Monday, August 14, 2017

When You Feel Powerless

"Arrange whatever pieces come your way."
~Virginia Woolf

Most of us live in a sort of delusion that we have far more control over our lives than we do. It's an easy delusion. There's often not so much evidence that we're wrong. At least until the lump turns out to be malignant. Or our "good" kid starts stealing money to buy drugs. Or a fender bender leaves us with chronic pain that no amount of physio can fix.
Or until our spouse, the person we counted on to predictably keep the vows he took five, 10, 20 years earlier turns out to have been lying to us to five months, 10 months, 10 years.
Our delusion of control becomes clear. And it's terrifying. 
But here's what we know: We haven't changed. And what we could always control – ourselves – is still what we could always control. And what we couldn't ever control – everybody else – is still what we can't ever control.
And that, my dear soul-warriors, is good news.
It might not feel like that at first. At first, it might feel like horrible news. The worst news. How the hell are we supposed to move forward in a world where anybody can do anything at any time? Who knows what chaos will ensue? Who knows if he'll stop seeing her? Who knows if she'll respect "no contact"? Who knows if this will happen again?
Nobody. That's who knows. Nobody.
And nobody ever did know. 
We were deluding ourselves.
Life, for the most part, is a game of weighing the odds. Do I think this person is trustworthy? Does this person have a track record of keeping promises? Of being fair? Of being reasonable? The emotionally healthy among us weigh this carefully. The less healthy among us (ahem, myself included) were taught to ignore those calculations. To give second and third and fourth chances. To pay attention to the apologies and ignore the original injury. To see the smile, not the lie.
A lot of us responded to a chaotic childhood with what the psychologists call "magical thinking", which is to say that we believed we had far more power than we did. We thought we could control things that we couldn't. 
But even those with idyllic childhoods suffer the delusion of control. It's a way of surviving in a chaotic world where, frankly, anything can happen at any time. A bus can come careening around the corner and flatten us. Our child can develop debilitating mental health issues. 
To put it in the vernacular, shit happens.
But.
But...we can always control our response to what life throws our way. 
And, let me say it again, this is good news.
We have power though it might feel as though we don't.
We have the power to decide what it is that we will tolerate in our marriage after betrayal. We have power to carefully consider the consequences of a partner's deception, or continuing deception after we've agreed to give them a second chance.
We can make calculations, perhaps with the help of a therapist who's more clear-eyed than we are. We can determine what we want the rest of our life to look like if our partner cannot or will not become someone who deserves a second chance. And we get to decide what that looks like. We get to determine what our second chance consists of. Do we insist they get therapy? Do we insist that they attend a 12-step group? Do we insist upon treatment for their depression/addiction/anxiety/ADHD/impulse control/whatever? Do we insist that they steer clear of "friends" who enabled the cheating? As Steam puts it so perfectly, "My heartbreak, my rules."
It won't be easy. The right decision isn't always the easy one, though a lot of us also buy into the delusion that if it's the right decision, it will "feel" right. Nope. Not if we're accustomed to a lifetime (or even a few years) of not paying attention to our instincts. It takes practice to trust ourselves. It's a muscle that needs developing.
But that, my fierce soul-warriors, is where your power rests. In the knowledge that you have what it takes to keep yourself safe. In the recognition that you control you and nobody else. 
And, one more time, that is good news. 

86 comments:

  1. Elle - once again you have hit right at the core of what I am feeling. And you would know this is my recent struggle based on all my posts. Thank you for sharing the good news with us...and reminding us that it IS good news that we can control ourselves. I hope and pray that I am on a better path of working on ME, so that I can better heal my marriage. Not my husband - no, that lies in him - but that I can have the clarity of mind that i need to control...decide...how I heal from this. Thank you brave friend. Thank you.

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  2. Oh wow is all I can say. Today marks 2 years and 2 months since my husband's disclosure and my personal descent into madness. It has been a hard 12 hours my friends and now that I've read this I plan to go back and re-read the link I posted on last Wednesday's blog about Anger and do my best to remind my ever loving self that I can choose to feel optimistic despite this painful knowledge. I hate feeling powerless and feeling fearful and it always show up right after a period of calm. I'd really love to have a couple of good weeks in a row without starting down that "are things really okay or am I an idiot?" mindset.

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    1. Oh Beach Girl - reaching out to give you a hug because I so very much identify with what you describe. I can go a few weeks of feeling good, and then bam - I have a crazy moment where I am driving around looking for things, or checking e-mails non-stop, or going off the deep end trying to talk and talk and talk....and it's exhausting. Yes, we have the POWER to choose how we handle this, but it is so maddening sometimes. I shouted outloud at my computer "YES YES YES" when I read your mindset of are things really okay or am I an idiot!! I so don't want to be naive or an idiot and sometimes it's hard to see what is real between the madness. Know I am holding you close today! Hugs!

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    2. Maiden of the ShieldAugust 16, 2017 at 9:49 PM

      Beach Girl you described my life perfectly. My "descent into madness"as you say is a daily struggle. My madness is accompanied by overwhelming sadness. I can have "good days" where I don't like publicly lose my mind but I gave a daily sttuggle. The sadness tho....its always there. I am not as far along on this as you but I feel every word you say as if it were my own. There are days I long for "normal" or "the way it used to be. I find no solace though, because normal is a matter of perception and the way it used to be was a lie.

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    3. Beach girl, how long did it take for you to go even one day that you considered a "good day". I'm so sorry your over 2 months past Dday and still hoping for a couple of consecutive good weeks. I know my reactions are my responsibility, but I'm having a super rough time. 90% of the time I'm so sad & angry. I'm nearing the 8 month mark & I feel like I should be in a better place. My H has been extremely supportive over my moods, the roller coaster effect. I'm grateful as is he when I have a partial good day. He is so ashamed, as he should be. A year ago this month he had written the most romantic beautiful email on his hopes & dreams of rectifying his painful situation so their dreams could come true. This was sent to her last August, one week before our 29th Anniversary. I found this email 4 months after Dday. Prior to that it was super mushy texts how much he loved her, every single day several times a day for approx 10 months. He never spoke romantic things to me. Ever. This is one of the main things I am having such a hard time with, & pops in my head daily. I've been told by therapist, physicians (who diagnosed me with PTSD) and my minister to make my mind go elsewhere when this happens. To think of the man he was before the affair (good H but not romantic in any way except cards he's given me for special occasions) and to think of the man I have now that dropped the ow on Dday, swore he was feeding her full of BS, has no idea why he told her those things including the fact he was going to leave me for her & very romantic now & extremely loving. He says he honestly does not know why he said these things. Is that even possible, to not know? I can't help but wonder why now he's able to say romantic things to me. Is it because I know he said them to her? He says he's always loved me & truly doesn't know why he was never able to say these things to me before. This whole Affair has turned me into an insane person. I feel I was never worth these words but he felt she was. He said that's not true. He cannot figure out why he did what he did. There are so many questions I've asked & I get "I don't know"or "I don't remember". I don't trust anything he says, because he's lied so much about details since Dday & the truth comes out later. I think he remembers more than he admits, but wants to cover his ass plus not hurt me more.
      The advice about " just don't think about it & think about something else " that I received from all of those professionals is easier said than done. If I could keep my mind off of it, I certainly would. I choose to be happy, but anger & sadness takes control. I just don't know what to do!

