Thursday, July 10, 2014

Other People's Judgement


...too often we aren’t willing to do the hard work of feeling where the weight of that pain resides in us. Instead, we get stuck, carrying around other people’s judgments of us and then having to figure out how to shield ourselves from this unhealthy residue left inside of us. This is the root of a lot of physical ailments – from weight gain, to anxiety disorders to chronic health conditions. The effort to silence our pain requires so much attention and, like a dog at our heels, continues to attract more relationships to us which confirm our worst fears about ourselves.
~Wendy Strgar, creator of Good Clean Love

I had to pick up my children at school just hours after having my suspicions of an affair confirmed by my husband. I felt shaky. Stunned. Nonetheless, I put on my Mommy mask, made small-talk with the teachers, deflected a casual friend's inquiry into whether I was "okay" (of course, just tired, I told her) and acted to my children as if it was just another normal day.
It's an act I've kept up to some extent every day since.
I have my reasons, of course. We all do. I wanted time to figure out what I was going to do. I didn't want to upset my young children. I didn't want acquaintances to know about my private life.
But mostly? I didn't want others' judgement.
Judgement never feels good. Some of us are, of course, more susceptible than others. Those who, like me, grew up in a shame-filled home seem acutely sensitive to the sting of judgement. But even the thicker-skinned among us aren't impervious.
D-Day, with its nuclear-bomb-like destruction, can make even the most confident of us feel as vulnerable as a newborn.
And it's then, when our very sense of reality is shaken, that judgement threatens us the most.
Judgement around infidelity is harsh. Our culture responds harshly.
Among the most vocal are those who've a) never experienced it personally but think they know all about it from watching Dynasty or b) those who have experienced it personally but never really healed from it. And those are the people who aren't the least bit shy about sharing their opinions.
And their opinions generally consist of extremes. Either you leave the cheating bastard or you pretend it never happened and "leave it in the past". It's judgement based on blame. Either he's a total jerk and you're better off without him, or you somehow brought this on and it's best to just move on from it.
But no matter that it's judgement based on little understanding of the dynamics of an affair (or of marriage, for that matter), it still hurts. It's an assault on our already shaken confidence. And, too often, it's judgement that silences us.
While I long for the day when we can discuss infidelity with the openness that we've come to discuss other challenges, such as cancer or even alcoholism (though there's still some shame around addiction), we're nowhere close right now. Infidelity's power remains its ability to evoke strong opinions that effectively shut down any possibility for discussion. We need nuance. The chance to say, here's my story. What's yours? and actually listen to each other's experience without judgement.
We're off to a good start on this site. I love the compassion with which so many of you support each other's experiences.
But we need to be able to take that compassion into the larger world. And to respond to others' judgement with trust in our own experience. Maybe not right away, not right when you're feeling your most vulnerable. But someday, when you can respond to that "once a cheater, always a cheater" with a confident "not true. At least not for me."
In the meantime, try and recognize others' judgement for what it is: fear, an unhealed wound, false bravado, emotional disconnect. A way to silence their own pain.





33 comments:

  1. >>>The chance to say, here's my story. What's yours? and actually listen to each other's experience without judgement.<<<
    Oh...a girl can dream, right??

    I soooo want that to be the way we roll on my blog, but lately the tone of the comments have grown snarky and flippant, rarely healing or compassionate.
    I get that sometimes when we are suppressing and struggling with life altering pain, we gotta unload it somewhere. Maybe that's the new service my blog can provide...poison dumping ground! Ugh. I have almost finished my story. That was the original goal. Maybe I should finish and then walk away. I have no interest in being an affair recovery referee.

    I have a choice. I can delete the judgmental haters and trolls. I know that. I just keep hoping we can reach one of them, help them find understanding and be open to all Roads back to Happy.
    Yeah....probably not gonna happen.

