The kickass survival site for anyone who's ever been lied to, cheated on and left for dead.
I have to confess that I've fallen into the "oh woe is me" camp the past few weeks. My H seems to show up and be present and then falls backwards bringing me down into the deep. I really need to stop letting that happen because I am not a VICTIM unless I allow myself to be one at this point. His affair will NOT define who I am ... and it will NOT be my legacy. I need to remember that.
I don't know if this will help you but I started listening to guided meditations on youtube. Sometimes I ramble on here without meaning to but I really find that it's really relaxing and it helps me have peace.Cathy
Kimberly,It happens to all of us. And frankly, it's hard NOT to feel victimized by choices that we had NOTHING to do with.However, it does disempower us if we stay in that headspace. So...be gentle with yourself. Allow yourself time to just feel "woe is me". And then, when you're ready, remind yourself that you do have control over how you respond to anything.
I always work hard to tell myself to be proud of how I have handled this biggest challenge of my life and no matter what happens no one can take that away from me.
Absolutely Hopeful 30! Brava!!
Such important and powerful words to remember, Hopeful 30...
Shackles is such a bondage word. All the tragedy that has the betrayed wife bound in shackles and not the duct tape like in the movies. This got me to thinking about duct tape over my mouth, around my wrists/ankles and then tied to the chair of sub zero self esteem. Of all the H's dickatude's (urban dictionary - being a dick by choice) the one that hit me hard was self-esteem. To me that was wake up call that hit me hardest. That took the longest to turn into my armor into something strong and durable. First my armor was like plastic, then about after a year it was aluminum (soft bendable light weight), then copper (still bendable but can conduct lighting and electricity). I'm working my way toward a designer armor like gold on the inside,steel on the outside and maybe a netting of some kind in a bright color. Maybe all the tragedy with like anger, pain, lies, stealing are one layer at a time. It something that even hurt me to look at was my own self esteem. After Dday - I had no self esteem, nothing and I was in a vacuum. No air, no light no sound. Nothing. I had never even been there before, that low, so depleted so taken down. But as I was loyal and try to be moral, I knew that was true about me no matter how many tuna towns were visited and that was what I hung on to day after day. Then when I could use that to patch myself - then the armor began for me. It took me three years in therapy and one year on my own somewhat trying to put into practice what I learned to have some peace of mind. I think my self esteem scares some people. Some things I'm very sure about and others not so sure. That armor gets heavy at times but sticking with myself was so worth it. I can't imagine the woman with children and how they cope. I can't imagine if the H got the AP pregnant. I can't imagine the really long time affairs like years. The woman that face these challenges can borrow my armor for awhile. I wish I could send it you right now. There are some stories of tragedy that just stick with me. Find something you like about yourself and hang on to for dear life. Once you find that one thing you know in your heart is true then you will see another and another. Regardless if you stay or go. Guess what I didn't make any of these choices but I was left standing alone trying to face each bondage choice as it came along. I have one more thought to help you find something in this mess. Don't take the blame for this. He says he felt unloved, you didn't cook, do the laundry, dishes, bending over backward to support him - you didn't do the little things right? Hold on to what you did that was right. He says there are two people to blame for this A, right, and you are not one of them.
LLP,You've shown such strength in battling so many demons in your life. Armour indeed.
LLP,Your strength inspires me and lifts me up on those days where I would rather crumble. "...as I was loyal and try to be moral," and "Hold on to what you did that was right. He says there are two people to blame for this A, right, and you are not one of them." Those words will stay with me and give me strength, especially in the next few days.
LLP I can picture your armor and it is beautiful! I wish I was an illustrator so I could actual draw what I am seeing. I am wearing Wonder Woman leggings right now, literally. If I had the money, I would send a pair to every woman on here.