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  3. I've been good with things not being in my control and recognizing that all I've got is my response to situations and people. Its crazy time for me right now. The ex announcing that he's committed to getting sober and maybe possibly sounding like he wants another chance.
    I feel frozen. I'm giving myself the time and space to not make a decision right now. I would like more info. before I take action. But man do I feel scared. As Pema Chodron would say, the rug has been pulled out from under my feet. Scary groundless, I need to just let myself be here and be scared. I don't know what I want. I know I am going to have to have difficult conversations and in the end someone, no matter what, will be hurt. I hate that. I'm grumpy that I'm here.
    And I'm wondering if it is real or just another manipulation. dammit.

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    1. Still standing1
      I love that you know that you don't have to be rushed to decide anything! I'm sorry that you feel like this has made you feel uncertain again just when you thought you had room to breathe. I'm rooting for you as you make your way through the next right decision for you!

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    2. Still Standing 1 - Thinking of you today as you face the decisions ahead. And I liked how you put it - "I'm grumpy that I'm here." I love all the ladies here and the advice and support but yes, I am grumpy that this is another thing in my life I didn't think I would have to face. We can do this...one day at a time, one breath at a time...stay true to your heart! That's all we can do! (Hugs)

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    3. Still Standing 1, treat this like a new relationship where you know the history of the person you are considering dating. Decide if you want to let him 'date' you. Consider what advice would you give a friend or one of us - to tell him to get sober first? To be transparent and tell him you are going to be 'dating' (plural)? Just keep telling yourself each next step is YOUR decision, no one else's. Time & space sounds smart!

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    4. Theresa and Jules, thanks for your support. Its like getting a hug by mail. I've allowed myself to not do anything right now. One of my many supports suggested that I stop worrying about making sure everyone else is OK and let them be responsible for their own choices. And trust myself, that I will choose just fine if and when it is time to choose.

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    5. Still Standing 1 8/16...Brava!!! "trust myself, that I will choose just fine and when it is time to choose." What I've read of your story, I see that you've come so far in this journey and I applaud you. Wishing you the very best...♥

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  4. I am 7.5 months from D-day 1 and 5 months from D-Day 2.

    My spouse is a sex addict and is doing all of the right things except provide me with the truth about some of the details of his affairs that I know he is continuing to lie about.

    He is not acting out, is seeing a CSAT and is going to a weekly SA 12 step meeting. Him admitting the details will not take this away, do I let the details and lies go so that we can move on? Can I move on knowing he is still lying? I want to, but don't know how.

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    1. Anonymous
      I'm just going to say what worked for me. I wanted details but didn't really want to know because it was so painful knowing that he had feelings for her! He said he didn't love her but he had feelings. Then she started blowing up my phone with her truths about the affair and that's when I had to have him tell me the details that he remembered. It was a very painful process and one that took a few months for me to process through. I'm in a much better place now and have learned a ton from this blog as well as the other reading that I have done in the past years. The one thing that I've learned from here is be careful what you need to know because once you know it you can't unknow it! I'm not sure if I would change what I know about his relationship with her but I can tell you that it was the most painful part of the whole mess! I suggest that you take your time and let him process what led him to his choices and then when he can talk about it without being defensive, he can perhaps help you to understand what has happened. Sending hugs!

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    2. I went through this over and over. At a certain point with the help of my therapist I realized that I was stuck because of this. I had to decide all on my own if I was willing to just move on. I am the kind of person that can remember the exact details about most aspects and events of my life. My husband on the other hand does not remember where we went on vacation last year. I was relentless wanting details and not believing his lack of details. He cannot remember which year one of the affairs began. To me this seems crazy and I cannot understand this. He said it could be any one of three different years! He can only tell me the time span and it was the fall. Granted this woman tracked him and begged for his number for anywhere from 3-6 years so I guess that says something. She finally got it when she got dropped off at a bar without a ride late at night. I guess she got desperate after all those years. He forgot he had a secret email and had IM'ed at least a dozen women over the course of a year. This was all 4-5 years before dday and he stopped cold turkey. It is honestly all mind boggling to me. In the end I realized I could never know enough details and it would never be accurate enough. It still bothers me at times and I am 2 1/2 years past but it is something that is out of my control. I decided if I was going to be stuck on these details that we should separate since it was going no where and not going to help me in the end. I chose to focus on the deeper questions of what he was thinking and what he got out of these relationships. Which in the end he was miserable and felt like he had dug himself in a hole to deep to escape. Getting to this point took me a long time almost a full year from dday.

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  5. To things that ring so true and I learned after d day struck ... control is an illusion and perfection overrated. Keep trucking warrior princesses. I still have my days 27mo out but I'm far from where I was too ... wounded not broken.

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    1. Wounded - I like your comment..."wounded not broken." I think I need to adopt that as my new motto! I am about 18 months out, with a husband who still works with the OW, but all signs point to he is making every attempt to heal this and is only professional with her, etc...but it's so hard to control my illusions. I will keep trucking...thanks for the support. Hugs!

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  6. This is all so true for me. I hate that these affairs happened but it has brought all of this to light and made things so much better for me, our marriage and my husband. It is odd to feel like we have been at our worst but now also our happiest. Not every moment or every day is happy but overall it is a different way of living.

    One thing that seems almost trivial is over the years I basically gave up on speaking up. And I mean on the tiniest of things what to watch on tv, what to eat for dinner, what to grill out, where to go on vacation....I could go on but I just saw it as going with the flow and things were still good. We went on great vacations ate great meals... But now I speak up. I say where and what I want to do all the time. I can see it is different for my husband. All good changes.

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    1. Hopeful 30,
      I can relate about not speaking up. When the shock had passed and I lifted my head to regain my dignity, I looked at the pile of rubble and couldn't find 'me'. It took me awhile to grasp it but I realized I didn't know who 'I' was. If I wasn't a treasured, adored wife of h then who was I? If I wasn't an honored woman, worthy of respect and faithfulness, then who was I? I remember being very frightened and sad. Such a dark time for me.
      I am so thankful I am looking 'back' on that now. It is behind me, somewhat. I have found strength and resilience from somewhere to rebuild. Somedays I may only add a speck of sand but I am determined to rebuild!! It has been the hardest thing I have ever done in life. I have challenged myself, asked myself hard questions, spent time in introspection. I call myself 'Truth' because that is my paradigm now. I began to live a life of self appreciation and self respect. I have become a friend to myself, I take care of me. I make myself speak up.
      It is very hard work and a constant struggle for me to stay on task. I am prone to slither over into the pond of 'when my h truly appreciates me, then I will have value'. Why, oh why do I so easily buy into the lie that another humans' opinion of me makes me worthy?
      I so very much appreciate this blog, it has been my sanity. My journey is a lonely one, as many of ours are, yet we are not alone. So thankful for you all!

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  7. Elle
    Learning that I am the only one I can control has been eye opening for me because until this happened, I felt that I was in control, however, his choices made me and my emotions run out of anyones control for many months. I feel so much better when I maintain my control of myself! I'm still a work in progress! Thanks for all your advice!

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    1. Theresa...great reminder reading your words, too, that we feel better when we are in control of ourselves. I, too, feel better when I am in control of myself and give up trying to control my husband or everyone else around me. Thank you and hugs!

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  8. Thanks so much for this. Ever since dday 6 months ago I have turned into a obsessive paranoid private detective for OW. I wanted to know what she was like, how her life was. After all, I felt inferior to her. My husband who is all about fairness and respect endangered with us and everything in his life for their affair. I was looking up OW on social media about 3 times a day even though her fb is private, but I would just think what if she changes her settings, what if she adds a picture. Everything is private yet I still felt the need to check. I looked her up in my court system, got some info on her and her life through that. I would drive by her job, her house just to check up on her. Yes I found out all of that. Now I want to stop! I get mad at myself when I do this but it's become a routine now. I want it to stop as it's consuming me. This post helped me realize I have control. I myself have to stop doing those things.

