Share Your Story: Feeling Stuck: Part Two (This section is full.)

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200 comments:

  1. This from Jane Williams (other "Feeling Stuck" is full):
    stuck, yes I feel stuck. I'm in a room with no windows or doors and can't find my way out and for the first time in my life I have no idea which direction to go. How to move forward, which direction with no feelings other than hurt.

    I look at this person that has been my husband, my sole mate! for over 30 years.
    I can't believe a word he says and can't read the truth in his feelings. He played such a fantastic game of poker how can I ever believe a word he says ever again.

    I still feel inside that he has not finished with her or her with him! Or whether that it just my insecurities.

    To make things worse, I have become violent through my anger. My anger is uncontrollable. He takes it and has never hit back and never would. I want it to stop I want him to look at me and love me, desire me, want me. For it to be true when he says its a mistake and that he loves me and will somehow make it up to me.
    I'm afraid that that will all go if I carry on. You can't love a mad person, a bitch which is what I feel I am becoming.
    I no longer want to be the victim, the crumbled mess that does everything except laugh and flirt with him and be a women again.

    Elle said 'its hell on earth' how true

    Her husband has just posted a diary online for their friends and family to see what they done in 2013. She had so many holidays, while she was in the affair with my husband. Half the pictures are lies, her smiling away with her husband on a boat in the Mediterranean, sitting having tea in Marrakesh, skiing, holiday in Dubai the week after she paid for them to meet in the hotel. How greedy can 1 person be...she has so much. Even her husband has stood by her saying he didn't know until it came out that she had a problem turning 50 this year. She a 'good old bird' so middle England it makes me want to go to her private members club that she owns with her husband and scream and shout let them all know what a self human being she is.

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    1. Jane,
      You must know that all those online photos are nothing but a curated life. A carefully selected handful of photos that allow these people to pretend to be what they want the world to see. It's really quite pathetic. Like a trip to Marrakesh fills a dark heart. Hurt people hurt people. It's her emptiness that led her to cheat on her own husband. And your husband's emptiness that allowed him to get involved. It sounds as if your husband recognizes that…and no longer wants it. Re. your insecurity: if you have access to his phone, etc, check it when you need to. Slowly, over time of him being honest and transparent, that insecurity will fade. But it does take time.
      The anger is just another phase. Like stages of grief.

      Elle

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  2. Hello Elle and all,
    I had been married for twenty four years when I found out that my husband aged 47 was having an affair with a co-worker aged 22. We have four children together (our daughter is 22). My world fell apart, I was devastated. He ended things with her straight away and we are trying to work things out. Its been fifteen months since I found out, he still works with her, he is a company director working over three hundred miles away, he's away during the week and comes home at the weekend. My problem is, every day I find myself thinking about them together at work sharing office banter etc. When he phones me in the evening I cant help not interrogating him about their conversations together. I know that the affair is over and she has a boyfriend her own age but I hate the thought of them being in contact on a daily basis, also because of this I still have horrible mind movies of them having sex together. Can anyone suggest how I can move on. He has promised me that he will try to find another job but good jobs are scarce where we live.

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    1. That's a really tough one. I think it's so hard to move past when they're still in contact.
      You might just have to white-knuckle this one…though your husband can certainly make it easier by always answering your texts (no matter the time), taking your calls, etc. One woman on this site got her husband a phone in which she can see him -- where he is, who he's with.
      But it all comes down to something we all need to eventually come to terms with -- trusting our spouse.
      It's the feeling of being out of control and unable to stop what's happening that can feel so frightening.
      You can read on this site about mind movies. There are strategies to try and reduce them -- mindfulness strategies.
      But so much of this is simply letting time work its magic. Assuming you've also done some work around healing from the betrayal, the sting becomes less with time.
      And I do hope your husband can find another job. Could he at least transfer to another division so he's not in touch with her?

      Elle

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  3. I am stuck. I found out about my husbands affair on April 29th, 2013. The last few months, however have been great, the holidays were good, it has honestly been good. My husband has been fantastic, saying and doing all the right things. The problem is that I still have this fear of seeing the OW (we were friends and our kids still go to school together). I went to my kids Christmas parties and found myself making extra sure I looked great that day incase I ran into her. I wanted her to think I have it all together and look great and screw her! Inside I was having a panic attack that I would actually see her! I never talked to my husband about it. He has started taking the stance that he doesn't want to talk about it. It is over and time to move on. Talking about it makes him feel so terrible and how many ways can he say he is sorry. So I don't talk about it..... to anyone. And that has me stuck because this month a year ago is when she starting texting my husband about wanting to hook up. It is all I can think about right now. My husband is worried because he has noticed that I am not as excited about sex and am withdrawing from him. He thinks I doesn't find him attractive anymore. When I tried to talk to him about it, he shuts down and just says, "what do you want me to say? We have been over this." I want to yell that you screwed another woman - that is what is wrong! Any advice on how to talk to talk to him about it? I really want him to know where I am at and I feel like I need him to know. I am afraid of pushing him away though. Why? Why do I care when he is the one that had the affair?

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    1. Kelly - it is horrible that you can't talk to anyone, because the talking does help, doesn't it? I am thankful that my husband willingly read a few books in the first few months after I found out (end of June 2013) - "Not Just Friends" was probably the most important one. If he didn't read this book, see if you can get him to read it. If he did read it, then get it back out and show it to him again. I even highlighted things that "spoke to me" because I read it first so he could understand my feelings. When he says "what do you want me to say?" I would tell him what you want him to say. Our marriage counselor asked me what I wanted from my husband when I got overwhelmed with the emotions and told me to be specific on what would make me feel better in that moment. I had to give it some thought, but I was able to say what I wanted and when my husband put that into action, it really helped. I also think it helped to have this conversation - what I wanted from him during those insecure and grief-stricken moments - when I was not in that ugly place and we could talk about it calmly. I wanted him to hold me and let me cry as long as I needed to cry and then give me words of reassurance. It helps. Sometimes it feels like putting a bandaid on an amputated leg, but that's the best we have sometimes. Hugs.

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    2. This is, I'm sure, one of the biggest barriers to our own healing: our spouse's inability or unwillingness to show up and be with us emotionally when we need it. There is such shame and guilt in cheating that the temptation to sweep it under the rug (especially when they think they've already gone through everything with us) is huge. But it just doesn't work that way. It's not a matter of telling us in the first few months that they're with us, they love us, etc. etc. It's a matter of being with us every single time we need it. THAT is what rebuilds a marriage. Showing up, day in and day out, even when it's hard. Even when it's uncomfortable. Even when it seems as if we're just going over the same stuff, again and again. What these guys just don't get is that if they would just deal with it when we bring it up, it would dissipate far more quickly. By shutting us out or silencing us, it builds until it comes out as anger or resentment rather than a plea for comfort.
      My husband and I have gone through this with our counsellor. I still have triggers, even seven years later. She has coached my husband through what to say: "I am so sorry you're feeling triggered/still fearful/whatever. I am doing everything I can to ensure that I never go down that path again. I never want to hurt you like I know I did. I never want to see that pain in your eyes again. What do you need from me right now?"
      I suspect your husband would be shocked to understand just how quickly those words work. It helps to reassure your husband that you're not interested in raking him over the coals. You're not interested in shaming in. You are scared and you're turning to him, your life partner, for comfort. It's that simple. And he just might need to do it again and again. But slowly, with time and consistent comfort, it will become less. And in the process, your marriage will have be come so much stronger.

      Elle

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    3. I also read 'Not Just Friends'. Here is another fantastic, short book to give to your spouse to read: "How to Help Your Spouse Heal from your Affair", by Linda J. MacDonald. After several months of couples counseling, and my husband's defensiveness, this book actually got through to him and helped him help me.

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    4. I find that a great way to start a convo about his affair is to tell him that I know it's in the past, I know he's apologized a million times...I'm grateful that he does. That talking about it honestly with no lies no accusations no tears no anger...helps me to gain trust in him, helps me feel closer to him, helps me feel safer in this marriage, helps me feel more optimistic about our future together.....he is brutally honest, it hurts to know he told her he loved her...he thought he loved her. :( ugh! Nothing can rip your heart out like that!

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    5. Thank you everyone for your responses. We actually had a great heart to heart just last night. I think the shock and everything is just really hitting him. He was focusing all his energy on trying to make me feel ok and forgetting about himself too. He too thought he loved her. I saw a text where he actually called her Mrs. Bxxxxx. That really hurt. They had planned this fantasy future together. That is ME though! That is supposed to be just for me. Anyway, we are still working through things but I think I will definitely look these books up for both of us.

      Thank you for the great support and advice. I told my husband last night that some nights just getting on this site helps me. I know I am not alone. I am not crazy in staying or how I feel or anything.

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  4. Hello, I have read many many posts on your blog and I feel like I am finally justified in my feelings and not alone. My story is a story that should have probably never happened. We were both military when we met and we were both out of fresh marriages, but still very young. His cheated on him and he found out she was still with her boyfriend on his wedding day. That was probably the sign that i should have just let him pass on by. But for some reason I felt like i was invigorated. It was exciting and I could be that one the help him and make him a healthy man. When we were dating, we both went out on each other. Military is sometimes a crazy lifestyle. He was moved back to the states and I was ready to get out. I took leave and went to visit him and in the same month I was there, he proposed and we got married, 1998. Nothing huge, JOP. I went back the England, where I was stationed and awaiting my time to separate from the military. In that time he was very defensive and i knew that was because of what he had been through. Finally I arrived back in the states and we started the life that is what it is now. I was 22 and he was 20. Our first child was born in 2001, I don't know what he was doing the whole time I was not with him but I had a suspicion that he was not ready to be married and I don't think I was either. So 10 years we lived together as a married couple, had two children and I was pretty sure he was not being faithful to me at any time. Too weak to leave I guess. We were moved to his home town in 2004 and things pretty much went downhill from there. I am kind of shy to begin with so moving with the military i always feel lost for a while. But I have always worked fulltime so it helps. In 2008 I found out that he had been having an affair with one of his friends he had known since the 5th grade. I felt soooo stupid for not knowing that was happening right under my nose. 7 or more months. Deep down I did. I was very secretive, I was to not have access to his phone, email, myspace, none of it. He would always accuse me of doing things with people. -my stance on affairs: I would never do it no matter how miserable because I think it's a blatent disrespect for the other party, the kids and yourself- Guys don't think this way though. So I was curious, as an IT person, and did some checking around. Found months and months of email correspondence. with his childhood friend AND the X that cheated on him on his wedding day. She was living mear miles from us and I was clueless. Confronted, delivered divorce papers, he cried and begged and we are still here 6 years later and two moves later. I still don't think he has been honest. I had his passwords for a while and then he changed them all again and thinks that I should be over the whole situation. I don't, deep in my brain, think he has cheated again. My resolve was making him call his parent's and telling them what he did. I thought it would help me more than it did. I still cannot seem to gain the trust in him. I don't like him. I want to love him but when I look at him and I cannot get past how little respect he had for me to put us in this situation. I am really at a loss. I want to feel better. We never went to counseling. I want to feel like my old self and i am left with always feeling annoyed and irritated. He is good to me in that he doesn't beat me or he's not emotionally abusive, but it just feels like there is nothing left to give. I used to go through his phone to check up but I don't have the energy to do that stuff anymore. We just go through the motions and I pour all my time and love into my kids. I so want to have a relationship with him, sexually and emotionally but I just can find the energy. I need help getting out of this rut. There is so much life out there and I want to deserve to be happy. My first choice would be to get past it and work this out but I don't know how. My kids have enough issues with moving every 4 years. They don't need the added baggage. any advice?

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    1. Get counseling...with or without him. I know what the military lifestyle is like and everything that goes with it. Your kids deserve a happy mom and you deserve to find your happy place. Counseling can help you know how to handle the circumstances in which you find yourself now, and will help you take ownership of your life and get healthy. You are not alone and this is a safe place to help you unload your feelings and your grief. Betrayal can take the life right out of us and you sound like the wind in your sails is kaput. Be good to yourself and reach out for help. We cannot heal without each other and good therapy. Call on some of the churches in your area. Many churches offer programs just for betrayed wives and if they don't they will know of some good marriage/betrayal counselors. Start there. One step at a time. You CAN do this.

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    2. Anonymous,
      I think Barb is right. When we're feeling so depleted, it's hard to do what we need to do in order to regain that purpose and energy in our lives. A counsellor can guide you along, giving you that push when you need it. It's also so valuable to have that non-judgemental sounding board. Sometimes we do know what we want...we just haven't been able to articulate it, even to ourselves.
      I honestly know exactly how you feel. I've been in that place where it's so much easier to just keep going along rather than acknowledge that there's just no joy in our lives. But Barb is right. Your kids deserve better and YOU deserve better for yourself.
      Please let us know what you decide.

      Elle

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    3. thank you for your response. I will contact a therapist and atleast get my piece of mind back regardless of whether he accepts to attend. The things that keep me stuck should be making me walk the other way i think. We got new phones for xmas. On his old phone he has deleted fb and logged out of all his email accounts. He left fb messenger on there and I chose to pick it up and check it, just out of curiosity. There was a message from another football mom on there talking about a 5k or something. With an off, they know each other better than i think comment, but i disregarded because it wasn't anything crazy. Checked the phone again today and the message has been deleted. even if it didn't mean anything, why would he try to hide it. This has been the problem for most of the marriage. He says he's sorry and he wouldn't step out again and when would he have time to anyway. But that gut feeling is always there. He is also very adamant that he does not know why or what led him to the affair. I don't think he's being honest, whether it be with himself or me or both. I think the initial shock wore off after a couple of years but i fear he really hasn't done that much changing. I'm sorry to vent. Honesty and respect is my household motto. My kids can follow it. Why can't a grown man... Thanks for listening. E~

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    4. So many of these "grown men" have the maturity levels of children.
      It sounds as if he's doing little to help you heal...and even less to get to the root of his own issues. You can't rebuild a marriage alone. But yes, get yourself some counselling if only so that you can feel completely clear on what your next step is.

      Elle

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  5. I was wondering If any of you have been where I'm at today. I know everything about his affair(so he says) and his actions are telling me he's sincere with working things out but I am so afraid of him. I was looking for an email on our family tablet and found a really short email between him and OW from the time of the affair. I can't believe how devestated I feel after reading it. I know what was going on during that time so why am I so shocked?? It was literally 3 lines each not some long drawn out email. I am afraid that if something this small can send me into a tailspin then what are my chances of getting past this? I actually feel kind if bad when I read other stories as his affair was short and so many women on this site have been through so much more. I think I need perspective from others who have been here. Please share your thoughts. Thank you T

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    1. T,
      Please don't compare your pain to others. Each of us has been betrayed...and we don't measure the betrayal to determine just how miserable we're allowed to feel. Don't judge your feelings. Just recognize them. Betrayal is excruciating. And each time we come against its sharp edge, whether it's months or sometimes even years later, it hurts.
      My therapist refused to call it regressing, whenever I would spiral back. She called it "recycling" and insisted it was simply part of the healing process. It's a chance to go over those same feelings -- the hurt, the fear, the anxiety. To acknowledge them within the context of progress. Yes, it still hurts. And yes, it transports us back to that horrible moment of discovery. But...we're reminded that we have moved past it, even just a tiny bit. And if we've moved just a tiny bit, it's possible that we'll continue to move past it. Again, don't judge yourself. Just feel it. But know that it will pass.

      Elle

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  6. Thanks so much for your words. I really appreciate that you say that things will get better. I feel so torn all of the time thinking that I will feel this way forever and its good to know that it won't last like this. I worry about my ability to stay the course with him when my instincts tell me to run He really is doing what he should but my pain and hurt and I think ego too is preventing me from really opening up and letting him in. This place helps me so much. Thank you
    T

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    1. T,
      Things absolutely will get better. It's almost impossible to imagine a day when you're not filled with pain. But you will. It takes a lot longer than any of us ever thought. But slowly the darkness lifts and lets light in.

      Elle

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  7. Im not stuck anymore!!
    I first posted back in august, that my husband was coaught having an emotional affair with my cousin! that i had discovered for a second time , and decided to let us try again to be happy together.
    Sadly, it turns our my husband had be playing me a very merry dance since nov 2012. I went downhill drastically after the august discovery, my gut instinct was screaming at me, and i was on guard all of the time, a tiny tiny morsal of the woman i used to be, an emotional insecure wreak, constantly trying to get the truth from him, wanting to believe all his lies, desperatley, and listening to his words of love, he even pretended to do a course of counselling for himslef to discover why he needed to "talk" to someone else other than me. He told me i was losing the plot, and was going insane with my paranoia, to the point where i was put onto prozac by my doctor, and diazapam, for panic attacks!! During all of this, my sister was very ill , with a brain tumour, and on december 9th, i finally found the evidence of his affair, sadly, on the same day i had spent at the hospital with my sister, being told her treatment has come to and end, and we were going to lose her. he left, on the end of my foot, and i have not heard from him since, neither have my children, to whom he had been very close!! Xmas passed with nothing, and now my sister has passed away on 6th january, and not even a text of condolence from him or any of his family, after a 16 year marriage!! she has left her husband, and my entire extended family has disowned her!! i just feel totally disposable,and like i am nothing!
    but i will not be treated like that by him or anyone else again, my sisters spirit gives me the strength i need to get through this, the loss of her if far worse that losing a man like that. he has changed beyond recognition to me, and i feel the man i married is dead!! i also believe he is too ashamed to contact any oof us ever again!!
    shocked is the only way to describe how i feel

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    1. You have so much loss to wade through. I'm so sorry for everything you're dealing with. But I'm glad you're able to feel the presence of your sister with her strength, to prop you up and keep you going and ensure that you are not going to stand for anyone treating with disrespect again. An incredibly painful lesson.

      Elle

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  8. I was so happy to recently find your blog. I've read so many that seem biased and I'm grateful for a "voice of reason". :)

    My D-Day will be on the 27th of January. A brief history: I've been married to my husband for 24 years. My husband is from another state and has elderly parents. My job doesn't permit me to travel 8 hours away as often as I'd like and my husband was starting to worry about his elderly parents very much. He began visiting them without me around the holidays last year. We were not close at the time and both of us I know were thinking of divorce. He had taken to spending more time with his computer than with me. He decided he wanted to move "home" because his parents needed him. I did not want to move to his home. We moved away from there 20 years ago and I also can not work in that state doing what I do now. As he is getting ready to retire, I will be the major bread winner. The first few times he went alone to his parents, he asked me to go, and I just couldn't swing it and he didn't understand. He spent Thanksgiving and Christmas at his parents house without me and our 3 children. After Christmas, he asked me if I would ever consider moving back and I told him no. (It was not a happy life when we lived there before.) We have a big enough house that his parents can come to live with us, however he says he can't ask them to leave their home. I told him that men don't leave their families to care for their parents, they bring their parents home to care for them. Seems very logical to me! Well, after Christmas, he decided to go back again the second week of January. I could tell at this point that we were headed for a dark place and had told him I wanted to work things out in our marriage and be close again. He seemed to be unwilling. I offered to go with him to his parent's house this time, but he told me I couldn't go. When he returned a week later, I found text messages from "her" on his phone, I confronted him immediately, and my whole world was shattered. This OW lived directly across the street from his parents' house. Very convenient. We went through a very rough patch on deciding if we wanted to be together and he continued to talk to her. Ultimately decided that we did want to be together and we are making some progress. I did call the OW and she was very candid with me. I learned that they hadn't had a physical relationship and I have to say that I was relieved as this confirmed what my husband had told me. She stated that he just stopped calling, and she even asked for my forgiveness, which I denied. I told her I would never forgive her because she hurt my children.I know that it was probably not the right thing to do, but at the time, I could not go down that path, especially not with "her". Maybe one day I can, but not today! .

    My question is this. I am devastated even though there was no physical affair. I wake up in the morning thinking of them together, I can't sleep because I'm thinking of them, I dread D Day because I know I will be a mess. I don't want to go anywhere they have been and will never go to the place where I found out about them. Too many things are a trigger for me. Why is it that I'm so affected by something that was so obviously convenient, that happened during a weak moment, and was given up so easily. I know I'm holding up my own healing. I know it's not about her, but I loathe and despise her. She knew about me from the start. WHY would she go down that path with MY husband?

    I'm tired of my imagination, questions, fantasies of revenge, and runaway thoughts. What can I do to get myself under control, give my husband the true second chance he deserves and get on with my life?



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    1. I also wanted to reply to my own post stating that I have been a size 10 and a size 28 in my marriage. My husband loved me through all of those sizes for years and years. I was proud of that and am grieving the loss of my security. But I say this to let you know that your size, shape, and physical attributes do not drive a man to cheat. Look at some of the OW. Lots of times they have nothing on the wives in the way of looks. Men cheat because of themselves, not because of how you look.

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    2. Ladybugsy,
      It's a truism for many of us on this site that it's not the sex, necessarily, that devastates us, it's the level of deceit. Emotional affairs can be very painful. It's the intimacy shared that hurts us. That shuts us out. That shatters our trust. It's the violation of our trust that makes rebuilding so difficult.
      There are many posts on this site about how to stop obsessing about the Other Woman (just do a search for "Other Woman"). There's no point trying to understand why these women get involved...and why our husbands cheat. It comes down to the adage that "hurt people hurt people." Healthy people don't engage in extramarital affairs. They're a consequence of wounded people seeking escape. Affairs offer that. A suspension of reality. An alternate universe where they feel interesting and sexy and powerful. That's a powerful feeling, even if, on some level they know it's not real.
      I strongly urge you both to get counselling. You to help you deal with the hurt and anger, him to figure out how he allowed himself to go down that path. Don't minimize his cheating. Cheating is cheating, whether it's consummated or not. You're entitled to your feelings. I suspect the sooner you allow yourself to just feel them, without judgement, and to allow him to sort through his own issues, the sooner you'll be able to begin rebuilding your marriage.

      Elle

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    3. 'An alternate universe where they feel interesting and sexy and powerful.' so true - even though the business is in reality sordid and predictable. And even boring, which is the untold story of many illicit encounters over time.

      I've the wonderful, warm-hearted Shawn to thank for my relinquishing writing to the OW to tell her I know what she's done. My husband's encounters with her were already over, communication between the two of them was confusing and the OW may not realise I know or that I know who she is, though she sure as hell knows about my existence. I have a facebook ac but I only use it to look at other FB pages and I've never searched for her, so that particular swamp is missing from my story. At any rate I obsessed for a while about her scurrying away consequence-free and my mental letters went from terse to gynecological to florid, until I read Shawn's blog and gasped with horror and laughter and realised she has done this work for all of us, proving beyond a doubt that poking the OW is rarely a good idea. In my case my OW hasn't seen my husband for a year and hasn't pursued him so there's little to say that wouldn't be obvious to anyone with a shred of decency, and there's no guarantee she has any of that - if she hasn't shaped up she's unlikely to care. My mental letters faded. I became unstuck there at least.

      I'm reading 'The Gifts of Imperfection' by Brene Brown, which Elle recommended. It's not the first of her books I've read so I know her themes, even so this one is really worth getting. I would never have read these books before this last terrible year, but on reflection I'm glad I had the opportunity to do so. I'm on the way to solving a few things of my own. Good luck to all the women in this club today.

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    4. Untold story is right. So many times I've heard from cheating spouses who admit that they ended up hating the Other Woman, hating themselves...but felt in too deep to get out.
      And though I'd love to read your "terse, gynaecological and/or florid" letters to the OW, I'm glad you came to your senses (thanks to the wonderful Shawn) and didn't bother.
      And yes...isn't The Gifts of Imperfection a great book? I find her ideas common-sensical and easy to implement.

      Elle

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    5. Elle -

      My husband says he can now admit to himself that he felt a growing discomfort and disgust at what he was doing, I imagine that's hard to accept when you're supposed to be having 'fun' doing something illicit and daring. You might tell yourself, as if making the best of a ruinously expensive holiday hit by a freak weather system involving torrential rain and a subsiding hotel, that you're having a great time. Afterwards, not so much.

      They argued, he tells me. He could have argued with me, here, any time he wanted. Why find someone else to argue with? There's a Monty Python sketch for this dilemma.

      I don't know what he really feels about the OW, of course. Indifference, which he didn't want to disturb with my questions. Certainly not hate, which would mean thinking about her more than he wants. What I do know is that for him this was a horrible experience he wishes had never happened. So do I.

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  9. Its been over 2 years since Dday and I'm so disappointed that my marriage is not further along in the healing process. The worst part, is that for nearly a year, I've been out of love with my husband. I have a few moments when I feel a little something for him but mostly, I just wish I'd of left him on Dday.

    I've read a lot of peoples stories of infidelity, and they talk about how their marriage is better than is was before. They talk about how its stronger and more intimate but that hasn't been my experience. I began blogging about my husbands affairs with the expectation of discovering where the love went and if I can get it back. Aside from blogging, do you have any suggestions?

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    1. Michelle,
      Are you two in couples counselling? I don't discount the possibility that you're just not able to respect him again. But it sounds as if you want to exhaust all possibilities to rebuild your marriage so I would suggest counselling in order to work through all the painful emotions that cheating brings up and to see if you're able to, with that behind you, work on reconnecting with what brought you two together in the first place.
      I would also ask you to explore the possibility that you're not allowing yourself to give fully to your marriage. When there has been a trust violation (ie. cheating for those of us without a doctorate in psychology), it's very hard for us to make ourselves vulnerable again. But it's impossible to full experience intimacy without making ourselves vulnerable. Vulnerability involves the possibility of being hurt again. It involves stripping ourselves bare (metaphorically, if not physically) and opening ourselves up to rejection...but with the hope that we'll be accepted exactly as we are, with nothing hidden. It's scary stuff. But it's also an unexpected gift if you're able to create that with your husband. If you simply can't or feel as if too much has happened to ever trust/respect him again, then at least counselling can help you create an amicable separation.

      Elle

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  10. Thank you Elle,

    We are in counseling again (we went a lot the first year then stopped and now we started back up again because of this) my counselor had mentioned something about me not loving him being a way to "protect" myself from further emotional trauma which is what I believe you are saying about vulnerability. I agree that is probably part of it.

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  11. My husband cheated with a woman who chased him and subtly manoeuvred him over several boundaries while he (with no relationship experience before me) stupidly didn't see it. She came out with the explicit approach just weeks before I gave birth - deliberately capitalising - so she said later - on the fact that he'd be "neglected" in certain respects she thought (she doesn't know me). Painting me as bossy and controlling, and getting him to accept it, she then bossed him and controlled him into promising he'd leave when the baby was 2, then worked him back to 6 months. I found out, things were a mess. She had primed him that he'd have no option to stay with me, I'd make him suffer forever. So he tried to keep us both from running amok and thus continued to cheat (remotely) for a couple more months.

