Tuesday, July 4, 2017

When you feel forced to get back to "normal"

My husband would watch me like a hawk. Every twitch. Every smile. Every remark. He was seeking evidence that we were "okay". That things were "back to normal". He was seeking evidence that the crisis was over and that our marriage had survived.
And I was loathe to give him evidence because, whether or not I was having a good day, the crisis was not over. Our marriage might have survived but only for the moment. And I reserved the right the end it tomorrow should I so choose.
What's more, I'd be damned if I'd give him a moment's comfort, a second's reprieve from feeling like a louse. He deserved to be on tenterhooks for the pain he'd caused me.
Or so I thought.
A lot of us find ourselves there, don't we? Afraid to actually exhale and experience the slightest joy or relaxation or relief. Determined to make it clear that things are not "okay" and, perhaps, never will be again. That our marriage is being held together only by our inability to get it together and call a divorce lawyer. That he had better not make a single misstep or we're outta here.
Our message, loud and clear: Things are not "back to normal" so don't you even dare to think I'm "over this."
Beneath this message is a fear. A fear that "normal" means releasing him from responsibility for what he did to us. That "normal" is acting as if none of this ever happened. That "normal" means we never have to speak of this again. That by bringing it up, we're somehow ruining a good thing. A fear that he believes that everything would be fine IF WE COULD JUST GO BACK TO NORMAL.
I've got news for him. If by "normal" he wants you to go back to being the you who you were before he betrayed you, then "normal" is a fantasy. That you is gone. That you is forever changed by his betrayal. That you is replaced by a you that can absolutely get past this. A you that will laugh again and feel joy. A you that perhaps even feels joy more deeply for the gratitude it now holds. But a you that has also experienced a pain that you didn't anticipate, a wound that can heal but will leave scars.
And that's something that every guy who's ever cheated on a woman and then wants things to go back to "normal" needs to understand. "Normal" isn't an option. Not any more.
To those outside of my marriage, things look "normal". We have fun together. We are great at co-pareting our kids. We share a value system (which, now, includes the value of monogamy to each other).
But we know better. We know that our "normal" includes incorporating the painful lessons we both learned, it includes a gratitude for each other that's directly related to the recognition that we're only where we are because we worked our asses off to get here. Our "normal" recognizes that our marriage isn't perfect. That it's a process. That some days we make our marriage stronger – by listening to each other, by respecting each other's needs and wants, by making it clear to each other that we're glad to be together. Other days, well, we don't do such a great job. Which, come to think of it, is pretty normal.
But know this: You don't have to hold on to pain to make it clear that what he did was not okay. You don't have to resist any slivers of joy or contentment out of fear that he'll think things are back to "normal". You are not only allowed to talk to him about your pain, you are encouraged to do so. His ability to listen to you, to hold your pain even in the face of his own shame and disappointment, will make you stronger, will make your marriage stronger.
Don't let fear of "normal" control you. Your new normal will be a creation of your own. It might involve divorce lawyers. It will likely involve therapists. It might include new vows.
What it won't include? Amnesia. Pretence. Faking it.
But let your new normal include any bit of happiness you can. That doesn't negate what happened to you. It simply reminds you that you are healing. And healing is perfectly normal.


  1. I've been trying to move ahead since D day 6/19/16. Been focusing on the good things in my life, have been under doctor's care to wean off the antidepressants. He made a comment last week that his weight loss might be aids. I had a panic attack and a huge brawl ensued. Actually, he is much healthier and losing weight because I am trying to help keep his diabetes under control. Just lies to hurt me. After the holiday weekend apart (he was with family) since he had time off and I had to work, he has now decided we should split because I won't forgive him. Whatever. I'm the one who has been in therapy, who has been on medication, who has dealt with a depression so deep, I could barely get out of bed. It is probably for the best. Im not young or beautiful. Was she worth it or was I so worthless? I'm so sad and confused. He doesn't contact her and had he not scared the living hell out of me with his aids comment, I would probably be ok. I'm not.

    1. Beagle Mom,
      You are the one doing all the work. I applaud you for going to therapy and going on medication to help you through the depression. That's really great. And it will help you moving forward. But what is he doing? Just not cheating isn't enough. He needs to figure out why he did it in the first place. He needs to understand what bullshit stories he's telling himself that made it okay.
      And he needs to learn how to have a healthy relationship that doesn't involve hurting his partner with stupid comments and threats of separation. I suspect he's terrified that he's ruined the relationship beyond repair and wants your "forgiveness" so he can think everything is going to be okay. But it doesn't work like that. He needs to become a better man and you need to be able to see that he's working really really hard to do that.
      If he's not, then why stay? It has nothing to do with what he thinks you're worth and everything to do with what YOU think you're worth. And I think you're worth fighting for. Keep fighting for yourself. No matter what he decides, you'll be just fine.

    2. Hi Beagle mom
      I have been through a similar situation and it is fustrating when they think a wife can get over betrayal that easy .. I use to trust my husband completlyband had no doubt in my mind that he would cheat on me , true he is n't the most romantic husband and has a temper but never in my mind thought he would cheat on me .The story begins when one day his phine was on the nightstand so i took it because i wanted to see some photos of mine and the kids . Instead , i saw pictures of a young woman , who is in her early 20 s just barly out ofcollage , the same age as his son ... i opened whatss app and saw a year long chatting with this girl, not only that but he has had lunch and dinner with her and gave her alot of money as a gift . ( he says its a loan 😏)I confronted him with it he swore it was meaningless and intended to end it . But he keeps giving me contradicting stories about the issue . Any way , i callec the girl and asked her what is her relationship with my husband she told me that it was just friendship on her part . But the sickening part of the situation is his chatting with her , he confessed his love and admiration for her looks and her body ( he rarly does that to me ) . Anyway i threatened to leave him , he calmed me down and took me on a romantic trip where he asked the hotel to decorate our room with flowers and chocolate ... This soothed me but i needed answers he never gave me the full story , he gave me different versions each time i asked him . So , to get answers I called her and she apologized for interfering in our lives and begged me not to leave him bec as ahe said it was all meaningless to her , she just wanted money . Superisingly she told me , ask me any question you wanted and i am willing to answer . So i asked away ... when , where , how long ...? She answered them all and apologised even more ... When i confronted him that i spoke to her he told me she was lying ... Strangly i believe her story bec i know when my husband lies when he is embarrsed . We talked and fought over the issue alot and it is still in my mind , I can not get over his betrayal . Although he swore not do it again but my faith in him is shattered I still imagine them winning and dinning together and it hurts like hell . Two months have passed and i still bring it up he gets angery and says we are over it , let it go I cant .. Last night , I wore a nice dress and put on nice make up and i asked how do i look I wanted him to use the word he says to her when she sends him pictures ( incredibly beautiful ) he said look nice I am not as young as she is nor pretty as she is but i take care of myself well . It made me angry and i wanted to cry bec he didnot complement me they way he dis to her ( childish i know but my ego needed it badly ) . I want to smile again , everybody noticed that i do not smile like I use to he broke me ,, he broke me into pieces and i can not get my life back to normal . I talked to a theropiest and he told me to move on and engage in activities which I did but my mind goes back to them and how he does not see me beautiful as her ... The other night he accidently said her name while we were having sex ,,, i let it slip bec he was drunk ... I dont deserve this I am a good wife mother I am faithful loving caring i do not deserve to be betrayed .

    3. Mona B, you most certainly did NOTHING to deserve being betrayed. Nothing. I am mad for you that a) a trained therapist would tell you to 'move on' - that's terrible advice. Same for your H to say 'we are over it'. It takes much longer than 2 mos and it is his responsibility to do whatever you need to begin healing from his bad choices. You sound like a very kind person, please don't let those negative thoughts in - take care of yourself and don't believe the lies that you are anything other than deserving.