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    1. Noone
      I know how hard it is because I also stalked her on social media. I saw a text where she had lost an earring and he responded how pretty she was with or without her earrings. I know I'm not the most beautiful woman in the world but man when I at her photo at the time he was infatuated with her, all I see is her wrinkles under a ton of makeup. She is not much different from me because we're all old geezers! That was the fantasy of the affair! It was Elle that gave me the stop sign and rubber band ideas. I can look out our front window and see the sign at the end of our street. I have a band that proclaims 'the best is yet to come'. It took me months of using the stop sign when I had the urge to look her up but I no longer have that compulsive need. You can get there too! She doesn't matter! You are more important than she can ever be! Sending hugs!

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    2. Noone...I can relate. I know my situation is a bit different because my husband still works with OW, and I have known her for years...but I do the same thing. Check e-mails, check social media for her stuff and for their schools and such. It's not good because in the end, it doesn't really tell me anything! It is so easy to fall into that obsessive trap - I know, I am still there a bit - but trying to dig myself out and stay out of it. When I can let go of the past, let go of the obsessions, focus on ME, focus on TODAY, focus on the positives - I feel better and I deal with whatever my emotions bring up much better, too! Hang in there! (hugs)

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    3. Noone
      I did this too. I was always on social media looking at her and holding my picture up against her's wondering what the hell my h was thinking. I was consumed by her until the last time I talked to her. Their affair lasted less then 10 days. She had been planning her wedding to my h before they ever slept together. On pinterest she was following a parent and kids page , she has no kids, and was looking at how to get pregnant fast. It took me a year to confront her with what I knew because the Indian Nation she is apart of had sent me a letter of restraint. My h tried to commit suicide a week after I found out and I made a scene in the restaurant that day looking for him. That I don't regret at all. But I understand what you are going through. I worked with this woman and couldn't control what her and her friends were doing to destroy my marriage and my family. And I couldn't control my h because he was going through depersonalization and disassociation due to lack of sleep and a mixture of drugs. Some that she had been slipping him in his coffee. These women went as far as telling him that his kids would adjust. And that is when he started coming out of some of his mental issues. This woman and her friends thought that they had total control over our lives until I stood up to them. The first year I had total control over myself and what I let other people see all while she was calling me a crazy pyscho bitch and telling people my h raped her. It turns out that she is the one that is crazy and had an obsession with my h. I lost total control over myself until about 2 months ago and after talking to her on 2 seperate occassions I see her for what she really is and that is mentally unstable. It does get better and as you heal she becomes less important. It will take a lot of will power to stop it but you have a whole group of women here that can help you get through it.
      Cathy

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    4. Today marks 2 years since the OW had started her plan to destroy my family. It all started with me making her a cake for her family reunion. 3 days later when my h was done with the classes and had his last drug test is when her plan started to really take hold. This whole month is filled with such bad memories for me because it is also around the same time my mother passed away.
      Cathy

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    5. I was there too. I felt like if I follow these other women then I will know if something happens, I can track what they do, piece something together, see if they are happy or not, who knows what else. In the end it was dragging me down big time. And honestly very few people put out there what happens in real life. One day I decided I am not going to check social media for either of the affair partners. I decided each time I wanted to I would have a go to website to go to that I would automatically click on and not allow myself to do otherwise. Another thing I would do is I would walk away from the computer and either take a walk or do something around the house to keep myself busy. I almost left social media but gave myself time and was able to stay on. I try to check only one time a day and honestly stay on due to pages I need to check for my kids. But I would consider deleting the app if that might help you. I think you can do that without deleting your account. I have heard others snap a rubber band on their wrist but I never did that. I can tell you want to stop so for me at least by taking action and trying different techniques it helped me feel more in control and it became easy to not check.

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    6. No one, that's exactly what the ow is a nobody, believe it or not on d day 1 when I found out about her I didn't want to know anything about her, not even her name I wasn't interested in her one little iota. 2nd d day however I paid her a little visit (same woman) wanted her to see me as the person and wife that I was and still am . I do understand your need to look her up but like you said you want to stop so stop, so delete anything that is Linked to her she's not important never was, concentrate on you and your marriage if you are wanting to rebuild . Keep posting here we will help as much as we cAn .. take care xxx

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    7. No one,
      I totally relate. I looked in on the OW so much at the beginning. It was important to gather the info. I was looking for clues, trying to make sense, wanting to piece things together. Then, like you, after some time, I began to realize this was something else now. Something unhealthy. An impulse. A tic. The more I tried to stop, the more driven I was to check. So I allowed it. Someone here suggested if attempts to stop were unsuccessful, just let yourself. Give yourself permission. That felt less crazy and I looked less. Then I went to my therapist to explore. I always thought I was looking in on her because I must feel inferior in some way. Turns out that's not it. She's mean. And shallow. Beautiful, but empty. It turns out that under my anger and obsession is deep sadness that my H would choose that over me. Even for a minute. I suspect this is under it for all of us. Whatever you feel about the OW is really attributes you hate to/have trouble attributing to your H. In my case, HE was mean and shallow. He did not value me. That makes me so sad. Now when I feel the need to look in on her, I allow myself to sit still and feel sad about what my H did/who he was at that time. It is heavy. It hurts. But then I can also feel gratitude for the changes in him since then. See, obsessing over her is an "easy button" I used to push to avoid feeling the crushing sadness. Now that I know that, I sit with that sadness and own it. It is sad when someone doesn't value you. When they choose someone else. It does you no good to be angry with her. She's not the issue. Your H is (was). If you are going to extend compassion to him, you MUST extend it to yourself and wish for an end to your own suffering over how sad it is that he chose her. Then if he gets a break, somehow she does too. She made no vows to you. He did. For me, allowing myself to feel the full force of the sadness of that was the answer to ending my obsession with her. It was all a frantic way for me to avoid the difficult feelings I didn't want to face about what my H did. My advice would be not to beat yourself up over it, but to stay curious about what's under it. It's likely got nothing to do with her (she could have been anybody), but is a way of running from something else that you don't like (but can totally handle now!)

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    8. So much truth in this comment thread. I became a compulsive checker. I love you all here but I'm sort of embarrassed to share the amount of "research" I did to try to figure her out. I know I've shared that I created a second Facebook account after I blocked her on my real one about a month or so after the final D-Day. I went through periods where I would stop only to start up again. So now, over two years out, I don't "know" her but I know enough about her. I've pieced enough together to be able to see through all the bs. Ironically, my husband really knew very little about her despite the volume of phone conversations between them. He couldn't remember her birthday, didn't know where she was from, or anything about her past. The only times it seems she held his interest was when it was sexual.
      I won't say I'm not still hurt but I've worked through enough stuff to see it for what it was. I see who my husband was during the affair and I see her for who she was, maybe still is. It's not pretty and it's not romantic. It's really kind of sad. I don't necessarily forgive her, but I don't have to.
      I realized that checking up on her was only feeding my anger despite the fact that I told myself I was doing it to protect myself. But the anger was just covering up the sadness and keeping her present in our marriage. Anger felt more natural than sadness. Once I cut out the checking up, I noticed I cried less. My conversations with my husband about the affair were far less emotional and less likely to escalate to an argument. And when the conversations didn't turn to arguments I was more open to actually hearing him and opening up.
      I still have moments where I want to check but I can't go down that path right now. I try to remind myself that I know everything I need to know and I'm not going to unearth some amazing piece of information that's going to suddenly make it all make sense. I accept that my husband was damaged. I accept that she was too. I got hurt in the process but I can't let the actions of two broken people break me. I'm worth more than that. So are all of you.
      Hugs, friends! ❤️

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    9. Noone,

      First of all you are someone special and the ow is the nobody.