Amen llp. Xx
Hello, Warriors.It's been about a month since I last posted, and a lot has happened since then. I feel calm. I feel at peace. I feel like I can breathe again. My h and I separated about two weeks ago. I remain at home with our two teenage children and three dogs while he lives at his parents' house. His parents have been out of town for about a month and are due to return from their vacation in about two weeks. They have no idea their son and I are separated; they have no idea their son has been living in their home. They have no idea my husband and I have "not been seeing eye to eye," as my husband recently told one of his sisters. How did I finally make the decision to suggest a separation aloud and not just in my head? I had finally had enough - enough of his lies, his gas lighting, his manipulating, his lack of basic, common decency toward me. I think I shared in my most recent post that my h did all these *seemingly* wonderful things with and for me this past Christmas. They were all a lie. When I asked him, during one of our going-nowhere conversations how he could be so cruel AND also be that man who did all those lovely things for me - for us - he replied, "I did those things so we could have a nice Christmas. I didn't want to be stressed. I didn't want to argue." I asked him if I was hearing him and really understanding what he was saying: "So, you did those things to keep the peace, not to work on our marriage?" Yep, he sure did. Clueless. Utterly selfish and clueless.Other reoccurring issues arose in our conversation... how I think he hasn't really dug deep and thought about why he had the affair (he still claims it was because I was "emotionally unavailable" - way to blame me, buddy), how he cannot (will not?) be consistent in his words and actions that should help repair our marriage, how his continual evasiveness to my questions does not make me feel safe...just to name a few. And then, right there in the middle of that most recent beat-my-head-against-the-wall conversation, I had a moment of clarity. Nothing has changed. Nothing will change if I don’t MAKE some type of a change. I suggested we separate; he agreed. He agreed without pause, mind you. He admitted a few days later that he had been thinking about separating for a few weeks. Coward. Typical. Wait for me to suggest. Wait for me to make a decision for us. Complain that I am too assertive. Oh, the irony!The night before we told our kids that he would be leaving in a few days, I point blank asked him if he missed “her” (the OW). Without pause, he said he did. Ouch. That stung, but not as badly as I thought it would. I knew he would reply that way. I was prepared. I believed he missed her (d day was in Sept 2016) and/or was still in contact with her. I didn’t want to be right, but I trusted my gut. My response? “Well, that’s a problem.” I barely spoke two sentences the night we sat down with our children to tell them we were separating. I was, and still am, so exhausted from all the heavy lifting these past 1.5 years. I wasn’t even angry anymore; I was just tired of talking about the same shit over and over again. I wasn’t about to explain to my kids how their dad was a selfish prick. I wasn’t about to help that selfish prick explain our situation to our children. Instead, I sat there, tears streaming down my face as I listened to the bullshit roll off his tongue. My son stone-cold stared him down. My daughter wouldn’t even look at him. The only thing I said to our children was that I was so sorry they had to experience this. I was so sorry this was happening to our family. My h never once apologized to them. Not once.
Jo,I am so sorry you are experiencing this. You are a hero to me with how you are responding. I have stored your reaction during the telling of your children away in case I am in that situation in the future. You handled it in a way you can really be proud of. I hope to be as strong if my story plays out that way. You deserve so much more, and I know you will make a life that honors you. hugs!!
Wow, Jo, you have shown such strength and such dignity. I think you're right re. him being a coward. For a lot of these guys, it's easier to walk than it is to face what they've done (really face it, not deflect blame) and make amends. Sounds like he's the one who's been "emotionally unavailable". Unbelievable the bullshit these guys can convince themselves is the truth.I'm sorry you and your kids are going through this. But I also can't see that there was any other choice that actually allowed you to treat yourself with respect. So...kudos to you for making that really hard choice. Given that your husband can't have an honest conversation with his sister or his parents, it doesn't sound as though he's learned a bloody thing. Avoid, avoid, avoid.
