Discussion: Negative Feelings Towards the Cheating Spouse

Good Wednesday!

When infidelity strikes your marriage and you are struggling with forgiving, trusting and healing (among other things), it can be very easy to forget the things that once drew you and your cheating spouse together.

Looking for anything positive in your relationship during this crisis will be a challenge at first, and it can be difficult to get past all of the negativity that is flying around – especially if you’re dealing with the post-traumatic stress of an affair when your emotions are up and down while your thoughts are obsessive.

You are struggling through a very difficult period right now, but beneath the pain of today there must surely be happy memories that you have shared with your spouse, as well as appreciable positive qualities in your spouse – even though he/she has caused you so much pain.

So along those lines, our discussion questions for this week…

Have you been caught up in a web of negative thoughts and feelings about your marriage?

Is it tough for you to think about any of the good in your spouse and in your marriage?

What impact have your thoughts after the affair had on your ability to move forward and feel positive about the future of your marriage?

As always, please respond to others in the comment section.

Thanks!

Linda & Doug

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56 Responses to Discussion: Negative Feelings Towards the Cheating Spouse

  1. Norwegian woman August 31, 2011 at 8:18 am #

    Good and important questions….
    I DO see the good things in our marriage. It is very different from before D-day 1 & 2. The problem is that I struggle with believing it. I constantly question if he is authentic or if it is just a mask. I now know how much he is able to lie and what he is able to lie about…… It`s like a shadow over everything positive that happens…
    I just hope that I one day will believe him like I did before when he tells me that I am his one and only love, that making love to me is the best everytime, that he will be by my side forever and never ever hurt me again like he did….
    I do not know what it takes for me to start trusting and believing him again.

  2. Ahell August 31, 2011 at 10:24 am #

    I believe him and I know he didn’t mean to hurt me. I think he loved us both and he would have been so happy to have us both in his life. But the OW chose to stay true to her H. She played and flirted for a while and maybe enjoyed being adored by my H but in the end she rationalised it and put an end to the calls and the e-mails. OR maybe not… Is there a way to find out? They both work together – can’t be otherwise- and see each other on a daily basis.
    My H is more calm after a mourning phase. It’s more than a year. I guess it’s the best revenge to see the OW but know he can’t have her! on the other hand it’s like playing with fire.
    I think about it every day. But I appreciate our marriage more than before and love him more because he is still here.

  3. changedforever August 31, 2011 at 2:31 pm #

    I constantly question…how could my H of 25 years deceive, foll, disrespect & expose me as a strenger would? I will never be so gullible again…10+ months past DDay & reliving all the ‘dates’ …yes I am ‘in the web.’ All the revelations since the affair have made me realize that it doesn’t get any worse than this & yes, I even asked my H the question…’why didn’t you just kill me off…instead of putting me thru all of this?’ It certainly would’ve been more humane. Any good to look back on has been tainted…everything ‘good’ was inappropriately shared…the years of ‘cheating’ have wiped out what I thought was good. Believe & trust again…? Not after what I’ve gone thru. As bad as dealing with the concept of the EA is, the PA put me over the edge…wish I could’ve known/caught them before being exposed to the PA …and now the STD I am dealing with…moving forward, I have to fall back on my vows…in sickness & in health…if not for my Christian faith, I would have resorted to things that go against my religious self…my being. As soon as I get past the reliving of all of these dates, I am going to start doing things more for me…not ‘us.’ I am positive about one thing…I know I will never feel happy anymore as the hole in my heart will never heal…this trauma has literally changed me into someone I never thought id be. The nightmare continues when I am conscious rather than when I sleep.
    No idea what the future will bring but I am thankful for this website which continues to rescue me from the darkest days. Thank you for that.

  4. Paula August 31, 2011 at 3:10 pm #

    changedforever, I remember when I first saw your user name, and thought, oh yeah, that’s what has happened! Our feelings are SO the same, and I agree about the PA and STI, rips you to shreds (sorry all of those who are struggling with EAs only, but, for me, it is harder, the sexual images are soul-destroying) and you keep struggling to keep your head above water, who the hell is this man that did this to you, that was a world-class liar, where was he hiding all these years, behind that lovely, good, loving and true mask he had on for (in my case) 22 years, we’re just coming up to 24 years together, and why can’t you move on, despite doing everything in your power to try to “do the right things, according to counselling, books, suggestions here, your heart and head?” This is the biggest mind battle ever, and trying to beat the demons is mind-boggling and exhausting, and I don’t believe doing it on my own, ie separating, will speed the process up. I THINK this is still the good guy, he has certainly tried his guts out to repair things, he’s still here, working on it, it would be so much easier to leave, for him. I am still trying because he has tried desperately to show me his sorrow and regret, tried to look deep inside himself to work out why he did THIS instead of doing so many other, more healthy things to sort out his unhappiness at the time. I’m the same about this site, sadly. I had a small panic attack a week or so ago, as the site wouldn’t load for a few hours when I felt I needed it, and I thought, oh no, I’ve lost my only outlet and support, aaargh!!! We both want to change our thinking, we both were positive and glass half full people, but now I seem to have changed to a glass half empty person, and I don’t like it one little bit, and I rage against it regularly, “pull yourself together, stop obsessing, get over it!!” Even though I know it doesn’t help to think that way, most frustrating place to be, ever. Good luck changed, I just keep thinking that this cannot possibly go on forever.

    • changedforever August 31, 2011 at 5:58 pm #

      I, too, feel I relate to your posts most similarly. I also wonder if my H’s persona while he was in his affair was the REAL him, and that the good person I knew him as ‘before’ was his ‘mask.’ No way would I ever think that after 30 years of protecting & caring for me, having kids together, etc., living what I thought was our good lives together – never would he be this ‘devastator,’ and change my world so much for the worse. i thank God for my marriage counselor who, just Monday night during a session, claims to now know me now BETTER than my H does. What a profound statement that was….now my marriage counselor sessions will be me, solo, for a while. Gotta work on me – I knew that was coming (as there seems to be much more to work on with me –rather than ‘us,’–and my H just doesn’t get it (yet?)…and I do need more help.) I wish you well as you continue on your journey to recovery – sounds like your H ‘gets it.’ I hope that happens with our relationship in the future. I, too, know this just cannot go on forever – I just don’t think I can go on that much longer living this hell each day! Too exhausting in addition to my over-the-top professional and family life! Thanks again for the support – I know you know how much I appreciate it!

  5. Notoverit August 31, 2011 at 3:24 pm #

    I have a hard time remembering the good times of thirty years, as strange as that sounds. The EA colored all that with doubts and questions. I harbor a lot of negative thoughts about my H. I tend to look at everything critically now when before I was much more easy-going. I tend to be much more vocal about the mistakes he makes than before. All of this is because of the EA, nothing else. His selfishness is the one thing I keep thinking about – how selfish this was and how I never noticed that trait in him before, which, as I look back I do see NOW. So yes, the EA definitely changed how I look at my spouse. The rose-colored glasses got broken along with my heart.

  6. Sad Mad Wife August 31, 2011 at 3:39 pm #

    My H asked me the other night about the last time we really connected with each other (not with family or other couples/friends). Sadly, I was having a hard time remembering. Although I knew there were times, you know the everyday type things, I just couldn’t put a date and time on them. The best I could come up with was attending a concert over a year ago. He said he’d forgotten about that, and yes, that was a good example. So, yes, I’m having trouble remembering or deciding what was the good and real memories. I’m filtering my thoughts with the pain I’m feeling now.
    I do still see the characteristics that attracted me to my H in the first place. And I still believe in my marriage. But it is with a heavy heart, because I don’t know where we’re heading. I know in my heart I want to be married to this man and have him in my life, but he’s not ready to commit to this. I’m trying to give him space, although this is one of the hardest things. I find myself wanting to pounce on him with a arsenal of questions when he walks in the house. It’s so difficult not to do it. And there have been a few days I just couldn’t help myself. Then I’m disappointed in myself.
    I’m not sure if I’m still in shock, but I’m not so focused on the EA right now. My H told me the EA was more an effect of the distance that grew between us. I currently am distraught about how our marriage got to this point. I feel like a fool because I didn’t realize how far gone he feels.
    Thanks for letting me post.

