after the affairIf you’ve been trying to heal after the affair for any length of time, you have probably said to yourself something along the lines of: “Boy, if I would have known then what I know now, I wouldn’t have made so many mistakes in the past.” 

I look back at all the things I did after being blindsided by Doug’s emotional affair and wish that I would have had some source or knowledge for what I should have been focusing on at the time.

The most difficult time I have is the time that I found all the phones calls and texts on Doug’s phone (our first d-day and when I finally put my foot down).  I stopped being a doormat and Doug sincerely asked for forgiveness and began the hard work of saving our marriage.

I look back at the period of time prior to that and honestly I become very angryI feel anger towards Doug because of the way he treated me and get angry at myself for allowing it to happen.

After the affair is discovered, the betrayed spouse is in shock and they are in denial and they are really incapable of doing much of anything at that point.  They are also looking out for the welfare of their family, they do not know the seriousness of the situation (mainly because the cheater will not be completely honest) and they believe that the cheater will do what is right.

However, as the days and months go on and either the affair continues or the cheater is not making the effort to emotionally re-enter the marriage, the betrayed spouse needs to take a stance.  But the betrayed spouse often continues to lose the control and power they need to wake up and really look deep within themselves to figure out if they are acting in a way that displays that they have self-respect and self-love.

After d-day, so many of us will do anything to save our marriage.  We will take the blame, change so we are more like the affair partner, make dates, bite our tongues and comprise our values. 

I remember doing things that I was very uncomfortable with just to get Doug to notice me or want me. I remember thinking I was being a bad example to my daughters and that I should have more self-respect.

My advice to anyone who finds themselves in this situation is to stop reading all the books that tell you how to be more desirable to the opposite sex, the books that tell you how to be a better lover or how to save your marriage.  Instead, put your energy into trying to save yourself.  Try to figure out why you are allowing your spouse to walk all over you, why you are allowing them to have their cake and eat it too.

I know that you cannot control what your spouse is doing to you and cannot stop their affair, but you have to somehow understand that you can control how you allow this to affect you. 

You need to work on YOU and do things that make you feel good about yourself.  You also need to ask yourself if the way you are handling this situation is good for you or are your actions only an attempt to make your spouse love you.

The way I acted during this time has been a big wake up call for me.  I am searching for answers why I became a doormat and did not take a different stance of the situation.  I am trying to figure out if this has been a consistent pattern for me and if I have always suffered from low self-concept.

After the affair, you cannot control your spouse’s actions.  You cannot stop them from continuing the affair or from treating you poorly.  The only thing you can control is how you are affected by their choices.

 

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Journey to Healing
Surviving and Thriving Post D-day

Healing and thriving is an active process, it is a choice, and best of all, it is in your power.  But how do you get past the anger and despair and on the path to healing?

Is there a system or “hack” that can guide you?

There is, and that’s exactly what this program is all about…

 

 

    105 replies to "After the Affair – Control the Affect of the Cheater’s Choices"

    • Alone

      Hi, Probably not the main point of this post, but this made me think. This post mentioned failure of the cheater to emotionally re-enter the marriage. Have any of you BS felt emotionally abandoned by your CS after the affair? If so, how did you overcome it? What did the CS do to show you they were back not just physically, but emotionally? Did you truly believe they were back? Or, did you think it was an act? Thanks. I always appreciate your thoughts.

    • Anita

      I agree with this.
      For me my worth and my value, comes from God, and what he
      saids. It doesn’t come from other people. I have learned when others treat us poorly, we do not have to own their
      behavior, what they say or what they do. Instead I can
      forgive them, and carry on with my own life and what God
      says about me.
      This was such as break through for me, when I finally got it.

    • B

      I think this is an excellent point Linda. there are so many stages to the process after you discover any type of infidelity. From a betrayed spouse it looks and feels like we go through shock, denial, anger, sadness, depression, guilt, remorse, self-blame. We go through all of these emotions time and time gain in different orders. We live under an umbrella thinking we can change ourselves to stop the affair, when we need to realize that we are powerless to stop it. Betrayed spouses are powerless to stop it because it has NOTHING to do with them. It is the CS who has the issue with themselves or have become disconnected and even though their actions almost destroy the spouse they love, it still in the end has nothing to do with us. I think I have discovered that putting your foot down doesn’t necessarily mean delivering ultimatums, it simply means that as a betrayed spouse you change how you react. for me, I went from being a neurotic mess constantly on surveillance to saying the following things to myself every morning:

      1. I will not log into her email and comb through it anymore.
      2. I will not grab her cell phone and look through it.
      3. I will not panic if she can’t be found or doesn’t answer her phone.
      4. If she acts distant from me, or feels unsure of her self, I won’t attribute it to anything, I’ll simply do something that keeps me busy.
      5. I will not wait on her hand and foot, I will not become a patheitc wimp of a dog to please her.

      Then I would say:

      1. I will love her, care for her, smile, be happy, and enjoy my life at that moment. With her, with the kids, at work, etc.

      I decided that if she says it is over, then it is. If she goes back and has contact for any reason, I will express my disappointment, but won’t make it a conversation for 3 days. I’ll show her everything she will be giving up if her behavior continues and I will remain strong enough to work on me and walk away if she can’t pull herself together. It is almost like ignoring the behavior and making your hoe a happy place. This gives the CS a limited scope of choices. they can either (1) destroy a happy home and give up their family for their AP, (2)Pull themselves together and rebuild the trust to save their marriage, (3) Completely self-destruct and never have an answer as to why they did it. The hardest lesson to learn through all of this was that you can’t stop an affair and you can’t do anything to prevent cheating. You have to wake up one day and realize that if your spouse wants to cheat on you they will, and if they do, they aren’t worth your love. Besides, if your spouse has had any type of affair and has refused to leave you and says they love you, you are dealing with some pretty powerful stuff and it is your job to just enjoy your life, forcing them to make a choice. It is very hard to do, but I’m afraid it is the only thing that will bring closure to the issue (one way or the other). Sniveling, begging, crying, whining, and pleading do NOTHING but drive the CS back into the arms of the AP and confirm their motives. A strong, healthy, confident you shows them just how foolish they really are and allows their guilt to slowly eat at them in agonizing fashion. Don’t get me wrong, in my private moments I still suffer some and I wish this never would have happened, but in front of her I’ll wear my poker face and bluff all day if I have to. Sooner or later she will either show her hand or fold.

      • Struggling

        Thank you for this post. Question…do you act loving with your CS? Do you have that ability? I struggle with allowing to give of myself while my spouse continues his EA with the OW? I am really struggling with this as I then always feel that that shows I am ok with it (to me and my spouse) and am enabling…comments please…
        Fyi, 11 months in.

    • B

      It should be noted that I meant to say “your HOME a happy place”, not “your HOE a happy place”, but I got a chuckle out of the ironic typo.

    • Anita

      Through my own fault, the years before I got serious about my
      faith, I was a people pleaser, instead of pleasing God. This
      does not work. Brokeness and crying to God to take my pain,
      was the the turing point in my life.
      Learning his ways were different from mans way, was so
      exciting for me. It brought me into the wholeness of God,
      where I was finally able to love other people. So when others
      are hurtful, it no longer crushes me, instead I can forgive
      them, and know that I am still whole with God.
      However, it takes courage to do this, but it is so worth it.

    • D

      Alone, it’s a process and I don’t believe any couple ever “comes back,” instead they move forward, accepting a new, and hopefully rewarding reality. I’ve heard the course of marriage described as weaving a giant tapestry. The affair is merely woven into it, becoming part of it, but the tapestry may be richer as a result.

      After two years, the OM has been making attempts to reconnect with my wife. On Friday she told him to stop, she wasn’t interested. His response was that she is a bitch who wreaked havoc on his life (I’m still trying to contain the immense satisfaction I get from this since he instigated the entire thing.) I would say my wife is “back.” Yet, I find that I don’t really want that woman anymore. She was a selfish child, lost, secretive, angry. This is a stronger version of my wife and that’s kind of the whole point. Both the BS and the CS shouldn’t wish to go backward. There is only forward.

    • chiffchaff

      I also became a real doormat when I first discovered the EA/PA, desperate to turn myself into the person that I believed at the time that H was looking for. I was pathetic. I took the blame for everything he had done and forgave him immediately. Guess what? He continued to contact her and thought entirely about himself. he didn’t notice me, didn’t notice anything about me and certainly didn’t notice the pain he was causing me to feel.
      When I discovered the truth, all of it, I left and discovered myself again. I agree with Linda, it’s only important to put the effort into looking after yourself and being happy with yourself.
      However, in the immediate aftermath of discovery this is virtually impossible. It takes honest friends and family to wake you up and smell the coffee. An affair is the H’s weakness, his problem, his cowardice. I don’t have to let that affect me and my happiness.

