Monday, May 25, 2015

Sharing our Secret Selves: How to Save Your Own Life

"I still think it's vital for a girl to share her truthful, secret self somewhere.... Every little girl is told at some point that the world does not want to see the ugly, afraid, secret version of her. Sometimes the people who tell her this are advertisers, sometimes they're people close to her, and sometimes they're just her own demons.
And so she must be told by someone she trusts that this hiding is both necessary and unnecessary.
She must be taught that, in fact, some people will want and need to hear about her secret self as badly as they need to inhale. Because reading her truth will make them less afraid of their own secret selves. And she must be taught that telling her truth will make her less afraid too. Because maybe her secret self is actually her own personal prophet.
She also must be warned that her truth will undoubtedly make some people uneasy and angry, so she'll need to share it strategically..."
~Glennon Doyle Melton, Carry On, Warrior

This site has been difficult reading lately. So much heartbreak. So much anguish. So much desperation. And such frantic calls for a lifeline.
I wish I had the expertise and resources to respond. I wish I had the magic words that could restore your will to live when you're drowning in sorrow.
I do know that some women will make that irretrievable choice to end their lives, though I pray that it's never anyone whom we had the chance of reaching on this site. I pray that the words here, by me and so many others, can act as a tether, keeping women rooted in this world until the pain inevitably subsides and they realize the strength they've always had to carry on, to wait until tomorrow reveals its beauty.
I considered ending my life. I simply didn't think I could live with the pain a second longer. I was exhausted. Out of hope. I couldn't imagine a future that didn't include this level of agony.
I didn't do it because I had children. And because I had been a child when my own mother attempted suicide. I know now that she attempted suicide for the same reason that I considered it. The pain felt greater than her ability to carry it. Her imagined tomorrow held only more pain.
But to the child me, my mother's attempted suicide wasn't about her rejecting her pain but about her rejecting me. I concluded that I wasn't worth living for. It has taken me many, many years to value myself. To value my own life.
No matter how deep my pain following D-Day, I wouldn't risk putting that on my children.
I might not have valued my own life but I valued theirs.
And then an interesting thing happened.
I asked myself what it was about them that made them valuable. Was it their beauty? Their intelligence? Their ability to make me smile? Their creativity? What did they do that made their lives worthy?
And I realized, it wasn't anything they did. It was their being.  My children's lives had value simply because they existed.
And I realized that my own life had value simply because I existed.
Yes, I was in a horribly dark place. Darker than I'd ever been. But some of that darkness came from my own secret self. Some of that darkness came not just from what my husband had done but from the story I was telling myself about what he had done. The story that included me not being pretty enough, not being sexy enough, not being worth loving.
And by admitting those secrets to myself I was able to examine them and see that they were untrue. Just as my children are worth loving because they just am I worth loving because I am. And so, my beloved BWC members, are you.
I can imagine all the protestations. But you don't know me, you might be thinking. You don't know how bitchy I can be. You don't know how fat I've become. You don't know how many mistakes I've made in life. 
How often I've failed. 
No, I don't. But I know how often I have...and that's the very same thing.
So while I don't have a hotline or a lifeline or any other way to reach you when you are in that dark, scary place where your secret self is longing for an escape from the pain, I do have this site, which is here 24/7 full of the support and wisdom and compassion that we all deserve.
And I have this: I'm not in that place anymore where it hurts to breathe. My kids showed me that all life is sacred. That we are enough.
I hope you can remember that. I hope you can begin to let that secret self out to express her pain, to tell the story of her long journey to this place, and to know that the story isn't over. That it will include healing.
Your secret self will make some people uncomfortable and they will wish you would shut up about it. But your secret self is a prophet, leading you out of the darkness...and lighting the way for countless others.


  1. Elle,

    This site and the strong, beautiful women who post here saved my life a few days ago. For that I will be forever grateful. I read and read and read for hours most of the posts from back in the beginning of the blog (I guess it was the beginning). I could not leave and go to another site because I knew the love and wisdom here on BWC was my therapy - my lifeline.

    Thank you. Thank you.

    1. Elle and SS all of YOU, This site was my only source of comfort, strength, insight, wisdom and love for a good 4 1/2 months. I was in the shadows, afraid to talk about it because as Esther so eloquently put it, "staying is the new shame". I was carrying a tremendous amount of baggage and this site, reading all of your stories, reading all of Elle's posts was like climbing in my bed and downing a serious dose of comfort food. SilentScream, I just this second finished reading your posts and I'm so tremendously grateful you're still here. I know it's a strange thing to say that when I read all of your posts (and I'm on here daily)I feel comfort. I know the details are different, but I read MY suffering; I read MY pain. I say, "hey, that's me". I say: "yes, I've hit my upper threshold of crazy too". I say, "I feel your suffering and I hurt with you" and I feel, if even for a moment, like I can take a breath. I feel gratitude knowing you're all out there, scattered across the globe. I feel such gratitude for the gift of your sharing your stories and I translate your stories as an act of compassion. Some of you are on the other side of the hump holding our hands and we inch our way. Some of you are fresh in it. Sharing your stories, taking the time to write this all out again and again is the deepest act of compassion. I know you. You know me. I hold and share in your suffering; you hold and share in mine. I am not alone; you are not alone and I thank you and I love you.

  2. SS i have just caught up on your story on the other post. I wish I could do something for you. I am beyond pissed at your husband. Beyond grief for you because you know you did not sign up for any of this. Just like you though I am convinced that this site illuminated me the tiny thread of hope that was out there somewhere waiting for me to grab it and I like you went all the way back to the start of this blog just to know others came before me and survived and that I would too. If our husbands are shits, as Elle says here. It has nothing to do with us. No. Matter. What.

  3. Thank you Elle and everyone who's contributed to this site. You have all been life savers to me! It's been 1.75 years since the first d-day, 1.25 yr since the second and six months since the OW tried to invaded our lives again. What a horrific roller coaster!!! Reading this blog has kept me sane (for the most part, lol) through my journey. It has been a big part of helping me channel my rage, anger, fear, despair, disappointment, disillusionment, disbelief, frustration and helped me find hope, laughter, encouragement and light.

    The timing of this post is kinda "wow", as I've been focused a lot on this part of my healing recently. This journey has been a true struggle that's included moments of self-hate, harm and hopelessness. Thankfully, I've also gained and regained so much through all of this is... Self confidence, love and respect for myself... in a big way!!! I found Brene Brown, a researcher/author/speaker on the topic of shame and vulnerability, a few months ago. Her message is soo important and echo's Elle's comments. I thought I would share this will you all in the event you'd like to check out her TED Talks, ... start with Brene Brown: The power of vulnerably and then Brene Brown: Listening to shame. Her books are awesome as well, they have helped me greatly in my recovery.

    Each and every one of you women are so brave, strong and YOU ARE ENOUGH! (as per Brene Brown).

