affair recoveryI think one of the most common problems I see during the later stages of affair recovery is the betrayed spouse has a feeling of being “stuck”. 

Frustration begins to appear because they feel they should be over it by now.  They feel the pain should have decreased by now.  They feel they should be further along in their recovery by now. 

Often times these feelings are followed by the need to run away, take time away from the marriage or just throw in the towel all together.

I remember having this feeling quite often after the intense emotions of Doug’s emotional affair settled down.  I felt like a caged tiger, wanting to run away from the pain and the whole situation.

I remember talking to Dr. Huizenga one day several months ago before an interview we did together, and he asked me how I was doing.  That particular day was a bad one and I told him I wasn’t doing very well. I mentioned that I thought I should being doing better by now. 

He told me that honestly I was doing great and that affair recovery takes an average of 3-5 years.  He also said that maybe Doug wasn’t giving me what I needed in order to recover and that possibly I needed more from him.

I was taken aback because I felt that Doug had made great progress in the previous months.  He ended the emotional affair, was transparent and began to discuss the affair in a calm manner. 

I wasn’t sure what else I needed from him, and if I did, I wasn’t secure enough to ask for it.  It wasn’t something I was comfortable doing and obviously had neglected to do before the affair.  My job then was to figure out what else I needed from Doug to get over the pain.

I knew that I had needs. After all, I had read all the books including “His Needs, Her Needs” by Willard Harley, as well as “The Five Love Languages” by Gary Chapman.  However, I wasn’t quite sure what I needed from Doug that I wasn’t already getting.  I realized that I needed to dig deeper, as our basic needs wouldn’t be enough to save our marriage.

The following is a list of deeper needs that I required for my own affair recovery process:

I needed for Doug to fully understand the pain his affair caused. I needed an opportunity to disclose how much he had hurt me.  I needed for him to listen without making excuses or trying to make it better.  I needed for him to comfort me and feel my pain as if it was his.

I needed Doug to pay attention to my pain.  There were so many affair triggers that were present during that time and instead of sweeping it under the rug and hoping it would go away, or avoid a long discussion, I needed for Doug to say to me some things like, “I know today is difficult for you,” or “I know you are thinking about what happened on this day a year ago. I am sorry, what can I do to make this day better.”

Often times the cheating spouse is afraid to bring up the past, believing that it will make things worse.  For the betrayed spouse the pain is already present so we need to know that our pain is your pain as well.  Sometimes the cheater needs to initiate the conversation and not be afraid of the repercussions.

Don’t judge my pain as if I’m trying to punish you or make you feel bad. One of the most common things Doug would accuse me of back then was trying to sabotage everything good that was happening in our relationship.

That really was not my intent at all, nor was I trying to make him feel bad.  I just needed to share my pain with him. I wanted to be closer to him. 

A person cannot forgive the cheater if the cheater is indifferent to their suffering.  The cheater needs to put aside their own feelings, needs and defenses and experience the pain as the betrayed spouse experiences it.

Don’t try to cheer me up.   Doing this would discount my pain and effectively alleviate his discomfort. Instead, he needed to put himself in my shoes, feel my sadness, enter my world and resonate with my grief.

Understand the depth of the betrayal.  Validate my emotions, understand what the affair has done to me and know what I have lost because of his actions. 

For example, he needed to know his emotional affair destroyed and robbed the way I knew myself.  He needed to know that I used to think of myself as attractive, capable and fun.  He needed to know that I was having a hard time thinking I could be that way again, and not only that, but he needed to feel a sense of sadness and loss as a result.

Offer a sincere apology by taking responsibility for the damage you have caused.  The apology should be specific, personal and heartfelt.

The list above is difficult.  Often it goes against how we typically handle misgivings in our life.  We often run away as we’re afraid to combat the situation head on, or make ourselves feel or look bad believing the situation will not improve or perhaps even get worse.  I know this strategy was not very effective when we previously dealt with the problems in our marriage.

What the list above does is requires a person to be completely unselfish and understand what it means to have unconditional love.  In my opinion, that is an extremely important element that can help you move beyond the pain and be successful in your affair recovery.