    • Anita

      Freedom is were we have no need to impress anyone else.
      Also there comes a time when we need to confront others
      such as a spouse who is mistreating you (this includes an
      affair.) An affair is something that nobody has to put up
      with. Either the cheating spouses ends the affair and is
      repentant towards their mate, or if they don’t, you have
      every right to leave that situtation, yes forgive them, and move on, or unless repent in their ways, you do not have to
      put up with that kind of behavior.

      You also are not responsible for their sin.
      You never have to prove your the better man or woman,
      then the affair partner, your already married, and the
      cheating spouse had better not compare you to anyone
      else.
      Now if they are asking you do something that God approves
      of, then yes that’s wonderful. Affairs are not.

    • Michael

      Alone,
      Abandoned? Yes. Of coarse during the affair I felt that way. Physically she was there but it was emotionally she had checked out of our relationship.
      She was there to do everything and anything for the family structure. Emotionally she was nowhere to be found in the marriage.
      To an extent I still feel that she is guarded and unavailable to reconnect in a manner that we’ve been missing for so long.
      It seems as if she is saying, I’m not having an affair now so just get over it. I do think she wants and needs that connection but has no clue of how to get it. She still hides things. She still doesn’t tell me when she feels needs.
      I have to applaud you for your efforts here and in general, to understand and work on what happened and what is happening in your relationship. Its that work, not easy, that may save your marriage. Or in the very least put you in a position to be able to handle what life gives you next.

    • Anita

      B,
      Sorry your going throught this. I have been is your shoes, I
      know it doesn’t feel like it now, but someday you will find
      the silver lining in all of this.
      However at that time, I was floored with the wind knocked out of my sails. Thankfully, so many wonderful good things have happened since my divorce. Things that would have never been
      possible had this never happened.
      God is a God of justice, and I can see this in my own life, by
      all the blessings, I have gotten since that time.
      He rewards those who are faithful to him.

    • Paula

      Alone, I think we have role reversed compared to most here. My OH has made huge strides to re-connect, to discover what it was tat was missing in him, to learn to be more honest (just in everyday life) he no longer holds his tongue when things are tough, he tells me. It’s me that has checked out emotionally – or kind of – I think I have just got to the point where I can’t let him back in fully, out of fear. I know it’s wrong, I know it’s harmful, but I haven’t been able to fully push through the fear of feeling this betrayed again. I still hope that I can find a way, that’s why I am still continuing with counselling.

      I don’t think I became a doormat after Dday, if anything, I was immediately aware that I had given everything I had to him and my family, and that didn’t work, so I knew immediately that I needed to try to be a little more selfish – by that I mean care for myself better, because no one else was going to! I know that is part of what made him relieved he had made the right decision (for him) in choosing to end it with the OW, and work on us. I just wish that strength and self-confidence had stayed with me, somehow I have withered in the time since, mostly because I can’t stop thinking about it – talk about addiction, mine is more damaging than the affair itself, I know this, but my mind is my biggest enemy, and trying to wrangle control over it is an exhausting battle. I think trying to free yourself from the affair debris is so much harder when you want to stay in the relationship, separation seems to allow you to unhook your feelings so much more cleanly, and I think , more quickly.

    • Healing Mark

      B. WOW! So no point with much of what I ended up doing/concluding to get past my wife’s EA. Especially the halting of email and Facebook “surveilance” and the grabing and monitoring of her cell phone. I, too, got a good chuckle at your ironic typo. All the best as you work on living in the moment and being as happy as you can be with your life as it presently exists.

    • Norwegian woman

      I am in a phase of rage too. Two years since D-day 1 and 1 1/2 years since D-day 2.
      I am over the fact that he fu**** the first one, and I also have accepted that he fell in love with the second one. The thing I can`t get over is that after I discovered the second one and was crushed, he still was in contact with nr. 1. He even discussed with her how to put me off track when I discovered some funny e-mails. But he was in shock that I could believe that he would ever do something with a wreck like her!!! And of course. I believed him. I believed that he wanted to save the marriage and stop lying and cheating. I wanted to believe it. But all he wanted was to make sure that I DIDN`T KNOW!!!!!
      What the h*** was I thinking when I decided to work harder after the first woman was revealed 9 months after nr. 2? How stupid can a person be???? I am angry with myself. I really can`t expect anything else from him. Not then. Not now.

    • Anita

      Chiffchaff,
      I am so thankful for my family and friends who were there
      for me also, they just kept reinforcing that I was a person
      of value and I did not needed to be treated so poorly,
      I learned its important not to judge myself by how others
      treat me. I had to learn to confront, my than husband,
      and let him know I wasn’t putting up with his behavior.
      I also let him know that it was unacceptable for him to
      treat me that way, nor was I ever going to be compared to
      another woman. I told him to straighten up or get out,
      we divorced. My faith gave me the strenght to leave that
      situtation.
      I been divorced for a few years, but I am currently is the
      process of working towards an annulment. Between working on the annulment, and writing on this site it has brought
      me into a level of healing where, I am no longer shy to
      confront others, this is a complete change from who I was
      before, it brought a new level of confidence.
      The one thing that I will never do again, is stay in a relationship where I have been cheated on, been there done
      that, and smart enough to never do it again.
      Its their loss, but its my gain not to have to live like that.

    • B

      Self-perspective may just be the best gift one could ever receive. The hardest thing that any CS will have to do is to stop looking at their spouse as the person they fell in love with, and start seeing them for what they have become. Yes, they may be beautiful, yes you may still be physically attracted to them, and yes, there will always be deep feelings of love. However, given their actions and how they have been treating you, what do you really see?

    • B

      I meant BS, not CS. I am on a roll with these typos today.

    • Anita

      Hi Paula,
      Yes, separation/divorce does help you unhook emotionally, not being around them allows feelings of good and bad to
      fade away.
      My biggest regret after my divorce was not getting started
      on my marriage annulement, now a few years later I have
      had to reopen that can of worms.
      If I want to ever get married in my church again, I have to
      do this. However, now I am glad I did, it had been good for me.
      This has brought a deeper level of healing and put it back into
      its proper propective.
      Sometimes when affairs and divorce happen, its overwhelming, and you lose perpective on how you should
      be treated, and I had to learn not to judge myself or get my
      value, on how I was treated.
      Paula, I have read some of your past posts, and you got a
      double whammy from you SO and from a so called friend.
      As hurtful as that was, don’t let their wrongs, get you down.
      Understand you have value, no matter how they treated you. I do understand why your feelings toward your SO
      are changing, that happens after you been treated so
      horrible by them. Yes forgive, but in my opinion you
      deserve better.

    • mona lisa

      I guess I handled after D day a little different . After the shock, extreme sadness, and the rage, I took a long look at our marriage. I must have been living in my own little paradise because I thought we were doing wonderful. Anyway, that is a whole other story.
      After evaluating our marriage, I decided that I was treating my husband more like a child than a lover and husband. I cooked every meal, cleaned the house, made sure there was never any dirty laundry, and even washed all the automobiles on a regular basis. When he traveled, I packed his case and made sure that he had everthing he needed. HE DID NOTHING! I even laid out his underwear and socks while he was showering. He was a kept man.
      Fast forward almost two years…..If he travels, he packs his bag. If he wants his vehicle washed, he has to do it. If he needs an outfit for an important meeting, He puts it together. I am no longer his maid or his mother.

    • Teetering

      Alone-

      I have been wondering the same thing about them emotionally re-entering the relationship. I feel as you do but my question is how do I get my emotional needs met in the interim?

    • Paula

      Teetering, don’t you think that self-soothing is a good option? We are all perfectly capable of being on our own, even within a relationship that is damaged at the moment. In fact, if you can’t meet your own emotional needs, perhaps you do need to think about working on yourself, to make yourself happy, without another’s input?

