The kickass survival site for anyone who's ever been lied to, cheated on and left for dead.
Beautiful words 😍.
You are right Elle, we deserve love, even to love ourselves. Well I'm back in therapy learning how to be happy. How screwed up is that? I feel like this is finally the home stretch in my life. I'm a young 62 so I have a little time to get happy. My therapist said have you forgiven him? I said 80 percent. She said why are you holding on to the last 20 percent? I said I keep it deep in my heart in a locked box without a key so I never forget. It is almost like a war memorial. Never surrender and never forget. If you let it go it may happen again. Maybe that is my secret to deserve love? Happiness? True joy again? I don't know but I will share what I learn.
Lynn PP, I can relate. I felt that if I recovered, it would be like saying what he did was okay, and maybe he'd do it again. He told me that seeing the pain he's put me through makes him determined to never hurt me again. So in a way, I felt like staying hurt was an insurance policy to keep it from happening again. But is that really the way I want to live? I know logically that holding on the pain will not protect me from it happening again. And that would rob me of the chance to feel true joy.I've said elsewhere on the site that Elle says we have to let ourselves feel the pain. But I think we also have to learn to let ourselves feel the joy, too. You would think that would be so easy, but it can actually be difficult.I hope that helps a little.
This came up yesterday during our session with our therapist. I sometimes have moments where my happiness is disrupted by that nagging reminder in my head that I can't be 100% happy because my husband cheated on me. I can't live day to day because if I let my guard down, he might do it again. So I revert to unhealthy behavior (look the OW up on social media, drag myself through all the awful things my H did during the affair) to "protect" myself. The end result is that this behavior hurts me more than it helps me because I can't experience happiness when I'm bogged down in the negativity. It's during those times that I have to remind myself that should my husband choose to go down that path again, I know what my response will be. His actions are completely out of my control, but my reaction is not. The logical part of me recognizes the changes he's made and sees his remorse, but the emotional part is taking a little longer to heal.
It is such a relief to hear other people express the very things I feel. I, too, struggle with the idea of truly letting go, because that feels like forgetting, or like opening myself up to pain again. I guess the truth is that I'm open to pain again, anyhow, even if I hold on to that 20%. For me, it feels unhealthy though (no judgment on anyone else at all, I just know it's not how I want to feel for the rest of my life, only 80% happy) so how do you do it? How do you take off that protective armor, how do you let go of that last 20% and let yourself feel everything again...even when it means some of what you feel might be pain? Any guidance from those who've taken the uncomfortable, scary leap?
I feel the same way. To my knowledge this was my husband's first physical relationship, but he had 2 previous inappropriate relationships/friendships with women he worked with. After the 2nd one, I told him he needed to figure out what was going on with him because I wasn't sticking around a third time. He did therapy a few weeks and went on meds. Then, about 6 years later he has a sexual affair. He seems remorseful - we're 14 months out now but that's been a rocky 14 months, of course. He withheld a lot and continued to lie. I found out more lies just last weekend. He feels he's protecting me and our marriage by not being completely forthcoming and I find it a character flaw that he just keeps lieing. But, here I am. Sticking around that 3rd time trying to wrap my head around it. I feel like I'm letting myself down by staying. I feel like staying is telling him it's ok to keep using me as a doormat. I knew what marriage, commitment, loyalty, honesty all were from the beginning, but apparently he didn't. My therapist also said he's not emotionally mature. After 14 months, I know I can leave and I'll be ok. I just don't know what sort of life I'll have by staying. The emotional toll has been so great, I'm not sure I'll get over it.Shannon
If you haven't read Elle's post on pain-shopping, I highly recommend it. It really helped me to get out the "torture myself to protect myself" cycle. The urge to do it is still there, but I've gotten much better about not giving in to it every time it surfaces. I have to stop and ask myself, "Is this going to help me? Or just open the wounds again?" I have a bad habit of using my pain as a shield. But in the end, it doesn't work. Now I'm not always successful at not pain-shopping, but I'm making progress.
