, sleep, healthy food, spiritual connection (like church/temple/mosque if you're religious, or meditation if you're not), journaling, and no alcohol or non-prescription drugs. All of these things are evidence-based methods of preserving resilience and improving mood. I also recommend finding two or three of the most compassionate, wholehearted, non-judgemental girlfriends or family members you have and telling them you're going through hell (you don't have to tell them the details of what happened if you don't want to) and that you will need to lean on them. You can't and shouldn't do this alone.

      Next, I strongly recommend individual counseling with a professional who has a lot of experience in trauma. You have experienced a lot of trauma -- there is absolutely no doubt about that. The right therapist can be very hard to find, so be very clear about your criteria that this must be someone with lots of experience in trauma, childhood sexual abuse, and infidelity. I've recently heard about CPT (Cognitive Processing Therapy), which sounds extraordinary.

      Your husband's reaction is infuriating. He becomes angry if you cry?! Wow. WOW. I mean, I don't think it can get any more selfish than that. It might just be a mask for his crushing sense of guilt, but still. WOW.

      Also, I'm sorry but the whole concept of "I love you but I'm not in love with you" is such bullshit. What does "in love" even mean? Smitten? Infatuated? Lusting? Is that actually "love"? No one stays "in love" for the duration of a multi-decades-long marriage, and that's completely normal and it's NOT a sign that anything is wrong. If desire and passion have waned over time, that's okay: they can be reignited with work. WITHOUT CHEATING.

      And another thing: a 24-year age difference? Really? REALLY?!? Does your husband think that if your 19-year-old son started a sexual relationship with a 43-year-old woman it would be psychologically health for both people involved?!? Why do we have such a disgusting gender bias about this?

      Please don't think that your counseling has come back to square one because that is simply false. You built resilience and became stronger over time, and that strength is still completely there, it has just taken a hit from this new and very traumatic revelation that, by the way, JUST HAPPENED one month ago! How do I, a perfect stranger, know that you built resilience and strength over time? Because you were essentially a single mother raising two kids while your husband was in another state. THAT is resilience and strength, honey.

      (continued below)

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    2. Be very kind to yourself right now. Please don't say "I was so daft" because you weren't: you were doing all the right things. You were honouring your vows and honouring yourself.

      You wrote "I have no idea how to handle this... I am so lost". But you ARE handling it, honey. You are processing. You are not denying your feelings. You are reaching out to us. The only thing you have to do right now is to breathe, love yourself, engage in self-care, and make it abundantly clear to your husband what is and is not acceptable (like, it's totally unacceptable for him to meet your sadness with anger).

      This blog has amazing information. Buy Elle's book -- it's fantastic. Read some of the other books recommended on this website ("When Things Fall Apart" by Pema Chodron is a personal favourite). And keep breathing.

      You are a Warrior. And you are among friends.

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    3. Thank you Chinook for the advice and reading all that poured out of me. I will get the book you recommended for me. I am currently reading anything and everything to help me through this season. I believed we were strong in our marriage of 27 years, especially all we had been together through the years. This is just so devastating. I honestly didn't believe anyone could hurt this much. And my emotions are all over the place all the time like someone is snapping their fingers and I am crying then snap I am angry then snap I am numb or depressed. I love my husband with all I have and I always will and I want our marriage to work.But losing the trust that I gave him after I struggled for so long with that very thing. I just don't know if I have that much strength for the road I know is ahead of us. I held onto my childhood secret until I met my husband and had flash backs and triggers for so long. I have learned enough to help me with that stuff but it was a very long long road and a whole lot of work. I don't know if I can handle the flash backs of me seeing my husband laying with her and touching her that I am having. I've just had way too much trauma for one person to endure. I pray that God walks with me and that when I am unable to put another foot forward that He carries me. This is just so very devastatingly hard. Hard to know, or to comprehend that he is that type of man when the man I fell in love with was incapable of putting me through anymore pain then I had all ready experienced. I definitely need prayers. I am thankful for this site where I can let all of this just pour out of me. It does feel good to talk to others that have been through the same stuff. Thank you for reading and helping!

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    4. Unknown, I'm glad you found us but so so sorry for everything you've gone through. Let me first say, you are incredible. That you were able to remove yourself from what you knew was damaging to you and turn your life around is amazing. You are clearly strong, courageous, resilient and incredibly smart. Those skills are going to move you through the pain you're in right now too. So don't ever forget that you possess them.
      Still...even the strongest, smartest most resilient of us reel from betrayal. Like you, I confided my childhood trauma to my husband. I assumed that, knowing that about me, he would be doubly sure to never put me through anything like that again. Turns out...nope. He was already acting out sexually at that point, before we were married. I'd been so careful to make sure I wasn't marrying an alcoholic. I married a sex addict instead.
      And that's the thing, Unknown. Without realizing it, you have likely married someone who has his own dysfunction. That doesn't make him unworthy, it just means that, at some point, that dysfunction was going to reveal itself. Hurt people hurt people. You've done a ton of work and clearly have a lot of insight -- and that's something that plenty of people don't have. I made the conscious choice when I got married to NOT do what my parents had done. To be faithful. To be sober. That's not to say I didn't bring plenty of other dysfunction (ie. around lack of boundaries) into the marriage...but I was clear-eyed about what I wanted. Sounds like your husband never did the same reckoning that you did.
      I know you're exhausted right now. And of course you are. Rest. This is the time for EXTREME self-care. Treat yourself the way you would treat your very best friend fo a child who was going through a similar trauma (and yes, betrayal is trauma, especially when it re-triggers old trauma). Be so gentle with yourself. Be so nurturing.
      No need for big decisions right now other than...I will get through the next 10 minutes, next hour, next day. Moment by moment. When you feel those flashbacks, remind yourself that they are fantasies. They are not real. It is not happening right now.
      Rely on counselling for support. I would tell my husband that, if he even wants you to consider reconciliation, then he needs to be in counselling too. And absolutely no contact. This is the time for clear boundaries based on what you need to keep yourself emotionally safe.
      He sounds...lost. But it's HIS job to find his footing again. Yours is to take care of you.
      Hang in there, Unknown. You'll get through this, I promise. In the meantime, there's an army of women here who can light the way forward.

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  26. (1) Sorry… English is not my first language so please bear with me :”) I know this forum is especially for married couple (but anyway I’m a wive now), and I’ve never shared this complete story before.

    I’ve read Elle’s writings somewhere else and found out this forum/blog, I truly appreciate her story and sharing. Very encouraging. Previously I’m afraid to be “judged” for my decision, or be told foolish by society. But this is my story...

    I grew up in a not very “safe” family. mother and father fought a lot, one time father had an affair and I found out. And I think it affected me that much. I was afraid to get into marriage although I was so much in love with my (then) long-term boyfriend. I was insecure and very anxious. I think I developed anxiety disorder.

    Don’t think this text could explain everything, but long story short, somewhere along our 7-years relationship, I found out he betrayed me in a brief period of time and had a physical affair with an unimportant ugly girl or bitch could I say. By the time I found out, the affair was already over. He said it was never an emotional affair. That happened when I was in a period where I didn’t want to get married, we were in a long distance (different city, 2 hours by plane), I never gave a single care about him, I didn’t paid attention, I didn’t answer calls, I was busy with myself, I even planned to go abroad for my Master scholarship while he was very much alone in the city (his beloved mother died few years back) and he made friends with the wrong circle of people. Well, I know those situations couldn’t be an ‘excuse’ for his doing, it’s still unacceptable, but I try to understand the “why”.

    “Being cheated on is the worst pain in the world” is kinda an understatement even. I have seen pain and sadness since I was little, but yeah, this one was the real deal.

    I got into depression, even had suicidal thoughts. And he was deeply devastated also and regretted everything that he did. I’m not being cheesy, I am a tough girl to crack and I said, saying goodbye is easier for me. Ending that relationship might hurt, but that’s it. We could continue with our lives. I always said if I got betrayed, I would immediately leave. But it’s easier said than done. I chose not to leave. I chose to stay.. and I made some strict terms. I have to know everything, or I’m gone. And I set strict rules for our relationship.

    What made me stay? Of course, I love him, I still do. To the point of forgiveness. I’ve known him for more than 10 years. It’s not in his character, he’s not a player. And I am the one who can “judge” and observe him, we are the ones who run this relationship. If I have to admit, I am also a ‘difficult’ person, it’s not easy to stay in a relationship with anxious and ‘violent’ girl like me, and many other bad traits.

    The affair happened in early 2018. Journey to healing has been a roller coaster, the process is very complex and complicated. For both of us, because I choose reconciliation.
    Being a curious girl that I am, I joined a forum for infidelity, learned everything that we have to do and what to avoid, I researched through every article and psychologist, what makes healing possible, what to expect, what rules should we make, etc. Ironically, I could say, those traumatic events have both destroyed me and “rebuild” me as a person. I can see positive changes within me also, I am now more understanding, listening, accepting that life is not always what you want it to be and you have to roll with it. It affects every aspect of my personal and professional life. It changed my perspectives, my views of people, etc.

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  27. (2) We are in for that road, together. There were days of setbacks and anger, where I lost control and emotions ran wild, and then we start to forgive all over again.. Again and again. I’m tired of counting. But he were there, and he survived it all. He is still the most loving person, he always tries his best to make me happy. He transformed into a better person more than I ever know. He even fulfilled all my requests, using GPS tracking, phone calls and video calls everytime, everything, because we were still in long distance relationship back then. He would paid my plane tickets to see him, he gave me everything I need, 100% transparency, he would do literally whatever, whether it’s material or emotionally to help me see that he regretted what happened in the past. I know it’s not easy.

    It’s been more than a year, and I feel that I truly love him that I was willing to get married. Without any doubt, without any pressure. I have never had any pressure from my family about getting married, so it’s my own decision. We have been married for 1 month now. I moved into his city, and we live together. I left my job and career, but still work as freelancer for my former office. Everything is perfect in our life together so far, we don’t face what other people said could be ‘challenges’ in early marriage, like disagreement, arguments, annoying small things, nothing. Maybe because it’s still one month anyway. But partly because, I believe, we have known each other’s flaws and worst characters for so long. He’s seen the monster in me, I’ve seen his lowest point and worst version also. We are accepting each other for what we are. And we are in love.

    I have been processing this “healing” progress for more than 1 year, and I can’t say it’s perfect. But it’s been good. Since early 2019 I don’t feel that throbbing pain anymore, I try to cut off any drama from my side. I know that trauma should be processed “naturally” and with the help of time and strong self-determination. I’m amazed to testify that few months back, I feel genuine happiness and joy, no sadness and pain anymore.

    But something’s bothering me these days.. Now that we live together, I have the access to everything. One night I looked up his last year’s emails and seen the details that I’ve never seen before, like the hotel bills, the dates, etc. I’ve known it all, but not that detailed or see it in the flesh. And it triggers my pain and anxiety back. Suddenly the flashbacks playing in my head, my thoughts I couldn’t control. “did he do this to her, did she do that…” I HATE IT. I keep telling myself “the past is in the past, and all we need to see now is the future”.. And the future is bright. But the clouds from the past keep coming back in my head right now. And I hate myself for keep bringing this up to my husband, I can see how sad he is. After all his effort and hard work, it seems that I would still reminding him of his mistakes. After all the new joy and happiness that we shared this year, he thinks that I am still unfulfilled. I want to stop and heal this new layer of sadness, because what I fuss over is not relevant and unsignificant to our life right now. I’m thinking to go to hypnotherapy, does it help?

    Thank you for reading this long story…

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    1. Indonesian Girl, Thank-you so much for sharing your story. You've come a LONG way in a short time. One year is not so long in terms of healing so it's not surprising that even with as much as you've done, you still feel sometimes taken back in the form of triggers.
      While I think it's good that you're able to focus on the future, what I think this episode reveals is that there's still some deep pain that needs to be pulled out and processed. It's normal to not feel "over it" at this point. Betrayal, as you point out, is a pain like no other. It's devastating.
      I think you both need to frame this differently. When you are experiencing painful reminders of what's happened, it isn't about you reminding him of his "mistakes" but of what you've both gone through. I'm sure he continues to have guilt and shame about what he did (which is something for HIM to continue to process) but that doesn't change what YOU have gone through and continue to experience. Your job is not to make him feel good about all the work he's done. It's to be true and honest about your feelings. That's what you contribute to this new relationship with your husband -- honesty and respect.
      I don't know about hypnotherapy but I had a very good experience with EMDR, which helps process trauma.
      Please continue to let us know how you're doing.

      Delete
  28. I'm still here. D-day was yesterday. I'm confused and feel like my life has been torn apart. I'm questioning everything. I don't know how to fix it; I'm a fixer. I feel helpless and I'm hoping I find the answers. He goes to work with the OW tonight and I'm a freaking mess.

    But I'm still here and that has to mean something...

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    1. Hi Unknown,
      Yes, it means that you're choosing you, which is a very good thing. And I hope you'll continue to choose you. Day after day.
      But I think, if there's a lesson in this, it's to learn to relinquish control, to give up being a "fixer". This isn't about fixing, it's about feeling. It's about learning to feel all that pain, feel all that vulnerability, recognize that there aren't always answers -- at least not right away -- and to sit with those incredibly uncomfortable feelings and learn that they will not drown you. That you can move through them. That you can learn to trust in yourself, in your resilience, in your strength.

      Delete
  29. I just found the most AMAZING book. If you are just finding out that you have been betrayed, I highly recommend that you read it as soon as possible. This is the book I wish had existed when I first discovered my husband's affair.

    The author, Michelle D. Mays, is a therapist who specializes in betrayal trauma, and is herself the former spouse of a sex addict, so she REALLY gets it. She has an excellent blog: https://partnerhope.com/blog/

    The book is written in a very wise, calm voice, and it outlines the things that you should do (and shouldn't do) after discovering an affair.

    When you sign up for her mailing list, you can download a free copy, which is here: http://partnerhope.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/PHWhenItAllBreaksBad_Fnl.pdf

    But please consider just buying the book in order to support her and so that you have a copy to go back to over and over. (Given the number of times I've re-read Elle's book, I'm so glad I got a paperback copy and not an e-book!) The link is here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0998843423/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0998843423&linkCode=as2&tag=recovery19-20&linkId=8d0101e461c4ef66adbba365db8c2b73

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for this Chinook. Anything that helps us in those horrible days of discovery is a good thing.

      Delete
  30. I'm so grateful to have found this blog. I feel like this is a virtual support group! No one I know has been through this so it is helpful to read through some of these posts.

    My story is pretty typical. Married 10 years, I'm a stay at home mom to 3 little girls. Husband works a ton, travels. In the past 7 years we've had 3 kids, moved states and he's started his own business as an entrepreneur which requires him to travel and work more. Our marriage took a bit of a toll. I didn't realize it was as bad as it was, to him. He says we were more like business partners than friends and married people. We never fought like crazy or anything, we were still intimate, etc., we've been on date nights through all this, etc. Well apparently it wasn't enough. A few weeks ago I found a text from some chick and then went into his email (his password was saved on my computer, I'm not at all a snooping wife ironically) and found several emails that came as a complete shock. She was basically professing her love for him. Needless to say I was floored. I emailed her and told her to stay the f*ck away from my family (not in those words). He downplays the whole thing, says their relationship was mostly work related, but that they did "kiss heavily" (insert gag reflex here). He apologized of course, and we both broke down. I think the actual affair/relationship went on for as little as 3 months, maybe 4 or 5. It's hard to tell when he's telling the truth or whether or not he's leaving stuff out. Some days I am doing ok, other days - like this week - I rotate from being completely disgusted to fits of rage.

    Do you guys all see therapists? I've never seen one in my life. I read books, listen to podcasts, etc. to do my mental health work. Do you find just having someone to vent to in person helps enough to make it worth it? My time is so limited so I just have to be careful what I invest in. Thanks in advance.