      Anita, thank you for your reply, I know exactly what you are saying about the actions of others. I have been working very, very hard on that for a while now. My last question really is, should a good person, who did a very awful thing (for quite a long time) have to pay for that mistake forever, even after he has made all of the apologies/changes and really wants to live his life in a real and honest fashion? I don’t think so, I wish I could “forget” it and move forward within the relationship, happily, but after this length of time, maybe I am one of the minority, who even after giving it time, learning about healing, and forgiveness, etc, just can’t get to a better place. I always thought I wouldn’t be happier if I leave, and I still think that, but at least I’ll be unhitched from the constant reminders of their betrayal, who knows, I’ll work it out, these are all questions I’m itching to address with counselling, we have had a summer hiatus of a couple of months off, just as we were to move onto all of these questions I have, so it will certainly be interesting to see if I can inch off my plateau, lol!

    • Healing Mark

      Teetering. I agree with Paula. It seems unrealistic, if not unhealthy, to expect to get all emotional needs met by one person. Now, if the extent to which a friend or a partner was not meeting your needs was such that you were not obtaining enough from the friendship or marriage to make you happy, and this continued for a long enough period of time, most of us would decide to end the friendship or marriage. However, better to address the apparent causes of the unhappiness (in this case, what are the needs that perhaps should be being met and why are they not being met). The apparent curve ball thrown to so many parties in relationships affected by affairs is the fact that one or both partners, as a result of the affair and/or matters leading up to the decision, conscious or unconscious, to begin the affair (an unconscious decision not applicable to PA’s, of course), are often not in a position to be fully, and often not even in any way (hopefully temporary), emotionally connected to the other partner.

      Paula. I do not think that the person you describe deserves to pay for a mistake like an affair forever. That said, not every person can get past an event as traumatic and damaging to a relationship as an affair. So for some people, making a mistake and having an affair, with all the inevitable attendant lies, deception and betrayl, does not end up killing the applicable relationship as the other person is able to forgive and get past the affair (as an aside, I think that, moreso in the past, a person, typically a man, could have an affair and not have their marriage end not b/c they were forgiven and their partner healed sufficiently to remain married to the CS, but b/c they were luckily or unluckily enough to be married to a person who was willing to put up with such crap for whatever reasons with the resulting marriage becoming a pretty f’ed up one). However, for other people making a similar mistake, especially if that mistake included having sex with someone outside of the marriage w/o the other spouses consent, they are not so lucky and they find that they have made a mistake that kills the existing marriage. Seems to me which result ends up occurring has as much to do with how the CS acts post D-day as it has to do with how the BS deals with the affair after effects including the ability of the BS to genuinely forgive the CS and get past the affair. There’s no real way of knowing how it will shake out (which points out why it’s very dangerous to have an affair if you really like and want to remain married to your spouse), but in the end, the parties damaged by the affair should not, in my opinion, beat themselves up over where they have ended up after the discovery of an affair and attempts re-establish a healthy and happy marriage. Instead, they should accept where they have ended up and act at that point in the best interests of themselves and their children, if any. If that means ending the marriage b/c the affair damage is insurmountable (for me, I truly believe that a PA would have been insurmountable – my wife does not feel the same way, but she has no worries there – and no amount of attempted healing and reaching forgiveness would have been enough to save my then fatally damaged marriage), so be it.

      As always, continued luck with your counselling and efforts to re-establish a relationsip that you want to keep and work to cause to flourish.

    • Anita

      I just finished with my appointment, and handed in all my writing for my annulement. Having that part of it done is
      such a relief, I may have to edit a sentence or two, but the
      main part is finished. Just a couple little things to do and off it goes.
      What a journey this has been, I can finally put this all behind.
      Also this website has been wonderful, and thank you, but
      there comes a time when, I need to put this behind also.
      My journey is finished.
      I wish the very best for everyone!

    • Anita

      Looking back from the day I found out about my exhusband’s
      affair, to divorcing, and now finishing up my part of the
      annulement, has been life changing.
      When this all started, I felt like my whole world came crashing down around me into thousands of pieces, I didn’t
      know where to begin or where I would end up. I would
      have never dreamed when this first began that would find
      happiness again, but I have. I also never dreamed I would
      have this much peace, but I do. Also I never dreamed I
      could love again, but I can.
      I also believe in time each and everyone of you will find
      happiness, peace and love again. God Bless You ALL.

    • Surviving

      Words from my CS mean nothing to me anymore, because during his EA all the words he said to me and to the AP he didn’t mean, or do he says….now….. So if his words then have no meaning then how can I believe his words he says now? Since he is the cause of my pain I cannot expect him to heal my pain. I am filled with pain and heartache, if he cannot handle seeing or living with me while I go through this process he is of course free to leave, the choice is his.
      My choice is to figure out WHY I allowed him to treat me in the manner he did while he was going through his EA. I also need to figure out if I want to stay married to this person? Do I respect him? Do I love him? If I met him today is he someone I would want to be with?
      I don’t blame myself for my actions when I found out about the EA, because quite honestly I had no idea what an EA was. I believed his lies. I believed him when he said they were just friends. It wasn’t until I saw his cell phone bill that I discovered the truth of his lies and deception…
      So now i take care of myself first, I make sure to ask for what I want and need. I no longer put his needs above mine. I ask him to help with the kids sports activities, with household chores, and planning dates for us. In return he has done everything I have asked him to do, even with him doing all this it may not be enough for us to stay together.
      I leaned heavily on my faith, I went to church every Sunday and prayed for strength to make it one more week. Somehow after a year of praying my prayers were answered I found my strength and now I pray for others and not myself.

      I will never allow him or anyone else to emotionally abuse me again.

    • Paula

      HM, I so agree with what you said (about – especially men – in past times, and still currently, in many cases, having affairs, and their partners just putting up with it, sadly our OW has parents in that very situation) and I also agree with you about the extra difficulties of the sexual affair. My best friend asked me once, during the affair, if I was okay about the friendship my OH and the OW had, and I laughed, and said, yes, of course, that’s what a loving and trusting relationship is like, he’s allowed to have friends of the opposite sex! I felt so sorry for her when she said she would never let her husband have that kind of friendship, admittedly her husband is very open about the fact that he loves women, and knows damn well he needs to work hard at staying faithful, and my friend does the same, they both work really hard at helping each other out, and working on the weak parts of their relationship. Can you imagine how STUPID I felt about a year later, when I found out that she was right? Having said that, he had always had fun friendships with all kinds of people, but the difference was, this woman was more interested in his friendship, than mine, and previously, these friends were “friends of the marriage,” in true Shirley Glass form. I can only see that now, I just never saw how much contact they had. I did ask him a couple of times what they talked about, if she was still attracted to him, and if so, was that flattering. I also scolded one night when she texted at 11.15pm whilst we were entwined on the couch watching a movie with “watcha up to” I think that was the time my blood first ran a little cold, with the inappropriateness, and I told him. He said she was probably lonely and a little drunk (poor little solo mother) and that she was a piece of rubbish at times. I asked why she texted him, and not me?

      Whenever I asked anything, or made a comment, like, “are you sure this is okay,” or even, “I hope you’re not playing me for a fool here, with my trust,” he just looked me in the eye, with those same eyes I have adored for two and a half decades, and told me he thought she was a very unattractive person and I had nothing to worry about, as he didn’t even think of her sexually, she was just an old friend. If he hadn’t told such bald-faced lies, so often, even when I was pretty much pleading him to tell me the truth, very early on (I had a weird feeling after the first time they had sex, and questioned him, I just didn’t really know what I was thinking or feeling, but I knew “something” was off) I feel like we would be much happier now.

      Your comment about having or not having an affair, and the inherent dangers, if you want to stay married to your spouse are very true, but simply put, all of the people engaging in affairs, are confused, and do not know if they want to be married to their spouse, they’re testing the waters. My OH says that you throw caution to the wind, he got very philosophical about it early on, before he’d made up his mind, that if they were discovered, then it was meant to be that way. After a few months of seeing her covertly, he realised it wasn’t her he wanted, he was using her to make himself feel better, and when she wouldn’t let go, and started the blackmail, then he got frightened for the first time, realizing that he could lose everything he loved, and that he’d been on the “drug” – the high of the affair – and hadn’t been thinking at all, just going with the flow to soothe his wounded ego. He still can’t believe that he got to that point, it went against how he had previously lived his life. We both had witnessed so many affairs with friends and acquaintances marriages, most ending the marriage (we only knew of one that had survived, a decade or so earlier, and another couple we have known forever had this very thing happen just a few months after us, and they’re still together, so that makes two) and we both thought it showed a lack of character, he just as much as me, we had discussed this very issue many times (usually when yet another couple fell under the wheels of the affair bus!)