    Thank you Elle for this space! It has been integral to my healing. A

    1. Elle you are right my friend and you are my friend even though we have never met in person ,) I to was once at that point. It has come across my mind but not like that one day. I will tell you all about it so that you can get strength from it and understand where someone like me could get to there. I had it all really. Everything but something wasn't quite right. I spent a lot of time with the kids doing all the volunteerism for the school, church, local food bank, etc.... Trying to feel the void I couldn't understand that I felt. I had been married 17 years to a man I new since I was in 8th grade. The only person I trusted because my family had fallen apart and it took years to get us back together. (That's one thing that sticks on my mind in my decision making. My kids don't need to suffer like I did.) I had trusted him completely. He was my security. I loved seeing him and bring near him. He was my friend. I never imagined he would betray me like this. I never imagined he could do something so disgustingly heinous to me, but he did. Over and over behind my back. He would use my kindness against me. ( That was where he screwed up. I learned this later when I became more self aware.) When I found out he sent me on wild goose chases for his "favorite dinners" or things "he wanted" to have free time to himself it was like he gutted me. He not only betrayed me but he dared to use a God given talent of mine against me. At first it overcame me and I had so much medication for my heart to calm down, and to be able to sleep all right there in front of me. One day I woke up and it hit me again, like a 2\4 attacking me and I caved. I walked to the kitchen got some water went to my bedroom and since I was the only one home proceeded to tell God how sorry I was. I didn't want to be here anymore. I couldn't make it and I was worried about maybe never being able to talk to God again. God knew I was so sick that day. He was there watching over me because when I picked up the bottle of mixed medication and my glass of water I closed my eyes and tilted my head back, but my phone started buzzing. Over and over again. There I was tears running down my face hearing the buzzing on the night stand next to me so I looked down and the only person in the world that could actually stop any of this (and hit me off my island later) my momma just kept calling over sand over. Finally I picked up the phone and yelled "why did you stop me I was almost done!!!" Sobbing I asked again and told her I couldn't handle it anymore. She was obviously shocked but said something I will never forget "God put you on my heart all morning since really early, and I was praying for you, but God told me to call you and speak to you. When I couldn't get you to answer I just tried and tried the feeling wouldn't go away." You see I didn't value myself at all but the Lord did. He saw what I was doing and knew what I was feeling I have no doubt because he sent someone to save me again. I had a friend that didn't make it that week. She found out about her husband and walked off a building. I found out about another friend that sand week he found out about his wife and ended his life with a gun. I could have been either one of them.... God knows I don't know why exactly he had me answer that phone but he did. I'm here writing this for you to read. I'm here trying to help not only myself but you heal because I love you enough to know and say "it does get better." That's my secret hidden away, but shared with all of you so that you may find hope and he onto it. I say this because I see my life now it's not perfect but it's getting there. "Scars and All" that's me a beautiful strong woman who fights to make it through but is always a lady a true lady no compromise. I love you girls thank you for helping me heal - Ann from Texas

    2. Ann for Texas,
      Wow. Thank-you for sharing that. I'm so sorry for all that you've been through. And losing two friends as well. Heartbreaking.'re still here. And getting better and stronger all the time.

  4. Thank you all for your stories and your support. For allowing me a place to be heard and validated. This, too, has been my lifeline. Just like the rest of you, I wondered if my life was worth living. Oh how I want to give up sometimes. I just want to go to bed and never wake up. But somehow I do get up and continue. Sometimes I post and sometimes I'm just in too much pain to write. Sometimes it's your stories that speak for me when I don't have the strength to utter a sound.

    I have learned so much through this process. So much about myself and so much about others. We are worth it--I am worth it...all of it. I am worthy of love, I am beautiful, no matter what my age or my weight. I am all I need to be exactly as I am, no matter what decisions my husband has made.

    So, no matter what happens in my life or my marriage, the one thing I have learned is how to love myself. For that alone I will forever be grateful. And if I can stress anything to any of you, I want to give you permission to love yourselves beyond what anyone else has given you. Whether or not our husbands have loved or honored us in the way they shoud does not determine our value. We determine our value. And we are worth all the love the world has to offer just the way we are right now.

    Thank you, Elle, and all the other fearless women on this site. You may not feel fearless at the moment, but you are. You have written and shared and even just read--that makes you fearless. That means you have hope. Don't give up. Never give up. You are worth it.

    Love to you all,

    1. Thank-you Merilee. It's sad how many of us need to learn that lesson. I don't know what happens to us that we lose the conviction that we matter. But sometimes it takes crisis to teach us that again.

  5. This article is so strong and true it made me cry. I hang on to this site like a life raft and I learn something from everyone who writes their stories. Yes, I put a gun to my head and it jammed, I could not stop the waves of pain and had lost all hope of feeling better. Thank goodness my guardian angel stopped a tragedy. But I have to say when my secret self speaks me, I'm losing hope I will ever get over this. I'm better in many ways but other ways I'm devastated. I cannot let go of what he did, the mind movies are back, the same old thoughts are back and I'm not able to fight them as strong as I once did. I'm so confused I look at my husband one time and know I love him but then another time I look at him and I don't love him at all. I'm finding out what he really like and he is emotionally bankrupt, unable to empathize at all. It is like the difference between "I'm sorry I know what I did is wrong" or saying "I'm sorry for the pain I caused you". He is a liar, some say trickle truth but that is a nice way to describe a liar. I'm thinking I don't love him but feel like I should. Married 35 years, I'm 61years old, his affair lasted 2.5 years and I have an incurable STD. He put me in danger.. I'm 18 months past DDay. He has done absolutely everything to make it up and I mean everything. He has changed so much but I still see her head bobbing BJ when I look over and he is driving the car in a normal position legs open. I'm beginning to think I'm messed up because I still want to cause him pain. I kept at him about a $1240 necklace he bought her for Christmas. I said you had to think about what you were going to get her. If you wanted to end it why didn't you just get her a scarf? It is so confusing to me what he tells me and what his actions were with her. It doesn't make any sense. He says it makes sense to him. So I'm keeping myself secret thought secret until I see how all of this goes. What if I'm making the biggest mistake of my life? I have been married since I was 25 years old and know nothing else. I'm a very successful business women but I'm really scared that I can't make it without him, being alone, making a bad decision and giving up 50 percent of my retirement savings. This so sucks for me. One of the best articles I have ever read anywhere. I don't know which secret self to listen to? I hate this. I don't want to grow old and be bitter. I want to be that gray haired lady whose kids always come over once a week and feel happy and better when they leave. I want to be positive, happy, fun but I just don't know which path leads me there and it is hard as hell to figure out.

