6 Comment Gems from Affair Survivors

affair survivorsWe truly believe that some of the best stuff on this site comes from you the readers. As of the very moment I type this sentence, there have been 22,105 comments made by you all.

We thought it would be a good idea to pick out a few made by some affair survivors that we felt were particularly good.  Hopefully, you will find some value in them as well.

Here we go…

Comment Gem #1

Author: “Elaine”

Post: The Emotional Affair Still Causes Pain

Linda and other wounded spouses,

I am one of you – 13 months into this journey and finally coming out on the other side. This has been the worst and best year of my life. I have cried more tears in this year than my entire 43 years and have learned more about myself and relationships in this year than in all my 43 years. I can say I am a better, more confidant and loving person because of and despite my husband’s affair and I doubt I would have found this wisdom without it.

Ever since D-day, I have had a fierce determination not to let their behavior or choices change me for the worse. If I was changing, it was going to be for the better. I have read thousands of pages and have spent more time thinking and discovering things about myself than I ever thought I would. I loved Byron Katie’s “Loving What is” and “Real Love” by Greg Baer. They have taught me so much about accepting reality and loving unconditionally – which doesn’t mean accepting destructive things in your life but does mean being at peace with your life no matter what the circumstances. Your hurt and pain really is in your thinking and perception of any situation. Take this opportunity to find your strength and happiness inside of you because that’s the only place it’s ever been and ever will be. Then you can go out and enjoy life without expectations or disappointments in how others are behaving.

Take charge of your life and happiness and stop letting other people control how you feel about yourself. I, for one am not letting him, her or anyone else dictate how I see myself, my life or my possibilities because THEY really have nothing to do with me, those are my choices and responsibility and it is so freeing to know it’s all in my control and always has been. I was giving my freedom, happiness and peace of mind to them every time I would get upset or try to control their choices and I have now taken it all back, they can’t have it anymore.

Little did I know, as I gradually started to change my thinking, my husband did notice (so did my 3 boys) and wanted to know how I was doing it. He was attracted to the confidant, happy, peaceful person I was becoming. He felt I had finally set him free and he was able to make a choice without feeling forced or guilted into a decision. He could feel confident that his choice to come back to our marriage was solely his. We are still working on issues, but I know we are both changed for the better forever because of his affair and how we each chose to deal with it.

I hope all of you find the peace and happiness that is inside of you, waiting to be found, no matter what is going on in your life.

 

Comment Gem #2

Author: “D”

Post: Discussion – How Do You Get Over the Past Pain?

Let me preface this by stating that every relationship is different.

We have definitely turned a corner in our household. Every day the affair is further and further away to the point where I at times wonder why I got so bent out of shape about this. I never thought I would be in this frame of mind.

Much of this has to do with my wife’s behavior toward me. She is engaging, generous, affectionate, sexual, and for the most part open with her feelings. She has accepted responsibility and has honored NC since April. She sees this as a fantasy and has worked hard to get him out of her system and work on herself (through therapy, etc) in order to work on our marriage. Neither of us believes she ever fell out of love with me, but rather she allowed herself to cross those boundaries we are all tempted to cross at one time or another. I don’t believe there was a “reason” for this. It just happened one step at a time until it got out of control … just like any addiction.

Frankly, it seemed possible after d-day that we could have moved past this quickly and resumed our relationship. But it turned out we both needed to allow anger and pain to run its course. She needed to feel punished. I needed to feel betrayed. To move forward without that would be harmful in the long run.

But there is a point when both parties need to move on.

For my own part, just as she needed to let go of the affair, so too did I. I needed to stop talking about it, stop voicing every thought, stop throwing it in her face. She isn’t sleeping with, pining for, secretly meeting with anyone now, so what am I angry about? My ego is bruised, my trust has been damaged, my belief in my marriage has been shaken. It’s legitimate anger. But it’s anger based on past events. She is in the marriage now. She is reaching out to me. She wants to be with me. I still need to accept that completely, but I’ve found the less I dwell on this, the better I feel.

It was also helpful to accept that I can’t depend on her for my happiness. I need to secure that for myself. It’s not a bad result to all of this. I am less beholden to her and I think she appreciates me more for it.

One important aspect to keep in mind (and it helps the betrayed understand the mindset of the betrayer during the affair) is that one can become addicted to the pain of betrayal. Wallowing, anger, ruminating are all bad habits I’ve fallen into. I’m used to waking up and thinking about them. I’m used to passing by places they met and getting mad about it. It becomes Pavlovian after a while. I found I needed to have those negative feelings because I became accustomed to having them. They became a sort of crutch for me. Without them, without being the betrayed husband, who was I? I imagine my wife felt a similar need. She developed a bad habit of needing to hear from him, to see him, to read his emails, and when she tried to break that habit, it was too difficult.