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    1. Elle,
      When I read your post this morning, I thought it was one of your best. Twenty-seven years ago, this blog would've helped so much. But I've gone so many miles past the women just starting this journey. Yet here I am still trying to figure out the pieces of my life and how it came together after the affairs. The need to keep infidelity a secret puts on the shame on the wife still in today's world. Why? They didn't cross the line did they, but as my MIl told me, "had I been a better wife, my husband would never have done what he did". Society still thinks that of course. You have to do quite a bit of therapy to get that thought out of your head.

      One of the thoughts of whether to confront the OW in a lot of the discussions. At the time the fatal attraction FA contacted me via the suitcase from Hell, my therapist was adamant that I should not contact her. There are even more crazy people today with guns who just might do something way over the top of decency.

      In my case, I spent so many years keeping the "mask on", pushing down the pain, and just wanting to pretend that everything was OK. It didn't work all the time, and now I have nightmares from stuff that didn't get resolved. Best to get everything out in the beginning. I didn't but I'm certainly better. As you age, you start to realize that life really is short and anger, regret, secrets are all such a huge waste of time. Mourn your pain and begin your journey. And as my therapists likes to remind me, no one lives without some kind of trauma. True, but it does seem that some people get more to deal with than others.

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    2. Shawn I will be so sad when you stop blogging. Your blog and this one have kept me breathing the past few months. I feel less alone and encouraged that I can survive this. This is hell and I just need you to know you are so appreciated. Thank you for continuing as long as you have and I truly pray your blogging time is not up!

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  2. Elle - this is a perfectly timed post. I'm so sorry to hear how isolated you were, and so glad you're here. But this discussion is urgently needed.

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  3. Again, what an insightful post. I find your writing so engaging and you help me find clarity in my own trauma. I think articulating how we feel personally and relating this to the wider societal landscape of infidelity and adultery is such an important task and we mustn't give up even in the face of what might appear to be raw hostility. Once upon a time everyone thought that the world was flat. Currently, most people seem to think that sexual infidelity can only be met with divorce. I have just finished a book by Kate Figes called 'Our Cheating Hearts' and I think she sums it up well when she says "when it comes to understanding why people stray sexually, and how to limit the likelihood or recover from it, we are still living in the dark ages of ignorance, blame and shame”. She goes on to say “if society’s view of infidelity were a little more sophisticated it might be easier for couples to find their way through the trauma in a more positive way”. Writing about our experiences and attempting to use these as a way of both coming to terms with our own pain and then attempting to get to grips with the much deeper rooted issue around monogamy is a great way forward - I think. Blogging is a brilliant vehicle for this. We can be anonymous if we wish so that we protect ourselves from personal judgement but this does not prevent us from creating a rich tapestry of human suffering that is caused by us being silenced. I get great comfort from those that have the courage to write. Thank you.

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    1. I agree 100%, Grace. It's so important to share our stories and to receive an outpouring of compassion and support whether directly or through reading others' similar stories. We are not alone in this.
      What we don't need is people's judgement. I understand that some of it (ie. from our mothers and friends, for example) is a misguided attempt to "protect" us from further pain. But far too much comes from those who know our pain...and believe that gives them carte blanche to tell us that we're idiots for choosing any path to healing but their own.
      Glad you're here.

      Elle

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    2. Grace - I enjoyed reading your blog, you're witty and insightful. The ow in my case lived not too far from Birmingham, maybe there's something in the water? Possibly gin. Keep writing!

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    3. I loved a post of Grace's called 'When you don’t know which way is up!'. Navigating on a rough sea is often how it feels. I liked the idea of the little picture in your purse.