      Most of us checked up on the ow. I did for a few months. I sent her 1 message ('I know what you did') and she never responded. We were related. No 'I'm sorry". Nothing. I found all sorts of dirt on her - I found out COW was trying to get pregnant by her BH during the A with my CH where she was feeding him a line about how much she hated her BH (because most wives try really hard to get pregnant by a H they hate, of course - lol). I found out she had a serious on-line shopping habit, although she complained to my CH that her BH was spending all their money (lair) in fact she was taken to court for credit card default and lost (criminal). I found out she was a connoisseur of the occult (horror movies, vampire books) which my H detests but he just thought she loved books (generic). I found out that she was a serial cheater (her 2nd H blogged about their relationship before wither one of them were divorced and admitted to infidelity). I found out that her CH divorced her (court documents) not the other way around like she let my CH believe. I found out that she is bi-sexual and into polyamory (a lifestyle my H disagrees with). I found that she is in the same dead-end job she was a decade ago. I found that she goes out drinking almost nightly. I found out that she comes from a very dysfunctional 'family'. I found nothing good about her - just slick marketing of herself as fun, etc.

      COW has/is nothing I want and now that my H knows who she really was/is (even though H ended the A a decade before I discovered it yet thought COW was just a good person in a bad marriage). Because I found she was a hot mess I was able to end any further desire to check-up on her and haven't since.

      So give yourself a pass for looking up to now and decide that you've seen what you need to see and make her no longer relevant. She could have been any skank. She is a nobody.

      You are somebody!

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    10. Noone, stacks of wisdom here. I especially like Ann's insight, to give yourself permission. Its not that different from allowing yourself to feel your feelings, the sad the angry, the hurt the depressed, whatever comes up. In this case, you are allowing yourself to feel the fear.
      I can remember compulsively searching for info on the OW. She's not on social media so I really had to dig to get anything. I kept looking hoping something new would come up, hoping something would change, hoping there would be some clue. And I realized I was looking for the answer to the question why and trying to prevent it from happening again. I wasn't going to get either by obsessing on the internet. Its a distraction, a bait and switch from our own brain, trying to give us a sense of control and trying to distract us from the other bigger issue. Ann is right. Stay curious about what is underneath the motivation to look her up and obsess.
      You are already in control of the only thing you need to be in control of; you. Hugs!

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    11. Dandelion - your post really struck me as so much of what I was feeling. Now, the OW is still "present" in our marriage because he works with her still, however, I can control the amount of times I bring it up. I find that as I check things - social media, his e-mail, etc - the more i hold on to the pain, the fear, the anger. And you are right - I don't have to forgive her, but I do need to work at forgiving myself and my husband if we have any chance to heal. I have decided...I am ready to heal. (Hugs)

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    12. Jules,
      I'm sorry that you have to deal with them working in the same place. I dealt with that for about 4-5 months after our final D-Day. Fortunately, she ended up moving several hours away.
      I've mentioned before that from very early on my therapist told me I didn't have to forgive the OW. She said that was the "gold standard" and that her goal was to help me get to a point where the OW no longer mattered to me. I'm still a work in progress but I do feel like not seeing what she's posting or doing helps me distance her further. I remember the days where I truly hated her and that took so much energy from me. It may have been what I needed to feel at the time but it no longer serves a purpose to me. I think it's all a process and we each move at our own pace.

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    13. I did the stalking thing too. The OW was my friend so we were friends on FB. I unfriended her months ago but still see her around cause she is part of a group of friends. I was going to block her but doing that I would never know if she was attending an occasion I was going to. Jeez!!! What a tangled mess those 2 created.

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  9. It seems at every turn that slut is pushed into my thoughts. The day after my zDad died, I decided to get a mani/pedi. Son of a bitch if I didn't see her parents(from out of state) and her oldest brat out in the parking lot loading the car with groceries. I commented to H the next day that her dad or even her should be the ones at the crematorium. Huge fight ensued. This Friday is my mom's birthday and again, son of a bitch if it isn't her birthday too. Thank goodness I have to work and then will be having dinner with a friend. I need other suggestions and support to not make sarcastic and nasty comments. I get mad she takes so much space in my head. Someone suggested praying for her, but when I asked if that includes fiery car cradhes, I figured I wasn't ready for that. Still not. I'm so much better than a year ago, but still have a long way to go.

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    1. The whore has same bday as my Dad. I feel you

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    2. His whore was a friend and neighbor so I knew quite a bit about her. Therefore my bday present to her last year was signing her up to support the political candidate she hated. And unless she changed her phone number or email, political ads and texts never truly die. I saw her a few months ago and asked her if she was still ruining families like she ruined mine.

      I hope to focus on my blessings and not descend into a dark place on Friday. I guess that is all we can do when our special days cross with the whore. To both of our whores.....two words for you and trust us, they are NOT happy birthday.

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    3. Beagle Mom, you had me LOL at the 'fiery car crashes'. Why did a fight ensue because you made a nasty comment about a slut?

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    4. Browneyedgirl, that is a great question. He always hated it if I made snarky, mean ugly comments about her. Our last blow up over a month ago caused me to write him a letter I read to him about all his gaslighting. In my letter I made a statement that I didn't believe he was seeing her, but he was still in love with her. He went pale and that was the most ashamed I have seen him. He of course denies he still loves her, but I don't believe him. He did it to defend her.

      After that fight following Dad's passing, two days later, he told me to get over everything, the affair and my Dad. I was so stunned, I locked myself in my room for the night and most of the next day. I couldn't cry. Ended up at a walk in clinic a few weeks later with chest pains and just wanted to make sure it wasn't a heart attack. It wasn't. Ended up having to take 2 weeks of short term disability because I could barely function. When I saw my therapist she was so shocked by what he said, she asked what kept me from stabbing him. I had to laugh because I really became the Queen of Mean after DDay.

      Since I called him out for still being in love with her, he is bending over backwards to prove he loves me. He hasn't done the heavy lifting to move us forward. I did read an article that we betrayed women need to be understanding and kind while the cheaters grieve the end of their affair. And laughed hysterically.

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    5. It's amazing to find out the bitch (OW) was your friend. She was my friend that I spoke to when I suspected he was talking to someone else. It was her all the time. It's still surreal to type that. But karma is a wonderful thing. I hear from mutual friends that she is still hurting and afraid that I'll tell her H. I won't tell him cause I don't want him to hurt like me. Just not worth is to stoop to their level. My H is now feeling the righteous sting of what he has done, and while I'm sticking to being the compassionate and understanding wife, I have encouraged him to stay in that space of pain, remorse, guilt, etc. so he will get some much needed growth from it. Beautiful karma

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  10. Besides trying to control my sadness and anger and what comes out of my mouth; I'm having a very hard time giving into him. I sometimes act like he's a strange man I'm living with. He's the father of my kids but he's not my husband anymore.
    I can't stop myself from thinking that my husband wouldn't do this therefore he's not my husband. I'm treating him with respect because he's the father of my kids. I know this will lead to a separation if I continue down this path.
    How do I allow my self to love him again. (I'm not saying that I stopped loving him. I'm saying that I don't know.. I'm confused and don't know). Im too hurt to know if i still love him or not. I care deeply for him I know that. I want him in the end to be happy and live a good life. I know a part of me would rather I forget about all this and just rest my head on his shoulder like I used to and feel safe. I need that to be able to live with a partner.