    • Healing Mark

      Paula. In so many ways our experiences have been quite similar, and our opinions on matters have often been quite similar (your reference to Shirly Glass blew me away!). I suspect that we not only share experiences that have been painful to us and our family and damaging to our marriages, but also many experiences that have been great for us and our families as well as for our marriages. Sadly, the most recent tough times brought on by EA’s are more top of mind, but through efforts at healing and the passage of time, such times become much easier to minimize if not ignore and are not as able to make us fail to enjoy our lives as we move forward.

      Your husband says a lot of things that are similar to what I have heard my wife say. Confusion seems to be a condition that is prevalent when you have developed a relationship with someone that, when analyzed closely, meets the “definitions” of an emotional affair. Randomly, certain aspects of my wife’s EA came up in a conversation we were having (nothing in a bad way which is WAY DIFFERENT than things would have been just a few short months ago!), and my wife matter-of-factly said that she did things she felt she needed to do to “figure things out” but then quickly pointed out that she never seriously felt that what she was going to figure out was that she was better off not being married to me. She said, and has said, that she had confidence that we were the right thing together, but only that these strange new feelings for another man were so surprising that they caused here to question whether her confidence was still there and, once located, was not somehow now misplaced.

      I wish you all the best and wish so much that you could get to a point where you are not haunted by the fact that your loving husband made a terrible mistake in judgment that, once made, caused him to do and say many, many hurtful things and create not only a very damaging lack of trust between the two of you, but also images that are haunting and damaging and extremely difficult to get out of your mind. I was right were you appear to be right now about 3 months ago (and, of course, before that as well). I would like for you to see how it goes and whether it does get better. You seem to want it to get better, which is good and might lead you to a point where you get past the feelings you have right now that are not ones that are guiding you to being as happy as I think that you should be.

      Good luck.

    • Elizabeth

      If i could turn back time and learn from this, my first point would be
      1 Throw him out(i did but took him back after 1 day) so that he could sort his mind up and fire his hate at someone else
      2 Re- Address myself and look at what i had,my wonderfull children,Family and my friends and how they interacted with me.
      The saying goes”you dont know what you have untill its gone”
      back to point 1 again,yip i should have kept him out of our life as he said many times over “i did not have a life” so that he could live his fantasy.
      3 Moved forward for myself .

      Also in a completely different note….found a book with all the meanings of AP,EA CS,CP,OW, ect have we found a new lanuage?

    • Elizabeth

      Paula,you have no idea what a strong person you are really! i could not do what you have done,i said to my Partner that if he slept with her that would be it.You really are a star in your own right,and your H is really very lucky to have you in his life x

    • E

      Can anyone offer advice on how to stop the snooping? Did you simply make up your mind and force yourself to stop? If there were real evidence (which there hasn’t been for a few months now) I would have to find out for certain for my own sanity. Sometimes the paranoia is overwhelming to me. I sometimes think that I look so hard for hints that I find them in the smallest of things.

    • ifeelsodumb

      Elizabeth…in MY case, the OW stands for Obese Witch!! LOL!! Hey, in her case..it’s true!! ;p
      My H DID check out emotionally after Dday…and that is what I’m struggling to forgive at this point, 1 yr past DDay…I can understand why he got involved with the OW…and accept it even though it hurts…But the “checking out” AFTER DDay? I’m struggling with that…He swore from the moment he confessed to the EA that he loved me and didn’t want the OW AT ALL…and he wanted our marriage to survive…so why NOT do everything he could to help me heal from his betrayal?
      He has no answers for how he acted…it took him 5 months to change his cell phone and get a new number…even though he KNEW it bothered me..A LOT! He insists he wasn’t in “the fog” and that he was relieved that I finally found out about the EA.
      So if you truly love someone…why continue to hurt them? That’s a question he has no answer for…and I need that answer to help me move on.
      It’s hard living in the here and now, he IS doing more with our family, he’s kind and loving to me, he IS trying, there has been N/C as far as I can see since DDay….but when I have so many questions from the past that aren’t answered…and he says he has no answers for how he acted after DDay, other than he was hoping it would all just go away over time…but again, I go back to WHY didn’t he do more to help me heal after 5,6,7 months have gone by and I’m still hurting, in tears, such severe pain,etc…and he can see that it is NOT going away?
      Do I just accept that I’ll never know? Just bury it…again? That’s what I’m afraid of…after his first EA, 23 yrs ago…we DID bury it..I went to counseling, not my H. In hindsight I see how messed up that was…but I was younger, just married 2 1/2 yrs, thinking it HAD to be MY fault, etc…So now I’m afraid of not getting to the root of this…I’ve asked him over and over again…”What were you thinking? WHY did you give yourself “permission” to do this to me…again?
      He has no answers other than it was selfishness on his part and he felt like I “didn’t love” him…Well, at times, when he was talking on the phone for 2 hrs with his best friend, who happens to be my brother, or watching hours upon hours of football, leaving me to get the kids ready for bed, etc….I didn’t feel like he loved me either…but I didn’t go looking for someone else! I knew it was wrong…so why couldn’t he come to that same conclusion, So many questions…not many answers!!
      On a good note….I think I’m finally in Stage 4…the EA doesn’t consume my thoughts like before, I’m able to get through 4-5 days without extreme sadness coming over me, and when it does, I’m able to overcome it more quickly…I feel good about myself, I can see that if need be, I CAN make it on my own. This is such a lonely, painful journey. If it wasn’t for this blog and the friends that I have made here, that I now privately email on a regular basis…I KNOW I wouldn’t be as far along as I am!
      Things happen for a reason, and I told my H that I hope in the future, I can “come out of hiding” and let our story be known, without the shame and embarrassment I feel now…so that I might help others who are on this oh so painful road!!
      I recently had someone I know, not really well, more of an acquaintance I guess, anyway, after I complimented him on his weight loss, and asked what “diet” he was on, he confided in me that his marriage was in trouble…I wish I was at the point where I could have told him that I know EXACTLY what he’s feeling, and was able to be a better help to him…all I could do at this point in my journey is tell him I would be praying for him.

    • csb

      Paula – You mentioned your mind being your biggest enemy and your being checked out emotionally. For me, I found that in some strange way, I blanketed myself in my pain and the betrayal. It was one of the only solid things I had, so I held on to it, besides, I figured if I let it go, that would be like forgiving my CS.

      What I’ve learned is that if I’m ensconced in that “infidelity blanket”, nothing can get through…not even the peace and happiness I deserve.

      My H is trying very hard, I have realized we can’t go back, but who would want to anyway…there was obviously something wrong with the “old us” to lead to his EA. I’m not done healing yet, by a long shot, but when I see my original posts from 3 months ago, I see in myself what I used to admire so much in others here….I’m still standing, even accepting flowers from my CS with a smile and a kiss!

    • Healing Mark

      E. My paranoia for a while also overwhelmed me. I probably also looked so hard for hints given that I had been duped for so long and felt foolish. I also not only did not want my wife inappropriately contacting her EA partner (insisting on zero contact really drove both of us crazy, so we compromised on very limited contact with full disclosure which has no doubt worked out as the two of them have now on their own accord moved on to no further contact as thier “friendship” became no more “fun” and is now, as far as I can tell, over), but also did not want her developing an EA with another man. Strange as it may sound, I did just “make up my mind” to stop snooping and to just trust my wife to not make the same mistakes she previously made which allowed her EA to develop and then be deceptively maintained. I just couldn’t be happy not trusting my wife, and “transparency” was not allowing my wife to feel that she had been geniunely forgiven by me. To her, and I agreed, if I genuinly forgave her and our relationship was back to a more “normal” state, she would still be open and honest with me as she was before the EA, but I would also have to go back to the way I was which was no snooping.

      I wish I good give you some advice as to how to make up your mind to stop and actually stop. However, if I could, I would not give such advice for free. One thing that I can say is this. I’m more alert to, and in tune with, things my wife might be doing or not doing if she was, in fact, beginning to establish an inappropriate relationship with someone else. As things appear normal and we are interacting in positive and healthy way, I tell myself that, notwithstanding her prior mistake, I have no reason to be suspicious and no reason to snoop to confirm non-existent suspicions. I suppose that it’s getting to a point where you stop being suspicious of things that you really shouldn’t be suspicious of, because after being stung by an affair, you don’t want to not act on legitimate suspicions. I suppose that if for whatever reason I found myself almost constantly fearing that my wife was lying to me or hiding things from me or continuing to act inappropriately with her EA partner or anyone else for that matter, I would have to end our marriage and find someone else that I could love and live with in a happy, trusting and otherwise healthy manner.