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    4. I tried to add Grace's blog to my blogroll but it's not working. I'll keep trying. In the meantime, her blog is definitely worth reading: http://marriagerecoveryblog.wordpress.com

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  4. How much would I love that option, to say "look At us, we are so so so much better post affair". Not that I would recommend this is a way to strengthen a relationship. But with the right people, the right work, the right REAL re commitment, I really do believe that we can come out better on the other side. I of course was the school of "once a cheater always a cheater" and "I would kick his ass out SO fast", but then of course it happened to me, and EVERYTHING changed. we just celebrated our anniversary and it was the best in years, why? Because I think we realized just how damn close we were to losing each other. He knew it, I was ready to pull the symbolic trigger, but instead we stay, we work, we PLAY, we talk, we have FUN. I read ignorant stuff on th Internet all the time, and although I can respect someone's right to leave a cheating spouse, I wish they knew that, unless their partner is a psychopath, abusive in anyway, or blames the betrayed spouse and is un-remorseful, there is hope! But so much shame surrounds the entire subject, betrayed spouses are betrayed as weak or needy (I am neither and could have thrived on my own due to my lucrative career and fairly good looks) and the cheating partrner I s portrayed as a full on a-hole, MONSTER and worse, which mine has never ever been to my face...kindest man I have ever known. I know he was a jerk behind my back, and I know he knows he made terrible choices fueled by boredom and booze. But I know he's not a bad man. I wish others could understand. I have only told two people, one proceeded to give me advice about what I might have done to send him over the edge. She had no idea what she was talking about and I let it go and ignored it, just to preserve the friendship. I think she's coming around. So to my sly convos that don't focus on my relationship, but how we ALL relate to each other in the world.
    I wish I had the courage to identify "us", but the stigma on something so prevalent is still so high, I could not out my husband like that. I am actually starting to believe his remorse is almost as deep as my pain.
    Thanks again elle, for reading my mind.

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    1. Steam,
      The day might come when you are able to be more open, at least with trusted friends. I've found that I've opened up more as time has moved on. People are often shocked -- our marriage certainly doesn't "look" like one that has survived such hurt. But that's part of it. We have preconceived ideas of what a post-infidelity marriage looks like: bitter wife, husband resentful of short leash, misery. Clearly not your story at all.

      Elle

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    2. Did your friend mean that your behaviour caused your husband to 'go over the edge?' Why do people do this? The only negative comments I've had were from female friends both of whom have had affairs themselves. One commiserated with my h's ow (who neither of us had met) because ... I suppose because the woman had somehow 'loved and lost'. I think my friend expected me to be generous because after all, I had won. If only I'd been told there was a competition, I could have got it all over sooner.

      I suspect my friend for reasons of her own overestimated the ow's romantic investment, and these reasons were quite enough casually to insult me.

      And yes, infidelity is a minefield partly because so many people have something personal invested in its narratives. We learn things about our friends we might have ignored before, but which are important. It reveals human nature and the character and maturity of a person not only in the participants (including the unwilling one) but in its wider audience. Anyone who can tell you "had I been a better wife, my husband would never have done what he did" as Pilot's wife's therapist suggested, is basically a bully enjoying the fallen, possibly from a place of personal weakness. I'm not sure that is what society thinks now generally speaking, maybe it's challenged more often than we think (and fear) but we're not going to find out if we don't speak out more often.

      The British relationship service Relate isn't always praised but its page on how to recover from affairs is pretty sound. Interestingly it states: 'A crisis like this can also make you confront complex issues like gender politics and beliefs you might have both absorbed from society about faithful relationships.' One of those beliefs is surely that it's your spouse's responsibility to keep you happy enough not to stray. Or lie. Or steal stuff. Or drive when drunk.

      I'm more protective of my husband too, but he has been brave about telling his friends and admitting his failures.

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    3. Iris, sadly, I agree with you regarding being told there was a competition. :)

      One thing that strikes me lately, though is that we've become topsy turvy about so many things in our society, not just this. Our kids disdain cigarettes, yet we legalize marijuana? But, I think it ebbs and flows. Lately, I have been helping a friend who had a drunk driving conviction. She was required to either do jail time or a weekend-long lock-in rehabilitation session provided by the state. It dramatically highlighted to her the consequences of her actions in a multitude of ways, both legally, socially and personally and made quite an impact on her....and I got to thinking, we USED to hold infidelity LEGALLY liable, and now we do not....but, I think, just as with the drinking, being punitive isn't necessarily the way to go. Just think, WHAT IF, instead of "no-fault" (what a joke!) divorce, the wayward husband and his OW were REQUIRED to go to (individual) state-sponsored rehabilitation sessions and forced to face the consequences of their actions much like a drunk driver?? Marriage is not just a social contract, after all, but a LEGAL one.