    I was always the strong cheerful person that got everything done and then at the end of the day I needed to sit next to him and feel protected and loved.
    Now when he tries to do that I freeze and feel like I can't breath. I can't be volnurable with him. Lately when I break down I want to be alone. Up until 2 weeks ago I needed him when I broke down. But now I want to be left alone till it passes .

    Is this normal for my stage (1 month and 2 weeks out)
    Please let me know. And let me know how to let him in again .



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    1. Dear Emma,
      My heart breaks for you, I can feel the sorrow in your words. What you are experiencing sounds normal, unfortunately. We have been there and felt it too. It hurts like crazy. You are not alone. You will make it through. Take care of you and only do what has to be done. I was very sad and cried much at your stage. I couldn't even look h full in the face for a long time. In looking back, I've come to realize I was in a kind of shock and grieving. The dark cloud does eventually start to lift a little at a time. You will survive this! Go to a mirror, look into that woman's eyes, tell her she is beautiful and strong. Tell her you love her and will be her friend. I have discovered things about me I never knew and have a self respect I've never had before. I've lived through my biggest fear and you can too! I will say I'm over 2 years and still prefer to be alone rather than in h company. I do attribute that to my newfound self appreciation though, not anything h does or doesn't do.
      We are with you at this painful time. Keep digging around in this blog. There is much wisdom and compassion. We all get to be real here. Hugs and love to you.

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    2. Emma,

      You are totally normal. I am 9 mos out and just starting to feel love for my H again. At first I felt I really loved H and we had hysterical bonding then as the weeks/months passed I stopped feeling the love and I was scared it might never come back. I think I am just starting to get it back in the last few hours! We are having an issue with our teenager and H stepped up in a big way (in the past I felt like the primary parent) and it really made me happy.

      Let him in a little at a time. Go on dates. Have sex if you are horny (even if it's sex and not making love). When you need him to be there for you tell him. When you need to be alone do it.

      Time. Therapy. Time. Therapy. Repeat.

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    3. Emma, my hat is off to you... You sound so calm and together given how early on you are in this. I'm almost two years out and I still struggle with letting him back in. Like you, I wish I could go back to the old days of feeling safe in his presence and I, too, recognize that I'm basically signing my own divorce papers if I can't find a way to let down my walls a bit. I know that it might not be very comforting to think of someone two years into this process still feeling the same way, but here's the silver lining--I feel better now than I did at just one month out! Where you are right now is such a hard time. Give yourself some time and a lot of grace before you feel like you "need" to do anything or make any progress. Personally, my healing has been aided greatly by my husband's progress, which admittedly ebbs and flows. At one month out, I'd guess you're both still reeling pretty hard. In time, as your husband does his work, proves his commitment to you, and earns bits of your trust back, you might find that you soften to him a bit and those feelings come back bit by bit. I really relate to how scary it is to not know if you'll ever feel that way--safe, protected, in love, happy--again. I'm not all the way there myself, but I do see glimmers of it. Please keep posting and hang in there. Hugs to you!

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    4. This sounds normal to me. I am know at one month out I was still trying to make sense of it all and facing the pain still. I have gone through phases where I want to be with my husband and then other times where I did not want to be around him at all. It is confusing and many aspects of this recovery are a struggle. There are many parts that I think will never make sense to me and that is hard.

      Make sure to focus on you and take care of yourself. I think there are many steps to go through. It took a long time and lots of action on his part for me to feel marginally better. Also the path to opening up is a long one or at least it has been for me. I am at 2 1/2 years past dday and I find I am still closed off. I am slowly warming up to being more vulnerable. Some days it feels hard since normal every day life can feel like what I call the "affair" years. It took me the entire first year to really get to a good place and not be focused on the painful side of things. At that point then it became more about what type of marriage and relationship I want. So then our conversations shifted more towards that. Lots of boundary discussions and figuring out what our marriage would look like.

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    5. Emma, my few cents? Don't try to control the anger and sadness and what comes out of your mouth. I'm not saying vent or offload anything and everything on to your husband. But I'm saying make space for your feelings. Of course you are sad, of course you are angry and of course you want to say some bad words. You need to feel all those feelings to get through them. When you fight them, they become larger. Don't label them as bad.
      At only 1+ month out, I am so amazed by your willingness to treat him with respect and your concern about not being vulnerable to him. You don't owe him your vulnerability right now. You've been seriously hurt by this man. I think being protective of yourself is a normal human response.
      Don't worry about if you will end up separated, right now. Don't worry about not being cheerful, or your old self. He's got a lot of work to do to earn back your trust.
      Please make your own care your top priority and stop worrying about anyone else. Sleep, eat, show up as best you can, repeat. Nap. Take time alone. Walk. Go for walks or runs or whatever physical activity helps you get back in your body. Pay attention to what it is telling you. Go slowly. Don't worry about doing anything but surviving right now. You are very likely experiencing PTSD like symptoms. Talk to your therapist about this. (and is you don't have one, get one asap).
      Everything about what you are experiencing is a normal response to trauma. I can promise you two things. One: you won't always feel that way you do right now and two: you are going to be OK.

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  11. I am so distraught, my teenage daughters overheard us talking about the affairs last night and asked to speak with me. I told them it was just texting with 1 woman but the things we were saying was so much more so I don't think they believe me. The truth is too horrible and I would never want them to know it all.

    I don't know what to do.

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    1. Anonymous August 15, they are teenagers. They probably know more than you think they do. Telling them the truth doesn't mean telling them all the details. In other words you can say 'yes, your dad had an A and it is over', the details don't matter (for them) and their dad should tell them that he is remorseful, how much he loves you & them and you are working on repairing the marriage and keeping the family together and it is a private matter that you hoped to protect them from. You might start by asking them what they overheard and ask if they want to talk about it any more.

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    2. I am so sorry that happened. I have two teen aged girls and they can pick up on a lot. Mine are very on top of things emotionally. We never discussed the affairs while they were home but I was quiet at times and they would ask me what was wrong. They also noticed my husband spending more time with me and him not going out and on trips as much. Interesting what they saw! A major change in his behavior!

      Saying all of that if you know and think they heard something it is probably best you find the right amount of information to share with them. I think it is scary for kids not to know and that can have other effects. Every kid is different some hold it in and others lash out. I have seen many people on here say they have told their kids they are working through some challenges in their marriage but not get into details. Many couples go to therapy and are open with that. If you and your husband are working it out or trying to work it out I think that would make sense.

      Also I talked about this with my therapist at my request so I could be prepared. My therapist suggested keeping it general especially as I said we were planning on working it out but said kids will notice this unrest even if they say nothing. My therapist and I talked about the specific language if any separation would take place. It would be a great thing to talk with a therapist about and maybe even if necessary offer for your girls to go to therapy. Better to talk about it than to hide feelings or concerns.

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  12. Thanks so much everyone for your words. Honestly i haven't talked to anyone about my husbands affair. He was my whole life, I don't have any close friends as I never had time for friends, I can't tell my family, they would hate him and judge me for staying. So thank you so much for listening and replying.