    I found out and asked him to leave until he could be honest. At that point he suddenly handed over all his electronics and went cold turkey from her. It has been a long road back and I don't even know where it is leading but I don't doubt his remorse.

    She won't go away. Every few months she does some stunt to get our attention. She has no shame or remorse. There's nothing she won't stoop to.

    I've only recently started blogging and would love your feedback on it. When I sort out my technical issues I want to have a blogroll with this one at the top, the best blog on the subject out there frankly.

    Of course there is a lot more to it but the bottom line is - I'm one of the single-affair married to a small-time-narcissist-with-no-clue who really messed up by getting involved with an unstable and sociopathic woman. We have children and I am not the kind of person to act impulsively and repent at leisure. So I am biding my time, still not sure, after 3 years, whether I will ever be happy in this marriage again. She thinks he's miserable, and she's got it all upside down, such is the delusion of the other woman.

    www.ragesarcasmvitriol.com

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    1. Nephila,
      I think we're all married to a small-time-narcisst-with-no-clue! That's a good way to put it. I'm glad you found us and I'd love to check out your site when it's up and running. Blogging or journalling is a great way to sort through your own confusing and conflicting emotions.
      This OW does sound unstable. I think as long as you two remain united in your response (or rather non-response) to her, she'll eventually go away, though she might up the ante first, in a desperate bid for attention.
      I hear this story so often that I've concluded that so many of these OW are just so desperate for attention that they'll accept any attention...even that of an otherwise unavailable man. But when that attention, which is like oxygen to them, gets cut off, they panic. Keep cutting it off and hopefully her attempts to get to either of you will die too.

      Elle

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    2. Thank you! I have the blog going now, even have a few followers. I haven't worked out how to un-sticky a post, or how to put a blogroll up but I will get there.

      Yes she fears she has gotten everything, including my husband, just because of her looks. And pretty much she's right, that's the hilarious part. Its what she pushes down people's throats so its not surprising,

      If there's one thing about being fat, you know who is genuine and who isn't. Its a great litmus test for BS. My husband used to pass that test, now he can't of course. Oh well.

      I usually think that ignoring her is for the best but there are some things left unrebutted that she then believes and keeps acting on as if they're truth. So those things had to (or still must be) dealt with even if that means contact or upping the ante. I'm no longer afraid of upping the ante. Bring it on. :)

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  12. Hello, it will be a month on the 28th since I found out my husband of 25 years had a 5 year affair. When he told me he begged me to give him a chance and that he knew this is where he wanted to be. We had a great marriage prior to this so I let him stay. Over the course of the last 4 weeks he has not made any progress. He has now said he must talk to the OW because he wants to tell her it's over, he wants to work on our marriage and she shouldn't wait for him. He didn't really get the chance to do that since all the books say cut off all communication. That all sounds good until he goes on to say he wants to give her advice on how to move forward, he also wants to know if she is mourning him like he's mourning her. He wants to tell her not to date married men. duh. All the books we've read and both of our counselors have adviced him to not make contact and to let her sort it out herself and he should be concentrating on me and our marriage. The truth is he is becoming more and more removed. His assignment last week was to court me. I got flowers the next day and nothing much more. He admitted he is avoiding me. I told him if he saw the OW it would set him back and he said he hasn't made any progress anyway and maybe this will help him get her out of his mind. I have a terrible feeling about all of it but I feel pretty terrible most of the time anyway. I think I need to prepare for the worse. Our therapist has offered to host the meeting with all 3 of us there, now we need to call her and see if she's willing to attend. I see so many ways for this to leave my husband with unresolved feelings. For now I am left to mourn by myself. He is not able to comfort me like I need and shows zero empathy. He's like a robot. I would love to think that seeing her again and cutting it off officially will help but I don't really think his head is in it. Has anyone else gone thru this?

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    1. No, no, NO!! He does NOT get to break it off with her. For heaven's sake, it has been four weeks. She knows it's broken off (unless he hasn't, in fact, gone No Contact with her).
      As for the meeting with the therapist -- this sounds utterly crazy to me. He either wants to be in the marriage, in which case he goes No Contact with her; or he can't decide, in which case you might need to make it clear that you're not going to put up with this. He's either in or he's out. Be strong. Be firm. He's asking you to rebuild a marriage he's trashed so he's got a whole lot of work to do beyond calling a florist.
      I understand your desire to give him a second chance. And certainly the first weeks and even months have a lot of setbacks. But he's barely willing to even show up.
      If I were you and he continues with this bullshit, I'd insist that he leave until he's completely clear on whether he wants his marriage or her. If he wants his marriage, he needs to get himself into therapy and do a whole lot of work to repair the trust he's broken. And that will give you time to determine whether he's worth giving a second chance.
      I'm so sorry. I know it's not easy to give up on a long-time marriage, especially one that was good. But he has his head so far up his ass that he needs a swift kick to excavate it. You should NOT be explaining to him why he shouldn't be seeing the woman he cheated with. He SHOULD KNOW WHY.
      Sorry...I'm livid on your behalf. Zero empathy? Show him the door, at least until he smartens up. Keep the therapy appointment for yourself. You need someone to help you through this.

      Elle

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    2. Debbie:

      What Elle said EXACTLY, especially the current position of your husband's cranium, but I felt so strongly about your comment I had to reply too.

      'Our therapist has offered to host the meeting with all 3 of us there,' ouch. The OW is not an equal partner in your marriage. Did you invite her in? I think not. I'm happy to host a meeting between you and the therapist where you explain this salient fact. Book me a flight.

      Why can there not be a clear, unemotional and unequivocal no contact letter to the OW from your husband, which you witness, stating that he has recommitted to the marriage? It's only a month since you found out - would make sense. Then, if she communicates in return, you deal with it as YOU see fit. A person who gets involved with someone who is married, whatever they're told may happen, has no right to expect an easy landing when previously made commitments to the spouse are (belatedly) honoured. Duh indeed.

      In reading your comment I feel myself caring only about Debbie and what Debbie needs. If he wants to save his marriage your husband will have to demonstrate considerable empathy to you and let go of the OW, and No Contact is the way. Make your boundaries clear (to that therapist too) but don't despair if radical change isn't immediate - that was my experience. Only you will know what you're prepared to accept and when and where you draw the line. But without NC progress is impossible.

      I might add that for me a visit to a divorce lawyer was empowering and demonstrated that I was not going to accept my husband's ambivalence, it certainly woke him up. A marriage of 25 years is a significant matter to dissolve however (mine was 20) and if it was great before imo it's worth fighting for - if that is what you want - although it will be very painful for you whatever you decide and you won't know for certain yet, at only a month out you must still be in shock. To say I feel for you would be an understatement. I hope you have friends and family supporting you through this ordeal. You will get through this.

      And flowers my a*s*

      Iris

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    3. Please don't underestimate the withdrawal phase of the affair. I did and suffered for months after the initial d-day. He relapsed over and over again--first physically, then with secret communication. Affairs for some men, like mine, trigger deep, deep addiction. I was reading about this last night on www.marraigeadvocates.com. There are several articles that are worth reading. He may also benefit from reading this blog from the cheating male perspective: http://affairadvice.wordpress.com/2012/10/24/breaking-the-addiction-to-the-affair/
      As painful as it might be to realize, he is still attached to her. It is a chemical/pscyhological dependency. Tough love and 12 step type methods may be the only solution.

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    4. Debbie,
      Iris, Anonymous and MBS (below) have said what I should have said. Your husband and your therapist should be concerned about helping you feel safe enough in your marriage to even consider rebuilding it. They've offered you really smart advice. I hope you'll take it -- starting with finding another therapist.
      Please know that we're all just outraged on your behalf. I just can't imagine how confusing this is for you, when a supposedly objective person who should be concerned for you is even considering hosting some sort of weird infidelity session. It's incredibly unprofessional, not to mention damaging to you.
      Please let us know how you're doing.

      Elle

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    5. Thank you so much for all of your responses. I am starting to stand up to him but it doens't help much. After I first read everyone's responses to my questions I set him up on the affairadvice.wordpress, breaking the addiction to the affair. He really saw himself in that blog and it did help him for a few days He told me he was off the fence. Still shaky but off the fence and on my side. No requests to call her,etc. He seemed pretty good for a few days but here we are on Friday, it's been 3 measly days and he's now back on the fence. He can't get the idea of what it could be like with her. He says he's still here with me and has not contacted her again so that is something. BUT I am left to comfort myself, to wonder if today is the day he can't take it any more. He has cooked dinner twice this week and had a red rose and candles on the table, but the look in his eyes is just blank. He says he's depressed and I believe it. He also says he won't take anything for it. I am miserable. I feel rejected all over again. He wants the marriage ...he doesn't know if he wants the marriage, he just can't shut the door on this OW in his head. Anonymous said something about underestimating the withdrawal phase. I would appreciate any insights. I feel I am losing this battle and I'm so worn out and sad but also angry that he can't see what a great thing we could have. IT won't be the same but it has potential for us. On the other hand, why am I doing this to myself. I have to take zanax to function these days because my anxiety is debilitating on some days. How long do you let this go. It's been 5 weeks and he is taking baby steps forward followed by big steps backwards. He reminds me he can walk out the door any time he wants and he hasn't. I try to hold on to that. It sounds tough and empowering to just say get the hell out but I don't want to ruin any chance we have of turning a corner. It's been 25 years of marriage but the last 4 were shared with another woman. Any advice is appreciated.

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  13. Thank you so much for this site. I have been up all night reading it, nothing helps in the same way that hearing testimonies does. My husband had a mid life crisis ten years ago. He had moved to a new job in another state and our children and I were to follow him when the school year ended. They were in early middle school and the last year of elementary school, respectively, and I was finishing my Master's thesis in a totally new career field. But my husband decided he needed to find himself, and that he and I didn't belong together. He found that he just hated me so much, and that our 14 years of marriage were a mistake. After going back and forth on his decision for several weeks, he told me on Easter Sunday that he had decided we were irrevocably finished, with much vitriol. He filed for divorce, and the papers came in the mail on my Graduation Day. I grew up with a challenging mom and alcoholic father, but none of that drama compared with the pain of the divorce. I lost weight and had to go on anti-depressants. Words don't capture the depth of that awful time, but I can recognize it in the posts here. Well, 6 months after this saga had suddenly started, it ended just as suddenly with a contrite email asking me to consider staying married. The divorce suit was dropped, the mid crisis ended. The kids and I moved up and resumed our lives. It was a few weeks after we arrived that I came across the incriminating emails he had written during the divorce time. He was in love with another woman, as his friends and I had suspected. She was a piece of work, but was not interested in him - either stringing him along or just a person with poor boundaries. He didn't stop the divorce just because she wouldn't have him. Instead, it played out like a mid life crisis does, tying in to my husband's feelings of inadequacy when he hit 40 and went through a career change. But that didn't stop me from going through all the suffering that betrayal brings. It was a lot of painful work, but I can tell you that for some marriages, there is healing. Being able to look back after 10 years, I can say that this whole episode was an isolated incidence and not a recurring behavior. Still, it changed me. I struggled with many issues, one of them being hatred for the OW. Blinding and obsessive. She came back to my husband's workplace unexpectedly because it turns out she was adulterously involved with one of his colleagues. Broke up that marriage with no consequence, it was like the poor Australian woman who posted above, with no community support. What is wrong with community today? Anyway, it still haunts me after 10 years. Night before last I had a dream about the OW, even though it's been so long and we haven't lived in that area for years and my husband has had no recurrences with wanting to end our marriage. Just a bad dream, and I was plunged right back into the fresh horror of it. Unable to relate to present circumstances. Unable to function in the present relationship with my husband. Consumed with hatred and anger, wanting to scream at him and hurt her. It's been a bad 24 hours, and now it's starting to lift. Bewildering - no matter now thoroughly you deal with trauma, our psyches are delicate and just a stupid dream can totally take you over. Leave you absolutely out of control as if you were drugged or hypnotized. Anyway, thank you again for your site. You are a very gifted woman. God bless you and all of the women who post.

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    1. Julie,
      Thanks so much for writing. I'm glad your husband's experience was simply a wrong-headed blip in an otherwise good life and marriage.
      I do tend to think that our dreams are like signposts, directing us toward things that need our attention. I wonder if there's something in your life right now where you feel powerless -- that impotent outrage. It's worth thinking about.
      I think, too, that betrayal can be harder for those of us who have trust wounds left over from childhood. I had an alcoholic mother and father so I came into my marriage with a desperate need for safety. When I learned that my husband cheated, I was beyond devastated because I'd never learned to find that safety in myself. Now I think I have. It sounds like have too.
      I'm glad you found us.

      Elle

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  14. Debbie,
    Please fire that therapist. If she/he doesn't understand the importance of NC and securing your emotional safety, then find another. If your husband contacts her without your full support--which I can't imagine a sane woman would allow--he is still betraying you. The only thing he owes her is a letter that you get to see. This is your time to stand firm against anything that doesnt allow you to feel safe and ok.

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  15. Thank you for this blog. It has helped me. I found out a week before Christmas that my husband of 17 years had a 3 month affair about 2 years ago. He ended the affair on his own and wants to stay in our marriage. He answers my questions and is going to couple therapy. But I feel stuck. We have 4 kids together and have built a great life together. I never thought he would do anything like this. I had no idea about the affair. I am so angry and sad. I can't stand that he did this to us. The thought of having a better marriage makes me crazy. I feel like I need to Thank the oW for allowing my husband and I to have a "better" marriage.

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  16. Thank you for this blog. It has helped me. I found out a week before Christmas that my husband of 17 years had a 3 month affair about 2 years ago. He ended the affair on his own and wants to stay in our marriage. He answers my questions and is going to couple therapy. But I feel stuck. We have 4 kids together and have built a great life together. I never thought he would do anything like this. I had no idea about the affair. I am so angry and sad. I can't stand that he did this to us. The thought of having a better marriage makes me crazy. I feel like I need to Thank the oW for allowing my husband and I to have a "better" marriage.

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    1. Peggy,
      I'm glad you found us...but sorry you needed to.
      You've had a huge shock and you're no doubt still absorbing it. The fact that your husband is being honest and willing to work to rebuild your trust is certainly a positive thing. And it seems that you want to continue in your marriage.
      This is still really raw for you, though it probably seems like each day is an eternity. Time tends to take the rough edges off. But, of course, sadness and anger (which is often fear or hurt) is normal under the circumstances. Allow yourself to just feel your feelings without judging them. Without leaping to conclusions of whether you'll "ever" be able to trust him again, or whether your whole marriage has been a lie. Though many of us go down that path, it's neither helpful nor true.
      And yes, I can remember scoffing at others who'd healed from their spouse's infidelity and their claims of a "better" marriage. Of course it's better, I would think. Your husband isn't sleeping with another woman anymore.
      And yet, it has been true. My marriage is deeper. The struggles we went through and all the soul-searching to determine whether we wanted to rebuild it or not has meant that what we now have is far richer than it was. Storms make better sailors, said Shakespeare. They make better spouses too.

      Elle

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    2. I know this sounds crazy but 6 months ago I found out about my husbands affair which ended 2 years ago. I went thru all the horrible emotional stuff everyone else does, but I consider myself lucky.
      1. Because she moved away it is truly over and I don't have to worry about the 2 of them, although for a long time and even still I worry about it happening again with someone else.
      2. Because it already ended I didn't have to deal with his affair fog on top of my own feelings. He was already over her and realized himself that he didn't really love her. So he was available to take care of me. You have to make him do that. The affair was for him, now its your turn to be selfish; you take care of you and make him be there for you emotionally.

      -Sam

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  17. I just want to say thanks so much for this blog.. I came across it one day while trying to make sense of my husbands affair. My husband had an affair through the ashleymadison website. The woman he cheated with became pregnant and thats when he told me about the affair. This was around May 2013. We have been married 8 years and have no children. It has been an emotional roller coaster for sure. I have decided to stay with my husband. The child was born this January. By the grace of God I have made peace with the OW. I don't have hate for her anymore and I don't hate this child. I just have sadness when I think about the whole situation. I guess that is the mourning I've read about? Mourning for what you thought you had but lost. I use to have serious paranoia about him cheating again or being unfaithful to me right under my nose. When I came across an article about infidelity on Oprah. Dr Phil was on and he was counseling a couple and Dr Phil said "you don't know if they will cheat again. The trust is broken for now, but what you can do is trust yourself that if they cheat again after promising faithfulness you will be able to leave them." It really made me think that the cheating wasn't so much about him not loving me..but that he wasn't respecting me. I told him I would never be disrespected like that again. No matter how sorry he might be or how much I loved him and wanted to forgive. I don't know what the future holds for me and my husband but i believe in second chances. It is very comforting to know I'm not alone out there with my sadness. I would like to know if anyone else has a step child from their husbands affair. How do you handle it?

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    1. Hi Anon,
      You might want to check out the Web site, Surviving Infidelity (surviving infidelity.com) because it has specific forums where people can find others going through the same thing (ie. an Other Child who's the result of an affair). You sound like an incredibly strong person who has been able to make peace with this, which I think can only serve the child well. I hope you can find some support though for what you're dealing with.

      Elle

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  18. I don't know what I would have done these past 2 months without this blog. Thank you all for your honesty and for sharing. I have not told anyone what's happened...partly due to I don't want to burden grown children/aged mother and I don't have many close friends that I want to share this with. Also partly due to my lifelong quest to be "perfect" which resulted from dysfunction while growing up.
    D-Day was 11/21 when I stopped at pharmacy to pick up husband BP meds. For some strange reason there was a sheet of paper attached to the bag with his RX history which showed many many RX for Viagra. We never used it; in fact we hadn't had sex for several years due to his ED. (he's63, I'm 60, BTW) So of course I'm shocked and immediately phone him. He denies usage, blah blah. We argue and hang up. (He is out of town on business) I knew that night that it had to be true because he never called back and normally if we argue over phone, he calls & calls till we come to resolution. It was like he crawled into a hole of shame that night.
    The Viagra usage started 6 years ago when he was frequently traveling to Asia where he started having "happy ending" massages. That is all he is sharing with me and he made it sound like they were nothing; everyone does it there; also made them sound very non-sexual, claims just done for "release". But I am even more devastated since he never once came to me for sex during this time frame. His reason was he thought I didn't like it anymore! Ha! I was very sensitive to his ED and knew he felt insecure about it and basically we had a communications breakdown we now discover. But that doesn't justify what he did....
    Now just this week, while he is traveling again, in US however (he is not required to go to Asia anymore, TG!) I start digging around trying to find more pieces to the puzzle...trusting that gut feeling that there is more to this even tho he is denying.
    I now know he has been seeing a call girl, or escort? something like that for these HE massages. I have a name, price, location etc. but don't know how often or when.
    We are going to discuss this week when he can fit it in (he has an all-consuming job requires a lot of travel, etc).... I am sure there will be more denying. Of course the escort is Asian & that is part of his problem. He seems highly attracted to pretty Asian girls.
    I cannot believe this has/is all happening to us. We are nice,normal people married 20 yrs. in a 2nd marriage that I thought was amazing.
    I am in the stage of don't know what to do and go back & forth between wanting to work it out & wanting to divorce him. Partly to show him and partly because I think this is all disgusting. We used to have a great sex life until all this started and I think his ED started after the HE massages due to guilt, then he started the Viagra. I also think he "told himself" I didn't want to be with him to justify his actions.
    Ladies, thank you all for listening and being here. I would not have made it thru these 2 months without this. Elle you are wonderful for this blog!! I feel your caring and concern for us all.
    I have 2 questions if any could answer: where do you get the polygraph testing done and how can I find out if he has a secret email address??

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    1. Anonymous,
      I'm so sorry for everything you're going through. I often think the period of not quite knowing everything is the worst.
      That said, I think you should anticipate discovering much more. I think the "happy ending" massages is total bullshit. It's sex. I don't care what he calls it. It's sex. Same with the escort, which is a nicer name for a hooker.
      I would demand that he come completely clean on EVERYTHING if he even wants you to consider staying with him. And then, if you have any doubts, look into a polygraph. I would imagine you could call your local police station and ask if they know of anyone. Or Google it. I've heard of plenty of people who've used them so they must be fairly common, assuming you live in a city.
      As for secret e-mail addresses, I'm a tech-idiot so I can't help though I know some people install key loggers onto computers so they get a record of which sites/e-mails/etc. their husbands are using. Again, Google key loggers or "how to find a secret e-mail" and my guess is you'll come up with something. You could also hire a computer whiz to go into the computer and retrieve info.
      However you proceed, please know that anything you find out is simply details on top of what you already know: that he cheated. That's really all you need to know to determine whether or not he's worth a second chance or not.
      Please keep us posted. I hope he won't gaslight you anymore because the lying after being confronted is as damaging as the cheating itself.

      Elle

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  19. Anonymous -
    Our timeframe seems very similar. My husband cheated on my in May 2013 and we were "celebrating" our 6 year anniversary, we have known one another for 11 years. We do however have two children that is pretty much the glue that has held us together through the hard days. The OW in our story had her baby in January as well...however, she was married. So I don't know for sure whose it is. I told my husband that I would not guilt him into a paternity test...but if he chooses not to find out if the child is his and it comes out years down the road, I will leave. It is not fair to anyone involved to try and ignore the fact that a child is yours just to "not endure" anymore pain or complications. According to his story he would have to had miracle sperm in order for it to be his...but I won't go into those details. Either way the baby is not mine and that is what I do know 100% for sure. However, if it was his I did tell him I would accept it as a step-child and believe that God put him in our lives for a reason. But this deal only holds true for the first year of his life, there is an expiration date. I am like you as well...I don't hate anyone anymore but I am sad. I am finding myself questioning our past decision - one being why did we get married? I am having a hard time saying we married for true love and we will find that again. I don't know if we ever had true love, and that is something hard for me to admit...I always thought we could grow that love. Instead we went the opposite direction. We are still together and he is the husband I always wanted and needed. He is involved, caring, emotionally supportive....but is it too late? Has too much damage already been done to try and recover or even start over? Good luck with the step child - parenting is the best thing in the world...at the same time the hardest.

    Michele

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    1. Michele,
      I think only you can really answer whether your marriage will be enough for you. I'm curious why you thought it would "grow". Are you two in counselling? Can you go back over those earlier thoughts of why you got married?

      Elle

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    2. Hi Michele,
      My name is Carrie and you replied to my post about the other child. I told my husband to have the paternity test it wasn't court ordered. We actually haven't gotten the results back yet, but i guess there is a 1% chance it may not be him. lol... We talked at first about not seeing the child and just paying her child support. My husband doesn't want me to suffer anymore either. I also think he is incredible ashamed of himself. I told him I thought he should see the child no matter how painful it was to me. I also said that a lot of wrong choices were made (the affair, the lies..ect) and another wrong wasn't gonna make this right. I think in mine and my husbands situation we will see the baby one weekend a month and maybe increase as the child gets older. We are still seeing a marriage counselor, that has been very helpful and I would recommend one or stick with the counseling.
      My Grandmother is the only person in my family that knows about my husbands affair and she told me something at the very beginning when I was calling her crying and saying I didn't know if I could stay with him. She said " You are in a storm a tornado, and you have to hold on... Hold on.. Because the storm will pass.." Good luck to you as well!

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    3. Carrie - " You are in a storm a tornado, and you have to hold on... Hold on.. Because the storm will pass.."

      I'll remember that. Lucky you to have your Grandmother x

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  20. Not sure which section this belongs to:
    My husband regrets having the affair and wishes he could turn back the time. But then he’s going to say that! He has tried very hard to win me back. Very loving and making all the right moves. He has told me 70% of when/where although begrudgingly. He has asked me to stop asking questions and talking about it. Draw a line under it, is all he keeps saying. Let’s move on. Says ‘I beg you’ But I can’t leave it, I can’t let it go. It’s eating me away. I dream about it , I think about it all day and night. The Jealousy is destroying me and our marriage.
    Briefly-24th March 2013. I caught him with another mobile phone, he said he was phoning sex lines. When we went out the following Saturday night, he was really loving and said he was sorry. It was a special evening. We went out for breakfast the next morning, again really lovely. I believed him.
    12th April 2013. With a gut feeling I went onto his online billing for his iPhone and checked the usage. It was a story. It showed that he tried to speak to her on that Sunday and nearly every day there were calls to her two mobiles and lots of text messages. I also found out that they meet twice in them three weeks.
    I feel that she was/is special and the only reason it came to an end was because I paid a Private Investigator to get me the name and address of the two mobile numbers. I went to her house, her husband came out while she hid inside. She had to tell him quickly when she saw my car outside.
    He had the chance to finish it, he saw how upset I was when I found the ‘pay as you go’ mobile. But he didn’t. We had also just become Grandparents for the 1st time with our Grandson born 7 weeks premature weighing a little over 4lbs.
    Sorry if I’m repeating myself from previous times. I’m having a really bad day. I have had 6 counselling sessions that we get free in the UK. But I feel I need more, something more specialised on how to move forward, how to overcome this.
    I need to find myself a job, being home all day is making me go mad. But I have not worked outside of the family business since the late eighties. I’m constantly tied, have no go in me. I can’t be bothered. Our business closed and we lost our house. What’s the point in anything? Things happen the way they are going to happen. Effort or no effort.

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  21. Jane,
    You are going through a tough time. But that's all it is. We all tend to "recycle" sometimes -- to go back over what we know, to sift through it all like some mad forensics person. The key is to recognize what you're doing, to acknowledge that it's not helping you. You know this stuff. You're not learning anything new. It's fear that this can happen again that driving you. It's an attempt to pre-empt additional pain by creating it yourself. Understandable...but not helpful.
    Stop. Do all those things that will take Herculean effort to do. Go for a walk. Find a place to volunteer. Get a dog or a cat. Become a pen-pal to a military person posted far from home. Offer to look after your grandchild for a few hours each day. Do something to get out of your own head...and into the world. And don't accept any of your own excuses. (I'm too tired. I'm too depressed. There's no point. I'm no use to anyone... I know them. I've said them all.) Just force yourself to do one thing every day to get outside of yourself. It won't work magic immediately...but over time, you'll notice that you feel engaged with the world again. That your husband's betrayal will slowly fade into the background.
    As much as I frequently argue on this site how important it is for us to be able to share our feelings with our spouses and get answers to our questions, at a certain point it becomes harmful to ourselves. At a certain point (and I suspect you're there), it just becomes "pain shopping".
    Can you afford more counselling? If you've found it helpful, could you cut out other expenses to make room in the budget for it?
    What your husband did was really shitty. He was selfish and disrespectful and a total idiot. It sounds as if he knows that and is admitting it. But my guess is he's doing what he can to make sure he doesn't act like such an idiot again. With the one-year anti-versary coming up, you're going to be feeling some really painful emotions. Create a plan right now to get yourself through it. Do you want to spend time with him on that day? Do you want to get together with friends? Stay in bed and give yourself permission to cry for 24 hours solid? Just anticipate it...and know that it will suck. But that the next day doesn't have to.
    You'll get there, Jane. This is incredibly difficult. I've heard women say it was worse than when they were raped. Worse than losing someone they loved. It's hell. But it's in the rear-view mirror.