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  5. Once again, such a fabulous post. After a year of screaming fights, then a year of separation we've spent the past year back together. I've been avoiding family and friends because I'm afraid of the "What is wrong with you? I can't believe you've taken him back." storm. I finally decided that I have to tell them it's my life and my decision and let things fall where they will. I'm going to a friend weekend in two weeks and a family get together in August. I guess I'll find out who'll accept the news and who won't. Either way, I'm in a much better place than I was.

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    1. I hope you'll take some time to acknowledge the courage it takes to give someone who's hurt you a second chance. It isn't something to be ashamed of, it's something to celebrate yourself for: resilience, ability to forgive, strength to get past so much pain, determination. Hold your head high.

      Elle

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    2. You are right elle, perhaps with more time and distance we can tell others, if only to show it does not NEED to be the end. My decision to stay was based partly on his absolute remorse and I had to decide if I was going to live with the knowledge that he cheated one me alone or continue to live with him. I would alway have the knowledge that he did, whichever path I chose, so why not heal this damn thing together? I was wiling and he was begging, so I took the leap of faith, (along with his passwords etc, LOL) and so far, six months out, I am pretty sure we made the right choice to stick this out. And believe me, part of that is due to this blog too. I can never say thanks enough.

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  6. Elle, yet again, another entry which lifts my soul and adds another layer of clarity.

    I felt absolute shame when I discovered my husbands affair and only told 2 trusted family members, who luckily were supportive.

    I went to bed at night feeling that what had happened was my personal responsibility, that I wasn't sexy enough, wasn't exciting, didn't meet his needs and was carrying around shame. One morning I woke up and the words that hit me were, " What a shame" What a shame he wasn't emotional capable of talking to me, what a shame he had to pick such a low life, what a shame for him he picked the woman most likely to make him feel dirty, destroyed and worthless. The moment I changed those words, it became easier for me. It wasn't my shame at all, the judgement fell to me to decide if I should stay.

    After what he went through with me, I am astounded he has stayed. I have made this the hardest journey for him. He has confronted demons, gone to counselling on his own and with me, talked about feelings he has felt really uncomfortable about, worked very hard on our marriage, complete transparency and a renewed joy for life.

    Will I now tell other people? perhaps - do I need to - no, but not because I feel shame or scared of other peoples judgement like before. Why, because its ours! I own it. Its private and is part of who we now are as a couple.

    However, I have shared so much on here and in those early stages, I could not have done it without you all.

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    1. Anon,
      I'm so glad you've come to the point where you recognize that this affair says lots about him...but very little about you. I often refer to wives as collateral damage in affairs. It really isn't about us. And once we can begin to ask, as Laura on this site has said, not "why did this happen to me?" but simply "why did this happen", we're on the road to healing.

      Elle

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  7. Can't tell if my post on this was published so I will re post:

    Elle, yet again you read my mind. This past week I was fantasizing that someone (you, really) would write a big front page NY Times Magazine (this is what my circle reads but there is probably something else out there) from the perspective of a betrayed spouse.
    I have stopped trying to talk to people about it because so few want to go there with me. One third of the people take their cues from popular culture, the other third are those who were betrayed and wouldn't dare drag up the pain that they have buried or let go of, and the other third are those who did have affairs. Sprinkled in there are a few who see this as a "people aren't monogamous" issue. Those are the worst.
    Anyone, I find myself not talking about it, not out of shame, but because the opinions and judgements of most folks just double the hurt. Frankly, I find myself retreating into my pain and trying to deal on my own. Not sure what else I can do.