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    1. I have only spoken on this site and to a therapist. I have told no one else. My husband wants me to tell whoever I feel I need to and has said that from the beginning. I know for me it would not be helpful. My friends have made their feelings known regarding infidelity. My family would not be helpful. Honestly his family would be the most helpful but I have been warned that this might not go well. I could see that wanting to protect their son maybe. I also think it would be up to him or both of us deciding to tell his family. It can be hard and lonely. I have gone through so many feelings but in the end I have done what is best for me. I tend to be an introvert and someone who depends on only myself so it is natural for me too. Make sure to come here as much as you need whether it is to read or post.

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    2. Maiden of the ShieldAugust 16, 2017 at 10:04 PM

      I am in the exact same boat. The only people I can truly share my pakn and story with are the women here. No one in my real life. We will make it.....fyi. you aren't No ome. You are SOMEONE. You are you, and you are amazing. The fact that you get up everyday in this extremely painful time is a damn miracle. Be proud of yourself. Love yourself. Don't blame yourself. And know you don't have to carry all of this burden alone. I needed someone to teach me this after my D day, which is not so long ago.

      I'm working on these same things. We are in this together. All the ladies of the BWC...

      You are SOMEONE. And you are worth it!!!

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  13. Elle,
    Thank you for this post. I'm in a phase I've labeled 'the dull ache of reality', and I've felt little progress. After reading this I might have a glimpse of the work that's been going on inside me. I've read through it several times and I can see myself 'as I was' and 'where I am now'. Whew, it's such a relief to feel hopeful in rebuilding and regaining dignity.
    I do feel, with my new strength and self appreciation though, I can tend to prefer my own company, alone. I haven't felt a lot of sincere desire to seek out h even for companionship. After all, I can't depend on him for my affirmation. My history proves that point loud and clear! I do feel I can trust myself and speak up for myself like never before. For this I am very thankful.
    Looking at things clearly and trusting what I see to be accurate, not rose-colored, does not produce romantic, warm fuzzy feelings. I guess I've come to accept that most of what produced those feelings for me were illusions anyway.
    It's not all gloomy though. Reading through this post I can acknowledge a feeling of pride. It has taken courage and bravery to look at, set with, and feel reality. I've done hard things. Maybe some warmth will follow in time.
    I found this post both affirming and challenging and will be returning to it in future.

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  14. I'm 7 1/2 months from Dday & on an emotional roller coaster. Right after Dday I couldn't get enough of him, now not so much & I'm so angry. Angry he won't give me answers on things & since he lied so damn much in the beginning that I can't believe anything he says. I want to believe him when he says he loves me. So many of your posts are so similar to my experience & have gotten great advice but I'm so stuck. I love him & hate him & still cannot believe he had this 10 month affair telling another woman romantic harlequin words that in 30 years never said more than "Love you dear". I hate I say his words on texts & later found the emails. He swears he didn't love, that it was all BS but how can a man that was never affectionate with words or actions become the most romantic person I've ever seen with another woman. She was homely but commented on her Facebook pictures for all to see how gorgeous, beautiful & stunning she is. Never said that to me. We will be celebrating our 30th in San Francisco. He now is romantic & loving & wants to make our marriage work, but I can't get past his words to her. Why did I never hear these things? I feel his love was so deep it just poured out of him, but he says he never loved her & no clue why he had an affair & was not unhappy with our marriage when he made he made it sound like he lived in pure hell. We never argued, I didn't bitch at him. Why, why, why? It's slowly killing me. We're going to therapy but I don't think we've advanced. I've never had a problem saying what I feel, but he keeps things to himself. The therapist told him he has to learn to communicate. I'm so afraid I'm going to fall out of love with him & he truly is the love of my life. I am so sad, and cry a lot.

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  15. I too am sad and lonely and yes still cry...I am 17 months out and been married for 36 years. Talk about a blow! My husband does not communicate any feelings. The day I found out at first he said it was a one night stand then oh no wait a minute it was actually for a week but it was for two years and to this day he says it wasn't that long. I cry daily even now..still wondering if I should leave knowing I could do that..in a heartbeat. Intimacy is just sex...no passion anymore..no cuddles no feeling. I want to tell him i would prefer not to have sex anymore if we can't find enough passion to make love. He once said intimacy was very important to him..to bond. I don't feel any kind of bombing..nothing. I only think of how and when they did it...the passion...the compliments that he never ever gave to me but did to her. What a mess my life is in. I just want to disappear. I thought of just leaving a long note on my phone and leaving it for him and just getting in my car..and drive. Drive as far away as I can for however long it takes. But I know if I take that trip...there will be no coming back.

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    1. Anonymous (and Debaw, above),
      It's pretty normal, after the hysterical bonding or high of discovering that your marriage, just maybe, isn't going to end, to crash. To realize that, well, maybe he's still there but there isn't necessarily going to be the dramatic change into a better man.
      And that's where it's time to really sift through your marriage, in light of the information of what he did. It's time to really ask yourself (and him) the tough questions about how you're going to go about rebuilding a marriage in which BOTH partners feel valued and loved and respected. The betrayed partner needs to use this time to draw some very clear lines about what you need to stay in the marriage. And it's perfectly acceptable to insist that he seek therapy, or that he make time every day to talk with you, or whatever it is that your marriage is lacking but that you feel is non-negotiable in order to keep you in the marriage.
      Marriage isn't some romantic notion -- it's the hard work of, day after day, making choices in which your partner knows she matters. It's about building something valuable and strong. Just showing up is not an option.
      Are you in any kind of therapy? It sounds as if you're in enormous pain and it's no wonder you are. It sounds as if nothing has really changed other than you've been asked to accept his infidelity. Is he doing anything to understand why he cheated? Is he doing anything to help you heal from it and to support you as you work through the pain? If not, why not? And if not, why are you still there?
      There's nothing wrong with saying 'no. I will not stay in a marriage in which I'm not valued, not seen, not treated as if my presence is a gift.' But I would start by telling him, in no uncertain terms, how you're feeling and that things are at a crossroads. Give him the chance to step up. If he doesn't, then he's telling you pretty clearly, that this is what you can expect. And then, leaving might seem a whole lot easier.

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  16. My H says he doesn't know what to do or say. He doesn't know how to help me through the pain other than just listen. So I am always the one that is exploding with so much emotion. We don't talk about anything that has to do with feelings. I ask how are you feeling and he just says fine. He just wants me to be happy. So that tells me he is not going to say anything about how he really is feeling or anything about the choices to have an affair. I just can't break through to him after all these years we just don't have that connection anymore. I am always the one saying I have a hard time or I am having a bad day. He just asks how he can help. I just say...be here for me and that is where it ends. In the beginning when I found out he stated if I was still feeling this way after 2 years...we should probably go our separate ways. So I question that everyday....it's like a countdown for me. Again he has planted that seed so as two years approaches I keep questioning why I am still in that same dark place? I do not have a therapist as cost becomes an issue and the availability of someone that is truly working for our best interest and not taking sides. I feel like maybe he is silently waiting for that two year mark as well.

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    1. Anonymous,
      I know that feeling of exploding with emotion well. I felt it too. Does he ever talk about how he feels? Did he ever in the past? What does he want your marriage to look like in the wake of the infidelity? What does he say about why he cheated? Does he have any insight at all? Can you ask him about this "countdown". It's a pretty typical thing for a lot of these guys to say and, I think, speaks more to their fear that they've done something too damaging for you to ever get past. It's their way of kinda saying "oh shit, I really did messed up" and "please don't be reminding me of this in two years" at the same time. But it's not fair or helpful.
      And, for the record, two years is not that long - most experts say between two to five years to feel well and truly past the infidelity. And that's with both partners working hard to rebuild a marriage.
      Will you husband read books on affairs (there are some good ones out there)? Will he speak with a pastor or is there any short-term benefits through work to seek "crisis" help? It sounds to me like he could really benefit from therapy if you can find a way...