It gets easier, I promise. But you can hasten it by being conscious of when you're sabotaging any joy by reminding yourself that AT ANY MOMENT it can all come crashing down. Of course it can. And our brains are hard-wired to focus on those moments to keep us safe. But the woods aren't full of sabre-tooth tigers anymore. My point is that keeping ourselves in a state of high alert won't prevent pain. It will only rob us of joy. The key is to focus on healing ourselves to a point where we absolutely trust our own strength no matter what comes our way. It is then that we can more easily let our guard down and adopt an attitude that if he's stupid enough to cheat on us again, then we're smart enough to take our next right step.
I'm so early on in this but I am feeling similar to you both, i know I have to try to be positive because I've taken him back I have to then make an effort too but i can't help making comments when the affair and all that went with it is so prominent in my life I feel it relates to everything. Those lovely words made me think about when dday happened I said to my friend does everyone react like this? I had actual physical.pain in my body like my heart was literally broken I thought it was me some peopl said leave the bastard you deserve better, like it's that simple! But I did wonder if I loved too much? Thought too much? I haven't confronted her or told her husband or broke her marriage or ripped her family apart, I want to but I haven't And my friend said "you are compassionate and kind and that's what makes you you and whatever the outcome of this you will have your head held high" but it's hard. Really hard. I happened to be in town and was in a queue right next to OW husband he doesn't know who I am but I know who he is, that was bad enough- he was real life not just a face I've seen on FB, imagine if I saw her in real life it would make it all so real I remember finding out he had the affair and he lied about who it was with and I was desperate to know and now I do I wish I didn't, this is so very hard I'm not sure I have the strength
Panda,I'm relatively early on in as well (4 mos. 1 day) and I know exactly how you're feeling. Yes, on Dday, I felt like my heart was broken in a million pieces. I never thought my H would ever cheat on me. I have learned, thanks to BWC, that taking care of me is so important. I've figured out that what is right for one person may not be right for me. I have to figure out what is right for me. For days I was incapable of making the most simple decisions.I hope you find the strength you need to carry on. It is hard, but not hopeless. I, too, worry that I loved too much, took him back too easily, forgiven too soon. This IS hard. I/we didn't ask for this. It is so exhausting and there are days where I don't think I have the strength either. But you CAN survive. I found this saying which has been very helpful to me:I may be slightly broken, a little bruised, and even permanently scarred. But I still wake up every day with a tremendous will to fight. I am a strong woman who refuses to be defeated.Sending you hugs and strength.
Ladies You are all describing in words that which I remember living through but didn't realize then that I was sabotaging my own happiness! I have slowly been finding my happiness again and for the most part it's the time I spend with myself doing nothing at all or many of my hobbies. I don't have nearly as many down days and I'm sure as each of you move past the pain even if only a little each day you will find you can find a way to your own happiness. I was convinced that I would never be happy again and that there was nothing my h could do to change my mind. Those were some of the darkest days weeks and months of my life. Those feelings are always going to be a part of the history of how much this experience has changed the dynamics of our marriage but as we've moved through the first year we are finding our way back to happy together....we realize that this is only a chapter in our forever lives all be it a very sad painful one but if we both work hard for it we can have a better stronger relationship based on honesty and love...hugs!