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    26 replies to "Affair Recovery Requires You to Know Your Deepest Needs"

    • Notoverit

      I also found myself wanting, in addition to your list, assurances. Many different types of assurances – you will never do this again, you will try to make this better, YOU LOVE ME! Sometimes when I am down I just need that to help me know he cares. My husband is not a talker, never has been. He can’t seem to understand that I need verbal assurances. He makes gestures but I need to hear what is behind those gestures. I am not a mind-reader. I know it gets wearing (perhaps Doug can speak to this) to constantly reassure me but I need it. Does Doug tell you what is on his mind when he is trying to communicate his love for you? I mean, sometimes my husband expects me to know what he is thinking. Our psychologist has told him time and time again to talk, to express his feelings, but he just can’t do it. What do you do Linda when you want those assurances?

    • Julie

      Thank you for this post Linda. I am feeling a lot of these feelings right now and wasn’t quite sure how to articulate them. Thank you for reminding us BS that what we are feeling is normal and reminding us to care for ourselves and to be kinder with ourselves. I’m a month away from the day I discovered my husbands affair with my BF and we’ve come a long way in some ways and I feel stuck in our ways.

      I was just about to post a question to both you and Doug and i’ll do so here.

      I am wondering how others deal with triggers, this week I had a HUGE trigger that was quite unexpected and it involved a lot of hurt feelings to be brought back to the surface. This resulted in both of us having hurt feelings and really both of us feeling a little down and depressed. How do you work through these together? In our case my WS feels so much guilt and has a hard time seeing me so sad. I have a hard time balancing my hurt and not allowing it to drag me back to the past. At the same time he really is doing everything right and I don’t like to see him hurting any more than I like to hurt 

      Any insights would be very much appreciated.

      • Kristine

        Julie, how far are you out from D-day? I think that’s totally normal. Triggers DO sometimes pop up out of nowhere. Depending on the trigger and where you are emotionally and mentally that day, it can be anywhere on the Richter scale of pain.

        The only way to deal with them is to well, deal with them. There’s o magic potion or trust me, I’d patent it and bottle it and sell it 😉 I think it depends on where you are in the process that determines what you do to handle it.

        In the beginning for me, when things were raw and emotions were on high alert. They stopped me in my tracks. Literally. I could be mid-bite, mid-step, it didn’t matter and I’d freeze. My husband would freeze, the air would be thick with silence and anxiety. It was painful and uncomfortable. He’d walk away or I’d walk away. I’d bawl or tear up and his face would be contorted with anguish.

        After a while I was able to continue doing whatever it was I was doing physically but the air would still hang with the tension. I’d get quiet. He’d get quiet. No one knew what to do or say so we’d just sit there letting the moment hang over us until it got pushed out of the room by a phone ringing, a kid needing our attention.

        Then it moved to a mild uncomfortable silence that quickly bounced off the walls and back where it came from. We both noticed it but it didn’t stick around.

        Now we’re at a place where my husband knows a lot of my triggers. There are two artists who I just can’t listen to anymore. When they come on the radio he turns if he’s driving or I do. The moment passes quickly we don’t miss a beat now. We know what they are and we know what they stem from. Most of them don’t have the power to sway us from where were are in the present.

        I do however still have ONE HUGE TRIGGER. I mean it’s huge. I’m about to do the EMDR therapy to move past it. It’s weird because before the adultery I don’t remember ever seeing or hearing this trigger but I see and hear it all the time lately it seems!!! I feel like there’s an assault on me somewhere in secret. My husband knows this is my biggest trigger so we just do our best to avoid it but it’s the kind of trigger you have no idea when it’s going to show up and it’s shown up a lot lately!!! That trigger still stops me in my track. It still causes a lot of tension and there is a thickness in the air when it comes up. All I can do is deal with it, pray myself through it and know that one day it won’t be like this.

        Keep at it! From all I’ve read, moving past a trigger is associating new memories with the trigger so the old memories aren’t attached to it. When I was at the gym the other day, a song that I try to avoid came on. I winced when it started but instead of letting the song take my thoughts to the adultery period, I made myself think about all the things I love about my husband, all the things he has said and done lately, the fun times we’ve had and by the middle of the song I was bopping my head! It can be done! 🙂

    • DJ

      Oh, Linda – this is exactly what I needed to hear today. It’s exactly where I am. My husband tried to help me with recovery before, but now he feels I should be over it, and he gets mad if I even look sad. He’ll say, “So you’re being silly again.” It’s so bad that I am ready to leave. I think it will be easier to get better alone than to go through this. I have hesitated, though, because I do still love him.