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    1. Anonymous,
      I'm glad you found us too. And I'm so sorry for what you're going through.
      I'm concerned about a couple of things re. your husband's response. You mentioned that he "downplays the whole thing." Which tells me that he doesn't really understand just how devastating betrayal is and what a violation of trust it is. Sure, he was feeling disconnected, etc. But he cheated on you. He violated your trust. And that's a HUGE betrayal.
      I also really REALLY hope I'm wrong about this but I'm not buying the "kissing heavily" and nothing else story. Is he giving you access to his communications with her? Has he completely broken it off making it clear that it was a mistake and that he is committed to rebuilding his marriage?
      I'm also concerned that, from what you've written, he hasn't given you the details you've asked for. Not uncommon. Most of these guys minimize what's happened, downplay the extent. They say it's to protect us and not hurt us further but really it's to avoid their own complicity and feelings of shame. It's also, often, a way to avoid having to really deal with the fallout re. the other woman. If it wasn't such a big deal, they can continue to see her, work with her, etc.
      Regarding your feelings, okay to disgusted to rage pretty sums it up (though "okay" wasn't really in the cards for me for a l-o-n-g time).
      And your feelings are perfectly normal. As I said, betrayal is considered by experts to be a massive trust violation. It takes YEARS to move past and that's with two partners working really hard to do so. Trust broken is very hard to regain.
      As for therapy, it was crucial for me. I needed a safe place to really sort through everything I was feeling. Like you, I had three young children and was trying so hard to protect them from the shitstorm that was going on. To be able to fall apart with a therapist who's commitment was entirely to my safety and health felt like a luxury. I think, too, it can really help to have someone who can respond -- a book is great (including the one I wrote about my experience) but one thing it doesn't do is push back on what you're thinking, feeling. To get you to dig a little deeper into your feelings and ideas.
      I hope I'm not causing you more distress because I know how horrible this is. I am concerned, though, that he's minimizing what he did and that there's more to come. I'm wondering what demands you've put in place for reconciliation (I would insist that he seek therapy, for instance. He need to understand why he was willing to risk his marriage/family for someone who, apparently, doesn't matter a whole lot) and what your boundaries are to help you heal.

      Delete
    2. Thanks so much for your reply. Its really so nice of you to take the time out to help so many people who are going through this, and I'm guessing you do this out of the sheer goodness of your own heart.

      I just wanted to add something though - what's been most helpful for me -and my situation might be unique in that my husband is a good person who was deeply hurt and made a huge mistake - to be honest, is actually communicating with my husband. Seeing him break down and tell me how much he has missed our relationship and how horrible he was feeling about the way I was acting towards him was legit helpful for me. I found it extremely helpful to hear his side of things so that I could put the pieces together.

      I'm only writing this in case someone else who is just as lost as I was is reading. Just don't forget the importance of that. Try to get to the bottom of why this happened and understand where it came from. We took an already planned family vacation immediately after I found out about all this which actually ended up being to our benefit. I didn't want him to come - I wanted nothing to do with him but I sucked it up, we drove in separate cars and I allowed him to talk to me about it. I do believe him when he tells me over and over again and explains certain things, but we've definitely had to have several conversations about the SAME things multiple times for me to really seem to come to understand this. Understanding why and how this happens is KEY. And it starts with communicating with your husband.

      I also found a good podcast - Healing Broken Trust. It helped me tremendously to hear from other couples and hear the "betrayed" spouse's being able to have compassion and even empathy for their unfaithful spouses.

      This stuff can really mess with your head and your mind is constantly spinning. I had to literally force my feet to touch the ground and just talked non stop to my husband which I do believe has been beneficial. I hope this helps some of you! xo

      Delete
    3. Anonymous,
      I agree -- seeing genuine remorse for the betrayal can go a long way toward healing. And knowing he's a "good guy who made a horrible choice" can also help us determine what our next steps are.
      I also absolutely agree that it's crucial to really understand what the cheating is rooted in -- what was the thinking that led a "good guy" to violate his own moral code. In order to reduce any chance of it happening again, each partner, but particularly the offending one, needs to be able to see just where they crossed so many lines.
      Betrayal definitely messes with our heads -- and just when we think we see sunlight, we can get thrown back into the darkness for a bit. I'm glad you've found a podcast that's helpful.
      I created this site because I was desperate for something like it when I was in my early days. I wanted to create a safe space where women could come and find comfort and wisdom and guidance and compassion. Though it might be out of "goodness of my heart", I get an enormous amount from the women who here -- who share their own stories and their kindness. It has been healing for me too.

      Delete
    4. Dear Anonymous,
      Welcome to the club none of us wanted to join. First, let me tell you that I thought I was married to a great guy, strong moral compass, Mr. Clean, Mr. Eagle Scout, Mr. Professional, etc. What I did not know that his facade hid a childhood of trauma, sex abuse and family disfunction including early porn exposure which led him to early sex play for self comfort. He was a budding sex addiction way before I ever met him. He lied to himself and me for years and years. I've been married 40 years. Four years ago this June he sat me down the night before a doctor's appointment to tell me he thought he had AIDS because he had been buying sex for years. Yes, years. He also had an affair, masturbated daily, watched porn daily and went to strip clubs and jerk off joints when out of town for work. My Mr. Clean held a deep secret and it nearly destroyed our marriage. Hi doctor referred us to therapy right away and the months that folowed were horrible. I lost 50 pounds and my hair fell out in handfuls in the shower. I could not eat. I could only cry for hours on end. It took months for him to admit he was a sex addict and to uncover his past abuse and accept that all those horrible things happened to him. Your husband needs therapy to figure out why he made the choices he made. I went to therapy do figure out how I could have been snowed for decades. We are now in a good place but it has taken lots of work. You might find that therapy will help you deal with this betrayal trauma. He is the one person who promised to not hurt you and to protect you and have your back. He needs to go talk to someone to find out what made him do this. Until you can both deal with what is going on individually it will be impossible to deal with it as a couple. Just my 2 cents.

      Delete
    5. Beach Girl, I am so sorry for all that you have suffered through. No one should ever have to go through that. It must have been (and still be) so traumatizing. I do think each person and each case is individualized though. And my recommendation to each person who has come across this site with a simple google search that is reading this is to not think the worst and immediately jump to conclusions based on other peoples experiences.

      For the record, I actually do know my husband (and with all do respect, I do NOT know you ladies at all) so while I appreciate the advice, I think all women who go to internet message boards looking for marriage guidance should take it with a grain of salt. Just my 2 cents.

      I won't be coming back on here but I hope that you ladies all heal as best you can. Life is filled with ups and downs but it's also short. Best of luck to you as you navigate these choppy waters.

      Delete
  31. I am the anonymous from the top of this thread. I am reeling right now as just received a voicemail from the bitch saying that my husband loves her not me and I should leave him alone. Bearing in mind this is neatly two years since they split up. Should I be worried for my safety?

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    1. Anonymous,
      Should you be worried for your safety? I honestly don't know. She's likely a garden-variety train wreck desperate to ruin your marriage because, in her twisted logic, that will leave your husband available for her. It's crazy.
      If you're genuinely concerned, you can certainly contact authorities and see about a restraining order though unless she's made threats or otherwise violated any laws, I suspect they'd be unable to do much.
      As hard as it is, I'd ignore it. I'd block her number, completely cut her off from any access to you (I hope your husband has already done the same). Some OW feed on the drama -- it's oxygen to them.
      In the meantime, what is your husband saying about this. I'm giving him the credit that he has done nothing to encourage this...but have you had access to his phone/social media/etc? Are you comfortable that he hasn't had contact with her?
      I'm so sorry - I'm sure this has you absolutely rattled. It's frightening and it's destabilizing after all you've been through. But, unfortunately, it's not uncommon. I hear so often about these crazy OW who keep throwing bombs into our marriages in the hopes that they can cause fights, create rifts, and ultimately destroy them.
      As best you can, don't give her that power.

      Delete
  32. No. I havent seen his phone. She told me to stay the hell away from him which is weird language to use. It's almost like what a wife might say to mistress. I'm at the point where I dont want him anymore and would love to tell her this but dont want to stir her up again.

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  33. Bf of 7years screwed his coworker twice sept 18. He took her to our cabin. When he came back we had unprotected sex and he was telling me he wanted to get married and have another child and acting quite weird .he finally told me what happened 2 days ago. It’s pretty clear he regrets what he did. I know that besides sex we hadn’t been connecting on a more emotional level for some time. I would go out with my friends and family without him and he repeatedly told me that he felt that I didn’t make any time for him but I didn’t care or listen. And now this happens, although I know that it’s not my fault he cheated I can’t help but feel like I was being really selfish in our relationship and I wasn’t caring for him. I believe that he doesn’t care for ow and that it’s over. Am I a fool that I just want to be with him, have another kid and get married?

    ReplyDelete
  34. Ok Ladies I need your help:
    My wife and I have been married for 10 years, we have had many issues. I was diagnosed with PTSD, she has been as well. We both have counselling for Ptsd and she has some meds for it. we have 2 younger kids. One has a serious medical issue that causes ups and downs. Both of us started counselling for our mental health issues.

    My wife stopped working about 2 years ago and everything is on my salary, i don’t stick that in her face but it is tough!
    She started working out, a while ago and i applauded it as i think she’s withdrawn from everything.

    In the past We have been rude to each other, sarcastic, short and fight verbally about stupid things. She is older then i am in her latter 40’s. She had a lot of crap growing up with her parents who separated when she was 12. She was sexually assaulted at 16 and never got help. She had a previous marriage and discovered the guy was nuts so she left her home town for 7 years.

    I found lately she has been withdrawn and doesn’t want to talk about any of our issues. One night she told me she was going to meet with friends she hadn’t seen in a while. I was happy for her. She went out and came home late. I said nothing about it other than i hope she had a good time. Later i found out she was with a guy she dated when she was 16-17. I was upset she lied to me. He has a fiance who was in town looking after an ill parent. She went out with this person with her mom and sister, then went out with him alone. Long story short i found out she was meeting with him and met with him alone at her sisters apartment over night. She tells me nothing happened and she’s just friends. I said well can i talk to his GF she said no your not wrecking his relationship. I was like what the heck it’s ok for ours??
    We were agreed to go to counselling and i didn’t want her to speak to him while we were working on things. She said ok.
    Turns out she still messaged him and deleted the messages. she told me so. All of a sudden she drops the “i love you but not in love with you” line. She tells me the day before counselling she doesn’t want to go to counselling and can’t see us working it out, and she wants me to be happy with someone else. She want’s to live in the same house as long as we can. We went to counselling and she told me again she stopped communicating with this dude.
    3 weeks into counselling she tells me at the end of the session she is communicating with him and it’s not like what i think. I don’t know what to do. She won’t let me in and the whole thing is killing me. It was like when i try to change and try to trust she keeps messing with my head.

    She initially told me she met with him the night she was at her sisters house because he was going back home. The week later where she wasn't supposed to be speaking to him i feel the week is going good. Then on the Friday she tells me i have to go meet with him and his family (his parents not gf) I said i thought you said you had to meet with him last week b/c he was leaving. She denies having that conversation. She went and met with him, that was also our 10 year anniversary. I’m struck because i love her, she told me we should have never got married. I asked her about him, she says she doesn’t want sex with me or anyone else. I think thats BS. She says they just talk and she laughs, she likes it because he doesn’t know anything about what has gone on with our lives
    i actually believe that.
    I don’t know if things were sexual or not, i care for her, and legit want to work on it, she still says she doesn’t and doesn't see a future. At counselling i'm the one talking. She shows no remorse for anything. I don’t know what to do. its been since mid Aug i am so broken. She still guards her phone and takes it everywhere. She sleeps in our bed some nights and in the spare room others. I just don't know what to do.

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  35. My wife and I have been married for 10 years, we have had many issues. I was diagnosed with PTSD, she recently has been as well. She is supposed to take meds for depression. we have 2 younger kids. One has a serious medical issue that causes ups and downs. Both of us started counselling for our mental health issues. She stopped working about 2 years ago and everything is on my salary, i don’t stick that in her face but it is tough!
    She started working out, a while ago and i applauded it as i think she’s withdrawn from everything. She doesn't want to be around people and is withdrawn around people.

    In the past we have been rude to each other, sarcastic, short and fight verbally about stupid things. She is older then i am in her latter 40’s. She had a lot of crap growing up with her parents who separated when she was 12. She was sexually assaulted at 16 and never got help. She had a previous marriage and discovered the guy was nuts so she left her home town for 7 years. I found out she was a cutter as well.

    I found lately she has been withdrawn and doesn’t want to talk about any of our issues as all we do is fight. One night she told me she was going to meet with friends she hadn’t seen in a while. I was happy for her. She went out and came home late. I said nothing about it other than i hope she had a good time. She acted strange which caused me to question things in my head. Later i found out she was with a guy she dated when she was 16-17. I was upset she lied to me. She all of a sudden doesn't see witholding info as lying, yet wouldn't accept it from our kids! He has a fiance who was in town looking after an ill parent. She went out with this person with her mom and sister, then went out with him alone. Long story short it came to a head when i found out she was meeting with him and met with him alone at her sisters apartment over night while she was supposed to be looking after her sisters ill dog. She tells me nothing happened and she’s just friends. I said well can i talk to his GF she said no your not wrecking his relationship. I was like what the heck it’s ok for ours??
    We were agreed to go to counselling and i didn’t want her to speak to him while we were working on things. She said ok. She told me she never intended on meeting with him it was last minute. He was leaving to go home. What made me mad i found out she was with him around 11 p.m. she never came home. She told me later they were together until 1 a.m. and just talked.

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  36. That week she makes an appointment after i gently pushed, I felt that week went well and was starting to forgive and work on things. Out of the blue on the Friday night she says, I have to meet with him and his family hes leaving to go home tomorrow. I loose it, wth. Really you told me you weren't talking to him. I deleted his messages so you wouldn't get mad. You told me you had to meet with him last week because he was leaving...No i didn't.....WTH!! I said well i guess thats it then we're done? So she just left.
    That was our 10 year anniversary we found out later.
    Well it turns out she still messaged him and deleted the messages. she told me so. All of a sudden she drops the “i love you but not in love with you” line. She tells me the day before counselling she doesn’t want to go to counselling and can’t see us working it out, and she wants me to be happy with someone else. She want’s to live in the same house as long as we can. She looks forward to living in an apartment and just doing whatever she wants.It's surreal!
    We went to counselling and she told me again she stopped communicating with this dude.
    3 weeks into counselling she tells me at the end of the session she is communicating with him and it’s not like what i think. I don’t know what to do. She won’t let me in and the whole thing is killing me. I’m struck because i love her, she told me we should have never got married. I asked her about him, she says she doesn’t want sex with me or anyone else. She says they just talk and she laughs, she likes it because he doesn’t know anything about what has gone on with our lives.
    I don’t know if things were sexual or not, i care for her, and legit want to work on it, she still says she doesn’t. I don’t know what to do. She was staying in the same bed some nights and others she goes to the spare room. Her phone never leaves her sight. We went to a weekend away and it's just strange. its been since mid Aug and i don't know what to do. Do i try and salvage or am i spinning my gears. She also shows no remorse.

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    1. Hello WD and welcome to the site,

      First, I'm so sorry you're experiencing this pain. In your posts, I read confusion, sadness and frustration. All of those are very normal, healthy emotions to feel in this situation. You are brave to let yourself feel them.

      It sounds like you are very clear on what is happening: your wife is violating your trust and your boundaries. Her relationship with the man she dated in adolescence, even if they are not physically intimate with each other, involves an emotional intimacy that is is not "just friends". You don't know exactly what they've done together but you very wisely know that regardless, it constitutes a trauma to your marriage: a serious trust injury.

      You ask "do I try and salvage"? but the sentence immediately after hold the answer: "She also shows no remorse".

      WD, I'm so sorry, and I am saying this with nothing but gentleness and kindness, but here it is: reconciliation is not possible if there is no remorse from the person who has cheated. If you attempt to reconcile without true, genuine remorse from the cheater, the reconciliation will be false and, WD, that will hurt you even more than this whole episode has already hurt you.

      Elle (the extraordinary person who runs this site) has some truly fantastic blog posts about what is required for reconciliation. Browse through the site and give them a read. For starters, you need:

      1. Genuine remorse. If the person who has cheated is not genuinely sorry and willing to do anything to earn the golden opportunity of another chance with you, the whole thing is a non-starter. Sadly, many cowardly people have "exit affairs" because they want to end their relationship but lack the strength
      to do so in an honourable way. Do you think this might be what your wife has chosen?