Wow jo, so very sorry he was that way in front of you and the kids. I’m sorry all he’s put you through. I pray you are going to fare well when the inlaws return and he needs to explain. This is his fail and not yours. Return here to let us know how you’re doing. I have teens too. This is hard! Hugs xx
ann - It was one of the most difficult things I've ever experienced. My h so void of emotion and my kids so full of hurt (confusion? anger?). I am proud of the way I handled it - in my head I was shouting at him, but outwardly I let him see some of the devastation he's caused. I hope you never have to experience that conversation. I hope you are doing well (last time I read your posts, it seemed like you were). Hugs to you!Elle - No, my h hasn't learned much at all. His parents return this week. He just left their home today and moved into a friend's house. I had hoped he would stay with his parents, for several selfish reasons: his close proximity to his family may increase his need to be closer to his wife and kids, less financial strain, less difficult for him to do something stupid... but I know I cannot control any of those things, and I know none of them are any type of guarantees. Those are the thoughts that go through my mind, though. The latest slap in the face: my h told the ow that he and I are separated. That's right, he effing told her. What makes it worse, if that's possible, is that someone else told me my h told her. Effing crazy. My h had the perfect opportunity to tell me last Sunday that he did such a stupid, selfish thing, but he didn't. Instead, he let me talk about how I was considering meeting him for coffee or a walk with our dogs or something like that. Instead, he let me believe we were about to make progress. Instead, he chose to say something that HE KNEW had horrible ramifications (we've talked about no contact and why) for our already fragile marriage. He made a conscious decision to let her into our marriage - AGAIN - without any respect for me. He let her know he's available; I mean, isn't that what it seems like? He let me find out through someone else AGAIN, just like how I found out about the affair. Each time I think it can't get worse, it does. Unfucking believable. Heartfelt - Thank you for your prayers. My kiddos and I need them. I know this is my h's failure and mess, so I should leave it be. It's so difficult. I have renewed my strength in focusing on myself. I will continue to enjoy every moment I have with my daughter and son, as they soon will be off to create their own lives. I'm so thankful for the closeness we share, and some days that's all that inspires me to stay strong. If you don't mind me asking, what are the ages of your teenagers? My daughter is 17 and my son is 15. Hugs to you, too!
Hello, Warriors (cont.)I thought I would miss him. I thought I would cry every night. I don’t. This time apart, albeit short, was something I really needed to clear my head and think about what I want. Yes, ME. Maybe I don’t want to rebuild our almost 20-year marriage. Maybe I don’t want to settle for crumbs, like many of us shared months ago. Maybe I want more for myself – to feel loved, adored, appreciated, respected, valued, understood… For the first time since d day, I am not sure if I want to work on this marriage. That scares the hell out of me, sometimes. That is not what I expected. Now, maybe in another 2 weeks I will be crying and missing him terribly; I don’t know. He and I will see each other in a few days, as I requested some time for us to talk. I want to tell him what I’ve been thinking. I want to let him know that he needs IC if there’s any hope for our marriage. I want to tell him I am not ready for him to come home, and I’m still not sure if I want to see him. (He’s been spending time with our kids without me, except for a game or a performance. He’s asked to drive with us – no way. I won’t allow that. He wants us to have dinner one night a week as a family – no way. We are not a cohesive family of 4 right now. We are separated. We are separated because he can’t/won’t get his shit together. We are separated because he can’t see that he and I once had it all, and he threw it away.)I have no idea what he will say. I don’t know how he’ll respond to what I have to say. Best case scenario? He tells me he’s already made an IC appointment. He knows he messed up. He wants to work on himself and our marriage. He misses ME. We slowly attempt to rebuild. We go back to MC while still attending IC. We slowly rebuild a new marriage, a better marriage. Worst case scenario? He gas lights and denies again. He outright refuses IC. He blames me again for HIS destructive choices. He doesn’t come home. We don’t attempt to rebuild; we end our marriage. I am prepared for both scenarios. What if there’s another one I’m not prepared for, though? Those of you that have separated… have you had a similar experience to mine? Did you almost suddenly feel “lighter” once he was gone? Did you appreciate your time away from him instead of miss him? Is what I’m experiencing “normal”?Thanks for listening. This was another loooong post.