    Elle

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  22. HI Ellie,

    My husband came home with some fake separation papers( that he printed online) after a weekend of him partying and coming home at 5 am last july. we have been together for 11 years and married for 5. we have two children, 8 and 4 months at the time of this. i was so hurt and upset. i did not want to separate or get a divorce. he was still living at our home but was gone most of the time. he would still initiate sex with me and stupid me thought well, if he's still sleeping with me he is not doing it with someone else. navie i know. he knew how seriously i took my wedding vows and seriously thought he wouldn't disrespect me like that. well, surprise! he had a sexual relationship with some girl that started right after he presented me with those separation papers. long story short, he ended up coming back home and i decided to give him another chance. i really struggled and still am with the whole situation. he didn't want to do counseling and for the first 2 months really did what i had asked of him. then, in december, he started to pull back and get inpatient with my recovery. it's gotten worse now. he is telling me that i should be over it bc we were technically not together. well, i dont feel like that justifies it. we were still married, nothing was official, and he was still sleeping with me. he said that he doesn't really think he did anything wrong bc of the separation. i'm heartbroken and starting to feel like he is never going to understand and that he got away with it. then the other day we talked about counseling again, he agreed and said he wanted to make me happy and will do whatever. angels started singing, i was so ecstatic. short lived though. 2 days later he starts acting like a jerk and is super rude and cold. wtf?!? i tired talking to him but he shuts down and says he has nothing to talk about and he is done fighting with me. i feel like i am at a dead end. any advice?

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    1. Hi Anonymous,
      Alot of what you describe sounds like Affair Fog and Withdrawal. If it is, I wouldn't trust him. I wish I knew about those things when my WH first told me about the A. He jumped in and out of our marriage for 5 months following the first D day. I failed to understand where he was mentally. He had the intention of being in the marraige but lacked the willpower and self honesty to do what was needed. Look up Affair Fog and Withdrawal and see if any of it sounds familiar. Then protect yourself. I am just reading "Surviving An Affair" by Dr Harley (of the Marriage Builders website)---I have about 6 books about affairs and marriage recovery at this point. Anyway, the book (and I think the website, too) describes what it looks like when a spouse is not fully recommitted. It describes my husband from late July-early Dec 2013, but I only know that now in retrospect. Just because you know about the affair doesn't mean you are out of the woods. Expect gaslighting, blameshifting, and crazymaking. But don't believe it. Don't expect him to understand anything until he is recommitted. You will feel it when he is actually there with you. But unfortunately, he may not get there so protect yourself. Good luck.

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    2. Hi Anonymous,
      Alot of what you describe sounds like Affair Fog and Withdrawal. If it is, I wouldn't trust him. I wish I knew about those things when my WH first told me about the A. He jumped in and out of our marriage for 5 months following the first D day. I failed to understand where he was mentally. Look up Affair Fog and Withdrawal and see if any of it sounds familiar. Then protect yourself. I am just reading "Surviving An Affair" by Dr Harley (of the Marriage Builders website)---I have about 6 books about affairs and marriage recovery at this point. Anyway, the book (and I think the website, too) describes what it looks like when a spouse is not fully recommitted. It describes my husband from late July-early Dec 2013, but I only know that now in retrospect. He had the intention of recovering our marraige but lacked the willpower and self honesty. Just because you know about the affair doesn't mean you are out of the woods. Expect gaslighting, blameshifting, and crazymaking. But don't believe it. Don't expect him to understand anything until he is recommitted. You will feel it when he is actually there with you. But unfortunately, he may not get there so protect yourself. Good luck.

      Delete
  23. My husband had an emotional affair with a co-worker. They started texting in January of 2011 and calling. They texted an average of 5,500 texts per month and approximately 100 calls. On August 18, 2012, I was able to read his cell phone the OW was coming to our house with her husband and son for a party. He had texted her and she him "I love you, Babe" back and forth repeatedly. When I caught the text messages she was in my kitchen and I told her if she wanted him to take him. He husband was in the car, she ran out of the house and that was the end. I however, cannot get over it. I am sick to my stomach every time I think of how he made a jerk out of me. I had told him in the months leading up to the discovery of the emotional affair that I knew he was texting this woman. He was sneaking all over the house and lying to me. We had a very strong marriage prior to this affair and I am not sure I can get over it. I love him and I hate him all at the same time. When I am with him we are like a rollercoaster getting along then fighting. When we are apart I am spending extreme amounts of time researching the internet for reasons. He insists she was only a friend asking for help...I don't believe him. He denies having any feelings for her and says that the "I love you" texts were prompted by his being blackmailed by the OW. She apparently was pushing him to say I love you and he refused saying they were just friends...then he gave in and she had him. This is his story. I think there is more I asked him to get a text reader to show me his texts he goes into a tirade so I don't believe him. He wants me to forgive and for things to go back to the way they were. He still works with her due to the economy there is no other option at this time. To my knowledge there is no longer any communication between them but I cannot trust him and am having an almost impossible time forgiving him. Please help.

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    1. Anonymous,
      Let's get one thing clear: He did NOT make a fool of you. He made a fool of himself. Frankly, I think you handled yourself admirably and should feel proud of yourself.
      Now...there's absolutely more to the story than you know. People with nothing to hide, hide nothing. Take his phone and get a text-reader (no idea what that is but it sounds as if it reveals all the texts, yes??). Ask him if he would rather come clean on his own first. Don't let his anger dissuade you. It's a counter-move designed to get you to back down. Don't. If he's interested in you "forgiving" then he'd darn well better have nothing left to hide.
      As for the job with her, I think it's time to look for another one. In the meantime, he needs to give you access to all forms of communication so that you can check them whenever you feel the need. That's how trust is rebuilt -- by you being able to check and discovering that he's being totally honest.
      Until you begin to believe that the two of you are working to rebuild your marriage, you won't be able to just move on and "forgive". Forgiveness isn't about letting him off the hook -- it's about giving him a second chance that he has worked hard to deserve.

      Elle

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    2. Thank you for responding to me so quickly I really appreciate your advice and have been reading your blog for about a year since I discovered it. I researched text readers because I need to know the truth and they are available for about $150.00, a small price to pay for knowing the truth. I did not mention in my previous call for help that between December 2011 and January 2012 my husband was also sexting with her. According to him she was telling him about sexually explicit romance books she was reading and asking him to tell her a story. The last one he admits to happened in January 2012, and was a scene from 50 Shades of Grey with very explicit sex. She texted him the story she was reading and requested him to tell her a story like the one she just read. He did, then she told him it made her panties wet and asked if he thought about her. He told me it made him sick and the told her to never do that again. My husband had told himself that since they were talking about books it was ok, until the last one which he said he realized was wrong. How can he still delude himself into believing that friends do this? He told me he always loved me and tried to stop but that she would not stop. He also said that when he mentioned ending the relationship in June of 2012, she threatened to kill herself so he kept going and felt they had to stay friends because they worked together. My question to him was why would you ask her to stop something she did not want to end. The outcome was quite predictable...it would not end but it made him feel less guilty. How involved was this relationship that she felt so strongly about their "friendship" that she would threaten suicide? It hurts so bad and I feel so betrayed. I wanted to finish my story but I was to overwhelmed to complete it. We have been to three marriage counselors, it helps for a while but my brain never shuts off...unfortunately. Thank you for your insight and knowledge it really helps.

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    3. I know that feeling of a brain that won't shut off. What finally worked for me was hanging on to those teensy slivers of time in which I wasn't thinking about the affair. I reminded myself that those slivers of time could grow. And they did. What we focus on, grows.
      Frankly the OW sounds completely cliché. Honestly...50 Shades of Grey? And you're right -- she's absolutely no friend. She's a very messed up person.
      Why three marriage counsellors? It took us three to get it right. The one we have now is wonderful and genuinely helping us. We took a few years off actually until we found her so maybe we were just in a better place for her to help us.

      Elle

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    4. Oh Elle, going to marriage counselors has been a real trip. We went t a couple first the wife counseled me, and was pretty good although she kept telling me I was going into the rabbit hole when I started getting upset which made me made since it was only two months past D-day. Her husband was an asshole...he actually wanted me to apologize for my husbands bad behavior. My husband actually was furious and told him he had reversed any forward movement his wife had made. The second counselor was a man hater. She heard my story and told me to get a divorce without even talking to my husband which made us both upset. Needless to say that was only one visit. The last counselor we had was during the past three months actually has been the best. He helped my husband by making him see that he needed to trust me by telling me the truth if he wanted me to ever trust him again. Those words really resonated with him, he had never thought about the fact that he needed to trust me to hear the truth and just expected me to forgive and trust him. Our last counselor thought we were as far as he could take us. I felt good when we ended our sessions but constantly flip back and forth between feeling ok and wanting to run away. As far as OW she is cliché and pathetic'.

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  24. You deserve to have your questions, fears, and concerns addressed. He had an emotional affair. Have you seen a marraige counselor? Will he go to one? It sounds like you know there is more to this than meets the eye and what he is telling you. Go with your gut. For those of us whose spouses had physical and emotional affairs, the worse betrayal was the emotional.

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    1. I have been to three counselors with my husband. I have found my best help from this column. It really helps to read about how other people deal with these issues and it gives me hope that I can move forward. I do not trust him and as you say in my gut I know there is more to the story. One thing I can say about the emotional affair it breaks your heart to know you were replaced in his with the needs of another woman. I cherished our closeness which I feel is gone, maybe forever.

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  25. So I did it! On Saturday I booked us a trip to Cancun, Mar 24-28, 4 nights. Excited and hopeful about this chance to reconnect and work on us.

    Then.

    On Sunday, I checked the January cell phone bill. There it was. A call to her. On Jan 15, at 9 a.m. Five days after our first counselling session.

    He explained he was in a panic, thinking he missed a meeting. He called everyone (1 other person) trying to find out if it had been moved. "And I didn't even talk to her. It was her secretary" He later told me she was in a meeting so didn't come to the phone (wonder if she knew it was him).

    So now back to square one for me, but this time so soooooo angry that he outright lied to me, several times, when I asked if he's ever tried to contact her since the summer when the shit hit the fan. I feel stupid and used, and so done. It's exhausting. Does the longing ever stop? I need some perspective. Am I overreacting?

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    1. No, you're not over-reacting. You asked him to be honest and forthcoming with information and he lied yet again.
      That said, so many of these guys always take the path of least resistance. They figure it's easier to take their chances that you'll never find out than to come clean. They just don't get that by being honest they're rebuilding trust. If he had just come to you and told you that he'd called her in a panic because of blah blah blah, you wouldn't have been happy but you likely would have been able to see that he was being honest with you and that there wasn't more to it than that. When they DON'T tell us, we always imagine something worse than what the truth usually is.
      Talk this over with your counsellor. It stinks but I don't think it should derail you. But he needs to recognize how damaging this sort of lie is. He has a lot of damage to repair.

      Elle

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  26. Hi new to this, my husband won't think of talking to anyone, I have tried but to no avail yet. 6 months on and hate the other woman, feel weak when she passes our home everyday as she lives 2 mins up the road, they still talk sometimes and he says he has no feelings she is just like any other friend. It hurts that she goes past and thinks i don't know she speaks to him.It lasted several months last year and she would text him all the time he was at home with me, toot him when she drove past and still has to pass us as she lives and works here.Sometimes I just think it will never stop hurting and feel like it is all I can think about.Please help, we have lost many friends and I have too much time on my hands while he is at work. If he drives past home i torture myself he is going there, if he gets a text I likewise hurt myself with thoughts.What can I do, he says he loves me and it was because we had some issues before, menopause when I lost interest in sex, I stuck up for the boys too much, did not back him enough etc. Have said sorry and taken my share of blame but I did not have an affair, Help please and thank you

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    1. Josie,
      I honestly don't know how people get past this without seeking some sort of professional help. Your husband's refusal to do this no doubt contributes to your own inability to move forward in your marriage. By him stepping out of his comfort zone and being willing to seek help with you, he would send a strong message that your pain is worth facing and seeking healing for. As for his reasons for the affair...those are excuses. And all the more reason to sort through that stuff. He can't blame your behaviour on his decision to cheat or it puts you in the untenable position of having to be perfect to keep him faithful.
      However, if he absolutely refuses, you can't make him. You can however seek help yourself. I suspect having someone with whom to talk this through would go a long way toward helping you heal...and see exactly where you need to set some boundaries. For example, why the hell is he still talking to her. She needs to know that you know...and that there is to be absolutely NO CONTACT. None. Nada. You can't stop her going past your house, but you can certainly stop their chit-chat.
      As for the "too much time" on your hands, it really does help to get outside of your own pain and into the world. Is there volunteering you can do? A club you can join? Exercise you can take up? You need something that gives you a break from the script in your head.
      I'm so sorry for what you're going through. But I really do get mad at men who cheat and then refuse to do whatever it takes to help their wives heal from the excruciating pain of their choice.

      Elle

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  27. Hey Ladies,
    Another resource for handling betrayal in your marraige.
    It is a series of short video clips that I got from a parenting newsletter:
    http://www.kidsinthehouse.com/expert/parenting-advice-from-tammy-nelson-phd#page=/video/six-stages-recovering-affair

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  28. Thank you so much for this blog, and thanks to MBS above who pointed out Affair Fog. My story is a bit different. My first D-Day (I think that means discovery day) was in the spring of 2003. I had a brand new beautiful baby at home and he admitted to a one-night stand the previous summer while I was visiting my parents before the baby was born. I felt such a profound sense of shame. I remember getting up the next morning and I swear the sky was a different color. My whole world shifted. We went to counseling and put things back together. Things weren't stable, but I ended up pregnant again with our second child. We kept working, and I thought things were stable. A year ago, we purchased a piece of property to build a home on. We have been working to clear the land, make a lane. We were looking at house plans, options, and dreams of what we wanted our future life to look like. Well, all that came crashing down. In early January, WH (I think that means wayward husband) didn't call me on a Friday night. Since the first incident, I still have moments of insecurity and it pops up every once in a while. Not getting that Friday call put all of my senses on red alert. When he got home, I asked him point blank if he was having an affair. He denied it, accused me of being more insecure and suspicious than ever. I believed him. He then presented me with a list of all the things that I needed to fix about myself. After several long, circular, and draining discussions, I found myself a therapist. My second D-Day was January 27. I picked up his phone to call myself so I could find my misplaced phone. I found the texts instead. I just skimmed them, but they were gross. Every night that he was "taking time for himself" he was out texting and/or calling her. I knew in that moment that my marriage was over. My self-esteem and self-respect were in the toilet, but I wasn't going to hang around for time number three. So, now I'm trying to get divorced from a guy who is firmly in the "Affair Fog". He has cleaned out the bank account, has been making stupid and rash decisions, and is being just as jerky was the other WHs described by all of the previous persons who have posted. This time is different, though. I knew immediately that my marriage was gone and I am not going to put more time and effort into this guy. I also felt no sense of shame. I know in my heart I did everything in my power to save my marriage. Last time, I told no one. This time, I'm telling everyone (just read that I probably shouldn't be doing that. Ugh. Another mistake). Anyway, while it is Valentine's Day, and I'm trolling the web looking for answers to why my marriage went up in flames, while he is on "vacation" with his new girl friend. Due to the traveling nature of his job, he was able to sneak up to see her while leaving me here in a royal mess. I do have a therapist, but these blogs and forums are doing a lot of good. I don't feel so alone anymore and I know that many people face the same punch that only infidelity can deliver. I feel lucky I found this site.

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    1. Ugh, ugh, and ugh.
      I am so sorry. Remember, your husband is the one who lacks the self-respect and self-esteem. You are the one with true self-esteem and self-respect to not put up with someone with such poor integrity. Hang on because you sound like the kind of person who will come through this with her head held high.

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  29. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  30. Hi,
    I am back to ask more questions about the affair fog. I would like to get advice from other women who have dealt with this. My husbands affair lasted for 5 years. He finally outed himself at the end of this last December. It has been a very rough 8 weeks. He didn't want to be kicked out but after a week or so his withdrawls from the affair were evident and his resolve to work on our marriage was very shaky. You may recognize him from an earlier post where he was bargaining with me and our counselor to have a meeting with the OW so he could say good-bye and give her advice. Bull Sh#t if I've every heard it. We're now past that...I thought. He says things like "determined to make this work", wants to get her out of his head, wish he could turn back time, etc.. We planned a weekend in the City to get away from the house and hopefully laugh again. It didn't go well. On the drive to the city I brought up specific events he had with her because I knew they had gone to great lengths to not get caught and that involved meeting out of town. As we passed several of these freeway exits I brought it up and pretty much wanted to shame him. This all backfired on me because the weekend was spent with a moody 15 year boy. He was not going to be happy with anything, the hotel, the restaurant, the sites, etc.. I took it all on as I was boring and unworthy. He admitted that he spent a good bit of the time daydreaming about what he would have been doing with the OW if they were in the city. It is so defeating. I am losing faith. He says when I bring her up it all comes flooding back into his head and he can't shake it. Where does this leave me? I am not supposed to bring it up? I need advice from someone who had gone thru this and can give me some guidance. Is this hopeless? Am I now chasing a dream that doesn't have a chance?

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    1. Debbie B,
      I'm not much help as your experience was quite different from mine. I hope others will weigh in. You might also find help on survivinginfidelity.com. There's a lot of talk on that site about the "affair fog".
      However, what I often hear re. the "fog" is that the best thing right now is to give him distance. It's frightening for you, I know. But making it clear that there are non-negotiables (ie. no contact, no lying, etc.) but that you are NOT going to be the one trying to rebuild a marriage alone, just might give him the reality check he needs. Make it clear that you're simply not going to put up with his moody teen routine. He's a grown man who has devastated you. This is about what YOU need, not him. This is about making amends, not pouting and sulking like a child. I suspect you've likely put up with this a lot in your marriage but it's time for some new rules. He needs to grow up. And you need to make it clear that you are not to be taken for granted. Make your boundaries and then set about living your life. Google the "180" for more details on how to do that.

      Elle

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  31. My husband has been helped alot by sex and love addicts anonymous. The support around withdrawal has allowed me to not feel like I have to manage his recovery. He also was able to understand the affair as fantasy in a way that made sense to him and where I didn't have to spell it out for him. I highly recommend it and suggest you bring it up in therapy.
    Unfortunately, you guys are so close to D-day that your rage and resentment will probably trigger you to say and do things that are counter productive. Sounds like you wanted to have a pleasant weekend, but ended up choosing to beat him up (I totally get that urge). But they can't go together. You will have to negotiate a time and space where he can hear your anger. It takes time to not feel constantly triggered and want to punish him. This weekend we also took a family trip to an area where part of the affair happened.Before the trip, we talked about our anxieties and goals (to have a good time). I was triggered alot but worked really hard not to lash out at him. My husband is sufficiently out of the fog so I could talk about my triggers and he tried to be comforting and loving. However, we have been working through this awhile so give yourself time (but make sure you are clear about bottom-lines). Focus on how you can help yourself feel better because chances are, he isn't going to be able to own his behavior much less help you feel better just yet. I think the 180 is a great suggestion because it allows you to stop trying to get him to feel or do things. Rather you can really practice self care.

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  32. Thank you, I've found the "180" article and will do my best to follow it. I think I was given this advice a month ago and I didn't take it. It won't be easy but anything is worth a try at this point. I'm going to give this my best shot so if I have to walk away I'll know I did all I could. MBS, where did you find the sex and love addicts anonymous. Is this a group session he went to or an on-line forum?

    It would be ideal if he could stay in therapy and grow up a bit and understand why he is so needy. His boyish charm has turned into a narcissistic broodish teenager. Not very attractive. It kills me to think he was giving the OW his best behavior. He used to give that to me when he cared....Anyway, thanks so much for the advice.

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  33. I believe there is a list of groups online if you google sex and love addicts. Caveat, I wouldn't have imagined that my husband is a SL addict because he didn't ever cheat on me before. However, he has shown addictive tendencies before and has disclosed that he freqently used porn as an escape. He is also needy (and childlike) and seeking love and affection was a way to help him deal with feeling bad. I rejected his neediness so that led him to being receptive to another needy, childlike person with poor boundaries --like him. So even though alot of people in the group seem to act out by having multiple sexual partners, rather than one time affairs, my husband has been able to connect the SLAA principles with how he has always used women to soothe himself.

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  34. I originally wrote in November. I started therapy in December. My husband won't go, won't talk about what he has done to me and our 6 children. We have been together since we were 19, and are 46 now. I never would have thought that he would shatter my heart. I cannot sleep in same room as him. I cannot look at him most of the time. We cannot afford a divorce in this economy. I am going back to school, so that I can support the house eventually. I just don't know how to get through this. He sickens me. I will never be the same person that I was 4 yrs ago, when I found out about the first indescretion. I am pitiful. I feel weak, filled with hate, and if I could, would leave now...NOW. Every day I say I will try to be nice to him, then I can't.

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    1. Alison J,
      I completely understand your anger and disgust and your husband is doing nothing to help himself or you get past this by refusing to acknowledge your pain or support you through it.
      Why can't you leave right now? Would you absolutely if you could? Regardless of whether or not you want to remain married to this man (and nobody blames you for not wanting to), you nonetheless have to co-parent with him so it makes sense to get past your hatred, not only for your sake but for the sake of your children.
      Please remind yourself that your kids are watching how you behave and using it as a blueprint for their own behaviour. I know it's hard. You clearly need an outlet for all your rage. Do you have friends with whom you can vent? A therapist who can help you? I used to run as hard and fast as I could to exhaust myself...and it definitely helped with my anger. Find a way to channel that anger into something positive. What may also help the anger dissipate is to recognize that your husband is a sad, sick man. His inability to even look at what he's done reveals a deep shame. This, of course, doesn't make what he did okay. But it does help you acknowledge that this was never about you...and always about his own issues. For your children, it's best to try and have compassion for him.

      Elle

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    2. Allison,
      It sucks to be in the position of hating your husband but knowing that you kids are watching you. Use that to remind yourself how you want your kids to see you take care of yourself and carrying on with dignity and grace. It is also important that they see you treat their dad respectfully. Seeing you rage, as justifiable as it may be, will only hurt them further. If it helps you feel more sane, see if he can stay somewhere else and come by to help with the kids. Don't know if your kids are old enough to understand what is happening but it is okay to let them know you are very sad and you are very mad but you are trying to take care of yourself.
      What Elle says is so true. Hope her words can guide you.

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    3. Thank you both. I can't feel compassion for someone who thinks so little of his family. I have tried. Our kids are 24 and just married, 20, 17, 14, 13, and 10. They are angry too. When I ask him to stay somewhere else, he says he won't. I can't leave because I have no income, and no family in CT. My kids are in school, and one is graduating in June. I start school in Sept. My therapist says all of the same things that you do. He has shame, etc. Should have thought about that before he was an a**hole. I let him break me into a million pieces. I cannot forgive myself for that, either. I have a ton of self loathing, and feel so incredibly stupid.

      Delete
  35. Thinking of Debbie and Allison's predicament:
    I was reading the Dr Harley Book "Surviving An Affair" (the website is www.marraigebuilders.com) and it offers some good advice on how to deal with a spouse's stuckness/fog. However, one thing that Dr Harley doesn't address is how to take care of yourself so remember that you need to focus on that and not what your spouse is or isn't doing. So if your spouse doesn't want to go to a group or therapy, then there is nothing you can do until he sees what he stands to lose. The more you show up for yourself and can back off from raging at him the more likely they are to emerge from the frozen in shame response or affair fog--both states my husband was in for what seemed like forever. It will take superhuman strength but summon courage, gentleness and compassion for yourself. And, I hate to say it, if you want to have any relationship with your spouse/children's father you will have to summon compassion for him too.

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  36. Thank you MBS. I looked at the SLAA web site. Their description doesn't fit completely but the way you describe your husband's issues seems like it could. I doubt he would agree with that right now, maybe later, maybe never. How did you all handle it when they display and confirm that they are depressed. I do feel compassion for him whether he gives it back or not. Is this co-dependent behavior on my part? Is it best to offer compassion but just let him slog thru it on his own. He is still going to work and being productive. I take that as a good sign. On the advise or our counselor we have both quit drinking any alcohol. It's been 2 weeks which is no big deal for me, but I'm sure he was using beer and hard liquor to sooth himself thru all of this. We had both been drinking more than ever this last year. Maybe this is the first time in a long time that he's been alone and sober with his thoughts/guilt/fantasy/shame. Not sure if I should watch for worrisome signs or not.

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    1. Hi Debbie, your post rings familiar. Unfortunately, he has to recognize he needs help for his depression and affair withdrawal. The most you can do is urge him to get help and support for his depression. Bring it up in couples counselling if you are doing it. Then take care of yourself. Figure out your bottom line for his behavior. I gave my husband a deadline of when I needed him to start making choices to take care of himself and his depression/withdrawal. Realizing that he could lose me was the kick in the pants he needed. But for you it means really believing that you will not put up with certain things and you can move on without him if he doesn't wake up. So I suggest figuring out how you can move on regardless of what he does.

      It is great you guys stopped drinking. I found myself needing to drink (and I have never been a drinker) since the affair. My husband also was wanting to drink more after he ended the affair. Learning about addiction has really helped both of us. Even though my husband was never a full blown alcoholic or drug user or sex/love addict--his tendencies to not be able to stop himself around getting intoxicated/soothed, always made me uncomfortable. Anyway, this is getting ahead. And it may not end up ringing true for you.

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  37. Thank you MBS. I appreciate your feedback. Sounds like what I need to do is follow the 180 principles mentioned in prior posting. I failed miserably last night but today is a new day. I will work on myself and try to find what makes me happy. Somehow I've lost that along the way. I can't change what's going on in his head. He says he's a narcissist and that explains a lot of his behavior. I asked him if he always was a narcissist and he didn't think so. I know I didn't marry a narcissist. Maybe he'll wake up but this week he really doesn't want to. The rollercoaster continues. I'd like to jump off.

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  38. OMG Today is a bad day. Started off with a stupid argument in the morning before he left for work. That then put me in a bad mood so I end up taking it out on my poor kids (because of course I can't take it out on him since he's not even home).