  2. I'm new to this site but your posts have been so encouraging. I found out my husband was having an affair a month ago. What he claimed to be an emotional affair and that he ended it with her once I discovered it. We had been to one counseling session and were working on things. I was looking through his phone as I had been doing every day since I found out and in it was a hidden app that I found where he was continuing to talk to this woman. Then I find out it's much more than emotional affair and it has been going on a YEAR! And I didn't have a clue. So after already finding out and thinking things were going to get better to find out A week later he lied about ending it along with everything else I am completely shattered. I immediately booked a flight and left town to fly to my best friends to stay for a few days and left our 2 year old daughter with him. I just needed a couple days to breath. I couldn't stand to look at him and I couldn't keep it together to take care of our little girl. After returning I find out that he had continued to talk to her while I was gone and didn't end it until the day I got back. I only know this because I messaged the other woman myself. He has been staying with his parents since then and not answering my hard questions and avoiding having to be near me as much as he can. We finally sat down last night and had a conversation about where things were. He apologized for "running" from me and that I do not deserve that or any of this. He said he hasn't been able to really be present or give me the kind of apology I deserve or fight for me back because he hasn't been able to sit with what he's done. To realize the kind of pain he has caused me. He said that everytime he starts to he starts having dark depressing thoughts of ending his life. That he doesn't deserve to live because of the pain he's caused our family. He said he needs to work on himself and take care of himself before he's even able to address the affair and our marriage. Ofcourse I don't want him doing anything stupid and I want him to be okay. But then I'm left just sitting here in all of my pain. Not feeling like I matter or that he wants to fight for his family. We have a counseling apt coming up in a week so I'm hoping that helps. But I just feel stuck in this moment with no idea where to go or what to do

    1. Brittany Beckett
      I'm so sorry you had to find this blog but I'm glad you did. It's the one safe place to share the pain that most of us are living with! Therapy should help but don't get discouraged if the first few times don't fix everything because it takes time and work to recover from the pain of betrayal! My h knew that I would be mad but he had no idea how deep the pain would be nor how long it would take to get over it! He has had to face not only his demons, but the demons created in me by his stupid choice to have different sex! He also had to accept that the other life we had is gone and we both have to work hard to make it better. It's been a long hard journey but together we are making better choices for our future and we have the rest of our lives to do that! It's been almost three years since dday and I've come a long way in my healing, but I have to work really hard to stay in the present because that pain can sneak up behind me when I least expect it to! Keep posting here and take care of yourself first and if he's willing to work with you to repair the damage, you can make a better life together! I'm so so sorry this happened to you and just know you are not alone! Hugs!

    2. I am so sorry for what you are going through. It hurts so bad and it can be confusing. It was hard being in pain and not understanding everything but then also looking at this person who you cannot even understand who they are or what they are saying. I think it was smart you took time for yourself. It sounds like you are doing the right things for you in these early stages. I think at a certain point most people demand no contact. My husband had ended both affairs by dday so we had that conversation but breaking off from them was not a focus. I know it can be different when they still have contact. I will say what crushed me most was dday 2. Dday 1 was bad enough but when they do not come clean it was really hard for me to take. I mentally understand why he did it but it has been hard for me to understand and process emotionally.

      What I did was I wrote in a journal every day. Some days it would be just bullet points, questions, random words. Whatever I was feeling I wrote it down. It really helped me just allow myself to pour it all out on paper. We also decided to talk once a week about the betrayal. This helped so we were not focused on it every day. It became exhausting and non productive for us. I would sit down and look at what I had written over the past week and it would help me see what was upsetting me or an issue for me. Otherwise I tended to rant or just go off in tangential thoughts. In the end those conversations were not productive. And the journal has also served as a good measure to look back over time and see how far I have come. I think that is so important since it can seem like you are making no progress or falling backwards. Or at least I felt that way. But through writing my thoughts down I was able to see how much better I was doing.

      And the biggest thing has been to give it time and try to take care of myself the best I can.

    3. Brittany,

      I am so sorry for the pain your CH's bad decisions have caused you. I am glad you are going to MC. You can come to this blog as often as you want just to read or post. You can be as silent or as vocal as you want. No one here will judge you. We are all in different stages of healing (I am about to hit 8 mos past Dday) but we all remember those first days well and understand your pain.

      Put yourself first. Get as much sleep as you can (try warm baths, meditative music, candles/insence, essential oils and if that doesn't work talk to your Dr. about OTC, herbal or Rx for insomnia). You can't function without sleep. Get some nutrition (most of us lost a lot of weight from loss of appetite, make sure you at least get enough nutrition to function, even if it's only drinking smoothies). Solicit friends or family to help with your child (they don't need to know why). Do nice things for yourself (no mani/pedi or massage is going to cure this but you will feel good to be pampered for an hour or two and you deserve it). When you need a good laugh go to the "Stupid S#8t Cheaters Say" tab. Check out the books on the "Books for the Betrayed" tab. You will find good videos (like Esther Perell's) on the internet. You can try to get a peer counselor (see the link for Infidelity Counseling Network on the top right).

      INSIST that your CH has NC with the OW ever again. He needs to give you complete access & passwords to all his communication devices. He needs to go to all the MC apts. He needs to do the hard work of figuring out what is wrong with him. Those are your boundaries for H to get a chance of earning you back.

      Like Hopeful30 my IC suggested I journal and when I did and often emailed it to my IC in-between apts. I needed someone to talk to often so I told the 1 friend I trusted to just listen, keep my confidence and say 'I will support you no matter what you decide'. I'm glad I only told 1 friend and was very picky about who that was (telling any other friend/family would not have been beneficial). I told a priest form our last church (it was probably the most graphic story he ever heard, but oh well, I knew there would be confidentiality). I went to an attorney to learn my rights even though I did not have intention of filing (at least not yet). I went to my Gyn and got tested for STD's enen though H insisted he used a condom. We go to IC & MC. We went to a faith based program called Retrouvialle. My H got diagnosed with MDD & is seeing a psychiatrist and is on antidepressants.

      Time. It takes time. I am not 'healed' (an will never be) but I am 'healing'. The BWC is here to hold you up and before you know it your sharing on here will help others. Virtual hugs.

    4. Brittany,
      My situation shares some similarities with yours. When I discovered the calls on my husband's phone records, he told me it was an emotional affair. He cut off contact for about two months until she reached out to him via text and I caught him responding. The affair resumed within about a week of that and went on for another two months until I saw an FB messenger notification from her pop up on his iPad. That was the night the full truth came out. It was a sexual affair that had been going on for almost a year. Prior to that it had been months of emailing and phone calls leading up to it. We had been in separate counseling for about a month when I found the full truth.
      I agree with what the other ladies have said. You have to take care of yourself and it is hard sometimes. The fact that you took that time for yourself immediately seems very wise to me. I know I was all over the place in the early days. We're now two years out and sometimes I still am.
      I am not making any excuses for what your husband (or mine) did in not immediately ending contact but often their heads are not in the right places at that time. As much as it seems completely insane to continue to be I'm contact with the OW, they're not in a healthy place. Rather then come out and tell the full truth, my husband continued to lie. When it all came out, I gave him an ultimatum. He had 24 hours to decide whether he wanted our marriage or the affair. I don't necessarily think it was the best choice but it was the choice I made at the time. I also told him to get out of our house and I think packing his things was when the magnitude of what he had done hit him. There was no more hiding or lying.
      Your husband is likely feeling a lot of shame right now. He's got to decide if he wants to work through the issues that got him where he is. It's hard work. My husband had to face years of emotions he had been avoiding, but I believe he's a better person for doing it.
      I would love to say that I no longer struggle, but I can't say that. I can say that I do have very good times but I'm in a bit of a slump right now. It's nothing my husband has done but more outside stresses and me not taking care of myself the way I should. But recognizing that I'm not is a big part of it.
      Hugs, Brittany. ❤️ We're here for you.

    5. Bb,
      Hugs to you. I'm sorry for what you are going through. Your situation sounds hard with a baby, husband melting down. You are safe and loved here. We believe you when you say you had no idea. We know what 'completely shattered' feels like, not even wanting to be breathing the same air as him.
      I know it's redundant to say but betrayal is a traumatic experience for your mind and body! Can't eat or sleep, can't get out of bed, hair falling out. And the crying and crying, everywhere at anytime,standing, sitting, lying in a heap.
      BUT, I don't experience much of that these days. I'm over 2 years out. It feels a bit flatlined. Not a lot of belly laughs but that sickening shock is gone.
      You will make it through. I do life 1 day at a time, and I used to be a mega planner, detailed. That's all gone and I'm finding out its ok. 'New normal' is in the making.
      Keep reading this blog, dig into the archives. Lots of compassion and great advice here.
      Good for you for reaching out to these women! Keep us updated as you feel to.