    1. Lynn,

      You are strong enough; resilient enough, and I am with you mind, body and soul. I'm faced with everything you describe in my own life and I don't have the answers other than to say be kind to yourself. Elle has told me many times that if I am confused, don't make any decisions. So I don't. Instead, I sit in my own stillness and comfort myself. I allow myself to scream, to be angry as hell, to sob, to sleep, to eat. If I don't want to see him, I don't. If I want to ask more questions, I ask. If I want to whirl something at him the moment a visual of he and the slut come to mind, that’s exactly what I do! I’m ashamed to admit that I hit him in the head with my water bottle the other day. I’m not advocating domestic violence, but after an entire marriage of being the responsible, reliable, loving wife and mother, I am finally giving myself permission to be, to feel, to act, to grieve and everything in between. I apologized immediately and cleaned up the mess and you know what his response was? He told me he deserved it! He spoke volumes in those few words. Perhaps we finally had a breakthrough from him protecting himself to finally feeling remorse and accepting responsibility.

      The mind movies won’t go away until you’ve adequately processed them—they just won’t. Your broken heart won’t stop hurting until it’s time. I am listening to my heart and my soul, feeding myself the love and understanding I know I need. Do that for yourself. Be kind to yourself above all else. Grant yourself as much time as you need and if you still don't have the answers, grant yourself more time. You've been in this marriage practically since the beginning of time, so what's the hurry, right?

      If your husband is doing everything right and you are still feeling distraught, perhaps a part of you sees something you have yet to acknowledge to yourself? We hear things in our husband’s words that go far beyond what he’s actually saying. Don’t forget, we know these guys better than they know themselves in most cases. So when they give us “lip service” saying and doing “all the right things” yet we are somehow still not satisfied, I believe we are zeroing in on their disingenuousness. I have spotted my own husband’s disingenuousness many times before. I may not have been able to put my finger on just what wasn’t right, but I gave myself the time to mull it over until it became clear to me. And it always comes clear.

      Go slow. Be kind to yourself. Listen to his words and allow yourself to “feel” what he is really saying. Tune in to yourself, your own heart, your own needs. Tune in to him, his heart and what he’s really saying to himself and to you. If something just isn’t adding up for you and you can’t put your finger on why you feel the way you do, be still and wait. The answer will reveal itself when you are ready to see it. If you aren’t ready, that’s okay. There is no time frame in which to make any decision. These are your decisions to make and should be made in your own time, according to what is best for you.

      Don’t worry about what the future holds. You are going to be okay. We are all stronger than we have any idea. When the time is right, you will become clear on which way to turn. Try not to over think things. Just listen and let everything resonate. Over time the truth will come floating to the top without any effort. Trust your instincts—they are always right on, even when they don’t make sense. And, most of all, remember that you are not alone. I am with you in spirit, as are all the other wonderfully strong, kind and loving women on this website. Throw that gun in the trash can and move forward with your head held high, acknowledging each and every fear, pressing on in spite of them.

      All my love to you,

    2. Lynn,
      The secret voice that you listen to is the one that speaks the truth, not the critic that instills fear and insecurity.
      I wonder if part of the problem is that you're not taking it a moment at a time. I think when we start getting ahead of ourselves (what will my life be like in six months? A year? Ten years?), we get scared. And we think we need to know RIGHT NOW how things are going to turn out. None of us knows.
      Where do you want to be today? That's all you need to know. And then ask yourself the same question tomorrow. And the next day. What is your next right step? Not the next right twenty steps. Just the next one.
      Keep the focus on you. On your healing. On getting stronger. Surround yourself with constant reminders of your success and the gifts you bring to the world. Ensure that only people who cherish you are in your life.
      When you imagine this woman giving your husband a blow job, try and replace that image with something funny. Imagine whacking the back of her head with a baseball bat so that she bites "it" off. Giggle about it.
      Whether or not you two will grow old together remains to be seen. But do you want to be with him today? Are you willing to see where this goes? Or would you prefer to live out your days without him? It's your choice...and one that you can make anew each day.
      And again...that horrible little whisper in our heads that tells us we're old and ugly and useless and no good? That is NOT you. It's a chorus of every lie we've ever been told in our lives about ourselves. It's chorus of every thing our culture says about women. It's a chorus about everything our culture says about women who've been cheated on. But it is most definitely NOT you and it is NOT the truth. Deep down, you know that.

    3. WOW!! This ^^^^. Yes TODAY, this hour, this minute if necessary. Also know you are not alone in your thoughts of suicide. It was my plan B and I knew plan B sucked so I worked my ass off making sure I wouldn't resort to Plan B.

      It is comforting to know that we are NOT alone in these crazy thoughts. And I must admit sometimes I soothe myself fantasizing about beating the heck or worse out of the OW. But it's only a FANTASY. It makes me laugh and it works. I think the sooner we accept the whole lunacy factor in our situations the better we will be to heal and move forward. We CANNOT try to make sense out of nonsense. Don't try.

    4. Marilee,
      Can you give me an example of catching your husband being disingenuous? I think you are on to something that rings true that I had not thought about. Thank you for responding to me. Elle you are so right on too maybe I'm thinking too far ahead. Yes today I want to be with him, good insight for me.

    5. Lynn,

      I’m sorry, but this is a bit lengthy. I’ll put it in two parts. First of all, when my husband and I sit down to talk, I am listening not just with my ears, but with my heart and soul. I am "hearing" by taking into consideration his body language (i.e., is he looking me in the eyes, fidgeting on the sofa, biting his nails?). I am listening with my heart, reading between the lines of his words. He tends to tell me things he doesn't mean for me to know by revealing a catch phrase he may always use when he's not telling the entire truth. In fact, he's got several of them. However, his phrases would be different in your case because they are two different men. I listen with my ears and I hear when the tone of his voice goes up and down in odd ways. I am making mental notes of his entire demeanor as we talk about things and I know him well enough to know when he's deliberately leaving something out, smoothing something over, or telling me what he “perceives” to be the truth.

      There are his attempts to lie not only to me, but more importantly, to himself. Like when he tried to blame me for his affair by saying he was no longer attracted to me, I’m not interesting, am too fat, not working, sick, etc. After all, he’s been lying to himself for so long, it is now difficult for him to separate the truth from lies, especially where it pertains to his taking full responsibility for his actions.

      Add to that the times when he becomes indignant, treating me with disdain because I have asked yet another question that he doesn't want to answer. He's not really mad at me and he knows I am not responsible for this fiasco he’s created, he just doesn't want to feel bad about himself for another minute and will do whatever he can to avoid responsibility. He does this by treating me disrespectfully and tries to deflect my questions in such a way that I will be reluctant to ask anything more. He snaps at me and treats me as if I have done something awful to him. He even goes to far as to create an argument over semantics in order to redirect the conversation. Anything to distract me from the truth.

    6. Part II

      We’ve been all through these things time and time again and I know all of his moves, but he is still able to throw me for a loop on occasion. That’s when I have a “feeling” something just isn’t right. I may not be able to put my finger on it, but I let it resonate and try not to over think it. Over time, it all becomes clear what happened and I am, yet again, livid that he was able to pull another one over on me. Many times it takes two or more hours of his masterful efforts in deflection before we can finally sit down and have a five minute conversation in truth. It is exasperating and feels like I’m speaking to a child.