    I'm not even obsessing over her this time. This time I'm obsessing over how could I have been so stupid. All the times he told me don't snoop in his car, don't look through his email (I didn't even have the passwords), his going outside to make a private call on his cell. All of this was even before he met her. I just thought he was big on privacy. That and also, he had inappropriate "friendships" with many women before the OW. But he always said (& I know to be true) that they never got sexual. So I believed that was a line he wouldn't cross.

    Until she came along.

    Even though they didn't start sleeping together til Feb or March (he himself can't remember), I knew in January that something was up, even if he didn't. He called his mom one Saturday to tell her he passed an exam (I was there with her--she lives with us in her own attached apartment, although he didn't know I was there). It didn't bother me that he called her first since they are very close, but then he didn't call me for another 20 minutes. when I asked him about it multiple times he said it was because he had to use the bathroom and then called me when he was done. I always thought it was because he called the OW to tell her. Turns out, they were hanging out together at the time in the hospital and he said she always used to make a face when he would call me and since he didn't want to have to deal with that, he waited. I told him even though the affair wasn't sexual yet, he had chosen her over me at that time.

    But why didn't I make a bigger deal about it in January. If only I had come out and asked him. But I'm sure he wouldn't have been honest. But I feel so stupid now. I knew something was wrong but I just didn't recognize it, and I'm sure I wouldn't have known how to talk to him about it. I should have demanded at that point that he stop his "friendship" with her. I should have demanded his cell/email/etc, but he would have gaslighted me.

    I feel so stupid. There were so many signs.

    Should've, Could've, Would've ?

    Sigh

    -sam

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    1. Sam,
      I'm so sorry you had a bad day. But remind yourself it's just a day. Stop it before it becomes a habit.
      I'd start by apologizing to your kids. Let them know that you were having a bad day but that doesn't make it okay to be short or impatient with them. Assure them that everyone has bad days and perhaps brainstorm some ideas with them or what you (and they) can do when bad days happen. Kids experience our stress even when we think we've done a great job of hiding the truth from them. And it's frightening for them to feel that tension but not really be able to attach it to anything. I think it's really important to validate that sense they have that something's not right (within age-appropriate context) but that the adults are working on making it right.
      And please stop beating yourself up about this. Coulda, shoulda, woulda is right. There's a zillion things we would have done differently if we had the power of seeing the future. But we don't. We didn't. So going over and over those days is an exercise in futility and self-flagellation.
      You need to fully understand that you do not have control over anyone's actions but your own. You can't stop people from doing stupid things. All we can ever do is follow our own moral code and control how we react to other people's stupid actions.
      Sam, you've been deeply, deeply hurt by this. It's so clear to me just how hard you're struggling to make the best of this, and how desperately you want to get past this. And you will. You're a strong, smart, determined woman. But some things are particularly hard for strong, smart, determined women to accept -- and that is that you didn't stop this. And that you simply don't have as much control over your life as you think you have. It's a terrifying realization at first. And then it's liberating. You're free to just live your own life. You don't have to be perfect. You don't have to have everything under control. You CAN'T have everything under control, especially him (and your kids. Trust me on that! Wait until they're teens.)
      Allow yourself days to feel down. And days to just feel pissed off at the world because, let's be honest, none of us should have to be dealing with this nonsense. But then pick yourself back up and go back to creating the life that YOU want, for yourself and your family.
      You are NOT stupid. You were NOT a fool. I hear that so often. You trusted someone who had promised never to do this to you. We all did it. Doesn't make us stupid. Just loyal and trusting.

      Elle

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  39. Elle - Your reply to my recent post helped both me and my husband, and we appreciated the post on finding a good counselor. Thanks! Here’s a question for you. It’s a “how bad should I really feel” question. Sounds odd, but let me explain.
    My post explained that my husband had sex with a woman he dated in high school 30+ years ago; a one-time event during the week he was in our old hometown to care for an ill parent and while in a deep depression after being laid off. He immediately felt remorse (even during the sex) and left to fly back home. There was no attraction to or desire to be with the other woman; he has been genuinely mortified by his behavior. I’ve spent the past year reading about infidelity to help me cope with this pain of betrayal. The stories I read are gut-wrenching, but they’re most often of “affairs” –meaning lasted for months/years, had many sexual encounters, and an attraction to the affair partner that took time to break.
    I’ve told only 2 friends. One’s husband cheated multiple times and eventually left her. She seemed sure I could quickly move past what happened since it was “only a one-time thing” in a moment of great depression. The other revealed her husband had confessed to a massage with a “happy ending” a few years before. She said it “wasn’t as bad” as what my husband did. While reading heart breaking stories of others, a small part of me says, “Well, at least my husband didn’t do THAT!” This left me wondering if there are “50 shades of infidelity.” If so, does each have its own level of hurt to dole out. Is one-time sex with a stranger “cheating”/ “one night stand”? Is one-time sex with a former sweetheart a single incidence of “infidelity”? Is a relationship with someone where there are feelings of love an “affair”? I’m assuming some scenarios can do more damage to a relationship than others, but does this affect how bad we are “allowed” or expected to feel or how long to recover?
    My friends & I all experienced the common infidelity after effects (i.e., hysterical bonding, buying sexy underwear, roller coaster emotions, etc.) but I jumped to the conclusion I shouldn’t hurt as long or as much as the one friend but more than the other. My husband was also surprised and sad at the depth of my pain saying that it was “meaningless and only once!” I’ve even apologized to him for still feeling so bad after 1 year! It’s taken months to finally understand that this thinking led me to feel guilty for not being quicker to recover. I now understand that everyone has their own reaction regardless of the infidelity particulars; betrayal is betrayal. It’s the way I feel about snakes – no adjective matters. I scream regardless of the color, size, or venom level of the snake. On this betrayal, I can do my portion of heavy lifting to recover, but I’ll need the time I need. Period. Perhaps others struggling with similar thoughts can benefit from reading this. Your thoughts? Tx, “Numb”

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  40. Hi

    I'm so glad I found this sight , I now feel like I'm not alone.
    I've been with my fiance for 8 years we have 3 children. When my 2nd son was about 4 months old I found naked photo's on my F computer, which made me very angry as I knew the girl and had played action cricket with her. After I calmed down to panic and he convinced me it was just curiosity that got the better of him I forgave him. Then one evening we were discussing stuff and he admitted to having an affair with another women ,who I also knew and had been friends with before we had our children, I was again so angry i could have killed him and her. I attacked her on Facebook and it made me feel a bit better. Yet only for a day or two and I found myself thinking about it no stop. Were they did it, how they did it etc. Eventually I managed to get pass the anger and forgive him but didn't forget. Then I got another smack in the face. It was in June 2012 sunday night and his work Blackberry kept beeping, so I thought I'd open it as I was sure he wouldn't mind ,to see what was going on and if a customer or employee needed something urgently. But to my surprise it was his PA and all she sent were a few pings to his BBM. So as I found that very strange I answered her with a HI, and she must have assumed it was him and it was safe to talk to him , and she proceeded to msg how she was missing him & how she felt when he touched her etc etc. I almost blew my lib, but as we have kids I kept calm and handed him his phone, loaded my kids in the car and went to my sister to calm down. When I arrived back after a few hours , he apologised and beg for for giveness and told me all they ever did was kiss and nothing else and that it was because I had been to preoccupied with my eldest son's learning disorder & he was lonely. And in my anger I contacted her and her story was the same all they did was flirt and kiss at the office and nothing else yet I should have realised it was too similar, as if it were rehearsed. And yes ladies I forgave him not only for my children's sake's but because I loved this man with all my heart. Then I fell pregnant with our third child and one afternoon after we had both come back from work he went out for his afternoon cycle and his private phone was buzzing and when I picked it up it was a whatsapp msg from some young girl he knew from the bike shop and there to my disgust he was flirting and had told her how beautiful she was and he wanted a photo of her and there it was another naked photo, so I became this angry, P*&SED of maniac and i started to go through everything of his, his personnel computer his work computer and there it was , the skype messages between him and his PA at work, and the sexual favours and flirting that had been going on since June 2012 to Feb 2013 . I felt dirty and betrayed, angry and blamed myself cause maybe I wasn't thin enough, pretty enough, young enough etc etc and then I felt so sad that he could do this to our two boys and to his unborn child....... And yes I sent her nasty msgs and threatened to tell the whole world and yes I stayed. Yet I can't get over the anger and it been almost 2 1/2 years now. And I wonder every time his late or when they go to meetings together are they up to it again, I asked him to find a new job and he said he won't as he loves his job and also it's not easy finding a good paying job these days. So i'm not sure what to do , but I need to do something as my anger is affecting my life & my families life. Even though he promises it's over and it looks that way , I find myself waiting for the next msg or flirty sms, I go through his stuff at any chance i get. I was a very happy , very self confident and social person , I've always looked after myself yet I feel so angry and sad, I hate the way I look cause i'm not a 23 year old like the OW, I hate going out yet I hate been at home & I scream at everyone for no reason. I just wish I knew how to get this anger out.

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    1. Hi Loren,

      I'm not sure if you posted this elsewhere but I thought I'd responded. I'm sorry if I missed it.
      Your anger is telling you something important. That doesn't make yelling at people (especially your kids) okay. But it does mean that it's time to pay attention to what your anger is telling you. You're scared. You don't feel safe. You feel out-of-control and you feel invisible and inadequate.
      So...the question is: what are you going to do with those feelings?
      I'd start with your husband still working with the OW. That's pretty tough to deal with. Is he at least trying to find another job? Can he at least acknowledge how incredibly difficult it is for you to know he's with her? Is he able to understand just how deeply hurt you are? I get the strong sense that your pain has been shoved down and is emerging as anger.
      You've suffered trauma. There's much research indicating that many women who are betrayed experience post-trauma symptoms.
      I want you to absolutely know that this had nothing to do with you. You could be the skinniest, prettiest, most brilliant woman around and he would still have cheated (think of the long lineup of gorgeous actresses who've been cheated on). He didn't cheat because of what you didn't have, he cheated because of what he lacked -- a moral compass, self-esteem, an ability to deal with his own feelings. That's on him, not you.
      I urge you to seek counselling to help you through this. To help you work through the anger and get to the pain and fear behind it. To help you get clear on what you will and will not tolerate and be able to communicate that clearly and without compromise.
      You did nothing to deserve this. You need to let yourself off the hook for his cheating...and be compassionate with yourself for the pain you're in. But please also know that, even if your kids have no understanding of why you're angry and sad, they're also experiencing it themselves. It's frightening to be a little kid surrounded by tension and they're on some level believing it's their fault. Please assure them that they are loved and valued and this has nothing to do with them. And then ensure that you've got the support you need to express your feelings in a healthy and productive way.
      To answer your final point, you'll find yourself better able to get your anger "out" by recognizing what feelings it's masking and then addressing those.

      Elle

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  41. Not to sure where to start, I found out 4 months ago my husband had a 3 month affair. We have been together for 12 years, I believe this has been the only one. We are getting along great, doing things together again, being involved in eachothers day to day events. He has shown remorse said sorry many times. My problem is I can't stop thinking about what happened and the details of the affair. I can't talk to him about it cause he seems to think that I'm not forgiving him and moving on if I keep bringing it up. It makes him wonder if a year from now I'll turn to him and say it's over I can't put it passed me. He has disclosed most questions asked and even called the OW in front of me and told her it's over, Why can't I just move passed the thoughts? It makes me feel like I'm going crazy and it will never stop.

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  42. Hi All

    I have been married for 16 yrs and 26October 2012 i found out that my Husband got married again. In his religion he has the right to marry 4 wifes. never the less he need my permission or atleast inform me out of respect what he plans to do. I was so shocked and asked for divorce immediately... The second wife phoned me and told me that we have something in common... I asked for divorce and the instead he divorced the second wife and said he loves me and that was just a weakness middle life crisses that he went through... We have two sons who then was schooling overseas in the middle east. I told him the only way we can work this out is if I have mt children back at home... He brought the kids back to me but the problem is me now. I dont trust him at all although he is all the time at home and only go fishing with his friend and weekend even take the kids with... First I thought he must be goin back to her and uses his friend for the fishing.. i feel that everything he say is lies and I dont love him that much any more. he promises us the world and hopefully he will but I always feel that he will cheat on me again

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    1. Everything you're feeling is completely normal, under the circumstances. We often feel as though we can't trust (experience has shown us he's not trustworthy). The worst part is we lose trust in our own ability to keep ourselves safe.
      In order to rebuild that trust with your husband, it's important to be able to share with him your fear. He needs to be able to listen and support you, reassuring you. Can you check in with him when he's away? Can you confirm with his friend that he is, in fact, fishing? Does he have a cell phone or computer that you can check to ensure he's not in contact that way with anyone else? By verifying that he's telling the truth, you can slowly rebuild the trust.
      However...there is the other point that you're falling out of love with him. That could be you protecting yourself from further hurt, or it could be the consequence of realizing he's not the man you thought he was. That's something for you to figure out.
      No matter what you decide to you, it's really important to be able to communicate openly about how hurt you've been by him and for him to be able to acknowledge that. Whether you stay together or divorce, it helps to be able to speak openly and honestly about what happened.

      Elle

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  43. Elle, your site has been incredibly helpful to me. I only wish I'd found it sooner! I'm 3 years past first evidence and 2 years past can-no-longer-deny-and-minimize evidence. It took a very long time for him to take responsibility and show true remorse, but he's now looking at himself (and not liking it), treating his own longstanding depression, and making some positive changes. I'm off the rollercoaster and, while I still think about his affair and the OW every day, I can observe those feelings rather than react to them.

    But now it seems that I'm losing ALL my feelings toward him, not just the angry, hurt ones. For so long, and right from the beginning, I wanted to use this horrible experience to build something better. Now I'm afraid I'm starting to not care. As I've gotten more control over my thoughts and feelings, I'm able to step back and look at the situation more objectively -- and I think, "Why the hell would I want to have sex with him now?" And so I don't! In our day-to-day life, just about everything he does irritates me. We have three kids, and I really don't want to leave him, but I'm starting to feel rather indifferent toward being around him. I don't like this -- I want to still love him and have that better-than-before marriage that other people talk about. I've entered into a whole new set of feelings and not sure what to do now. Anyone else experience this? I'm not even able to explain it very well, lol.

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    1. Jennifer
      You've described it perfectly. I've been there. I think many of us have. It's often referred to as the plain of lethal flatness or the dead zone. You can read more here: http://betrayedwivesclub.blogspot.ca/2010/03/dead-zone-nice-place-to-visitbut-you.html
      It's important to figure out whether this lack of feeling toward your husband is a survival mechanism on some level to protect yourself from further hurt. Another possibility is that, after coming to terms with his shortcomings, you're simply not interested in a life with him.
      I went through that for a while. I figured I'd put in my time while my kids were young and then, if I felt the same way when they were older, I'd leave. In the meantime, however, I committed to trying my best to rebuild my marriage, even with an understanding that it might not work.
      But by doing that -- really trying to see my husband through compassionate eyes as this imperfect man really struggling to become a better one -- I fell in love again. It's different. It feels more complicated. But it also feels deeper. I've watched him at his worst, and still found him a worthy human being.
      I urge you to try and see your husband through the same eyes, even if you decide to leave the marriage. He's your children's father and, from the sounds of it, struggling to be worthy of that.
      You mention that you still think of the affair and the OW daily. I suspect that could be part of what's keeping you rooted in his past behaviour and less focussed on the 'now'. No doubt his reticence to accept responsibility has delayed healing for you. There's likely a lot of resentment built up around that.
      Are you two in therapy? With this much time past, it could be a good time to re-examine just how his affair impacted you and finally excavate some of that residual resentment. At the very least, therapy might help you to a more amicable divorce.
      You might also be interested in Project Happily Ever After Project, an attempt by a woman (a therapist) who began imagining what she would wear to her husband's funeral to fall in love again. She's got some interesting advice. It's at projecthappilyeverafter.com

      Elle

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    2. Thank you so very much for your reply. It's a relief to know that my current feelings are not uncommon. "Plain of lethal flatness" is a good way to describe it! I definitely agree that I'm still resentful not just of what he did but how he handled the aftermath. I still feel committed, but I also feel a lot more exhausted by my commitment to the commitment! We're not in therapy; earlier, I went to several but didn't find a therapist who was nearly as helpful as books or, well, you! I did, however, have two sessions of EMDR, which was amazingly effective for obsessive thoughts, so maybe I'll go back there. I read the Project HEA woman's book a while back but haven't visited her website -- I'll check that out. Thank you again for your suggestions and for your site. It's helped me immensely.

      Jennifer

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    3. Jennifer,

      EMDR is crazy huh? I have no idea how it works...but it definitely works.

      Elle

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  44. It is a tough day for me. It's been a little over two months since DDAY. My husband texted or called the OW every day for 4-5 year except weekends. There of course was a sexual component too. He's now gone 8 weeks and his addiction to her is so strong that it feels like we are not making any progress or we'll make progress and then he'll get depressed and everything is back to square one for him. He has had no contact with her for these 8 weeks but he says that every day he battles calling her. He drives by her office and sees her car. He wants to know if she's still waiting for him and he confesses that keeps him from committing to our recovery. I've read all I can on the affair fog and addiction but I just don't know how long I should put up with this. He's passive aggressive, he's starting to pick fights again, he's gone backwards on every level. He says I am not giving him the encouragement he needs I say he's not giving me any sign that he loves me anymore. Yes, he hasn't called her, yes he's reading every book that our therapist ask him to read and yes he goes to therapy. (3 times a week). Still he feels little empathy for me and TONS of empathy for the OW. He won't court me as prescribed by the therapist cause he just doesn't feel it. Yet, he panics when he thinks of leaving me and what we have built together. I am going to see my therapist for an emergency session this afternoon. Should I kick him out. If I do I have to accept that my marriage is over. I am having a hard time with that since we had a great marriage prior to the affair and just celebrated our 25th anniversary. My self esteem is plummeting. Should I hang on for another month and see if it turns around. That's what most of the books say, I just have a hard time separating myself from his craziness. Last week he was committed to trying and really seemed better, this week he's batsh#t crazy again.

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    1. Debbie,
      I'm so sorry for what you're going through.
      I'll be curious to hear what your therapist said...but I don't think you should be privy to any of your husband's feelings re. the OW. That's for him to manage. I know it gets confusing when we're hoping to rebuild a marriage -- we think we need to know everything the other is feeling. But, certainly in the beginning, it's better to not know. As you've learned, it's painful to have to hear this stuff. He's asking you to help him get over the OW, which is unbelievably self-absorbed and, frankly, clueless.
      It is not your job to manage his feelings. That's for him to do. Your job is to take care of yourself so you can be your best self. That means setting clear boundaries around what you will and will not put up with. You can make it clear that any contact with the OW is unacceptable. It might be hard for him, it might be easy for him...but it's ultimately his choice. Your choice is what you do about it. It's not about ultimatums, it's about boundaries. It can feel confusing...but basically boundaries are about keeping yourself emotionally and physically safe. Ultimatums are about trying to control his behaviour.
      I've no doubt your husband is grieving the loss of his affair partner. She was a big part of his life. But too damn bad. That's not your problem, nor should it be. He made the choice to invite someone into his marriage that he should never have invited. Now he's paying the price.
      If he wants to rebuild his marriage, then he needs to commit to it and do whatever it takes to help you through this excruciating pain and ultimately heal. There's simply no other way. I hope he figures this out before he's completely lost you.
      As for "separating yourself from his craziness"...I struggled with that too. It comes with practice. And meditation. I've learned to be able to take a breath and respond rather than simply get hooked in (it works with kids, too! And in-laws!). And, with time, I'm able to see the crazy as it's happening rather than after I've been sucked in. Now I can say to my husband, "you realize this is nuts, right?" Sometimes he can, sometimes he can't. But I can. What's more, I can now see it in myself. And stop myself.
      Time, Debbie. This takes time. That doesn't mean putting up with his bullshit. It simply means being patient with yourself and creating clear boundaries. It won't feel good at first. It will feel scary. I suspect you've allowed him to violate boundaries for a long time. Now it's time to keep yourself safe.

      Elle



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  45. Thanks Elle,
    You pretty much summed up my session. The questions she asked, "IF he recovers from this affair do you want to be there". I said yes. I asked if she saw any improvement in him (he see's her privately also) she said he has not missed one appointment, he's made emergency appointments when he's feeling week, he's reading whatever she gives him, and he hasn't contacted the OW. She thinks he will make breakthroughs about why he did this if he continues. It's all positive stuff. She also commiserated with me and my situation. She knows these are the toughest days of my life. I need to separate myself from his emotions and try not to react when he pushes my buttons and no longer ask about his emotional state or the OW. "Stay in my lane." It's all good advice, so hard to follow when I'm feeling weak and fragile. If he were committed to making our marriage work this would be a different story and different struggle, we're not there yet and yes, I hope he see's the light before he's damaged us/me beyond any possibility of repair. You are right about boundaries vs ultimatums. Do you think when I say "if you contact the OW you need to move out" that I'm putting up boundaries or trying to control him with an ultimatum? I am looking for clarification. Am I setting us up for failure?

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  46. ..and as for him violating boundaries, it has been a slow erosion for me, I was a solid confident woman who could hold her own with him for many years. We were great together and I felt his equal. His attitude towards me changed and I didn't see it for what it was and all too easily took it as a reflection of an inferior me. That's something I need to work on.

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    1. Debbie,
      If you tell him that if he contacts the OW he needs to move out, you need to be sure that you will follow through with that. That's a completely logical consequence of him continuing to disrespect you.
      But whether it's boundaries or control depends on why you're doing it. If you're telling him in the hopes that he'll think twice before contacting her, that's control. If you're telling him because he needs to know that you won't put up with being disrespected, then it's boundaries. Of course it gets muddy and there will likely be overlap. But, generally speaking, just check your motives. And do your best to let go of the outcome. Ultimately the choice is his. All you can do is "stay in your own lane" or, as my friend puts it, keep your side of the street clean.
      I'm curious about your question re. setting up for failure. Again, I think you're giving yourself credit for more control than you have.
      Debbie, you're doing better than you think you are. Your husband is not making it easy for you, hyper-focussed as he is on his own stuff. But all the more reason for you to take really good care of yourself.
      One more thing, though: It strikes me as really odd (and a conflict of interest) for a therapist to be seeing each of you individually...and to be discussing one partner's progress (or lack of) with the other partner. It's unprofessional, if not downright unethical.

      Elle

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    2. I agree with everything Elle said. My husband did have a hard time separating from the OW emotionally and he "only" had a 6 month affair. He is out of the fog and it took time for him to "get it." He lacked empathy too, but he couldn't show it until he got out of the fog. On thing that makes me think you should consider hanging on for the recommended 6 months is that you had a good marriage before (we didn't but I still hung on because I saw his potential to heal himself). Anyway, I back up everything Elle said.
      I am also concerned about your therapists' approach. It is possibly unethical for her to see both of you separately and together. The other thing that is suprising is that your therapist instructed your husband to court you. But he is clearly struggling with affair withdrawal. You and he are not stable. The courting and recovery part is only possible when he makes the commitment to be with you.
      Is she a licensed marraige and family therapist? Lots of people can put up shingles and not have the right training. I would definitely recommend you each have a separate therapist for individual work. On thing I have learned is that the couples therapist has to be on the side of your relationship. Your individual therapist has to be an advocate for you only. You can allow your couples therapist to consult with your indiv person if you and them deem it helpful.
      It helps to remember that you won't feel this awful forever. My heart goes out to you.

      -MBS

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  47. Elle, I see what you're saying about the therapist. Looking back at our conversation she wasn't saying anything I didn't already know and maybe I inferred he would make breakthroughs if he stays in therapy. She really doesn't tell me anything about their sessions. She did make it clear to him that she would not let him lie to me about anything. If she see's he is planning one thing and telling me another then she will terminate her services with him. I'm fine with that and he was too.

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  48. I have been a reader for several months, and have contributed to a few threads. I was just starting to think that I wouldn't need to return to this site...

    I am 6 months out from my D-Day, and was just starting to hope and see some major improvements in my husband's ability to extricate himself from the fog. He thought that he was getting stronger, but he still has to work with the OW, and lately she has been redoubling her efforts to make him feel badly for what he did to her. It doesn't help that they had a friendship of several years before they actually entered the affair. Not only was he missing the excitement of the affair, but also the ally that he had in the workplace. I think that she realized that he was finally pulling away from her, and so she started up with tactics to make him feel ostracized at work. It was unprofessional and created tension in the office. Finally last week, he asked her if there were any way that they could get along so that working wouldn't be so uncomfortable. She initially said "no", but on Friday, she asked if she could speak to him after work.

    The long and short of it is that the talk after work led to having a drink, which led to them having sex. He came home and told me what he had done.

    I didn't throw him out, although I suppose I could have had the right to. What is clear is that he wasn't as strong as he thought he was, nor is he out of the fog. He has destroyed a lot of really good work that we have done to repair us over the past 6 months, and he knows it. He is looking into finding a way to transfer out of his job- there aren't many jobs locally, and he signed a no-compete clause when he started working for this place. (Of course, her job is one that she could find a dozen times over in many different places).

    After I yelled at him for his stupidity and selfishness, and told him how I felt that he had been emotionally manipulated (because he doesn't like being thought of as the bad guy to ANYONE), we were able to have a sorrowful conversation about how broken he still is. That's what really gets me. I was not the ideal spouse initially, but after D-Day I have made efforts to show that I want to stay in this marriage. The events that led up to their encounter over the weekend aren't my fault at all. It's all on him and her.

    I am so tired of thinking about it, and yet I can't think of much else. He has told me that he wants to stay married to me, and is taking the steps that he can to show me this. I am going to sit back and wait to be convinced. I am still so very, very angry.

    Please tell me that this gets better.
    Jen

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    1. Oh Jen... I'm so sorry. Of course you're angry. And hurt.
      And though you say you weren't a perfect spouse before the affair, I maintain that doesn't make it okay for him to cheat. Not then. Not now. This is ALL on him.
      And yes, getting out of his place of employ sounds like a very wise decision. That said, he's got to get clear on what allows him to do something that he knows violates his vows. Especially after so much work to rebuild a marriage? What is he telling himself? Is he in any sort of therapy? Sounds like he should be.
      I wish I could tell you it gets better. I sincerely hope it does for you. But unless he gets a new job and gets his head out of his ass, it doesn't look good.
      In the meantime, I hope you'll take care of yourself.

      Elle

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    2. Thanks, Elle.

      To answer your question, my husband just started individual counseling with a psychologist in November. With the holidays and his work schedule, there haven't been too many sessions yet, but the ones he has had seem to have made him (and me) feel hopeful.