    6. BB, I'm so sorry for what you're going through. Being a mom is exhausting enough without dealing with an idiot husband on top. The other incredible warrior-wives here have offered you good advice. Take care of yourself. Your husband simply can't help you right now. His head is so messed up that killing himself strikes him as a reasonable option to escape. He has a little girl, at the very least to think about. His job is to get himself stabilized so he can begin to deal with what he's done. I wonder if he has mental health issues -- maybe undiagnosed? Anyway...that's for him to sort out.
      Your job is to stabilize yourself as much as possible so that you can be a mom to your daughter and keep your own head above water. Self-care is crucial. I would also encourage you to find a therapist who can offer you a safe place to sift through all of this.
      And of course, you're welcome here. Post as often or as little as you like. The women on this site, as you've already seen, are the most compassionate, warm-hearted people and they know exactly what you're going through. We've all been there. We all wondered if/how we'd survive. And here we are. At various stages of healing but moving forward, inch by inch.
      You'll get there too, BB. Right now, it's triage.

  3. Our 8 year wedding anniversary was June 27. I didn't think it was going to hit me as hard as it did. 7 months have passed since Dday. The more I tried to forget it the more I thought about it. The more normal I tried to be the more it weighed me down. I felt I was putting a front. I wrote something to him on fb and everyone commented and congratulated us. I felt like the biggest hypocrite in this world. I meant what I said, I love him. I broke down by the end of the night. The biggest struggle is believing he truly loves me. He has changed all the bad habits that were hurting us. He has taken full responsibility. He wants things to be "normal". Things will never be what they used to be and in a way, I am glad. Our new normal has to be different. Our new normal has to be better.

    1. Merced
      You are right that it has to be better because what it was before is not going to ever be again! That's where my h and I are now! We're working hard on this each and every day! One day at a time! Hugs!

    2. Merced, you've learned the twisted logic of infidelity. The more we try to ignore what happened, the less the wound heals. It needs attention. From both of you. You both need to be open to it -- talking about it, dealing with it, helping each other heal. You need to be able to share with him that you question his love for you and trust that he can hear that and help figure out what you need from him. Not get defensive but to really try to understand what you're going through.
      Are you two in any kind of therapy? So often the mundane problems in a marriage (difficulty communicating, etc.) make healing from infidelity that much more difficult. You need to learn a new way of being in your marriage -- one that includes acknowledgement of this huge wound.

    3. Elle,
      We did two months of therapy. Then he didn't want to go. He felt overwhelmed by the way it made him feel. That was my mistake. My gut kept telling me to continue. I let my fears take over. I was hurting do bad and was so afraid to hurt him back. I didn't want to say or do things that could make it worse. Last week I had an eye opener. He would tell me to stop giving the bitch power over me. Then I realized that it wasn't her who I was giving my power to, it was him. I've made my decisions based on him, trying to protect him. I've been pushing myself to feel better to get over it because of him. I finally told him that we we're going back to counseling. That he was right, I need to stop being afraid. I'm not the one who needs to prove myself it's him. He needs to prove to me he is trustworthy. I was sorry he feels guilt, shame, etc but he didn't take me into consideration when he was doing what he was doing. This wasn't an oops moment it was a decision. He continues to not want to talk or try to make it seem like it was no big deal because she meant nothing. I feel I can't talk to him. He wants for things to get better without putting in the work. I told him I was not ok with that. I made the appointment with the counselor again. I'm going to stand my ground.

    4. Yay, Merced - good for you standing your ground about what you need from counseling! When I see one of us put our health first like that I want to give a big 'atta girl'!

  4. Beagle mom at just over a year out from
    A massive 2nd d-day I am letting my self relax, which is so frightening.

    I said to mysel not 5 minutes ago "if there's a d-day 3 I won't survive it ".

    Then I read your comments and my heart broke for you and THEN in the next second I said "no, she'll be ok". And you will.
    And so would I, you reminded me of that. Sure my marriage probably not would survive but I will. So will you.

    I had a boyfriend once in my 30s who deflected every damn thing with humor. I don't know if your husband said that damn aids comment to be funny, but it's not. He has to face his bullshit and not dump it on you.

    You won't forgive him? You're doing all the work to get there. If he does not value that. What's he really worth. I am so sorry. I know that does not take away the pain. This sucks but you'll be fine. You are everything

    1. Steam, you're so awesome. "You are everything." That made me tear up.

    2. Steam, thank you. "You are everything" is my new favorite phrase. We all need to realize this as we struggle with the betrayal,hurt and shattered self esteem.

  5. This is something we have dealt with since probably 15 months after dday. I would say we both would like to settle into a new "normal". we both acknowledge it will never be the way it was. We are both in agreement that this will always be an open part of discussion. It is just our new reality. My husband is more conscious of it than even I am. I think he worries more than I do. We are focused on different things. He is more about his behavior, choices he makes etc. I am more about the bigger picture and how things related and read into things (maybe more than I should, but not sure). Initially normal felt horrible. Because normal for so many years was really all fake and lots of lies. But now how do I trust my gut. It is hard for me not to question everything still. We have both found that we are making really different choices. The biggest change is we both were so busy before dday. It is hard you say yes to something and something better comes along so we would both do and accept more individually and that ate away at time together or maybe he slipped away and became distant and I worked to be happy and take care of me. Who knows which came first at this point now. But we have both really made an effort to say no to things and to not be too busy. The more time we spend apart even for work and kids all legitimate makes it harder on both of us.

    And I do feel like as time passes I wonder will he lose track of what he did or minimize it. Well we did talk about this and he said it haunts him every day. He is working at trying to forgive himself and live his best life. He said it will always be his biggest regret. So I know it is sticking with him whether I hold on to it or not. I guess it is like I have told him if either of us left each other I would still feel the pain from his betrayal. Being separated or divorced would not lessen it at all and most likely it would be harder and worse.

    I think the hardest thing for me is he says he wants me to be genuinely happy whether it is with or without him. And some days it is just hard to know what happy feels like. I have moments of happiness but I still feel a lack of that carefree happy attitude and that optimistic feeling. That is the hardest thing for me and a new normal. I think what it comes down to is I hear what he says to me but I still question the authenticity due to the years of lying to me directly. He totally understands that and keeps working with me but it is a challenge for me.

    1. Hopeful 30,
      I know what you mean. My husband and I deal with things so differently. I too read and tried to learn as much as I could. In a way it helped me understand him better. I needed to understand him. Him on the other hand, focused on his actions. To him that is the only way to get better and prove to me he has changed. He grew up in a family that never talked about feelings. Seeing me in pain has been hard on him. It's been 7 months and he still paying for it. To him this has been the biggest mistake of his life. I see his struggle. It's been challenging to see him, the good person he is. I just keep telling myself, good people make mistakes too. We all do.

    2. I agree and I do think as Elle has said people can change and some do not. I have told my husband I feel sad for him. He of course let me, our kids and family down by living a lie for so long but most of all he let himself down. I honestly find that to be the worst thing. I had the impression when someone has an affair they love it and it is the time of their life. Well that was the farthest thing from the truth. It is hard for me to comprehend that, how was he not able to make good decisions for himself. I mean I just do not get that.

    3. Hopeful30, It think that's one of the biggest myths there is about infidelity. If you're a psychopath, then yeah, cheating is probably a blast. But for most of these guys, it's a source of shame and self-loathing and regret. As much as I hated being me after D-Day, it was better than being my husband. I couldn't imagine not being able to look myself in the mirror.