      I think I’m going to print your post and show it to him. Maybe it will help him to see…

      • Kristine

        DJ you should give the book How to Help Your Spouse Heal from Your Affair. It talks about this very thing that the betrayer says that continue to wound the betrayed spouse! It even says that the reason why most marriages don’t repair after adultery is because the spouse who did the betraying doesn’t help their partner heal. I think you’d enjoy it and he could benefit from it, too! 🙂

      • Kelly

        Hi DJ,

        My name is Kelly, i couldn’t help but notice your comment. I feel for you because this is exactly where I’m at right now. I’m in recovery and everytime i want to talk about it my husband responds the same way. I’m so sad about it that im on antidepressants and don’t want to have sex with him anymore. I would really love to chat to you more often so we can help eachother in any way. Kind regards

    • Kristine

      It’s funny you posted this Linda because that’s where I arrived back in April. I had did all this ME work. I worked on forgiving, on understanding, I researched, I read the hell out of everything I could find, listened to audios, worked on being a better wife, worked on finding out my husband’s needs and how to fill his love bank and I gave my husband space to come out of his own darkness and work through the process he had to go through. When I finished doing all that, suddenly I found myself with nothing to do. There was nothing to research, nothing left to forgive, nothing left to read. I had nothing else but TIME to focus on my emotions and I realized I had come as far as I could ON MY OWN. I needed my husband to step up to the plate and help me finish healing and that meant I needed him to step into my pain, ask how I was doing and be proactive in recognizing my pain was always at the surface and not just be REACTIVE when he saw the pain. I needed to hear SPECIFIC ways he was sorry. Not just a blanket apology but apologies for certain things he did that caused me tremendous pain. I need him to be the one to BRING UP THE TOPIC at times and not just wait for me to hoping if I didn’t then things must be OK. When I do bring it up, I also want to see him stay on the topic of ME, not always change it back to HIM and how he messed up. We already know that, we already have come to that conclusion. I need him to go deeper than just what happened on the surface and I need him to TALK ABOUT HOW HE FEELS regarding my triggers, my pain, what stage I’m in. He often gets very QUIET when I talk about my pain. I know he feels bad but I need him to step outside of his own shame and guilt and pain and HELP ME WITH MINE.

      He’s not doing those things yet, well not the way I’d like and not completely. I’m still waiting for one day when he’ll just ask “HOW ARE YOU?” he never does that. He is more willing to talk about it but I always have to bring it up and when I do, he’s either very quiet or he talks about how he messed up and how he regrets everything. I often have had to ask for the specific apologies which I would think would cue him in to what Im looking for the next time but it never does. Right now I’m trying to just LET GO AND LET GOD. I just gave my husband the book How to Help Your Spouse Heal from Your Affair. I hope he reads it because it touches on all these things and I really do need those things. They’re the final pieces to the puzzle.

      • jenn

        Kristine, I could have written your post. It’s a little over 1 year past our last D Day and at times, I feel like I’m going to have to leave him because he doesn’t “get it.” I’ll suppress my needs for the sake of harmony for our family, but that’s not doing anyone any favors. When I do get upset about his reactions (or lack thereof) he says the same stuff–‘worry about the future, great times are ahead, blah blah blah.’ I want to believe it, but don’t feel like he’s in tune with my needs as a woman, as a wife, as the mother of his children. I’ve told him several times that I forgave him, but I just can’t trust him to take care of me on an emotional or security level because of what he hasn’t done to help me heal. If he won’t do what I need now to get through his EA, how can I expect him to care for me when I need it if I ever get something serious, like cancer. I was there when he was diagnosed and gave him everything he needed to help him heal from thyroid cancer. He can’t give me the same and I don’t feel like he’ll ever be able to. It’s so frustrating, and I feel stuck. I love my lifestyle, and he’s a part of that, but he doesn’t give me what I need and that hurts so much.