      Finally, give yourself some time. It’s possible that being married to your spouse will mean no end to your urges to snoop, your paranoia that something is going on behind your back, and your compulsion to make sure that you are not being lied to, ever. In which case, well … However, if you get to a point where you genuinely forgive your spouse (as opposed to the dozens of times I told my wife I forgave her, really thought that I meant it, but, in fact, was not yet really to the point where I “really” forgave her), I believe that you will find the urges to snoop happenning less and less and becoming easier and easier to fight off. Trust me, no longer having snooping urges has made me feel SO MUCH BETTER ABOUT SO MANY THINGS! I walk by her unattended phone so many times now without even a thought to check it, and at times I walk by and instead of thinking about whether I should check, I give a fist pump to the happinest I have at not having any urge to snoop.

    • JS

      @E – I did finally stop the snooping. I got the point where I would spend an hour tracking down a cell number on our bill only to eventually find out it was my H’s best friend from elementary school who had changed his cell number. I was driving myself crazy. I eventually decided that I had to trust my instincts. My instincts were what led me to find out about my H’s EA in the first place. The changes in his behavior, his nit-picking of everything I did, his schedule and appearance changes, etc…..I knew something was going on. But I see now that he is not acting suspiciously, he’s not doing things to undermine my trust – he really is trying to rebuild it. Yet every single time I snoop, I get anxious about what I might find and when I find nothing, I feel badly about myself for having snooped. I guess it’s both an attempt to trust my H again, as well as affirmation that if he is doing something wrong, it’s going to come out and he’ll suffer the consequences then. Me obsessing about it was make me feel worse and taking up too much of my free time when I could have been doing something for myself. And me obsessing about it isn’t going to keep him from doing it anyway.

      @Alone – I agree with D – I don’t think it ever goes back to the way it was before the EA. My H, I believe, is a different person now than when he started or was in his EA. Yes, he totally kicked me to the curb and I experienced a lot of emotional abandonment during and after the EA due to his unwillingness to deal with where we were. At the same time this was going on, my older sister from my very broken family of origin (who I really longed to be close to since were separated by our parents’ divorce when I was 7 and who I had rekindled a relationship with), told me the hurt of our broken relationship from way back when was too much for her and she wanted no relationship with me going forward. I was flattened by both that and my H’s EA, and I had to come back from both completely on my own. My H wouldn’t help me through that pain at all, and it was then I realized he had a really cold, heartless side to him that I didn’t know existed before and I needed to watch out for myself. Since that time more than a year ago, what my H did to show me he was back was fully disclose, without my asking, who he was having lunch with (where, when, inviting me to attend sometimes, etc), who he was texting or emailing and keeping his phone unlocked and not deleting texts or emails so that I could snoop if I wanted (he said he was fine with the snooping if I chose to do so), stopping putting himself in situations he knew were triggers for me, answering questions I had that he refused to answer right after the EA and doing so in a non-defensive way, and telling me repeatedly he is so sorry for the damage he caused and he’s so ashamed of how he treated me. He also shares things with me (thoughts, ideas) that he didn’t before, and he does more with our family and takes some burden off me that he didn’t before. I truly do believe he’s back. I don’t think our marriage will be exactly what it was before, and I think I’m much wiser in the world now, but I’m ok with that.

      Linda, BRAVO, BRAVO, BRAVO for this post. I could not agree more with this: ” I am searching for answers why I became a doormat and did not take a different stance of the situation. I am trying to figure out if this has been a consistent pattern for me and if I have always suffered from low self-concept” Even on the calmest of days now, when things are going just fine with my H, I sometimes feel rage toward myself about why I was so willing to take it on the chin from him. When did I become so personally weak when I am professionally so strong?? How did I let that happen to myself? I still seek that answer now so that I can ensure it never happens again.

    • changedforever

      Let’s try this again…
      To ‘E’ – I don’t refer to keeping an eye or ear out as ‘snooping.’ Why not…? Because my H’s intent was never to hurt me and himself, our 26 (then almost 25 yr) marriage with his multiple EAs over the years, and his recent EA/PA…that was inevitable due to the steep slope he was on…but it was a secret slope so I couldn’t help him. Not sure how long your SO has been on their slope, but its a bad habit/condition to break free from…for my H, IT WAS A LIFESTYLE. Even now, 16 mths later, my H continues to defend the ‘honor’ of some of his APs (& during marriage counseling sessions too.) I was even able to ‘save’ us both (?) from yet another prospective EA…by checking (text msgs, email.) He’s weak, he’s vulnerable, the ‘vultures’ still circle him every now & then…but I’m there to ‘take care of them.’ By return txt/email, facebook…or the like. But how would I save ‘us’ from further damage? Not by leaving him on his own. This is a sickness, its been going on for years, I made the decision to go into recovery (for now) so I’m giving it my all. For now that is.

    • Michael's Wife

      changedforever,
      You made me think just now, I’m the one who had the EA my H did all the snooping and checking. He has done more work on our marriage then I have, Im glad to have him in my life still. What you said about your H and how it is a sickness I have heard this before and was not sure what I thought of it. You say he is weak, and vulnerable could that be my problem? You see I have not yet figured out what my problem is. I read the blogs and think about posting and it scares the heck out of me, because I worry about what people think. Right now Im trying to show my H that I too care about our recovery and I am willing to do what it takes.

      • Doug

        Michael’s Wife, Please do not worry what people think. Most folks that comment here are helpful and want to hear your point of view, as well as help you find the answers to your questions. I think that most are here for the same basic reasons – to recover and to heal. That includes those who were unfaithful.

    • Alone

      Hi Michael’s Wife! I am a fellow female cheater. I am so glad you posted. I just now posted on another thread that after D-day, I thought I had a mental illness that made me do this. But the thing is, I’ve never had a history of addictions, depression, or other mental illness. I had never cheated before, had never lied before, etc. I too try to understand what is wrong with me. Maybe we are making it harder than it really is, maybe the bottom line is that we just flat out made a mistake. A mistake that cost us a lot. I don’t know, just thinking…

    • B

      Snooping is a complex issue. On one hand, it shows the CS, that their BS isn’t really moving forward, just hiding their true feelings of hurt and looking for reassurance that nothing is happening. It also shows that the BS really doesn’t have any faith in the CS, so the CS figures “well, I am being honest, but it doesn’t matter”. It is bad, bad, bad for everyone.
      One thing that I have definately learned in all of this, is that the urge to snoop is created through the pain of missing what now look like obvious signals. We BS’s snoop because we want to be sure that it isn’t happening. The problem though, is that we should already know that if the affair is top continue, the Cs has to take it underground and hide it better, so there won’t be too much evidence to find anyway. Plus, let’s say the OP contacts your spouse but the spouse makes it perfectly clear that it is over or they don’t respond. The BS will be so blinded by rage and confusion, that they would never believe anything the Cs has to say. they will simply think “here we go again”, the Cs knows this, fears this, and will do anything to prevent it from happening.

      I’m with Micheal. I was consumed with snooping and playing detective. It was overwhelming, I’d see a phone number, assume the worst, only to realize later that it was our pediatric doctor’s office or a pizza delivery place. I got to a point where I just couldn’t do it anymore. I couldn’t play the game. My wife dropped her company cell phone and added one to our plan, giving me full access to phone records (which was a big step) but the sad part was, I immediately assumed they would communicate via email only now. I HAD TO STOP, I WAS LOSING MY MIND.

      I finally made the decision that even though I knew there would be setbacks and bad feelings (like we had a few weeks ago), I was no longer going to act controlling or investigate her activity. I was going to show her that I believed her words and would allow her to hang herself if she chose to. I also noticed a change in her behavior as I started doing this. She began being more open about her day, didn’t seem afraid to tell me things about male coworkers, and seemed genuinely interested in our relationship. A betrayed spouse can’t move forward without taking a leap of faith, and a cheating spouse can’t feel forgiven and happy if they are under 24 hour surveillance. It truly is a process you have to go through together. Just understand that as a BS, you find your strength in knowing your own self-worth and making a true effort to forgive and love your spouse. If you do this and they play you or continue to cheat, you will be okay with saying goodbye becuase in your heart you will know you did everything you could. Over the last few months my gut has been feeling better and better, telling me that she seems to really be trying. Again, if I’ve learned anything, I’ve learned to listen to my gut.

    • changedforever

      Michael’s Wife…you give me hope. Hope that my H, like you, is appreciative of my efforts as you are of your H’s. I certianly would not be going thru all of this if I did not love him. Thank you.