  6. A New Normal. Living with the knowledge of my husbands past is my new normal. I often wonder if any woman who has been betrayed the way I was ever has a single day when they don't have a reminder of why I feel the way I feel inside? Although I can have a good time with my family and best friend (and my husband too) I continue to have a large "dull" spot inside me. I'm not sure what that is exactly. I am hoping this isn't going to be my "new normal" way of feeling because it is not pleasant at times. I've experienced and survived so many difficult and traumatic things in my life that I overcame only to meet and marry my husband whom I thought was finally a trustworthy person. I was wrong, very, very wrong and now I live with the consequences of my poor judgement so many years ago. Wanting to remain married and having a good marriage relationship certainly does not reduce the pain inside of me. I'm not sure how many on this site are married to men who cheated their entire marriage so maybe you can weigh in. Knowing that my 38 years of marriage were tarnished almost from the beginning is a lot to digest, even after two years. When my husband says to me, "I am sorry about the past and I wish I could go back and undue everything but I can't. I choose to live in the present and not repeat those things. I want us to live in the present and I know we can have a great life", what I hear is "I decided to seek sexual activity of all kinds to deal with my personal stresses and now that I'm out of the fog and aware of that I am here for you so please stop reliving what I did because I'm not going to do that again." It is true that ruminating only hurts me more and keeps me stuck. Somehow I think he is getting off so much easier than me. His new normal includes no porn and no paid sex from any source. How does one celebrate that milestone in a spouses life without feeling a dull ache inside? I know it had nothing to do with me and that is both the good and bad news because if he had any sense of right and wrong he might have stopped what he was doing way back before it got out of control with paid sex but he moved forward with his entitlement. What he did has a totally different meaning for him than it does for me. For him it was just a sex act to release his whatever with the best girl he could find at the time. For me, it speaks volumes about what he is capable of in any given moment so getting back to a place of trust is not so easy. Getting to a new normal is a moving target that gets reset daily. I guess that is what our new lives are about. Just for today I will have a good day and expect good things to happen. I will roll with the punches and navigate the changes in ways that satisfy me. I had a wonderful 4th with my kids and grand kids. So much fun to see all the little's learning to navigate cousin relationships. I am blessed beyond belief and my husband gets to enjoy the this blessing because I am keeping his secret.

    1. Beach Girl,
      I could have written exactly what you wrote. My h also cheated our entire marriage of also like you, 38 years.
      Porn, masturbation and prostitution- his estimate is around 75 to 100 whores.
      My new "normal" is like yours- EVERY DAY the hurt and pain is there, and since my 2nd Dday (which was horrific) 2 years ago, there is practically not an hour that goes by that I don't have an intrusive image/trigger.
      My h is remorseful and is disgusted and abhors his past behavior, and it helps some that he feels that way, BUT for the most part he focuses on himself and what a horrible person he is and is depressed and sad most of the time.
      I have told him REPEATEDLY that his "sadness" doesn't help me or himself at all. We are struggling so much with communication.
      Your description of "normal" that gets reset every day is right on. It is frightening to me also, like you said, of what he is capable of and the entitlement he felt for years and years to escape and "medicate" himself with sex.
      I just mainly want to say that it sounds like our husbands have lived very similar lives, and if you would like to correspond with me, I would appreciate it so much. Let me know if you would like to, as I am thinking we might be able to give each other a lot of support and care.
      Many, many hugs and love to you. I am so very sorry we are on this site, but as many others have said, Elle and this blog is a blessing and a comfort, and I feel so blessed and grateful to have found it.

    2. Janice, it is awful that we have led parallel lives. My husband did go to IC and MC early on. He read a book by George Collins about overcoming sex addiction. He has taken a couple of mindfulness classes and practices meditation and yoga now. He disclosed a terrible early childhood history of porn introduction, early sexual experiences not of his choice and had an authoritarian father who was brutal and a narcissistic mother. Add this to being born prematurely and left in the hospital for over a month without much company because they thought he was going to die and you get the perfect set up for a seriously deprived human being who struggled all his life to stay out of the limelight and who never trusted a soul. He presents as a highly educated, articulate, clean-cup (think Mike Pence) guy who everyone saw as a top notch person/partner/parent but inside he felt like a failure. He felt unloved, unwanted, and he hated himself. He felt like a failure even in the face of reality that proved otherwise. I don't understand why that led to prostitutes but he said he felt like a "worthless piece of shit so why not act like one?" I responded below to Sam A about my decision not to tell anyone. I truly see and understand that my husband was never the man I thought he was and he chose not to tell me anything. He actually only disclosed to me after he went to IC and the things he discovered and remembered made him weep. He is filled with shame and disgust and I can understand why. After doing all of the recovery things he did, he truly feels like he has a handle on his life, he has tools in his tool box and I believe he is sincere when he tells me he is never going to believe the voices in his head again. He loves his life, his mind is not cluttered or racing and he is authentic with our children and grandchildren for the first time in his life. He missed so much because of his sex driven fog. He has to live with that. I do love this man. I also hate him at times. I wish there were a way to communicate privately but this blog is not set up for that to happen. Just know that I hold your heart in my hand every day. Peace and sunshine to you.

    3. BG,
      I just read your response to Sam A below. You just keep being brave on this site. We can take it! You are hanging in there and much stronger then you feel. Just the fact you are willing to face life with h, one day at a time, tells us you are a very courageous woman. I hope h knows how lucky he is. You are living with lots of painful information!
      I am thankful for all you share, it has really helped me! For example, how you mention that you can't look back on your past. I struggle with that cloud of sadness that hangs over all those supposedly happy times. Times like that seem to come up in so many conversations, ugh. You talking about that helps me say 'whew, I'm normal'.
      You just keep being you. Know that you are helping others to heal. Love and hugs.

    4. BG and Janice, Time does work magic. But if time isn't working, it's time to consider post-trauma work. Janice it sounds as if you're really struggling with triggers and that's often an indication that the experience has been stored as trauma in your body and needs to be "re-filed" so to speak.
      I think of it like this. I can never go back and un-experience what happened. I used to wish I could have a partial lobotomy to just remove that experience, to go back to my Pollyanna self. But now, I don't wish that. The world looks different to me, absolutely. And I doubt I'll ever have that naive, isn't-everybody-wonderful joy. But I made a choice to rebuild with this man. I could have chosen differently. Each choice has pros and cons. By leaving, I knew I would lose 24/7 access to my children. I would lose having breakfast with someone who was there for all their bumps and bruises. I would lose someone who knew me "before". I decided that price was too high. And so I chose to stay. The price of staying? Knowing what my husband was capable of doing. No longer having that total conviction in his moral integrity. Or anyone's really. Knowing that people aren't always what they seem.
      It's always a choice. But no matter what, your priority must be to totally trust yourself to keep safe.

  7. Beach Girl -
    My husband started having his affair (the only one I know of) in 1997 and didn't stop until the day I confirmed it by looking at his iPad, July 11, 2015. My husband still does not handle my pain well and continues to make comments that he is "choosing to live in the present - that he doesn't want to go back to the past - that I am only making things worse by bringing up his "mistakes". It's almost a self-righteous thing to say "I choose to live in the present", don't you think? Like I am such an ass because I just can't put all this out of my mind and move on. I agree with you on the new normal. I, like you, think my husband got off easy....he only has to "not do that", that is - not start what he called just a "fling", but turned into a love affair he could never end. Yes, love affair - he loved her. He admitted that. This is my dull ache - the knowledge that he loved someone, cared for someone and often times put this woman first during difficult times when he should have been with his family.
    But I choose to stay. We are doing the best we know how - having good times, staying connected, communicating and being there for each other. Not always easy for sure. Our grown children can see how hard we are trying - and we have good times when we are all together. My husband too, gets to enjoy his family, friends, colleagues - never missing a beat - because I too, keep his secret.