      What struck a chord with me reading your post on why he bought the OW a $1,200 piece of jewelry gave some insight as to why you were upset and couldn’t get past it. His response to you was that it made sense to him. To me, that is certainly dancing around the subject. You cannot accept that it simply “made sense to him” because he is not respecting you by clarifying why he did it or what possible reason he could have used to justify the purchase. Instead of helping you to understand what was going through his mind at the time, he dismissed you by basically saying that it didn’t matter if it was reasonable to you—it made sense to him. No wonder you are upset. Your questions have been dismissed as unimportant. No wonder you are revisiting issues you thought you had already gotten past. It’s all very logical.

      One of my husband’s favorite tactics is to use passive-aggressive behavior to make me feel that I’m crazy for even asking such questions. I’m on to that one now and I do not let him get by with it. If he is doing anything less than showing empathy, helping me understand his behaviors, and giving me closure, then he’s not doing enough. Elle told me to draw firm boundaries and by golly that’s what I’m doing! I love my husband, too, but I have decided wholeheartedly that I am not and will never again be his doormat. He will respect me if it is the last thing he does on this earth. Does that sound like a bitter woman? Maybe, but more so I am a woman rising up from the ashes, regaining my dignity and self respect. If he would like to support me in my efforts to become whole again, great. If not, it will be his loss. Don’t question your own sanity when he isn’t showing you the respect, empathy and love that you deserve. You are worthy of every bit and much more!

    7. Merilee,
      You don't sound bitter in the least; you sound strong! So many women are socialized to equate strength (and self-respect) with being domineering. It is NOT the same thing. Men who are threatened by women who with clear boundaries and self-respect often do try and get us to back down. We're "hysterical", we're "crazy", we need to "calm down". Those are all countermoves to get us to stop making THEM uncomfortable and accountable. No can do!! You sound like you're doing great, Merilee. We can learn from you!

  6. Elle
    What a lovely post. Indeed we do need to tell our stories. I'd like to read SS story but don't know where to find it.

    The one suggestion I'd like to make to your commenters is please don't use Anonomous when posting. It's hard to follow your story. When you register you can pick a moniker. Sometimes I get confused when reading the comments or stories with so many Anonomous posters. Also many times it's the haters who use Anonomous as their name. Just a gentle suggestion.

    1. TH,
      I second that. I too lose track of which "Anonymous" I'm responding to. I'll track down SS's story and post a link.

    2. Here is SS's story. She really needs our support and our compassion.

    3. Lynn, you'll have to copy and paste. In comments, I can't seem to make the link "live". If that doesn't work, just go to the Letting Go of Heavy post and scroll down through the comments until you see SS's.

  7. That's right Elle we are here together healing and getting stronger. We are not perfect in our eyes but through all this we get closer to what we are truly capable of being. So much better than where we started all together. We are friends. We are loved. I look forward to the day we make it through and can celebrate together. Some of you just started this heinous journey but you can make it whatever you want to make it be. You can choose to learn and grow. You can choose to not let it overcome you. - Ann from Texas

  8. I'll admit, a part of me wanted to commit suicide as a way to punish my husband. Revenge cheating was out of the question. For me, sex and love are intertwined, I couldn't have sex with someone I didn't love. But suicide--I kind of felt like that was a way I could hurt him the way he had hurt me. I had never imagined I could endure so much pain and not die from it. It hurt so bad that I really didn't want to live anymore. I think that I didn't want to actually die--I just couldn't see how I could go on living with so much pain.

    I stayed alive because my son needed me. Even if I no longer wanted to live for my own sake, I knew I couldn't do that to him. I couldn't leave him wondering for the rest of his life why his mother didn't love him enough to stay around and raise him.

    For a while, after I got out of the extreme crisis point, I wasn't happy to be alive, I was only glad I wasn't dead, simply because if I was dead, there was no hope that it would ever be better. But actually being happy to still be alive is only just now starting to come back in brief moments.

    We're coming up on the one-year anti-versary of D-day. Rather bummed about the whole 3 - 5 years thing. This feels like it's been forever already.


    1. Gee,

      I could've written your post many yrs ago. Oh yeah, I wanted to punish my husband so much and had always thought I would never ever do that to my children because my parents attempted suicide. At the age of five, I saw my mentally ill father coming out of the bathroom with his wrists slashed. Didn't know then that you can't actually die from that but it was horrible to see. And then a year later my mother took an overdose of sleeping pills and I saw her pass out on the floor, ambulance called. For God's sake, don't give these memories to any child I thought. And yet there was a time when my husband was gone with our kids, I laid on the bed with a bottle of pills cause I could not stand one more mind movie! What saved me was the phone ringing, my little girl saying, " Hello mommy". And in the years that followed, I got to do all those mom things like first date, prom, weddings, and now a grandson. Look what I would've missed?! Feelings change, hold on with all your might, and think of those mother's who had no choice because of some disease or DUI, or whatever. There are many ways to leave this earth and all exits are final. To anyone who thinks they can't stand one more ounc of pain, reach down deep
      And find your strength to hold onto this beautiful life. We will all leave sooner than we wish when there is no choice.

    2. Thank you, Pilot's wife. It's so encouraging to hear from people who have been there and made it through.


  9. Elle,

    This is difficult reading and witness and to experience.

    My heart and love goes out to all (those in the throws)...and waves of this anguish and pain. Betrayal.

    This post is one of my "Witch Doctors."

    Elle, You have provided a sacred space for all our voices.

    I was going to kill myself countless ways (after D-Day)and changing it up repeatedly because I didn't want anyone to deal with my body. I wanted to disappear into smoke. I will admit that even today when I hear of some young person's sudden death I wish I could go for them I'd volunteer. But I stayed, for my three daughters.

    And I remember before D-Day. Those years of living with insidious, shattering, slow and corrosive, sexual deceit and it's rippling effects. I could not 'see.' it but felt it and it affected me like a cancer. It did.

    If my husband continues to tell the truth we move forward. I've made it so I can disappear, "appropriately,' and go to a "room of my own." - If it's needed.

    The line in the post that smacked me upright (and let me change it up a little)........(We) must be "Warned that our truth will undoubtedly make (many) people uneasy and angry, so share it strategically." Rings like a town hall bell.

    I always hated "secrets," and I want more than anything for that inner "compassionate," prophet to be guiding me.

    Ann we can choose not to let this betrayal overcome us (even though it hurts beyond hell)

    Courage and most importantly love, to all.......


  10. It's scary that we admit this. I mean realllly scary when someone says they've considered suicide. Before DDay no way. Murder, maybe but NEVER suicide. My plan was NOT to hurt anyone else but myself. I just knew I couldn't live with that much pain forever. And that's the thing to know, it's not forever. But don't feel like you are being judged for those thoughts. Like I said, I knew Plan B sucked big time so I worked and fought back and took it out of the equation.

    If you are considering it put it with all the other wicked thoughts. Don't do it. You are enough and you are worth it. Your partner is not worth it but you are.