  7. jenn August 31, 2011 at 5:19 pm #

    I’m really struggling right now, and I don’t think it’s just about the EA my husband had. It’s the timing of when it happened, but mainly, my negative thoughts come from what my husband hasn’t done in this past year to help me heal. I (foolishly) believed that ‘love can conquer all’ and that he would wake up and realize what he tried his best to lose, and come to appreciate the contributions I made to his life. The way I continue to be treated make me feel like he doesn’t love me, and I don’t know why he would come back home to NOT offer me love, protection, and healing after what he did. I tried in the past to be positive about my future with him, and like another poster said, my Christian faith, the vows I took, mean something to me, but I still cry when I realize he was so willing to throw it all away. I thought that he would realize and understand how this impacted me, he would do everything within his power to show me that he made a horrible mistake and that he really does adore me and want ME. I’ve never felt so insecure in my life, and it’s been over a year now since the last DDay. How long am I supposed to wait to see if he is able to be the man I know I need? He still doesn’t defend me to his family when times require it, and I feel like I’m the one who did the wrong thing. It doesn’t make sense.

    When we agreed to work on making our marriage work, he made promises to me that have since been broken. I’m not sure how to heal at this point, and I’m heartbroken that this rollercoaster ride is my life.

    • roller coaster rider August 31, 2011 at 8:00 pm #

      Jenn, I am so sorry that you aren’t seeing the changes you need to see. You are right in thinking that you deserve a 100% turnaround in his actions and attitudes, and without those, how can you move forward?

    • KnottedHeart September 3, 2011 at 2:33 pm #

      I really relate with what you are going through right now…I’m in the same position. It’s been a year since the affair (whom he left me for 4/9/10 moved back home 9/20/10). I think he feels that since b4 moving back home he fessed up to everything & answered all the questions I had that it’s done & over with & no sense now in “dredging” up the past. I told him it crushes me that my feelings are considered nothing more than “dredging ” up his bad choices. I could go into a 10 page essay on all that has happened, yet how I am now feeling like I’m the only one who has made serious changes to get our marriage on a higher plane than before. I think he feels that if he’s happy, then everything is good. Well, I didn’t leave him for another person. I didn’t “date” or WANT to be with another person during the time of separation. So he simply can’t comprehend the life changing event I went through while he was playing with his girlfriend. I had to give up 2 pets that I cared for deeply-who I still search the net to see if they are out there because the pain is still fresh. (seems silly to some-but my beagles were my kids). I have had constant panic attacks over the last year & 1/2…many times I went into Walmart & after having 1/2 cart I would have to leave immediately. I feel like that any moment the rug is going to be pulled out from under me. I was always a VERY outgoing & confident person. Now I only leave the house when I HAVE to which isn’t often & my only social life is literally only READING comments on Facebook & not engaging in keeping in touch with family & friends. Like I said, this is merely the gist of things. But, I DO relate to everything you said you were going through & feeling. If it weren’t for this website, unfortunately I probably would have committed suicide a year & a half ago-literally. I’ve learned a lot from Doug & Linda, & it’s pretty much been my “therapy” for a year & a half & will continue to be.

  8. roller coaster rider August 31, 2011 at 7:58 pm #

    My counselor has been talking to me about what I can do now: mainly trying to focus on the marriage I want to have. She had me think of what the ideal marriage would look like, what are the qualities I would want my partner to have, etc. and so I made a list (I add to it as things come to mind). This has seemed to be so much better than what I had done often since D-Day…all the ‘whys’ and ‘how could we end up like this’ and the horrible self-doubt and waiting for the other shoe to fall. I shared the list last night. Now we will see, as time passes, whether the changes he has claimed to want to make will become a reality. I talked to the counselor, too, about the commitment to marriage and faith, and she said that commitment is the glue which is intended to provide strength and keep a couple together during hard times, but that a one-time application of glue would not be enough to hold them together without both parties really contributing and continually choosing each other, working on their relationship and the love they once had. There really aren’t any easy options. Changedforever, I also told my H I wish he had killed me instead of inflicting this unbelievable pain on me, and sadly, on our anniversary, I told him I wished I were dead…because that is the natural reaction to such pain. I don’t feel that way today, though, and I believe that even should I (still) choose to end the relationship, I will be okay. We have to be. There is too much at stake.

  9. Candace August 31, 2011 at 10:29 pm #

    The negative thoughts & feelings toward our marriage? I know these were present prior to my H’s EA. This was a problem we both chose to ignore instead of addressing. Thus he weakened, which I really believed he would never, ever do. Because we are both working so hard on our marriage right now I have only been thinking good things toward my H & our marriage. I suppose if our relationship was struggling more that my thoughts would be different.

    We are planning our first trip away by ourselves in the fall. We are so looking forward to the trip. In 25 years we have never gone away by ourselves, not even a honeymoon!

  10. michele September 1, 2011 at 4:27 am #

    As my sobs begin to subside, i shuddered once or twice, blinking back my tears and through a mantle of wet lashes i began to look at my marriage from a new prospective. This is my awakening. After eighteen
    n months I’ve realized that it was time to stop hoping and waiting for something to change or for happiness,
    safety and security, a sense of love and belonging. Eventually
    coming to terms with the fact that there aren’t always fairytale endings (or beginnings for that matter) and that any guarantee of “happily ever after”had to begin with me . Then a sense of serenity was born of acceptance. I cannot change the past..I cannot change what I said out of anger ,I could only change within !When in the midst of all my fears and insanity i stop dead in my tracks and somewhere the voice inside my head cried out- ENOUGH!!!!!! Enough fighting and crying or
    struggling to hold on !! Through choosing to see beneath all of the pain, suffering, and hatred, and to recognize
    that It takes courage to accept and work to understand that marriage is hard work,To fulfill my personal mission to work on my marriage, I had to focus on the journey and the process!!!!!!

    Yes, I do feel the hurt but I need to do this for me!!!!!!!!

    • Holding On September 1, 2011 at 10:04 am #

      Thanks, Michele. I copied this post of yours to my word document with all replies that especially touch me and that I need to read and reread. Only 2 months out, but I am so very tired of this emotional ride. So tired. I miss the me I was. I miss the us I thought we were.

      I haven’t responded to this post yet, because I have been feeling such negative thoughts that it is pretty overwhelming. I try to keep the positive, but I think after so much anger and hurt I am entering a numb acceptance and pulling back on the love for my husband.

  11. elph September 1, 2011 at 2:54 pm #

    i’d like to chime in on this one.

    my wife moved out and we are seperated as of now.

    before that i was in “plan A” trying to meet her emotional needs. i found my self focusing on the good i still see in her. and in a lot of ways, im very aware that she is a good person whos making some really bad decisions.
    ive been focusing on all the logical aspects of the affair. the statistics. the whys and hows that the various books have given me. its made me understand things alot more. and in alot of ways keep things in a positive light.

    but since she moved out, its been really hard. we spit custody and there are days when i have to pick up my son from her place. and shes been telling me she moved out to find her self (which i believe as only 25% of the truth) the fact is i know hes been there. i know hes spent the night. her schedule with work and our son doenst leave a lot of time for her or her affair really, but it doesnt take much. i also kow shes bought brand new intimate apparel since moving out. ive seen it. as a guy, these things are KILLING me inside.

    i want to save our marriage. and at some point she has acknowledged that is what the future may hold. i even found out from her best friend that 2 weeks ago she tried to “break up from him” by telling him she needs breathing room and space to figure herself out. he told her that “hes not the kind of guy you send away”

    but recently theyve been together…

    i know my wife better than anybody. when shes herself i see the goodness in her. and im still in love with her.
    but my conflict is all the damage that has been done.
    the trust, the intimacy. the lies.

    im beginning to question if ill be able to get over it. the affair was one thing, but when she moved out, she seemed to jump full bore into it. (his house warming present was 2 bottles of tequila, so whats that tell you)

    i know ill be able to move on in time, its inevitable. but at the same time i want to save my marriage. and am going witht he stats that 97% of affairs die a natural death. im hoping i set up an enviroment that my wife would want to come back to. but i wonder if i can take all that has happened. im begining to wonder if i can move past it. even if she goes NC. presents honesty and openess and transperancy. i wonder if ill ever be special in her eyes again…

    thats been my latest round of problems…and how i view things now

  12. Saddenned September 1, 2011 at 3:24 pm #

    Have you been caught up in a web of negative thoughts and feelings about your marriage?