    • E

      Thank you for your reponses – I am going to try to take some advice here – JS & Healing Mark, it certainly sounds good to me. I so appreciate the reference to “time” – I am 3 months out. Hopefully I am just having one of those bad “stinking thinking” days.
      Changedforever – I am sorry for what you are going through but I applaud you for your strength. I also thought for sometime that it was a sickness. But – for Alone and for Michael’s wife – I don’t necessarily think it’s a “mental illness” but we’ve all heard the term “addiction” as in previous posts. I think an addiction is like a sickness in a lot of ways.

    • Healing Mark

      Alone and Michael’s Wife. I like (and so did my CS wife) the analysis that starts with a good person reacting to feelings that they haven’t felt in a long time (infatuation with a person of the opposite sex) and then sometimes unconsciously but mostly consciously chosing to pursue a relationship with this other person that represents the “mistake”. In pursuing this new relationship and taking actions to keep it hidden from their spouse, the previously good person must do things that they no doubt had never done before to their spouse, like lie, delete text messages, share confidences with the OP and do other things that they know would hurt their spouse if the foregoing ever came to light. Rationalization, a marvelously strong human character trait but one that often leads to trouble, is likely used by the good person to prevent them from feeling ways that would cause them to stop the “madness” (by we’re “just good friends” – AAAAAUUUUGGGG!!!). Unlike a mistake like driving too fast that might only have as a consequence getting a speeding ticket, the mistake of becoming a part of an EA or PA almost inevitably results in so many negative consequences, not the least of which are the damaging acts of the BS during and often after the applicable affair.

      As with most mistakes, it’s not so much that they were made that is important, but whether the person making the mistake learns from it and is possibly then in a position to not make, or at least not as easily make, the same mistake again. I might be rationalizing my situation somewhat as well, but I feel as though my wife and I are in a better place now after getting past her EA in part b/c we are both now in a position to better identify whether either of us is about to make the same mistake that my wife made with her EA partner, both in a better position to not act on feelings of infatuation that may subsequently arise with respect to another person (this has already been the case with me since the EA, but I hesitate to toot my horn for nipping in the bud the attempts of an attractive newly-divorced acquaintance to get “closer” to me), and both more knowlegable about how damaging even an EA can be to a relationship and all other persons affected thereby. So, of course there are few, if any, guarantees in this world, but you cannot convince me that there is not now less of a chance that my wife will have another EA, or a PA, in the future than there was of her doing this before having her EA and subsequently getting “caught”.

    • Broken

      D
      Alone, it’s a process and I don’t believe any couple ever “comes back,” instead they move forward, accepting a new, and hopefully rewarding reality. I’ve heard the course of marriage described as weaving a giant tapestry. The affair is merely woven into it, becoming part of it, but the tapestry may be richer as a result.After two years, the OM has been making attempts to reconnect with my wife. On Friday she told him to stop, she wasn’t interested. His response was that she is a bitch who wreaked havoc on his life (I’m still trying to contain the immense satisfaction I get from this since he instigated the entire thing.) I would say my wife is “back.” Yet, I find that I don’t really want that woman anymore. She was a selfish child, lost, secretive, angry. This is a stronger version of my wife and that’s kind of the whole point. Both the BS and the CS shouldn’t wish to go backward. There is only forward.

      You said somethinbg that is soooo true. I would not want my husband back the way he was. Why I put up with his behavior is beyond me. Great post.

    • Broken

      E….I know I feel better when I dont snoop but sometimes its overwhelming isnt it? I have snooped for over a year now and found nothing. I have his pass2ord to everything. Two days ago he had to change his password on aol because he was getting spammed. I want to ask him so badly (and he would give it to me) for he new one but I am thinking this may just be a step I have to take to give him some freedom. I just dont know what to do. Its hard because we were lied to for so long.

    • D

      Alone &, Michael’s Wife, my wife isn’t mentally ill, nor has she ever exhibited addictive behavior, but for whatever reason she felt powerless to stop the affair. My wife was depressed after being a stay at home mom for ten years. She was the incoming PTA president and had just accepted what she considered a menial secretarial job when this guy suddenly popped into her life. I sincerely believe that she was extremely vulnerable at this time for this type of predator (and predator he is, believe me.) At first the affair was excitement and danger, but it soon became an obligation to him and a form of addiction. She said in an email that she was in love with him at some point, but now can’t believe she ever truly felt any such emotional connection beyond the addiction.

      This was not behavior my wife really understood she was capable of. She can’t believe she’s someone who will have an affair; “that kind of person.” She’s got childhood issues (don’t we all?), and anger, past pains, etc. She has said from the beginning (since DDay) that something had to happen to “wake her up.” Unfortunately it was an affair, but it could have been a lot worse.

      An affair isn’t the end of the world. No matter what happens, whether couples stay together or break up, it happens and how we survive is to become stronger, INDEPENDENT people. That means confronting our fears, seeking truth and honesty, doing the right thing, and being accountable for our decisions. I promise you that doing this will definitely improve your well-being, but it will most likely also help improve your marriage.

      It IS just a mistake. Jesus made mistakes, Gandhi made mistakes, hell, even God made mistakes. Why put a tree of knowledge in a place where we can get at the fruit? Is that intelligent design? Hardly. So, be kind to yourself.

    • StrongerForWear

      I so deeply appreciate all these comments. I consistently take such comfort to read the insights and the familiar stories here. I think I would certainly go mad and doubt myself if not for reading them.

      HM’s words on the CS’s rationalizations is helpful to me. The sheer extent of lying to one’s self in the affair is hard to accept, even though my husband says that this was the case. That is, his EA developed and there’d be a little ‘slip’ (a small kiss, an admission of ‘feelings’, a secret meeting, etc.) and then rationalization. Oops, time to pull back. Remember, we are just friends and can and must ‘negotiate’ our feelings for each other. The two were lying to each other, and because they claimed to each other that they ‘loved their partners’ and were ‘just friends’ they saw the EA as just a friend with isolated boo boos, rather than see it for what it was. My husband simply didn’t think he was hurting me. Lie.

      Anyway, the control of affect is hard and much depends on the CS. But I, as the BS, have the responsibility to get ahold on things. It has been hard. Friends, writing, counseling, reading, meditation, have helped. Time.

      I am now just so sad. In the end, I’m letting things go but I’m sad. My husband lied to me. He hurt me. He turned away from me. For a fantasy woman who is dangerous and didn’t care a fig for him in any real way. He is devastated by this. He’s learning but I’m sad and this empty sad feeling is the current affect. What do we do about that…when time has past and you are just so disappointed and still afraid.

      I want to master HM’s fist pump of happiness. : )

      SFW

    • Bobse

      We each go thru this journey at our own pace. The advice here makes sense now, but would not have in the initial disclosure. I saw the Shirley glass comment and went back and reread her, it made so much more sense. I though I could make a difference, but it take both. I was so happy to get her back, I ignored my health boundaries. Now, with the pain of the om coming back into her life when ever he chooses and her not accepting nc, I’m beginning to understand the concept of detachment. I love her, but can no longer accept the pain, will she ever come out of the fog?

    • Sidney

      Michael’s Wife….welcome….and I’m glad you chimed in. As a female cheater myself, I find a sense of comfort and a sense of strength from this site. The comfort comes from knowing that I’m not alone and that everyone is on this site due to an affair…either from the BS or the CS side….and can relate to each other on some level. The strength comes from knowing the damage an EA can cause, and it keeps me from contacting the OM whenever I ‘need a hit.’

      I really believe that by you reading on this site, youwill be able to really grasp the insight of the BS and know what your husband must be feeling. Good luck to you both on your healing journey!!

    • Still struggling

      Ok I get needing to stop the snooping. Was doing very well with that (maybe only checking quickly once a month cell phone and email). We moved away and started new jobs over the pat 5-9 months. I was talking with a good friend who casually mentioned his AP had quit her job and had accepted his old job. He is still in touch with his old boss who is her current boss. I know for a fact that he knew when the position was filled. I remember him mentioning that they hire someone new. No names were mentioned but he alluded that it was someone from out of town and a male. I don’t think he and her are communicating but why hide it? I am an honest and forthright person and I thought he was as well. As soon as I ease up on the anxiety something new arises such as this. The triggers feel more like atomic detonators. Will he ever get it? Will I always have to dissect everything to get the truth. I am very exhausted and am ready to give up. Trying to make it work for the sake of my kids. I just don’t know. :(…..

