The kickass survival site for anyone who's ever been lied to, cheated on and left for dead.
"But here's the thing: It's not whether somebody loves you that matters – it's how he treats you."
~Lisa Kogan, O Magazine (June 2015 issue)
Hello all,Yes, yes, yes!! Just YES, Elle!!Actions speak louder than words my Mum would always say. Earlier today (Tuesday) -- HIMSELF went to his therapist for our 'couples' session. He went alone. I refused to go. I've got my own therapist. I took the advice of many smart women and realized that we need a couple’s therapist who is NOT the individual therapist for HIMSELF or for me. After his session he totally pissed me off. Yup, again. He had the unmitigated gall to tell me he told the therapist he went out with other females and prostitutes for sex AND because he needed comfort - because I could be a bitch sometimes. Well now I CAN be a bitch sometimes. So can he. But did I go out and sleep with men standing on street corners and spend thousands of dollars on hotels for sex sessions?? Nope. When I was lonely I stayed home and called a friend to have a long talk or read a book or went out window-shopping. (That is when you shop but do not buy - just look and pretend.) I asked him why he did not just come to me and ask me to love him better?? As usual he clammed up and said nothing. Now ladies, I was very calm and not bitchy at all when I said that. Not the usual tornado that I become when he pisses me off these days. Thanks to my therapist I am learning how to be angry in a calm, “inside voice” type way. I can still scream and raise the roof but I save that for soccer and hockey games - well I try. Now to find someone who can work with partner of a sex addict or at very least a partner of a serial cheater. I've discovered that some therapists use SKYPE for teleconferencing. I'm really looking into this because the closest therapist who is accepting new clients and deals with this crap is 40 miles away. Well there are two in town but they are not accepting new clients (yup, just two). Talked to one of them today and she said she has even had to increase her office hours to keep up with demand. Let me clarify, there are lots of therapists in this town but I want someone who has at least 50% of their practice in Infidelity/Betrayal issues with couples AND I want that therapist to do the pre-polygraph disclosure session with HIMSELF and me together. Sort of like you would go to a cardiologist for heart trouble not a doctor who only occasionally took care of heart trouble. I’ll keep going to the therapist I currently see - for now. I guess I have read way too many books.Have the men of the world gone stark raving mad?? YES, YES, YES! Well maybe only 50% of them. These therapists are full up and not accepting new clients because so many strong women like US are determined to make ourselves whole and strong AGAIN - whether we stay with or leave these foolish guys. I've just finished reading "When your lover is a liar" by Susan Forward --- interesting read - not heavy duty - but spot on. I've taken some notes from the book to take to MY therapist this week. (((HUGS)))
SS,I'm going to challenge you a bit on something. When your husband came home and said he told his therapist that he sought out prostitutes for sex and comfort because you could be a bitch...what might have happened if, instead of getting angry, you had asked him to tell you more. How did it make him feel when you were being bitchy? What story was he telling himself that made it "okay" for him to seek out hookers instead of calling you out on your behaviour? I think THAT is where the healing starts. Where you can hear his "excuses" without accepting them. When you can listen to the pain behind his actions instead of reacting in anger.I am IN NO WAY saying that what he did was okay. And, frankly, it would take something of a saint to do what I'm suggesting you do. But I'm asking you to open your mind to the possibility of a conversation like that. In which he shares with you what happens in his sessions knowing that you'll listen as much as possible without reacting. Anger tends to shut some people down. Even subconsciously, they cram their feelings underground so as not to deal with another's anger (I know this because I do this). I'm afraid your husband might stop talking altogether if he's going to get slammed for what he shares.Again...I'm absolutely not blaming you for your response. Dealing with betrayal is enough to make murderers out of pacifists. I felt rage unlike anything I had every experienced.But...I also know that healing began when I could begin to recognize the pain behind my husband's actions. I got that they really had nothing to do with me. And despite what your husband is saying, he didn't cheat because you can be bitchy (who among us, I ask, isn't a bitch now and again??). He cheated because of how he was feeling -- lonely? anxious? like a failure? weak? etc. And the sex gave him an escape (comfort?) from those overwhelming feelings. The challenge for each of you, should you choose to stay together, is to find a way for you to still be you...and for him to still be him...but to understand each other in a way that you can share those uncomfortable feelings instead of seeking a way to essentially medicate them. As for your "have men gone mad?" question: Yes. Yes they have.