      2. No contact. Your wife should make it clear to the affair partner that there will be no more contact. Some therapists use the metaphor of a house in which the door has been closed to the spouse and the windows open to affair partners. The person cheating must make the decision to close the windows and open the door -- the way it should have been all along.

      3. Full disclosure. You get to decide how much you want to know. Once you do, the person who cheated should volunteer the information. If the person who cheated promises that you "know everything now" but it turns out you don't, that's a horrific violation. On a personal note, my husband did this for nearly two months, and it was the worse trauma I've ever lived through -- MUCH worse than the affair itself -- and I honestly don't know if I'll ever get over it.

      Since your wife is not delivering any of those three things, I think you have to put reconciliation to the side and simply focus on yourself and your boundaries.

      This doesn't mean you'll never reconcile. It just means that your focus right now needs to be on ME, not WE.


      (continued below)

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    2. Focusing on yourself means putting yourself first -- ahead of your marriage. It means making choices that are healthy for YOU. Eating healthy, drinking water, exercising, getting enough rest, not drinking or smoking or using drugs, socializing with friends whom you consider emotionally healthy people, and finding an individual counselor who specializes in trauma (not only do you have a history of PTSD but betrayal is a form of trauma). In our society, men are not given permission to feel emotional pain and if they nurture themselves they are scoffed at. So it might be hard for you to give yourself permission to do this, WD, but I strongly encourage you to fight against any machismo you might encounter, inner or outer, and nurture yourself. You deserve to feel safe and cared for.

      It's important to point out that you are not caring for yourself in the goal of winning back your spouse's affection -- this isn't about "I'll show her what she's missing out on!" or what is sometimes called "the Pick Me dance". This is really just about you.

      Establishing boundaries means asking yourself what you, WD, need in order to feel safe, and then putting your energy into those. Elle has a great blog post about it here: http://betrayedwivesclub.blogspot.com/2016/04/your-ultimate-guide-to-boundaries-what.html Working with an individual therapist on this is helpful for many of us.

      WD, I read a lot of compassion for your wife in your posts. You share some of what she has gone through in her relationships in the past, and there is a lot of pain there. You also describe feelings of resentment of her. And there's your very understandable anger, and your sadness. I don't want to go all Yoda here, and I'm not qualified to speak to this the way many other are, but I encourage you to allow yourself to have all those emotions, and not think that any are somehow invalid or that you "shouldn't" be feeling a certain way. A lot of what we feel in the aftermath of a betrayal is conflicting and confusing, and that's okay.

      If you are comfortable reading, get Elle's book. It's so good. Also, I just found this awesome resource and have been recommending it to everyone, and you're no exception, WD. I recommend that you read "When It All Breaks Bad" and also do the Crisis Risk Assessment. https://partnerhope.com/

      You are going to be okay, WD. It hurts like hell -- it's the worst pain I've ever felt and many of the people on this site say the same -- but you're going to be okay.

      Delete
  37. It’s been a little over 5 months since D-Day and I have finished reading your book Elle. It was amazing and very helpful! could relate to a lot of the topics like trickling truths, pain shopping, mini movies, etc. I used it as a way to begin some hard conversations with my boyfriend. Currently, I relate most to the healing section. Where you begin to have better days. You begin to not have the affair run through your mind every 5 minutes and have some time together that feels like how it use to. BUT I feel guilty for letting go of the hurt and feel like I need to constantly remind him about his affair so that he remembers how badly he hurt me, even if I am laughing with him and having a good night together.

    Though it still is hard, overall I can feel myself healing. I still have triggers, I still randomly get upset and have a short temper, I know I have become more snappy with him, I still have mini movies that play in my head and as much as I know I should not, I still occasionally look at the OW’s pictures. I still have a lot of questions and still don’t understand how he could do it. I still get jealous when I see happy couples. But as much as it still hurts, it’s nowhere close to how I was 5 months ago. The good days are beginning to outweigh the bad. Not a day goes by I don’t think about it, but a few hours can. I use to think I was weak and pathetic for staying, and I now realize how strong of a person it takes to work through something like this. It has been hard, but it’s getting better. As scared as I am for the future, I also have a glimmer of hope.


    I have days where it takes everything in me not to contact the OW. I’ve had a letter written to her for months that I’m constantly tempted to send. I KNOW I SHOULD NOT. I know nothing good would come from it. I want to ask her how she could do this to another women?? How could she inflict so much pain. How could she come into my house and sleep with my boyfriend in my bed. Us women are suppose to stick together. Did she lust for him? Was there a build up of sexual tension? Or was it really just a one night stand? I want her to know that I know. I don’t want her thinking I’m naive. I don’t want her thinking I’m stupid or feel bad that I’m with someone so sneaky. I want her to know that I do know what she decided to do while I was out of town. I want her to know I decided to stay.

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    Replies
    1. Cat Lady,
      I'm glad the book was helpful and so glad to hear that you're beginning to have more good days than bad. That's a testament to your strength and resilience and hard work.
      I understand the fear that your boyfriend might minimize the pain he's caused if you're not constantly reminding him of it. It feels like we're betraying ourselves if we begin to release that pain. We're not, however. We're healing. And that's a good thing. As long as you are able to continue to talk about the infidelity and how it's affected you, not all the time but whenever it seems pertinent, then you're honouring your experience. As long as he's able to listen to you, to share what he's learned through this experience, then he's also honouring you. I told my husband one day that I was afraid he'd think it was no big deal if I wasn't either falling apart or reminding him that I'd fallen apart. His response? "I will never forget the pain in your eyes and I never want to cause you to feel that again." He didn't need reminding. He was reminding himself all the time. He still does, more than a dozen years later.
      Talk to your boyfriend about this. Tell him that you want to know that this has changed each of you for the better. That you NEVER want to go through that again. And that you need to know he never wants to put you through that again. And then...continue to heal.
      I also understand the impulse to want to tell the OW that you know, to make it clear that you're not some dodo who hasn't a clue but a strong woman who's made a choice. But think about what you're really after: I suspect you want to prove something to her, to make yourself superior to her, and to have her know it. Absolutely understandable. But, I think, misguided. If this woman has any moral compass, she knows she did something shitty. And if she doesn't, then you're not going to convince her otherwise. Whether or not you know, whether or not you stay, doesn't change that she was complicit in cheating on another person. That's her stain, not yours. Keep the letter. Add to it whenever you want. But don't send it, for now. I suspect this woman will continue to retreat into the rear-view mirror. This wasn't about her. She was a willing accomplice. That's all. I hope she'll have her own reckoning and decide to be a better person. But that's her journey, not yours.

      Delete
  38. My story is similar but very different to everyone as well.
    My husband and I have been married for over 20years together for 30 years. Teenage kids and has been a wonderful life really. Financially quite well off and hardly ever any conflict.
    He did have some family issues, resentment and rejection from his father. He had high blood pressure, cholesterol and really believed he was going to die.
    September 2018 he had a nervous breakdown. So out of the blue as nothing seemed really different. He was really stressed at work and seemed unhappy.
    We worked through things and by February my old husband seemed to come back and he was doing really well.
    THEN
    I found out he was bisexual. Never had any idea. His breakdown was real. His work, health and family issues contributed but he was also confused. He loves me but his mental health and belief that he was going to die, he hooked up with a young fellow and had oral sex. 5 times between October and January.
    When he started to feel more ‘normal’ he couldn’t believe what he had done to himself and our family and became suicidal. All the while I had no idea about any of this.
    All ended in the January. He says he has known he had an attraction to men since he was a teenager but also attracted to women so no big deal. He loved me and never would he cheat so he can’t understand what happened.
    I love him. Has been a wonderful husband and father. He is on anti depressants and seeing a Counsellor. Seems to be trying to work everything out.
    But geez this seems so hard to get past. I have been through all the stages described by everyone else. My added challenge is the fear of his attraction with men which he assures me is not an issue.
    I believe this is a big mistake in an otherwise great 30 years. But I have horrible images in my mind. I believe what he is saying, and I want to move on together, but it’s so hard. It’s weird I want to sort it out but then I feel he hasn’t suffered like I have.......
    Is it worse that he cheated with a man. Maybe, but any cheating is unacceptable. He believes in marriage and monogamy but he had a breakdown and his decision making was way off.
    How to accept this and move on together and be happy......I don’t need him financially I am successful in my own right. My kids would be fine as well. Problem is I still love him. Would be easier if I didn’t I guess ��

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    1. Anonymous,
      I'm so sorry for the pain and confusion you're in. My husband also cheated, occasionally, with men. He was diagnosed with sex addiction so, honestly, the gender wasn't the issue so much as availability and confidentiality. But yes, I struggled too, at first.
      Though my husband doesn't identify as bisexual, what else can he be? I think we all exist on something of a spectrum.
      In your husband's case, it sounds as though the depression played a large role. I've heard that story many times. Sex and danger and illicitness can make someone feel alive, when they're struggling to feel anything at all. I'm not excusing what he did at all. But it can help to understand that these decisions were made in moments of desperation. That there wasn't intention behind them.
      It's always your choice whether to stay or go. However, from what you say, there's little reason to leave except that you're in pain and want a release from it. Leaving won't change that. I think, if you remain, you'll need to create an atmosphere of total transparency with your husband. It sounds as though you two have been very good friends for a very long time. That's a solid foundation. But he's also, clearly, not been entirely honest with you for your whole relationship. That needs to change.
      If you're not already in couples counselling, I would urge you to find someone who can help you through this. His attraction to men certainly complicates things in the short term; however, if he's committed to monogamy, then it becomes something of a non-issue. Sort of like knowing he's attracted to blondes if you're a brunette but knowing he'd never cheat with one. I don't mean to minimize this -- of course, gender is different from hair color. But, as noted, if he chooses monogamy with you, then that's what really matters. Although, it can certainly change your marriage if you're both able to speak more honestly about desire.
      Hang in there, Anonymous. You've been through hell -- even your husband's health problems were no doubt frightening. I hope you'll take some time to let this all settle and then figure out where you go from here.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous, I second what Elle has said. This is not an easy journey. My husband's history includes Asian prostitutes, strip clubs, porn, jerk-off joints, brothels, escorts and a lifetime of overall poor choices filled with debauchery and lies. Four years ago my life blew up and I found individual counseling for both of us and couples counseling to be very helpful. We are friends and we have come a long way. You can never go back to where you once thought you were and that was/is my hardest lesson so far. What I thought we had was only true in my head because he was living a different life than me all along. We are open and honest now even when it hurts but we are still together and he is trying his best to live with integrity daily. I've read so many stories about one or the other partner being gay or bi and being able to stay together so those success stories are out there. You will get to write your own story. I wish you well as you travel through this living hell and at some point you will find that the light at the end of the tunnel is no longer the incoming train. No big decisions need to be made so take your time. Breathe. Cry. And find someone you trust whom you can talk to as much as you need to.

      Delete
  39. Hi

    I know it may seem foolish of me that i’m still holding onto this but, a few years back the love of my love that i’ve known my entire life cheated on me. We had been together for going on almost 2 years. The first year *honeymoon phase* everything was perfect, even though we didn’t get to see each other as much as we would like to because my mom is against homosexuals. Either way we always found a way. Then things started to change heading onto the second year, she was lying to me and would get caught up in it whenever i confronted her about it. We argued a lot and never saw each other, things were just not great. I did everything for her, risked getting thrown out, disowned, and even contemplated suicide. Whenever there was a holiday or birthday i would make sure she had everything she wanted and more i always went big for her. When I found out she cheated it was because she told me it was around Thanksgiving and i hadn’t heard from her for a week. Come to find out she was doing drugs and had blacked out and cheated on me with her dad’s girlfriends daughter. She would always come over and ask her if she wanted to make my girlfriend feel better. That same day that she told me i got texts from the girl off of my girlfriends phone telling me everything that she did and she even called and they both laughed and made fun of me. After all of this happened not even 24 hours passed before my sister stopped me from overdosing. Before this happened i had snuck off to her house without my moms permission to see her and got caught and she took my mom took my phone and texted her threatening her to get her dad to lose his job and horrible things.(this was before the cheating happened) After all of this happened we got back together and she wouldn’t even talk to me the same, she didn’t even say i love you back. We broke up saw other people and eventually got back together again over the span of 2 years. When we got back together i layed some ground rules as far as what i was and wasn’t going to expect as far as loyalty, honesty, respect, etc. She promised to oblige. A couple of months later i find out that she still has pictures of her ex on her phone that she supposedly deleted, her ex’s fingerprint to unlock her phone, her ex’s moms number still in her phone, she made posts about her ex’s because they were supposedly friends, she had a promise ring at her house from her ex that she was supposedly going to sell and forgot about, she went to go see her ex’s family and lied about it. She still had her ex on social media, she had messages to her ex that she said her cousin was using it to talk to her that turned out to be true but she never told me beforehand she never tells me anything beforehand. Her ex showed up to her brothers graduation and hugged all of her family members and took pictures with them. She proposed to me, but she knows that i don’t trust her and that we aren’t on good terms. And i just don’t know what to do with all of this it’s been going on for years and i don’t know what to do. I’ve tried ending things before but it hurts so bad but it hurts being with her because the memories constantly come back and make me angry all over again. How do i stop thinking about it? we both want to work it out but i don’t know if it’s possible or not. Please help me .

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  40. Hi

    I know it may seem foolish of me that i’m still holding onto this but, a few years back the love of my love that i’ve known my entire life cheated on me. We had been together for going on almost 2 years. The first year *honeymoon phase* everything was perfect, even though we didn’t get to see each other as much as we would like to because my mom is against homosexuals. Either way we always found a way. Then things started to change heading onto the second year, she was lying to me and would get caught up in it whenever i confronted her about it. We argued a lot and never saw each other, things were just not great. I did everything for her, risked getting thrown out, disowned, and even contemplated suicide. Whenever there was a holiday or birthday i would make sure she had everything she wanted and more i always went big for her. When I found out she cheated it was because she told me it was around Thanksgiving and i hadn’t heard from her for a week. Come to find out she was doing drugs and had blacked out and cheated on me with her dad’s girlfriends daughter. She would always come over and ask her if she wanted to make my girlfriend feel better. That same day that she told me i got texts from the girl off of my girlfriends phone telling me everything that she did and she even called and they both laughed and made fun of me. After all of this happened not even 24 hours passed before my sister stopped me from overdosing. Before this happened i had snuck off to her house without my moms permission to see her and got caught and she took my mom took my phone and texted her threatening her to get her dad to lose his job and horrible things.(this was before the cheating happened) After all of this happened we got back together and she wouldn’t even talk to me the same, she didn’t even say i love you back. We broke up saw other people and eventually got back together again over the span of 2 years. When we got back together i layed some ground rules as far as what i was and wasn’t going to expect as far as loyalty, honesty, respect, etc. She promised to oblige. A couple of months later i find out that she still has pictures of her ex on her phone that she supposedly deleted, her ex’s fingerprint to unlock her phone, her ex’s moms number still in her phone, she made posts about her ex’s because they were supposedly friends, she had a promise ring at her house from her ex that she was supposedly going to sell and forgot about, she went to go see her ex’s family and lied about it. She still had her ex on social media, she had messages to her ex that she said her cousin was using it to talk to her that turned out to be true but she never told me beforehand she never tells me anything beforehand. Her ex showed up to her brothers graduation and hugged all of her family members and took pictures with them. She proposed to me, but she knows that i don’t trust her and that we aren’t on good terms. And i just don’t know what to do with all of this it’s been going on for years and i don’t know what to do. I’ve tried ending things before but it hurts so bad but it hurts being with her because the memories constantly come back and make me angry all over again. How do i stop thinking about it? we both want to work it out but i don’t know if it’s possible or not. Please help me .