    • Lori

      Oh my Linda, how you nailed it on the head. I wanted him to validate my emotions more than anything, but instead he insisted that I move past this, put the past in the past and more forward. He wouldn’t listen to me, didn’t want to discuss it and wanted ME to accept it and for ME to move on. I totally get how I was stuck in the past and I didn’t know how to articulate to him what I needed for ‘us’ to succeed. I do know that I needed to be put first, and not her. Well, he didn’t choose me or us. He insisted on moving forward with ‘her’ in his life as a very special friend and if I wanted him, I must accept this fact. He never did validate my feelings. I’ve written on here many times sharing my heartache and pain and learning from everyone else. It’s been almost a year since we broke up and this year has been very hard on me. I still second guess my decisions and what I did wrong in the relationship and think I could have handled it all better. But… that’s what he wanted me to think. He had an emotional affair that devastated me and our future and I’m still sad and don’t think I’m worthy of love. But the future is all mine and what I have now is hope for finding a real partner who thinks I’m worthy of being put first!! Thanks again for your insights and guidance on this very difficult path. You are truly helping so many of us!!

    • Paula

      Linda, it’s interesting you say Dr Huizenga says 3-5 years, I was originally told around 2, then 2-4. Basically, it just takes as long as it takes, and I am of the opinion that we don’t really understand that you are never really “over it” – your innocence and trust have been violated, and usually it is for the first time, at least on this scale, and therefore you “learn” mistrust and to be more guarded, no matter how much work you do, no matter how forgiving you have become.

      I’d like to share a story that my H was told a couple of weeks after D-Day by a good (married – who I know has occasional discreet dalliances when “out of town”) friend of ours. He was absolutely disgusted that our “friend” (OW) had dropped my H in it by telling me about their affair after it had ended, he thought she was a bitch for telling – never mind the fact that they were BOTH doing it, some men are funny creatures. However, I digress… He was talking to a (male) friend of his one day about his affair. His wife was a lawyer, and she came home to find him in bed with his lover. He was telling our friend how she had been really amazing, that she had got the talking over with fairly quickly, a matter of a few months, but that if they ever had a glass of wine, out or just with a meal, she would “start into him” as he put it, again. He was telling our friend, “I just told her that I couldn’t have her do that anymore, not after two years! And she stopped” I remember at the time thinking, wow, two years, that’s a long time, I certainly won’t be that sad for that long, but being past two years now, I think, what a shit, he didn’t understand or acknowledge her pain, and she just shoved it under the rug. Unfortunately, most people who haven’t experienced this betrayal, and that includes myself up until then, don’t understand the long-term effects of an affair, we think that, like most things, “we’ll just get over it, eventually.” Even the OW in our case has said to my H, tell her to just harden up and get over it. I have changed my thinking on that, I don’t think we ever “get over it” like you expect “getting over it” will feel. We just learn to manage our anxiety and grief better with time, and that sounds a very sad thing, and that is now what I am trying to come to terms with, the fact that I do have a lovely, good H, but he did this awful, awful thing, and now we have to live with it forever, and I don’t feel like I can give him my full trust back, because that would be betraying my better instincts, and I like to be able to trust unreservedly.

    • RecoveringMommy

      Linda, this post really hit home with me. I’m about 15 months post D-day. My husband and I have come a LONG way during that time. I feel like “I’m over it” about 95% of the time but that 5% where I’m not is almost unbearable. Me and my H have had kind of a rough week this week. Work has been stressful for me and we had to spend money on car repair unexpectedly. We’ve also had some arguments about his family. His family accounts for about 90% of our disagreements, even before the EA. As I was having my semi mental breakdown, which is my usual response having dealt with depression since my teens, he begins his usual routine of promising he will stop giving them control over our life. Just by hearing a few words…”I promise”…everything in me just wanted to scream at him “why should your promises mean anything to me?” And like others have posted, sometimes I want him to bring it up. He has the habit of pretending things will go away if he ignores them long enough. I HATE THAT!!! I know and believe that he’s truly sorry and that he understands that he made the wrong decisions. But he is not the BS, he does not feel my pain no matter what he thinks!