      I could write a book about my husband's psychological profile. Perhaps I know him better than he knows himself. It is also possible that because I understand him so well, that I feel that I am capable of forgiving even this sometime down the road. But you're right- he has to make some huge changes and pull his head out of his ass. For what it's worth, I do think that he knows what he would be throwing away with our marriage; I am pretty awesome. :-)

      I am much stronger than I was 6 months ago. I am still reeling with pain and shock, of course, but I don't feel helpless.

      Thanks for your reply, Jen

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  49. Jen, I am so sorry to hear this. I read your post on another portion of this web site and although we are only 10 weeks from D-Day it sounds like we are in a similar situation. I am curious if your husband recommitted to your marriage or if he has been waffling. Mine is still in the fog and goes back and forth. Tells me point blank that he can't fully commit because he can't let go of his fantasy. I am trying to find a reason to keep trying. It feels like I am the only one trying and he's just "trying to survive." Screw that, he's had plenty of time to think about what he was destroying. I'm the one who is just now processing all the information. It should be me that gets to check out while he tries to save what we have. Instead it feels like the other way around. Feeling like a doormat today. I also think if my husband were to see the other woman and I wasn't' there, he would do the same thing yours did. Mine also knows what he would be throwing away. A beautiful home we built together, 2 daughters that adore him, (that may change when they hear what he's done) and a wonderful circle of friends and family. He won't have 1/2 of that with the OW. In fact, I bet his depression will increase when he leaves. Not sure if it's time to let him fly or not. These are my daily battles.
    He's been seeing a counselor since day one but the only thing he can come up with is our lack of variety in the bedroom. After 20 years we lost a little creativity. Stupid reason. I can tell you right now it was his lack of self-esteem and his need for ego strokes. If he never figures that out then she can have his pathetic ass and I hope they forever wonder if the other one is cheating.

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    1. Jen and Debbie, your situations are very similar to mine. My husband waffled for 5 months after D-day. D-day #2 happened while I went away thinking he just needed time away from the kids and me to play music and hang with his guy friends. It sucks to be in limbo. Horrible, horrible experience. It delays healing and any slips cancels out what you achieved beforehand. Withdrawal from the OW is very similar to alcohol and drug withdrawal. They go with these women because they can't deal with real life. Then when the thing that gave them a high is not as accessible, they go through depression etc. So, they cannot actually do recovery. They cannot be there for you. They cannot think logically. They are a mess. When I read "ideal" affair stories where they spouse comes clean and is ready to recommit and do what it takes, I just felt hopeless. Even now, that my spouse is done with the OW, and happy to be with me, he is only 90%. He admits to heading back to the fantasy at times. But the language of addiction has helped him to understand what he is going through is not because he needs the OW, but he needs a fix. The 12 step program is helping him. Even though your spouses aren't even ready for that kind of awareness, I think that your learning about it might help.
      I am so sorry that you guys are going through them being asshats on top of their betrayal.
      -MBS

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    2. We had a meeting with our MC today. H again asked for a meeting with the OW and our therapist. He has questions he needs to ask so he can finally get over her or run away with her based on her answers. I noticed i was not included in this conversation. I said hell no. I have some self respect. It was decide he would move out for a while. He swears he does not intend to contact her and sincerely hopes this will open his eyes to what he's risking. I have little faith and no reason to trust him. Funny but this is the first place I went as I heard his truck leave our street. What now....

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    3. Hi Debbie:

      I'm sorry to hear that you are in the same boat as I, and only 10 weeks in. To answer your question about whether he was waffling or recommitting- he was showing me that he was recommitting to our marriage. He did this by being around a lot more than he had done in the months prior to D-Day. He did this by helping out a lot more with family stuff. He did this by going to counseling with me, and supporting my need to go to individual counseling. That said, he went through some tough months himself. Part of that was withdrawal from the fog (which apparently he didn't do completely), but part of it was the extreme self-loathing he was feeling. While I was gratified to see that he was horrified by what he had done to me and himself, he was not really able to forgive himself. I think that is what finally convinced him to start individual counseling. So, while I don't know your individual situation, nor your husband, it is very possible that he is trying to learn how to accept himself for what he has done. It DOES leave you lonely, and feeling that you aren't being taken care of. I tried standing in his shoes, however, imagining just what kind of hell he had created for himself, and I felt compassion. I really did let go of the anger and worked on compassion.

      This second time, I am finding it much harder to feel compassion. I think that you can achieve that feeling only when you can understand some part of the other person, and I am finding that very difficult right now. Our next counseling session is in a few days, and I am holding out until that time. In the meantime, he is a defendant in a frivolous lawsuit this week, which is adding to the stress in our household. Until that trial is done, I am not going to pile anything more on our plate.

      MBS, you mentioned the affair as a type of addiction, and I actually explained that to my husband after he told me about this--- whatever you call it when you sleep with your ex-affair partner. I think that this language of addiction that you mention finally resonated with him in a way that other explanations had not. It has given him much to think about.

      My best to you all. Jen

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    4. I'm glad you women have found each other and are supporting each other. It' really helps to read "our" experiences in another's story.
      Debbie, I'm glad you stood firm. What he's asking for is absolutely crazy. I would prepare myself, if I was you, for him to resume the affair. It sounds as if self-control isn't really his strong suit. But I would also prepare for what you're going to do when he comes crawling back. Once an affair is pulled into the light of day and can function like a so-called real relationship, that's often when the affair partners realize it isn't what they wanted at all. All the craziness becomes much more apparent once the bright light of reality is shone upon it.
      Jen, I hope you can get back to compassion, whether or not you choose to ultimately stay with him. He's a sick, lost man. Of course that doesn't make any of what he's done okay. It only makes it somewhat inevitable that he's going to create harm until he gets himself together.
      And MBS, thanks for sharing that analogy. I would suggest, however, that your husband keep his recovery apart from you. It's important, I think, for you to know he's engaged in it. But I'm not sure the 90%/fantasy info is helpful. I suspect on any given day that few of us are 100% totally committed to and in love with our partners. It waxes and wanes.

      Elle

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    5. Thanks for the reinforcement,Elle. I am trying to be aware of when I get too caught up in his recovery. However, I also need reminders that the affair isn't about who she is or who I am not, but his personal struggles. The 90% is my take. It also helps that I can acknowledge that I am not 100% in the committment at any one time too. I am trying to be accepting that he will have his escapes and fantasies, as do I.
      -MBS

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  50. I "found out" on Jan. 22nd that my fears were real. I suspected it and had been told by the OW, but my husband denied it for a long time. He says he hasn't seen her in over a year but she is still sending messages every day. He does not reply except a couple times to tell her to leave us alone but that just seems to make it worse. She just will not give up. She sends me nasty messages as well. She is a disgusting person. I am really trying to stop letting this consume me but it's really hard when she will not go away. I also have 2 small children and I feel like I am letting them down because this is consuming my mind so much. Any advice would be helpful.

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    1. I'm so sorry what you're going through. I remember feeling as though I was short-changing my kids because I couldn't think of anything but my husband's betrayal.
      Is there any way you can block this woman? It's hard to move past with daily reminders. I would change e-mail addresses, phone numbers...anything you can do to eliminate her presence. I'm not sure if you have any recourse via a lawyer but it wouldn't hurt to ask one.
      In the meantime, take care of yourself as best you can, which will help you be a better mom to your kids. When they're really young they just need your physical presence more than your mental space.

      Elle

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  51. I am consumed by my husband's mistress. He has been with her for 18 months, We separated last May after I confronted both of them. I was with my husband for 33 years . He had an affair 8 years ago that I forgave him for and he vowed he would not hurt me again. Numerous lies , numerous infidelities. Since he left me for her it makes it so much harder to deal with. I know they are having dinner with friends of ours tonight and then staying in a hotel tonight. It all hurts so much. We are getting divorced which is what he wanted but he is three months late filing his financial records. I want to confront her, I want her to know the pain she has caused for me and my three adult children. I know she does not care. The fact our friends are having dinner with her and she is sitting next to my husband proud to be with him , the victor disgusts me. Feel so stuck and do not seem to be able to let go. In so much pain because of their actions.

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    1. I'm so incredibly sorry for the pain you're in. None of this is fair. If it's any consolation, relationships that begin from affairs are virtually doomed -- very few of them survive. However, you're going to have to let go of your pain or you're dooming yourself to a life of misery.
      It won't be easy. But it must be done. The alternative is to let this toxic woman live in your head. If you haven't sought counselling, I hope you will. You need someone to lead you out of this agony into a life where you realize you got the better end of the deal. Catalogue every little thing your husband did that drove you nuts. Everything. And then take out the list to remind yourself. Make a list of the things that you enjoy about being without him. Even if the main thing is that you don't have to worry anymore whether he's cheating.
      Now...make some new friends. Join a club. Get involved with something. Forget people who will have dinner with him and her. You need people completely on your side. Is there a divorce support group? A place you can volunteer? You need to start living again and not obsessing about him/her.
      I'm sure this is a particularly tough night for you. Perhaps you're doing much of what I'm suggesting.
      I hope so.

      Elle

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    2. I too know the pain of finding out my cheating husband took the OW to his company Xmas party and to his family's homes at Xmas and sleeping together in their house. Where is their loyalty to me? Even though we are sort of still together, I will never see any of his family again because they not so much as phoned me to say they were sorry for what he did. This holds true also for the people he works with. How embarrassing it would be for me to see any of them. How he (my husband) and she (OW) have destroyed so many relationships. OW is now in sunny Fla. with her new man toy with pics of them on Facebook looking sooo happy together. I compare her exploitation of my husband to a tornado destroying a whole town, moving on and the devastated left behind to pick up the pieces. These exploitive women need to feel the pain they've caused so many.

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    3. Violet,
      That must have been excruciating for you -- to feel betrayed by so many people who didn't back you up.
      However, you certainly now know where their loyalty lies. I would urge you, however, to not hang on to that anger. It only hurts you. Similarly with the OW (though I think your tornado analogy is really good), I think the quicker you can cut her out of your life (including looking at her FB posts), the better for all of you. She might look happy, but my guess is she's masking a whole lot of loneliness and pain. That, however, is not your problem. Focus on what you can control -- yourself.
      And hang in there. This does get better.

      Elle

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  52. Firstly, apologies for tagging on to the replies but not sure how to create a new discussion. I am desperate for some advise. I am here on a posting with my husband. This is a second marriage for us both. His first marriage broke up because he had an affair with another person and my first marriage broke up because my first husband had multiple affairs. We have been together nearly 8 years and only married 3 weeks before he was posted here. He has been here now 7 months. I have been here only 5 weeks and from information I have basically brow beaten out of him he met his OW within a few weeks of getting off the plane here in the USA. 2 weeks before I was due to arrive here he told me over the phone that he had been having an affair and the guilt was too much that he had to tell me. Needless to say the next 2 weeks for me were hell. All along he tells me he is sorry and it was unforgivable and he loves me. Trouble is I dont feel loved and I dont feel his actions suggest he wishes to keep his marriage. Dont get me wrong, he is on most days free with his affection, he takes me out to dinner and movies and activities and continually says he loves me and wants me to be happy here. He has even brought and started to read "Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus" but there is still no communication. Every time I bring it up, or want answers to questions he gets defensive and if I persist on discussing it he completely shuts down. The only way I seem able to communicate with him is via email. I am going slowly insane not knowing where we are going and what he needs and wants. I know not a soul here and I dont wish to tell my family or friends back home what is happening because I truly love him and want my marriage to work. If I want to discuss us I get "this will take time and so lets just see how we go". My second week here I emailed him with a list of questions and basically told him he needed to sit and talk to me as I needed the answers to move forward and if no communication in the extremely near future then I was packing my things and moving home. That evening he answered the majority of my questions. Word for word. No more and no less. He also said he still had strong feelings for this woman. I know he had been in contact with her since my arrival as I did the unthinkable and checked his phone one morning and found two phone calls to her.......and yes I went ballistic. He also admitted that he has seen her since my arrival. Whether he is continuing to still see her or contact her I have no idea.I have not asked as I dont feel strong enough at the moment for the answer I suspect is true. I have no access to his email or messages and I dont feel right checking his phone but he has deleted her number from his mobile now anyway. He also says he has deleted all reference to her from email, txt etc and thrown away any gifts, notes etc. Not sure whether to believe this or not. Some days it is like I could be the lady in the supermarket the way he talks to me. Like yesterday. He was very standoffish and distant, though of course he denies it. I suspect he had been in contact with or saw his OW. There was no affection in his manner or tone at all. He wont communicate on this subject and has told me numerous lies and been deceitful so now I dont even know whether to believe what he says which is terribly heartbreaking as from the moment he told me of his affair I asked him to tell the truth to be assured there is still some honour and trust in this relationship.
    What do I do? How can I get him to communicate? Is he ever going to communicate with me so we can move forward from his affair? Does he even still want me? Am I just here to save face with his peers and workplace as they wouldnt take to well to his affair and the expense of moving his spouse back home. Do I attempt to move forward on my own and forget about him or do I stay? The silence on our marriage and our future is deafening and it is slowly killing any hope I have left of a future together.

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    1. Beth,
      Your feelings are completely normal, under the circumstances. But I think you need to get clear on a few things:
      #1: You can not rebuild a marriage when one person is, in any way, still emotionally or physically involved with his affair partner. I get the strong sense that he is still in touch with her and, likely, seeing her. You need to insist that, if he wants to save his marriage, he stop ALL contact with her and send her a note (he can copy you on it), noting that she is not to contact him and that he is recommitting himself to his wife and marriage.
      #2: In order for you to be sure that there is no contact, he needs to give you access to all his forms of communication: e-mail, phone, computer, pager, whatever. You must have unlimited access to check at any time. Doesn't mean he can't still be sneaky..but it does reduce the chance.
      #3: He must agree to answer any and all questions you might have. If you begin to be abusive or cruel, he has the right to stop until you can get yourself under control. But as you've discovered, the questions and fears will eat you up inside. You need to be able to trust that he's being open to you...and closed to his affair partner.
      #4: And finally...this guy has a pattern of cheating. Sounds like he never really gained any self-awareness from cheating on his first wife. He either better gain it now, or lose wife #2. You are completely within your rights to demand that he seek counselling to sort out whatever issues he has around commitment.
      Stand strong in your demands. He has moved you to a foreign country and stands to lose you. This must be horrible for you, without any friends or family support. Do what you need to take care of yourself, including getting counselling yourself. You can't make him communicate. You can't make him break it off with her. But you can insist on being treated with respect and making the demands that allow you to treat yourself with respect. You didn't deserve this. And you don't deserve the run-around he's giving you.

      Elle

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  53. I am feeling a different kind of stuck :( I have been with my husband for years and years but recently about yr ago he started cheating on me then finally told me 6 months after it started !! I was shocked and torn cause I never expected this then later found out he had few more one night stands as well but the last one he was cruel in his words saying he would never sleep with me again that we could only be friends that he loved me but wasn't in love with me he spent a lot of money on this woman, took her on weekend vacations , bought her things, spent time with her family things he never did with me I even walked in on him once at his best friends house kissing and hugging her and he let his friend throw me out without a word to me and he treated me like shit and called her the love of His life, and that I done this wrong, that wrong, and even to the point that I was fat now :( I filed for divorce and paid a lawyer to take care of things then he asked me to stop it said he loved me he just had hard time getting away from her and begged me to forgive him I did and we went away for anniversary and since then he calls me to let me know where hes at let's me see his phone and all that but now I still get all these images of what he done to me, they won't leave my head not to mention I'm scared to get those deep feelings for him back cause he might do it again then when he was doing this I had a friend who would listen to me rant, and all my problems , and try to make me stay strong and was just there for me when my husband wasnt and made me feel special now that I'm back with my husband I can't stop thinking about my friend and I feel stuck I have feelings for both but I love my husband am just scared to trust him again then what if he ends up leaving me later and I loose the friend :( someone plz help any advice would be nice

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    1. Dear Anonymous,
      you've been through hell so it's no wonder your body and mind are having a hard time relaxing and believing it's over. Your husband showed you a depth of cruelty that he's capable of. To expect your brain to believe that it's over and will never happen again is unreasonable. Your brain KNOWS it can happen and it will be damned if it's going to be caught off guard again. So it remains vigilant and on guard and fearful.
      I'm curious what your husband is doing to make amends for what he did. It's great that he's had this recognition of just how amazing you are and how lucky he is...but how does he explain how he treated you? It was really quite cruel. How is he going to ensure he changes for the better? How will he make sure that he never does this again? I think if you were able to see that he was genuinely making changes -- perhaps through therapy -- you might better be able to convince your brain that you're safe now. As it stands, your brain is no fool.
      As for your friend, can you tell her how valuable her support was to you? And how much you appreciate all that she did? Assure her that you will stand by her no matter what she's going through? And then ask her to try her best to understand that you're going to give him a second chance and that you hope she can be happy for you. It will be hard for her. It's often hard for those outside a relationship to see that there's anything worth saving because, generally, all they've heard is the bad. Sometimes, though, it's because they can see more clearly just how damaging it is than those of us in it. However, if you honestly believe that your husband is a changed man and is doing everything he can to remain that way, then perhaps your friend will trust your instincts. My guess is that helping you through it was hard for you to see you so hurt...and she doesn't want to have to go through it again.

      Elle

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    2. Thank u for responding Elle . My husband has been trying to make amends like buying me things, taking me out to dinner, huggin me and cuddling me more , letting me look at his credit card transactions, his work email, and his phone ...his reasons for being so cruel to me he denys it all , some he says he never said that i was crazy :| then the rest he says i didn't respect him, spent all the money , and then his manly problem he blames me for where he got fixed so i couldn't get pregnant no more he can no longer last that long durning sex so he blamed me for it all then said where he had problems getting it up he had to make sure it wasn't me so he got an opportunity and took it and got deeper involved with her then what he wanted to :( He promises he won't get involved again but it's still hard to trust him, he refuses therpy and says we don't need it that things will get better but it's hard to trust his theory and just believe that...When he started seeing her he maxed out his credit card spending about $9000 on her then when that was gone and our bills starting getting behind he decided to take his 401k out early then he bought a convertible car with some of the money which he let her drive and she told everyone he bought for her . Now everytime i step outside and see his car i am reminded all over again of her skanky ass sitting in it and everytime i drive into town i see her ass and am reminded again i just feel like sometimes it's a no win situation. I told him what the car did to me , i even mentioned moving away somewhere so that i wasn't reminded of it everyday of my life when i seen her walking the streets but it went in one ear and out the other. I know he loves me in some way just not sure he's in love with me and i'm afraid to get to emotionally attached again and go through the whole thing all over again he use to be a great man, didn't drink, didn't cuss, and always supported the family then to be shocked with something like that all because she came up to him in a Walmart store and said hey baby u should call me sometime he was wiling to throw everything away ...I'm just angry , pissed off, and don't wanna feel nothing but i will say that sometimes i feel my withdraw or anger will push him away , make him think i don't love him, and back in another womans arms again so i try to do the best i can with the whole thing

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    3. part 2 ( sorry so long)

      Since spending $9000 on her , we also got pentalized for early redrawal on his 401k so that put us owing the state and federal over $15,000 and since writing on this he managed to get pulled over and get arrested for a dwi so again paid $6000 for a lawyer so now because of his bad decisions that's like $30,000 just wasted that we owe out :( he has promised me now that he will quit drinking but i'm so angry it's just always something and i'm tired of being stressed out and worried.

      Now I will say this since he done all this i felt i owed myself something and since he spent all that money on her i felt i was owed something...i have been doing zumba since his affair and lost 4 pants sizes, i have changed my hair style and my look even got my eyebrow pireced, got a job and i booked a vacation for me and my bestfriend so i could get away and clear my head in a different place , have fun, and no worries and hoping it helps me. Now He's all like why you exercising for and loosing weight? Are you cheating on me? are you gonna leave me, and has even started texting me more...I just simply say nooooooo i'm doing things to feel good about myself so next time that you hurt me i won't have no problem booting ur ass out door and finding a real man and moving on with my life he just replys that i'm crazy lol oh well :) Thanks for listening and sorry this is so long

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  54. Hi,
    I could use some help. I discovered multiple affairs, daily use of porn and sexting. It has been three months since the discovery. My problem is that I can't get past the pain shopping. I am not playing detective. I just have this strange need to know all the details ( timelines etc.) I know that it is not healthy and that I can't grow while stuck in quicksand. Any suggestions ?
    I also am struggling with wanting complete honesty from him. The facts change from conversation to conversation. He blames me by saying that he didn't want to hurt me the first few times he shared the information. I now no longer believe anything that he says.Bear with me if this is not the right place to post these comments. It is the first time I have visited this site.
    L.

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    1. Hi L.,
      It isn't strange to need to know all the details! For me, I need to know things because I wasn't there -- the two of them were there together. So anything the two of them, and only the two of them, know, is something that sort of links them and puts me on the outside. My learning things helped me break down the walls of their stupid, sleazy, secret world. Of course, I know I don't know every little detail, and I sure didn't get it all at once, as I'd asked for. He continued to lie for a long time, and, like your husband, he told me different versions of the story. From what I've read and heard, that seems to be pretty common -- unfortunately for us. I'm over two years out and still struggle; I know things would have been better for me -- and for us, as we're trying to rebuild -- if he had given me what I'd asked for from the beginning. I wish I'd been more insistent on that when his stories sounded hinky. If I could go back to those earlier weeks and months, I'd be a lot firmer about what HE needed to do to clean up his mess, and I'd clearly state some boundaries that I'd feel capable of enforcing. I don't blame myself for how I handled things -- I was in shock -- but I do wish I'd turned more of my anger on him rather than on myself. :)
      Hang in there and don't be afraid to tell him to give you what YOU need. You're the one who knows what you can handle knowing, not him.

      Delete
  55. I have had exactly the same for the past 11 months. When we left the local shopping mall. I asked him to take me and show me the pub they had meet in twice, once for lunch while I was out of the country with friends. He took me to another one, later when I looked at their menu online, they did not sell what he said he had eaten. he said that he just wanted to get it over and done with. The correct pub was 2 minutes away. We never went inside so why, I don't think he gets that I need to know the truth.
    I also still don't know whether they had sex. I was told by her husband that she said they had sex once. My husband said that did and now says that he couldn't 'do the deed'!!
    I feel like he is playing games with my mind. It stops you from moving on. She told her husband everything the night I went and knocked on her door. - she hid inside and her husband came out and said I will tx you when I find out what's gone on! Once home my husband said they meet in a petrol station, that second he said it her husbands tx came through and said they meet in Spain
    Sorry for repeating this info as I've posted this before. But it is something that is so hard to deal with. LIES AND MORE LIES. when they are caught, they should just tell the truth for us to heal.

    Maybe its HOW they can cheat, very good at lies!!

    xx

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    1. Jane,
      He needs to either tell you the truth or get out. The lies after the betrayal are at least as damaging as the betrayal itself. It's death by a thousand paper cuts. I agree that perhaps a marriage counsellor can help facilitate a "full disclosure" session to allow him to tell you the truth in a setting in which you're supported emotionally. You can't go on with these lies and half-truths. All it's doing is telling you (again and again) that this guy can't be trusted with your heart.

      Elle

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  56. Hi Jane,
    I am sorry to hear that you are struggling so much for so long. Are you guys doing any therapy? Do you feel like he has it in him to learn from his behavior? If you really believe that he is not forthcoming and doing what he needs to do, can you get some help? Are you getting individual counseling? You sound so tortured and aren't getting what you need to heal. I feel for you.

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  57. Over the last 18 months I have gradually found out more and more. The tale has gone from a brief recent affair with an ex girlfriend to an eighteen year affair/contact with the same person. We have been married for 33 years and she was the girlfriend he dumped when we started to go out. We are working hard to progress and I do believe he regrets his actions but says 'she was very hard to get rid of'. What is holding up the process is the lies I have been told especially over the first year since D Day. I read a comment that said something like 'the truth will hurt for a while, but lies prolong the hurt forever'. It did put into words what I feel and how I am finding belief very hard now. I know the reason for the lies is self protection - he only told me about the length of his contact because I threatened to go and confront her when she tried to get back in touch in August last year.

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  58. It's been a little over a week since my WH moved out for a "therapeutic separation". It has been hell for me. Our big house is so lonely. We've had some communication since his shop with all his tools are located next to the house. Our MC said we were to have no communication except for 4 hours a week initiated by him. He has yet to arrange one. My IC is basically telling me to following the 180 and that it may be the only hope to bring him around. He called after day 3 to say he wanted to work on us and he was willing to live without knowing the answers to his questions for the OW. I said I doubted any of his behavior had changed in that amount of time. He said he respected that answer. We had our last meeting with the MC and we are now officially separated for 2 months to see how we feel. At the meeting he said he was willing to try depression meds since "Deb thinks I need them". He did call for an appt. but can't get in until May to see the Psychologist. I have seen him several times and he is a mess. Looks terrible and is still talking in circles. Says he wants his marriage but explains he never got to basically see if the grass was greener and that keeps him from being in 100%. This is what he told our neighbor the other day. She's a very good friend of mine. The fact that he's saying this stuff just makes me think he's moving farther away. He's been staying with a friend but will be moving into a house this weekend. This house has a garage so he can move his tools and his boat and will no longer be coming around. I know this is the right thing but I am so, so, so, sad that things have come to this. He feels the same and said as much to me the other day. Also says he sorry he's done this to us.
    We'll need to tell the girls ages 21 and 22 this next week after finals. They adore their Dad and will be crushed to hear what he's done and how he's not fixing it. I worry he will have a breakdown of some sort but my counselor says that's his issue. He has his own IC and she knows what's up. I know in my head that I can't save him as much as my wounded effed up heart would like to. I've arranged with the girls to take a little 3 day spring break getaway. "Just us girls". They'll realize why after we tell them he's moved out. I am so worried that they will be upset with me for some reason. I am losing my mind and my resolve. I am so close to calling him and inviting him over but I know that would sabotage what we're trying to accomplish. I need to let things play out. Luckily I have many friends who have been keeping me busy. I'm leaving town this weekend so I don't have to watch him move his stuff out. If anyone has any good stories about how this type of separation help their marriage I would really like to hear it.

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    1. HI Debbie,
      It sounds as if you're doing the best you can under the circumstances. Keep yourself strong in whatever way you can, rely on the support that's offered you. You can't manage your husband's emotions. He sounds like a child re. the greener grass. However that's his choice to make. There's a great book called This Isn't The Story You Think It Is by Laura Munson, which details a separation and how the wife (Laura) stayed strong and firm in her resolve. Her husband was confused, much like yours, wondering if he was living the life he wanted. In any case, you might the book (and her Web site) helpful.
      I hope you can remove yourself emotionally from him right now -- to let him truly feel the impact of his choice. Don't let him have it both ways. He's either in the marriage or he's not. Hopefully he'll smarten up.