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    1. Trainwreck,
      I'm so sorry for the pain that you're in. Let's simplify this: You set clear boundaries around what you will and will not tolerate in the relationship after you got back together. She violated those boundaries and continues to violate them with no regard for you. You broke up. It hurts. It also hurts to be with her.
      So...here's the thing. Doing the right thing (breaking up with her and staying broken up) isn't always the easy thing. It will hurt. It will hurt for a long time. Heartbreak is really really hard. But I promise you, it's better than the constant heartbreak of someone who violates your boundaries, who disrespects you and is disloyal. I PROMISE you that.
      You ask how you can stop thinking about it? You can't. Let yourself remember. Write it all down. Go for a run or do some exercise. Listen to music. Cry. Cry some more. Just let yourself feel the pain. I guarantee the pain will not kill you, even if it feels like it will.
      With time (and with ZERO contact with this person), the pain will get smaller. And then smaller. And then one day, you'll notice someone else who makes your heart skip a beat. And you will be ready for a new, healthy relationship because you've done all the work to be done with the last UNhealthy relationship.
      You deserve better than this, Trainwreck. But you have to believe you deserve better. And I suspect, with a domineering intolerant mother, you might not believe that you are worth more than this. You are. That is the truth. You are worthy of love and belonging with someone who thinks she's the luckiest person in the world to be chosen by you.
      In the meantime, avoid drugs. They only mess things up and waste your money. Find a therapist who can help you move past this and figure out what a healthy relationship looks like.
      Treat yourself well. You deserve it. And insist that others treat you well too. Setting boundaries was a really healthy thing to do. But you have to enforce them, over and over. And you have to remove people from your life who refuse to respect them.

      Delete
  41. My husband and I met when we were kids, him 16 and I was 17. We were young and foolish but so in love! Got pregnant and decided to get married 1 year and 8 months after we started dating. We were blessed with 3 more kids. But that's when things turned around. My husband wanted no part in raising our kids. He thought he did his job by providing financially and the rest was up to me. I got the kids to school, helped with homework, cooked, cleaned, made sure the bills were paid, school activities. All of it I did on my own. He wouldn't include himself in our activities. It was me and the kids. He became very volatile over time. He became mentally, emotionally and sometimes physically abusive. This went on for several years. Then things changed a little. In early 2011 we began having issues with our oldest son. He was very volatile. Once he was a legal adult he moved out. Then in fall 2013 I lost my stepdad. Less than 7 months after that my mom was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer. She lost that battle on Augus 3, 2016. My mom was my best friend. The pain of losing her was awful. And my husband was anything but supportive. He'd often tell me to get off the emotional roller coaster I was on and move on. I'd never felt pain like that before. Until August 3 of this year. I discovered information on my husband's phone for hotels. Thus began the trickling down of his affair. The information finally all made it's way to the surface by late September.
    We've been married 29 years and 13 of those he was having an affair with a coworker. A complete emotional and physical affair. He talked to her about everything. When he'd never listen to me. They had sex in her home. Store parking lots. Restaurant parking lots. Hotel rooms. And we had times of no sex because she was giving it to him. This ugly old whore of a married woman 12 years older than him. They went to lunch together. Held hands. All of it. And he was distant and totally disconnected from me and our children. The last time they had sex, July 26, he texted me from the hotel parking lot telling me he had to work late. And that he loved me. He even called me as he was leaving her.
    He has supposedly seen how she used him. How she manipulated him. And he's made big changes. He helps around the house. But our kids are grown. They're 18, 25, 26 and 28. They don't want Daddy to play soccer with them anymore. They no longer have school programs to attend. They don't need him like they did when they were young. They and I were desperate for him to be involved. Now it's too late. The damage is irreversible. It hurts. I cry. I'm angry. I feel like I'm trapped in a small dark box and I'll never find my way out. He wants our marriage to work. But he isn't patient with me. I'm experiencing every emotion there is. And I'm not sure I want my marriage anymore. He threw me away. I wasn't what he wanted or needed. He lived another life and I was too stupid to see it.

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    1. Drowning,
      I know the pain you're in. We all know the pain you're in. I was lucky (ha!) in that my husband woke up while our kids were still young enough. But, like yours, he had missed YEARS of their childhoods. Years that he will never get back. Years that they will never get back.
      But here's the thing. And though I know it's agonizing that you did it all yourself, you didn't miss those years. You were there for them. You showed up. And for that, you can be so proud of yourself.
      You're not stupid at all. You trusted the person who promised you he was trustworthy. That's not stupid. That's actually pretty normal.
      But now...what to do now? That's your choice. Of course, he wants his marriage. He's just realized that he wasted 13 years of his life with someone he neither respects nor who respects him. What a pointless things, huh? But that's for him to come to terms with, along with his absentee parenting.
      What do YOU want? It's okay to not know right now. It's okay for you to lay out clear requirements if he wants you to even CONSIDER staying married to him. For one, he needs to work on being patient with you. For another, he needs to get his butt to a therapist to figure out why he's wasted so much of his life on someone who doesn't matter to him. And to understand just how deeply he has betrayed you in so many ways. Not just the affair but not supporting you when your mother died, not helping you out at home.
      And I would urge you to also seek therapy. In some ways, you betrayed yourself. You allowed yourself to be sidelined by him. I get it. You thought you were being a good wife. But you weren't respecting yourself, and that has to change.
      You get to decide how this looks going forward, Drowning. YOU get to decide. "My heartbreak, my rules" is at the top of this site. We mean that.

      Delete
  42. Hi. I discovered this site a couple of weeks ago and found it to be tremendously helpful, reassuring and on my wavelength. So I thought it’s maybe time to say hello, introduce myself and share my story.
    I discovered 5 months ago that my husband of 15 years has been having an affair for approximately the last 3 years.
    He immediately ended the affair,took full responsibility, identified the reasons, did not try and blame me for anything at all and agreed to get individual counselling. He insisted it wasn’t about me or anything I had/ hadn’t done. It wasn’t about her either - he didn’t love her, didn’t want to leave to be with her, was happy to end it. He even said he’d wanted to end it quite some time ago so it was a relief.
    I embarked on what seems the be the usual roller coaster of devastation, grief, despair and fury. I don’t even remember the first 6-8 weeks I was in such a mess.
    I’m feeling much stronger now. I understand he did this because he has long standing self esteem issues, exacerbated by more recent health issues and his response to the the aging process. I think I believe him when he says he loves me and never stopped loving me throughout. I certainly always felt loved and cared for and that’s partly why it was such a huge shock.
    He is doing everything he can to love me, reassure me and fix himself.
    I am trying to accept his love, to acknowledge he is working to address the issues, to get help, to change, to let the dust settle and to see how things unfold. I am also looking after myself well.

    At first I felt a need to make a decision, and quickly. I now feel I can take my time.
    I am still pretty devastated (although feeling quite flat this week). But questioning what to do and how to frame this? He has had a long term affair, which is awful. But I thought (and he agrees) that we had a good and happy marriage before this happens. After all, if it had been unhappy, and he were an awful husband, it would be much easier to make the decision to end it. I feel as though it might be rash to throw everything we have and have built together for what appears to be an episode of self destructive behaviour lasting one fifth of our marriage. Four fifths, or 80 percent, he was faithful.
    So finding this site, which gives permission to try to understand, to be compassionate, to reflect, to be self aware and to take time to make a decision, had been wonderful. Thank you.

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  43. Hi. I am happy to have discovered this site recently...I can relate to so many of the posts. My DDay was 6 weeks ago. The affair had been going on for about 4 weeks at that time and was mainly emotional, but had just turned physical prior to me finding out. My discovery began with those dreaded words as my husband told me “I love you, but I’m not in love with you anymore.” And, in the days that followed, the truth trickled out, each bit of information more painful than the last. His schedule changed, and I quickly became wise to what was happening.
    My husband and I have been together for over 20 years (married for 15). We have two children, typical work and home responsibilities, and the daily stressors that come along with our life. We had been going through the motions for a few years, stressed, tired, not really focusing on “us”, but honestly, I thought it was just all part of this stage of our life. I took on more at work and did more with my kids, while he became more and more distant, and eventually distracted himself by confiding in and beginning a physical relationship with another woman.
    I initially couldn’t believe he could betray me (us) in this way, but what shocked me most of all was that he couldn’t stop. I asked him to leave our home, which didn’t really feel right, but I had no choice because he wouldn’t (couldn’t) stop the affair and I couldn’t handle that. After a week away, he asked to come home to work on “us” and being a better husband/father. He said he ended the relationship with the OW prior to coming home. Unfortunately, he does occasionally run into her at work which, although I don’t like it, is unavoidable at this point.
    As far as I can tell, he’s been honest and open about everything. We have been working on rebuilding our relationship since he came home. Overall, it seems to be going very well. However, some days, I find myself on that emotional roller coaster and it’s off the rails!!
    This whole experience has rattled me to the core....I never thought it would happen. I am not and will never be the same person again. Although the uncertainty I feel at times is awful, I am feeling more hopeful and stronger as the days go by. My family & friends have not been supportive, they are of the “kick him to the curb” crowd and have no concept of what I’m truly dealing with. (I honestly thought I felt that way too until it actually happened!!) I’ve dealt with much of this on my own, with the help of a counselor and support from my husband.
    Reading the posts here about others’ experiences while walking this road has been enlightening and reassures me that the emotions I’m experiencing are a “normal” part of dealing with this tremendous blow and healing from it. I’ve also learned here that it’s okay to take things one step at a time. I’m confident that trusting my instincts and following my heart is the best way for me to get through this on my own terms. Thank you so much to Elle & all of you.

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    1. KMalibu,
      Welcome to the club none of us wanted to join. Glad you found us. And thank-you for sharing your story. Yeah, I think most of us were of the "kick him to the curb" club until it happened to us. Suddenly things aren't quite so black and white.
      I'm glad you're giving yourself time to get clear on what you ultimately want. I'm sorry your family/friends haven't been supportive. I've never quite understood why people can't trust that you are doing the best you can and that their job isn't to direct you and hurt you further but to simply support you in your own choices.
      Thank goodness for good therapists, huh?
      As you know, there are incredible women on this site, each of whom is making the best choice for you, right now. Some stay, some leave, some have the choice made for them and learn how to heal themselves no matter what.
      You'll get there too. Moment by moment. Day by day.

      Delete
    2. Thank you for the warm welcome, Elle! I’m happy to meet all of you, I just wish it was under different circumstances for all of us!!
      I also cannot understand why the people around us can't trust that we are doing the best we can with this and just support us in our choices. Their unwillingness to deal with the situation is stressful and hurtful. It almost feels like I take a step or two backward when I speak with them and makes me not want to. I’m honestly not sure what they want from me.
      Otherwise, I feel like I’m doing pretty well and moving forward. My triggers are diminishing. But, sometimes, it just hits me. One thing that is tough at times is the occasional contact my husband must have with the OW through work. It’s unavoidable because they occasionally work together. It’s minimal contact, a few times per month and there are always other people with them. He’s very honest about it. But I don’t like it! Sometimes it brings out my emotions, sometimes it doesn’t bother me at all.
      Yes, day by day, sometimes moment by moment works best for me right now. Getting stronger each day.
      Thank you for your kind words and encouragement!

      Delete
  44. KMalibu, you are correct to state you are not the same person you were and that is something your spouse may never understand if he is a compartmentalizer like my husband. My husbands cheating with prostitutes and his affair back in the early 80's was too much for my mind to comprehend. I was once head over heals in love with my husband, thought he was a moral and honest man and I was wrong. My D-day was June 2015. Something died inside me when he told me he though he had AIDS from buys sex for years. Say what???? He was so disgusted with himself but probably not as disgusted as I was and sometimes I am still pretty disgusted when I look at him. I did not want to blow up my adult kids lives or my grandkids lives so I sucked it up and only talked to a therapist initially and after 6 months told my BFF a very modified version of my story because she has enough on her plate. We changed our entire life and I gave him a year to get his life together. Luckily we did not have anyone else living with us otherwise I suspect I could not keep this secret. He is highly skilled at keeping secrets. He has changed his whole life too. You just keep doing what you are doing and make yourself a priority in your life and your marriage. You might want to consult an attorney to find out what your rights are in your state just as a baseline. I saw an attorney within a few months because I did not believe my husband would change. It was reassuring to hear what she had to say given the state where we lived. After about a year, when he and I were talking I told him I had seen an attorney and that really shocked him. He started to babble and I just told him to stop talking because I did not believe a word he said about never trying to cheat me out of what I was owed. Hmmmm, ya, right. You already did that a-hole. We are still together and although I have triggers still at times I handle most everything pretty well. I don't do what I don't want to do and I actually think my adult kids kind of appreciate that I moved south for the winter and am living a very active and exciting life, meeting new friends and making my last years my best. You just make your own decisions and be true to yourself because you deserve it. Happy Thanksgiving

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    1. Hi Beach Girl,
      Thank you for sharing part of your story with me. You seem to be incredibly brave and very strong. I am so happy to hear that you are handling most everything well, living your life as you want to, and making the years to come your best! That’s amazing!! My goal is to do the same. Staying true to myself is something I strive to do with each passing moment and so important to me. It’s getting easier the more I rely on me. I truly appreciate your support and words of encouragement. Thank you!!
      Happy Thanksgiving to you as well.

      Delete
  45. Well I've been trying to write this post for months now. My 1 year D-day anniversary will occur on New Years Day...because why not a holiday? If I had written this months ago it would be much more detailed...but I'll just stick to the main points. It was revealed to me by my brother that my husband of 16 years had an affair with my 19 year old niece who had been helping us out with our 8 children for 2 summers (this occurred summer 2018). The manner in which I was told by my brother, was that my husband would sneak in her room after the kids were in bed and rape her. It became vividly clear that those accusations were severely false, and that it was a consensual relationship of mutual pursuing, right under my nose, in my house, while the children and I were both awake and asleep. This neice of mine, lost her mother 5 years prior to cancer, and I had taken on a mother role in her life. My brother did not get her or her two sisters grief counseling , and her precocious relationships after her mother died were very obvious signs of her acting out. I was adamant to my family that she needed help...but being the youngest in my family, i clearly didn't know what i was talking about. And god forbid after this monstrous explosion came to light, I ask ANYONE in my family to acknowledge her role in the affair. Fast forward to 3 weeks post d-day, after my husband had been out of the house for that time, and we had to share the reason with our four older children (heartbreaking to say the least)....I found out he had been having a first emotional/then physical/then emotional for five years affair with a co-worker, with an added bonus physical weekend at a conference in 2017. He remained out of the home until June (at which time I didn't know of this forgotten rendezvous). Moved into our sunroom and has been there since. 4/8 kids know about their cousin, and have been in therapy since january. The younger kids were also in therapy initially to deal with the change in the household. I myself have a PC, a separate EMDR therapist, a couples therapist, have completed single and couples courses at AR, and have a support group. I read. I listen. I watch videos. I"m consumed with my recovery. My husband is also in several therapies. He has learned much about his past, his difficulty with rejection, nothing ever being enough. He is working hard to heal his brokenness. I think he has emotional state addictions, and I am asking him to address those. My family has abandoned me. The first month they supported me the best they could. When I let them know in June he was back in the house, I have been shut out of all communication except for 2 of my sisters who are much more caring, yet still unsure how to support me when they despise him. I have learned my family is very good about conditional love. The shitty thing is my children are part of this wreckage. My family is showing them conditional love too, when they haven't done a single thing wrong. Neither did I. Do they know how difficult it is to raise eight children ages 4-14 with NO SUPPORT in this situation? No, they don't. Do they know how excruciatingly painful it is to wake up every morning knowing that this is my life now? How do you explain to a 5 year old why we can't go to Grandma's at Christmas? Besides the fact that my niece will be there, as they fully support her as being taken advantage of and the victim in all of this. My children have lost their cousins, grandparents, aunts, uncles and any sense of normalcy because of their father's actions. The losses are so great to us all. 1 of 2

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  46. 2/2 At first i imagined my heart broken into tiny pieces, and that the healing was picking up those pieces. I now know that there is actually part of my heart that has died. It was killed by the man that i thought was my world. I thought our marriage was the best it had ever been. We planned a future together that was so bright. All the while he was this broken man who hated himself and felt he would never be good enough (thanks in laws). He is a stranger to me. The last 16 years are a lie with some good vacations here and there. He is doing the work. He is committed to working on his brokenness. He wants to be with me. He never wanted otherwise. Our MC suggested though that maybe I don't want this man that is so broken. That maybe that is why it is so hard for me to be happy for his small victories in recovery. It's an interesting thought...I didn't think I married a broken man...the man I married was outgoing, confident, trustworthy, respectable and honest. We had fun together. Now it is so much work to exist together for the kids. Oh, and I lost my family. So is it worth sticking around to see if the broken becomes beautiful? When there are so many losses incurred? I see how my children benefit from a 2 parent household and having their dad here. I see glimpses of a man i could love again. And then the darkness of that dead heart takes over. But who else do I have? Clearly not my family. What i have realized from all of this is that everyone in this world is broken. We all have this stuff that lingers inside our hearts and impacts us and our relationships. But how much is too much? When I look at my situation from a birds eye view, I think I'm an idiot for staying as along as I have. But I'm still here. Why am I still here? Can a heart regenerate and form new?