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    2. Anonymous
      I'm very guilty of the emotional explosions! I'm approaching the third year post dday and I can still have an occasional meltdown in anger and shout ugly hurtful things at my h. It's usually when I'm under stress from caring for a mother with dementia and I get to busy to take care of myself. I'm still waiting for couples therapy partly because I have been unable to find one that works in our city and partly due to costs like you state. It's hard living with a man who has no real words for the emotions he feels. He's always been this way and we've been a couple for 42 years. He's mostly a happy person but he usually hides his anger and deals with his emotions internally. We are the exact opposite. I've always been the 'sensitive' one. I'm not good at hiding my feelings and if I do it overpowers me and I meltdown. When that happens, my h totally shuts down emotionally and then we sleep on it before we try to talk about what led to my meltdown. I'm finding that usually it's because when I tell him I have been triggered by the last drive by that his ow occasionally does, his response can trigger me further. The last time was last Friday night. Again stress was partially responsible but I really believe that it triggered him as well because in the past two years since a restraining order was signed he hasn't seen her car in our neighborhood nor near his office. However, that said his response was 'are you sure it was even her car'? Truth is that I'm lousy at knowing what cars are but I know hers because she drove by almost daily for a year. When he said that, my hurt and anger just boiled up and out! The next day we talked about it and he asked for 'a do over'. So we are moving forward again and it's not easy but for the most we do enjoy being a couple again. We're also spending more time together and doing new things together. It's a daily choice that we've chosen and he tells me he's happier than he was before when he was in the affair. So I do the best I can do one day at a time. Sending hugs !

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  17. My H tells me he will go to therapy if I want him to. He says he wants us to grow old together. He says the affair meant nothing...it was a fantasy for him. But in the same breath he told me I was never around..but when I wanted to go with him he always found a reason why I couldn't. He would be texting the ow on his way out our driveway making a plan with her once he arrived at his destination which was a 7 hour drive! That doesn't sound like a fantasy to me at all. I will try to reach into his mind and see how we can both help each other...in or out of this relationship.

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  18. What does that sound like to you?

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  19. Another meltdown. My H says it hurts him to see the pain that he has inflicted on me. I thought I would be at a better point in all of this. He worries about me all day but doesn't know what to do or say. He says I need to be happy, whatever that looks like, with or without him. He seems genuine but I only remember all the lies he told me before. I thought he was genuine then too..so stuck and yes hopeless.

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    1. Anonymous, I understand perfectly what you mean. My H is so distraught when I have a meltdown & wants so much for my pain to go away & wishes he could put it into himself instead of me suffering. I believe he is sincere, but for how long? Like your H, he has lied so much, told the OW so much crap that he said he never meant, so how do you know when it's true, when they're being honest? It's so scary to put your heart on the line & trust again. I feel for you sweetie! Hugs to you!

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    2. Anonymous and Debaw
      The meltdowns are the sticking point for us as well. They rough up so much of the shame he felt from dday to present. He's dedicated his forward life to make sure that he never hurts me again but in his mind that just means he doesn't plan to cheat however, he sometimes doesn't know how to help me through a trigger and then he triggers as well and he just shuts down his emotions blocks it out and expects us to just go past with no real understanding of just what his choices cost us in trust or truth. It's a hard journey! Marching forward for better or worse! I'm counting on that being the worst! Hugs!

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  20. Theresa, you are so right. My H swears he also will make sure he never hurts me again, meaning never cheat again, but he’s not the best at helping me thru triggers because he shuts down as well. The guilt eats him alive, so he tries to avoid the subject by stonewalling! He has been so patient with my outbursts, or meltdowns and claims he realizes the extent of the pain & damage he caused, but it seems too easy for him to bury his head in the sand so he doesn’t have to think about it. He won’t say it, but I know he’d like nothing more for me to put it behind me and move on, but it’s just not that easy. Especially this first year. I hate that he never thought of consequences and the total lack of trust I have & will have for a very long time. Dday was 12/31/2016, so real curious how this New Years Eve will go. Good luck with moving forward and hope it is for the better not the worse! It is in deed a very hard journey!

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    1. Debaw
      What I know is it's not easy the next few years either but if he's trying really hard and you're willing to try just as hard you have a chance! That's the path I'm choosing for now and that's the best I can do! So just keep doing the best you can do for you! Hugs!

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  21. Yes we seem to get through my meltdown, we both shed tears, he says he doesn't know what else to do or say and we move on. Never discussing what just happened. Just glad another one is done. I stumble every single day to stay or go. I have my 58th birthday coming up this month and all I think about now is what a mess we are in. I don't want to spend the next 20 or 30 years wondering doing what I am doing now. It is unhealthy. The one person I thought I wanted to be with is perhaps not my H. Fear is temporary but regret is forever.

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  22. Another meltdown. They seem to be more frequent the more unsure of our relationship I become. My H says we never had a rose filled marriage. We fought and argued. In all of our 36 year marriage did I say it was perfect no but I didn't think it was that bad. What is with my H? Is he just looking for a reason to get out? He says he would be just fine...go make lots of money and just carry on. I don't find any of his words very reassuring anymore. Maybe I should just let go. Why put up with all this for another 30 years. He says I am resistant...yes I am very bitter, cautious, and really not very sure of my decision right now. I wish I had a crystal ball...but the more I wait the clearer things are becoming.

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    1. Anonymous
      I don't know your story but I know the pain of the meltdown and when they happen how it can take your breath and leave you questioning why the hell are you even trying. It's been crazy for me since about September 2013, but my dday didn't occur until October 2014. Like you, I have over 40 years invested in this man that I pledged to love in good times and bad. I'm praying that this is the bad and worst of times for us. I'm finding that we make forward progress only to find myself in a full meltdown usually when I'm feeling neglected by him and he's just trying to make time for himself. I find that I see his choices as selfish and he sees it as just needing time for himself. I'm working through how his choices to cheat and he said that he was so lonely as a sticking point for me when he now says that he doesn't have any alone time. I'm trying to understand that but it's hard for me because I'm retired and he still works full time. He's always bombarded by work and the last meltdown was because of my trigger and his inability to respond in a way that was helpful for me. We stopped talking about it until the next day and then we each said how we felt and we decided that we could both use a do over. He's doing the best he's capable and now the rest is up to me. I'm hopeful most of the time but those triggers are hell. I'm sorry I can't give you better advice but I want you to know that you are not the only one that goes through these meltdowns and I know how they leave you feeling. Sending hugs!

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  23. I find now after 18 months I have not made my boundaries clear. That is something I need to reinforce today. Every time we go for dinner with or without any friends or family my H always strikes up a conversation with the female waitress. Where you from. What brought you here...blah blah. It seems he needs to have that conversation. It makes me and our guests very uncomfortable and I have to put a stop to it because I don't want to know their story or even care for that matter...I have my own stuff to deal with. Does that sound like he needs to reach out like that? What does that tell you about him?

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  24. My H told me that we never had a rose filled marriage. He tells me this after 36 years of marriage! I never ever thought that. Now 18 months from d day I wonder if we should carry on or fight? Fight for what? Doesn't sound like there was anything there for him at all.