Jo, You sound calm and rational given the circumstances, having had a separation I know the peace that can bring, room to breathe and just be you. It sounds like you’ve made the right decision. Your right he is a coward, your children will likely see straight through him, I know my teenage boy does. I hope you continue to feel calm and at peace jo, no doubt other feelings will creep in which is inevitable but you’ll get through them like you have the last 1.5 years. It would be great to see you at the retreat jo hope you can make it. I think this retreat will do amazing things for us ladies. I know it will for me, just the travelling alone will be massive I’mNot used to being away from my kids but I need to venture out on my own. Let us know how you get on jo.. keeping you in my thoughts xxx
Thanks, Sam A. Some of that peace and calmness recently flew out the window. If you read my response above to ann, Elle, and Heartfelt, you know what I mean. My h's latest trust break and omission of truth led me to a few days of deep sadness, anger, hurt, and confusion. I'm just now getting myself refocused on myself and my kids. I hope I can make it to the retreat, too. You're right; it will be an amazing time for all of us. It will be worth the venturing out on your own!
I had a break though of sorts in a dream last night. You know how so many of us (myself included) have wished to return to the state of blissful ignorance before we knew? This might help...I dreamed I was with a group of girlfriends chatting over drinks. Somehow the subject of infidelity came up. Someone stated that they were so glad they married their husband who was a "good guy" and would never do that to them. They could at least be certain of that. Everyone else except me nodded. No one at the table knew my history. (this has happened in real life many times actually, but it usually cripples me and triggers so much anxiety in real life. Not so in this dream.) Instead of responding with an anxiety attack, I leaned in and told the woman that she was missing out. I told her that by attempting to protect herself with "that can't ever happen to me", she was not accessing some real joy in life. Like leaving money on the table. The extra fulfillment in her marriage was just waiting for her, but her false beliefs about the impossibility of this happening to her were keeping her from grabbing it.(statistics show that she has only a 50% chance of being right). I told her that regardless of whether or not it ever happened in her marriage, admitting the possibility would change the way she EXPERIENCED her marriage. Seeing it as possible would likely not change the outcome of whether or not her husband cheated on her, but it would change the way she treated him and herself during the marriage in positive ways. I said it was like death. Once someone close to us dies, we have this urge to tell others to appreciate their loved ones more. To hug them. To not take a single day for granted. Once someone dies, we lose something we can NEVER get back. It makes us appreciate what we have more, but we see that we didn't have to wait for someone to die to access that feeling. It was waiting for us all along, but we just never thought to grab it. That's why we need to tell others to appreciate now while they still can. It's the same with betrayal. Once we find out, we lose something we can NEVER get back, but it doesn't have to be that way. Before we know, we can admit to ourselves that it's entirely possible and let that difficult knowledge change the way we experience our marriage, ie the way we treat our husbands and (more importantly) ourselves in our marriage. If you admit that it's possible and it never happens (but you live your marriage with purpose and a core inner strength you protect) you win. If you admit it's possible and you live that way and it happens, it doesn't make it hurt less, but it does make the best use of your time while you were in that marriage. You can't pre-grieve the loss or save yourself any pain. It's not about feeling more pain before you know to spare yourself pain on the other side. It's not about the outcome. It's about the journey and not the destination. Your marriage journey will be more fulfilling and safe for you if you keep that knowledge. Loss will hurt regardless (in death or in betrayal). It's just about how you live before that and the joy you can access if you choose to. I was able to say all this to that group of ladies in my dream. In my dream, these ladies all listened to me and I'm sure went off to have marriages in which they stood up for themselves and guarded their souls and treated their husbands as if they had undisclosed expiration dates (every person has an expiration date in one way or another). They kept an inner strength about them and experienced more joy until about half of them experienced betrayal and made whatever difficult decisions they needed to make depending on their individual circumstances.
(too long and I had to split up. sorry for rambling. )What I woke up with was a new understanding about this wish to erase my knowledge and go back to a period of "blissful ignorance". That spot is only 1/2 way to the joy that I could have been experiencing. Because I know about my H's affairs, I can't go back. I've lost something I can never get back. However, before I knew, I could have admitted to myself that it was possible and lived each day as if it could be my last (in my marriage). That would have changed how I experienced my marriage in so many great ways. I should have done that whether I ended up having to discover the affairs or not. The thing is... that's exactly where I find myself now in a way. I can't be sure that my H will not do this again. (studies show I STILL have about a 50% chance that I will experience this again). I live my marriage in a way that protects my inner worth. I try to enjoy each day that my H is doing everything he can do as if it is my last. This changes how I experience my marriage whether or not he chooses this path again or not. Going forward with this attitude (and knowing what I know), is the way everyone should live to access the maximum joy that is available to them. So I don't want to go back to blissful ignorance at all. If I could go back and feel it was possible and still not know and have it never happen... that would be the best case. That's not available. So, my consolation prize (this life) is the second best. Blissful ignorance is still missing out on something really important!!