    • changedforever

      Today is just ONE of the 2-day dates that plunged us /our mariage into darkness & despair…so your post of yesterday-shared with my H…was so helpful. Couldn’t have come at a better time as your worfs…are mine. I hope my H reads & re-reads. 1 year ago today my H consummated his EA into a PA. I have been plagued with the ‘what-ifs’ all week…why didn’t I see any signs, why wasn’t I my observent self? What if I was able to ‘catch them’ before the EA went into the PA stage for its 2 month run? So much ruin & damage in such little time. Thank you Linda for this…helps more than ever. God be with me and my H today and tomorrow…keep us in your prayers.

      • Paula

        changedforever, you’re doing so well, and just asking the “normal” questions, what if….. I know that feeling so well, I was so dumb I let my H and his ex spend a night in the same house (with all our respective children there, four of them including hers) as I couldn’t get there that night due to work commitments until first thing the next morning, and that was the first time they had sex, EA, none, just straight into the PA (which turned into an EA, backwards, huh?) How big an idiot am I??? And I wasn’t in the least bit worried about them doing so, because she cheated on him with at least four guys when they went out in their youth,more than 25 years ago, and his opinion of her was pretty low, and I thought she was my childhood friend – for more than 32 years – and although I knew not to trust her, I trusted him implicitly and absolutely completely, even joked to him to “be careful” as they were leaving, that just drives me insane, as how do I ever trust him in the future when he completely destroyed my heart? So, what if I had done the normal, suspicious thing and said they couldn’t go without me, like any “normal” wife would have (we were at a friends’ house at a BBQ celebration as our racehorse had won that day, and he decided to go down to our lakehouse that night, and she and her son went too, he maintains he never thought about it, it wasn’t until he went to bed that night, that he lay there until the wee, small hours and wondered what would happen if he tried to shag her, no premeditation, and I actually do believe that.) What if I had NOT believed all the lies he told me when I made “discoveries” along the way, and asked some pretty direct questions, and swallowed every single lie, hook, line and sinker, man I still can’t believe what an accomplished liar he is, and no sign of this in the previous 21 years. What if he had done it once, frightened himself and stopped, like he did for the first four months after he first shagged her? What if she had never told me after he finally ended it forever and he felt so amazingly good about doing so, finally got the monkey off his back? What if he had remembered to wear a condom, and we didn’t have to deal with a filthy STI? What if he had ever TOLD her she was a nasty piece of work, instead of always having to soothe her ego, even after the affair, just to try to get her to listen to him, as she would storm off if he didn’t make her feel good about herself? What if he hadn’t felt the need to answer her every time she texted him, admittedly very intermittently, over the next two years? What if I was able to believe him now? What if this doesn’t work out, and I can’t “get over it” sufficiently to live together, and I have to leave a guy who is essentially a great guy, the love of my life, because he made one mistake, the only one I can think of in 24 years? What if…….. how long have you got, lol!

    • RecoveringMommy

      Changedforever, you and your H will definitely be in my prayers. I know days like this are hard. And just to maybe help you out with one of your “what ifs”… I did “catch” my H and the OW before their EA turned into a PA. I cannot imagine the pain of dealing with a PA too, but just dealing with an EA is not easy. Whether there was sex involved or not, trust has been broken. Your H has shard that emotional bond with someone else. It is hard to stomach. I wish you and your H luck. Recovering is hard but worth the payoff.

    • DJ

      I am in a dark place right now. I have gone through periods where I thought we could work it out and life would be good again someday. But now I don’t know if the payoff will be worth it. Everybody admits that everything is changed forever – good name, by the way – I can never again say that he is my soul mate. I can never again say that he has been a wonderful husband. I can never again say that I trust him wholly and completely. I can never again say that we loved and supported each other through thick and thin. How is that ever going to be worth it?

    • Kristine

      DJ I’m so sorry you’re in a dark place right now. I understand how that feels. I spent the first 8 months working on ME and all that I needed to do to get past everything and then, when all that work was done, I was left with nothing but my pain and emotions and the REALITY of all that had been done. I felt like things could never be the same and more importantly *I* would never be the same. I was left to wonder how my husband did the things he did and said the things he said. He literally became someone else, and that frankly, made me kinda pissed off that he allowed himself to travel so far down a path that caused me so much pain as if I had never mattered to him.