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    1. Anonymous,
      Oh my...your story is heartbreaking on so many levels. So much destruction. I am glad to know that you are so well supported by therapists.
      I think that you're expecting clarity when you are, likely, just getting over the shock and the trauma of what happened. I think clarity will come but...for now...I think it's enough to just keep your own head above water and help your children heal from this too. I can't imagine how exhausting this all is. It's hard enough to heal ourselves personally without having to deal with an entire family reeling from things they had nothing to do with.
      So...continue to take care of yourself and them as best you can. Let your husband continue to heal his own brokenness. Whether or not you stay with him, you want your children's father to be as healthy as he can possibly be.
      As for memories, he has always been this man. It sounds as though he was particularly good at keeping a mask on. But the brokenness was there. And it doesn't mean he didn't love you all along. But it also doesn't mean that you are obliged to stay with him. You get to decide, when you're ready, what's right for you.
      I'm sorry your family isn't able to support you but I can imagine it all feels pretty complicated for them too. And though I know your niece was not a child, I nonetheless think the power/age imbalance puts the lion's share of responsibility on your husband's shoulders to have behaved appropriately. I hope you can come to a point where you're able to extend some compassion to the position your family is in, even if you're deeply wounded (understandably) by their treatment of you and your kids.
      Anonymous, I don't think your heart is dead. You are clearly someone who loves deeply. Your heart is profoundly wounded. But it is alive and you will find joy again. You are doing everything right to create the conditions for that to happen someday.
      I had nowhere near the destruction that you're dealing with and it took me around 5 years to feel well and truly past this. It's a long road.
      I'm glad you shared your story. And I'm so so sorry for what you're going through. You are among friends here. We know your pain. And we are rooting for you to heal from this.

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  47. 10/25/2019... D-Day. Not husband, boyfriend of four years. We recently had a child, who was intentionally conceived (I always feel this is important to share).

    I had known for some time that something was off. I've been cheated on before in prior relationships, I know the signs. While approximately 8 months pregnant, I found Facebook messages, which looked really bad but did not fully confirm his cheating. I confronted him with them and he of course gaslighted me and denied them. When I say confronted I mean I literally stated "If you are doing something or did something it needs to stop and you need to tell me so we can work on this" not "I'm going to fucking leave you and take our child", which crossed my mind. Gaslighted and told I was crazy.

    Flash forward to D-day, I was asked to call "her". I knew why she wanted to talk to me. I knew who she was since it was the same person from the messages. Initially, I felt relieved that I was finally going to get the truth. She initially tried to act like she didn't know we were together (she knew) and then came the bitch slap, she is pregnant and she says it is my boyfriend's child. However, it is known she is sleeping with multiple men, including another who just had a child. Bottom line, she is a homewrecking whore. As I stated to her, my boyfriend is also a grown man and knew exactly what he was doing. I told her this while I was talking to her on the phone and looking him directly the eye.

    Anyways, he has owned up to what happened and we are currently in counseling. He stated they had a fling that would happen every few months and was not consistent. He said he has no feelings for her and it simply about sex. However, it's not like he wasn't getting it at home. We've always had a good sex life. He said it had nothing to do with me or our relationship, but it is hard to believe that sometimes.

    Bottom line, he cheated on me while we were attempting to have a child, while I was pregnant and while I was recovering from childbirth (literally like a month after birth). I just don't know if I am strong enough to potentially help raise another woman's child. The child is innocent, but she and my boyfriend are not and if this child is his, I will forever have to relive this pain. I'm sure it will dull with time... I just can't see that yet.

    Of course, she is doing everything she can to tear us apart. Will not do a paternity test unless he is dating her, is going to make him go through the court process to find out, etc. Basically, she's a bitch.

    They have ruined what is supposed to be such a special time in my life. I cannot look at pregnant women without getting this ache and ball of rage. I cannot think about the birth of our child without sadness. I find myself playing with my child and not fully being present and I HATE it with every part of me.

    I think I am finally coming down from my rage cage and now I am simply sad, hurt and feel betrayed. Right now, I'm pushing through and working with the couples counselor. Hoping this gets better. I have not fully decided if I am going to stay or go. I seem to flop back and forth almost daily. No one knows what is going on. Only a few people know: the therapist, each of our best friends, the home wrecking whore and apparently a few of her friends.

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    1. I read your story and it could have been my own. Especially the gas lighting. And the flipflopping. Just wanted you to know that I understand what you are going through. Hugs.

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  48. Tried to publish my story before in a couple of parts. Maybe it was too long? Perhaps I’ll try again later. D-day was 11/26 and every single day hurts so frickin much. I’m a total mess. Maybe it hurts that much more because he chose to want to leave to be with the ow. He has known her a couple months. We were married 23 years. For those who have been dealing with this longer, how long did it take before the pain began to ease?

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    1. Shattered Dreams,

      I'm so sorry you're going through this but glad you've found us. In answer to your question, the pain is still somewhat with me but the worst of it had passed after about a year. It was insanely intense for the first month, then I started actively healing myself (which I've described more below) and it became slightly less intense for the next few months, and then progressively lessened, with a few flare-ups from time to time. I'm 16 months out and it sometimes still hurts but nowhere near as much. Before, I couldn't breathe. Now it feels like a terrible stomach ache sometimes.

      For now, the only thing you have to do is hold on and get through the pain day by day, or minute by minute if you have to. When the pain flooded me, making me feel like I was drowning, my instinct was to stop it somehow (wine, Netflix, ranting with anger). But I followed the advice of Pema Chodron in her book "When Things Fall Apart" and learned to just let the pain take me over. I surrendered to it. I survived second by second, using my senses as a lifejacket. I entered into the texture of the moment, giving all my attention over to how things felt under my fingers, how they looked up close, how they smelled. Eventually the pain would release me.

      Over time, I took a more active role in healing, which is what I advise for you, too. I recommend: lots of self-compassion, lots of water (no drugs and minimal alcohol), lots of sleep, lots of walking outdoors in nature, breathing deeply. Join a gym and do high-intensity exercise. Meditating wasn't my thing but I started and it was so helpful (start with just 5 minutes of day), and expressing gratitude every time I felt awful also helped despite the fact that it sounds counter-intuitive.

      If you haven't read it yet, get Elle's book and read it. It's really amazing. And read everything you can find by Michelle Mays, who is a therapist specializing in betrayal trauma, which is what you're experiencing.

      You may not want to hear this, but pain can be rocket fuel if you let it. This pain you are in has the potential to catapult you to a place that is more amazing than you could have imagined. Stronger. Deeper. Less innocent but more rooted. And yes, eventually, happy. When my pain subsided, so did the potential for extraordinary, almost otherworldly growth. I was NOT sorry that the pain was lessening, but I actually did feel a bit of a sense of loss for the fact that the super-power-level growth potential had closed once more.

      Write again any time, Shattered Dreams. You are among Warrior Sisters.

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  49. Part ONE: So very glad to have found this site. I found it from the article Elle wrote-My Spouse Cheated, Here's Why I stayed and that itself gave me a glimmer of light..thought I still ponder if I am simply a Plan B. Hubby claims to want to Reconcile but only after being outed by the Other woman after he allegedly had no contact. He did own that after she spilled the beans it helped him "see what he was doing" but I feel like I am being set up for yet another heartache.
    Married 15 years, together 18. 2 daughters, ages 8 and 13. As you will note from my signature evidence of EA/PA allegedly no sex-kissing DDAY #1 0207 (met girl at bar, admits to talking on phone and texting-her story as well) and 2016 EA different woman (email messages mostly about our marriage but inappropriate contact if you have to sneak in my eyes). We had MC after 2007. I went back to same therapist 2016 individually. Didn't bring him because during that same year I own that I was messaging an old college boyfriend. Husband never found out and I cut it off thinking two wrongs don't make a right. I continued IC for work anxiety, etc. Marriage was on the rocks just due to ...we were struggling and I contemplated divorce without knowing there was an OW. My therapist talked me through what I wanted to do not based on the email discovery. This was 2018. I Decided to work on it but too late clearly.
    Based on most recent DDays (Days because while same OW never fully got the truth until she outed him.) the other two probably included six.. My husband is a professional liar clearly.

    DDAy #3 November 16, 2019 found Facebook Messenger message and camera pic. Allegedly no contact afterwords. Spoke to OW (I found her number and called her-she claimed only messages, they talk about me blah blah. she lives in a town an hour away but claimed no face to face etc. (she lied for him-for them)
    DDay #4 December 5, 2019 discovered messages on laptop which clearly indicated PA. Confronted him. He owned seeing her but nothing else.


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  50. Part TWO:

    He travels for work. Came back home on December 6. Silly me I still love him despite all of his wrong and knowing the other was PA I am ashamed to say I slept with him. Deciding together to R. Asking him for true honesty. Was supposed to have NO CONTACT after the 16th. Discovered that was not so on December 17.
    December 10-Something clicks in my head. He isnt really acting remorseful. No flowers, gifts, etc. Just asking me to stop crying. He went to MC but turns out he lied there too. I ask for a divorce. He hands and knees begs me not too. To please work on it with him. He agrees to go to IC. This was new. I want him to get it together for my girls. He has anger issues, he has never had a father as he is one of 13, doesn't excuse his actions by no means but he needs to address his issues. He also stopped believing in God two years ago. That was game changing for me too but for better or worse I hung in there.

    December 17, OW calls me out of the blue. (this is one month later). She outs him to the utmost degree. He is home while happening. Long story short he slept with her the day before he slept with me (Dec. 5). HE was playing us both telling her he was gonna leave me. She spills the beans about December 5 and many other things I want to erase from my mind but cannot. Like her dropping him off AT OUR HOUSE and I was inside. He told me it was the uber. Like ordering her a present on MY birthday from amazon. WTF. SO many things i am in rage about just typing it. He also contacted her many times after the 16th. During Thanksgiving we traveled to our hometown. I was the opposite of 180 crying, sad, all of it. But yet he continued to talk to her.

    Fast forward why beg me on December 10. My theory is that he couldnt or wouldn't choose and I am angry that I am a choice and not the choice. I am a Christian and I believe in forgiveness but this..this is another level. I feel like Plan B.

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  51. Part III:
    His mantra is if he wanted to leave he could have..this is true but the same is said for her. She spilled the beans only because he told her he slept with me. Nice huh? Like like a rug to [italic]me but not to OW of 6 months (I think longer but this is what I have evidence of).

    Summary: My therapist made us agree to no decisions until after the holidays so that our girls don't hate Christmas forever. I am STRUGGLING because I know as I type this how this man does not love me. How he has abused my trust and continues to do so. While now I see remorse (and I have 180ed. Trust me after finding out he slept with us both within a day how could you not?!) gifts, transparency and apologies (which I should have seen November 16 but now do because in my opinion she told him she wasn't going to wait any longer for him to leave me) it is only because I am Plan B. His explanation is I was always the choice or he would have left me Wow. Lucky Me. :(.
    December 22 he played the ultimate card Sunday and went to church after seeing he was an atheist. He is manipulative and I know this but yet here I still am. He is on the couch not in our bed. I tried to make him leave on two occasions both DDays and he won't. I work and while not ideal I can support myself and my daughters. I have gone to see two divorce lawyers during this. But when I think of the fact that I will have to share custody of my girls it angers me so much. When I think of the fact that he will get half of my retirement in the state of Ohio it angers me again. Then I remember all that he has done. I feel so lost..so sad and mad....I clearly need IC because why else would I still love someone that did all of those things to me before, during, and probably after. And oh in case like me you wondered that why did he remain in contact with OW and sleep with her if it was always our family he selected-his story is that he knew she would spill the beans about the extent of their relationship if he didn't try to ease away from her. I don't buy it either. I almost wish he would have left or just leave me. Then I won't feel like I am in limbo.I hate myself for not being strong enough to do it and for saying I love someone who would treat me in this way. WOrking on that in IC..

    Thank you for reading this. It helped me to get it out.

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  52. I can imagine things can be worst.
    But this is a huge struggle for me.

    I just found out my husband was having very explicit conversation with another female only a month after we got married. Found this after finding a video of her showing her cleavage and licking her lips after. I confronted him about the video. It went from randomly found on line to randomly sent to I know the person who sent it.

    Of course going crazy I did my snooping around to find that 138 messages were exchanged in 1 day. According to him this conversation was a quick catch up and when he claimed he had to get back to work this video was sent.

    After claiming his innocence for almost a week and me not giving up on asking for the truth (obviously I didn’t believe him) he confessed his conversation was not innocent at all. But only after fighting and defending himself claiming he was being honest.
    I managed to see only a glimpse of this conversation. This broke my heart into tiny pieces. And I’m not one to use that phrase of being broken hearted often. How could a man I just married a few months ago be having such an explicit conversation with another female.

    He claims it was a one day thing, first and last time he spoke with her like that. He claims he doesn’t know why he did it, but that he is sorry.

    Now my trust is beyond gone, I cannot stop thinking about what I read, I sit here wondering if he’s telling me the truth, my anxiety takes control out of no where. I wake up at 2 in the morning thinking about it. Wanting to reach out to this female to get more answers.
    It just hurts.

    How can someone I love so much not think about his wife, but claims he loves her that she means the world to him and he doesn’t want to be with out.

    A month after we got married how do you do that?
    And I’m only finding out 7 months later.

    I’m struggling with forgiveness, I’m struggling with dealing with it, I can’t stop thinking about it.

    My marriage feels like a joke, I sit here wondering why did we get married, I feel so betrayed & so disrespected..

    This is my quick and sweet version of this last month

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    1. Anonymous, I'm so sorry. Of course, you're devastated. And things don't have to be the absolute "worst" to be nonetheless excruciating and heartbreaking. So please let yourself feel the pain without telling yourself you shouldn't feel it.
      As for your husband, I don't doubt that he doesn't know why he did it, it probably was just one day. But that's not the point. The point he betrayed your trust. The point is he was engaging in behaviour that he wouldn't have been engaging in if you knew he was doing it. That's betrayal. That's a violation of his vows. And now, its his job to figure out why he did it, what he was after and how to ensure he doesn't go down that path (or further) again. If I were you, I would insist he seek some sort of counselling -- either with you in couples counselling or on his own. This could be his wake-up call to get in touch with his own issues before he completely blows up a marriage he says he wants.
      I would also encourage you to seek counselling too -- and keep reading here. You need support and compassion as you move through the pain of this. You will get past it, I promise. But it really helps to have support along the way.

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  53. I have been married to my husband for 2 years and we have a beautiful 1-year old daughter. Having a child has changed our lives dramatically and over the last 6 months our marriage has been a bit rocky. I will admit, my attention was placed on my daughter above all else, including my husband; I went into extreme mommy-mode (we had been trying for years and my first pregnancy ended in miscarriage so I was intent on giving this child my all). I’m not excusing him for his actions but taking ownership of mine. We’ve been arguing, spending more time apart than together, and just not seeing eye-to-eye. Right around New Years, he asked me for “space” because we were fighting a lot, he was not happy, not in a good place, and didn’t know what to do about it. (Space does not mean we separated, just time for him to “think.”) We went through a period of space for about a week and then reconciled.