I like this, Ann. Good insights do come through dreams. Thank you for sharing it.
ann, I too will have this experience of seeing things through my dreams. I could not agree with you more. I hate we had to go through this but the naive way I went about life was not reality either. I still have down moments but our marriage is the best it has ever been and very real. There is no holding back and we will have fights/tifts still. We do not agree 100% on everything but the way we communicate is so different. And we have a closeness I never thought possible. I have not disclosed it to anyone else yet but I do direct conversation towards lessons I have learned with my kids and friends. I am able to easily do this citing my husband's mental health background. it makes it easy for me to say I heard it from him or we were talking...
Wow, Ann, great food for thought! I read this yesterday and had to come back again for seconds. Much to think about.
Ann, one more thing. I do not recall your story. Please advise where you posted it.
Beach Girl,I'm almost 2 years out. I posted the long story in the multiple affairs page. My short story is my pilot H came home from a trip very irritable and unhappy with everything about me suddenly. This was out of nowhere, so I said marriage counseling (made him pick) and scheduled myself an IC too. Before the appointments and about 5 days later, I went digging in his suitcase and found a condom under the zipper lining of his suitcase. I questioned him and he broke down with a story of unprotected sex with a 28 year old flight attendant 3 years prior (one night stand). I pressed for a month, and through the magic of trickle truth, heard of 4 other oral sex encounters with 4 other flight attendants (so basically my life became an instant cliche). He's done everything he needs to do since then and we both spent a year in counseling (individual and marriage). We are doing well at the moment, but that is a one-day-at-a-time thing. There's another Ann on here (capital A) with a pilot husband, so it gets confusing.
Hello, Warriors (Part 2)Elle - I thought I posted this last night, but I guess it didn't go through, or I made some other type of error. Perhaps it's the universe telling me to limit my posts? :)I thought I would miss my h while he was gone. I thought I would cry every night. I don’t. This time apart, albeit short, was something I really needed to clear my head and think about what I want. Yes, ME. Maybe I don’t want to rebuild our almost 20-year marriage. Maybe I don’t want to settle for crumbs, like many of us shared months ago. Maybe I want more for myself – to feel loved, adored, appreciated, respected, valued, understood… For the first time since d day, I am not sure if I want to work on this marriage. That scares the hell out of me, sometimes. That is not what I expected. Now, maybe in another 2 weeks I will be crying and missing him terribly; I don’t know. He and I will see each other in a few days, as I requested some time for us to talk. I want to tell him what I’ve been thinking. I want to let him know that he needs IC if there’s any hope for our marriage. I want to tell him I am not ready for him to come home, and I’m still not sure if I want to see him. (He’s been spending time with our kids without me, except for a game or a performance. He’s asked to drive with us – no way. I won’t allow that. He wants us to have dinner one night a week as a family – no way. We are not a cohesive family of 4 right now. We are separated. We are separated because he can’t/won’t get his shit together. We are separated because he can’t see that he and I once had it all, and he threw it away.)I have no idea what he will say. I don’t know how he’ll respond to what I have to say. Best case scenario? He tells me he’s already made an IC appointment. He knows he messed up. He wants to work on himself and our marriage. He misses ME. We slowly attempt to rebuild. We go back to MC while still attending IC. We slowly rebuild a new marriage, a better marriage. Worst case scenario? He gas lights and denies again. He outright refuses IC. He blames me again for HIS destructive choices. He doesn’t come home. We don’t attempt to rebuild; we end our marriage. I am prepared for both scenarios. What if there’s another one I’m not prepared for, though? Those of you that have separated… have you had a similar experience to mine? Did you almost suddenly feel “lighter” once he was gone? Did you appreciate your time away from him instead of miss him? Is what I’m experiencing “normal”?Thanks for listening. This was another loooong post. I am grateful to have found this forum and all of you. You give me strength and reassurance. Thank you!