      I wanted to leave. I remember I told my husband one day recently, “some days I want to leave” and he said “go, take a trip, get a break” and I said, “no, I mean leave the marriage.”

      How did I get to THAT place when I hadn’t considered that before (except the day of D-day of course).

      It’s simple. I was in a dark place. The dark places make EVERYTHING seem unattainable, unfair, unreachable, unfathomable, unrelenting, completely torn, broken, shattered and beyond repair. You can’t see your way out of the darkness and it sometimes feels like the more you fight it, the darker it becomes. It’s in the dark places where we want to throw in the towel and say ” this isn’t worth it.” It’s when we’re floundering we forget the progress that’s been made on both sides and we see no progress. It’s when the darkness is thick we choke on it and will do anything to get from out it.

      All I can tell you is, hold on. The darkness won’t last. I don’t know what your faith is, but it was ONLY my faith that got me through the dark times. Not even logic helped. I was drowning in darkness and God threw me a life raft. It said TRUST ME and so I clung to it for dear life and trusted as the darkness cleared and I found myself floating on clearer waves.

      I still believe my husband is my soul-mate. We’re here, going through a rough time but we’re here. Together. Soul-mates don’t mean PERFECTION. It means a couple that was meant to be together, born for one another and will be together no matter what because in the end that is their destiny. Each other.

      My husband IS still a wonderful husband. He made a really unwise, devastating decision that lead to MORE bad decisions and devastating choices that really caused me a lot of pain but it doesn’t wipe out all the great things he’s done in our marriage prior to his adultery or what he’s doing now or will do in the future. When you’re in the dark times though it’s pain that rules our hearts and minds and we’re unable to see clearly and think on those things.

      I have a saying about this: we have to go through the pain, not under it, not over it or around it but THROUGH it.

      Dark days, unfortunately, seem to hold our hands as we maneuver ourselves through it but there will come a time when they are just DISTANT memories.

      When I’m in a dark period I have to sometimes talk myself through it. “am I in the same place I was?” No. “Did I get through the last dark period?” Yes. “Do I want to give up?” Yes. “Will I give up?” No.

      This too shall pass. :::hugs:::

    • 4 months down

      Ive posted on here a few times and never got a response. I really need to know if this has happened to anyone and how you delt with it.
      Its been 4 months since Dday. We are getting better, its been a long emotional roller coaster.
      Heres my problem: My H shows me how much he loves me. And that has really helped for a while. But he does not usually tell me he loves me unless i say it first. About a month ago i noticed this and asked him why. he said he didnt want to overuse those words like we did before (the EA). So he only feels he needs to say it when its the right time for him. I explained to him that i need to hear it, because he stopped telling me that he loved me around the same time he started telling the OW that he loved her. I found out he showed her and told her all the time.
      He apologized for not telling me more and he didnt even realize he was doing that.
      So this brings us to this week. Its been 3 days since hes said it. I was waiting. Finally i told him. He now doesnt understand why i need to hear it on a regular basis. He says he shows me all the time and that nothing is good enough for me. He feels like i’m never happy.
      Im not happy. Since the EA i need the reassurance. Ive txt him, emailed and we talked about the last 2 nights. So this morning I apologized and told him i just had to much time to think about things. i just dont want to fight. We were getting along great until i realized he wasnt saying it again unless i said it first.
      I feel like he gave all of himself to the OW (besides P, that i know of) and im just asking for him to tell me he loves me regularly not every 3 or 4 days. One morning while waking up he told me he loved waking up with me. And that was his way of telling me he loved me. Its not the same thing. Am i crazy?
      Can anyone shed some light on this? Why is he making this need of mine so difficult. I feel like he just doesnt love me. But he shows it so im confused.

      • Doug

        4 months down, I think that initially you need to think about why it is so important for you to hear those words. I know that in the beginning of our recovery I wanted to have and experience everything that he did with the OW, I felt that if he did all of those things then we would be ok, however when he did them I still didn’t feel secure or better. Honestly they really made me feel worse.