Hi Panda,I'm a year out from dday, and have struggled with this issue significantly. My husband's OW is a married colleague lives in a different state) who has a husband and two young children. I feel like she has gotten away with murder, as her husband is oblivious, as well as the people at her firm as to the affair. I decided early on that I could always decide to tell him, but once I did tell him, I could not "un-do" it. Sometimes there are consequences to telling the OW husband that we can't even predict (will he kill himself/come after my husband/ convince her to sue for sexual harassment) etc. and I feel it's a risk I'm not willing to take. I also know that I can hold my head up high, by making the choice not to destroy another family. I also believe in karma and I want to look back on my life being true to my character. Finally, from the extensive reading that I have done of affairs, it seems like most OW's are sociopaths, and she would probably take perverse pleasure if I ever contacted her. So far, I have been radio silent. And I don't have any regrets (so far) even though I did in the beginning.-Morgan
I agree- the way I have made peace with this is knowing that this woman was a non entity in my life prior to D day, and I will not give her anymore peace from my life than she already took from me! She will never know how much I loathe her. She will never see how much she caused me pain and heartbreak. She crawled around my life in secret like a cockroach and I will not give her anymore significance than that.My priority is my healing, my marriage, my family. I am 15 months in and I'm so much happier than I was in the beggining. I struggled and still do but not to the same intensity. My husband is continuing to work hard on himself and I'm trying to see our marriage through his viewpoint while also helping him to see how our marriage got there. You will find peace again. Take it a day at a time and expect to do well and then not do well- it's a crazy roller coaster of emotions. That's the part that I would say was the hardest - doing well, only to come crashing down! You will have fears, insecurities, sadness that will settle in but every day commit to taking care of you and let the goid days be the wind in your sails when the hard days loom long and hard!
What so many of you are describing is a strength of character that the OW (and yes, our husbands) lacked. It's about living life with integrity and no matter how our lives play out, we have that and it's worth holding on to. I remember the feeling of my heart actually breaking. I guess it's not just a cliché. But I don't see it as having loved "too much". I see it as having loved with a whole heart, and I can't imagine loving any other way. What's the point?
Thank you all for comments it really is amazing how we are all different people but the feelings seem to be pretty much similar, being 5 months post dday it is hard hearing how it may take 3-5 years to 'get over it' I read somewhere and the thought of living like this for all that time makes me feel is it worth it? A friend of mine took ger husband back after an affair and when I had thrown him out but had contact with him everyday (usually me crying and shouting) and I do t know what to do and she said simply it comes down to whether you are happier with or without him well I was miserable and took him back and the happiness I feel is fleeting and superficial I don't feel that deep rooted comfortable feeling of love and being secure I don't feel secure at all and it's driving me crazy, had a good day yesterday am crazy lady today and I keep digging and looking for more things half of me doesn't want to have to cope with any more secrets being unearthed as each time they were I was in pieces so why I am looking to cause my self that deep black hole of pain again-I don't know
Panda,You're only a bit ahead of me. I'm 4 mos 5 days out and I, too, kept digging just looking for anything, something that could be awry. I had to stop because it was driving me crazy. I just couldn't handle anything more (especially when h said there was nothing more to find but because I kept finding things I kept looking). But no more. We went to counseling and h really surprised me by going and participating. H was doing everything I asked, told me constantly there was no one but me, and assured me it would never happen again. Yet I continued to dig. But no more. I just can't handle finding anything new. I'm in the "having to trust him" phase I guess you could say. During this whole ordeal, that I did not ask for, I have discovered that I loathe secrets. I know h still has one secret that I know of (bank account he won't give me access to, it's for his work expenses but nevertheless...). I am still working on dealing with that as I know he used it for the OW. Today is actually a good day. I've been trying a new little something. After the alarm goes off in the moring I tell myself what kind of day to have. I base it on a couple of things like how well I slept and how h was the day before. Sometimes I really have to hype myself up and other times not so much. I may tell myself that today will be just an okay day, a good day, a great one, or a joyful one, or even a "just let me make it through the day" day. And then I try really hard to follow through. Some days it works, some it doesn't but the trying has helped. But if I actually think it's not going to be a good day, I don't set myself up for failure. I use the old let's just get through the day routine.Hang in there Panda. Sending you strength for a good day.
Elle thank you, it's good to know I'm not some emotional freak it's just I seem so affected by this compared to him yes he's had low times through this but never has he not been able to work or eat it's so lonely in this shit every now and then people are there but this feeling is with me always it's mine caused by him and no one else can feel this and you feel like you're the only one in the world but this site helps me realise there's others feeling the same although I feel for us all as I wouldn't wish this to happen to my worst enemy!