    Days later, I discovered texts to another woman on his work phone. Turns out he had been having an emotional affair for 3 weeks, pre-reconciliation and post. Please know, I asked him several times if he had cheated or wanted to, the answer was always no. I didn’t ask in a condescending way, rather, giving him opportunity to be honest. He claims to have not seen her in person or even talked to her over the phone. She is an old friend of his who he claims showed up on a “people you may know” feature on a chat he uses to talk to his friends across the states/abroad. While I know sometimes emotional affairs are looked at to be not as devastating, however, I feel like someone ripped my heart out, stomped on it, and then threw it in a blender for good measure. I confronted him as soon as I found the messages and he instantly became angry at me and left our home. He came back an hour later to discuss.

    We tried to work through it, probably too quickly in retrospect. He expected me to be over it in a day and I tried to be but couldn’t. I would ask questions; he would get extremely angry, his responses were always “I don’t know,” and he’d leave. He started turning the situation around on me and treated me like I was the one who did wrong. But I found more damaging information about him lying about where he’d been (he was at a strip club). Again, confrontation, fight, “I don’t know,” he leaves. Throughout this whole thing he kept saying “I don’t know what I want,” “I don’t know.” He resorted to ignoring me for a week and treating me quite terribly. I would talk to him, cry to him, and he was mute. I finally told him that he was free; that I love him, but I cannot be treated this way and he should leave. He came right back. He started talking a bit more, not about anything we need to discuss but about our daughter or our dogs.

    However, now the “I don’t know” has switched to “I don’t know if I want to be married.” How can he be the one to think that?! I should be thinking that (and I am) but he did wrong, not me. I didn’t step outside of our relationship; I didn’t seek excitement from someone else. How can HE not know? And yet, he doesn’t want me to leave. He wants me to stay and wait until he decides. I’m having an internal battle of my own to stay or go but The Betrayed Wives Club, my best friend, and my mom have all told me that I don’t need to make a decision now. Every day is hard.

    He’s given me no inclination that he’s trying to make changes to be a better partner. But I am who I am, and I step away from my own anger and pain to try and see his. I think he’s struggling emotionally/mentally: with his life, with his job, with not being able to be completely independent, and do what he wants whenever he wants. But I’m struggling too. Struggling with how to act and who to be with him. Do I fight for him even if I’m not sure I want him? Do I let things continue on how they are with little conversation? Do I fight to know the whole truth because trickle truth is real in my home? Maybe I just have to ride the painful wave of emotions but I’m struggling with how I even begin to know if this is all worth it.

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    1. Anonymous,
      I'm so so sorry for the pain you're going through. And yes, an emotional affair is as devastating as a physical one. As a whole lot of us have learned, it's often not the sex that hurts, it's the lying.
      Your husband is pulling all the classic cheater moves. The minimizing, the deflecting, the blaming, the "I don't know if I want to be married". And you, despite your moment of strength (for which I really admire you) have fallen into the betrayed's dance of "please pick me".
      I'm hoping you can go back to that moment of strength whereby you made it clear that you care about him and your marriage but that you will not tolerate being treated badly. I would reiterate that. He has betrayed you. He has violated your trust. And while I don't doubt that he's confused, wanting you to wait while he gets it together (and continues, likely, to carry on with this or other women), is simply unacceptable.
      So here's what I would suggest: He either seeks help for his "confusion" -- ie therapy -- and immediately stops any/all contact with this/other women and allows you access to any/all forms of communication or he [you fill in whatever is acceptable to you -- sleeps on the couch, moves out, etc]. In the meantime, you need support of your own and I would encourage you to find a counsellor who can help you through. Being a new mom is tough enough without the bomb of betrayal ripping through you. You deserve to be heard and supported.
      I admire your ability to see both sides and take responsibility for the role you've played in your marriage getting into this state. But his choice to betray you is HIS. It is never your fault that he violated your trust. That's on him.
      Unfortunately, it's not the least uncommon for men, newly dads, to seek out attention elsewhere when they feel as though their wives are less available to them. I suspect he's having all sorts of uncomfortable feelings around your new role as a mom, his new role, the neediness of a baby/child, etc. Factor in someone who makes him feel exciting and interesting and it's intoxicating. BUT...it hurts the people he has promised most not to hurt. Which is where therapy comes in -- to help him sort out those uncomfortable feelings and figure out what he truly wants and how to achieve it. I suspect he's having something of a crisis...but it's his job to get clear on it. Not yours.
      Yes, you get to take your time deciding what's next. You don't need to issue any ultimatums, except when you're ready. But, it sounds as if this situation is getting untenable and it also sounds as though he kinda likes having his cake...and you too. We call them fence-sitters -- they don't want to leave but they don't want to stay -- and sometimes they need to be booted off that fence.
      You'll find a ton of info here so I hope you'll keep reading. You tend to get more responses on newer posts so if you post there, you're more likely to have others read and respond. In the meantime, Anonymous, please know that your feelings are perfectly normal. There is no "good" cheating -- whether emotional or physical. Betrayal is devastating.

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    2. Thank you, Elle, for your response. I really appreciate hearing your perspective.

      I'm in the process of finding a therapist who can help me work through the minefield of emotions and maybe help me sort through the confusion of it all. I've also taken some advice from the articles on here and from my friend to work on myself and do things for me; so I've been trying not to focus so much on him and pay some attention to myself.

      After I found out about the OW, I recommended that if he was going through something he couldn't/didn't want to share with me, he should reach out to someone. He contacted one of his friends who is quite amazing (she would have been my pick too), coincidentally she's a family attorney so she is able to look at things very objectively and she suggested individual and couples counseling. As soon as she said it, he stopped confiding in her. From my perspective, he's made no effort to change and I don't think he can do it on his own. We are already sleeping in different rooms, which he initiated and I agreed with. We are basically roommates who share a child.

      He insists he's stopped talking to the OW but I don't know for sure; he smashed his work phone so if he's talking to her it's on his personal. He is guarded and keeps his phone with him most times. However, lately he's been leaving it around, flashing the screen at me, etc. I don't know if it's in an effort to show me what he's not doing or to show me what he wants me to see. He's also been talking to me a bit more and being very kind. I have a feeling he's seeing me work on myself (getting back to exercising, taking care of me, not initiating conversation with him, and being extremely independent) and it's making him a bit nervous.

      Any time I try to talk about the important things, he responds with immediate anger and deflects by saying "I don't have any answers for you" or the infamous "I don't know." I have set an internal deadline, see improvement or make the hard decision to leave. Yet, I haven't told him what I need and maybe I should. Even if he doesn't respond, at least I will have said it and then it's his opportunity to do or don't.

      Thank you, again, Elle, for responding and for creating this community. It's unfortunate the reason we are all here, but it's amazing seeing all these women supporting each other.

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    3. You are doing so amazing. Keep at it. Focus on you. Get to know (and love) yourself again. It's also important to do that as a relatively new mom. And it sets a great example to a child to see a woman treat herself like her needs matter.
      And yes, I imagine he would get nervous. It's funny how similar these guys are. I suspect he has given little thought to the fact that you might just decide he's not worth it. And now he's being forced to recognize that there are consequences to his choices. Time for him to grow up a bit.
      Interesting too that he balks at therapy. In my experience, the people most afraid of therapy of the people who most need it. But looking within is terrifying for them because, chances are, they know they're not going to like what they find. And because often the drivers of poor choices are a deep long-buried hurt that they'd like to keep buried. However...his problem, not yours. Yours is to keep your head above water in the short term.
      Hang in there. And yes, the women here are amazing. This site makes my heart swell every day. Seeing women transform their own pain and use it to help others is incredible. You're among friends.

      Delete
  54. I posted back in December about my boyfriend of 4 years, who is also the father of my child, cheating on me and the OW being pregnant. She was seeing other men also so it was up in the air if it was really his child or not.

    The baby was born earlier this month and he snuck an at home paternity test (she wasn't going to let him do a test). We got the results yesterday and it is his child. Our child isn't even a year old yet....

    I feel like I've broken all over again. I curled up on the floor of the bathtub while in the shower last night and just cried and cried and cried. Only each of our best friends and our couples counselor knew what was going on and I finally told my parents last night. They're amazing and said they would support me no matter what decision I make.

    My plan has been to stay with him. I'm just not sure how I can do that and help raise this other child. I also know I don't want to go without seeing my child every day, which is what would happen if we broke up. I just don't know what to do....

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    1. Oh Anonymous, I am so so sorry. I can imagine how desperately you were hoping this other child wouldn't be his.
      Give yourself time. For now, just feel the pain of this. I'm so glad your parents are supportive of you. That's huge. And I'm sure your boyfriend is reeling from this news too. You both need a ton of support and compassion (though, to be fair, he made this choice, not you).
      You don't need to make a decision right now so give yourself time. I'm glad you have a therapist. And that your best friends know what is going on too.
      You don't need to know how you're going to do this. You only need to know how you're going to get to the end of today. And then tomorrow. The path will become clearer with each step. And you're allowed to change your mind, too.
      Be gentle with yourself. You will get through this. It's that old adage re. driving in the dark: you can only see as far as your headlights but you can make the whole trip that way.

      Delete
  55. We just celebrated our 10 year anniversary on a weekend getaway to New Orleans. Something felt off the entire time, but I assumed it was his stress from traveling.
    We were out listening to live music when I asked him to show me all the pictures he had taken so far of us on the trip. While he was scrolling, a picture came up that caused him to put away his phone really fast. After asking several times what it was, he refused to answer and asked me to respect his privacy. I couldn't argue that, so I dropped it.
    The next night, he had gotten extremely drunk on Bourbon St. So, after I got him back to the hotel, I used his fingerprint to unlock his phone while he slept. I felt shameful for sneaking through his phone, but my gut told me there was something he was hiding.
    He must have deleted the photo because I could not find anything there. However, I went to his text messages and found a conversation with a prostitute. I discovered he had paid at least $150 dollars for her, and was making plans to see her the night we got back from New Orleans.
    I could not believe he would do something so disgusting. I should mention that several years ago I caught him on dating apps, to which he claimed he never intended to meet any of the women on there, he just liked the conversations as they made him feel wanted. I believed him, and decided to work on myself to be more attentive.
    Now, this has happened. My first instinct was to figure out how we could get past this and make it work. I find it incredibly difficult to be in a life without him. However, I also feel like a complete idiot.
    I’ve been depressed this past year as I was laid off from a job I worked so hard for, my two dogs died of old age, and my grandfather passed away. I have not been myself, and I know that sometimes my lack of will to do anything could be hard to deal with. I cannot afford a therapist, so I do my best to battle my depression on my own. Maybe through my depression, I pushed him away. I had no idea, as I thought we were doing great. He was actually helping me survive through my depression.
    Yesterday was the day I told him I knew. It was hard to see him break down and cry. Seeing him genuinely hurt made me want to forgive him, even though I knew my heart was not ready for that yet. I decided to ask him questions about the prostitute that he did not know I knew yet. I wanted to test his honesty (even though testing him made me feel horrible).
    Out of the 5 questions I asked, he lied each time. Yet, he still appeared to be hurt and wanting me to forgive him. He claimed he wanted to change and do better for me, and that he lied each time because he was ashamed that he stooped so low and paid for sex. When I asked him why he sought the attention of a prostitute, he said he did not know.
    His lack of being able to explain what he has been feeling makes it impossible for me to know if this is something I could help him work on, or if it is simply that he is not in love with me anymore.
    I’m terrified of starting over. I already miss everything I thought we had. I felt like he was the one person in this universe accepted me and all of my flaws, that I could be 100% me with. It hurts to know he does not feel this same way with me. It hurts to know that he has now done this to me twice, that I know of. There could be so many other times, but I fear I will never know because right now, I do not trust him.
    Reading through this blog has helped me feel less alone. Every fiber in my body wants to make our relationship work, but I fear that perhaps I’m weak, and I am not strong enough to try and face life on my own. To start over, knowing that it would mean moving in with my parents for awhile, in a small town with not much going on. I’ve already had to start my career over, taking a job making much less money, having no friends due to my depression alienating everyone, and knowing that everything I own, we bought together, and those reminders would kill me.
    I already felt like a failure in life before this, but now, I am at rock bottom.

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    1. Kay,
      I am so so sorry for everything you're dealing with. I'm glad you found us.
      I want to start by assuring you that you are NOT the reason your husband sought out prostitutes. It's not your "flaws", or your depression. He sought out prostitutes for reasons that are HIS to figure out.
      It also sounds as though infidelity is only the latest of the painful experiences you're going through. I'm sure losing your job was difficult, and I know that living with depression is so hard. You say you can't afford therapy but is there anything in your area you could access that might help you feel less alone with it? A support group, perhaps? My daughter has mental health issues (bipolar disorder and an anxiety disorder) and she's found a local crisis centre is a great help. Do you have such a thing you might try? Even just a phone counsellor would help.
      Because depression does tend to isolate. And right now, you need support. You need to be reminded that you are so much stronger than you know. (The other depression does is lie to you -- it tells you that things are futile, that you can't handle things, etc. -- all of which are simply not true.)
      Kay, you and your husband are both undoubtedly hurting right now. But he owes it to you to figure out what he's avoiding by seeking out prostitutes. And the dating app? Nope. Married people who need to feel wanted or attractive to others who aren't their spouses are playing with fire.
      I hope you'll try and find a group or a resource who can help you with your depression and your self-esteem. Whether or not you choose to stay with your husband (and I sincerely hope he seeks help for his own issues -- nobody cheats and lies unless they're dealing with their own issues), you deserve to feel good and worthy.
      Please try and find counselling for each of you. It's definitely worth it.

      Delete
  56. I'm 2 weeks past D-Day. Thank you for being here, thank you for supporting each other, and in turn providing some kind of base for what I was embarking on.
    We have been together for 15 years - married for 6. My husband is loved by all. But who he is externally is a lie, at home he's a completely different person. Dismissive, angry, judgmental. We'd been struggling for the past 5 years, and REALLY struggling once I became pregnant with our son 3 years ago.
    My husband is an alcoholic/binge drinker. He is a party animal and his social life has always taken precedent. In addition to the booze, I believe he has an intimacy disorder, and was masturbating 3-4 times a day.
    He was angry he wasn't getting what "he deserved" at home. We would fight and my response was always - I need you to love me, respect me, and come home and take care of your family. His response - I need more sex. And around and around we went, never coming to conclusion.
    I suspected something this summer. I noticed whole texts and conversations being deleted from his phone (yes, I looked!). He was preoccupied even when he was here and constantly on his phone.
    He has been having an affair with a colleague for 6 months. Meeting up and having sex in cars in parking lots. My husband is an educator in the public school system. I am disgusted that not only did he not care about his family, but he wasn't at all concerned what an arrest like that would do to his career.
    The biggest issue for me is that this was never going to end! He moved school districts in September yet continued to find himself with her. They got caught by some friends of OW, whose husband contacted me. He immediately set to lying to me: first claiming he was a scapegoat for someone else; then admitting to flirting and kissing; then it was, yes, we had sex once; then it was 3-4 times; finally 6-7 times. I'm guessing that we are so far beyond knowing how many times it is he can't even be sure.
    He's sorry and ashamed. He's wallowing in his misery.. He's trying to give me my space to be angry and work out how I feel and being respectful. BUT...this was never going to end...
    My dog (my soul creature) died suddenly on 1/24 and he was out with OW on 2/2. He lied about who he was with of course. But the kicker was he never even bothered to check in. He was gone for 6 hours and I never heard from him. I have never felt so invisible and unloved in my entire life.
    I know this is not about me - he was living out some kind of fantasy with her. I do believe he's disappointed in himself. But, how can you be so sorry if you were actively trying to hook up with her just days before you got caught. To me you are only sorry for yourself.
    Despite it all, I want to work on this. I believe we could come out the other side stronger. Cheating is not in his nature, this was a situation of convenience and desperation for them both and a perfect storm.
    However, I'm not sure he fully understands that our lives, even though a work in progress, will likely not change. We are both professionals, with a home, and a child. You can't escape our day to day lives. How could he possibly be happy if that is what made him so unhappy in the first place.
    Not even to say, will he ever be happy with our sex life after this?? I mean, IF I ever get over it and can be open with him again - I don't think his unrealistic sexual expectations are something I am willing to dole out considering.
    My therapist is helping to keep things in perspective and and my convictions strong. He is having a hard time finding a therapist, but I do believe he is committed to finding one and working on himself.
    Our son is young, he misses his dad and knows something is up. He comes over every day on the weekends and we try to do something together. He picks up from daycare.Part of me wants to be ok with him coming back and starting to try to put our lives back together...but I'm not sure I'm ready for that. How does that even work?