I’ve really tried hard to break my own habits, to replace negative thoughts with positive ones. And one really important lesson I’ve learned is that tomorrow really is another day. I get the one day at a time mantra.

We will never be as naively trusting as we once were, but we will never be as dependent either. I think that independence allows one to take a chance on love once more. If a cheating spouse really wants to commit to the marriage, then we might take a chance to allow love to flourish.

 

Comment Gem #3

Author: “Jackie”

Post: How to Save Your Marriage

It seems like what we betrayed spouses are feeling and thinking are all the bad sides of ourselves. I too was happy before the EA became known. Ignorance is bliss sometimes, but it is also being in fantasy. Just like our spouses we now face the darker side of ourselves.

What did Yoda say in “Star Wars?” “Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to the dark side.”

So we as betrayed spouses are now facing our dark side. Just like our wayward spouses we can choose to give up, escape the problems (dark sides) by having an affair or choosing fantasy. Sometimes it seems easier just to quit and give up. But then we give up the opportunity to learn very deep things about who we truly are.

We are each faced with choices of who we want to become, someone filled with fear, anger, hate, bitterness….or we can choose love, understanding, kindness, and forgiveness. The choices we make today will determine what kind of person we will become in the future. Somehow we need to become friends with that dark side of us that is fearful and angry, understand how natural all those feelings are but not let it consume us. I think this is what is meant for us to continue to work on ourselves.

After all, life is not necessarily about the successes you have, but the lessons you learn along the way and who you become in spite of hardships that come your way.

Learning to love and trust again is hard after being betrayed by the person you loved and trusted the most. But our cheating spouses must also learn to love and trust and forgive themselves after they have committed the worst hurt possible to those that they once claimed to love. They clearly have a much tougher battle. Can they even trust themselves to do the right things any longer?

 

Comment Gem #4

Author: “Blueskyabove”

Post: Discussion – What is Your Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda List?

If I could do one thing differently I would be more honest with myself, less trusting in my thoughts and what I was telling myself. I caused myself a lot of unnecessary turmoil by not questioning what my mind and ego was saying. My life wasn’t over as I initially kept insisting it was. I had all the proof I needed. I was still breathing, my heart was still beating. The made-up scenarios my mind kept envisioning were just that…made-up scenarios. Geez…I still find it somewhat embarrassing to recall the drama that surrounded my emotions at the time. None of it was beneficial to my growth and recovery.

I can see now that it ‘woulda’ been far better for me to acknowledge “it is what it is, now whom do I choose to be in relation to it?” instead of focusing on what ‘they’ did to me. Focusing on them and their behavior hindered my recovery, disempowered me and kept me in a state of victimhood which left me feeling weak and vulnerable. It isn’t something I would recommend. It didn’t increase my self-esteem which had taken a major hit. All it did was perpetuate the private pity parties I was holding. It was a vicious, negative circle that became harder and harder to break. Once I stopped resisting though, I was able to begin the healing process.

It took a while to first recognize and then acknowledge that I was often my own worst enemy, that I, and I alone, was many times responsible for sabotaging my recovery. That was NOT easy to accept, but in the process I learned a lot about the ego…its purpose and tactics…and human behavior. I also learned that I do not have to go through life in a state of unconscious reaction. I am not at the mercy of my thoughts and feelings. (Or anyone else’s for that matter.) “Is that so?” has become a part of my new vocabulary. Learning to just ‘be’ with an emotion without judgment or resistance is empowering. You learn quickly that it’s just a feeling, just energy. It has no power or control over you unless you grant it permission. Now that’s truly life-changing!

 

Comment Gem #5

Author: “Roller Coaster Rider”

Post: Can You Ever Recover from Infidelity?

I know that initially after D-Day 1 I began to really have lots of painful moments: Why would he do this to me? What is wrong with me? I looked long and hard at all the factors that may have played a part in the infidelity and tried to be sincere and honest with myself about the role I may have had in bringing him to this state of needing another woman’s approval and wanting her admiration so much he would say whatever she wanted to hear and do whatever messed up thing with her in order to please her (and I’m sure satisfy himself). But in that process I began to see very clearly that the affair had so little to do with me.