Panda,Most of us are completely gobsmacked by how devastating this is. I just never imagined. Anger, sure. But total down-on-my-knees agony? Nope. Wasn't ready for that.
Panda I too was freaked out hearing how long it might take to heal. Then I thought about it. For me my husband had two affairs over 10 years. And I started thinking about it like weight gain like they say from when you have a baby. Give yourself time to lose it since it took nine months to gain it. So I decided to give myself time and not try to put expectations on it. Also I did journal like Elle and so many others suggested. Some days a lot some days not at all. And it helps to look back at that. I can see progress I sometimes never feel. Also I am just one year one month past but things are really starting to turn. For me I worked so hard on myself and feelings over the past year. My husband made a ton of lifestyle changes but now I think he is finally starting to really focus on him and what led to it all. He was in fix it mode with me the first year which was great for me. But I think he sees that I am more stable and with my push/urging he is diving in deeper to his issues. We have had so many really great talks. Also I am finding it easier just to sit and listen to him. I have gotten past the anger and it helps him now to say what he needs to without me coming at him. I ask questions and we have really good discussions. We have a long way to go.Another thing that helps at the one year point is now I am starting to reflect back to last year. We were at an annual event this weekend. And we sat down together in this amazing party atmosphere and he just started talking and said some amazing things about himself, me and us. I really thought about it and what stood out to me was wow what a different place we are in and how grateful I am for it coming out and all of our hard work over the pat year.And honestly the way I see marriage and our relationship it will always be work. And beyond the basics. We are on an entirely new level of what and how we talk to each other. We talk about everything and I think are so open and honest. But I think at least in my mind we need to stay vigilant. Both of us. I do not think I will ever feel the way I did before but not in a bad way. And what is so interesting is one major boundary was to have him check in with me when he goes out. Who he is with, where, when he will be home, if they go somewhere different. This was hard for a long time for him. He was struggling with it. I did not let up that this was not negotiable. Now he has changed his habit. I am not sure if he will ever stop doing it. While he is out he is texting me, updating me, sending me sweet messages, calls me if they change spots. And it isn't anymore because I want/need him to do that but he wants to. My husband is in the mental health field and he says it really takes six months minimum to change a long standing habit. So he told himself he has to give it that much time minimum. And now he is on it. I feel like we are turning the corner but i know there might be new things to address, but the one thing I know is I will not hesitate to bring things up to him.
H30,That's such a good point re. journalling. It's therapeutic to get feelings out...but it's also really helpful to be able to look back and see how things have changed. I occasionally read my old journals and am struck by two things: One is that my memory of events is often different than the reality. And two, that I've come a long way...
Just reading the comments, i have been coming to this site for a few weeks now, it is very helpful thank you Elle. With regard to keeping the affair from the husbands. I found out about my h affair 2013 and i was aware that the OW was married. I was very reluctant at the time to tell her h so i didnt (nice people??) i was told the affair was over in March 2013 and very thing settled down although i wasnt 100% has my h was being to nice to me over that period. Last July 2015 i discovered that the affair had never finished. I am sorry that i had to tell the husband as it didn't ever seem that it would end if something drastic didn't happen in her life, she wanted it to carry on. I am really sorry if i caused her h grief but i had had enough of his W. The affair ended but still after 10 months i feel cross that i had to end it not my h and not the OW it was like it was part of their life it was like it had to carry on!!!