    • E

      Stopping the snooping is the hardest thing for me right now. It is hard! I guess it basically comes down to lack of trust. Counselor tells me that this just can’t be rushed. I’m just impatient – like all of us we just want to heal. Now. Or rather, yesterday! 🙂

    • CompletelyLost

      It has just been 4 months since D-Day. I am snooping, stressing and just plain p*ssed off. He constantly lies to me about stupid things, always put what he wants to do ahead of me. Even his mommy is more important than I am. I am just so sick of him I don’t know how much more I can take. I am currently working full time, going to college, married and raising 2 teen boys. only 1 1/2 weeks into may fall quarter is when I found out about my H’s EA. Some chick he went to school with over 20 years ago. He treated me like a doormat during and immediately following the EA. Lied about contact with the OW and continues to lie about making counseling appointments, or just not telling me things. His still defensive and will not talk about it at all.
      I am consumed with hate for him and me. I feel like an idiot for staying married to a man who is emotionally checked out of our marriage, for being his personal doormat and for believing that it was my fault and I needed to become someone I am not to make him happy.

      Sorry, just kind of got off on a rant there.

    • Hopeful

      My H refuses to discuss the EA with me any more. I don’t feel that we have discussed it in any detail at all, but in his skewed view of reality, he believes that we have discussed it “ad nauseum”. There are still sooo many gaps in his story, and I honestly do not think I can move on unless and until he and I can have an open and honest conversation about what transpired last year. It’s apparent to me, though, that honesty is a real struggle for him; I’m not sure if he is even capable of being honest with himself. So once again, very calmly, I explained to him what I need to move on (i.e., open and honest communication about the EA). And he responded that he wants to speak to his counsellor first, to get advice as to how to approach this. I don’t understand why he needs to speak to his counsellor before being honest with me. Is he just buying time? His response suggests to me that, as I have long suspected, there is more to his story than what he has told me. Will he ever tell me the whole truth? Will his counsellor advise him to do so? Why does he get to be in control of what information is given to me and when? What is so diffcult about telling me the whole story? Can any CS’s relate to my H’s actions? Have any BS’s been in this situation — that is — the CS shuts down and will not communicate re: the EA?

    • Hopeful

      I should add that his next appointment is 2 weeks away. So, once again, I am in the position of putting my needs on hold because we’re following his timeline.

    • Peggy

      It’s my first D-day anniversary and I’m a mess. I’ve spent an entire year in agony. I have read everything. I have done the exercises. I should hang a shingle out for all I know now about relationships, sex, men, women, affairs. And no where do I find me. The only thing I have found out that made any sense to me was that I gave him permission to do what he did because he felt entitled because I loved him unconditionally. I have never felt jealous in my life until now. I knew that we were solid. What I found out was that he wasn’t. He found that out, too, and like Doug he’s sorry and has tremendous remorse, but no where has it helped me at all. A year. A total year of doing all the work and I’m at the same place I was a year ago. Yes, I gave him everything he needed. I read the book. He was physical and I was verbal. I gave him physical, but he gave me verbal lies. We talked about everything excep obviously the important things. His ego got him good. But I didn’t come from ego. I can’t even talk about this because I feel so alone and not normal. I read about these women who feel glad that they won their man back. I don’t feel that I won anything. I’ve never been about money. I don’t like to shop. I only loved who we were and how we interacted. I’m an artist and the world stopped for me in 2008. I couldn’t make any money, but we were still surviving. But it wasn’t enough for him. And he lost respect for me, as he says, because I couldn’t make any money with my art. But he didn’t bother mentioning it to me until after he dumped the bomb on me. And he was still in love with her at the time. She had another boyfriend and just wanted to play with him. And I actually feel sorry for him because he didn’t know any of it. I found it out. What’s wrong with me? He wants to take back that he blamed me, but it’s in my head. He’s loving to me now. He takes full responsibility for what he’s done. If I met him today without this I would fall in love with him all over again. But, now I can’t even paint because I feel so worthless. Why am I still here? I’m not co-dependant. I was happy living alone. We met, I fell in love and we got married. 12 years and now this? After what I’ve read I have no idea why anybody risks getting married. For what? I’m so frustrated and still in so much pain I can’t get through the day on a good day. And it’s been a year. I just want out of this life. It’s nothing but pain and I’m just tired. I turned 60 last year and he wanted a 49 year old. I guess that say everything. I wasn’t enough for him and I gave him everything of me willingly. I love him. I didn’t deny him sex, I never nagged at him, I encouraged him and I down right loved him good. Images. Oh my God. Images are my life. I’ve tried all the tricks. I bought the program from Marriage Serpa. I worked it, but it just didn’t talk to me. They say you are supposed to find what your part in the affair you had and all I can find is that I loved him and he took that and it wasn’t enough so he went out and found more. The only reason he didn’t have sex was because she only wanted to play with him and tease him. So she denied him sex. That didn’t stop him because as he said, he fell in love with her. So where does he fit in the scenerios? And no one talks about money. We are broke. He had to leave the office he was in because she was there. We have lost everything. I can’t get a job because I’ve been self employed for 30 years and no one wants someone who can actually think for themselves. So for better of worse, we are stuck with each other because we can’t afford to live alone. Why doesn’t anyone talk about that? Is everyone who has stayed in the marriage rich? Is that their motivation to stay married because they don’t want to give up the money? How can I feel empowered if I can’t get a job and he can’t make enough money now that he had to leave his lucritive job because he had an affair?

      This is the truth. I’m 60. I don’t know how many more years I have, but I sure as hell don’t want to spend the next 4 working this out. But, I do know with or without him I’m going to have to do it some how. I’m all about images. Whatever self-esteem I had prior to the affair is gone now. Trust? I feel like a 5 year old. I’m jealous of every female he comes in contact with now. This is the ugliess emotion I’ve ever felt. I’ve found that there is a fine line between hate and love. And I’m feeling both of them daily.

      I knew this was going to be a hard day, but I just spent the evening watching my Father in the last days of his life and to be honest I was envious that he was going to finally be out of here. He will have peace and that’s something I haven’t felt in so long I can’t remember. One happy day is all I’m asking for.

    • Paula

      Snooping is a process I think all of the BSs here will have some experience of, depending on the type of affair, most have phone and/or email contact. I believe the checking up happens for two main reasons. For those who are determined and sure that they definitely want to stay in the relationship, they do this to ensure the contact is over, for those who are teetering, or unsure of whether they should stay, obviously, they feel the same, but there is also the, “if s/he is still contacting him/her, I’ll be completely justified in leaving.” Rest assured that the checking up on your partner is normal, and it will fade. Some people make the concerted effort to stop, others just find that with time, it justs ends of it’s own accord. In my case, it stopped after he changed his phone number, or not long after that, the compulsion just faded away. At the very begininng of this hideous journey, we made an agreement (at his suggestion) that we both are always able to check the others phone at any time (I added mine to this, he was just offering his.) Everything was always out in the open, he left the phone on display at all times, and never worried about me picking it up. Our OW kept texting him for two years (it took him that long to change his number!) and he always shared those texts with me. He did answer some, but never in a kind or caring way, and I always knew he did it – I didn’t ever need to “approve” the content, but I would later be shown what he had replied, or sometimes he would read it out to me as he replied. It drove me nuts that he didn’t change the number, I pretty much begged him to do so, and it is still something that he regrets, and doesn’t understand why he was so stubborn about it, I believe it was all part of the addiction of being wanted and needed by her, even after he’d rejected her. He is a complete technophobe, doesn’t use email, just shares mine, so I had no worries there, and I was able to go through his phone log and find any deleted messages (if any – there weren’t) as he wasn’t even aware you could do that, lol! There was one occasion where I found a message from her that he hadn’t had time to tell me about, which I was okay with, when we did manage to connect, obviously, there was a bit of a panic, and I did a lot of scanning of what he was telling me, to reassure myself he wasn’t telling me more lies. At the end of the day, it’s too exhausting to keep checking up on them constantly, and you eventually realise that you can’t stop them from contacting the OP, and if they choose to do this, they do not want to be with you, because if you’ve asked them not to, and (after some time, in some cases) they still are, they do not respect you, they do not want to work on your marriage, and they are really, in the end, not worth fighting for. Very, very occasionally, I still pick up my OHs phone, and look at his messages, but it doesn’t feel like checking up on him now, just sharing what his day has been like, I am no longer looking for her number or name, and he occasionally does the same with my phone.