      Elle

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  59. Hello,
    We've done MC, we've worked through things, we're still together and the past 6 months have been fairly good ( DD was 14 months ago) however, I still get the odd days where the depression and shock come back to me, sometimes I just want to talk about it, not pain shopping, not more checking the facts, just a discussion from my point of view as to why it still hits me like a punch in the stomach. My husband has been understanding, but I feel from his point of view he feels there is nothing more to say, in his opinion I know everything and he feels that I am making myself worse. I genuinely feel as if he is rolling his eyes and thinking, oh no, not this again. If this goes on I feel that the good work and recovery will be null and void; we've worked so hard but he doesn't seem to be going the distance with me. Should I just shut the fuck up?

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    1. Anon - have you asked him how he feels? Perhaps he doesn't know what to say. Being emotionally articulate I expected my v clever husband to be able to deal with this, but the whole point was that he wasn't as emotionally articulate as I thought he was, or he wouldn't have got himself in that kind of mess in the first place.

      Don't despair, maybe ask him? As you say, you've worked hard, it's exhausting. Maybe he needs to work on an area he's never been that good at, but he can do it, just like I could get better at maths if I had to... Anyway, it's what you need - he owes you that consideration. Do not whatever you do shut the fuck up, or as my therapist says you will create a shadow. Does he want honesty and to genuinely nurture the wife he loves or to live in an early film by Ingmar Bergman? I thought as much. Tell him what you need.

      Do not shut the fuck up x

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    2. I think it is worth checking in with him about what he is thinking when you cycle back to depression and needing to talk. Let him know your fears. Is he really rolling his eyes.
      If you are still in MC, I wonder if your therapist can help mediate this because it seems like such a hot button.
      As much as I would also want to say STFU, I know in my situation that will send us to square one in the low point of our relationship.
      My husband is still coming to grips that I will not be "over" this for awhile. He is genuinely caught off guard when things are going well for a bit then I start crying or feeling depressed. I know he is giving me time now but I anticipate the same thing you are going through as things move on.

      -MBS

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    3. I'm with MBS. Staying silent while hurt festers is the quickest way to poison your relationship. It's one of the hardest things for the cheaters -- to give us the time to process what happened and to be emotionally present with us while we go through the cycles. It takes a strong man, and an emotionally healthy one, which lots of these guys simply aren't, at least until they've had enough therapy to get them there.
      It might help if your therapist outlined what to expect -- that this cycling can go on a long time. We don't heal on a straight upward trajectory. There's ups and downs, and round and round. But even when it seems as if we're regressing -- if our husbands can be with us in that pain -- it moves us forward. Experts say it's three to five years to feel past this, so best to settle in for the long haul.
      But do not STFU. That's not respectful of yourself. Your feelings are legitimate and deserve being recognized and expressed. It's how we heal.

      Elle

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  60. It has been a little over a year and a half since my husband of 12 years confessed to having a 3 year affair with a co-worker. We were living in the south when he accepted a job in NJ. I stayed behind to put the house on the market and have our children finish their current year of school. At first he came home every weekend, and gradually it became less and less - saying work was just too busy to visit us. When we finally moved, he could have cared less that we were there. He was constantly giving me mixed signals, he would come home late from work but want to go looking for new homes the next day. He kept talking about a girl from work that he enjoyed spending time with - and when I finally met her - she couldn't even look at me. I asked him several times if there was something going on - and he denied it emphatically. At one point he admitted that there were rumors floating around work that they were having an affair - which again he denied. Then after a while he stopped talking about her and I tried to push the feelings of intuition aside. He would always be home no later than 5 and I would rationalize to myself that there wouldn't be a woman alive that would put up with seeing someone for a quickie for this long. I discovered his affair when he told me had to travel for business - I found a receipt that said he was at a restaurant locally when he should have been out of town. He admitted to seeing her for 3 years. He begged me not to leave him - he felt trapped. He tried "leaving" her many times but she would threaten to go to HR at work or would beg him to come over to talk. She always told him if he wouldn't leave me - she would take what she could get. But as time went on, she wasn't happy with him leaving work at 2pm so they could be together for a few house before he had to be home. She wanted him to spend quality time with her. My world was shattered, and trying to put the pieces back together has been incredibly painful. I sought the advice of a lawyer not long after I found out. If my husband didn't agree to it, I could not move back south where I have family to help me - and he would never agree to being that far away from his kids. And since we don't have family here and just a handful of new friends - the only security my kids know are my husband and I. So I chose to stay. We went through 12 months of therapy, which I think helped for the first 3 months. After a while he just didn't want to talk about it any more and the more I re-visited my pain, the harder it was to move on. The one condition I had in order to stay with him was he had to quit his job. The OW didn't handle this well and made his last few days at work very difficult for him. He cut off all communication with her and started a new job at a new company. I have done my best to move on and try to forgive him, but there are still days when I truly have a hard time getting out of bed. The level of manipulation and deceit is just staggering to me at times. We have a very cordial relationship now because I want my children to grow up in a happy home. He is oblivious to the emotional devastation he has caused even though he expresses remorse. And I have to wonder - will I still be able to remain in this marriage when my children are off to college and it's just the two of us? Even though I feel like I've passed the "safe" threshold again with him - I'm doubtful that I will ever truly trust him again and it breaks my heart. I often wonder what it would be like to be in a relationship with a man that hasn't cheated on me. I guess only time will tell.
    J

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  61. I am writing here because I am stuck in confusion. As I read people's stories, I find that my reactions to what has happened to me after being betrayed by my husband in December of 2012 is typical. My husband left me for a porn star he was communicating with on-line. She was supposed to be from Ghana. She was white and had a white female lover. He was going to bring both of them over here to Canada and marry the one he first had contact with and the other was to be his lover too. I saw it as a scam but he did not. They convinced him to send thousands of dollars to them. All the while he was having conversations with many women on-line and texting also. On D-day I finally asked him if he was seeing someone and he said yes. He wanted to leave. I started crying and asked him not to leave. Our marriage had been pretty dry for a long time because of his porn addiction. We tried to work on our marriage but he was still making plans to bring them here all the while telling me he loved me. When he left, I felt so empty, shocked and numb. In the end my husband ended up in the psych ward for suicidal thoughts and deep depression. Being a woman of faith I believed if I loved him enough, I could save him. This has been the hardest journey ever. I wasn't counting on the dreams, the triggers, and major trust issues. While my husband was in hospital, I gave him ultimatums as to how he could return home. No porn, no social media like face book ect. No computer without me being there. No cell with internet. Now we are year and 3 months passed D-day and my marriage is a mess. During our recovery period, I was trying to cope with my insecure feelings unsuccessfully by trying to ignore them. I was trying not to burden my husband with them as I was to have forgiven him so it should be in the past. But some of his behavior wasn't pure. I went back to work to pay off the debt he incurred with the scam. But what I didn't do was look after myself. I focused on him and how to get him better. Another thing I wasn't counting on was my husband's mental illness being permanent. So when I did try to tell him how I felt about things he lost it and said if that was the way thing s were then there was no use going on and he was leaving. I had to call 911 because he was leaving in a t shirt and slippers in -25 Celsius. He was out of control and not thinking rationally. Marriage counseling wasn't working. He blamed me for everything. I moved into the spare room and I was seriously considering leaving. We were just havin one crisis after another. He was going for crisis counseling after the 911 call. The police had required he talk to a psych nusre on the phone and she set up the appointments. When I talked to her, there was one comment she made that was a light bulb moment for me. She said he may not get better. I had not thought of that. On February 18, 2014, a mental crisis team came to our house. After an hour and a half of testing and talking to him, they decided to take him away. It was then that my husband confessed to trying to commit suicide 3 times in one week. I had no idea because I had been watching him to make sure he wasn't but I wasn't with him all the time. So now he is getting electro shock treatments. He has lost about 8 weeks of his memory. He doesn't remember why he is in the hospital or all the crisis we went through leading up to his admission. I am not healing because my husband cannot hear about my insecurities resulting from his leaving me. None of our problems are resolved and I am afraid that when he comes home we will be be to square one in a short time. I feel so guilty sometimes that I'm not better but I can see from this site that it takes along time to heal, even years. But how do I heal when my betrayer is mentally ill?! Signed hopelessly stuck!

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  62. MBS, When I mention how I feel, he is very compassionate and he says he feels just awful for what he's done. Apart from always saying sorry, there isn't much he does. If it were me, I would explore all aspects, I would want to know what the triggers were, why he was feeling that way at that time. I suppose it was the trickle truth that did the most damage, every time I thought it was out in the open, I settled for a week and something came to mind which I questioned him about and he admitted things. I think It was about 10 months before I got the whole picture which was sooo different to the first, second, third version. I really think I was suffering and perhaps still from PTSD. We stopped counselling as I felt, and he did too that we had explored everything we needed to and really we were going around in circles. I know that I will never forget this but I feel very much in limbo and really want to move on a little bit more. Like a game of snakes and ladders, I nearly get there but end up going down that ladder. Yes, I really do think he rolls his eyes, or sighs and he is expert at changing the subject.

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  63. Hello,
    My journey began in May 2011 when my husband confessed about his affair. We seperated in June, back together in July. But he refused to go to couples therapy and I caught him again, found secret phones and finally found out who the OW was. She was also married with 3 children and from our gym and also our Dental Hygenist. I gave him a choice, end it and sever all ties and we get help or leave. He refused to get help, so I made him pack a bag and leave, that was in Jan. 2013.

    Fast forward, much drama including the OW hitting me with her car after I said something to her outside out gym (Police report on file and also there was a witness), and much more. At one time I even asked to to stop all contact as my H and I were trying to reconcile. She refused and became more aggressive. So then I decided enough and started living for me. I will say I traveled, dated, got intense therapy and worked hard on myself. I have an illness that flares often, so stress is not a friend of mine. In all this time my H continued in and out of this affair and also insisted on financially supporting me and wanting me to stay in our home. For the first time in my life I was living alone, our last child left for College in Aug. 2011.

    I never filed for divorce or legal separation, just lived my own life. He lived his but came back begging every couple of months. We tried to reconcile no less than 4 times, but in every instance I caught him with her once again. That saying the truth always comes out, it did every time! I asked the OW in person to respect our marriage and to sever all communication, I wrote her, then I stopped. She truly had an agenda and that was my Husband, She did leave her H and kids and filed for divorce. I have the secret phones with her texts telling him how horrible I was, how wonderful their love was, etc.... blah blah blah... He knows I have these, yet I resorted to searching his truck and finding lots of incriminating evidence. Not proud moments for me but amazing what you end of doing when digging for the truth.

    So that brings me too today. I retained an attorney yesterday and today was supposed to file the Petition for Divorce. Throughout this journey my H constantly tells me he loves me, is afraid of loosing me, does not want a divorce, etc.. I told him I no longer believe him. Today he showed up asking me to please consider giving him this final chance to prove himself. I so want to believe him because I do have some love for him in my heart. I just don't trust him one bit... I also have met someone else who I have grown to care for a great deal, a single never married a little older man. All this man knows is he loves spending time with me and my marital status does not matter to him, he knows I am separated over 2 years.

    Am I crazy to even think of giving my H this chance? If I do, what are my absolute must haves?? I am thinking I will give myself one week, ask the attorney to hold off filing until next week. Is this enough time, am I deceiving myself? I am feeling very stuck. A part of me is excited that we could make this work and get that love back we had before my H met that OW. I figured their affair went on for about 4 years, a long time.

    I would love suggestions, input, insight, books???

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  64. DDay for me was July 2013 but my husband didn't stop hiding from the WHOLE truth until Dec 2013--so for 6 months we had trickle truth, broken no-contact, living in the fantasy. So I don't count our recovery from Dday but from Dec. That is when he finally decided he needed to understand why he did what he did and face the truth of himself. Confessing the affair details and feeling awful was just the first step. His wanting to understand for himself is really the only way we can move forward. Our therapist is also working on his developing empathy for me which has been lacking through all this.

    Its great that he can show compassion for you. Though wanting you to get over it means that he is too scared to really look at himself and how he failed you and his own values. Do you have compassion for him? For me, I understand how deeply broken my spouse had to be to do what he did. I let him know that it must be incredibly hard to admit to, accept his responsibiltiy and make amends for the worst decision of his life. I let him know that I was going to give him time and patience to get there. Communicating that was what has helped him to want to do the real work of healing himself. Shaming him had the opposite affect.
    I suggest you and he might want to go to counselling individually so you can address your PTSD, anger and everything else you are suffering through, and he can really look at himself and take responsibility.

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  65. Thanks Anon, I do feel for you having to go through D Day again which is so incredibly painful.
    Yes, I do have compassion and even MC said she had never experienced such understanding, that doesn't mean to say that I didn't act like a woman possessed when I first found out. It's the shock of it that has torn at my soul, I know most women say that they were surprised, their marriage was good, they were happy, he wasn't that type of man but he really normally isn't that type of man. I really cannot face anymore counselling, it has left me empty and perhaps has made things worse, I'm not sure. I almost want to have another day/week or whatever bashing all the details out, just to feel I can cover it in one go and make sure I can put it to rest.
    As I read this back it all sounds rather odd that I would want to revisit, I do remember Elle mentioning once that we are re-processing the details, she didn't use those words but something to that effect.

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  66. Hello, I'm not sure where my first attempt went so apologies if you end up with two. I'm 9 weeks post discovery date. Second marriage - both in our 50's. Both divorced from first marriages. He with an ex who filed for divorce after her 8 - 12 affairs within their marriage. He remained faithful. He was prepared to stay for their 2 children. I divorced from a good man - we'd grown apart. Shamefully and the most unforgiveable thing I did was to have an exit affair which resulted in my lovely daughter. Her father was physically and emotionally abusive to me and totally uninvolved with daughter. I felt that I had done my karma. I met my husband 5 years ago. Both of us with unhappy histories met one another and it felt so right. Lots of additional stresses with adapting to a new home together in a new area, the children and no time for ourselves to get to know one another independently. He works from home (UK)for an American Company which involves travel. We had been having difficulties and seemed to be going round in circles. I suggested Counselling but he felt it was not a 'manly' thing to do. He had an affair in San Fran last Sept/Oct. I intuitively felt something was wrong. He denied an affair but I found an email thread and he admitted it. Like everyone, the emotions I feel are shared by us all. I feel doubly angry because I'd suggested counselling and now we are having it. The Counsellor herself said she believed if we had come earlier this would not have happened. We should have discussed our expectations of the marriage, the children etc etc before we wed and we both realise this. He also acknowledges that he should have made compromises, been more supportive to me with his children when they visited us and discussed issues before making decisions unilaterally. I know he is a good man but again the loss of our exclusivity by importing a third party into our marriage, the loss of trust, the fear of a repeat which he says will never happen and the lies and deception and the secrecy we have to maintain (apart from my daughter knowing as she was living at home at the time). Now thankfully working/living away. I have said that I cannot cope with his children visiting for the forseeable future and he has agreed to this. I am so angry, I go through the motions but feeling deadened and then angry and weepy. We were both unhappy, we could have resolved things. He remained faithful in his first marriage so why me? Ridiculous question - why not? I'm struggling to feel compassion or empathy as it shouldn't have happened. He made himself available, denied me by saying he was divorced and was
    picked up in a bar; flattered by this woman and he didn't have the moral fibre to say NO. I'm so angry that he turned to someone else to feel good instead of trying to resolve our problems when he knew how unhappy I was. We are having couples and individual counselling. I don't feel forgiveness is the right thing to do. It is acceptance and managing the problem long term with the thoughts and memories sloshing around in my head. When does compassion and empathy kick in? Does it? Advice would be so welcome. Thank you.

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    1. Harebrained (though I doubt you are!!),

      I'm sorry for what you're going through. A lot of your questions are standard betrayed questions -- why me? why couldn't he stay faithful? where do we go from here? And there aren't really answers that will satisfy. You're looking for logic when cheating isn't a logical choice.
      Better for your husband to look at what story he told himself to allow him to cheat. That nobody would get hurt? That he deserved this? That he was unappreciated? Who knows. But that's for him to figure out.
      Your time is better served by recognizing that his cheating is about him, not you. You're collateral damage. You need extreme self-care to get yourself through this. To sort through your feelings around this.
      I'm with you re. forgiveness and acceptance. By focussing on you and what you need going forward, you'll get to acceptance. And by allowing that he's not perfect, that he's made a big mistake (assuming he's taking full responsibility for it and expressing genuine remorse) will help you get to compassion.
      As much as it hurt to be betrayed, I would still rather be on this side of the equation than be the betrayer. To live with that shame would be horrible. I could see how devastated my husband was when he had to face what he'd done. I wouldn't want that...and that allowed me to be empathetic.
      Determine whether your husband is worth giving a second chance. But please don't think any of this has to do with you and your worth as a wife.

      Elle

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  67. Dear Elle, You are a wise and compassionate woman. I believe he is genuinely remorseful and full of guilt. You are right about not being able to rationalise what he has done. That is where I am struggling ie "you must know why you did it etc etc". He like many men is swayed by compliments. He acknowledges that he is the middle aged businessman playing away from home cliche. The shame and the need to maintain a facade and go through the motions is as you are aware so difficult. I felt petulant that my daughter and I had this dumped on us when we tried so hard to engage with him and his children and were made to feel that we were wearing a cloak of invisibility. He was so riddled with guilt at being an absent parent (albeit a very caring Father) that he would not parent effectively. In the early weeks of discovering his affair, I felt that perhaps he wanted to reconcile to maintain his outward integrity whilst we had to cope with the fall out. I do feel that as he says it was an episode of madness as he said surreal/unreal and not as if it was him participating! He was struggling and took up with someone so that he could mask his problems with frivolity and the unencumbrance of the minutiae of married life. What particularly hurt me and still hurts is that he removed his wedding ring and said he was divorced so that he was able to really participate in frivolity without feeling there would be a restriction on his behaviour. I refuse to return it until and if we reconcile and renew our vows. Consequences and actions. He cannot cherry pick when to 'be married'. He is going to disclose to his sister as he feels this will help me to feel supported and to dilute the knowledge and to 'man up' I suppose. I don't want his ex or children to know because I feel so ashamed that he was unfaithful to me when he maintained fidelity whilst he was being cuckolded many times over in his first marriage. He recognises that he buries his head until things go away and takes the line of least resistance. As I said to him - it is not a case of being confrontational but being assertive. By ignoring things particularly in my case when I was stating my unhappiness with our difficulties and trying to come up with strategies, I was getting to the position of wanting to walk away. There seems to be a pattern of him hoping things will resolve themselves but of course, people get frustrated and 'leave' the relationship in many different ways other than by having affairs. You are right, he boxed up his affair and compartmentalized it - a man thing I cannot understand at all. Humans are above all other species by their knowledge of right and wrong. Even if no-one else knew what he had done HE DID! After everything we had endured in our pasts I felt that our marriage was sacrosanct and it was not. I am ashamed of him. I am ashamed for him and no-one will know in my family because of this mutual shame. I felt uneasy telling him that I was unwilling to have his children (141/2 and 17yrs) to stay with us for the forseeable future. Their mother is the primary carer. My moods are all over the place and I feel that it is expecting far too much of me to feign a happy marriage. He accepts this and will see them elsewhere. It may be selfish self-care but I will put my health first at this time for as long as it takes. I feel I am sounding petulant and I hope that compassion will kick in at some stage. Empathy is difficult because although I'm used to working objectively with other people it is difficult when in the thick of ones own experience and I feel so let down. Our marriage will I think continue but in a very different format with mutual understanding and agreement. The black humour of my situation is not beyond me. A betrayed second wife and stepmother. Is there such a club? Probably more of us than I would know bearing in mind the attrition rate for second marriages. The bottom line is that yes, I still care. To use a very English term he is a plonker! Thank you.

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  68. this is my first time reaching out here. it's been 13 months since d-day-my husband confessing everything on his own. You all know I could write a novel about this, but for now I just want to keep it short. I am in total limbo of what to do. I so desperately want to know from other wives if their decision to stay & heal or their decision to leave & heal has made them feel better about themselves or not. I, too, always said if this ever happened I would be gone in a flash. I feel so disappointed in myself that I haven't done this!? I can't believe that I haven't walked away. I feel that if I stay or if I leave, either way I have no self-respect. I feel like a fool and a failure in all of it.

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    1. I'm glad you did reach out. I think we gain a lot by sharing our story -- the support of others, but also an insight into our own experience.
      I would urge you to dig deeper into why you're interpreting HIS cheating as YOUR failure. I would venture a guess that his affair has simply triggered your own beliefs about yourself. In other words, if you had self-respect before he cheated, you'll still have it. But if you didn't have it (even if you'd managed to convince yourself and others that you did), then this will bring that to the surface. Any emotional trauma resurrects buried trauma.
      So I hope you'll explore what emotional wounds this has triggered for you beyond the wound of betrayal itself. That way, whether you stay or go will be based on what you truly want rather than a sense of what you "should" do.
      And please know that you're not a fool. You may have loved a fool...but that doesn't make you one.

      Elle

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    2. Hey Elle, you pretty much reiterated what my therapist said--for free. That's the gist of it for me. And I am "lucky" in that my spouse seems to be doing his part of the work--looking at himself and what caused him to be so unhappy that he lost his integrity and had to act out this way. He is working very hard on himself but it doesn't change the deep experience of pain I am having . HIS bad behavior no only betrayed me but it unburied things that I feel about myself that have nothing to do with the affair. So the work I have now is to deal with those previous wounds.

      Anon, the reasons I stayed: I knew I love him and he loves me. I recognized how I contributed to the conditions that weakened our relationship. He was so clearly dealing with a major midlife crisis and I couldn't just walk away know that the person I loved and the father or my children was making terrible decisions about his life. However, I was getting ready to walkaway when he kept making those decisions. I knew he was capable of great insight, self-reflection, and change, that I wanted to give him that opportunity before I gave up. I believed that I was capable of opening my heart wider than it had been before to let love in despite this deep heartache. Deep down I knew that both of us were better than this. Adultery wasn't "him" though stupidity was, at the time. I also knew that I would still feel just as horribly betrayed and in agony if I left. Leaving wouldn't change that. What has helped me to feel better is to try to carry on with dignity and self-respect. Once I could do that, I could choose whether he was worthy of having me back.
      I hope that you can recover your dignity. You didn't deserve to be treated that way. No one does.
      -MBS

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  69. Hi, I am 10 months since D Day #1 of 4, I decided to stay with my WH, he has done all the right things, totally transparent, so caring and loving and he can see when I am having a bad time, he cuddles me and apologises, I can see the hurt within him for what he has done to me, he will openely talk if I want to about his affair, he still cannot forgive himself he says, so he doesn't expect me to forgive him, and he tells me how lucky he feels for being given another chance.

    So why do I feel like I do all of a sudden?
    I have told no one about his affair, I have a very dear friend that is aware he was sexting with several women but no more, only yesterday she made such an innocent comment in the company of others, and now I feel so low.

    We had somehow gotten into a discussion on relationships, she innocently expressed how lucky she was that her husband, doesn't go out drinking, is happy for her to go out if she wishes with her friends, allows her to treat herself when she chooses etc etc, all the things I used to say about my hubby prior to my finding out about his affair, I would have normally piped up saying that it is exactly how my hubby is, I am so lucky too, but I couldn't do it, I have always been so proud to tell people what a great marriage I have, and that if you have found the right one it truly is a wonderful thing, anyone who has been getting married and others have scorned you must be stupid, I would stand up and say go for it, I have been married 23 years and don't regret a thing, I cannot do that anymore and those innocent comments from my friend have just made me so low, re thinking all the hurt and making me question am I doing the right thing.

    I do love my husband, but I do not like him right now, I look at him sometimes and could hit him for what he has done, I like many never thought he could do this too me, I used to say to people if anyone was to have an affair within our marriage it would have been me, my hubby was too quiet and shy around women he didn't get to know them enough to take it any further, I was living proof of how shy he was, it took him over 18 months to pluck up the courage to ask me out.

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  70. Part 2

    I think back to all these things and cannot understand what changed within him, he still cannot explain why he had the affair, he explains he had reconnected with an old close friend from FB after around not seeing them for 30 years, they began texting innocently, then met for coffee without my knowledge (1st warning sign he ignored) then the texting became dirty talk, still meeting every 3 months or so, he says she knew he was married and he had told her how much he loved me ( yeah right) but he was curious about sex with another partner, I was his only 1 ( I had a daughter by another man when we got together) she often discussed this situation with him, and he said his curiosity grew, he admits by now he was looking at porn on a daily basis, had begun sexting other friends on FB ( although not meeting them) when on one coffee meeting she explained she needed to go tend to her horses did he want to come along, he admits he had an idea that she may be offering extras and he could have declined but he went along, low and behold they ended up having sex, he admits they met 3 more times for sex, once at her house where she had dressed up for him etc, he swears this was the last time, and from then on he made excuses not to meet up, but he was frightened that she may contact me, so he kept texting her, apparently she had begun saying comments what if, this is what had scared him to end the affair although he didn't have the guts to end it, he says they met up again but only when he knew it could go no further than a coffee, he also says she gave him the opportunity to end it, but he was scared she may tell if he did, after he had managed to stop having sex with her but placate her with meetings why would he not end his sexting with the others, he says he doesn't know himself, it was only catching him that put a stop to this, I find this hard to accept, he doesn't use our laptop anymore he does not use FB, his phone is available for me to check at any time, however he could have another phone if he chose, but I do believe him when he says he has had no contact with any of them ( he cannot with the AP as she has since died) she was ill during their affair hence why he could meet her when he knew nothing would happen, but she still used to say " when I am better we can" he never told her he didn't want too... I do believe he is remorseful but I cannot accept that all his sexting and his affair the porn he watched, was all down to curiosity at not having had a 2nd sexual partner, and I wander whether the fact he has no contact with FB etc is the only reason he has not strayed again, he keeps temptation out of reach, this is driving me in sane, I want to forgive fully, I will never forget but I want to move on, and I thought I was doing really well but all of a sudden I have hit this wall, and I am wandering whether I will always feel like this and if so am I best getting out now although that is the last thing I want to do, but I simply cannot contemplate going 10 years down the line and possibly coping with this again, because even he doesn't know what sparked him into the affair.

    Does anyone else have a WH who is saying it must of been a mid life crisis because they felt like they had missed out on something ( his words, although he will admit now he had missed out on nothing, another thing he says I do not believe, the sex was crap with his AP, he is going to say that , right!)