Jo, You sound like you are taking the right steps you need to put yourself in the best position to know what you want. I do not think it is easy to stay or separate/divorce. They each come with their positive and negatives. I think it is something only you will know. You are on track and so right that he has to be the one to take the initiative you cannot make him do anything. That was a huge lesson and not that I made my husband do anything but I thought he would make the same choices I made when faced with big decisions in life. I was very wrong. He was a very selfish and entitled person. I never lived my life that way ever. I chose to focus on me and he had to show me through actions he was doing the work, making changes and making good decisions.
Thank you, Hopeful30. :)I hope that being separated will eventually bring us back to one another, if that makes sense. If it doesn't, at least I'll know what I want and what I don't want. I'll know what I'm willing to accept and not tolerate. At least I'll know those things about myself and the life I want to live - with or without him.
Jo, yes I’ve separated, yes I felt lighter, yes I appreciated that time away from him. The house is back to being my home without his negative energy around. I separated after d day 2, this was 18 months ago and I’m pretty sure he’s been in contact with the ow since then. I’ve recently been to start divorce proceedings I’m on that road now and don’t think their is much hope for a reconciliation. I’ve had the last 18 months to get used to living alone, pretty much being a single mum so I’m not afraid of any of that. I’ve got my head around the fact that the marriage is dying it’s death so to speak it’s sad but these things happen to couples and it’s life we have to deal with whatever happens and move forward. That’s my plan anyhow. Jo I hope when you meet up with your h you get the response you want, Its great to have scenarios covered as these men are very unpredictable .. let us know how you go jo xx
Jo, when my then husband moved out, I and the kids were away on vacation. We had arranged it that way, so they would not have to see him moving his stuff and the furniture we had agreed on, out of the house. I think this was tough for him. At the same time he was fully still deep in his affair and the accompanying fog. Meanwhile, the kids and I had a lovely, healing week up at a lake in central Maine with family. I had a lot of time to process because we had two month of run up to the separation where everyone in the family knew. Once I got home, I was both relieved and scared. Scared about being able to single parent, handle money and keep the kids and me safe in our giant barn of a house. But also very quickly realized I was not waking up with panic attacks which had been a daily occurrence for 8 months. This was pretty eye opening. I did feel lighter. I could breath during the day because I had space and room to breath. I started doing things to claim the house and clear out the bad juju. I used a sage bundle and smudged the room that had been his office and where I had busted him on the phone with his pooky bear and where he used porn daily(blech), not because I believe it does anything magical, but because it let me actively choose to let those painful memories not be associated with that room anymore. There were also some other negative spots in the house, because I'm stronger than any "ghosts." I rearranged furniture. I bought some simple new pieces and art to fill empty spots left by him. And it slowly became my home again. The kids noticed without knowing what I had done. I helped them clean and reorganize their rooms. I bought flowers for us when budget allows. Anything to change how the space felt and how we interacted with it.So yes, I definitely felt lighter. Him not in your face every day gives you a chance to catch your breath. Especially necessary when he's either still deep in the affair or just deep in denial of the harm he's done and unwilling to do the work. So yes, I'd say normal. Think of the last time you left a shitty job. How relieved did you feel? I think this situation has a lot in common with that.As far as scenarios, its hard to predict what will happen. Humans have a large range of behaviors and are capable of all kinds of crazy. May I suggest to you that you don't need to apply and best or worst label to any of the scenarios? No matter the outcome, you are moving toward a brighter future. One where you are loved and valued as you ought to be and where you make your own care and take your own worth seriously. He can show up or not, but you, my dear, will be just fine.
SS1, I have copied and pasted your words where I can easily find them on my phone. I will probably read your response several times - especially your last two paragraphs. I like your idea of rearranging and decorating your home differently. I haven't done any of that, but I have ideas. :) I think I may in fact be "just fine." Thank you for reminding me!