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    1. MBS,
      I would love to write a story for NYT Mag -- do you have any contacts there?? Seriously, I have thought of writing about this. I actually spoke with an editor at a popular women's mag about this very thing -- but most of them (especially a place like NYT Mag) don't like to publish stories by "anonymous" and I can't out myself (or more the point, I can't "out" my children because they're not even aware they're "in"). But there is such a HUGE lack of understanding about what betrayal really feels like and how we recover from it.
      I'm aware though, as I watch a friend cope with her husband's terminal diagnosis and respond by keeping everyone at a distance, that none of us really knows how we'll respond to anything until we're in it. I don't understand my friend's response, but I'm not the one with the dying husband. Again, it all comes to withholding judgement and simply validating each other's experience and supporting them through it.
      As for retreating into your pain, I hope you'll continue to post here. We all benefit so much from your input and I wonder if that might help you feel a greater sense of community and support. Ignore the ignorant as best you can. You're walking your own path with dignity, which is the best any of us can do.

      Elle

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    2. Elle,
      I am not sure how it all works, but could you write the piece under an alias?

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    3. Depends on the outlet. Some are okay with that, lots aren't. However, I'm still chatting with the women's mag about writing something along those lines. Stay tuned...

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  8. This is a tough subject. I am so grateful that my therapist warned me against telling anyone except a few, trusted and close friends. Of those three friends, one has distanced herself from me saying that my husband makes her "uncomfortable", that she doesn't see him as the same person any more. The other two have been more supportive (one of these two has actually been cheated on by her husband and stayed in her marriage as well).

    If you are going to stay with a husband who has been unfaithful, people are going to judge. I'd like to think that the very few friends and family that know the truth consider our marriage a testament to the power of love and commitment. We are loving and demonstrative, and there is a new gratitude for each other… a depth of love and gratitude beyond what we had ever experienced in our prior 30+ years of marriage. I know it is apparent to them, and to our grown children who also know the truth, that my husband is truly and completely sorry and worthy of my grace and forgiveness.

    But that shame thing. I notice that even the trolls on Shawn's site can sometimes shake my tree, even though I couldn't feel surer about my decision to save my marriage. It's that judgement; that societal judgement of the man that cheats and the woman who stays…like we are doormats and they are all players, when in my case nothing could be further from the truth. Personally, I would love to see more focus placed on the type of woman who pursues a married man without an ounce of trepidation. I see a common theme in the stories shared, these other women, often married themselves, who have no shame or regret. Who are more than happy to use their bodies to entice a man who they perceive to be a proverbial "good catch", married or not. Now that's someone whom I have a hard time not judging.

    Elle, I hope and pray that you are able to write an article about these judgements...it is such a taboo subject and there is a lot good information that you are more than qualified to share. Keep us posted on that.

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  9. BetterEveryDay-
    I will take issue with the idea that we then should turn our judgement of the OW (do we feel that way about the OM?). I want to take judgement off the table. I acknowledge the anger in me wishes the 100 or so people who know that the OW is a serial OW, would lambast her until she bled. But really, my husband was an OM. Do I want him to get the same?
    The real issue is that we need a realistic conversation about why people cheat. It is not because of true love or the wife not being good enough or simply that everyone just needs to practice polyamory. The reasons are deep and are the result of what 2 very troubled people chose to do instead of being real with themselves and the people in their lives. No doubt, there are people who gravitate to married people or to cheating regularly. But it still comes down to the thinking that sex or some dream lover or conquest of some other woman's spouse will fix your problems and help you feel better about yourself. Affair partners and cheaters just seems to be wired to chose that particular escape. The rest of us choose other things--food, alchohol, the internet.
    Moving away from the good/bad judgement all around, makes room to see what those who are betrayed experience, to bring the real consequences of betrayal to light, and to understand how it is possible to heal after betrayal.

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  10. MBS

    I agree with u. My 2 Ow were both married themselves, though one began divorce proceedings while with my husband (he advised her not to, told her he wouldn't divorce me, told her once she started she would pester him to leave me; she said she wouldn't but then if course did). For her it was an exit affair. The 1st ow is still married as far as I know, although after a year or so she also wanted my husband to leave me. I'm not sure if these women are bored in their marriages & are trying to find something better rather than work on what they have. Or if they are self medicating (as my husband was).