    I need some words of encouragement to get me through this period of doubt, I am really struggling.

    Thanks for letting me rant.

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    1. So many of your fears are perfectly normal under the circumstance. It's normal to wonder if this will happen again. It's normal to wonder about his "excuse". That's one of the major consequences of betrayal -- we can never fully trust anyone again. However, we can learn to trust ourselves and that's one of the greatest gifts of betrayal. We come to recognize just how strong we are and get so much clearer on what we will and won't tolerate.
      There's no guarantee that your husband won't cheat again. But there never was a guarantee, even though we thought there was. Life doesn't offer any guarantees and those of us who thought it did are generally the most devastating.
      So...what can you do? You can insist on what you need to in order to feel safe again in the relationship. Does that mean counselling for your husband? Marital counselling for the two of you? Does that mean total access to any computers/phones/whatever so you can monitor his behaviour? Does that mean joint accounts? Whatever you need to feel safe is your right to ask for. Slowly, over time if he consistently is where he says he is, doing what he says he's doing, etc, you'll realize that he's changed. That said, you should also notice change in him emotionally -- if he's truly remorseful, he'll put steps in place should he ever feel tempted again. Whether that's checking in with you so that you two can talk about the issue, checking in with a therapist, reminding himself (perhaps a letter from you that he can re-read outlining how painful this has been for you) that he doesn't want to go down that path.
      Of course, none of those things are guarantees. Each of us decides, every single day with every single action, who we want to be. If he ever chooses to be a cheater, then there's nothing you can do. So whether or not you want to give him that chance to be a better man is entirely up to you. It always is.
      The sting of betrayal does fade with time. And with building up your resilience. Those of us who've come through this aren't quite so wide-eyed innocent but we're not cynics either. We're, shall we say, wiser. You will be too.

      Elle

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    2. Elle

      thank you so much for your reply.

      I am so much better at the moment it is not the first thing I think of in the morning and there are days where I may not think of it at all, which is where I was before my friend made such an innocent comment.

      I struggle with bath time, I always listen to music and now when I listen to songs that meant something to us I sometimes end up dwelling on what he has done to us both, (not everytime), he can tell when I am struggling as he cannot here me singing along, and so he will come up to me apologise and hug me, but I end up going through it all over again questioning him when I already know the answers, its as if I am trying to catch him out on any lies he may have told.

      I have access to his mobile, I also have a tracker which tells me his location at any time, he knows about this and is more than happy, he panics if he loses his GPS signal, lol he doesn't use the laptop anymore, so he is allowing me anything I need to get passed this, and I do think I can , it is just some days really do hurt and it feels like day 1 all over again. I take comfort in seeing how others on this site have shown that you can get over betrayal, because until it happens to you, you really do not know how you will react, and I thank everyone on here that has shared their stories, because they also help me, seeing that they also feel and think the same things, it help me see I am not totally bonkers, and I definitely agree there were never any guarantees, I only believed there was because I could truly guarantee I would never betray him, and realising that has made me wiser already.

      I will get there eventually, I have no intention in giving up on 23yrs of marriage which for the most part have been extremely happy, for a stupid irresponsible misjudgement by a man who has only made this this one mistake, a big mistake I grant you but one I believe he does truly regret and is prepared to do anything to put things right,

      Thank you for taking the time to respond, your words have helped

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  71. I am anonymous/first time reaching out. Elle, you are correct about my beliefs about myself. I have always felt not good enough, not deserving and especially, inferior. I am getting good help to try to figure all this out.
    And MSB, thank you so much for your input. I too love my husband. He is a troubled man, has been all of his adult life, without me knowing really why. Many, many issues are now coming out for him-issues that almost have nothing to do with his affairs. He is in intense treatment. I will stand by him, but I don't really know how our marriage will turn out. He needs to get well. I so appreciate you telling me how you feel about yourself with your decision to stay. I admire that.

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    1. I'm glad you're getting help with this. I hear it so so often. The wound of betrayal frequently brings up long-buried hurt. It forces us to deal with issues that have been festering for years. And that, ultimately, is what can lead all of us to deeper, healthier relationships, not only with our husbands but with our selves and our children.

      Elle

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  72. 6 months ago I discovered that my husband of 13 years had two affairs over a 5 months period 2.5 years ago.
    He was the last person, I would have thought to do this. His integrity and standards always were so superior. He is a very attractive man, but even though he meets a lot of attractive women in his clinics, who will hit on him, I always felt that his standards were so high that I did not feel threatened.
    One young beautiful woman came to his office at a time when he was extremely vulnerable (we both were), and even though she knew he was married, and that he had children - one is a disabled child - she threw himself at him. He ended up staying three days longer on a business trip with her in her country - having fun on the beach, while I worked like a dog moving our furniture out of our house and shipping it overseas for our "new start" in a foreign country - me giving up everything to follow his dream. Two weeks later, he invented another business trip to meet her in a romantic city, where they spent two nights together.
    He continously had bad conscience, and told her it could not go on, but she kept on her pursuit and managed to get these two meetings with him some gifts and money which must have been her primary focus as she started asking him for things, travels and money very soon and she knew he was rich. He claims he was impotent with her except for one time, which I actually believe knowing him as well as I do. Only three weeks after his romantic getaway with this girl, he met another woman at a medical conference who came on to him, and again he yielded. No sex but emotions, walks, kisses, sharing of dreams and thoughts and sympathy. He wanted to help this woman and arranged a meeting for her with a possible employer in another country ... and met her there for a three night hotel stay... she left after two days - no sex because she was abused before and is broken and my husband was relieved to see her go. He cancelled a planned trip to the first girls country, because he felt bad, and now admits to amidlife crisis crazy mindset over that 5 months period where he was courted by a total of 5 women who wrote steamy emails and messages to him. He felt that they built him up, but finally decided that he did not want to be that kind of man. When I found out I reacted exactly like everybody else on this site... good to know that I am actually normal in my crazy behaviour. I know that I have my husband back, and that he is doing everything he can to help rebuild our marriage. I just feel that I obsess too much about especially the young woman, because I found out that she had 400 photos on her facebook site from her two short trips with my husband ... including selfies of them kissing and a ton of halfnaked beach photos with her on his arm. My husband sent her a short message asking her to delete the photos as he regretted what took place, and telling her that he found it strange that she would have photos of him on her FB when he was neither her boyfriend nor her lover. I HATE HER.
    I would like your opinion on whether or not I have to avoid going to the places where he vacationed with the two women, or if I can go there - and how to handle that? I dont have to visit the young girls home country, but the other two romantic cities are places I always wanted to go with mu husband... Is it too much of a trigger?

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    1. Daisy,
      I'm sorry for all you've gone through. It's devastating to learn of betrayal, even years later. I'm sure it feels very immediate to you.
      As for visiting those cities, that's a really individual decision. I know of some women who've "reclaimed" various places by visiting with their husbands and making new memories. But I also know of others who've simply found it too painful. It might be a matter of time (I know I've since forgotten about some of the places my husband spent time with the OW). It might be a matter of having your husband's support through this if you are triggered. This is, perhaps, something to talk over with him. Can he remind you repeatedly that he wants to be there with YOU. And that he's so grateful to have this second chance with YOU. Will that be enough?
      Perhaps others will weigh in with their thoughts.

      Elle

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  73. Dear Elle,
    Thank you for your insights. Maybe I need to let it lie for a while... I think that I will eventually have to go there for my own sake. I dont want such a pathetic gold-digger to have any power over me... and hate that she does. I hope it will wear off soon.
    Daisy

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  74. I'm feeling stuck tonight. 9 months ago I discovered my husband of 10 years was having an emotional affair. I wanted to try and work it out with him, but he was just waiting for me to discover the affair and leave him. When I didn't leave, he started a relationship with another (different!) woman and so I finally let him go. He never said anything, he just made my life miserable until I had no choice but to leave. Anyway, I did leave and I am so much better for it. I love my life. I found inner strength and inner peace that I never knew I had. I am so happy and I am 100% responsible for the happiness I feel, which makes me so proud.
    Despite all that, it's still tough. Tonight I saw online pics of my ex and his girlfriend on vacation with one of my oldest friends. I know that this is inevitable and so I hate the fact that it bothers me so much. I want so badly to let go of him. I don't love him, I don't want to be with him. So why do I let this get to me? After seeing the pictures I made the mistake of doing a bit of online ex stalking, and stumbled across proof that the original affair was a physical one, not just an emotional one. I can't believe I'm putting myself through this. Why do I care so much 9 months later? I've already gone through the betrayal once, and now I feel like I'm going through it all over again, but this time I have no one to blame but myself.

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    1. I'm so glad you've created a life that makes you happy. And that awareness will help you through this really tough time. I think you're expecting too much of yourself. To think that you could see evidence of him moving forward (and with the support of one of your oldest friends!!) and not feel something other than joy is a lot to ask of yourself.
      Whether or not you still want him (and I'm glad you don't!!), you still have the grieve the loss of that life you thought you had. Even if it turned out to be built on lies, it was your life. And it was no doubt wrapped up in your dreams of a life with him, of the comfort of growing old with him. That's a loss -- not him, but the fantasy of him.
      So let yourself feel this right now. It's perfectly natural and, I would venture, is actually moving you farther along in your healing. Feel the pain. It won't last forever. It's not taking you down with it. It's just a feeling. Of loss. Of betrayal. Of dreams dashed.
      It will wash over you and then you will look at your life now with new eyes. You don't have to deal with his lies. You don't have to deal with his issues. That's not your problem anymore. You get to choose how you're going to live the rest of your life. That's the gift you've given yourself.
      Yay for you. Stop blaming yourself for experiencing the very natural feeling of hurt. And start celebrating yourself for walking away from a marriage that would have delivered that hurt, fresh, every day.

      Elle

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    2. Hear, Hear..

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    3. Thank you for your wise words Elle. You're right that I miss the idea of sharing my life with him forever more than I miss the man! And that makes me sad too, that someone I loved with all my heart is gone, and that I don't even miss him. It seems so heartless and disrespectful of our relationship to detach so readily, but I recognise that I had to respect myself enough to leave someone who didn't love and respect me.
      "It's not taking you down with it". That's exactly what I was afraid of. But I can see now that I'm trying to fast-forward the healing. Ok then, back to the hurt we go :)

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  75. I need advice...
    I'm 7 months pregnant with our second child. For months I had been feeling awkwardness, tension and an overall change in my relationship with my husband. I thought it was maybe him finding my pregnant body unattractive and I expressed to him that I feel like we were losing our connection. Early February he left for a work meeting for 3 days nothing out of the usual. When he returned things for even more strange, at first he began waking up extremely early going out getting us breakfast all which I thought meant he was trying to make things better and put an effort into making me happy... Little did I know at the time it was something else.
    After being so nice for a couple of days he started acting very distant. Wouldn't come to bed, would be gone early in the morning which was very unusual, starting to get out with guys friends a lot more than usual..
    I got suspicious and naturally began snooping, found out he got a new extra phone account, found he had been talking to a girl, sending pictures, and then the kicker... Found a confirmation for a plane ticket under her name in his email he had bought for her to fly down here on the dates he told me he had his next work meeting. Naturally I confronted him all about it and it all hit the fan. He denied it all got angry at me for snooping and wanted to take "a break". End of February I moved back in with my family, the more I tried to force him to tell me the truth about what I found the more he pushed me away.
    About a month later of us living apart (which was just a couple of weeks ago) he came clean about everything.
    He admitted to meeting the girl at his first meeting, there was no second meeting he flew her here to stay in a hotel together, admitted to sleeping together, and not just with her he has also been sleeping with other people here and there since I left, he first said he loves her and she was going to move here to get an apartment together. I felt like my gut was being twisted hearing this all. She knows all about us expecting a second child and still decided to come here to sleep with him anyways what kind of woman does that.
    Recently he has been saying he wants to make an effort to spend time and work things out between us as but not get back together wants to start off just as friends. I don't want to get back together with him right away either but we are obviously still married how can we work things out as friends. We've been spending some time together he's been saying he loves me and being honest about when him and the other woman talk on the phone and some of what they talk about. I told him I want to work things out we have been happy spending time together but he has to get rid of her for good and he can't seem to do that. He won't stop talking to her and I know he has feelings for her. Oh did I mention she's married also..
    I don't know what to do because we have spent time and I'm falling back in love with him but that fact that he continues to talk to her kills me and hurts the worst. If he loves me why won't he stop commuicating with her? What on earth am I supposed to do. We are expecting a child in about a month and he says he loves me but I have a feeling he loves her too. Why can't he just choose me we have been married for years they have known each other for two months. Why on earth would he want to be with her knowing his family is suffering and falling apart. And I hate her for the fact that she knows about our situation with a child and baby on the way and she still feels like she can have him and just come here to live with him and constantly talk to him!

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    1. I'm so sorry for what you're going through. You need to do is start treating yourself with some self-respect. He wants to be "friends"? You're pregnant with his second child. "Friends" is not an option. He's either in the marriage -- which means willing to do EVERYTHING he can to help you heal from his incredible betrayal -- or he's out of the marriage, in which case he can get used to paying child support and watching you eventually get involved with the type of guy who knows how to be honest and loyal and decent. But he doesn't get to have you as a wife waiting in the wings, while he sleeps around and decides which "lucky" girl he's going to pick.
      You say you're falling back in love with him. May I ask why? He's treating you with the same level of commitment he'd offer a shirt he was considering purchasing. You're the mother of his children, for God's sake. You deserve to be treated with respect and consideration. But YOU need to insist upon that. You're showing him that he can treat you like an afterthought and you'll still be there.
      Start by telling him that you can't wait around for him to spread his sperm far and wide and that you will proceed with a separation agreement. No debate, no fight. Just state it clearly. THEN STICK WITH IT. You need to show him that you are not to be messed with. That even if he won't treat you with respect, that you will certainly treat yourself (and your children!!) with respect.
      Frankly, I think this guy is a risk as a husband. He's shown no remorse, no care for what he's putting you and his child (soon to be children) through. He's focussed entirely on himself. I suspect that's pretty much the story of his life.
      The question is, do you want the rest of your life to be like this? Do you want your children's life to be like this? I hope not.
      Cut him loose, get a separation agreement, give yourself time to heal from his betrayal, and then move forward with your life. Nobody deserves this.

      Elle

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  76. I'm about a month out from my dday. I feel nothing. I have moments of anger and sadness, but mostly I feel nothing. I feel nothing when I'm around him. I don't know if I'm just feeling nothing because I'm numb or because I'm just done with him. He had an affair after 4.5 years of marriage. It was with a coworker who has moved away. I was staying with his for a couple of weeks. The affair went on for a few months and ended because she was moving away, not because of me or my feelings. Do I give it a chance or leave? I don't know what I should be doing now.

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    1. I'm sorry for what you're going through. The numb feeling is your body's survival strategy because so often the feelings associated with betrayal are so overwhelming. Let yourself feel in whatever ways you can. Journal your feelings. Talk to a friend. Find a therapist. Anything that give you a safe place to express what's going on inside.
      And please know, there are no "should"s. You get to decide what's next...and you get to give yourself time if you really have no idea. And you get to change your mind if want.
      No matter how you proceed, though, please know that you will get through this. The day will come when this is a painful memory...but doesn't define you.

      Elle

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  77. I am a very private person. I have been married 27 years, and found out a year ago that my husband had been having an affair. When I discovered it, he ended it - says he was going to end it anyway - the OW was someone he met while he was working. We had therapy straight after I found out - arranged by me and he went along for my sake. In therapy I was able to make some sense as to why it happened - that was a turning point in helping me overcome. He says he wasnt emotionally involved and thats why it was so easy for him to end it, he didnt want to split up from me - I dont doubt he had guilt and shame. He says it went on for "a couple of years" - these bas***** never come clean if they can get away with it, so the full actual details I will never really know because if he can lie and not be caught, he will - i dont know what is a lie and what is not. I still cry about it in secret. He doesnt want to talk about it at all now, says thats all we have been doing, he says I am "pi***** him off because I want to talk about it, he is done with it and has moved on but for me its still a raw - granted not as bad as before but the pain is still there. He even said that I am pushing him to "do it, do it, do it" when i need to talk about it with him. I suppose maybe I am pain shopping, I think I am exposing myself to the pain so that I can desensitise myself to it and get over it. I do love him and dont want to leave him - and I dont think I have the energy to start again afresh - there are just too many factors in favour of not walking away or maybe I am kidding myself I just dont want to leave him and these 'factors' are an excuse. We have 3 adult kids, they had stopped talking to him - one was away which is a good thing as I think he would have flipped - but I was able to commincate to them that if I was able to 'overcome' and get on with it and still want to be with him then why have they got a problem with him. But they saw how cut up I was in the month leading up to the year's anniversary of DD. Sometimes I am so broken, sometimes I am OK. The one thing in my life I thought was solid turned out not to be, there is nothing solid in my life except for me, the only thing I can rely on ....is me but I am hurting. Only my children and his parents and the therapist know, - and whoever the kids have told in confidence know, now all of you know.

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    1. I'm so sorry. I don't think any of us realize just how hard it is to heal from a partner's betrayal.
      I don't think you are pain-shopping. I think you have a very real need to have your pain acknowledged by the person who caused it. That's completely legitimate. It's the foundation of truth and reconciliation hearings around the world. We need to have our pain witnessed, validated and offered empathy.
      Your husband's refusal now to allow you that seems incredibly controlling. He doesn't get to decide when you should be over it. We all heal at different rates and in different ways. Of course, he can continue to shut you off from his empathy or compassion. But the cost of that is an increasingly hurt and disengaged wife. If he wants to heal his marriage, he needs to show up and acknowledge your pain. So many of these guys simply don't want to face the consequences of their choices. It's easier to blame you for not being over it than it is to face their own demons.
      I suspect that's part of why your children aren't over it either. If his practice is to simply expect people to deal with it, rather than acknowledge their pain and help them see that he has genuine remorse and guilt, it's not surprising that no-one is too keen on giving him another chance.
      Are you still in therapy? It provides a safe place to bring up all this stuff. A good therapist will help him understand that, rather than making the affair a bigger part of your lives, talking about it will reduce its importance. It allows you to process what happened -- including total transparency on his part. If there are still unanswered questions, they tend to fester.
      And please be gentle with yourself. Experts say it's three to five years to heal from betrayal. My experience was closer to five (and I would say I still have the occasional tough day, just like I do around my mother's death).

      Elle

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  78. Thanks, therapy for 6 sessions. I look forward to the day I am healed- I can wait 5 years so long as that day comes; 1 is up, only 4 to go - before that will be a bonus. Your reply above gives me the knowledge of what I need to heal - whether I get it is another matter but thanks - just having the insight on what would have made it easier will itself help me, I am grateful to you.

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  79. I found out hints of my husband lying a couple of years ago but mind you it was a minor thing nothing that I could really prove. At the end of last year something similar happen and sence again I couldnt really catch him in the "act" I guess I didnt feel the courage to ask him to leave. After that my faith in him took really long to return.... now its happenning againg yesterday I was bearly able to reada fb conbersation he was having with a coworker. I had noticed that he wasnt his usual self, he seemed confused wouldnt look me straight in the eye. I knew something was up so I started checking his call history n fb account. Everyday in the call records I would see one number that stud out. I know who she is and am quite surprised to knowthat something s going on. Yeterday he was drinking and looked very lost, kept telling me he didnt want to loose me that he loved me.... in my heart I knew that hewas trying to convince himself. So I took my tab while he was on his phone and saw a massage he said that he would meet her in the parking garage at six today and that he loved her. I felt so betrayed and hurt. I decided not to do anything..... I know it only hurts more but I feel like I need more proof I dont know I f im just trying to convince my self or I just dont want to see clearly I dont have anyone I can talk to about this, I feel so lost and alone, I dont know what to do.....my life is at a crossroads right now and I dont know which way I should take.

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    1. I'm sorry for the pain you're in. I think you do know what's going on. I don't think you need any more proof. However, I know that feeling of "what do I do now?" It's so hard to know whether or not you want to stay or go, and impossible to know what he's thinking.
      You've got a couple of options: You can stay quiet until you're more clear on what you want to do -- i.e. move out, kick him out, or try to reconcile. Or you can tell him you know what's going on and force his hand. He'll likely deny and minimize. "Nothing's happened." "We're just friends." "She's going through a tough time." Blah blah blah. It's bullshit. He's having at the very least a secret friendship with a woman whom he's saying he "loves" (more about that in a bit), which is, in itself, a betrayal. Married men don't have secret friendships with women. So no matter what he says, he's already betrayed you.
      Don't be so quick, however, to assume that his drunken rambling was trying to convince himself that he loves you. It's crazy but MOST men who cheat love their wives. They're not cheating because they don't like their wives, they're cheating because they don't like themselves. An affair allows them to escape those feelings. It allows them to feel interesting and exciting. It allows them to be someone they're not.
      The quickest way to end an affair is to expose it. Affairs thrive in secrecy. They seem exciting and dangerous. The minute they're exposed to light, people's true characters come out. And it ain't pretty.
      Take some time to sort through what you want to do next. But do NOT overlook this or pretend it's nothing. Whether or not it's physical (and I would try and brace myself to the knowledge that it is), it's a betrayal of your trust.
      You deserve better. He knows that.

      Elle

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  80. I am 16 months out from D-Day #?. I lost count. I was trying to figure it out and I kept getting confused. My H had an affair with a coworker. They had a one night stand in 2009 and in March/April 2011 they started an affair. I found out about 6 weeks into the A. I have been on the roller coaster ride ever since. In 2011 there was a D-Day practically once a month. He would end the affair only to go back to her a short time later. She would anonlymously and sometimes blatanly tell on him. Probably in hopes that we would split up and she would have him to herself. She was married with two kids. She has since divorced. So all of 2011 I held on like a pitbull. At the end of that year I did file for divorce. I just couldnt take the lying, the crazy OW and even crazier husband. He begged my family to convince me to take him back. He begged me. I did.

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  81. During 2012 we made little progress. He was defensive and non remorseful. At the instance of our therapist (#3) we tried a "healing" seperation. He moved out in October. I had a few sigtings of the OW. In August she entered the same bar I was in and then in November we went to a holiday play as a family and she was there. Both times she stared me down-no shame. In November, I started to recieve anonymous letters (who could that be?) revealing a recent triste between the two of them at a work function. It all added up. I was out of commission for three days after that letter. I was an inconsolable mess. More trauma! More lies! I recieved my final letter the day after xmas. I had brought these letters to his attention and he denied that it had happened. The details were undeniable. I told him with that final letter that I was going to file a restraining order against her because this was harrassment. He told me to make an appointment with the mediator-divorce. I was stunned. I couldnt believe what what happening. I went home. Got plastered and threw all of his stuff to the curb, including 10K worth of rode bikes. He had a friend come get his things and he also showed up and threatened to call the police because of the damage I caused his bikes! LOL! They have since been replaced. My mental stability on the other hand is still to be found. He had resumed a platonic or emotional affair with the psycho early in 2012 and when he moved out for the healing seperation he thought we were "over" (thanks for letting me in on that BTW) so he slept with her. After the last letter he went to stay with her but after a week or so he tole me everything that had gone on and he ended the A on the phone with me present.

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  82. 2013 was tough. We made some progress. We found a 4th counselor who specializes in infidelity. He appears committed this time. I dont believe he has had any contact with the psycho again. However, he still has a hard time talking about the A. I have really laid into him. He has mostly taken my "abuse" but I am really pushing for answers. He claims he is a different person. He cant explain why he kept going back to a woman who 1)upon discovery of the affair called and told me "everything." 2.) ratted him out each and every time in 2011 and convined him time and again that the texts must have been from her husband (now ex) or so and so yet, the details she provided me could only be known by the two of them 3.) sent an anonymous email to is superior about the affair following an interview for a promotion he was a shoe-in for (the A was off at the time).4.) left a box of sex toys addressed to him and an envelope of texts between them covering months of conversations (hmmm i wonder why anyone would save that many texts) 5.)stared me down at the bar and again during a family outing 6.) sent anonymous letters to my work about the A. Why did he continue to go back to that? Why? What's wrong with him? He claims that she "made him feel good. Things were bad at home after the A. It was an easy fix." Its not enough for me. I feel like he needs to dig into his muffed up psyche to figure out why he did this. I feel so completely broken from all that I have endured. I am a petrified that I stayed. What if he can never "make it up to me." I took two years of psychological abuse and I am so angry at myself for it some days. I am stuck. I want to work on our marriage. Part of me believes that he is capable of being a good man and is now ready to do the work. The rest of me is in pieces, a shattered mess.

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    1. Your post makes me fantasize that we could counter harass the OW in each other's story. I would love to do that for you except I know that is not going to be the retribution I think it would be. None the less, I hate her for you....

      Hope you can take care of yourself. You are right, he has to dig into his psyche. It was about something deeper than an unhappy marriage. It predates your marriage. That's for him to find out. I say if a man can't go there, the long term prospects for recovery are grim.

      But focus on you.

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    2. I think your husband's simple assessment that she "made him feel good" when things were bad at home is honest. But you're right, it's not enough. If that's all it takes -- someone or something to make him "feel good" -- then it doesn't bode well for a long-term marriage. He needs to figure out WHY it was okay to do this. What story was he telling himself? Can he understand where he went off the rails? Can he pinpoint what his thought processes are (and where his poor coping skills come from?). It's important for him to really understand what happened in order to ensure it doesn't happen again. Otherwise, what's to stop him next time you two run into problems?
      It won't be easy (major understatement). For you to get past the abuse you endured, to be able to let go of all that pain, will require a Herculean effort on your part. Frankly, it's the only real option. Hanging on to it will simply poison you, whether you stay with him or not. But you can start be letting go of any responsibility for his affair. He chose it. He chose to avoid his issues by pushing you out rather than pulling you in. He clearly also chose a lunatic, which is telling in itself.
      I think you need a professional helping you through this -- for the support but also for the clarity someone else can provide.
      I'm so sorry for everything you've gone through. But now it's time to let go of everyone else's crazy and fight for your own life.

      Elle

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    3. Hi Elle,
      You say "But you can start be letting go of any responsibility for his affair. He chose it. He chose to avoid his issues by pushing you out rather than pulling you in". This is something I struggle with often. I get that my ex made poor choices and the affair is all about him, not me. Of course having an affair was the worst way of dealing with problems in our relationship, and was entirely his choice. But I can't let go of the fact that our relationship (unbeknownst to me) was so bad that he felt that cheating was his only option. It would be really easy to blame him and his childhood, his psyche, his sense of entitlement and his lack of empathy. But I think it's a cop out. If our relationship wasn't in trouble, he wouldn't have needed to stray, and I need to own up to the fact that I contributed to what he thought was a terrible relationship.
      Despite having been separated for nearly a year, I still feel the shame of being a bad partner. I know he should have told me he wasn't happy, but I hate that I didn't make him happy. Everything I read about guilt and shame tells me to let it go because the choice was his. But I don't feel guilty about his affair, I feel guilty for everything that led to it. I also read a lot about the need to take responsibility for 50% of a relationship breakdown. To me, that feels like an awful lot of guilt and responsibility, and I have a hard time forgiving myself without just blaming him.