    Yes, your mind plays tricks on you. My counselor calls it “stinkin thinkin”. You can dream up a scenario in your mind and make it true.

    Is it tough for you to think about any of the good in your spouse and in your marriage?

    I know I love my spouse, but I analyze and obsess over every little thing that happens in our marriage.

    What impact have your thoughts after the affair had on your ability to move forward and feel positive about the future of your marriage?

    Now I leave one eye open. I think before I speak and I compromise more. I still have a hard time with trust, I just can’t completely yet.

  13. Losing Hope September 1, 2011 at 4:09 pm #

    Last night i was getting ready to post some new found logic that i thought i miraculously conjured up on my own. It was something like…instead of focusing on what you cant change (the EA) focus on what happened to get you to that point. Blah blah blah..glad i didnt hit enter.

    This morning i found on my H’s phone that he was googling the OW to see pictures of her. The past 2 months hes been telling me that its over, we need to move on, cant live in the past…So i beleived it. Been trying real hard not to bring negative emotions into our marriage. Then this morning happened. I asked him if he was looking at her on line, and dont lie to me. He said absoulutly not. Lies…Then he tried to blame me, saying, it was because of the 2weeks prior. I was being to emotional. What gives the cheater the right to blame the victim? I told him i accept no blame for this. We were getting along great. Im so sick of him blamming me everytime he gets caught. What do i do now? If we keep accepting this behavior from the cheater dont they start to think that they can slip up again and you will forgive them again?

    its been 5 long months of ups and downs. My H keeps telling me that he doesnt know how much more of my living in the past he’ll be able to deal with. Im trying to get over it, and then he screws it up all over again. How much is enough? He says hes worried that im talking to another man and that he was stressed at work so he looked at her pictures, but he hasnt talked to her in 2 months (since i found his seceret phone). Should i believe that. He just lied 2day about looking at her pics. Im so confused. I really love him and am trying to work through the pain. Just when i start to feel progress he sets us back again. (by the way im not talking to any men, last thing on my mind..Just want him to myself)

    Is anyone one else here going through catching their spouse time and again? How do you move forward? What can i do to stop this behavior?

    This is going to push me over the edge..Im losing hope!

    • kim September 14, 2011 at 12:25 pm #

      I sorta know what you are going through, I havent caught him speaking with her or anything like that, but he continues to just lie. Even when he is caught red handed. Which in turn I then believe that he still is having contact if he is lying about those things. I wish I had some advice to offer you, , my h was involed with this homewrecker for two years, why he wont leave is beyond me,

  14. upsanddowns September 1, 2011 at 10:53 pm #

    This website has been a godsend. I’ve read the posts and comments and I feel like a part of my brain is less crazy and I am not alone. It’s been 12 months since D-Day. My once caring and loving husband became distant, mean and no longer affectionate. He would argue with me about us spending time together and always said he needed to work because of our financial problems. It turned out he was really running around with his employee. He’d make time to take her to dinner, yoga classes, long runs and I’d stay at home crying my eyes out wondering why my husband wouldn’t make time for me like a fool. I was suspicious but he always denied that his relationship with the employee was anything but professional until I found a very inappropriate pic of her on his cell phone. I told him I was leaving him and he cried and begged for a second chance. He finally opened up and said that it wasn’t about the OW but that he was looking for a means to escape the stress of our everyday life and struggles.

    Things are better now. He’s more honest and more importantly, he now recognizes how much hurt and pain his EA has caused me and he’s remorseful about it. However, I feel so circular. I want to move forward with him and am grateful for every positive moment that we have but there are so many triggers that set me off and cause me to feel such negativity and animosity towards him. Some days, I feel like everything is fine and if we can survive his EA, we can get through anything. Other days, I feel so angry that I want to punch a wall and I hate him so much for putting me through so much pain. On those dark days, I think that if he can hurt me that badly once, there is a possibility that he can hurt me again.

  15. upsanddowns September 1, 2011 at 11:02 pm #

    Sorry, for multiple posts but this is the first time I felt like I really found a site that understands what I am going through regarding the EA recovery. How do I get over the fear? Even though my husband and I managed to stay together, I can’t shake this dark fear inside me. It’s a fear that he’ll hurt me again, it’s a fear that I’ll be in pain again, it’s a fear that I’m just not good enough otherwise he wouldn’t have reached out to another woman. I just don’t feel safe. By that, I mean I’m not in physical danger but that I don’t feel secure that my relationship will ever be 100% solid. He claims to have reached out to the OW because of difficult times our marriage went through (his pay got severely cut at work and we were losing our home to foreclosure and were forced to move in with my parents). Times are better now…but what happens when we reach another bump in the road? Is he going to reach out to another OW for comfort? Am I going to be emotionally abandoned? I love him and he loves me but I know well enough now that love doesn’t equal security.

  16. Notoverit September 2, 2011 at 7:15 am #

    Hey Upsanddowns, welcome to the world of the BS (betrayed spouse). We all have these thoughts but as time passes the anger and hurt become less (if the CS – cheating spouse- is willing to work on the problem). My psychologist says these negative thoughts are defense mechanisms. When the BS starts to feel close to the CS again, we screw it up to prevent being hurt. I think Linda did a post on it about screwing up the good times. What, I think, we are doing is protecting ourselves. That is normal. What you will have to do (and I am having a hard time with this) is start working on the trust. If your spouse is saying “I won’t do this again” you have to take that promise at face value. We all do or we will never get over this mess that the CS made. We have to live our lives, not in the past but with hope for the future.

  17. Losing Hope September 2, 2011 at 9:13 am #

    Notoverit, Funny that you say we have to take the CS’s promise to not do it again to us, at face value…Ive tried this so many times and yet i keep finding out that my H will look at pics of her. A month ago it was a throw away phone.

    Im so sick of living in the past. I want to focus on what happened to get us to the EA. And fix that! He just wont stop! Everytime we seem to get closer HE screws it up.

    Today im not sure where we are headed.
    Im tired of starting over and over again trying to trust.
    Just when i start healing and feeling more confident in US, he decieves me agian. Does it ever stop?

    Funny how i want more attention from him, so i know he cares…then he screws up and starts giving me the attention I wanted before. I feel like im at the point where i just dont care either way. Yeah, it hurts, but Im sick of thinking of nothing else in my life and wondering what hes doing or who hes talking to. I even told him yesterday that maybe we would be better off just being friends. He’s more honest with his friends. He was more honest with the OW. He told me that he could tell her “anything”! What he doesnt realize is she doesnt live with him, not married to him, does not have a family with him…etc… It seems like shes up on some pedestal. Wish i knew how to knock her off of it for him, or maybe show him how to.

    • Paula September 2, 2011 at 4:30 pm #

      Everyone needs a bottom line, a line in the sand, Losing Hope. I made myself stay a year, then re-assessed. I was lucky, my OH had already stopped the affair when I found out, he was already out of the fog, but they have to stop contact, if they won’t, I believe, you have to leave, that simple. They have no respect for you, and therefore your self-respect is eroded. I would be making an “end date” and telling him that if he was found with any contact after that, he is out the door. Tell him you have given him plenty of room on this matter, and you are giving him time to “say goodbye,” but there is an END to the contact.

      Just my thoughts, but I won’t be with someone who can’t commit to me, I’m a pretty great person!

    • melissa September 7, 2011 at 1:54 pm #

      Losing Hope, you’re right, the affair partner is on a pedestal. Even though I can see the OW is a manipulative little so-and-so, can barely write her name in English and is a ‘look at me’ diva to boot, he still told me after D-day that she was wonderful! That she dresses ‘modestly’ when the first time I saw her, she was wearing a top so low cut you could see her navel! What the problem is, as I see it, is that some men think of themselves as the bee’s knees. I’d love to see the OW cope with my H’s little habits – which I do because I love him but I’m pretty sure she’d run a mile!