I am going to ditto and double ditto Elle's words. I found myself in this place for the last year and a half. But with the help of our therapist, and my own processing, I realize self-righteousness and justifiable anger, was not going to get ME what I wanted--a healthy and intact relationship. What i have learned is that my husbands addictive/escapist mindset is not going to be healed by my indignation. And I have learned that there is a pitfall in getting stuck in rage--that I am avoiding the deeper feelings of grief and sadness. Being able to share my grief and sadness elicits much more compassion and understanding from him and allows him to really take responsibility.I am reading "How Can I Forgive You" by Janice Spring. It helps me to see that acceptance and letting go of my rage and resentment does not mean that what happened was okay or that I just need to forget what happened to heal or that he is "off the hook." In fact, I have gotten better about my boundaries and holding him responsible, as I have gotten off that self-righteous, controlling train.
SilentScream, I found an amazing on line recover program that was so empowering for me. It helped me understand things in a new light which helped me heal. It's called, Addo Recovery. They have on line programs that addresses the spouse who has sexually acted out and a betrayal recovery program. Dr. Skinner who runs the program really gets both sides of betrayal. Their website is Addorecovery.com. I hope this helps.
I've checked it out too and it does look good. Here's the URL: http://members.addorecovery.com
SilentScream, I also wanted to mentions that addo recovery also does Skype counseling sessions and webinars that are amazing! I think you will really find what you are looking for here.
Skype may just be a life-saver for me. I am waiting for their response to my email. Imagine that -- computer monitor, cup of hot tea and HBR for my life. I'm getting happy just thinking about it. Also no need to put gasoline in the car to drive 40 miles for therapy. Also if I go 'away' for a time I can still continue my therapy using a tablet or laptop. I'm excited.HBR - new technical term Heart-Betrayal Resuscitation ((smile))
Elle and everyoneThose words above remind me of "It's not what they say it's what they do." It's in peoples actions. It's how they treat us that show love and respect. I just recently had the honor of sitting with an amazing woman and survivor. When I heard her story I thought of the movie "Wolf of Wall Street." I had to imagine being married to such a man. A man who would destroy not only his wife but his children in order to keep getting his way.She made me feel proud of being among the "Betrayed." Just by the way she was standing with dignity, grace and speaking her truth to power and she openly refuses to feel ashamed for his behavior. Before I left she gave me a quote. It made me think of my husband, the OW and all the people who knew.....when I didn't. And I'm proud that I have followed my instinct throughout this process on this mad journey of renewed discovery and healing.
part 2"It is very tempting to take the side of the perpetrator. All the perpetrator asks is that the bystander do nothing. They appeal to the universal desire to see, hear, and speak no evil. The victim, on the contrary, asks the bystander to share the burden of the pain. The victim demands action, engagement, and remembering..In order to escape accountability for their crimes, the perpetrator does everything in their power to promote forgetting. Secrecy and silence are the perpetrator's first line of defense. If secrecy fails, the perpetrator attacks the credibility of their victim. If they cannot silence them absolutely, they try to make sure that no one listens. To this end, they marshal an impressive array of arguments, from the most blatant denial to the most sophisticated and elegant rationalization. After every atrocity one can expect to hear the same predictable apologies;It never happenedThe victim liesThe victim exaggeratesThe victim brought this on themselvesAnd in any case it is time to forget the past and move on.The more powerful the perpetrator, the greater is their prerogative to name and define reality, and the more completely their arguments prevail. (Judith Herman 1997 Trauma and Recovery, p 7-8)
Valkyrie,I love that quote. That Judith Herman quote is going into my journal. If I ever go back to HIS therapist for a session of couples counseling - I am going to read this at the beginning of the session. If I never go back - so be it. I will find a couples therapist somehow and if he chooses not to go - so be it. I know very well how to cancel an appointment. I am going to bookmark this quote in my journal and read it often. It speaks to me. Powerful.
Wow, V, that is so interesting. And so true. When we expect people to warn us or inform us of what's going on, we really are asking them to share the burden, aren't we? And so many prefer to avert their eyes. To assume that maybe there's an agreement in the marriage, or maybe the person doesn't want to know. Wow.
OK so I wrote this super long in-depth reply to Elle, MBS and Anonymous - the computer ate it. Poof - just disappeared. Ah well such is life !!I have copied all the words of wisdom from this amazing response to my "tornado" and will work on them tomorrow with my therapist. I will also read them over when I am not in therapy - study them so to speak - to get better acquainted with how to better handle my rage. In my journal these words of wisdom will go -- I can read them whenever I open that notebook.Thanks one and all....I am enough and I am going to survive this shit. Seriously, I am going to be OK - hell I am going to be better than OK. Can not help but get through this with all of you helping me -and- pulling me kicking and screaming from the brink of.......there.