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    1. Hey there Anon 10/20. Some thoughts on your H's comment about never having a rose filled marriage. So first, please know that when people are off cheating, somewhere deep inside (or not so deep) they know it is terribly wrong and hurtful. it goes against their values and their views of who they are (i.e. a "good" person). This is called cognitive dissonance. And when this happens the cheaters start to retell their stories to justify what they are doing. Their life must have been pretty awful and therefore they were "forced" to cheat. They've never been happy and "deserve" to do what makes them happy now. etc. My h turned me into a controlling bitch who withheld sex as punishment. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The story he told of our marriage in MC was almost unrecognizable to me. I realize that was his "reality" in that moment, but it was the result of months of justifying and lying to himself. Luckily, I had read Shirley Glass' book "Not Just Friends." and so had our MC. My view of the marriage, post infidelity was certainly more rosey than his. Don't identify with his
      self-justifying rationalizing statements.
      So 18 months post dday is still early. And, if he's not been doing the work of trying to figure out why he did what he did with a counselor or by reading or some form of soul searching, you are not going to feel very safe. Are you two in marriage counseling together or any kind of counselling individually? it sounds like he is still "in the fog" the unreality of the affair and the justifications that go with it. Guilt and shame can do an awful lot to keep people stuck there.
      Here's the thing Anon, you get to decide what the terms of reconciliation are. What do you need to feel safe? What does he need to do to prove himself worthy of a second chance? What are the consequences if he fails to meet those terms? Food for thought.

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    2. I second everything that StillStanding1 has said. So often these guys rewrite history in order to somehow justify their cheating. NO marriage is "rose-filled" at all times. It's possible to have a long relationship without ups and downs, sometimes horrible downs.
      So, like SS1 says, if he hasn't done the hard work of really examining the stories he's telling himself and challenging himself to be honest, then it's an uphill battle for you. I would insist that he seek counselling and, in the meantime, you focus on what you need to heal yourself. You can't make him see things your way but you can refuse to participate in the rewriting of history.

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  25. I need Help..Where do I start 21 yrs of marriage, 20year relationship with my best friend. As always I celebrate her birthday with all the bells and whistles. She was staying in our home from Tuesday to Sunday. We hung out and did everything shopped, massages, shows. Well her Birthday evening returning to my home..Surprise!! a birthday celebration with friends.
    Well..4am I got up to use the bathroom, husband not in the bed thought he was in there light was on with the door closed. I went downstairs and went back to bed. After awhile i got back up and knocked on the door and opened he wasn't in there. I went downstairs and checked every room. At that point in my mind no way no freakin way. I knocked on my son's bedroom door and opened it. OMG he was on top of her!! I walked out and when downstairs. My SOLE DIED-empty no emotion. I didn't get angry, screamed or anything WHY??? My first reaction was: I spoke to both of them in the room and advised this could not get out to anyone ever. SO SO many people would be hurt and lives destroyed. OH the tears from him, the emotions of suicide, he didn't know what happen it was only twice. Were seeing a therapist..Im experiencing feelings I never had before, I trust no-one, cant sleep, but still no tears or outburst.We do talk and he tells me anything I ask. I will never speak or see her again she is DEAD to me..I need help.

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    1. Anonymous, I am so incredibly sorry for what you're going through. That is absolutely devastating. Please PLEASE find yourself a therapist just for you, to help you process the trauma. What you are experiencing -- the no tears, the no anger, the not sleeping -- is post-trauma and a good therapist can help you through it. I honestly think that's priority number one, more than dealing with your husband/marriage.
      Once you feel supported with a safe place to deal with this, then you'll be better able to sort out where you want to go from here. And though I understand the "dead" to me sentiment (and support it wholeheartedly), there will still be grief at having lost someone you considered your best friend. You have a whole lot of loss and grief to carry.
      Anonymous, please keep reading here and reaching out. You are NOT alone. What you have experienced is one of the worst pains but there is an army of women here who have your back.

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    2. Thank you for the encouraging words. I do have a one on one appointment with a therapist. I want the pain to go away so bad. I have put in my mind I have to learn to do things by myself moving forward. Instead of coming straight home from work I have gone to movies, eating alone at nice restaurants. Yes, I have one or two drinks per day. He's so sickening,emotional will do anything I request, but I just don't know yet. She reached out to me via a text, and I advised him to tell her never to call or text me again. I'm having emotions I never thought i had to go thru again, NO Trust. Its so childish he is texting on his phone is that her, he's talking on the phone is that her this is bullshit. But why give up all my years of a so called solid happy marriage while she get to continue her life without the pain and despair they both have put me through. I have no one I can talk to but this therapist. Because everyone know everyone in my family circle. Im Financial solid to move out and on but do I want that? Im so thankful for this opportunity letting a bit of my feelings out.

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  26. Thank you StillStanding1...I just realuzed for the first time in 18 months that I am not to blame. I am not responsible nor did I cause any of this! I have been led to believe that it WAS all my fault. I should of been this..or that. But no...I did nothing wrong. I did not break my vows, I did not step out of my marriage to see what "I was missing". He is responsible. He is the one that is trying to justify why he did it by making up excuses and self justifying. Just like you said! From now on I am releasing all the energy,emotion and anxiety from my H and all the others! From now on I am letting it go, because, I did nothing wrong. I can sleep at night. Again thank you StillStanding1....My eyes are wide open now. We are not in MC. It is hard to find a MC that won't condemn everything. I just ask you...can we get through this without one? Is it enough for me to tell my H about this cognitive dissonance?

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    1. Anonymous, I"m not sure what you mean by a MC that won't "condemn everything." A good MC who's familiar with infidelity will do his/her best to not "condemn" anyone but to make the cheating spouse accountable for the cheating and, if it's appropriate, to make each partner accountable for the dynamic in the marriage. I would urge you to call a few MCs and do brief interviews over the phone to see if they seem like a fit.

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    2. I agree Elle. Our MC makes each of us accountable if appropriate as you said for what goes on in the marriage & infidelity is never acceptable at all.? Keep looking, there’s good ones out there. One of my dear friends was cheated on & the first thing that cane out of the MC’s mouth was asking what she did to make him want to cheat. She walked out & never went back

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  27. Our MC said there must be a crack in a marriage or infidelity wouldn’t happen BUT she said there is absolutely no excuse in the world for infidelity! No reason, nothing ever justifies it. I have read several articles though that said there is not necessarily anything wrong in a marriage to cause cheating either. So good for you! Don’t let that bully blame YOU for his cheating! He’s the a-hole that needs to grow the hell up & accept responsibility for his actions.

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  28. How do i find a good therapist in alberta?

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    1. Believe it or not, I found our amazing couples counsellor by Googling. She was listed on Psychology Today's web site. I'm in a mid-sized city in Ontario. Give it a try. Or ask your doctor. They often know who in town is good. Or you might be able to find an area association for marital counsellors or individual counsellors. Talk to a few over the phone to get a sense for who they are and how they work. Find one that feels like a good fit. And if one doesn't work out, don't give up. The good ones are worth finding.

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  29. Should I did use cognitive dissonance with my h or should that be discussed with an Mc? I am sure he will deny and not be too happy that it may point to some issues h has.

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  30. My last comment needs spell check lol. Should I discuss what I believe is his cognitive dissonance with my h or should it be discussed with an Mc?

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  31. Today I had the discussion of him self justifying his actions. I then asked if he would seek advise through a psychologist to figure out why he cheated. H said he didn't think he needed help. H doesn't want to have everything drug up again. He lives with the hurt he has caused me everyday. I told him I am no longer afraid of what people or my kids would think if they knew. I am no longer afraid to be on my own if that is what I decide. I think those statements may of made him realize that I could and will walk if that is what I decide. It has been 18 months. I thought I would be further than I am but thanks to this site I realize it will take a while and that's okay.

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