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Anonymous,
      I'm so sorry for everything you're going through. Two weeks is still so SO raw and I can't imagine making clear decisions at that point. However, you are obviously rational and smart and so brave.
      I don't think your husband is beyond redemption but he has a LOT of work to do. Addictions frequently overlap and it sounds as though, along with an alcohol addiction, he has a sex addiction. He likely used both to numb his feelings, to escape emotions that make him uncomfortable.
      Addicts are also liars. They lie about everything, including things they don't even really need to lie about. And mostly, they lie to themselves. So, to start, he needs to get himself into addiction therapy and, I would urge, get to a 12-step program.
      He's lucky in that he hasn't completely blown up his life yet. At a 12-step group, he'll meet plenty who have. He needs people who will call out his lies, refuse to cover for him, and demand that he be a better man.
      I would imagine, given your years with him, that you've developed some co-dependent behaviours yourself and I hope that's something you're working through with your therapist. I grew up in a home with addictions and, like it or not, we tend to learn a "dance" that allows us to remain in an unhealthy environment. We sometimes learn to lie to ourselves too.
      So that's where I'd start. I suspect the infidelity was a distraction -- a way to scratch an itch, so to speak. I wonder if, once the addiction is being managed and he can see more clearly, if he'll be as shocked as you are by his behaviour. The shame will likely be huge, which can sometimes drive people back to the behaviour they're ashamed of. But with a good therapist and a group, he should be able to work through it.
      You might want to also seek out Al-Anon or, if it's available, a support group for partners of sex addicts. I have a feeling you'll hear stories that sound a lot like your own.
      And, of course, you're welcome here. There are quite a few here whose husbands also have addictions, alongside the infidelity. It often goes together. I'm glad you found us. Please know that you're going to get through this. You deserve so much better than this. So does your son.

      Delete
  57. part 1
    Hello,

    I am here to share my story. Elle's article led me to this site and i truly feel it is a blessing. I am at a loss as to what to do.

    My partner and I had been together 9 years. We met in college and dated on and off. There was a night in college when we were just getting back together that he slept with another woman. I ended it- and we stayed friends. a couple years later we decided to start dating (at 21). We dated for 3 years and were both happily in love with no infidelities. We went long distance and he went to medical school and I stayed and went to graduate school. at the end of our first year we began to discuss getting engaged. He came back to our hometown + purchased a ring. He went back long distance in 2017 and we fought a lot that summer. he felt distant, and something felt off. He told me he wasnt sure he felt love like i did and when i inquired he shut down completely, but things seemed to go back to normal. he proposed in fall 2017, and our wedding planned fall 2019. As we got closer to the wedding, we were still long distance and something did not feel right in my gut.
    I flew up to where he was in fall of 2018 and asked him if i could see his phone. i quickly discovered there was a woman he was sending messages with. nothing sexual but exchanges to see one another. I confronted him + i pulled it out of him that he slept with her 3 times over a 2 week period a few months back. i asked about other woman he denied it + said he loved me but there was a crack in our relationship and he was scared and didn't know if we should be together because there was something wrong with him.

    I found out a few weeks later that there was another woman from the summer of 2017 (again a quick 2 week affair- and one night involved a 3some).
    I felt completely blindsided and absolutely devestated. I did not see this coming at all and I was completely shocked, because cheating and lying is not loving someone. he decided to take a year off of medical school to work on our relationship. I called off the wedding at the time of the discovery in 2018. he has been and we have been working on our relationsihp for over a year. it took a fantastic counselor and couples counselor to help figure out the underlying issues.

    It stems from his fear and inability to speak up and use his voice. he was emotionally shut down as a child any time his opinion came up, and he only recieved conditional love at home from being obedient, and doing what other people wanted to. He felt like he was losing his voice in our relationship (didnt realize it at the time) and it would have happened in any relationship. his mother is controlling and type A and his father is obedient and has no autonomy in the marriage. He was terrified to express his feelings, become fully vulnerable and only knew to feel love through obedience and making others happy. He felt like marrying me was turning over his autonomy and his voice. When he cheated in summer of 2017, he didn't know what he was feeling but his "Gut" didnt feel right. through therapy, it turns out that he did not want to enter a marriage where he was unable to use his voice and felt trapped in feeling like he loved me, but that he didnt feel fully comfortable because he couldnt let down his walls, and had never done so with anyone at all in his life. his insecurities and lack of self worth led him to feel good when he felt desired, distracted him so he didnt have to be alone with his thoughts, and he felt lost in himself. When he said he didnt feel love like i feel love, that was him feeling immense guilt and not knowing what to do because he did want to be with me but didn't understand why he just cheated but too afraid to confront his own emotions or actions. he went forward with the engagement, and then a little over a year later, ended up cheating with the woman from fall of 2018 that i discovered, for 2 weeks.

    ReplyDelete
  58. part 2

    I have watched him pause his entire future, move states, pay thousands of dollars in therapy bills and show up every day in tears working through all of his unresolved childhood abuse. he has worked to be introspective, and is showing up every day in our relationship like he has not in years. he swears he wants this and is 100% sure that this would have happened in any relationship and had nothing to do with me. He fully want this and knows that his infidelities were due to his fear of turning out like his dad with his inability to confront problems, and his soft spoken inability to state his feelings in any of his intimate relationships due to the fear of only being loved conditionally. I believe him as we have goen through couples therapy, and at age 28, with no children, why else fight like hell for this unless not for so much love for each other?

    he is not a narcissist, and while there is an element of porn addiction, the therapist believes his infidelities would have contineud to happen until he was willing to self examine, confront his own feelings and have someone to express to without that fear of being loved conditionally. he is starting to let himself feel more conditional love from me (though that has been here all along he just wasnt open to it). I am still trying to figure out what i want. i love him so much, and i truly believe he is a fantastic person and could live a full, happy life togther. On the other hand, so many people are quick to say you are young get out now while you can before its too late. My parents really adore him and support me working on this, and dont believe that it is ever too late if i do decided my love is not growing any more, but I hope to be able to work back up to a place that we can marry and feel as full in my heart as i used to with his self growth and determinedness to change. there is so much love here, but i am also so broken. i know they say cheaters never change, but what if he truly wants to and feels as though he has gotten to the bottom as to why that was his escape? I am just feeling so lost and alone.

    he says he hates himself and the person that he grew into and is working to rewire his ways of feeling, thinking and acting and wants to be a better person. its SO easy to say "oh honey you are 29 just let it go" but I have now spent 10 years with this man and love him through and through. i see him for who he truly is as my best friend, biggest cheerleader that has been terrified to open his heart for fear of rejection to anyone and to speak up for fear of rejection and believed that to get married was to give up all autonomy.
    thanks for listening. if you have any encouraging words , please help me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Unknown,
      I'm glad you found us.
      And yes, i have encouraging words. I think we all carry a whole lot of stuff from our family of origin. In some cases, it's not too unhealthy and we work it out through our marriage, children, etc. But in other cases, like your fiance, the pain he's brought with him into adulthood is leading him to really unhealthy behavours. There's a saying, that if we don't tranform our pain, we transmit it. That's what he's been doing, transmitting it.
      I think your friends, etc. are well-meaning. They see a fantastic person (you!) and they don't want you to end up in a relationship with someone who's capable of hurting you so deeply. And I get that.
      But...
      But, as you've pointed out, your fiance is doing incredible work to figure out why he's making such hurtful choices and how to NOT make them. Thing is, there's no guarantee that anyone won't hurt us. I married my husband because I was convinced he would NEVER cheat on me. And yet...here I am.
      So, frankly, I'd put my money on someone who's done the hard work of introspection and who wants to be a better person and is willing to figure out how. It's too bad that infidelity still holds such shame in our culture because I suspect that's part of why you feel lost and alone. Rather than people looking at your relationship and seeing perseverence and resilience and transformation, they see infidelity and only infidelity.
      There's an incredible essay that Cheryl Strayed wrote as "Dear Sugar". I'll link to it here. It speaks to the value of a couple who has fought back from betrayal. It might help you. But, ultimately, Unknown, you need to make peace with your choice, whatever it is. You are the only one who gets to live YOUR life. Nobody else. So you need to make choices that YOU can live with. Nobody else.
      https://therumpus.net/2011/08/dear-sugar-the-rumpus-advice-column-81-a-bit-of-sully-in-your-sweet/

      Delete
  59. Blah! In 2019 the universe decided to have diarrhea all over my life. That has trickled into 2020. I was in the depths of grief over the loss of a loved one when I found out about my husbands affair. After reading on this site it's like men have a freaking guidebook and I have felt all those feelings the wives have been expressing. I am full tilt into getting myself back together, eat right, exercise, meditation, and therapists. Not for anyone but for myself! I am working on things with my husband and really feel like I am slowly digging myself out of the darkness. However, I still get moments and waves of despair . . .I was in the throws of one of those days and decided to reach out to HER. I have had this compulsion to see her face to face that I can't seem to shake. I don't want to run into her down the road and be caught off guard. I use to see her on a regular basis and had no clue. I feel like if I do this it's on my own terms it's something I can control out of this whole messed up situation. I'm not even positive I have anything to say to her. I am really trying to move forward with kindness and compassion in my heart. Should I say anything? Is this even a good idea? I just want one moment of control back. I don't think I would yell or threaten or put her down. I don't have room in my heart for hate. I feel like I need this.

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    1. Bear,
      I'm sorry! I missed this comment. Hope you're still here reading.
      I"m curious if you've done anything about this. I don't think there's a right/wrong, though I generally discourage people from asking the OW for information re. the affair because I don't think it's necessarily trustworthy.
      In your case, however, if you think it might help you move forward, then figure out how to proceed. Beware that she might say some cruel things to you. Some of these OW can be horrible -- telling you things that really really hurt and that you don't know if they're true or not. So...proceed with caution.

      Delete
  60. Hi my husband is cheating and I have confronted him with anger few times and he once asked for proof. I know the details and so his call logs but if I tell him that than I will need to also disclose the friend that got this information for me. She has asked me to never reveal about her. He said don't acuse me if you don't have proof. He also said if you are certain that I am cheating then y are you with me. Since then his behavior hasn't changed. He still comes home late and talks less. I don't know what to do...I am deeply hurt that he knows what I said about him is true and he didn't change a bit. Do i stay like I don't know anything

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Unknown,
      You are 90%? 100%? sure that he's cheating. Whether or not he agrees with you doesn't change what you know. So you need to proceed with what you know. If he's unwilling to change, then he's telling you that your fears/anxieties/pain doesn't matter. He's telling you that, unless you can "prove" that he's cheating, then he will continue to disregard for feelings.
      Here's the thing: Whether he's cheating or not (and I don't doubt that he is), he is already telling you that your feelings aren't of much consequence to him. At the very least, you are married to someone who is unkind.
      So...where do you go from here? You get to decide. Why are you with him? If he wasn't cheating, do you consider him a loving husband? Is he worth giving a second chance? Ask yourself that. Take some time to consider your next step. Is this a marriage you want to be in?

      Delete
  61. Hi
    I am 2 years post DDay. I discovered that my H was sexting with THE most unlikely candidate that I could ever think of. 24 years younger than him, extremely physically unattractive, mentally immature (like a 14 year old with ADHD or something) obnoxiuos, lewd and loud, cringingly attention seeking etc etc etc...VILE!!
    Now, I'm super summarising here, but the short and long of it is that he has been compulsively masturbating and consuming porn all his adult life. This all came out post DDay. He acknowledges Sex Addiction and is working very hard etc. We are making lots of progress (made slower and harder by his trickle truthing although most of that was detail rather than major occurrences) but I really find it hard to not feel a sense of disbelief, I just can't shake the 'what!? HER!!!???' feeling. Obviously I know it's true and I understand his motivations/sex addiction/emotionless sex/power/affirmation etc and given that i know what she is like I can believe he didn't 'like' her, but this is where it all gets stuck....how do you feel aroused by someone you don't like or find attractive? surely that is a version of 'liking' someone?? He says he manipulated her with low level flattery etc and telling her he thought she was sexy and he couldn't wait to f**k her etc so that she would show him pics of her breasts. He also said that he would have liked to do pornographic sex acts with her because she would have let him and he wouldnt have even had to buy her a drink (and he's not wrong on that either, it's how she rolls!)
    I get it all generally, his demons/depression/addiction etc but each day, for a time, i find myself feeling this WTF feeling...i can't name it. I can't get my head round that she wasn't just the moron at the pub, she was actually something to him...althoough the paradox is that she 'didnt count' to him (his words). So she is something and nothing?? I actually cant beleive i spend so much time thinking about her so she is certainly something in that sense....like, how the hell does this moron freak that is as significant as an annoying fly buzzing around making a racket become the thing that nearly broke my (generally wonderful) relationship!?!?!
    He ACTUALLY took her into his life...WTF??
    I'm rambling, so apologies! ANyone had a similar experience and can relate to this WTF feeling?
    Thanks all!

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    1. Unknown,
      It's funny...it was the repulsiveness of my husband's affair partner that actually helped me better understand his sex addiction, which I didn't know for six months. I thought they'd had an affair and I just couldn't wrap my mind around it. Her? He hated her? She was disgusting and cruel and a drunk and...and... then, six months after that D-Day, my husband confessed that it wasn't just her. It was many. She was just the latest. And it was then that I got it. Of course, it didn't make sense. It wasn't HER at all. It was willingness, it was a lack of healthy boundaries. It's awful to say (though true and deeply shameful to my husband), he wasn't a human being to him. He didn't care about her thoughts and her dreams and her likes and dislikes. He didn't care about her at all beyond her willingness. Sex for sex addicts is sometimes referred to as "masturbation with skin on" -- in other words, the other person is nothing more than the opportunity to get off. What's more, they don't fear rejection. Because the other person's opinion of them doesn't matter one whit. Rejection is an inconvenience (if it happens at all). It isn't personal so they don't fear it as they do with someone they care about.
      It helped me to think of my husband's sex partners the way I thought of my mother's vodka bottles (she was an alcoholic). If vodka wasn't available, she'd drink beer. If beer wasn't available, she'd drink shoe polish remover. IT DIDN'T MATTER. What mattered was the high, not what got her high.
      I'm glad to hear that your husband's recovery is moving along. But, as you recognize, your healing is crucial too. And I hope you're able to acknowledge that, as you put it, she was no more consequential than a fly buzzing in his ear. Ultimately, I felt pity for the horrid woman my husband cheated with (his work assistant). I felt sad that she was nothing more than masturbation with skin on. No wonder she was a horrid person -- she had been mistreated her whole life. She settled for nothing because she felt worth nothing. I didn't want her in my life...but I genuinely hoped she'd seek her own healing. Hurt people hurt people.

      Delete
  62. Thanks Elle,
    It really helps me in some ways to know that he didn't have any feelings for her, I suppose the surreal wtf feeling is probably more about him than her, that he would be interested, but i guess the whole way his mind had warped through porn consumption explains that. I'm probably still trying to digest that this kind, loving man i thought i knew was capable of deceit and capable of being completely un-discerning, covertly abusive, borderline predatory. Perhaps you are right, I need to view her as masturbation with skin on (great name). He is deeply ashamed and desperate to make things right.
    Can I ask, did you struggle with questioning his feelings for her?, Is it something that you wrangled with? I suppose it's different when you discover multiple people as it would be unlikely that numerous people would each mean something to him. As far as I know, she was the first live person he acted out with, just porn til then. I think I believe him on that but there's always a little bit of doubt!
    I do occasionally feel pity for OW but struggle with this due to her relentless unscrupulous behaviour. Like you say though, hurt people hurt people.