    1. A1998,
      I call bullshit on your husband's Zen-Buddha "live in the present" stuff. Living in the present doesn't involve amnesia about the past. It includes accepting what happened, sure. But it also recognizes the important of NOT denying pain. It recognizes the value, the NECESSITY, of processing what happened. His inability to be there for your pain is because of his own shame or fear or self-loathing. And that's on HIM to deal with. You can't pretend in order to protect him because it's damaging to you. It's deeply damaging.
      As for keeping his secret, I would encourage you to consider not doing that. That doesn't mean shouting from the rooftops but do you have a trusted friend with whom you can share what's going on? Someone who can hold your pain and your secret? One of my husband's biggest shocks was discovering that I had told a few friends. And they treated him the same. They still cared about him. They respected his willingness to deal with the pain he'd caused. He was so sure that he was so loathsome that people would flee if they knew. They didn't (though I was very careful about who I told). Our hearts are capable of acceptance and forgiveness, especially when we see someone working hard to be better. But you deserve a safe place to share your pain.

    2. Anonymous 1998
      My h also wanted to get to the 'just live in the present' and 'what about how I'm doing now'. He tried hard to slosh over it and even though he accepted that he made a major stupid decision, he finally had to accept that healing had to include a tremendous amount of time spent discussing it over and over until I was able to move forward. Until that happened, I was stuck with, yeah you're doing the right things now, but you still lied and cheated on us for many months and then I screamed at him that he was always going to be the one that chose to cheat instead of just saying how lonely and unhappy he was in our marriage at the time he chose to go on his first date with the cow down to the last time he chose to take his 'fuck buddie' on a one night business trip! I can actually say that no matter how hard it has been to get through it all, somehow he did begin to listen and hear that in addition to the anger, I was/am still so hurt by what he and his cow chose to do over and over! He finally understands the pain he brought into all three of our lives! That's when how he's doing now became more important than what he did 6 years ago! Hugs! I know how damned hard this shit is when you have a h that is slow to understand the magnitude of what their actions brought to us!

    3. Anonymous 1998,

      I have come to really detest these CH's use of the word "mistake". A mistake is an accident, something done unintentionally. None of them tripped and fell with an erection into a naked whore with her legs spread. When they cheated it was a bad "decision" a terrible "choice".

      The EA portion of my H's A was intermittent over 4 years. Early after Dday (which was 7 years after H has eneded the A) when he tried to give me the 'can't you just move past this and live in the present with me' I told him 'you had a 4 year A plus 7 years to process your own guilt and you want me to get over it in a few months?!?!' I think that's when he began to have some empathy.

      My H also told me he 'thought he loved COW'. To this day (7 mos post Dday) him saying that is the most painful memory I have (and there is a lot of complexity - just one example: the COW was a relative and most of their family knew about the A and they all kept it from me). I can logically know that was most certainly not love. But just that he 'thought' it was broke my heart into pieces and that pain is not lessening. The sex I can get over easier, it was nothing special.

    4. I am with you BEG. My husband saying the only reason he has the affairs is because we got married too young and he was not ready. It is honestly worse than everything else he did. To me this is the biggest violation. If he was not ready he should have said so. Why push a woman to marry you and have kids when you feel this way. Life does not get easier with marriage or children.

      And I said to him over and over there is nothing but excuses unless he was drugged or unconscious every time. Nope he admits he said no, stop each time since he knew how wrong it was and the damage he was doing.

  8. I too feel the same as usual when you write. I struggle with all these things. The affairs went on for 10 of our 20 years of marriage but that did not start and happen over night. I have asked if anything happened before this and got basically a no answer. I believe there was no specific physician or emotional affair before that but I am sure his behavior was as he said shifted away from what a husband should act like. I think he also justified in his head his secret fb and secret email were no big deal especially once he started the physical affairs. Also him telling me he should have not gotten married negates even if he was not doing anything wrong with women. He finally just realized and acknowledged everything I gave up for him and how little he was there for me. I will say the reminders of the affairs are there and insecurities and emptiness because of that. However I have a greater feeling of emptiness related to our marriage and his treatment of me.

    I also do feel as he has verbalized and is concerned about the fact that he feels he has transferred all of the negativity related to his betrayal to me. He feels better than ever about himself. He is so confident in how he is living and is happier and more productive than at any point in his life. He feels like I am showing a lot of the same feelings he did all those years. I struggle with feeling down, negative feelings, self doubt, insecurities, shame, sadness and emptiness. He has talked to me about id we should tell anyone else so I could have someon else. That is how I ended up in therapy.

    Each day I focus on the good as much as possible but it is comforting hearing your thoughts as they are so similar to mine. Thank you

  9. We have been married 10 years this month and together 16. Im unsure if there were more woman I have confirmed his whore was met while we were dating and supposedly only seen occasionalmy a few times a year and phone email contact over the years until life got busy and my husband and his whore became a regular side piece for what I can tell 4+ years with the last year before I found out being a complete shit show lies money cars apartments the list goes on ... then it became to much his double life running 2 households stress bullshit the porn sex no longer worth all the bullshit that came with it. He came home and told me trickle truth and she continued to haunt us! He even went back a few months after d day still in fog I guess and I found out and went apeshit d day 2 hurt more or made me question more and question reality vs fake. She continued to stalk us for months but he flipped and started fighting for us. Guess my d day 2 give a shit now or lose it all finally was heard. I'm just over 2 years from d day 1 and coming up on d day 2 shortly the date burned in my brain as the last time he fucked the dirty whore. Only now I can see she was desperate available could be anyone. And he has issues. He is sorry and I am better but never the same and still have my moments. It's not consuming like it was and im.smiling again but the ache though duller still remains in that damn rear view mirror. But I'm still here trying my choice everyday as I chant wounded not broken. Look for shimmers of glitter everyday, pretty toes and long walks help but take time. Time a 4 letter word some days.

    1. Pretty toes and long walks are healers. So is time (though yes, it's a four-letter word sometimes).
      Wounded, you are so strong. You have endured so much pain. So much chaos. And here you are. Two years out (which, frankly, I could barely think straight at that point).
      Sounds like he went a bit crazy and has found his still point again. Fighting for you. That's good.

  10. Hopeful 30 and beach girl, having read your comments above It's interesting to read that neither of you have confided in anyone but a therapist and for you beach girl a friend. I'm not saying that telling anyone and everyone will help your healing but when you feel you need to splurge to a friend or family then you should. I'm the total opposite to you ladies I have told many close friends, colleagues and family members how they deal with it is their problem not mine. I'm quite open and honest ( too much so at times) but that's me and we're all different, I think I've probably got it out of my system and not carried his shameful acts with me like it was my secret. It helped me to talk about his affair, some have experienced the same as me others haven't however I find people are supportive either way. I think another thing we did different was I had that separation from my h (still do) and that helps tremendously. Not sure I could really heal with him being around.

    I hope you both find a way to move past this, hearing your hurt and sending you lots of love xxx

    1. Sam A, the circumstances of his disclosure were awful. Our younger daughter was due to have her baby any day and she is a beautiful Asian woman. My husband chose Asian prostitutes younger than her. I told him he was a pervert and accused him of trying to screw his daughter. Oh but it got much worse and I've said mean, ugly, hateful things to him about his choices. One time he said, "well they are the ones in the business" and I said you take me for a fucking idiot? There are all shapes, colors and genders yet you chose your daughter. She adores him so much and early on I told him it made my skin crawl to see him hug her. I told him to keep his filthy paws off my granddaughter because I hoped he died a slow and painful death. Oh I suspect there are those of us here who have said hateful things to our spouses. I never regretted a single thing I said to him and there really isn't a day that goes by when I don't have a fleeting thought of him dying so I can be released from this secret but the larger ripples of disclosure would forever change our family. I'm watching him like a hawk. He says I'm a pervert! I said, really? You have the gall to say that to me after seeking whores younger than your daughter and who look like her? Who the hell is the pervert in this family? Yikes, my blood pressure if up and my heart is racing so let's just leave it at this. He has to live with this till one of us dies and I certainly hope it will be him. I told him right away and when we have our talks I remind him that if he slips one time, we are done and everyone will know the truth about him and he can deal with it with the kids. Asshole. He disgusts me and he disgusts himself he says but not enough to stop what he was doing. See, I'm not really over this am I? Sorry for the expressive language but I'm brave here.