  18. mamak September 2, 2011 at 9:33 am #

    I am so trapped in the web. I second guess everything my H does, I jump to the worst conclusions if he’s late, acting suspicious or seems to be hiding something. He is really working to put his family and I first – something he hadn’t been doing. But every time he chooses to run errands or do some task as a family instead of having me (or him) do it alone I worry he’s going to realize that this isn’t the life he wants. I know he does these things for me, so I don’t have to worry about what he’s doing when he’s left alone – and I think he does them because he’s worried about what he might do with too much alone time. I worry about the future too – what might happen to our marriage when his guilt starts to fade. Will I (and the kids) still be his number one priority or will he go back to his selfish tendencies…I read into every little thing he says or does. I can’t let go – and I think that it’s mostly because I am afraid. I’m afraid to let go of the negative feelings and thoughts because I’m afraid to make myself vulnerable again. As long as I am still coping with the situation now, I am in a way prepared to be hurt again, but if I let go, that will have to go away too…and I’m not ready or willing to open myself up to that possibility. I am also too afraid to plan our future because I’m still not sure there will be a future together. Not only does he still need to prove to me that it’s truly over with the OW (which he claims it has been since Mother’s Day) and that he won’t feel the need to find support outside of our marriage again- but I need to get to a point where I feel like I can believe him and trust him again before I can feel confident that our marriage will work.

  19. Jackie September 2, 2011 at 11:48 am #

    I relate with what everyone has written above in some form or another. The raw emotions, fears, anger, pain, love…they all ring a bell with me time and time again.

    It has been 2.5 years since the EA D-Day. Finally, things are much better between the two of us. I still fear talking about the EA, asking questions(what H called interrogating during the affair) about the EA, but I still know very little about what happened between the two of them. I don’t feel H has lied to me, but instead he intentionally kept and keeps secrets that may or may not affect me and our lives together. Although, he hasn’t verbally lied to me during all of the EA, which I believe was over after about 6 months, he has continually left me in the dark by not saying anything. I’m left guessing and piecing together what happened to him, us, during all this time…and wondering why he couldn’t just be open and honest with me, so we could work out our relationship and marital issues together with respect, instead of apart as enemies (like it was during the EA).

    I have learned to accept that my once honest, caring, adoring husband, could suddenly turn his back on me and our family. That he could so easily rationalize, blame me and even the kids for all his inappropriate and bad choices. He was just so sure that he was right, and so sure everyone else must be wrong. Funny that the bulk of the angry attack came after revealing the EA…as if the shame was so much to bear, it was easier to blame someone else for his bad choice.

    I always thought, the only way I would do what H has done, would be if I were mentally ill…not in my right mind. Well I believe in H case this was true. Affairs feel so good, they really are like an addiction. An affair should be called an addiction, because I truly believe it is. All the actions the CS performs, the complete change in character, the lying, sneaking around, selfishness, inability to stop even when they know the crisis it is creating all around him, fits the actions of an addict. The hardest part to accept is that the addiction is to another lover. It hits a marriage where it hurts most…love, or lack of it.

    The book “Codependent No More” by Melody Beattie, really helped me to get a grasp what I was dealing with, and how little control I had over my H EA addiction. It helped me to take away the focus on him and turn it towards healing me and the kids. It allowed me to let go, realizing that this was a problem that H had to deal with himself. The more I interfered with the process, just caused H to focus more on his anger and blame towards me, than the destruction he was causing to himself, his marriage and his kids. I felt very alone in all of this, but I realized he wasn’t able to share and allow us to work together on this issue. If he was able, we would have been able to work out the issues before the EA happened.

    I hope H won’t go back into an affair again when life throws major stressors our way, because affairs, like all addictions, are a poor way of coping. If one were to ask, will a recovered alcoholic or drug addict, go back to the bottle or drug if life gets tough again? No one but the addict can decide. Therefore there is no way one can be sure. Life is like that. There are no guarantees in marriage or life for that matter.

    I must trust my H to make better decisions in the future. No matter, I must continue to learn to cope and realize that no matter what life throws my way, I will figure it out and find I will be fine and stronger as an outcome.

    I wish for all of you to find peace and happiness in your lives and hearts. We all have a lot of tough choices and decisions to make, and nobody is perfect. We must learn to love again as well as forgive. Not only to those that have wronged you, but more important to love and forgive ourselves, since we all make mistakes.

    I hope this EA has taught us both not to take each other for granted, and that long term love is a precious thing to waste. That what we created together over the years is worth saving.

    • Holding On September 2, 2011 at 12:27 pm #

      Thank you, Jackie. Once again, it is so great to hear from someone a little farther out with wisdom and encouragement in their words.

      I do wonder a lot about how could he keep doing it when it was so wrong and hurtful to me. I kept telling myself it was because he thought I would never find out and he was going to quit it, but the “addiction” aspect is helpful.

      I’m sorry you had to do so much work on your own, but you do sound very strong and and like you are figuring it out.

    • Healing Mark September 2, 2011 at 1:42 pm #

      Jackie, very insightful and helpful post (love the last 2 sentences). I can’t tell you how strongly I agree that the feelings created by the EA feel so good to the CS that a dependence upon them bordering on an addiction can easily occur. My wife also had a complete change in character after her EA began and while it continued. Unfortunately for the betrayed spouse, the changes to the other spouse often create a quite toxic relationship environment, further elevating the EA in terms of its “goodness”. And I never cease to be amazed at the extent to which the human mind can rationalize harmful behaviour when the results from the behaviour (i.e., continuing an EA) feel so good!

      In my experience, I found that I often needed much assistance from my wife in order to put the affair behind us, to “foregive but not condone” and to enthusiastically embrace loving someone who fell into something she was not looking for and, for a short period of time, let her feelings overcome her already established morals and allow her to make many bad choices. Similarly, my wife had told me on many occasions that without assistance from me, she may not have been able to overcome the shame and guilt that she felt, and she might have abandoned the relationship not because she had any opportunity to get back together with her AP, but because she felt she could not, and was not willing to, stay in a relationship where something like an EA was always going to be held against her. As you might imagine, given the emotions swirling around after the discovery of an EA, and all the negative thoughts and feelings that just can’t be made to go away very easily, if at all, for some time thereafter, it’s very hard for either partner to give assistance to other partner. As a result, recovery takes time and cannot be rushed. Nor can the amount of time that it will take be predicted. Patience in this instance is really truly a virtue, and good luck to all in trying to be patient when dealing with the effects of an EA or PA!

      Finally, I see a lot of posts on this site where the BS is “haunted” by thoughts of what went on during the EA or PA, or where the BS feels like they need to more about the details of the affair and is either confident that the BS is not providing them (presumably the BS is saying so) or is worried that they are not getting the whole “picture”. Let me first say that I did not have to deal with a PA, don’t know if I could deal with such a betrayl, so I will sympathize with those who have to come to grips with the fact that their partner became physically intimate with another person during their marriage. Ewww. But as to details of my wife’s EA, I learned of some from the evidence I discovered which pointed to the EA, and I learned of some directly from my wife. At some point in the healing process, I said to myself “Forget about the crazy things your wife did while she was a complete loon and experiencing feelings like she was falling in love again for the first time!”. Of course the BS is going to have done hurtful things. Of course the BS is going to have lied to allow the EA to continue undetected. The fact that your partner became so emotionally close to another person while you are married to them really hurts, of course. But the past is the past. You can’t change what happened, and you can’t change (at least I couldn’t) the fact that what happended has caused hurt, and will continue to cause hurt if you let it. Yea, you “win” because the BS’s actions/inactions have caused hurt and can continue to cause hurt, there’s very little dispute here. But you don’t really “win”. Once I felt as though my wife was truly sorry for all of what she did, it became easier for me to accept that the sole fact that my wife made this mistake is not enough to make me not want to be married to her, and to focus instead on how she now acts towards me, the children and other people and how happily married we are at that time, and if we are not as happy together as we have been before or might like to be, we work together to try to improve things, and we have chosen to not blame any current problems on past problems/misdeeds, including her EA.