        Yesterday Doug and I had the “affair talk”, and I asked him some questions about what he “loved” about the OW. He said it was all superficial and that often times “I love you” is overused or I interpreted it as sometimes we say things without really understanding what it really means, or being caught in the moment. I am pretty sure that Doug’s feelings for me run much deeper than they did for Tanya and in a way saying I love you to me now just doesn’t really express how much he really loves me. I also feel that those words do not mean the same to me as they did before the affair. . It is very easy to say those words, it is much more difficult to really show the person how you feel about them.

        Your husband may feel the same way, he may have realized how little those words mean and he is trying to show you his love by his actions or specially telling you what he loves about you. In my book that means so much more than just saying I love you. I know it is important in the beginning to want that but you also need to look at his actions, they take a lot more thought and effort. Linda

    • changedforever

      Wow-so much to digest over the past couple of days from this post’s comments: Kristine, your post with the ‘life raft’ reference was amazing & helped both my H & I so much – thank you for these words (but I’m interested in knowing what EMDR therapy is..? maybe its what I need too.) And to DJ – definitely print the posts that can help you & your CS- sometimes I forward the comments to my H by email, but when I print them, highlight & write my comments on them, this seems to have a greater impact of his understanding the posts themselves. And Paula, amazing that your H’s affair began when you had a positive in your life (your horse’s win,) as my H’s began when a severe family crisis involving our son occurred – the LAST time in my life I EVER expected my H to ‘leave’ me – alone & handling such a traumatic time in our lives (taking the ‘flight’ route.) I now feel that the dark clutches of an affair can happen to ANYONE at ANYTIME. Vultures are everywhere & lurking, just waiting to swoop in for the ‘kill.’ And Paula, your ‘what if’ list of questions- every one of your questions -was unfortuantely, mine as well (including the STD reference.) And Recovering, your words were so appreciated. To 4 Months Down – I am almost 10 mths past D-Day and continued for months to suffer thru the same ‘I Love You’ dilemma and it is as Linda mentioned in the last comment back when she listed: “I also feel that those words do not mean the same to me as they did before the affair… – as this ‘I Love You’ term was used back & forth between the OW and my H constantly – but after 10 months, I believe he means it now and it comes from him now, spontaneously. Give it a little more time as these words may very well be a ‘trigger’ for your H (was for mine now that I have been able to get my H to offer up his triggers.) Just got thru 3 bad ‘dates,’ as of today’s end; I plan to continue to use all of your comments to get me thru the next 3 month’s worth of more bad dates too- Can’t thank all of you enough…hard to find the words but I believe you all know and feel the same way at times…

      • Kristine

        ChangedForever,

        EMDR therapy http://www.emdr-therapy.com/

        —taken from the site—

        —Patients who have suffered for years from anxiety or distressing memories, nightmares, insomnia, abuse or other traumatic events can now gain relief from a revolutionary new therapy called EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing).

        Research shows that EMDR is rapid, safe and effective. EMDR does not involve the use of drugs or hypnosis. It is a simple, non-invasive patient-therapist collaboration in which healing can happen effectively.

        This powerful short-term therapy is highly effective for a wide range of disorders including chronic pain, phobias, depression, panic attacks, eating disorders and poor self-image, stress, worry, stage fright, performance anxiety, recovery from sexual abuse and traumatic incidents.

        Many patients who have made slow progress in the past, or who have not benefited from more traditional therapies say that with EMDR they have finally found something that works for them!—

        My therapist who I met with the day after I found out about my husband’s adultery (and truly a God send) spoke to me recently about this therapy. She’s a certified EMDR therapist and after speaking to her about my big trigger, she’s categorized it as being tied to a traumatic event in my life and that I can gain considerable healing from it with the EMDR. I’m really looking forward to it because this trigger was actually before the adultery, something that was very special to me. It’s not a trigger that just reminds me of a painful time during the adultery period but it’s also something that reminds me of what was taken from me, something that was so important to me and that now is something that is so painful. I have not only painful memories associated with this but a tremendous loss.

        Check it out! I’m very excited to begin this. She’s very sure that I can gain back the love I had for this trigger again though this therapy and I can’t wait because I want to be rid of this particular sorrow.