    2. Beach Girl
      Please don't apologize - no need to here. My husbands affairs have also caused me to use a load of vulgarity. I too, could probably choose to use other words to express myself, but you know what? I feel so much better with the "f" bomb, "whore", "arse hole" words, so I'm sticking to those thank you very much! I reckon like you, most of us, me definitely, have also secretly hoped our h would drop dead. I go between thinking that and then feeling guilty 'cause our kids are still young and need to have him in their lives. Nothing will ever really take this pain away will it?, so I too like you feel the same. I'm 19 months out of D Day one. Maybe I'll feel differently in years to come - I'll let you know, but I think I'll always have the utter disgust and hate towards him for what he chose to do.
      From our betrayed wives point of view - there is no right or wrong to disclosing to anyone if you don't want to. For me, I have told a couple of older female friends (20+ years older), as I value their wisdom and it really felt good to share this heartache with people who love me. I'ts actually made our bond and friendship stronger. I wish I could be more like you Sam A and sometimes I really want to tell everyone, so they can see the real him - the lying cheating disgusting arse hole he is. I want him to feel humiliated and hurt like hell, how he made me feel, but unfortunately, society hides behind it's own security net of the unknown, and people don't get involved. I would love for people to go up to our husbands and say "you low life piece of shit"....etc Really make our husbands feel that what they did was not right, and that us betrayed wives had someone in our corner batting for us. Maybe if more people started to call out our cheating husbands for what they are, there may be a decline in cheating...but with SO many people cheating nowadays, and so many songs, shows, and "noteable" people doing it, it's as if we have become saturated with this and it has become acceptable! It is all so wrong.
      I know if our marriage doesn't work out, I will then let everyone know why - and he can deal with that.
      Gabby xo

    3. We have had lengthy conversations regarding this from early on the past two years. I will say my husband said early on he was open to whatever I wanted to do and I could tell anyone. He said he did not expect or want me to protect him but he wanted me to do what I needed to do and he would support me. I took this to heart and thought about it a lot.

      My biggest consideration was my kids. My kids are not grown and all of my friends have kids similar ages and even though I trust my friends I was concerned if they told their spouse and their kids overheard or if there were any texts and their kids saw it. I honestly felt if I was going to tell others we would have to at least tell the kids a general explanation that we were having issues.

      I also thought about my friends and I know they are kind and good people but I am not sure what they have to offer. Based on comments they have made I know their thinking is not supportive of me being with him at this point. I know they would still be good to me but I know how they feel. The other aspect is my friends are who we spend time together as couples and I felt like that would affect those relationships as a group.

      I never considered telling my parents. I am 100% sure they would not be accepting of him. My parents put honesty and integrity as the most important character traits. They despise anyone who is false or treat people poorly much less me. I am sure that would cause permanent damage.

      So in the end I decided that I could not see the benefit. For me I have found us being together and working through thiis together has been beneficial. Granted who knows if I did something else differently how it would be now. And for me the issues I struggle with are more overall marriage and relationship related. Of course the affairs play a role but for me it is a bigger and longer term focus on what I want from our relationship. And based on that my friends and family do not have anything to offer. They are great people but I do not look up to them from a marital perspective. Even during the affair years my husband and I were always closer and more connected.

    4. Beach Girl, you can use whatever language you want on here! I feel similarly, if my H & I split and if it is anything other than him gracefully walking away and leaving me whole (I am the breadwinner) I have no intention of keeping his ugly secrets.

  11. I've also told no-one.

    1. Wounded
      I'm sorry you have no real person to share with, but I chose to only share this with my faithful lab and the others here because I don't trust anyone but her and all of you that would even give a damn. To this day my lab listens to me and she doesn't judge me for staying with a cheater! I don't hold it against her for loving my cheating h just as much because she loves unconditionally! Hugs!

  12. Sorry, I don't know where to post or how to not have to post as anonymous. Also, seem to have lost the mental capacity to try to find out. June 29, 2017, yes, just a few days ago really, in spite of how distant and foreign it feels. He's gone now for a few days. I don't know if that is better or worse. In our house it was "escorts." You should see the cringe when the words out of my mouth are "you had SEX WITH HOOKERS?" Once, he even said "that makes it sound so terrible!" Um. IT IS F*ING TERRIBLE. Hear me say it and then repeat it to yourself. It's the unvarnished truth. Anyway, I am glad I finally found this site. I feel like he has killed me. It really stinks that this is so common a situation that all of our stories have such commonalities. But here's mine. I am 50 years old in a few days. Mr. Husband is 45. I have had my suspicions for a few months now. He once left his iPad sitting on the bed while he was in the restroom. Like a naive dummy, I picked it up and scrolled through it casually, never expecting to see a nude photo of him in OUR BATHROOM on a text that I didn't have time to investigate because he came back in the room. Why did I feel guilty for looking? File that away in the don't go there part of my brain, and a couple of weeks ago, my husband was injured at work, which is a 6 hour drive from here. I spent hours in extreme panic waiting to hear what happened and how he was, although I knew he was alive and not in any real "emergent" danger. Once he left the ER and headed home to recuperate, I was just happy that he was relatively ok, and I had made all of his follow up care arrangements and done all of the legwork and paperwork. As wives do, I suppose. Once he got home, I realized that his injury was both better and worse than I had anticipated. A separated shoulder means that he will get better with minimal intervention, but it also means that he can't completely bathe himself. It was several days of inexplicable feelings of disgust, shame, and resentment that I experienced every time I had to deal with his naked body in the shower. He found it inexplicable also. "But I am your husband! Why does this bother you so much?" So I tamp down the anxiety and try not to show on my face the horror I felt at shower assist time. Flash forward to the day we go to the orthopedic surgeon, and he hands me his phone while he goes off for x-rays. This time, the scrolling was not idle. I was on a mission, and I found ALL THE THINGS. Granted, many of the words of the texts to numbers with no names I had to google later. The words and phrases used to negotiate sex for money are not part of my lexicon. A couple of days pass, I am armed with real information, and unable to look at him, let alone assist him in the shower, so the confrontation ensues. And at first he blusters, and lies. And does what I think I was afraid of- tells me I don't know what I'm talking about. But I DO know what I am talking about now, after several days of intense research and using Dr. Google to answer the questions I had- such as what is backpage.com? What does "the donation is $300, no upsells" mean? You see even now I still know these foreign phrases by heart. They are burned there behind my eyes and I see them all the time. So, when faced with sufficient ammunition, Mr. Husband is left with no option but to "confess." If you can call it that. I know I already went on too long, but I can't tell a SOUL, and my daughter's wedding is in about a month so I can't let on either. I'm really not doing well at all. Maybe after putting this down here I will be able to sleep for at least a couple of hours.
    I will try to muster up the energy to sign up properly over the next few days if I can. Right now I am EMPTY.

    1. Probably Dying, I suspect each and everyone of us on this site knows exactly how you feel right now. The good news is that you are probably not going to die and right now that probably feels like the bad news too. You may loose a ton of weight, sleep and motivation and you may feel like the only person on your island of pain but trust me sister, you have many invisible sisters holding your heart and hand right now. With a wedding in your immediate future I hope you can get yourself a good counselor right away so you have someone to chat with and believe me, if your husband can pay $300 for hookers he can fund your healing counselors. He needs to get into counseling too. I found so many helpful things on my path to healing but in the immediate aftermath of my husband's disclosure it was all I could do to exercise (which helped me more than you can know, just walk, walk, walk), eat (I lost 40 pounds), sleep (ah, my friends the dark circles) and breathe. Please know that what your husband did has nothing to do with you. Elle says this all the time and my counselor says this and all the books say this. Regardless of what excuses or reasons your husbands gives you, please know that if he says you are the root of his cheating you look him in the eye and tell him that there are many things about him you are not fond of but your solution did not include cheating on him so he has to own it and look in the mirror and see that person who made those choices. My husband had to face a lot of painful truths about himself, his life, his family and his coping mechanisms and none of them included me. I am so sorry you are here but welcome. We are a safe place, we vent, we cuss, we love and we hope for better times. Many of us have learned mindfulness and the benefit of being present for just this one minute, hour, and day. Just this moment. Just breathe. Just drink water. Just walk. Just know that time does help. Focus on your daughter's wedding. You will be the happiest mother in the world because your cheating spouse cannot take your feelings of love for your daughter away from you. Enjoy that moment because you deserve to share in the joy of that day. Come back. We will hold your heart gently.