That was a part of the ‘seeing the truth’ for me. I began to realize that I really did not matter much at all; nothing I did, said, wanted, or hoped for was a factor in my H’s decision to continue in that relationship. So now, although the marriage is over, I have to continue to ask myself the hard questions in order to be the person I know I can be and want to be as I move forward. And if I can do anything to help (especially) my sisters on this website, it is to encourage you to trust your gut, and don’t settle. You each have so many amazing, wonderful qualities and you should never assume that that man cheated on you because there was/is something wrong with you. Yes, you still love him. But should you? Is he really honoring you as his wife, and desiring you as an equal partner in this life journey we’re on, or does he use you, take you for granted or even abuse you in some way? Don’t let him.

 

Comment Gem #6

Author: “WriterWife”

Post: Remembering the History of a Marriage

I find this interesting and to be honest, I have mixed feelings about it. I completely agree that it’s important to reflect on the history of the marriage and to be honest about not only how you feel about it now (looking back) but also how you saw it then. As you said in your last post, I think a lot of the CSs feel the need to look back at their marriages through a negative lens because it allows them to justify the EA (in the same way that they start seeing only the negative of their spouse so they can justify falling for someone else). This feels utterly unfair to me and I think it’s important for the BS to confront the CS about this — to push them to recognize the bias they’ve introduced to their lives.

At the same time, while I do think reminiscing about past events when the relationship was going well and pushing the CS to admit the good times, I’m not sure about making a list of those events and redoing them. To me it feels like turning to the past and restarting the cycle you’re currently on rather than embarking into a fresh future.

To me the key is what Linda says about finding positive places of joy to discuss emotions and what brings you together and what makes you happy and if going back to a place of a past joy and redoing it will aid that then I think it’s a great thing to try. Same with reminiscing — a couple’s past is so important and I think it’s important not to let that go!

However, I don’t want to redo my past great moments — what happens if something goes amiss and somehow I end up tarnishing them? I don’t want to return to where we honeymooned because a part of me will spend time thinking “oh, back then I had no idea what an EA was or that it was possible — I just believed blindly in us and our marriage.”

Instead, I’d rather create new great moments. I feel that I have a new marriage — it’s one that’s moving in a new direction and it needs to rest on a different foundation than it did before because clearly that old foundation wasn’t strong enough and struggled. I don’t want to fall in love with my husband the way I did before because that love and that relationship ultimately led to the EA.

Finally, one other point I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about (in my personal life but also in my job as a writer)… people’s truths can differ. Just because my husband may look back and wonder if he actually loved me doesn’t mean that’s the truth of what our relationship was back then. I get to have my own truths and my truth is that he did love me. I felt it, I knew it, I believed it (and still do). He can’t take that away unless I let him and I don’t choose to let him define that part of my life — that’s giving him power over my emotions he doesn’t deserve.

I’m not advocating being delusional, but I am saying that if my husband can’t think of a time I made him happy, that doesn’t mean it didn’t happen because I have my own memories of making him happy. It sucks he can’t/won’t remember them, but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist.

At the same time, I don’t want to downplay at all how devastating it is to have your spouse rewrite your positive memories into his negative or nonexistent ones. My husband has done that and honestly, it’s one of the many aspects of this whole thing that makes it all feel even more unfair and maddening.

 

Pretty good stuff, don’t you think?  Please share your comments about these wonderful ‘comments’ below.  Thanks!

Here are links once again to the posts in which the above comments were made:

The Emotional Affair Still Causes Pain

Discussion – How Do You Get Over the Past Pain?

How to Save Your Marriage

Discussion – What is Your Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda List?

Can You Ever Recover from Infidelity?

Remembering the History of a Marriage

 

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12 Responses to 6 Comment Gems from Affair Survivors

  1. chiffchaff October 18, 2013 at 1:12 pm #

    they are true gems and it’s great to see them collated like this. thanks!

  2. Paula October 19, 2013 at 8:55 pm #

    Great gems. Isn’t it interesting, but totally understandable, how the positive posts get few comments, and yet we can rant away at the ones we can parallel our pain with. I know my mind is my greatest enemy. I know there has been, and continues to be, a lot of self sabotage. I just wish I could find the tools to change things, I can sustain it for a few days at a time (still steeped in deep pain) but I can’t sustain the positive thinking, and “choose happiness” mantra long term. This is not how I used to react. I had down times, but I always picked myself up by the boot strings. Truly the most frustrating thing I have ever dealt with, and the most unmanageable emotional turmoil ever, even after all these years, and all this therapy, etc. Peace, the thing I long for, and seek. I wonder if I am a faulty model, the one released without the “off” switch installed 😉

    • Doug October 20, 2013 at 9:28 am #

      You said… “Isn’t it interesting, but totally understandable, how the positive posts get few comments, and yet we can rant away at the ones we can parallel our pain with.” Funny how you mention that, as Linda and I were discussing that very fact just yesterday. We wonder if people are getting anything out of them.