    • Shattered

      Linda, I found you and Doug’s site five months ago. About two weeks after my d-day. I could not have made it this far without it. It seems as if this is a secret club and unless you are unlucky enough to be a member, you will never understand what it’s like. Thank you for reliving your pain in order to help others.

      • Doug

        Shattered, Thank you for saying that. It means a lot. Linda

    • 4 months down

      Thank you for responding. I was talking to a friend a few days ago that went thru both EA and P. She helped me to realize that Im just begining to heal and it will take time. There will be good days and bad. I kept wondering to myself why i was so upset by my H not saying it to me. In hindsight, I really dont want to hear those words from him unless he means it.
      Yesterday he came home with a card and a candle (still laid up do to surgery) the card said “better showing than telling” “I love you”
      It was so sweet.. and i feel so bad about putting him thru my insecurities.. Some days i just cant help the emotional termoil i go thru. If I dont tell him how i feel than it will become just like before (one of the reasons he had an EA was because we didnt communicate well)
      So when i go thru triggers and all of the past starts choking out my happiness i tell him. He doesnt quite understand. He just says he knows we’re not out of the woods yet.
      But actions do speak loud. He’s been here for me. We do just about everything together (have a lot in common) Just like we use to at the beginning of our marriage.
      Im really getting sick of holding on to these feelings. It seems as if my H has no feelings about it and he just wants to move on, than i get all upset (bad day) and im affraid to push him away again, but if i hold it in we’ll be back to not communicating. Def dont want that…
      It scares me when i read on this site that it could take years.
      It seems like just more years wasted in pain. i just want to be happy without this EA looming over my every thought…

    • Holding On

      Thank you Doug and Linda for this site. It is helpful to know I am not alone. It has been 6 weeks today since finding out about my husband’s EA. It has been quite a roller coaster. He would be happy to never mention the EA again. I cause him hurt each time I ask a question, bring up something, or cry or have a bad day, etc. He says he will do or talk about whatever I need, just know that it causes him pain and he is back to feeling like the horrible, jerky, nasty man he was. That makes it easy to talk about stuff, right? 🙁

      I enjoy reading the posts and all the comments. It is so sad to know there are so many living with this pain, but I am glad there is somewhere to turn for a “community.”

      I have not told anyone, so it is very hard to not feel I can talk with my husband about this or suffer him pulling away and blaming me for making him feel bad over this. I think I am going to need to open up to someone over this so at least someone knows and I can maybe turn to them for support when I feel I can’t talk with my husband. We start therapy together in a couple weeks, maybe that will help?

      Thank you, Kristine, for your words. I actually copied and pasted about the dark days and the raft, so I can read over as necessary. I know tomorrow will probably be a better day than today, it is just hard to have those depressing days, when you’re not sure how you will ever be YOU again.

      • Doug

        Holding On, Obviously, any cheater won’t want to talk about the affair, but he has to realize that YOU are now in charge and if you need to talk about it to help in your heeling, then he’s going to have to suck it up and talk about it. Unless you are creating an absolutely horrible environment for him when you discuss the affair that causes this “pain,” I’m thinking that he is just using this “pain” as a deflection technique so that he doesn’t have to talk about it. On the plus side, you are starting therapy so maybe all this will come out in the wash then and he will start to discuss it more. Good luck!

    • Suzie Suffers

      Linda…….I wish my husband would somehow READ these and understand that waving a magic wand as he would like to make everything go away……..It’s been 2 1/2 years since the PA….but lots of chasing after that…..pa’s and ea’s before…..but he just doesn’t want to have to talk about anything….the longer it goes the most frustrated I am and really ready to throw in the towel…..If I hear….”we just need to move forward and worry about the present” one more time I think I’m going to scream!! He says I can’t do anything about the past so why talk about it. I’m just still trying to get him to admit to his motives for chasing the women….other than they needed his help in AA or some other excuse……Like there aren’t women that could help these ladies….instead of my husband…..He’s always putting out the bait to see what he can catch….once it lands in his lap……IT”s suddenly not his fault…she was pursuing him…..PSYCO babble.
      You site is a blessing!!!

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