    2. Probably dying,
      Oh my goodness, do I remember being convinced that I was probably dying. I WANTED to die. Anything to end the agony.
      But here's the thing. The worst is over. You know what you need to know. He cheated on you, likely for a pretty long time, he lied to you about it. He is not to be trusted.
      So...you get to decide what happens next. My guess is he thought he could have his cake and his family too. Turns out, he was really really wrong.
      He needs to come completely clean and tell you everything you want to know.
      And then, if you're even considering staying with him, he needs to find someone to help him sort through the mess in his head. He needs to give you total access to any/all electronic devices/apps/e-mails.
      You need to focus as much as you can on you. On triage. On self-care. Find yourself a therapist who can help you begin to process the incredible pain of betrayal. Someone who will remind you that this has nothing to do with you and EVERYTHING to do with him. This is his failure, not yours.
      Probably dying, I know you feel empty. We've all been there. But you are stronger and braver than you yet know. You will get through this. And there are incredible women on this site who are further along the path to healing who will light your way. Hang in there. Sleep when you can. Eat. Be gentle with yourself. You don't deserve what's happening to you.

    3. Probably dying
      Welcome to the club not one of us here would have chose to be in! I wish it was a lonely place with only a few but it appears that there are hundreds of thousands of women who find themselves walking in these shoes! I'm reaching my arms out to hug your pain, and just know you're safe here and not one of us judge anyone's choices to stay married or file for divorce! Everyone is free to choose what's best for them! I'm so so sorry to know that this happened to you!

  13. Oh. Also, it has been nearly 20 years with this man. My kids are his kids, and never knew their own father before he died. So, yes, another layer of who he did not consider when donating $300.

    1. probably dying,

      First of all, you are a kind person that you took care of CH during his recuperation despite what you had jest discovered. I had to take care of my CH following several surgeries he had days after I discovered his AM account. So I understand that feeling.

      For now you need all the support you can get so you can be there for your daughter. If you haven't already please try to get an appointment with a therapist soon. You DO need sleep. I don't think I slept for more than 2/24 hours for about 3 mos. and the insomnia made me a useless zombie. I ended up on antidepressants for a few months (which helped and I am off now). You can tell a therapist, clergy, an attorney, your doctor. They all have to keep your confidence. You or your husband may have telephonic EAP through your work and they generally don't do ongoing calls but you can call them in a crisis and they will help you locate a counselor. Several faith based organizations (like focus on the family) offer a one time telephone counseling. And there is always journaling - write down how you are feeling, you can be raw, mind dump, often getting it out on paper (or on this blog) can give your brain the ability to rest for a few hours and take every opportunity you an to just take a nap.

      One day at a time. Just focus on today. I am so sorry you have been betrayed too. I wish I could just give you a big hug.

  14. Is there any emotion that will imprison my heart more than the unwillingness to forgive? What do I do when people mistreat me? Betray me? Cause me unbelievable emotional pain? The fire of anger boils in me with flames that completely consume every unbelievable emotion I have? I reach somewhere to some cool source of water and pull mercy out of a bucket to free myself. Don't get on that roller coaster of resentment and anger I say to myself. I'm going to be the one who says, Yes, he mistreated me and I'm going to get better, stronger for myself. I just can't say yet, "Forgive then for they know not what they do." I'm 3.5 years out.

    We had a good conversation about how I still feel about his infidelity. He asked me. Are you the happiest you have ever been? I said yes except you cheated. He says, Do you love the the life you have now? I said yes, except you cheated. He says, Do you like our new marriage and all the things we have planned? I said, Yes except you cheated. He says, I didn't know my entire life what true love is but I do now. I said great for you but you still cheated. He says, Are you having the best sex ever? I said yes, and you cheated. The pain is less, harsh memories are fading, the thoughts are kept away as I have learned in therapy to get in the moment, it will get better if owns his shit, doesn't make excuses, doesn't gaslight and throws everything he has into the relationship to make it work, throws himself into helping you heal and takes all the force of a tornado, hurricane and tsunami you throw him but he doesn't run away this time. I told him our marriage ended on December 13, 2013. He was hurt. I said we have a relationship but I consider our marriage dead. Marriage doesn't mean anything to me anymore. He said I still consider you my wife. I said yes because I didn't cheat.

    1. LLP,
      That wound will always be there. But it's your choice to keep picking at it, to keep the scar fresh. And I wonder why you do it. Fear? A deep terror that, if you forget for a second, if you forgive, that you'll get blindsided again? I have that fear. I suspect most of us do. Once bitten, a billion times shy, right? But, at a certain point, we're simply getting in our own way. You don't have to forgive him, LLP. I don't think I've really "forgiven" my husband in a sense. I have decided to release him from being forever tethered to my resentment. When my resentment arises, and it still does, I try to examine what it's really about. Is it about something he did 10 years ago? Or is it about something else? Mostly...it's the something else and the something else is often things I'm saying to myself about my worth, my value.

    2. LLP, Wow. You are good writer. What you write, I get it.

    3. Lynnlesspain
      I spent many months the first two years reminding him that this was all because of his choice to cheat! I remember when I realized that I was hurting myself more than him but yet I was making him pretty damn miserable too! I wish I had a magic spell that could help you through emotions that you clearly don't want but are still so raw that you can't move past them! There isn't any magic, there's just plain old time and work involved. I'm hoping he's still working hard to win your heart back and when you're ready, it'll happen! Big hugs and just know it takes as long as it takes to move through this much resentment and heartache!

    4. LLP, I wish I had some words for you to help you move forward without those final thoughts you have. Like you, I feel like my marriage ended on June 14, 2015 and like you, I enjoy all of those things you listed. My husband's past sexual activity meant something totally different to him than to me but more and more I am realizing that I have to let go of a lot because it really does hurt me when I waste any amount of time ruminating about what he did and how it hurt me. It is done and gone although the scars are deep and they protrude into my daily life sometimes. I have very deep feelings about what he did and some of them are so toxic that I get heart palpitations when I go there. The moments when I find myself feeling tender thoughts or feelings for my spouse are times I try to embrace and remember because they will help me move forward. I really don't think my husband will ever do anything again to hurt me but the fact that he did all that he did means I may never trust him again. That feels awful, just knowing that I choose to live with a man I don't trust but maybe that will change over time. I am not a religious person and sometimes I wonder if I have any spiritual bent at all but early on I found that if I could learn to accept the present for the gift it is, and not think about the past, I do much better. I'll never change my husband's history. He owns that in all its ugliness. I am certainly not my best self when I fall into that black hole of sorrow and pain and hate and my body reminds me that I should not waste precious time with those emotions because at 66, I have no idea how much time I have left on this earth and the stress I place on myself is counter productive. Learning, bit by bit, day by day, to look at those truths as facts of the past and letting them go is such a slow and necessary process for me. I am so proud of myself when I get through an entire day of letting those thoughts go without malice. I deserve better. I don't want my thoughts of his past to taint my life anymore. I'm with this guy now. I'm having a good time. I look at him and remember all that he did and I think, "he is not doing that now and he is not off the hook because he gets all the reminders just like me and his reminders also include the knowledge that I know and he hurt the only person in his life who ever really loved him and had his back". He finally knows that now and he feels safe and secure. I wish you peace today and possibly a day without those memories. Today, my email from terri st. cloud (Bone Sigh Arts) says "Put down what it did to you. Pick up what you got from it." I need to think about this today. Love and Peace to you and all.

    5. Elle, wow, thanks for your response to LLP. Your words are profound right now and I feel such a sense of relief to hear you say you haven't really "forgiven" your husband as much as releasing him from your resentment. Wow, just profound. Right now it feels overwhelming to me to think about what forgiveness means but releasing resentment tied to his actions is not so difficult. He will go to his death knowing that he was not the man he wanted or pretended to be, that he acted out against his best judgement and interests and that his personal legacy includes inflicting pain on me. Those were all his choices and in fact, there are many millions of folks out there with a similar history to him that made very different choices. He and I get to make our own choices but now, we have a clear understanding of boundaries in our marriage and the consequences of breaking them. Even if I don't feel married to him anymore in the way I did before D-day, we are still married and living with better boundaries that include monogamy. Thank you for all your insight.