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  63. Hello Elle and Everyone...

    I hope you'll allow a betrayed husband to comment. I'm very grateful to have found your site and to learn that I'm far from alone. A little background...my wife and I have been married for almost 25 years. We had a wonderful start to our relationship, including a fairytale-like engagement and wedding. Over the first 15 years, we were very happy, though we had our rough patches (most notably when she couldn't get pregnant). I stood by her side and supported her through all of her infertility treatments and miraculously they eventually worked.

    On the other hand, I had gone through two rough patches in business, and she was anything but supportive. Instead she was verbally and emotionally abusive to me. And occasionally physically abusive. She behaved this way in front of our girls. I tried to get help for her but she was mostly unwilling. My therapist told me that if I loved her, I needed to stand by her through her mental illness and think of it as though she had cancer or any other illness. I do love her so much, so I remained supportive.

    Eventually, my business picked up, she apologized for her behavior and she committed to getting help, but she eventually had to be hospitalized twice for her illness...once for bulimia and once because she was suicidal. As you'll see, I later learned that her guilt over what she did to me was a major reason for her problems. I can't begin to tell you how difficult this was, but I stayed strong and kept held our family together.

    Last Spring, after the second hospitalization, she really turned a corner and so did our relationship. It was the best it had ever been. She was getting help...we were getting help together and our relationship was as good as ever. Then, in February, I stumbled upon evidence that she had an affair in 2011. This was during the time I was struggling in my career. I was devastated and confused and just shattered. I couldn't even bear to get out of bed. But I was able to pull myself together after about a week and I decided I wanted to try to save our marriage.

    Unfortunately, right around this time, I stumbled upon even worse news. In 2018, the second time I had career challenges, she slept with one of my oldest childhood friends. This was a guy who I confided in...he knew I was abused and that we were having challenges and that she had a history of mental illness. And he preyed on her. No exaggeration...one of my best friends did this to me and lied about it to my face even though I had all the evidence. Sociopath. This time I was beyond devastated. Inconsolable. I have never cried more in my life.

    It's been a month now since I found this out and I alternate between wanting to save my marriage and feeling lower than dirt. Everywhere I look there are reminders of my friend and every one of them makes me want to curl up in a ball and cry. But I love my wife so very much and our relationship was going so well since she got the help she needed. Seriously, everything about our relationship has been amazing and our family has been so happy together even during this horribly stressful time. My therapist thinks we are both amazing people and she sees that we are drawn to each other. She says that we can get through this and have a better, stronger relationship than ever. It's so hard to envision that today. I still feel so weak, so broken.

    A few questions and I'd love any feedback: Am I crazy for wanting to give her another chance? Will my indescribable pain ever go away? I hate my former friend more than I can put into words. Will I ever be able to let go of that? How do I balance my love for her and my family with the awfulness and lies and breach of trust?

    Thanks for reading...

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    Replies
    1. Willie,
      I'm so sorry for everything you've gone through and for the double betrayal. I'm glad you found us and, of course, betrayed husbands are more than welcome too. It seems as though there isn't the same level of support available to men that there is to women and we all need it.
      No, you're not crazy for wanting to give her another chance. Many of us are here because that's what we want too. There is no "right" way through this, there is only what's right for us.
      And yes, your pain will dissipate. I can promise that. But it takes a lot of work and time. Go ahead and hate your friend. He sounds monstrous. But the day might come when you can extend him even a sliver of pity or compassion. Hurt people hurt people. Doesn't make what he did okay. Not even a bit. But sometimes we can come to place where we realize that he either has to live with what he did or, if he's truly a sociopath, feel no remorse. Either way, I wouldn't want to be him. As much as it hurts to be you right now, it's still a better place to be than in his head.
      However...that's not your problem. Your problem is to keep yourself stable and focussed on healing. You sound like an incredible guy who's worked hard to overcome some real challenges already. That strength will serve you well. Focus on what you can do to help yourself now -- I'm glad you're both in therapy. But also remind yourself that you did nothing to deserve this, that her mental health issues are her responsibility, not yours. It is her job to manage her issues and your job to manage your own. When there's former abuse and mental health problems, etc. it can be easy for a relationship to become co-dependent. Do what you can to separate yourself out from what's her responsibility.
      When you see the hard work she's doing (and I hope she is) to hold herself accountable for what she did and to find ways to ensure she never does that again, you might find the love for her overshadows the pain. As for trust, when you rebuild this marriage, it has to be one of total transparency and honesty. Trust is rebuilt day by day. By her showing you that she is committed to learning why she did what did and how to better handle her issues in a way that's not harmful to herself or anyone else.
      You'll get there, Willie. In the meantime, please don't hesitate to post here, get support from the many wise and compassionate people here and see for yourself just how many of us are on the other side of that pain.

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    2. Thank you so much for reading and offering your advice. I feel so lucky to be included in this group. You're 100% right that there just aren't the resources for men in this area that exist for women. Same for domestic abuse. I feel so alone on both counts.

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    3. You're absolutely not alone. If you're on Twitter (or want to create an account), there are a few men there who are going through what you are. Find me at https://twitter.com/elletomany. Introduce yourself (you can create a pseudonym if you're more comfortable with that) and I'll "introduce" you to some other guys and incredible women. And please don't hesitate to continue to post on this site. The more recent blog posts tend to get the most traffic/eyeballs. And please know that you're going to get through this, Willie.

      Delete
  64. Thanks, Elle. You're too kind. That sounds helpful for sure...I'll check it out.

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  65. Hi all, - part 1 apparently...

    I initially found this website within days of finding out my husband had been cheating on me for a few months (D-day Jan 18, 2020). I have a background of science, I like reading evidence etc. So of course I turned to the internet to read everything I could. It turned out to be too overwhelming, so I stopped to try to calm my chaotic mind. So here I am, nearly 3.5 months later.

    My husband and I have been together for 4 years, just married in August. Last year was a busy year- engaged in January, bought a house in July, married in August. We (or so I thought) were eager to try for kids, so we embarked on that adventure in October. We've had the typical minor issues- communication misunderstandings, but nothing ever that major, or concerning, or red flags raised. But it turns out, as I learned, my husband was unhappy since before we got engaged. To my now awareness, he thought it would be good to get engaged, to see if it would help him get his spark back. He said he really didnt know why he felt so unhappy, he says he loved me and that never changed. He never spoke up about this, he felt dimmed by me, my voice strong and my opinions loud and clear, he felt unheard and unseen. But didnt say a thing.

    So he felt he needed to seek out other friendships. He downloaded an ap in August, BEFORE we got married. And started talking to a woman he didnt know. Still to this day, I dont understand why he didnt reach out to his friends to express his distress. He wanted to push the wedding back, felt he wasnt ready and things were moving too quickly and that he didnt have any control. So he started to talk to a new friend on this ap. He claims they didnt talk at all the two weeks we were away getting married and vacationing with family, but soon after we returned back home, they were talking again. We got home in September. He met up with her for the first time, he claims innocently, in October as friends for coffee. He would go out on the evenings I Was volunteering for special olympics, the nights he was supposed to be staying home with the dog.

    Apparently things got heated beyond control and he was unfaithful more than once, only after the 1st time, did he tell her he was married. But yet, they still continued. Eventually they decided they both felt too guilty, but he still didnt tell me. But yet they still hung out, talked late at night, texted each other photos etc.

    I started to get a bit suspicious of his behaviors- protective of his phone, if I got near it he would close all aps. One night I caught him on google maps- we share location- and he was WAY far out of where he said he would be. This was in decemeber- he was picking her up late at a bar and drove her home, he claimed he was helping a friend boost his car. Nothing added up. I questioned him. He continued to lie. He wouldnt prove to me on google maps that he was somewhere else.

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  66. Part 2..

    Come Janruary, I kept snooping around. Jan 18- I had been to a funeral that day for a colleague. My husband and I were quite sick the whole week before and his friend invited him to go out in the evening for beers to decompress after a long week. He told me where he was going and I felt I didnt need his support, despite being sad about my colleague who had passed away. I watched him tidy himself up, take the dog hair off his pants, put on cologne- which I thought was super weird to go see a guy friend. But I didnt have enough proof to straight out accuse him of anything. And I didnt want to know. I started to snoop that evening- trying to get into his computer but the password flagged his phone for security measures. I was looking through coat pockets for receipts. Eventually I found a letter he had wrote to me- one he was going to use a script to help him get through it. He had planned on telling me soon, as part of the letter stated- he couldnt go on our honeymoon with the guilt of what he did- we were supposed to leave for Hawaii on Feb 21st.
    I called him and he was out with her- because she was having a hard time with her stalker ex-boyfriend.... Oh boy I lost my mind on him, I made him come home, I yelled at him for hours, our dog peed on the floor because of all the yelling and I mopped it up and threw it at him. I made him call his mother and fess up.. It wasnt my finest moment, but I did everything I could to not strangle him I was so unbelievably angry. I kicked him out for about a month. ANd we went to counselling and individual therapy as well.
    He's a bit slow with attending his own therapy- reluctant, resistant. He's apologized profusely. We've had our moments of love and moments and why are we even trying. We are sometimes still in limbo of is this going to wrok, can we save this marriage, is it worth it? We have no timeline of when our relationship really fell apart, how it happened or why. There are theories and things we've talked about how it all went down. I'm sick of being part of the "fall out". He knows its 100% his issue that he didnt speak up to begin with. He KNEW he was dating a strong willed, opinionated, passionate woman who does not back down easily and I have welcomed it MANY times for him to argue or disagree with me- like PLEASE do. I cant learn or know better without someone bringing it up. I cant read minds- surprising, right?

    So here we are. I am wondering when the heck does anyone know, which way should I go? Should I stay and continue to try and want this? When do I know, how do I know, if I've wasted my time? I know, and read, and I love affairrecovery.com - the average time for a couple to heal is anywhere between 18-24 months. Thats a long ass time for an inpatient person to sit around for to see if their husband will step the F*CK up! He's slow to open up, hes slow/ not comfortable to being vulnerable (me over here- love it- took a yoga instructor course JUST to explore more of this side of myself). We are so different with how we process, how we express our emotions, how we cope, communicate, etc. He gets tired and overwhelmed easily with therapy and emotional nights. I still have flashbacks and bad dreams and moments of intense anxiety. While I am back to work now (I took 6 weeks off because I was a HOT mess), and in the midst of covid-19 restrictions, life just SUCKS. Work is stressful (frontline health care), everyone;s backs are up, our relationship is on this standstill sort of- our therapist isnt great. We dont know whats to come, we dont know the right steps to take.

    ReplyDelete
  67. Part 3.
    I feel stuck, and like we've hit a plateau- for now. I acknowledge that I am impatient, but I just wish there were more answers out there. I know its time, time will heal, time will tell, time will allow for growth. And I am standing my ground- if our relationship doesnt improve, and things arent better for us, I am not staying. He knows that. If she comes back around, I am out, instantly. If he does this again, I am out.

    I just, feel stuck, and dont know whats next, where to go, who to turn to, what to read, what to think, what to feel (despite feeling it all- grief of so many things including the relationship, not trying for a child- which I desperately wanted, grief of traveling, loss of socialization, loss of support, financial stress... I could go on). We are a young couple, I am wondering if any others have been through this so early on? Is it typical for those who havent been together long and not married long at all- to stick it out? Am I crazy to stay? Am I too inpatient? The unknowns feel paralyzing to me. Its a lot. Life feels like a lot.

    Thanks all for reading/ replying, being in this together. Hope everyone is staying safe, healthy and sane, as much as you can during this shit storm.

    Cheers,

    Kat

    ReplyDelete
  68. I’m lying in bed after combing through 3 months of emails and pictures after finding out my husband has cheated for the 3rd time with the same woman. All within 10 months. I know what it all stems from. He’s plagued with bipolar depression, he’s dealt with this for at least 15 years, but just started intensive treatment on the discovery of his infidelity, and is currently finishing out a 72 hour hold in a mental health facility for trying to kill himself after being confronted. He’s tried to kill himself 3 times in the past 2 years, and has been seeking therapy and psychiatry since July/August of 2019. I say seeking, but I mean only going because I manage and feed him the pills. It means nothing because he has taken nothing seriously.

    I wrote him a 5-page letter single spaced, venting my anger, outlining the year-long separation, how money would work, how visitation with our 2 year old would work, what he has to do for me to even consider restarting with him. Clearly laying out every thing he did wrong and every way he had change. Telling him I loved him despite what he’s done, and that I had one last shred of faith in him to change. And then I went looking through the emails.

    I see the confession that he tells this horrible woman he thinks of her while having sex with me. I see the loads of pictures she’s sent him. I find her husbands number, I tell him she’s been cheating on him for months and I forward them.

    I think about everything he has said over the last 2 days, the insistent reaching out and calling me from the hospital, the promises of change, the apologies that were never offered until he was left to rot in a mental institute with nothing but his thoughts for two whole days. The anger of hearing those things from him, and wondering why he could come to those conclusions now but not when he was phone-screwing a coworker. The confusion and blur of what is “him” and what is his “mental illness”. The “revelations” he’s having, that seem to only anger me more. If he was always able to come to these conclusions, why couldn’t he do it BEFORE he chose to betray my trust.

    Then I spend all night reading stories of mended relationships after affairs, relationships coming back stronger and cheating spouses growing as people and actually changing in ways that allow them to start their marriage over and try again. It makes me wonder if that could be a possibility.

    It’s Mother’s Day weekend, and my mind is swimming, and I can’t catch my breath, and I just want all of this to go away. All of it.

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  69. Hello all. I never thought that I will be writing this but here I am :-( My D day was last September. It started by me finding a strange screenshot on his phone and ended up with the confession that my husband had sex addiction and that he has been cheating on me for at least 6 years. They all have been one offs, prostitutes, other married women...and a lot of porn. And I now feel so stupid for not seeing it. But he is one of those people who you would never suspect, he never flirts, he is very respectful, always home. I havent realised that when I was away to see family he has been doing these horrible things or that he has been finishing work early and going to hotels to have sex with prostitutes before coming home on time. I am so angry. I thought that after 9 months the anger will be gone but it is still there. I am not proud but I have been throwing things at him at the beginning, hitting him...I was feeling such a rage, I have never felt anything like it in my entire life. I dont do this anymore but I am still very angry with him. And I dont trust him at all. He has been so remorseful however. He was the one who drug us to counselling, he bought a save where we can hold our laptops ect so he doesn't have access to online devices. It was his choice to buy a watch through which I can track him and he also changed his phone to really basic one. I think he is really committed to his recovery as he has now realised how wrong it all was and how much he has to lose. We dont have children, we were together for 10 years before we got married. In January I decided to divorce him and the divorce was finalised in April. I never thought that my marriage would last less than 3 years!! I cant even look at our wedding photos because I feel really upset.I just couldn't see a point to be married as clearly been married didn't mean anything to him. Apparently he was taking his wedding ring one and off. Now I am just trying to figure out if I should stay or if I should go. I think if it wasn't for him begging me stay I would have gone by now. I feel so much pain, so betrayed, so manipulated...And so angry! I really thought we had a beautiful union and I was looking forward to starting trying for a baby. Now I just don't even know myself, how did I let it happen? How I was not able to see? Why I was so blind? Why I was not more assertive ? Hiw I didn't see that he had email accounts I was not aware, how i didn't realised that he has been chatting to all these people online..I just don't even myself now.I haven't seen it then how can I be assured that I will see it if it happens again? I am just so confused and so bitter... I look at him and I dont think I love him. All I want to do is slap his lying face but I know that if I do that nothing will change. I will still be as broken hearted as I am now and the present will be still the present. I wish I could just forget and erase the last 9 months!! And I know that he is trying hard, may be I am just a nasty person for not letting it go? Sometimes he asks me what else he can do to show me, to prove me that he had changed and he loves me and he wants to spend his life with me. And I dont know, I don't even know if I care if he loves me anymore. Reading all these stories makes me feel that I should be grateful that he is trying so hard, but I am not. I am just this angry person who still can't understand why he chose to betray us the way he did :-(

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