      I’m confident that you will someday find your “off” switch!

  3. Saw the Light (formerly Roller Coaster Rider) October 19, 2013 at 9:54 pm #

    Paula, one thing you have taught me is that despite being in deep pain, a person can still choose to be loving…and you have been. Another thing I’m currently learning is that going through the pain is necessary in order to find the healing. You have been going through it and going through it…but you haven’t given up, you continue to ‘do life’ and you are loving your kids, others, and yourself in the best way you know how. I’m not sure I will ever not be affected by the pain, either. But I’m not throwing in the towel, and you’re not, either. Accepting what is, is hard when it is never what we wanted. You may or may not resonate with this, but it’s my new mantra:
    Weeping may last for a night, but joy comes in the morning.
    I want that so much for you, and for all the others here (and elsewhere) who live with pain.

  4. Paula October 20, 2013 at 4:41 pm #

    STL, yes, thank you. I know I am still me under all this, but I just wish the recovery process was a little shorter/smoother, etc, of course I do, don’t we all 🙂 I am worse at present than I have been at almost any stage throughout these past four plus years, and boy, does it drag you down. These are the days where I just want to call, ENOUGH! I want off this ride, lol. But, work, kids, uni, business accounts, you know, life, it doesn’t stop. Heavy head cold, exam stress, all that, I know that it is reactive behaviour to extra stresses. But knowledge hasn’t helped a whole lot for me. But, you are right, the only way is forward, still trudging through hell, sure will get to the other side, there is no other choice 😉

    Doug, and Linda, good point, I try to focus more on the positive posts these days if I visit here, there has been enough pain to last several lifetimes, just wish I had the tools to lessen it some more. Thanks.

  5. EyesOpened October 20, 2013 at 5:56 pm #

    Thank you for posting these – I have been kept busy reading older posts too, which have been incredibly interesting. One of them really got me thinking – which is what so many of these posts do. It seems that you used to have a few more remorseful CSs posting once upon a time and those insights are really helpful to me. AshB (a bs) posted her h’s emotions through the affair in ‘How one reader struggles to survive an affair’ and it is just making me see this whole thing from yet another perspective.

    Thank you again Doug and Linda (and everyone else) for allowing me to be here.

  6. forcryin'outloud October 21, 2013 at 10:01 pm #

    Paula, I appreciate many of your statements here. I too after 3+ years wonder why the off switch can be so elusive. I will have a good patch (few days) then it all will come slamming down again. For the most part I’m over the intense mind gripping anguish. Now it’s the future that seems daunting…trust and the realization that my H’s dark side is by nature emotionally reckless.
    For me the positive posts are uplifting and give me so much hope but then it seems terrifying because what if it’s ripped from underneath me again or worst of all a mirage. My therapist told me I’m always waiting for the other shoe to drop because it always has. Childhood trauma junk!
    Maybe a few days of sunshine is better than none. Like you I’m at a point where I’m trying to focus on peace and the brighter stuff.

  7. Saw the Light (formerly Roller Coaster Rider) October 22, 2013 at 8:20 pm #

    FCOL, I can tell you from personal experience, that even if the very worst imaginable scenario happens, you can find peace and joy despite the heartache. Knowing you are choosing to do good when good was not what was handed you is huge! I remember as I went through this process like all of you, just wanting and hoping for the right choices to be made by both of us…yet even though he didn’t choose well, I still can. Without him.

    • forcryin'outloud October 22, 2013 at 8:54 pm #

      SL – Thanks for the kind words and encouragement. I’m just ready to move onto some semblance of a satisfied state of being. The histrionics and vitriol of this affair trauma has run it’s course for me.

  8. Paula October 23, 2013 at 12:14 am #

    Lovely to hear that, FCOL and STL. So very right, good luck to both of you as you move through this x.

  9. Carole September 1, 2017 at 5:43 am #

    Great inspiring gems. Thanks Linda & Doug these are so thought provoking & positive.
    This is a long lonely road at times but your emails are always a blessing to receive.
    Thank you
    Carole x

    • Doug September 1, 2017 at 9:31 am #

      Thanks Carole. Glad you liked them!

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