    Your analogy is dead on. I myself binge eat comfort foods (chocolate, ice cream), & will have a beer or glass of wine when I'm depressed. Apparently my husband self medicated his poor self esteem with these 2 ow. I don't hate him & I don't hate them; I just hate what they did.

    When I just found out about the more recent affair (which was 3 years ago), my husband said he was depressed, always working, & we were in a marriage rut with 2 young kids who took all of our time. I was frequently too tired to be bothered with sex. At that time my response was so we should have talked about it, gone to therapy, tried to fix it, not have an affair. At that time it was all so new I don't think I would have really comprehended the truth which I also don't think he was ready to admit.

    Over time as we discussed things more & he saw me depressed blaming myself & our kids he kept saying blame him; it was his fault; he did it. I read so much that said an affair isn't always a symptom of problems in a relationship; sometimes even happily married men cheat when the opportunity presents itself.

    By the time I found out about the other affair, which occurred before we had kids & before our marriage had somewhat stagnated I was more prepared; I had learned more about affairs thru reading. This last weekend when we were calmly talking without blame or accusation I asked if there was anything I could have done different to prevent what happened, could we have communicated better, could I have been more available or attentive to his needs. He plainly said no. It really had nothing to do with me or our marriage; it had to do with him & his insecurities. I guess much like being obese or an alcoholic or addicted to drugs has nothing to do with ones spouse (although those seem much less personal). 11 months ago I would have said bullshit; how could the affairs not have been about me?

    After a long and hard 11 months that seem like forever I see no they really weren't about me.

    Sam

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    1. Sam,
      That your husband can tell you that you couldn't have done anything differently is HUGE. It's an acknowledgement that this truly was not about you at all, and completely about him and his need to distract/numb/whatever.
      Glad he's figuring that out.

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  11. Dear pilots wife, I read your post and I am another pilots wife who succumbed to spending time with flight attendants. I have another name for them that I won't use. You seem to be years past what you have experienced. I would love to know if it was a flight attendant as well and how you deal with the traveling. I am two years out with two teenage sons. Trying my best to be healthy I do forgive but the love never seems the same. Would love to hear more from you. A pilots wife is all together something unique to begin with anyways. Good luck to you if I don't hear from you!

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    1. No, that marriage is over my therapist told me. You don't have to throw away a broken lamp tho. You can glue it back together and it might still work but you do need to be careful with it. Your marriage won't ever be the same and it took me almost five years to get past enough of the awful memories. A lot of flight attendants are looking for the pensions in my opinion but now that airlines aren't doing that well they may just be looking for fun. In the early days when my husband was on probation pay, we lived in a tiny house for years and at the point he had his first affair he was a brand new captin. Ah yes, the ego boost was huge and the excitement of having an affair was such an escape from little kids, poopy diapers, and a very tired wife who had been juggling the home front while he he was doing the the coffe, tea, or me scenario. I was livid when I found out. Using me as his babysitter and taking time out to date. Priceless. With your teenagers, you have even bigger issues as they start to date. The whole atmosphere of the family has changed whether you have told them or not. If they know, this will be something they will carry forever my therapist said.

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    2. Dear pilots wife, thank you for the response back. I do agree with your broken lamp description. And yes the pilots life is not as glam as it used to be at one time. Surely not a family friendly field for many of the early years. I would have loved touring Italy and other great places on a romantic getaway like my husband and flight attendant had, now I never want to see these places and be "second" on the tour list. Having him home is easy its when he heads back out on trips that you just don't know. Life with the kids must continue. Stay strong!