      Again, no PA for me. I feel no need to try to calculate just how “bad” of an EA my wife had. Not how many times she lied to keep it going. Not this embarrassing thing, or that embarrassing thing. Not all the fights she intentionally or subconciously picked so that she could spend time with her AP and not me. An EA, no matter what, is “bad”. The real question for me now is is my wife the woman I want to be married to, and she can’t be that woman if I am going to hold the EA against her forever. In many respects, she is a better partner now, after the EA, than she was many, many years before the EA occured, all years that my wife and I were also happily married. Yes, I would have preferred the EA not have occurred to somehow assist in getting each of us to where we currently are on our paths of life, but it did, fortunately ended, and strangely has improved our marriage somewhat. And it most definitely has not caused our marriage to end, nor will it!

      Healing Mark

      • Holding On September 2, 2011 at 3:46 pm #

        Thank you, too, Mark. I read your words with tears flowing because I so want to forgive and move forward but I’m not really sure how. My H so wants me to feel better. He is doing everything right. It has been so hard for him to hear me talk and question and bring up my hurt and sadness for the past 2 months. I feel horrible that I can’t just welcome him back with open arms and that be the end of it.

        I feel I keep coming up with ideas that will probably help heal me/us from this. First it was getting all the questions/details answered and getting the EA out in the open, then it was understanding the why’s and hows and what was lacking in our relationship, then it was just for him to buoy me up in my sad days, to tell me it would be better. Now, I think if I could just get him to understand the huge hurt, everything the EA changed for me and us, and really feel that he feels that and is sorry about that, then I can move forward and freely forgive.

        I told him early on that I forgive him but am so hurt and angry, and would need time for that to go away. But that isn’t forgiveness if I continue to hold the EA up and can’t let go. If I get upset that he is going on with his normal life while I pick up the pieces from this – weight loss, sleep loss, tears, depression, thoughts every day, etc. And he knows I haven’t forgiven yet either and he so wants that, and I do, I’m just not sure the proper steps in that.

        Anyone out there have insight on how to go about that? I’m praying like crazy for love and forgiveness. Is it as simple as telling your mind to stop? Distraction and a conscious effort everyday to move forward in love? Then eventually that is a majority of your feelings? I have moments of forgiving feelings, then I’m on a roller coaster of anger and disbelief and hurt again.

        Thanks again for encouraging words, Mark.

      • Jackie September 2, 2011 at 6:35 pm #

        Simple question for you Mark. How long has it been for you to finally reach the place you are at today? How long since D-day? How long since the EA ended?

        I understand each of us has our own time table, and can’t rush the process. You seem to have grown and learned a lot through your crisis and will continue to grow together.

        • Healing Mark September 3, 2011 at 9:40 am #

          D-day was 11/19/2010. I started to sense that things were “different” in the Fall of 2009 and the first couple of months in 2010 were hell. My wife and I started marriage counselling in April 2010 and by the end of May we said thank you to our counselor and had a wonderful Summer and Fall. Turns out that my wife began to have special feelings for my “friend” starting at the end of August 2009 and what certainly blossomed quickly into an EA continued until January 2010 when my wife and friend began to pull back and get their heads on straight. My wife has indicated that it was hard for her to get back to me 100% after ending the EA, in part because she and my friend were still tying to be appropriate friends, and also because our relationship had broken down quite a bit while the EA was going on. Marriage counselling helped so very much, if not just for the fact that it communicated to each other without a doubt that we both wanted our marriage to continue and to be a happy one regardless of what had transpired in the past.

          Ironically, my wife lied during our first session when I confronted her about having an affair with my friend, and by that time I had made the distinction between an EA and PA so she did not have the “out” to say that she had not had an “affair” simply b/c she had not had sex with her AP. The next session was a one-on-one between my wife and the counselor, and my wife confessed to her EA (this is mid-April 2010). They decided to wait to tell me about the EA after we had made some progress in counselling. My wife, obviously, ignored this, which in hindsight I am fine with. However, as I have posted before, if you are “over” your EA and working to make your marriage the best it can be, by ALL MEANS make sure that you leave no clues as to the existence of the EA! Discovering what I had suspected was so harmful to all that we had accomplished since A;pril, and really set us back a great deal in moving on after a rough patch in our marriage that really did not need to be classisfied as one that was the result of an EA. It would have been best to have been left as just a “rough patch”.

          So, yes, put the EA in the past with an understanding that nothing even remotely similar can occur in the future. However, beware that regaining trust has been the hardest for me, and my wife has struggled with not continuing to lie about things that she thinks might upset me given the prior occurrence of the EA. Weird, in that I would have never even suspected her of lying about things prior to the EA, but now I know that she has done so and has the capacity to do this, and prior to the EA, my wife never felt the need to lie to me about things that she then (for obvious reasons) and now feels like she should or must lie about, regardless of the consequences of the truth becoming known. For us, it’s a terrible scar from the EA that we are having to deal with. The only thing that was worse for us were “triggers” during about the first 6 months after D-day, but these pretty much went away once I accepted the fact that I cannot change the past but can only make our relationship going forward a happy one or one that ends in divorce.

    • melissa September 5, 2011 at 7:40 am #

      Jackie
      Your words express much better than I could exactly how I feel and my thoughts at this stage. It seems that the adiction pattern you describe is a common thread in CS.

      My H seems more caring, less likely to take me for granted, happier to do things together, more loving…and it feels good and ‘real’ but like many of us here, I cannot get past the ‘what if it’s just a front?’ fears. ‘What if he’s lying even better than before?’ He’s off to a conference for nearly a week, where it is likely the OW will be and even though when I voiced my fears he told me I ‘had nothing to worry about’, I can’t turn off the little voice which says ‘what if it’s the same as last year (when he arranged to meet her at the same event, texted her for a couple of months before, called her from a payphone to avoid my finding out – I found the credit card bill!, and lied again and broke his no-contact promise).

      The one thing I know, though, is that I gave him a second chance but I won’t give him a third. He has to take responsibility for his behaviour and choose our marriage. I hope he understands this.

  20. Jewel September 2, 2011 at 1:25 pm #

    There is so much that is universal with EAs. My H tells me that the EA isn’t the issue. The issues are his inability to communicate, his troubles with his own identity, his pre-existing PTSD…so what does that mean? I’m not supposed to be affected by the fact that he professed his love and passion to another woman. He says she’s a ‘friend’. Apparently she wishes us the best, doesn’t want us to break up…wishes ME the best. isnt’ that fucked? (sorry for language, but there isn’t any other way to describe this)
    I am so trying to live with dignity. Heal myself, work on MY life. But the obsession and ghosts are sickening me. WHEN does this get better. WHEN will i trust the man who I once believed to be the most honorable, trustworthy human being I ever knew? I know I’ve hurt him. I’ve lied about smoking cigarettes and pot…snuck around like a little kid. I’ve battled abusing alcohol and pot. I haven’t used for over a year. Does this behavior warrant the pain of an EA? Do I suck this up and call us even?

  21. Jackie September 2, 2011 at 2:08 pm #

    Jewel,
    Welcome to the world of an addict. You have become a co dependent of your husband’s addiction to another woman. It is not about you, although it hurts you like a death of someone important. It feels like death, because it is like the potential death of your marriage. It is the death of that important love feeling, you once had with your spouse.

    It is really about him. It is his problem. He has to fix it! Not you. Most of your attempts will backfire and he will blame you! I’ve been there too long.

    No you don’t “suck this up and call us even”. You get to a point of learning to understand each other weaknesses, of accepting each others faults, knowing that you sometimes hurt each other unintentionally… that we are all human and make mistakes.

    You learn to communicate better so you don’t continually hurt one another, can support one another it tough times instead of seeking outside coping mechanisms such as addictions. Find other ways to effectively cope with those difficult times when life gets stressful and scary. Stop escaping through addictions and find more productive methods of coping…like dancing together. Do things to become more deeply connected. But you have to both want this and work at it.

    I can’t even say this is happening in my marriage. It is what I hope we can achieve, but I don’t know if this is something my H believes in or is capable of.

    Life is an adventure. We grow most as we learn life’s most painful messages. It is through our mistakes that we can learn life’s most important messages. That is if we chose to learn them. If not, we keep repeating the same mistakes over and over.

  22. Mad Sad Wife September 2, 2011 at 3:31 pm #

    Jackie, thanks for this post. It made me feel better!

  23. Jackie September 2, 2011 at 6:24 pm #

    Thank you Mark! I think you have helped me confirm that questioning my H about the affair is just a waste of time and effort, and will not help us heal or move ahead. I am best spending the energy on us moving forward, rather than understanding his high on the affair.