  11. Marilee--what an amazing tribute to every woman on this site and those who need to find us and have not yet.
    The sooner we realize that this was not because of a shortcoming in US, but a shortcoming in our husbands/partners/wives it SHOULD lift some weight. I doesn't lift easily although I wish it would.

    The crushing feeling of betrayal is something I am sure none of us ever thought would be this heavy. We were not prepared, we did not train for this, and yet there it is, this BOULDER of agony.

    And with it? perhaps the shame...The shame is not ours, and it should NOT be ours. Easier said than believed, I know. I know. I know.

    I know the pain of it all combined, is unbearable--but here we are bearing it...and hopefully with each day a bit stronger, a bit wiser, and able to spot our own +worth+.

    We are worth it, our lives are worth it, and life itself is worth it.

    Write it out even when it does not feel real to you. Your life matters. Your Life Matters. MY LIFE MATTERS.

    Today I am thankful for guns that jammed, for pills that were not swallowed, for cars that did not veer off mountain tops.

    Where would I be without all of YOU? You matter. You are enough? You are MORE than enough.

    (as a side note to anonymous users under "select profile" drop down to "name url" enter any name you want--you do NOT need to enter a URL. That is the easiest way to stay anonymous while giving yourself a name we can remember in our thoughts)

  12. My family have been living expat life for 13 years, living in one country to another country. Its not an easy life for the family especially my husband have to travel a lot.
    All these years I have trusted him except on this post where he have to travel a lot to Jakarta, Indonesia.
    I started to worry whenever he have to go to Jakarta maybe I get influenced by my friends stories about how their husband got seduced and wrecked their marriage by those women in Jakarta.
    Finally what happened to my friends happen to me.
    The first D-Day was 9 months ago, I've found his texts on his cellphone. He tried to convince me that nothing happens, just flirting. I do not trust him but at the end I give him the benefit of doubt.
    The second D-Day was 7 months ago, this time my husband come clean and tell me everything at the end. He have ended his relationship with OW the first time I've found the texts but then he got seduced back again.
    He asked for a chance to make up for everything again, I let him have his chance.
    I love him very much and I know he still love me and our children and I could feel that he sincerely regret it.
    We try to work this marriage out for the sake of us and our children.
    Pretending that nothing happens and carrying everyday life like before in front of my children since the D-Day is the hardest life I have to live in.
    During those 7 months, I have 2 attempted suicides, waking up at the hospital and feeling horrible. 2 car accidents, countless breakdowns at night. Been to professional for help.

    Up to this moment my husband is very nurturing and patient with me, he realize that he have causes all of this miseries.
    He still have to travel to Jakarta, since the D-Day, He asked me to went with him just for the peace of my mind.

    While working out to rebuild our family, I have this anger that buried deep inside me, I love my husband to much to hurt him.
    I am focusing all my angers toward the OW, I am become obsessed with her, monitoring her and her family life's.
    I've found out that she was a Professional Swindler, preying on other woman husband.
    She have few victims at once, married to God knows how many. She asked my husband to marry her too, twice. My husband told me before that he have found texts from her 'husband' at one time.
    They met in a club, my husband was with colleagues and her with her family, she uses her sibling and her mother for cover. Her sibling that approached my husband group at first.
    First time they slept together, my husband was drunk then remains man....he continued the relationship for 7 months, falling love with her, trips together, money, etc. My husband told me that he can't control himself at all except to the marrying her parts, she know what she is doing.
    Found plenty of her and her family pictures on the net with victims, she is smart, she cover her trails well but her sisters and brother aren't.
    My husband never suspect that she was a Swindler, up till I showed him my discoveries of her. He thought that she just a lonely wife that having an affair, most of the time she were accompanied by her siblings when they go out. She is that good.
    By the way I've called her and talk with her politely on the first month of D-Day, instead of apologizes, she scolded me, planted lies about my husband in me and talks like she is the victim.

    Just this week I've found her picture hugging new victim and her family. I decided that I have to expose this woman and her family to the world.
    God know.... how many despairs wives and wrecked families by her doing.

    I am not good with tactics and computer, I am hoping....maybe....someone could reach out to me to help me expose this woman and her family by posting this.

    1. Luca,
      I'm so sorry for what you've been through.
      I hope you've found a counsellor to help you work through those horrible feelings of total despair.
      And I absolutely understand your obsession with the OW. She sounds like a pro. My worry is that she's keeping you mired in all this pain. I don't know how far out from D-Day you are, but I would urge you to focus right now on you -- your own healing. Then, when you're feeling stronger, you might consider how you can "out" her for all the world. I just don't want you doing anything that might land YOU in trouble. That's the last thing you need right now.
      Hang in there. Heal yourself first.

  13. All,

    There is a Yiddish word that comes to is..... "kvell"

    And I am proud to be among you the betrayed.....

    Just look around you...

    And look at us.


  14. Fragments of HopeMay 27, 2015 at 6:18 AM

    Such a moving post and comments, such power and connection between all these people who have commonly suffered. Silence, sadly on the wider scale though. Those of us who have limited who we've shared our story with in the 'world'. The devastation of affairs that is not really comprehended. Is it common knowledge, apart from the odd news report that affairs can cause others to commit suicide, that it tears the very core of the betrayed spouse to shreds, creates trauma, exposes them to verbal and physical assaults in the form of communications from the OW, gaslighting, hostility, lies from the CS and sometimes dangerous STDs. That sites like Ashley Madison for instance are allowed to operate in the face of all this is beyond me, they are an incitement to psychological violence. And yes, we BS, try to understand, repair, give chances, forgive. We get it that in their blindness sometimes our CS did not ever envisage the devastating impact of their actions. Yet their actions did cause these awful impacts, taking lives or taking 3-5 years out of the lives of their spouses, causing tension and consequent effects on any children in the family. Causing mental health problems, stress related illnesses, inability to work. And Yet, and Yet we still want to understand & forgive. We stay in marriages, at least at the beginning before we want to, to save our children from any upheaval or sorrow, despite the sorrow and upheaval that was already heaped upon all of us by the affair. After all that, we offer them the chance to come back, and some of them do not realise the magnificent gift they have been given, others do but so much damage has been done. Is the forgiveness, or acceptance we offer them part of our own healing, especially if we work on the marriage? Or does it, still in some secret part of us, deep down and into the future, feel like a betrayal of ourselves and the damage that has been done to us?

    1. FoH,
      I think "incitement to psychological violence" is absolutely THE most succinct and accurate description of infidelity I've ever heard. Wow.
      Regarding your last question: I think whether it contributes to our own healing or whether it feels like a betrayal of ourselves depends on us and how clearly and strongly we've created our own boundaries. When we learn how to feel safe in this world, knowing what we now know, forgiveness moves us forward in our own healing, even if we divorce, even if the cheating partner never knows they're forgiven.
      However, if we haven't yet come to a place where we again feel safe, if our boundaries aren't yet clear, if we use "forgiveness" as a tool to, on some level, control the partner or make ourselves feel better or because we think we have to in order to achieve peace, then we are betraying ourselves. We aren't respecting ourselves. Forgiveness should feel like an expansion, not a contraction. Our world should feel even more safe. We should feel stronger.
      We can never un-do what our partners (or ex-partners, as the case may be) have done. "Forgiving" never eliminates the pain they've caused or undoes the damage or gives back the lost years. What forgiveness can do is untether us from that past. It can unshackle us, allowing us to accept that this happened but it doesn't have to dictate my future.