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  12. Hi Anonymous,

    Ah yes, the glamour of the airlines. My pilot husband cheated on me with two of those friendly listener flight attendants but I never know about the first FA until the 2 nd FA left his kit bag filled with souvenirs of their 6 month affair on my doorstep after he broke off the affair. She was really cocky. Just marched herself right into my open garage while he was on a trip and left the bag with pictures, her nightgown, and a letter detailing details with the special ps that there had been another FA before her. Our kids were 1 and six at the time of the first and three and eight when the soulmate aka fatal attraction FA threw the bomb. The traveling really helped because I didn't have to be around him that much and he was very remorseful which helped but mostly I think it was because he got caught. Quite a few pilots have huge egos. It goes with the job and after all some people do call them " skygods". And you know, how fun is it to go out with the crew after al flight and share the camaraderie have your ego stroked. After the FAS, my husband stopped going out with crews and just went to his room (allegedly) and gave up drinking for yrs. it used to make me I'll to just fly and I kept wondering if I would be on one of their flights. Finally after almost 40 yrs, he told me the name of the first FA and I looked her up on Facebook. It has become an obsession almost because I had to wonder about her for yrs. she was nothing to to screw up your life for and she was older, married, and had two kids. He is so ashamed and that helps.
    But I did get HPv from one of them and it may have led to the head and neck cancer I got a few yrs ago which is mostly why I'm posting. Please be aware that cancer from hpv may lurk in your body for yrs and cause cancer many years out.

    My husband retired two yrs ago from a major airline(bankruptcy) and flew international at the end of his career. By that time you're so old and constantly in jet lag that I didn't think an affair would've crossed his mind. So I stayed for the sake of our kids who have turned out well ( hid it from them until they were late teens) but once the secret was out in the open it became more uncomfortable for me.

    Even at this late date, there are still triggers especially at holidays and I do get tired of people fawning over the whole skygods thing. Not all pilots cheat of course but the traveling certainly makes it easier. I coped with it afterwards by throwing myself into raising our kids, exercising. Teaching, and mostly just not caring. You just lose respect for someone who does that kind of thing, but I didn't want his soulmate raising my kids in any shape or form so I stuffed it and forgave. But now in retirement is probably the hardest. But the kids are OK or better than I could have done on my own, so that was my choice, read frank Pittmans, Private Lies, if you have a chance. It was what got me through my darkest days when my husband pretended to go on a trip and crew schedule called to tell him there was a make up trip he could take. Only he wasn't home. Priceless.

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  13. Dear Anonymous,

    You more than others would understand how seniority of the pilot affects your home life. Because of where my husband fell on the list, most of his flying was on weekends to get a better trip and have more days at home. That takes a toll cause it is hard to socialize and hard to build a family life around that when kids are in school. I got tired of it but I didn't complain ever about it. It was the job but it is hard to build a network of friends that way. Now that I'm in my sixties and reflecting on life and how I got here I think that was a huge stresser.

    When I once asked my marriage counselor, why so many affairs happen. He said that for over 45 yrs in his practice that was always the question. To which he said because to a narristic impulsive person, it just seems like a good idea at the time. Great.

    In my case, the first FA was just friends with benefits and broken off when her husband found out. No one bothered to tell me tho. And the second FA was the soulmate from Hell who proved to be crazy and dangerous.

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  14. Judgement...the exact reason I have chosen to keep this issue between my husband and I. I do not need anyone filling my head with doubt...I have enough of it floating around in my mind without anyone adding to it!

    I am constantly judging him for his actions! I am constantly judging her for her actions! Yes, she too was married and yes, of course they worked together.

    I have seen many posters talking about their pilot husbands, I think the same can be said regarding factory workers. My husband and the other woman were both in management, worked closely together and when they both felt they weren't getting what they needed at home, they turned to each other. I call it the factory mentality. It happens all the time. At one point, my husband had nothing good to say about that type of behavior and actually disciplined employees for it. They both in the end could have lost their jobs for it. Fortunately, my husband no longer works there, I'm sure if he did, I wouldn't have stayed!

    We have 3 children, only our 22 year old daughter knows because she walked into the room after I finally found my proof. I will not burden my boy's with this information. They see that we are different with each other, in a good way. The tough stuff is kept away from
    them.

    We have good days and bad days, I have good days and bad days. What I do not need thrown into that mix is judgement from family and friends. One day I may feel comfortable enough to share with a select few, maybe I won't.

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