    Holding On,
    It has only been two months for you, and you have progressed farther in many ways than I after 2.5 years, simply because your H is willing to talk with you instead of attacking you with blame for what he has done. We all have different timetables and different situations.

    “Is it as simple as telling your mind to stop? Distraction and a conscious effort everyday to move forward in love? “.

    Telling your mind to stop, definitely didn’t work for me. It is like saying, “Do not think about purple elephants”. Now all you can now think of are purple elephants!

    Distractions, and focusing more on me and what I want in life seemed to help me the most. I did a lot of things I enjoyed. Meeting with supportive friends and family (careful here, they must support you and your marriage!), projects and hobbies that I have always loved sa. gardening, sewing, creating things and idea with the kids. Exercise helped me feel better health wise…I walked a lot, did yoga. Whatever works for you that you enjoy and makes you feel good about yourself tends to work. Note: Going shopping and spending lots of money is probably not advisable. Nor is drinking heavily or having your own affair. Do things that won’t hurt your budget, health, or those who love you.

    Thinking about the good things you both have together instead of focusing on the negative things. This really help me see that my frame of mind had a lot of influence on how I felt. Thinking good things made me feel good. Focusing on the negative, made me feel bad.

    Invest in yourself, by reading a lot of self help books about understanding yourself. Believing in something higher than oneself, such as god or a higher spirit, is helpful for many. I am not religious, but spiritual thinking helped me to accept better the lessons life has to offer, no matter how bitter the lesson can be.

    None of this has to cost much. I exercised in front of tapes, and walked in the park. I got all the self help books from the library. Basically you need to reinvent yourself and find out who you are and what you want in life for you and your family. Then strive for it, and live it each day.

    Finding a support group such as BAN (for affairs) or AA is also helpful. Check for local group on the internet.

    I hope this is helpful.

    Mostly what you need is lots of time and patience with both you and your spouse. A lot of time needs to go by, filled with good feelings, moments, and better communication together. This is the medicine that will help you heal from the affair.

    • Healing Mark September 2, 2011 at 11:50 pm #

      Jackie, appreciate the thanks. But I do want to comment on your post. My wife and I needed enough questioning and discussions to get her to the point where she would stop with the “we didn’t do anything wrong as we were just good friends”. Understand that for whatever reason, my wife would acknowledge that what she had done was “wrong” and “hurtful” and that their friendship was damaging to our respective families in some respect (qualified in her mind to a very small amount of damage), but never that she had had an “affair” since no sex involved and often she would do a 180 and claim that she had done “nothing” wrong (usually during fights or just heated discussions about EA). I realized the futility of all of what I, not others, of course, was facing, and reached an agreement with my wife that whatever happened was “bad” and “wrong” and something that we needed to put behind us with remorsefulness and apologies and an attendant foregiveness with no room for any similar behaviour in the future. In return for this agreement, we agreed that it did not matter what my wife had specifically done (I did have some good specifics that were pretty damning and embarrassing for my wife, such that even I had to wince after walking out of the room and luckily I could give the AP grief about what they had done and get at least expressed, but who knows if truthful, apologies for the same). It was an “EA” (wife finally agreed to acknowledge the same) and it didn’t matter what the specifics were. It was what is what was and we had to move on from it. Question was, just how would we move on? Turns out, that for us, it didn’t matter what the specifics were (as long as there was no sex involved, and I accepted that none occurred and if I had had even a bit of reluctance at accepting this, I don’t think that I would be married to my wife today), but in terms of going forward, we would do the same things together to heal and move on no matter what the past was. As a result, the details of the EA no longer mattered, so I felt no need to find out those that I did not already know, and as to those that I already knew, I had no real need to re-live them in order to move on and be happy (if “saving” marriage meant happy, ok, but otherwise, I just wanted to be happy and be the best dad I could be to my children).

      Sorry, Jackie, for long post. I wish you and others the best in your efforts to get on with your lives after having something happen to you that you would have never thought you could handle much less survive. It sucks, but I’d take my wife’s EA over her being at the top of one of the World Trade Centers approximately 10 years ago. Sure, she hurt me, but we have had an opportunity to continue to be together and attempt to regain the great relationship we had before the EA (with, of course, usual ups and downs, but whatever). Losing her forever on this earth due to death due to terrorists would not have hurt my heart in the sense that she did something (have an EA) that did hurt my heart, but would have hurt my heart in that I would have never of had a chance to not only love her with all my heart, but to also experience all the ups and downs that come with having a relationship with someone and in effect have an opportunity to “live” with this person that I have loved so much for so long.

      Enjoy your holiday weekend! My wife and I plan to do so very, very much. And that makes so many members of our family and our various social circles happy as well.

      Healing Mark.

      • Jackie September 3, 2011 at 4:16 pm #

        Mark,
        I believe I understand what you are saying. We also talked about the “just friends” issue, and H did remark that maybe he shouldn’t have pursued the OW. And that he didn’t mean to hurt me. That is probably the most remorse I’m going to get.

        He even read the “Just Friends” book. Maybe he just skimmed it, as he doesn’t like to look too closely at himself. He realized the EA was a fantasy love feeling, but still had difficulty stopping his behavior, even when OW didn’t want to get involved further.

        It was difficult for H to admit to an EA, preferring to use words like, infatuation or fantasy. Affairs have such a negative connotation in our society. I suppose it doesn’t matter what you call it, as long as you realize what you are doing is damaging to the married relationship.

        As I said though, as far as I can tell, H had been verbally telling me the truth. He wasn’t lying, but just clamming up. He just won’t talk about what exactly happened. I believe he “fell in love” and was in total fantasy about this OW, even when she wanted no part of it. Lucky for me, it didn’t go farther. But it seemed to cause endless damage to us due to H “what is love” confusion, the anger and blame cycle, and selfish inconsiderate behaviors at home. Each person in this family is still picking up the pieces, and trying to reestablish a decent relationship with H/Dad once again. Affairs hurt everyone involved.

        • Healing Mark September 5, 2011 at 10:02 am #

          Jackie, thanks for the post. I did not get quite the “remorse” that you appear to have gotten, but that did not prevent me from moving on with my wife. More importanly than how my wife feels about her “inappropriate relationship” (she acknowledges that people have coined the term “EA” but, while she acknowledges that her relationship fits within the parameters of the definition of this term, due to the negative connotations of the word “affair” she prefers not to call what she did an EA), is the way she acts now with me and our family. I’ll be honest, it appears that my “friend” has decided to sever all contact with my wife, and since he and his family have moved to a new home about 30 minutes away, there is much less pressure to try to maintain the friendships our children had with each other.

          There are positives to not getting into too many details regarding the EA. Given the prior lies that perhaps occurrred in order to keep the EA alive, further lies often occur and it is heartbreaking when they are later discovered, not to mention very damaging to attempts to move on. So, just recognize that the crazy things your spouse did during the EA are “over” and don’t matter so much as long as your relationship has been healed as much as possible and is one going forward that you are happy to be in.

          Take care.

          • Paula September 5, 2011 at 4:26 pm #

            Healing Mark, you have done so very well, I applaud your attitude. I’m glad that you didn’t require details, in the end, when someone has had an inappropriate EA, you know what happened, lots of talk, secret meetings, texting, etc. In the case of a PA, you need to know certain details, as your health is at risk. I had to know if they practised safe sex (they didn’t, so I needed to be tested for STIs, great, one sexual partner ever and you’re getting an HIV test done in your mid 40s, felt like shit!) and where and when all this occurred, as we were bloody busy, ridiculously busy, and I couldn’t work out how he met her when she lived so far away, and so often, when I was running around like a headless chook, after him and our kids, with a full-on job that just wouldn’t relent, and he professed to be just as busy. Yeah, he was busy all right!! Anyway, the things I dream about, and think about are way worse than the reality of what they did, so the details that he gave me were, in a way, calming, that probably sounds weird. This was an ex of his, he had already told me that their sex life was boring, even when they were young,years earlier, so I actually believe him when he tells me that none of it really rang his bells, the best sex with her was just good, never mind-blowing, he could never work out why she seemed so up for it, but was pretty useless in that department when they finally got down to it, after all, they were supposed to be having a saucy, exciting AFFAIR, so bring it chick. She never met him at the door in sexy lingerie, nothing ever happened that would fulfil a lot of people’s fantasies, I can’t even imagine why he kept going with it. As he said, really she was just a friend he was confiding in, and leaning on when he was unhappy and confused, and he kinda forgot he was shagging her as well

    • Holding On September 7, 2011 at 4:57 pm #

      Jackie,
      Thank you so much for the words and advice. It is crazy when you are having “good days” and things are just so much better, you think you are finally getting “over it” and returning to normal. Then the “bad days” hit and you wonder how you will ever stop feeling pain. I think I’m on the upsweep of a bad and hope to have a longer run in the good!