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    4. Hi Anon,
      Something we all should ask ourselves is whether we expect others to make us happy. I think we are all guilty of that. I think it is a common belief we go into marriage with. I think it is the root most marital dysfunction. I think most of us can take responsibility for that. Maybe that is the lesson to be learned from infidelity and we can dismantle the myth of "true love" and "happily ever after."
      However, our cheating spouse had the poor moral compass and a sense of entitlement (and everything else you mentioned) that when coupled with a strong expectation that others should make them happy, set off a nuclear explosion. We on the other hand did not. So be kind to yourself. You are not the only one who could have made better decisions in your marriage or your life. All of us are "guilty" of this because we are human beings. So accept your humanity, your imperfection, your mistakes. Being in a marriage is not about being the best wife you can be and and making your partner happy. Remember, there was a time in the relationship where you were happy together and you did "make him happy." So clearly you did do something right. But for marriage to last, it means accepting each other's imperfection and still showing up with love and kindness for your spouse. He couldn't do that so he is the one who failed at being a partner. The next woman he is with will also reveal her flaws and fail to live up to making him happy and he will go looking again. The cheaters who haven't learned their lesson will endlessly repeat this cycle.
      So rather than dwell on how you could have made him happier, think about how you can be compassionate and kind to yourself. That also will ultimately make you a better partner.
      -MBS

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    5. MBS, you said it perfectly. I'd like to reprint what you said as a blog post. Would that be okay? You summed it up perfectly...and through the lens of experience.

      Elle

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    6. sure.
      I am greatful that I, and many other women, can find wisdom in all of this. Though I still struggle to apply it ;)
      -MBS

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  83. Hi ladies. I have been struggling with my husband's betrayals for the last few years. We have been together for 6 years, married for over a year. He has had 2 emotional affairs since we've been together. Right after Christmas, he wanted a divorce but we ended up separating to work on our own issues. We both agreed we needed to grow individually and take the time to "find" ourselves again. Well, a month later he came clean and told me he was dating his assistant (this is one of ladies he had an emotional affair with). I had a complete meltdown and slowly been putting myself back together. I do go to IC once a week for the last 3 months and it does help.

    We still live under the same roof, but I rarely seem him. He spends every weekend in the motels with her. During the weekday, he is on the phone with her for 2 hours every night. I know deep down there is still the good guy inside my husband. I actually think he is lost and is in that "affair fog" right now. He is doing everything it says the WS does in the fog. He says I am pressuring him all the time, when it is actually the OW that does it. Whatever I say is always wrong, and the OW is perfect. He refuses to even show me any affection and won't even touch me for a hug. He makes me feel like I am the worse person in the world. My therapist doesn't think their relationship will last as they are still in their honeymoon period. It is not a healthy relationship as much of it is based on sex. The OW herself dates one married man to another. So lots of red flags going on.

    The last few months I have found naked pictures of them on the joint computer, sex toys in his room, her lingerie mixed in with our laundry. It has been so tough on me mentally. Through all this I still want to work on my marriage. We've been through so much and I really believe if he actually wants to face our relationship issues, we can actually have a stronger marriage. Am I stupid?

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    1. No you're not stupid. You are, however, trying to single-handedly save a marriage and you can't do it. What you can do -- and I would suggest should do -- is save yourself.
      Your husband is giving every indication that he has checked out of your marriage. He's carrying on a relationship virtually in front of you, he's told you that he wants a divorce and has agreed to a separation.
      I think you're probably right that this woman isn't good for him. But that's not your decision to make. It's his...and he's making it.
      He has hurt you deeply. And I completely understand your desire to somehow salvage your marriage out of the wreckage because, deep down, you believe he's a good man and that you two had something great. But I just don't think that's enough. There are lots of good people who completely self-destruct and, too often, take those they love down with them. Alcoholics, drug addicts and so on.
      It's not your job to rescue him...you CAN'T rescue him, especially when he has no real desire to be rescued.
      The best you can do for yourself is to detach. There's a chance (a small one) that once he sees you emotionally detach from him he'll panic and work like hell to get you back. But even that wouldn't be enough to promise long-term happiness unless he works really hard to wrestle his issues into something he can understand and deal with. But what detaching will do is pull yourself away from the painful involvement you have in their relationship. Naked pictures, sex toys, lingerie?? There is absolutely nothing good that can come of you knowing all that stuff unless it's the catalyst for you to tell him to get his own place, you visit a lawyer to draw up a formal separation agreement and you begin to imagine your life without him.
      It will be excruciating. I absolutely understand that. But that doesn't mean it's the wrong thing. Sometimes the hardest thing to do is save ourselves, especially if we've spent a lifetime putting aside our pain to save others. You can't save him. But you can save you.

      Elle

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  84. I blew it today...My husband and I have been trying to reconnect and heal after he has ended is affair. (Affair is 2 years old, just ended 2 weeks ago.) Last night we were supposed to talk (he works out of town.) He went MIA on me and did not call or text me at all last night. I let it go, until this morning when I completely lost it and ranted on and on forever...finally to the point of him telling to just go file so that I can stop worrying. I now see how I overreacted, but he knew that going MIA triggered panic in me and brought back all the times he was out of contact because he was with her. I have asked him repeatedly to not go MIA...he keeps doing it.
    I pushed and pushed until he snapped. I see my mistake now, but he wants nothing to do with me now. Told me that when he was ready to talk he would contact me. I am terrified that I really derailed us!! Please help me get us back on track. How do I know what is pushing and what is letting my feelings be known? How can I make him see that it won't always be this way?

    I let my fear and anxiety get the best of me...

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    1. Amy,
      I'm stunned that, after cheating for two years and giving you TWO WEEKS to deal with this massive betrayal, he has the NERVE to come down on you for getting upset that he's MIA. This guy is unbelievable. He should be down on his knees, begging you to give him another chance and promising total transparency and honesty going forward. The fact that he's not...and that he's giving you a hard time for freaking out (let me tell you, there isn't a woman who's been cheated on who wouldn't freak out for exactly the same thing) makes me think you should run like hell to a divorce lawyer and get this guy out of your life.
      Let's go down the list:
      1. he cheats on you
      2. FOR TWO YEARS
      3. Within two weeks of you finding out that devastating news, he goes missing.
      4. When you justifiably freak out because your trauma response is terror and panic and anxiety, he tells you to get out of the marriage.
      5. And now you think YOU'RE the one who blew it?
      Let me tell you, sweetheart, YOU are NOT the one who blew it.
      I suspect this is a pattern that has played out for your whole relationship. You being held responsible for your actions...while he abdicates responsibility for his.
      You can't "make" him see anything. What you can do is take a good, hard look at the relationship as a whole and, if you're really honest with yourself, I think you'll see that you're the giver and he's the taker. That you've been honest and faithful and that he...hasn't. And that he has hurt you and that you've taken it. Over and over.
      He is manipulating you (using your fear of losing him) to get you to back down from calling him on his incredibly selfish behaviour. And IT'S WORKING. You're playing right into it.
      If that's the game, you don't want it. You have a right to have your pain and your fear acknowledged and respected. If he can't or won't do that, then you are not in a relationship that's going to work long-term.
      I hope you will tell him that even if he won't treat you with respect, that you will treat yourself with respect. And that includes only being with a husband who can acknowledge the deep, deep pain he has caused and is willing to make reparations to you and rebuild the marriage, on honesty and mutual respect. Tell him, clearly and calmly, that you will only consider giving him a second chance when he can offer you that.
      It will feel like the hardest thing you've ever done. But I guarantee you that if you continue to let this other dynamic play out -- with you expressing your fear and anger and pain and him pushing you away -- you can expect a whole lot more pain in your life. You told him what you needed (to not be MIA) and he dis regarded your need. And then got angry at you. All within two weeks of you finding out he cheated. It infuriates me. It should infuriate you too.
      I'm so sorry. You deserve better than this. Much better.

      Elle

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  85. Amy and the anon who posted before this:

    If you need anymore urging, here it is from another BW: Elle's feedback is spot on. It may be hard to see it now because you are both so freshly devastated, but I hope you can use the guidance she provides. You both deserve better than what you are getting. I am pissed off for both of you.

    -MBS

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  86. Hello again, I've posted previously but wondered whether there are any betrayed wives out there who are also part time stepmothers? It's now 3 months past D Day and not only am I struggling with the fall out of his affair but also with previous resentments of not feeling he put boundaries in place with his ex (not major problems but gently undermining) and trying to cope with his children when they visited and working to cement his relationship with them. He has admitted he didn't see me as a stepmum as such (just saw me as me). Because I handled things well he let me get on with it. He also admits he was frightened of parenting and being firm in case the kids rejected him (lots of guilt there) so I gently seethed when they were rude, unmannerly or didn't respond to my daughter when she tried to reach out the hand of friendship etc. He took the line of least resistance and buried his head and averted his eyes. They are quite self absorbed and he didn't take a pivotal role to try to build some sort of relationship. My daughter is 21 years now and away from home. Her last 3 weeks at home were tarnished by my discovering his affair. Being an astute lass, she knew about the affair the day after I did. His teenage kids do not know and that is fine by me. We are now trying to deal with his infidelity through counselling and the layers of issues and our expectations we admittedly should have addressed before we married 4 years ago and didn't. I wrote him a letter yesterday stating the reasons I fell in love with him and a longer letter outlining the issues we should have addressed and which have now resurfaced in the turmoil of his infidelity. ie the hurt and pain I feel and the lack of support I felt. He saw my letter as dwelling on the negatives of the past when he does not see things were so bleak although I said he tended to turn away and ignore stress so were probably less aware. In the same way he boxed away his affair I think he did the same with his children and the problems. He is quite passive, I am "light the blue touch paper and stand well back" ie tend to verbal explosions. I feel that I cannot entertain his teenage children at our home for the forseeable future. This has caused a divide in that my girl knows and is justifiably angry with him. She needs support also. We have couples and individual counselling which is just as well because I find calm discussions with him difficult. He has never been good at verbalising emotions, giving support or acknowledging things I've done which is soul destroying. I feel that his affair for whatever reason he had it and he cannot say other than probably trite reasons of flattery, frivolity and feeling I'd never find out is the culmination of several years of my battling for recognition whilst he quietly said and did little in an attempt to placate everyone whilst achieving disharmony. I would love to know how other betrayed step mums are managing the additional layers to infidelity as I am struggling. I feel that if we are to move forward, our marriage will have to adopt a very different format with my disengaging from some aspects.

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  87. i really hope someone answers and offers me some advice.

    im at my wits end. i can barely eat, sleep, let alone go through the day with a smile on my face. im constantly anxious and burst out crying when i least expect it. my husband had an affair last year for 4 months when i found out i kicked him out and guess who took him in... yup the whore. he lived with her for two months and all the while always flirting with me and i admit we did have sex a few times. after two months he was so scared to lose me and our family for good, he asked for a chance to make things right. i didnt think twice before i said yes. we have 10 years together and two beautiful kids one is 5 and the other 1. of course i wanted to save my marriage and my family. he promised to go to therapy and do all the work. well therapy didnt work out as planned, the therapist didnt have practical advice, she just kept telling him to do w.e. i wanted for at least 6 months. he gave up on therapy and things started getting bad again. its been four months since we got back together and he cheated on me again on february and this passed week he told me hes unhappy and he doesnt know what he wants. i have a really strong intuition that he has slept with that woman again to find escape from what is stressing him and i feel that has made him more confused. for the last week we barely spoke it was pretty much silent around the house until last night we talked a bit due to the fact that he invited me to go with him to his bosses house today for a get together. i said last night, i would like ot go with you tomorrow but i dont want to fake happiness or that we are together. the fact that you want to go together is that because you want to work on our marriage or keep up with appearences. he doesnt offer much info just that hes not sure of what he wants to do but that he wasnt trying to keep up with appearences. it feels to me that he is scared to leave us because he already left once and didnt find what was missing when he was "free", but i cant live my life idle with a husband that wont interact with me, touch me, hug me, kiss me, make love to me. its os hard to be around him and have no contact. i want to save my marriage i think in life there is always going to be a void but we need to live to enjoy the good things we have and learn to appreciate our life, if we go crazy trying to always find whats missing we will never be happy because its a selfish way of life. i want him to find his happiness, i dont want him to stay with me and be miserable, however i dont think the answer is divorce. he is not open to getting help at this moment, he is just wallowing in his confusion and i know that other woman is trying to contact him and that just complicates things. please help!!!! what can i do to help this situation.

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    1. I'm so sorry for all you're going through. But you simply can't rebuild a marriage with someone who hides behind "confusion". If he's not ready to re-commit to the marriage (and that means therapy. I can't imagine a therapist's only advice was to simply do what you want for six months. I suspect he's editing out the parts he didn't want to hear) then there's nothing you can do but get your own life in order.
      You need to establish clear boundaries about what you will and won't put up with (not to mention protecting yourself physically from any possibility of sexually transmitted diseases). If he won't behave like a husband, then you shouldn't play the role of wife.
      I strongly urge you to get therapy yourself to help you get clear on what's going on and where you can go from here. And stop allowing him to treat you like an occasional girlfriend. He's father to two children and, frankly, needs to get his head on straight. But you can't control him, only yourself. Treat yourself with respect, insist that he behave like a father to your children (which means visitation but keep it formal between the two of you), and get yourself some counselling to help you establish clear boundaries around other's behaviour toward you.

      Elle

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  88. Hello again, I posted earlier in the year and am now 3 months past D Day. Strange how emotions fluctuate from numbness,mellowness, pure unadulterated anger, petulance and snide comments to feelings of total shame, embarrassment and incredulity and more. Underlying it all is a feeling of wobbly sickness and whether I'll ever master his betrayal. I neither know nor like the person who did this to me. I still care - a lot, but can't define my feelings towards him. I think I'm detaching to some extent to protect myself, maybe not a good thing. My question is I wondered whether there are any betrayed second wives who are also stepmothers out there as I'd love your views. Husband and I have couples and individual counselling. We are both very different personalities - I run the range of emotions, he is passive and internallises and therein lies a lot of our problems tied up in one word - miscommunication. Not only am I struggling with his betrayal but also the issues underlying as my role as a second wive and part time stepmother. He admits he never saw me as anything other than me - didn't think of the stepmother role. He left me to do a lot of the practical stuff - thinking of activities, taking an interest etc because he felt I did it so well and it does not come naturally to him yet did not listen/act when I told him how unhappy I was getting and that I found the role difficult with some rudeness and discourtesy from them and feeling like I wore a cloak of invisibility. I felt there was a lot of taking but little reciprocity. He is a good man but poor to acknowledge or to show appreciation and I have now become so resentful. Being a second wife is rife with problems and a stepmother albeit part time exacerbates things. When I suggested Counselling last year to flag up issues, he saw it as admitting failure and there was the fear for him of 'what if it does not work'. Well here we are, post his adultery and in Counselling and it may not work! Grrrrrrrrr. I have told him that there is no way I can countenance his teenage kids coming to our house for half terms and part holidays whilst I am fluctuating so wildly and don't know what I want from one day to the next. I feel it is too much to ask. There is already division in the household as my 21 year old daughter who now works away from home knows about the affair - perceptive child guessed the day after D Day and I thought I'd masked it so well! His kids don't know and it is too much to expect her to maintain a semblance of normality if they are all here together. Mind you, she is still incredibly angry with him and does not want to be under the same roof at present. Problems, problems. It hurts so badly that although he cannot as yet say why he betrayed me, he let things happen when he had the opportunity and because we were in a bad patch it had a bearing on his deciding to meet up with the OW again. Lots of resentment. I feel he and his kids have taken but given little and trampled on me and my daughters hearts. Any crumbs of comfort, suggestions would be hoovered up with gratitude by me. Thank you all. This is such a comforting blog Elle.

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    1. I'm sorry but I'm not a whole lot of help in the stepmother department. Others might have their thoughts.
      I think, however, that when you marry a man with children, you are, like it or not, also "marrying" his family. In other words, I don't think you can reasonably exclude his children from his life for any reason. You aren't their "mother" but he remains their father, and children need their father. They need to feel welcome in his life. It's not their fault their dad cheated on you. So while I empathize -- it's brutal during those early days -- I nonetheless think you need to be the grownup here and welcome them into your home.
      That said, it's perfectly reasonable to expect your husband to step up and better handle his children. Clearly you two have struggled with their role in your lives. But that's your and his problem, not theirs. Divorce can do a whole lot of damage to kids so behavioural issues on their part are hardly rare. And maybe their parents ability to parent has sucked. They, frankly, deserve better from the adults in their lives, and that includes you.
      Your 21-year-old daughter is capable of holding it together for your sake. She's an adult. A disappointed and hurt one, for sure. But still an adult.
      If you can't mange your husband's children's during half terms and holidays then I think it's up to you to find somewhere to go so that you don't have to. However, I suspect your marriage would benefit from some serious soul-searching on your part around how to find room in your heart for these children who, after all, are part of your husband. If you can't, it certainly doesn't bode well for either your own happiness or the health of your marriage.

      Elle

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    2. Hi Elle, fair comment. Yes, it has been a difficult role. The kids biological parents (don't in husband's own admission) co-parent well. Their mother is quite manipulative. Coupled with his guilt from his divorce and fear of disciplining them it has led to feeling I was in a cleft stick and unsupported. Whilst kids are able to pick up on moods I don't feel it is helpful to have them with us at this time as we don't want them to know. I've never prevented my husband from seeing them, actively tried to suport him with them and believe in their bonding time without me. It has been fortunate that recently with their activities they have been unable to come down to us and I've said if I'm variable in mood, I'll go and visit family so no problem there. My daughter is agreed an adult and it is her choice on how she moves forward tho difficult as her father rejected her and was abusive to me but I will support her as she will always be my daughter. Yes, his kids, one herself almost an adult now, have been given mixed messages from their parents and husband says that I have been a positive influence on them. I'm certainly not taking it out on them, just trying to best manage my emotions without impacting on them. We are doing a lot of soul searching as I am in full agreement with you as not having discussed expectations/roles in an extended family before our marriage has led to great unhappiness and feeling unsupported. I also cannot continue to carry my kindly but struggling husband unless he can make changes as it has impacted on my well being. Coping strategies need to be implemented! Yesterday I felt a bit of an epiphany and more empathetic so hope the tide is turning.

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    3. harebrained,
      It sounds as if you're making the best of a bad situation. And I commend you for that. None of this is easy. I hope your epiphany helps move you forward.
      One thing I did with my own kids in the wake of D-Day (because as you noted, kids pick up on moods and it can frighten them, as well as prompt them to blame themselves) is tell them openly that their father and mother were having problems and that we were seeking help for those problems. But, I assured them, it had nothing to do with them and that we loved them and were working hard to solve our problems. It's crucial, I think, to validate the kids' experience of tension...while letting them know that they are safe and loved.
      Sigh...as I said, nothing about this is easy.

      Elle

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  89. A month ago today my ob/gyn calls and says I have an STD. I couldn't believe it. How? I asked. I'm married! Well, duh. I told my husband and he just stared at me and didn't acknowledge anything. I knew at that moment something was off. A week later (no intercourse) I pressed him again and he finally disclosed that he had had a one night stand 5 months or so prior and the condom broke. We've been dealing with this now for about a month and I got medication and was tested for STD's (unbelievable to me!!) All negative thus far. I have to go back and have another pap smear to confirm complete treatment and 100% STD free!!!

    My husband is regretful. I sometimes even feel bad for him. Karma came back and bit him in the ass. I asked him how? could he 1. betray me and my kids (2 kids) and 2. how could he recklessly sleep w/me without protecting me 3. not get tested himself if he had full knowledge of the condom breaking??? So many many questions.

    I think he is such an idiot. I am disgusted by the whole thing. He won't give me details because he says it is just unimportant. He had this affair 5 months ago yet I got sick in January. Something is still off to me.

    He doesn't want the marriage to end. I don't know what to do. I have always been faithful and I feel like he has dragged my dignity through the mud and he has brought something dirty to my home and my bed. I get so angry that I think, all that "good behavior" for what? I was faithful only to get infected with an STD anyway! From the person that I most loved and trusted.

    I want to leave so bad but I worry about my children. I feel he doesn't deserve me. We've had challenges along the way but nothing extreme. I am so afraid of the future right now. I am so scared about how this will impact my children and everyone. He doesn't seem to acknowledge that this is going to be extremely difficulty. I keep telling him how hurt I am yet I am scared to see him go. He offered to move out for a few weeks to give me space and time but I'm too scared. I also mad at myself because I have allowed him to visit me at work, take me to dinner, shower me with attention (we have not had intercourse because he has not been tested yet). I love him. I love our commitment that we have shown to each other after DDay BUT when I'm by myself I only think about what he did and I get so angry. I imagine him with someone else and I obsessively think about him and OW. It has literally made me SICK. I have an constant anchor sitting in my stomach. I hate him but I don't hate him. What do I do????

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    1. Everything your feeling is pretty "normal" under the circumstances. Most experts suggest not making any major decisions for at least six months because your emotions fluctuate so wildly in that time.
      A separation isn't a bad thing because it can help each partner clear their head. I opted to not separate because I didn't want to confuse my kids -- if their dad was going to leave, I wanted to be sure it was permanent. If he was going to stay, I didn't want them to have experienced any instability. However, each person's choices are their own to make.
      Allow yourself this confusion. Don't feel as if you need to be clear on what's next. Go with what feels right, which might change minute to minute, day to day. Betrayal is a deep wound that triggers all sorts of emotions. Time does help, so does therapy. Journalling is a good way to release a lot of the anger and confusion.
      But trust that your next step will become clearer with time. In the meantime, allow him to be "dad" to your kids. Perhaps he can show you just how sorry he is and how far he's willing to go to rebuild your marriage. But if he can't or won't, or you're simply not interested, that's okay too. No matter what, the day will come when you will be okay.

      Elle

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  90. Hello Everyone,
    I have posted my story here several times. D-Day Dec 29, 2013. 5 year affair. Husband has been bargaining, rewriting history and finally moved out at the beginning of March. He's had contact with OW then on March 19th told her it was over. I can't verify this since it was all done behind my back. He says he wants his wife and family back but really isn't showing much remorse, humility, or empathy towards me. I gave him a list of things he needs to do in order for me to consider trying to reconcile with him. One of the things is going to Heart to Heart counseling in Colorado Springs, CO. Our therapist originally suggested this place since they feature sex addiction recovery. My husband is convince he isn't a sex addict. I'm not going to argue his opinion but after he talked with someone at the center for 2 hours they decided we could benefit from a 3 day intensive couples counseling. My question is, does anyone have any experience with this place? Dr. Doug Weiss is the founder. I only know that our therapist has sent couples and individuals there with success.

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    1. Debbie,

      I don't know that organization. But if your therapist recommends it (and you like your therapist and he/she doesn't gain anything from the referral) then I think it's worth a try. At the very least, it might help each of you clarify what you want/need going forward. Though you seem pretty clear on it. And I urge you to stick with your list. Let us know if you go...and what you think.

      Elle

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  91. I posted a few days ago and needed to add this following your first response which I found emotionally damaging. I found myself replying and trying to explain the backstory, feeling apologetic, guilty and selfish. Unless you're a stepparent it's nigh impossible to understand the complex interplay of personal dynamics. I married my husband not his kids. I accept his kids and ex-wife will always be part of his life as my daughter is part of mine. I loved my husband. He struggled with parenting. With the best of intentions I tried to facilitate a better relationship for him and his children. Through Counselling, I now realise I loved too much, trying to control happy outcomes. It was not my responsibility. Everyone is responsible for their own happiness. It was for him to work out how best to parent rather than relying on me. I am not their parent and a thankless task to try to cross that line. For whatever reason he chose to commit adultery and had no inkling of the ripple effect of damage. He was arrogant enough to think he would not be found out. Adultery within a nuclear family is punishing. In a second marriage with the additional layers of a stepfamily it adds another dimension of betrayal. I didn't ask nor did I deserve to have my life shattered. My self esteem is low, my moods fluctuate. I function but with little pleasure as yet. 3 months down the line I don't know whether our marriage will survive. I will support him as always in seeing his kids and enabling them to visit him in our shared home. I am not prepared to stand like Ma Walton smiley and welcoming when I feel diminished. This is not my role and I will be elsewhere. His teenage kids have 2 parents. I am not one of them and am not responsible for them. My daughter has been magnanimous. She supports me and will support us if we elect to stay together but she is her own woman with her own life and choices. One cannot continue to give and receive so little back. He fathered his children but they are individual personalities and not a part of their father. I loved their father but just by extension I do not have to love them although I have invested a lot of myself in their welfare. I have a gamut of wild and angry emotions from this affair which are all understandable, justifiable and all validated by my Counsellor. I am not a bad person, just one hurting who needs time to work out where to go from here. We all have choices. My husband made his and it is how and whether we move on from here together or separately.

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    1. Hi harebrained (though I doubt you are, in fact, harebrained),
      I'm sorry you were hurt by my first response. I tend to take a hard line when kids are involved. No matter how much pain we're in, I nonetheless think the stability and security of children takes priority. Even if they're not our biological kids.
      It sounds as if you're making great headway with your counselling. I think a lot of us come to recognize that our attempts to control everyone around us (in the name of making things better) frequently backfire. A friend of mine used to say "'help' is the sunny word for 'control'". I had to admit that I spent too many years acting like a martyr.
      You're right that I don't understand the dynamics of a stepfamily. I've no doubt it can be fraught. Factor in betrayal and I'm sure it's very challenging.
      In any case, I shouldn't comment further on a situation about which I know only a tiny bit. I don't for a second think you're a "bad person" at all. I know how much pain you're in. And I can imagine that all the pain of a challenging stepfamily situation seems magnified by what your husband has done. I suspect you feel that you've done everything you can for him under very difficult circumstances and for him to do this to you after all that...well, how dare he.
      And you're right. You have every right to be furious. Every right to feel completely taken advantage of. To feel betrayed.
      I get that.
      I just hope you'll continue to extend any compassion you can toward these confused kids who, by your husband's own admission, have had pretty crappy parents. Their pain counts too, even if it's not your responsibility.

      Elle

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