The Addorecovery.com site looks good. I registered and left a message. Thanks fellow warriors (channeling Valkyrie here).SS
SilentScream,I've had to work SO HARD at managing my temper with my husband. My waves of rage actually started to produce PTSD in him! It's keeping those boundaries of safety for both of us. The worst was when I threw a Stella Artois glass into our fireplace. (I saved the stem to remind me). My husband avoids any emotionality and especially anger....so we've had to do a tremendous amount of work around expressing our individual feelings and processing what's happened in our marriage. I agree with Elle and above comments on that anger thing.Another possible resource is the sisterhoodofsupport by JoAnn Russell RN, BSN, MS I watched a few of the videos and one of the women Dianne apparently does skip counseling and her video's were very powerful and helpful to me. Much love to allV
It is how he treats you, rings a bells, multiple ones. My husband brought her flowers, he didn't bring me flowers before Dday. He does NOW. My husband opened her car door, he didn't open my car door before Dday. He does NOW. My husband brought her wine, he didn't stop to bring me wine before Dday. He does NOW. I wish I could enjoy it but I'm plagued with the thoughts the psycho-bitch kindergarten teacher expected it. Did he learn how to treat a woman from her? So now he takes what he learned from psychology-bitch kindergarten teacher and applies it to our marriage? For 35 years he never ever ever ever did any of this. I wish I could enjoy it but then I wonder did he learn all this from her?
No he didn't.... He learned it from his huge mistakes. Once you lose the best thing you ever have and then have a chance to fix this, you do everything to keep it. don't let the devil still your joy ,) you just take that joy and run to your heart reserves with it. That's love my friend ,) I have to practice this too ;) flowers after all these years who knew huh ,) oh well I'm gonna love it because those flowers are "MINE" ,)Love you girls I really do - Ann from Texas
Lynn Pain,I agree with Ann from Texas. HIMSELF probably said "I love you" 10 times to me in 44 years. But now he says it at least once a day. I longed to hear those words over the years. I accept them now knowing that he realized what he is possibly going to lose. Your husband has had his eyes opened. 35 years is a long time. Baby steps Lynn. Try to feel the "feelings" he has for you now. (((HUGS)))
I'm with Ann from Texas and SS. He didn't learn it from her anymore than he learned it from Hallmark and television commercials. He simply is using a fairly universal language to let you know that you are valued by him. Enjoy.
Part OneI had a conversation with HIMSELF last night and told him about a husband’s PTSD caused by his wife rage after discovering his betrayal. HIMSELF got self-righteous thinking he could say I had given him PTSD also. Then I lowered the boom. I was calm and very soft spoken. I informed him of how his behavior caused “MY” PTSD and how his continued trickle truth was severe torture akin to that used on prisoners of war. He tried to act like he did not understand. I gave him the history of our 44 year relationship and gave him all the details of his many betrayals. I was ever so calm. At the end of my history details I informed him that his trickle truth torture had lasted 11 months and 29 days. He blew up. I remained calm. (Thanks Elle). He told me he was not going to take the agreed upon polygraph. I informed him that the only option left was separation. All the arraignments were made to leave him - also made plans on how to proceed if I stay. Thanks to BWC blog I knew I needed to plan for all options. He does not live in the upstairs anymore and had not seen my packed boxes. I invited him up. He sat on one of the boxes and began to talk. He asked what were the questions I had developed for the polygraph examiner. I read him the list and he said he would answer each question. I agreed. We spent the next 4 hours going over the questions. It was 6AM when we finished. I do believe he answered 90% truthfully. Even when I asked questions to clarify he answered without anger or pushback. The prostitutes were actually mistresses just like the long term affair partner was. They were never paid for sex - he did however pay for the hotels, food and the alcoholic beverages. The “”prostitute”” that he had adamantly claimed he picked up in a gas station - never happened. He met her in an auto parts store and chatted her up -- exchanging phone numbers to maintain a phone talking relationship for several weeks before they “spent some time and had a few drinks and sex” -- that turned into one full year of 2-3 times a month having sex in an out of town hotel. He continued sexing his long term affair partner while having this out of town liaison AND the occasional quickies. I asked for details and instead of denying the Viagra and other stuff he came clean.