  24. jenn September 2, 2011 at 6:30 pm #

    I’m curious, has Doug ever written a ‘what I did that worked to help my BS overcome my EA” post? Something that us BS s could share with our CS that might encourage healing conversations? Or Linda, is there anything that you could point to that made you feel like Doug “got it?” I like lists ; )

  25. Lynne September 3, 2011 at 11:49 am #

    My thoughts about my Fiance’s five year EA are much like “Healing Mark’s”. I have no strong interest in knowing the details (and they would be watered down and reengineered, I’m sure), as there is no going back and changing it now. It is done. What I struggle with is the game we play in him pretending that nothing happened at all….in other words, that five years of deception about calls, emails and meetings mean nothing, as they “were just friends”. He says I am overreacting, being suspicious and untrusting. It seems logical to me to feel all of these things when a female friendship is kept a secret for so long. Why in the world would someone hide this if there was absolutely nothing to it? I know that were I hiding something like this, there would definitely be a reason for it!

    How do you grow to trust someone again when they won’t admit they crossed some serious boundaries. My fear is that it will happen again because no work, learning and growth has occurred. He thinks it’s just me having issues with this, it’s NOT about him. If I hear one more time that he is “an open, honest, and direct communicator”, I think I’ll scream! There was nothing open and honest about five years of hiding his “friendship”. I guess that sometimes we just need to be married to our vision of ourselves, rather than being willing to look at our actions and behaviors in an honest light. He claims he’s a very self-aware individual…..come on, really????

    • ppl September 3, 2011 at 12:27 pm #

      i have sympathy for your comments. in the book not just friends, the author describes such a situation as waxing dirty floors. without first exploring the behaviors and having full discloure there will be the “dirt” under the surface of any rebuild of trust.

      i am further down the road than you in the process. my own experience is that my wife has never faced nor disclosed full truth. we stopped going to councelling on her suggestion because everything was now “going well”. she absolutely refused to read the book–not just friends despite request of councellor and myself. she had a fear of facing it. now a year later still not read. my healing delayed, not complete. how would you ever trust someone not to repeat behavior that they will not acknowledge as wrong or even fully disclose. if it wasnt wrong, why not do it again? at one point while in councelling she made the statement “i know you’ll never leave me” and i later discovered reconnected with her long lost boyfriend three days later (different than the initiating affair). i now have no expectations and am at peace with no longer checking. surface of the relationship shiny but i keep telling myself just one more year until last child goes to college. at that time i will feel free to do whatever i desire. my commitment to my kids is stronger than to my arrangement.

      experience of one person not a predictor for others, but i dont believe my experience is unique. none of ours is.

    • Jackie September 3, 2011 at 12:49 pm #

      Lynne,
      Like PPL mentions, have you or your fiance ever read the book, “Not Just Friends”, by Shirley Glass?. In it she talks about stepping over the boundaries of friendship. It is a book you both should read. Of course if your fiance is so sure he is doing nothing wrong, he may be in denial and not see how damaging to your relationship his secret friend is.

      The basic rule is, if you are saying anything to someone else that you would be uncomfortable saying if your spouse or significant other were present in the room, you are probably stepping over the line of trust. This is pretty severe, since we often complain to friends about our spouse. But it really means that one needs to communicate in better ways to our spouse, so that we don’t need to complain of our unhappiness to others. Much easier said than done though.

      • Lynne September 3, 2011 at 3:39 pm #

        Jackie-

        Yes, I have read the book, including taking the assessement test in the book–he scored in the “you are in over your head” category. But you are correct, he in absolute denial about all of it. He said he made a mistake in keeping his friendship secret….end of story!What floors me is that his ex-wife (they divorced 15 years ag0) had an EA & PA , so if anyone should understand, I would expect him to “get” how the secrecy and denial feels to me. He just says I need to forgive him and move on. Of course this is what he wants me to do because it takes the spotlight off of him and his behaviors, and it diverts it to why I don’t just get over it, what’s wrong with me etc. And after five years of lies (I caught him in several over the years, but it still didn’t cause him to come clean about her), I should just get over……how convenient!

        • Healing Mark September 6, 2011 at 11:26 am #

          To all. Let me clarify a bit. My wavered quite a bit as she struggled with her fear and loathing of being a “bad” person as a result of the relationship she established with my “friend” and the emotional closeness that resulted and the feelings of physical attraction that developed. When I first found evidence (texts on her phone) that she was more than “just friends” with her AP, she admitted that she had been wrong, apologized profusely, and said that she had wanted to tell me the truth before when I asked her if she was having an affair with the AP. She even acknowledged to having discussed her “relationship” with our marriage counsellor during one-on-one sessions and the damage it had caused to our marriage. Then, amazingly, but apparently not all to uncommonly, she began to backtrack and begin to defend her actions/behaviours, soon getting back to a “we were just friends” story and questioning why I felt so hurt and angry other than as a result of her lies, which lies she then justified as ones meant to not hurt me. She even did this during joint marriage counselling sessions, and was just a bit bitter when our counsellor would attempt to get her to see that her defensiveness was not only harmful to the healing process, but contrary to matters she had previously fessed up to or acknowledged.

          Given the back and forth, I finally insisted on getting enough details so that there was no denying that the relationship my wife established fell within the definition of an emotional affair. My wife was only willing to agree to stop trying to defend her actions and admit once and for all that she had had an EA once I was willing to foregive her for her prior actions and behaviours and not hold against her the fact that she had damaged what was actually a pretty good marriage at the time she began her EA. I could understand how difficult it might be to move forward with a relationship that had as a dynamic the fact that every time there was a conflict, one partner would use against the other one the fact that the EA had occurred. My wife also insisted that I try not to use the word “affair” when talking about what had happened, so her EA has become that “thing” that happened and this hasn’t really been much of an issue as we have found less and less of a need to even bring up what happened previously as we are simply moving on with our lives.

          And as I have seen in several posts, my wife and I too have a firm understanding that she gets to be foregiven just this once, and that actions/behaviours like she exhibited with her AP will NOT be tolerated in the future. We have eached run across someone during our marriage to whom the proverbial “spark” was present and which persons then began to pursue relationships that were to be something much more than the typical relationships that my wife and I have with members of the opposite sex. We understand that the same thing may happen again during our lifetimes. The difference is that I quickly distanced from my potential “girlfriend” and my wife decided to pursue our suddenly interested friend and see just what kind of relationship they might be able to establish. This may sound wierd, but since my wife has experienced the ups and downs of an EA, I am much more confident that she will not fall into this trap again than I would be if she had not experienced the same. Gaining this confidence, however, was no fun at all as most, if not all of you, can relate to.

        • melissa September 7, 2011 at 2:07 pm #

          Lynn, I experienced exactly the same thing: acknowlegement (albeit grudgingly) then denial again – it’s just so confusing. And the convenient ‘you’ve got to move on and forget it, it was nothing’ thing too. Then, sadly, lies again and back to the drawing board a year ago. Like Mark, I hope my H now knows that this is it, there will be no third chance but will it ever stop?

          • Lynne September 7, 2011 at 3:07 pm #

            My all time favorite was when I asked him “if I was meeting with, and having phone calls with another man, would you want to know about it?”. He said he would absolutely want to know I was doing it. Don’t you just love double standards! The pysche is so twisted sometimes…..he’d want to know I was doing it, but he didn’t give me the luxury of “knowing” about his little friendship.