  15. Elle,

    I don't know any other way to send this to you. If you would like to publish this as an article/post or change it to make it your own please do, I just thought it might help someone. I'm no authority and you know my struggles so advice-giving I'm unqualified. I just want to help.

    We all matter. Even though some say the affair is in the past (I hate this phrase) it doesn't allow me to remember what has happened to me. I'm not holding on to the betrayal like a security blanket or comfortable place to hide under playing the victim but D-day belongs to me. Before anyone tells me "it's in the past", "it happened" or "can we move on?" due to their role in this mess or how they look after we discovered their secrets and lies, then they should have treated me better, talked to me, let me choose freely or be involved in my healing process. Remembering what I have been through isn't to constantly beat up the asshole who cheated on me but to understand what compass I used to get there so if I want to head another direction with regard to me and my path through self care and self esteem it is possible. I'm not putting this in the past right now because it hurts his/her ego to answer the endless questions. To dismiss the affair as in the past is like dismissing me when I'm crying out to be healed. You are worthy of consideration. You matter. We need to find a new compass for ourselves on how we got to this destination and figure out on our own map where do we want to go from here.

    1. Hi Lynn,
      I think that's really beautiful and really true. It's truetiful (new new word!).
      What's more, you ARE an authority on your own experience. Nobody is a better authority on what you're going through. And advice from someone who's walking the same road is the best kind of advice. While I've found many therapists/psychologists/marriage counsellors who've written books on this to be really helpful, the absolute best help and advice I've ever had comes from people who've been through this particular brand of hell.
      I think we should all print out your passage above and tape it to our bathroom mirrors so we see it every day when we brush our teeth. Every single day.
      Thank-you, Lynn.

  16. luka
    Please do not focus on the OW. There are literally millions of them. They are the rats and cockroaches of society. They are called sociopaths and your husband was dumb enough to fall prey to one. My husband found one here right smack dab in the middle of THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. They are everywhere. Exposing her won't affect her one little bit. She's a whore. Doesn't care.

    Instead focus on taking care of you. You have value. Your family loves and needs you. Expose her to your husband and what an idiot he's been going with her but to the rest of the world don't even worry about it. You are putting your energies in the wrong place. Good for you to find out what kind of person she is but stop there. Also have you been tested for STDs? If not please get to a doctor right away. Your husband has put your life at risk behaving sex with a whore. Take care of that first. Please don't hurt yourself anymore he is not worth it. No one is. Take your power back. Direct your anger at HIM not yourself or the OW.

    1. Luka,
      Yep. Exactly what TryingHard says!

  17. Can we just take that word bitter out of our vernacular? I agree is not allowing yourself to be anyone's doormat, if putting firm boundaries in place, if standing up for yourself and getting angry and letting people know you aren't going to be taken for granted, used, abused. lied to, betrayed than I am BITTER too and proud of it!!! Bitter, bitter, bitter. Bring on the bitter!

    And Lynn you are an expert and you are helping. You have no idea how just those simple words help me through my day.

  18. So well said, Lynn. Somehow, so many people don't seem to think we have the right to take the time we need to heal. Or, perhaps they don't think we have the common sense to navigate this thing based on our raw feelings. Thank you, Elle, for giving me the confidence in myself to know that I am not crazy, but these crazy feelings are real and, most importantly, VALID. Even my own counselor said to me, "I don't mean to minimize your pain, but you are upset about something that happened ten years ago." I was speechless. I guess it didn't matter that what happened ten years ago was only confessed to me a matter of months ago. And I guess it doesn't matter that this thing that happened ten years ago took on a life of its own when it lasted for five years. And I guess it doesn't matter that the person it happened with was in and out of my house almost daily, coming and going as she pleased, pretending to be my friend. And then my counselor told me to take responsibility for my part in this?? Okay, I was sick with lupus and recovering from ovarian cancer. Hmmm...I take responsibility for that, but what about the affairs prior to that? I wasn't old, I wasn't "too fat," I wasn't any of those things. I was a young, vibrant, sexy woman with a great career and it STILL happened! Just how was I responsible for his actions?? It's not just our husbands who are insensitive to our healing and it's not just our "well-meaning" friends. It's even our counselors!! So, in light of thiis, we need to know and have the confidence to take control of our healing and give ourselves the time and space we need to become whole again. Not only is it okay that we're feeling these things, it is VITAL to our healing.

    1. Merilee Lane,

      Exactly!! Merilee you said exactly what I have been thinking. My so called "therapist" told me some of that same crap. The so called "therapist" that HIMSELF is working with said the same thing to "us" when we were in a joint session.

      "You know he had sex with other women. We need to 'move' on and work on getting both of you better." said the therapist HIMSELF is working with.

      What the #$%^ Say what?? Repeat that please, I think I heard that wrong!! I finished my little essay that I wrote to read - got up and left the room, got in my car and went out for coffee (might have been tea) because it is illegal and crazy to drink alcohol and drive. I hardly ever drink but that morning I would have had a cocktail - just because. By the way, before I left the room I said "My pain, my rules" credit for that gem goes to this blog.

      Seriously that guy has so many degrees and stuff on his office wall. Wasted paper. Yup, sisters totally wasted paper.

      I do not care if it happened 50 years ago. If someone is dealing with pain - they are dealing with pain. Just saw a television news segment on YOGA - a veteran army guy from Vietnam could not get past his PTSD with all the modern medical treatment. He started YOGA and now says he sleeps at night for the first time since fighting in Vietnam. I'll bet he was going to one of these therapists with all that paper on the wall. I don't do YOGA so I have no idea how it works but that does not matter what matters is that for that man - something finally did. I wonder how many shrinks told him to move on. I bet most did. If we as betrayed spouses need to talk about the destruction - we must insist that our therapist help us. If they can not help - we must empower ourselves to cancel future appointments and find someone else - if at all possible.

      Not one of us should EVER take responsibility for the betrayal. The man is responsible. Period. I do not care if the wife is a screaming me-me -- she absolutely did not have any responsibility for the betrayal. These men made a choice. Period.