Part TwoI was able to talk to my therapist by phone after all this madness. My therapist calls it cheating on the long term affair partner because he has a serious problem with committing to a relationship. Commitment phobia my therapist says it may be. His father died when he was 13 and my therapist says this could be part of HIS problem since his mother always has and still does belittle his abilities and question his successes. (Dad gone - Mother COLD) My therapist says he cheated on me with the long term female (and other one night stands) and then he found he was getting emotionally attached to the long term female. Then he began seeking another female to have sex with to disengage emotionally from the long term affair female. Building a new emotional attachment to the new sex partner which in his mind helps him to deny he is emotionally engaged to the long term affair partner. All the time he continued to have sex with everybody. My head felt like it was going to explode!! My therapist says this has been a vicious cycle with HIMSELF each time he becomes emotionally attached in a sexual relationship -- he runs away. Avoidant attachment syndrome is the clinical term. Here is a link if anyone is interested:http://blogs.psychcentral.com/caregivers/2014/06/understanding-avoidant-attachment-disorder/HIMSELF has agreed to continue working with his therapist AND to give his therapist the full list of questions and the answers he gave me. He has not said whether he will take the polygraph which he had agreed to take. At least now I feel I have the answers to what in the hell was going on in my so called ‘’relationship’’ for the past so many years. So much of the lies he fed me just did not make sense and I refused to let my ‘intuition’ go hide in the corner like I did for so many years. I knew something was just not right and I acted on it. It was ugly most of the time but I got what I needed. I am now processing and feel I can take that first NEW step toward healing. I do not know if HE and I will stay together -- that depends on him keeping the boundaries I have set AND continuing in WEEKLY therapy sessions. My therapist says years of living a compartmentalized life which required HIM to maintain the secrecy of other relationships can have a psychologically damaging effect on HIMSELF. She thinks HE should stay in therapy to deal with his commitment phobia, the grief of losing his affair partners and the loss of the man he became in all those other relationships. There is no sex with him since May 2014 - I can not let him touch me - it is just too repulsive. Thanks for this blog Elle. I needed to post this because it is middle of the night -- day after the big reveal and I dare not call my phone counselor. This blog is like talking to a dear understanding friend. Life saving.
SS,Wow, you have been through the wringer, haven't you. Like you, I had a D-Day 2 in which I thought MY head was going to explode. Years of infidelity, years of lies, years of hook-ups and porn. All I could do in that first year was keep putting one foot in front of the other and head toward daylight. Hang in there, SS. You're fighting so hard for yourself, which is great. But you must be absolutely spent. I hope you can give yourself some time to digest all of this and see if you can get some clarity about what you want next. I don't doubt that your husband has some serious demons to battle. But they're his to battle.
SS,Oh my goodness. I so feel for you. Hearing all the horrible truth was so difficult, but knowing everything laid the foundation for starting over, one way or another. If at all possible, have him go through with that polygraph. It just provides a sense of safety that you do know all he remembers. And him wanting to give that to you, putting your sense of safety above all else, is huge and helpful. I am thinking of you!!!! TL xx
Thanks Anne, just needed to hear something to bring me back.
Lynn Pain,Beautiful Ann from Texas is right! Don't let ANYONE steal your joy. This is a big theme and I'm seeing it around me. THESE MEN are not the source of our joy, integrity, strength, or hard earned wisdom. The best we can do is not let other peoples bad behavior, disrespect, lack of insight or compassion trample all over us. Lynn I have those very same waves of pain and being "Plagued," with fear and hatred..... I think about what happened and I watch it.....but by standing next to it witnessing. We are not like these men and women. It is them. Not us. And that's something for which I am becoming fiercely proud. Ann oh how I love that "Take that Joy and run to your Heart reserves......" Run it wild....V
Continued #4So I rode it out.. Took it one day at a time.. He began to show effort that I hadn't seen in years. Show up with presents...grab my hand while I'm cleaning the kitchen and would ask me to dance. I could see the guilt and remorse...But one other thing I demanded was he answer every question I had. So he did. And it stopped eating at me, but it gave me more to play out over and over in my head. I thought it was what I needed but the truth really does hurt. He has continued to try and improve our marriage and I'm trying my best to forgive... But I struggle everyday . I struggle with the visions of them together...and things that were said... And I don't know why but I feel that I need the world to somehow see for their own eyes that it's ME he loves. I guess that could be my insecurities...But Instead of thinking about it all day , sometimes it's only a couple times. Small progress. I still find myself wanting to write her and say some of the things I forgot to the first time...and justify why I'm not pathetic for forgiving my lying cheating husband because marriage is sacred to me, and so is the family i want for my children...but she doesn't deserve that and I know it won't help anything. I also check her Facebook every so often (because for some unknown reason she unblocked me) I don't think that's helping me either.... but This site and all of your stories have given some relief to the ache i still feel! Thank you all for sharing! And sorry for all the typos and numerous post but it felt good to get it out