  26. Jackie September 6, 2011 at 2:03 pm #

    Mark,
    Thank you for trying to clarify your situation, so we as BS don’t just forgive our spouses indiscretions without doing the work needed to repair the marriage. We all want a simple solution, but know there is none. No doubt, the more you can work out the issues that led to the affair and allowed it to continue, the better off the foundation of the marriage can be reestablished. But we each must work within the parameters of our own spouse and self. Some are willing to talk, some will not. Lies, secrets, shame, denial, forgiveness, acceptance…there are so many ways we choose to deal with the issues at hand, and no one method works for all.

    As with all of us, we only tell part of our affair experience because so much has happened. We can each write a book on what the affair has done to us and our marriages, and how much it has changed us as a person.

    That “back and forth” conflicted thinking of “doing something wrong” vs “we were just friends”, seems to be that internal struggle that a CS goes through. Deep down inside something doesn’t seem right being “just friends” because it is causing an enormous disconnection in the marriage. I guess if you really thought about it, the internal conflict of the CS is good, because if the CS felt no conflict, it would indicate that they didn’t care at all about the spouse or marriage. Actions do speak louder than words.

    Affairs cause CS to ignore the spouse, a form of abandonment, while they involved themselves with another. This is the main confusion for the BS, because the CS keeps going back and forth physically and mentally between the spouse and the AP. The CS wants to have their cake and eat it too, unable to make up their mind (the Limbo stage).

    I too believe that after experiencing the enormous, drama, depression, disconnection, and devastation that this EA had given my H, that he will not want to experience this kind of thing again. Its like leaving a very bad taste in your mouth. I also felt that we had a pretty good marriage before all this had happened. I knew H was going through some issues with unresolved fears (Midlife issues about aging and fear of death, kids growing up and needing him less, and reaching his peak at work), but thought he was slowly working these issues out.

    I now struggle with how we can rebuild and improve our marriage so that it will fulfill us both for the long term. I’m just not sure if H is ready yet or even on the same page. It feels that we have moved out of limbo. I feel a great deal more connection with H once again, but sometimes I’m still not sure.

    • melissa September 7, 2011 at 2:03 pm #

      So well said, Jackie, thank you.

  27. Karenjzj September 27, 2011 at 9:41 pm #

    It is so wonderful to have found this blog! I’m feeling not alone anymore.

    I am stuck in the negative. He won’t admit there was an EA. “they’re just friends” ” she only wants to see me become the athlete she knows I can be”. ” she’s only giving me the support you won’t and don’t have an interest in”. “I have tried to keep THOSE thoughts away from my relationship with her”

    I don’t know where we’re going. We are in counseling,but I Have my days when I want to leave. Right now I’m staying for the kids.

  28. Sad Mad Wife September 28, 2011 at 12:01 pm #

    I’m having many negative thoughts today. My H moved out about a month ago, although he stops by 4 or 5 times a week, to see our teen daughters (although many times they’re not home), help around the house, pick something up, or just to talk. He asked me last night if he was over too much. I told him I’d like nothing more than for him to move home. He said he wasn’t going to come home until he was absolutely sure that he could commit to our marriage. Well I do have a say in that, and some days I seriously doubt that I can move past all the pain. Today is one of those days. I’m not sure what triggers these feelings of doom and gloom. Why do I want to be married to someone who would cheat, lie and say mean things about our marriage to me? And then I see the other side of him trying. He seems very conflicted. Well so am I! I send him short texts every couple of days trying to affirm my faith and love for him. He has told me he appreciates these and is moved when I send them. I feel like I give, forgive and understand his pain, but I don’t get it from him. Perhaps this is how it is and his feelings are gone for good. That just breaks my heart. Today I feel like we just can’t go on with the way things are much longer.

    Thanks for letting me get this out. It is therapeutic.

    • Jackie September 28, 2011 at 6:00 pm #

      From the ages of your daughters, it sounds like your H is in the midst of a Midlife crisis. Mine too. I feel for you and all here on this website.

      H feeling are not gone, just confused in his mental anguish due to his affair addiction. I always say addiction, because the CS actions fit most with the behavior of an addict. He is incapable of giving right now…so it is best not to expect anything from him. Just appreciate anything he does for you for now as a sign of hope. If you still love him give him lots of time and patience. Kind of like you would give to a child who is learning to grow up…because that is where he is right now. In fact he is acting just like a child too, isn’t he? Mine was. I kept saying he was acting just like a rebellious teenager, except I wasn’t his mom.

      From what I’ve learned (I am 2 .5 years out from D day from my H EA), I think you are doing the right thing. That is, remain positive towards your H. Make him feel welcomed back home. If you don’t it will drive him away and he will use the negativity to justify the affair even though he knows what he is doing is wrong. Stay positive and neutral and understanding. I know he is acting like a jerk, and says mean and untrue things to you and about you. Keep your dignity and don’t play that game.

      You are the only sane adult in the family for now. Continue to portray the “rational sane adult” in front of him. Don’t get crazy with emotion in front of him. It usually backfires on people in affairs. It makes you look like the crazy one. Pretend you are the greatest actress in the toughest role of your life. Which by the way, that is what your part truly is right now.

      He is addicted to the affair OW right now. H feels guilty, but also feels that this affair is the right thing for him now because it makes him happy. He feels bad for you and the girls, but he is selfish and feels he must meet his needs right now, cause he felt his needs haven’t been met. Whether they have or have not truly been met by you or anyone does not play into the picture. It is all his irrational addicted perception.

      He is very confused, and what he needs is time to figure himself out. Who he is, what he wants, and where he is going. Right now he is lost. Unfortunately, you are the last person who he will turn to right now, because he is rationalizing the affair by blaming you and the marriage.

      I found it more productive not to talk about the affair with H. When I did, it just drove him further into wanting it more, like the desire for the forbidden fruit. It also just made us argue all the time. Then he would then compare the wonderful feeling he was getting with her, with the uncomfortable bad feelings he was feeling with me. This would reinforce the idea that she was wonderful, and it was me and the marriage that drove him to this behavior. Remember this is the twisted thinking of an addict.

      I know all this is unfair and his thinking is stupid. It is. But if your goal is to save the marriage, you must try to play your side smart. You have the upper hand in that you know him better than anyone, perhaps even himself. I say this because men who hide their feelings and emotions from themselves, are more likely get involved in affairs, because they don’t understand their feelings…that attraction is a normal human feeling, and that choice is what distinguishes humans from animals.

      Keep things positive. Tell him how much the girls and you miss him. Let him feel useful, needed, and helpful around the house etc… Do not allow abusive words or behaviors towards you or your girls. Remain calm but firm in front of him. When he is out of sight and sound…you can fall apart.

      You want him to start missing you and the girls, and the life and home that he help create. For some reason, affairs seem to erase from the CS all the happiness that ever occurred in your lifetime together, and replace it with every negative thing that ever happened in your lives. A kind of temporary selective amnesia, Perhaps this is the way CS justify and rationalize having the affair.

      For yourself, keep busy with things you love. Be with people who you can share and feel safe and loved. People who support what you are trying to do…save your marriage. Be careful of other people’s advice. Don’t act on anything unless it feels right for you and what you believe. Exercise to relieve stress. I found yoga worked wonders for me. You can take a class, or just buy an exercise tape. Whatever works for you. Walking through the park worked well for me also.

      Right now H needs time to sort himself out, by himself. In some way there is little you can do to stop him from choosing the affair, other than being that beautiful wonderful woman that he married and showing him what he is missing, whenever he comes around. Take good care of yourself both physically and mentally. Trust in some higher source, god, nature, the universe…whatever you believe in to give you a sense of hope and strength.

      By the way, depending on whether H has positive relationship with your teens or negative one, your teens can help or hinder the problems.

      I hope this advice helps you and any one else. I just hope all my pain and knowledge I have gained in this affair journey can help ease the path for someone else. Much love and best of luck.

      • Holding On September 28, 2011 at 9:56 pm #

        Jackie,

        I think you gave wonderful information here. Thank you for sharing all the knowledge and wisdom you have gained in this hard journey. I love seeing people reach out and help the others behind them in the journey.

      • Sad Mad Wife September 29, 2011 at 8:32 am #

        Thank you so much for your comments. I am feeling better today and your advice is inspirational. I am coming to terms with how strong I am and what things I’m willing to do to keep me on this path to recovery. Your insight helped me and surely many others that read these posts.

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