    2. Merilee and SS,
      Nobody should be minimizing anyone's pain. And any good therapist recognizes that. SS, I do yoga and tend to include a lot of what yoga teaches us to this site. The breathing. The mindfulness. The gentleness with which we hold ourselves and our experience. THAT's the benefit of yoga, especially as it pertains to any sort of trauma. It's a way of loving ourselves, all battered and bruised.
      Doesn't matter if the trauma happened when we were five, or 15, or 25 or 50. If we didn't know about it (!!!!) or haven't healed from it, then it needs to be acknowledged and validated. Only then can we heal from it. Honestly, these people!! I must have been really lucky because I've had two therapists (one for PTSD) and they've been so incredible. My husband's therapist was fabulous too.
      And yes, as TryingHard so beautifully phrased it, betrayal is psychological violence. It really is that simple.

  19. So Marilee, did your counselor in fact know she exactly WAS minimizing your pain? We all know now, and found out in the hardest was possible, that something that happened 10 years ago, or a year ago or whatever timeline, when we are just finding out, about has the exact same CRUSHING PAIN as if it happened 2 minutes ago? (unbelievable). Here's my part---and I take full responsibility -I didn't know anything was wrong. Probably your part too. No one told me we had issues that could not be addressed. Here's my other part, if he seemed distant and I asked what was going on, if he said "nothing" I believed him. I was also walking the alanon line at that point, and focusing on me, staying on "my side of the street" when he was a practicing alcoholic. so there's my big part, and I take full responsibility for that.

  20. Thank you for this beautiful post. The ultimate tragedy that is the manifestation of the terrible consequences of adultery. Wanting to die rather than go on with life after betrayal. All completely whitewashed in most depictions of infidelity. Your website does such a fantastic job in illuminating the bitter truth and consequences of what we experience from betrayal of such magnitude. Underplayed and underwritten by society, adultery becomes a sugar coated romantic travesty leaving us, the betrayed spouses alone and lost in the world that we thought we knew. What your site offers is a light in the darkness. It offers hope. The hope that has carried me through some of my most difficult times has come from reading about other betrayed spouses experiences. Understanding that my life will reassemble itself with me at the core and that this will happen with or without my husband. Elle, you have, along with all the brave and wonderful contributors provided a virtual healing space. Powerful. Raw. Honest. Graceful. Heartfelt thanks to everyone and courage to everyone at whatever stage in their journey.

    1. MR,
      Thank-you so much for that. I absolutely agree that our culture just refuses to recognize how devastating infidelity is. It is whitewashed. It is sugar-coated. And even if we somehow recognize how painful it is, I'm not sure we can truly understand it until it's happened to us. Kinda like I can imagine a cancer diagnosis...but I bet it's a whole lot worse than I even imagine.
      So glad you're here and part of the club. As rag-tag as we are, I love being among this fierce group of women.

  21. Initially starting MC it was a faux reconciliation. My husband went with the intention that the counselor was going to advise ME to leave the marriage that my husband had cheated. He wanted her to smooth it over for him. I was not let in on the plan. I thought we were going for reconciliation. My H went by himself for counseling for a couple times and also when I was in CO hiking, I needed to be AWAY. When I came back the MC said she could also facilitate mediation for our divorce. I was shocked. Well I pulled up my big girl pants and announced I needed NO legal mediation as I had a very good lawyer to take care of me and what was legally mine. If we were NOT there for reconciliation I was leaving. She smiled and agreed. When I started with my story and HIS betrayal and facts about his 4 year affair she said "Wow it sounds like you are still angry." Even my husband said "you think??!!??" Angry wasn't the word. LIVID was more like it. We did stick with that counselor as my H felt comfortable talking with her but I don't put much value in her helping me heal. She did encourage me and him to be honest and truthful and many great talks ensued after these sessions so the counseling and the therapist weren't a waste of time. I hid NOTHING during those sessions including my desire to try and save our relationship and marriage. You all are right--your pain your rules.

    About a year after MC I went back to individual therapy with a very good therapist in my town. Once a week. Jeez it was like mental physical therapy. I walked out exhausted but stronger and empowered. She did not minimize my pain even though it had been a couple years since DDay. I went to her to deal with my obsessive revenge thoughts against the OW. She truly supported me but the main thing I came away with from her is she described my husband's secret life as a fast moving train that he was on for 4 years. He jumped off just as I was getting on. I had to catch up with where he had been on that train. I had to understand where, when and how he got on that train. This made perfect sense to me. Yeah he was ready to get off that damn train from hell. I HAD to get on it to understand where I had really been. Of course he'd forgotten all the places and times that train traveled through, I needed to know. The other great bit of advice she gave was how we tend to negate our story. This is very dangerous territory. You cannot lose your own personal history. Yes your husband was living a different history but that is NOT your history. Your experiences were real. You thought your husband experienced the same things but he didn't and fact is most people don't experience the same feelings of the events as we do. Even though they are sitting right next to you on that train. We may look out the window and see a beautiful, sunlit meadow. Your seat mate may see weeds and hot sun, mosquitoes and snakes. But your experience in this life is YOURS and those memories are true and real to you. Just because someone experienced them differently does not negate yours.

    I endorse going to a therapist because essentially you are paying someone to have an objective view of what's going on in your head. Your friends and family will become disgusted and bored with the conversation once the titillation is over. Therapists will constantly listen--as long as you can PAY :) They are not your friends, make them work for their money. But as everyone else has stated here my best help has come from blogs like this.

    Stick around and tell your story. You have no idea how it helps all of us. Even those of us further down the "train track". I hold all of you in my deepest hugs and prayers for healing and love. After all God is Love.

    1. TH,
      Thanks so much for that. Sounds like she was worth the money! And that's a really important point re. our own history/experience. I remember thinking that my whole life had been a lie...but it wasn't. We all experience a different reality. Just like each of my three children was born into a "different" family, all of their experiences of it are "real". They're just different.

  22. Elle and Tryinghard,
    Will try hard to do that, thanks for the support.

  23. Elle and All....

    Fragments of hope: "Incitement to psychological violence." thank you! give me words!!!!! to express some of my pain

    Lynn Pain: You ARE an authority to me.....and just gave one of the most beautiful passages ever....and that "we all matter."

    Trying Hard: amazing counsel to Luka and YES! Bitter? what words will THEY let us use? (I'm like who tell me what to feel?.....Fuck Off it's pain)

    Luka we understand your anguish, rage at your husband AND the Elle said recently and oh hell ya love this one!...."Thoughts of homicide interfere with my inner Dalai Lama."

    (I may just hate the OW into eternity......that's okay).

    I pick myself up off the floor of rage and keep moving....forward....forward.....finding ways of managing ALL my emotions. But they are Spirit's what I do with them....I want words...words....words....

    Merelee: Agree with Silent Scream NEVER! why should we feel the infidels shame!? and therapists and others who WILLFULLY misunderstand and/or collude. I had wonderful therapists but they DIDN"T GET IT either. Brava to you for listening to your inner wisdom.

    Therapy, counseling, treatment did nothing compared with reaching out to other men and woman betrayed.

    Beloved marriage recovery: "The ultimate tragedy that is the manifestation of the terrible consequences of adultery. Wanting to DIE rather than go on with life after betrayal. All completely whitewashed in most depictions of infidelity."