    6. Beach girl
      It was Elle who first introduced me to Terri St Cloud and her bones sigh inspiration! I follow her on Facebook as well as her sons and I get such a calm feeling from her daily wisdom! Today was love and I've got to read it over again and ponder it a bit but I too find her as comforting as Elle and the warrior sisters she brought to this blog! Maybe others can find comfort in her wisdom! Thanks for sharing!

    7. Elle you are spot on again. I have not thought about what I call the "left-overs" which have nothing to do with the affair. Thank you for your validation regarding forgiveness and that makes me feel better not stubborn. Beach and brown eyed girl and Theresa it helps just to know that you feels the same way. I don't know why but it really helped me to know that yes, this is really how others feel too.

  15. At the risk of sounding like a desperate, pitiful, useless person, I'm back today asking for more. I thank all of you who took the time and energy from their own pain to reply to me with help and hope. Not sure I am even doing this right, because I have no experience with online groups. But here goes. He called last night from work. You know the feeling when you see that it is him calling and you don't want to even answer, but you debate while it rings, thinking, if I don't answer I am giving him the power of knowing I am too hopeless to even pick up the phone? Actually, any time the phone rings I have to force myself to pick it up. But I digress. He is coming home early because it's my 50th birthday on Monday. I was just settling into my plan of going away by myself because no one will be suspicious if I go away for that, and it might be a way to get some sleep or at least rest. Maybe with someone else making the food I can eat and keep it down. But no, he is coming home and apparently coming along with me. I only told him about it because I thought it would be something that would make him decide not to come, because spa time is definitely not his thing... He has never taken any time off work just to be with me before, except for the cancer scare period of a few years ago. So that's how serious this is to him, but why do I feel manipulated by his sudden concern? Anyway, if anyone has the time- I can't seem to get a grip on my mind. Can't function right or as expected, and don't have the capacity to make any type of decisions, and all my energy is going toward keeping up appearances at least until after the wedding. Which I am failing at, because I keep hearing "what's wrong? You are not yourself." When I got your replies this morning I decided to ask: what can I do to regain some control of my mind?

    1. probably dying, First of all happy birthday! I expect that you probably don't feel much like celebrating this year and that's ok but this group of ladies has your back. Some of the best advice I received on here in my early days after dday was to not even attempt to make any big decisions - just the 'next best step'. So, for example, your control for today is to decide how YOU want to spend the day. If you want to allow your H in earnest to join you then let him. If you want a day alone in a spa & hotel with room service then do that. In other words, it's your day, don't worry about making anyone else happy or sad. Put yourself first.

    2. Probably dying, I have been there. It is so hard. It feels like a roller coaster sometimes and sometimes like everything bothers you yet you have no idea what you want. It is so early still which is hard. For me I had to sit down and decide what I wanted. Then I figured out what I needed as much as possible. This was not easy and it changed often. Sometimes I did want to be left alone but in general I found comfort when we were together. For me deciding I wanted to work at the marriage I felt we needed to be in on this together. And I felt my husband had to see it all even the worst of the pain he was causing me. But I think it is different for all of us. I would just say to be patient with yourself. I know that is hard I always wanted to resolve everything and feel better. Part of it was the pain was just so tiring but also I am a type a person and wanted to make a to do list and check it off. Well that just did not work. Anything I rushed through just came back to kick me later.

      Are you seeing a therapist? Maybe you could double up on appointments before the wedding. I think a wedding alone brings a lot of stress into anyone's life. I know weddings bring up a lot of feelings and did for me shortly after dday. It was really hard. We had to have someone take our kids to the reception and I almost could not pull myself together. It was so hard. I was breaking down and my husband sat and told me every wedding we had been to he basically blocked it out just to ignore what was being said so he would not feel so bad about himself.

      I know I said it before but journaling and listening to music helped me the most. As far as your key question of how to control your mind I am not sure there is a way. Try to eat and sleep any amount you can. I tried to really focus on my kids. I was so happy when I was with them. Or I made sure to workout and cook healthy meals even if I barely ate I felt good my kids were eating healthy. And as far as your husband going with you that is something you have to decide if you think there could be any benefit. I have found even now over two years later it helps me a ton to explain my hesitation or what I think might be a possible trigger. It helps me so much and him too. I still have major triggers or issues now. I am at a point where I can and do tell him. It has taken time but if I expect anything positive between us then I need to tell him what I want, need and/or expect. Again I am not saying this is easy or even possible at your stage but just thoughts on how I have moved through this.

    3. Probably Dying, I've been there and it is not pretty, easy or easily explainable. I have also struggled to get control of my mind. Some of the things I did within the first year are get off social media, stop watching the news, walked my feet off, went to the gym, went to swim classes, chopped vegetables because I had to focus on not cutting myself, listening to calming music, seeing a therapist, and finally, taking a mindfulness class. The mindfulness class was called "Mindfulness for Stress Reduction" and it covered meditation, learning how to count my breath, yoga and using the Insight Timer app to really use the meditations This has been most helpful regarding controlling my thoughts. I read Pema Chodron, Jack Kornfield, Eckart Tolle, Ram Dass, Buddhist magazines and because my husband used porn and prostitutes I read a lot about sex addiction, triggers and tried to figure out how to live hour by hour without wanting to die or kill him. It was excruciatingly painful and slow for the first year. Honestly, my body still does not feel like my body. I feel like I live in an alternative universe at times. The meditation has really helped a lot. I try to breath and count my breaths. I have to remind myself daily that the past is done, it happened and I cannot deny that. I live with a man who was not who he presented to me 39 years ago. His sex addiction and attraction to the "dark side" developed very early in his life and he used sex to manage his feelings of inferiority despite all of the outward signs of being a very successful and highly educated man who was a leader in his field. It didn't matter because it was the way he felt about himself that he responded to. Because he went to counseling and then shared the truth of his childhood and life with me I am getting better able to forgive his choices and forgive myself for not knowing. Honestly, if you want to go off to celebrate your 50th by yourself, please do that. This is your choice and happy birthday to you. My niece turned 30 this year and she booked herself into a spa for a full day pampering and told her husband he could entertain their cat. Wish I would have done that at her age. Much love.

    4. Probably dying. Emotional trauma changes your brain. Every part of your thoughts is recording a memory which will have the ability to pop up or repeat many many times. It is the hardest. Your mind shifts into a reactive mode. Your thoughts shut down all non-essential stuff, like what is for dinner? PTSD symptoms for me were unwanted memories,shame, blame, being negative and the worst was hypervigilance and avoidance. All these at one time caused me to become so out of control in my own mind.

      You will discover your own path to healing and eventually get control of your mind. You are a unique special survivor like us all so your healing will be unique as you are. You will make it. Stay connected.

  16. Pd,
    Happy birthday to you! You will survive today and the days ahead, though you likely won't feel it is possible. I recall having just enough strength and presence of mind to meet each social obligation. It took me longer to decide clothing, etc because I found it nearly impossible to care about it or make a decision. I hope the wedding can be on auto pilot from here on out for you!
    Others have already given you good advice, reread it and reread it, dig around on this sight as much as you need to.
    You don't have to let h in on your birthday outing!!! I didn't want to be in the same room with mine and he was remorseful and kind.
    I'm sorry you've been betrayed. Do not feel pressure to do anything you don't have to do!Let the dry spots in the lawn go, dust pile up. Focus on you! Keep us posted as you need to. You are not alone.

  17. I am seven months out. Getting better every day. Unless I am in a numb stage. Not sure. A daughter's wedding would be difficult for me but I am rooting for you. I know you Will handle it with grace and joy. I decided not to attend any weddings this year as for me the vows are a farce. I realize couples don't enter unions expecting to break their vows. But I can't bear to sit next to my h and listen to vows. It disappoints him as he is a very social person. But he is trying hard to win me back. I do love the strength I have gained in the past 7 months. I hope all of you achieve a level of strength as well. It feels great!



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