Jilly55Time line about the same for me as for when I thought the affair was over and it really wasn't over that first October! I was actually confronted by her and she told me what a wonderful 'friend' my h was when she was going through her divorce. Then about a year later she contacted me with text how the affair was very much present when I asked her to stop sharing their 'past'! Omg! That's when my h began to live a true nightmare as she would not could not leave us alone! I watched my h do and say anything to get her to just back off but by then she was delusional and had become the 'wife' scorned! I'm almost to the point I can laugh at some of her childish behavior! Yet I still loathe this person for all the hell she put my h and me through for the years 2014-March 2016! She went to jail but broke the no contact order with in four months and then again seven months later so my h called the attorney and had her back before the judge with the threat of jail for contempt of court so now we get a year of peace from her! I've shared this story many times since I found the blog and every time I do, I still can't believe the things she said and did trying to keep my h and me from working on our marriage! It's been a long journey to get to this place and loads of hard work on both of our parts to get through one day at a time! I felt for a while that I had to 'break up' their relationship before I could consider my own! I had that conversation with my h and told him I was okay with having to do that but from that day forward it would be totally up to him and his behavior toward me and our relationship that would make or break us! Not sure how your h is making a difference for you but I can tell you if mine hadn't been able to do the things he has, my story would be left with a very different ending! You too will get through one day at a time! Hugs for the pain you are living with!
Thersea, thank you for your post. OMG it sounds as if you had a terrible time BUT it sounds as if your husband was sharing his problems with you with regard to getting rid of this woman, unfortunately mine h wasnt and was trying (as he says) to get her to stop calling him. The trouble was as the affair was getting back on track!!! He was going to meet her for 10 minutes here and there and she started sending him photos which i found. Unlike you Theresa i wasn't aware all this was going on until D Day 2 when i called her and asked to speak to her husband because i had had enough. It all stopped when she was affected when her family and daughters might find out, she just wanted to use my h. My h is a different person now, or should i say the person i knew before the affair, he is being wonderful to me now but at the time he was quite nasty, was your h the same, he was stressed and irritable all the time. It was like she was holding the strings and playing him. I think if the OW hadnt been married i may have had the same as you, she wanted my h and that was that. Thank you for sharing your story i hope that you are coming through this and will be happy. Like a lady said, happiness seems to be something of a memory!!!
Theresa thank you i feel for you, your situation sounds terrible i hope that you have some closure now having said that it sounds as if your husband was confiding in you telling you what happened and what was said? My h didnt mention that the affair had started up again and i had to find out the hard way. He was answering her calls going to see her for 10 minutes here and there, she was sending him photographs!!Why didnt he end it, he says he told her on several occasions that it was over, it was like she was pulling the strings like she was in control. I had to end it by telling her husband, once she thought her life style, family etc would be affected she soon stopped the contact. My h is trying so hard, always in contact being really attentive trying to work it out, like you say if he hadn't then i too would have just given in!! Hugs to you too.
Jilly55That's just it when I first confronted my h that night he brushed it off and I just didn't pursue learning details I just thought wrongly that the affair had ended and they had tried to just be friends at volleyball but the team didn't want her to be a part of it! Now I know why that night made the other players so distant from me they knew about the affair and some may or may not have known my h was married. You are right though after she blew up my phone the first day he tried to show me all of her contacts but one time he didn't and boy did I have a meltdown! For six months she kept telling him she needs closure because I lied to her the first contact day telling her she was just one of many and all the ow he has had are out of his life. Since my h would not meet up with her so she could 'see the truth ' in his eyes yuck! She was in love with the man of her dreams has destroyed her marriage and my h was her support during that six months so surely she could help him divorce me! However by then my h was sick of her and the drama she always stirred! She went off the deep end was making threats about showing up at our door and during this time my h was working more out of town than in and he became afraid for my safety as well as his own! He filed the harrasment charges and was ordered no contact but she broke it in four months and again seven months later asking him to meet her for drinks no hard feelings. So he had her back before the judge to remind her that he desires no contact ever again so now we wait for another year to pass and hope the judge got through her fog! So yeah I guess it's made a big difference working together to rid ourselves of this crazy whore! She was the one willing to be his fuck buddie, her words and then he told her never again and then she blackmailed him for a few more lunch meetings and the next week after his big rejection of not even a goodbye kiss, and his refusal to answer her calls she blew up my phone! It's still hard for me to realize how much pressure he was getting from two bitchs at the same time! I would feel sorry for him but the evil side of me thinks he asked for it!