    I was also recently stunning by this revelation. Is it possible that most of us 70%-90% thought about suicide for the very first time upon the "Discovery." of profound betrayal? I was. But there is hope.

    We find hope among us, compassionate-unconditional-understanding and VALIDATION of our tragic and unique experience. We carry and share this burden together.

    And I believe we are onto a new frontier exploring ways to describe "Our side of the street."

    Hey Sister, "Steam" can you come up with a cultural-Social-Slogan we can sling back at those who don't even want to understand?

    No pressure Steam I'm just saying......gggrrrrrr

    With Great Respect and Love


    PART I

    I would like to begin by stating that I have the utmost respect for this field of study. Those of you who put your hearts and souls into your work and studies make huge contributions to your patients. For those of you truly dedicated and who wish to reach out to the betrayed, I would like for you to know, understand and be perfectly clear on the following:

    First of all, beginning any conversation with the words, "I don't mean to minimize your pain, but..." is designed to do nothing more than exactly what it says...minimize our pain. Never, ever say these words. I understand that you may be trying to diffuse the situation, but that cannot be done. When feelings are raw they are intense and that intensity cannot be extinguished until it has completely burned itself out.

    Secondly, in treating patients, do not work from the out-dated theory based on the hypothesis that an affair is a symptom of existing marital problems. Here is the true fact: marital affairs happen in good marriages, bad marriages, and every marriage in between. An affair is not a symptom of existing marital problems; it is a symptom of existing issues within the perpetrator. The betrayed has nothing whatsoever to do with it.

    Asking us to "take responsibility for our part in the affair" is like telling a rape victim that she is somehow responsible for enticing the rape. Perhaps she wore provocative clothing or flirted with the perpetrator?? NO!! A woman is in NO WAY responsible for being raped, just as a wife is in NO WAY responsible for the actions of her straying husband. Infidelity is a CHOICE on the part of the unfaithful and has NOTHING AT ALL TO DO WITH THE BETRAYED.


  25. I think we need to get clear on the difference in the way people define an affair. Husbands and wives seem to have completely different interpretations. I realized through long conversations with my husband that there exists a huge gap in the way he defined an affair and the way I define an affair. He sees it as a selfish act—narcissistic at its core—in which no way defines the state of the marriage; but, in fact, gives him permission to do as he pleases while MAINTAINING his marital status. Most men will agree that they never had any intention to divorce—they simply wanted to have their cake and eat it, too. Women, on the other hand, view affairs completely different. If you interview a woman considering an affair, she will tell you that the idea of an affair represents a break in the marriage; complete marital discord; a direct statement of defeat in terms of her relationship with her husband. If a woman embarks on having an affair, most likely she is at the end of her rope and is considering or planning divorce.

    I don’t know a woman who isn’t willing to take responsibility for her part in an existing unhealthy relationship between she and her husband. However, whatever issues may exist in a marriage are in no way responsible for his choice to stray. The choice to stray is about sex, not existing marital issues. The choice to stray is due to deep emotional issues within him, not existing marital issues. The choice to stray is exactly that—a choice and nothing more. Don’t read into it something that doesn’t exist just so you have a logical basis from which to begin a healing plan. There is nothing complicated about infidelity. It is quite simply at its core a selfish, self-centered decision to please himself. There may be existing emotional issues, but the act itself is just that—a selfish act.

    Do not tell the betrayed that she has asked enough questions and needs no further information. Do not advise the unfaithful not to participate in or to be anything less than 100% honest and upfront about every single thing. The betrayed is trying desperately to process the information. Is the information crushing her soul? Absolutely! Is it causing great pain for the unfaithful to relive his transgressions? Absolutely! But full disclosure and constant conversation is VITAL to both parties in order to heal. He needs to take complete responsibility for his actions. He needs to feel his wife’s pain and take an active role in her healing. He needs to feel remorse for his actions and show that remorse openly to his wife. She needs to hear things over and over again until she has finally desensitized it. She needs to be shocked over and over in order to accept the full scope of what happened and make an informed decision as to her future. She will not stop asking questions until she has processed the entire matter. She needs and deserves his full cooperation if she is to heal her relationship with him. His cooperation is VITAL in honoring his wife and helping her to restore her self respect and dignity. And his cooperation and participation is VITAL in learning to respect and honor his wife.

  26. PART III

    I am no authority on counseling, but I AM an authority on infidelity. I AM an authority on what the betrayed is living through and how hard she is working to come out on the other side as a whole human being. I can also tell you in great detail of my husband’s pain in all of this. He is finally talking to me without hiding behind fear and shame and he is suffering greatly. I understand his pain, and I also see immense growth as a direct result. There is nothing easy about this. Sharing the details and reliving the pain is the only way the unfaithful comes to the realization of just how far reaching his actions were. My husband had absolutely no idea the full impact of his decisions. It never even occurred to him. He knows now and he is having a very tough time living with himself as a result.

    The ironic thing here is that there will be no healing unless the unfaithful takes a full and active role in the healing of the betrayed. He must be there 100% to support his wife or she cannot heal. It seems odd to me that her healing would be so reliant on him after what he did, but if the marriage is to survive with a strong relationship intact, that is exactly what is required. She needs his unwavering support in order to regain her sense of self and get the closure she needs. And, just as she needs her husband’s support in her healing, he, too, cannot heal without her 100% participation in his recovery process. This is something unique of marital relationships—a couple truly does become one in a marriage and healing from life’s blows really is a joint effort. True healing can only take place when both parties are fully participating in one another’s lives.

    I am presently in search of a new therapist. One of the prerequisites in finding a suitable therapist will be that he or she has personal experience in infidelity. That, to me, is the only true way another human being can help facilitate healing in a matter such as this. You need real, honest to goodness, gut-wrenching personal experience in the pain one suffers as a result of such a transgression. In my life experience, I have yet to experience anything more painful.
    As I look for my next therapist, I will take a proactive role in interviewing this person, looking for true signs that he or she has the experience to make a positive contribution to my healing.

  27. Wow, u should write a book. Ur words are so powerful, so true. Every betrayed spouse & cheating spouse could benefit from reading what u just wrote.

    Thank u.

  28. Merilee Lane,

    You take my breath away....brilliant. Direct hit to the heart Sam is right. This is a book.
    Thank you.....

  29. Merilee Lane,
    Printed some of this out and gave to my spouse. All I can say is he said it was if I had written it. I am in that dark place where most of you began..Hanging on by a thread. Thanks for all you do and say. Can not even post now...

    1. Anon--
      You can do this. Hugs to you

    2. SGT,

      I'm so sorry you find yourself in this place. But I hope you know that we are all here for you. You are in a safe place here. Elle and all of the wonderful women on this website have helped me so very much--I can't even say. Writing your story also helps. We are all with you in spirit. Please reach out if you need a friend. xoxo

    3. SGT,

      I was scrolling backward on this website and came across a post that I think will help you. Here is the link:



Related Posts with Thumbnails