      Please all be very assured that this phase will pass, it may take a very long time, but you will stop the checking up (unless you were already like this to start with, lol) if your marriage mends, I promise.

    • chiffchaff

      I’m also finding stopping the snooping on H’s phone and emails really hard. I agree with many comments above that it’s hard because you feel like a complete fool for not looking when you had an opportunity during the PA/EA. I mean, my H was texting her while sitting in the passenger seat as I drove the car, or even when his parents were there, sending her photos while I was stood next to him. It would have been so easy to have grabbed his phone and actually ‘checked’ what he was doing ratehr than accept his lies at the time. I think that’s why I still snoop, because I’m scared that if I don’t he’ll start again.
      I am trying to give up, but it’s so hard. The comments on here really help to stop me feeling unusual at this time. Thanks

    • chiffchaff

      Hopeful – my H did exactly that too immediately following DDay#1. He didn’t want to talk about it much and since DDay#2 he told me that he was seeing his counsellor to ask whether or not he really did have to tell me the whole truth about his PA or not, as he had only told me a cobbled story that he had created that he thought was more acceptable to me. So, you’re right to be worried that he’s holding back.
      If it’s any help, my H told me that his cousnellor told him that he had serious issues he had to deal with if he thought that withholding the real truth was a reasonable thing to do. He then stopped having counselling (and he told me at the time that he’d stopped having counselling as ‘he’d come to a natural end with it and that the cousnellor was happy with his progress’ – DDay#2 was 2 months later!).

    • Alone

      D – thanks for your post regarding mental illness. I have printed it out for safe keeping, so much good advice. Thank you!

      Hopeful – I’m sorry he won’t be truthful with you. I was truthful with my H about the details of the affair the fist week after D-day. Truth about my feelings for the OM came later. Point is, I haven’t exactly been a role model for truth. It could be a couple of things here 1) he is ashamed and doesn’t want to discuss it anymore 2) he might be wanting to talk with the counselor to get guidance on how to answer so that he doesn’t do more damage to your marriage 3) he is ready to move on, so feels no need to discuss it at length anymore, he wants to erase it from his mind. I guess the bottom line is, YOU need to discuss it, so that’s what he has to do.

    • Hopeful

      ChiffChaff,
      Thanks for your insight. I am hopeful that my H’s counsellor, for whom my H has high regard, will advise him to tell me the whole truth. Then, hopefully, my H will follow his advice. Of course, to the extent that my H is in denial, don’t know whether he is capable of acknowledging the truth in the first instance.

      Alone,
      Thank you for your insight. My H has not been particularly forthcoming about the details of the EA. In fact, he really has only confirmed facts that I independently found out. I suspect that he does not want to discuss the EA with me for all of the reasons you identified. Again, I hope his counsellor can help him understand what I need. I also suspect that the EA was actually a PA, though my H has denied that adamantly. The problem is, of course, that he has lied so many times that his denials are meaningless. So hopefully, my H’s counsellor will assist me on my quest for the truth. My H seems to respect him and says that he had given him good advice. When I ask my H why he can’t just tell me the truth, he said that there are “many considerations”, most have which have to do with me, and he needs his counsellor’s advice as to how to approach this. Whatever that means.

    • changedforever

      Hopeful…even though I am further down the recoverry path (or shall I say further forward…?) than you, ‘how & when to talk about the affair’ is still an issue w/us. I, too, have peices of the affair puzzle that just do not make sense. The truth is missing…still. Fortunately, the Beyond Affairs Network is hosting a ‘When/How to Talk About the Affair’ webinar tonite at 8pm EST. All you have to do is call in & listen…always helpful. And this is the very 1st webinar my H is participating with…along with me. Maybe you could check it out too. Info on their website….

    • ChangedForever

      Couldnt locate info on the BAN website for tonite’s webinar. The call in number is 12189364141, access code is 688685. Subject title is ‘how to discuss the affair without damaging your relationship.’

    • Paula

      Hopeful, he is just in denial, and hasn’t got to the point of accepting that he did something very, very wrong, and very, very hurtful. I think many of these people who have had EAs that weren’t sexual, feel that they’ve done nothing wrong, as there was no sexual intercourse (there may have been other sexual contact, though, however, that is irrelevant really) and they have hurt their partners very badly.

      I found it helpful to cut things into smaller time chunks. For example, if I asked that we begin some couples counselling, he had to agree to do it, and follow through with it by x date, and by doing as others have suggested here, and putting aside certain times where you can both talk, in a safe environment (trying to control the angry outbursts, sharing your sadness and fear, strongly, and for him to listen and share his thoughts, his hurts, I was very aware that both parties are hurting here, my OH is pretty ashamed of himself and is disgusted that he did this, and when you are disappointed in yourself, it feels pretty bad!) This sounds like it is very difficult for you to try to get him to connect with you, and acknowledge your pain. I found, to help myself, that (although I have heard others say that ultimatums don’t work) I needed to have at least a kind of timeframe, not for the healing, as I knew that would happen in it’s own time, but to get your needs met, that means that whatever it is that you need for him to do to make you feel safer, he needs to be able to take a positive step towards that by a certain time, and he needs to know that this is non-negotiable for you to stay in the relationship. It’s about standing up for yourself, you have been crushed by his actions, and if he has any love left for you, he needs to show it, even if they are only in baby steps, there needs to be some “goodwill gesture” on his part, and it needs to be continuing, not just once. Tell him it is normal for him to feel defensive, and that you understand that, and you want to work together to create a better life together, and if he doesn’t want to share with you what you need, then you’ll be making other arrangements! That last part is me, you don’t have to threaten, but he does need to know that you are serious, and like bringing up children, you need to follow through if you are like me, and tend to offer an ultimatum! I know this is all just my opinion, I hope some of it helps.

    • Healing Mark

      Paula. As almost always, Paula’s posts are very similar to my experiences/opinions/thoughts with respect to my wife’s EA and our healing process. Take them to heart and see if you cannot get something positive out of them.

      My wife was also hard to convince that what she had developed with her EA partner was “wrong”. She could see the hurt it caused me and the damage it had caused our relationship and family. Because she so much did not want to be to blame for creating something that was so harmful, she stuck by the “we were just friends” and her belief that I and our counsellor just did not understand that her personality strengths were such that she could grow closer to other people than I or our counsellor could with not malice intended. It wasn’t until we got her to acknowlege that it wasn’t her perception of how appropriate her “friendship” was that mattered, but instead how her actions/inactions/lies/deceipt/defensiveness were harming her marriage and family and, most importantly, the extent to which I viewed her “friendship” as inappropriate. The key was getting her to agree that my view of the “friendship” was the key, whether or not (within reason, of course, and I was by no means then, now, or ever in the past unduly jealous of any relationships my wife had with friends of the opposite sex and, in fact, we have great and appropriate relationships with guys and their wives whom my wife was particularly close to prior to my meeting my wife) my wife agreed with my assessment that her friendship was a bit to close for my comfort.

      My wife and I never had issues with her not doing anything I felt she needed to do or share to help me heal. Don’t get me wrong, neither of us enjoyed talking about any specifics of her EA, and I have not been able to relate to all of those posting her who feel that they need to know more about their spouses affairs than they have been told to date. Forgive me, but I just needed to know that my wife had feelings for another person, that these feelings caused her to become confused over what she wanted in her live moving forward, and that as a result of these feelings, she did a lot of things that someone who cares about another person would do and say and which would no doubt hurt a person to whom she was then married to. Did it matter that they held hands (they did) or gazed lovingly into each others eyes (they did)? Not really, to me. Why wouldn’t they? Did it matter that they contemplated what it would be like if they each divorced their spouses (they did, although they concluded that to do so based soley on thier EA feelings would be foolish)? Again, to me, not really.

      So to wrap up. For me, I did not need a lot of details. What I needed was for my wife to agree, which she did, to share with me whatever details I wanted her to give me. No matter how hurtful I got the extent to which she felt “love” for the OM, understood what this really meant given the circumstances (i.e., the OM never saw my wife 100% as she really was, nor did my wife see him 100% as he really was, and the way they each viewed each other as prospective partners was very much clouded by the newness of their relationship and the “fantasy” that was in each of their heads during the EA – fortunately they “woke up” and realized how these feelings were not ones that would necessarily last long term or otherwise once they came clean to the world about their affair and tried to get back all of the respect they wanted from friends and family that they knew they would lose after ending marriages and harming children based on the EA that they finally recognized had developed). So I wasn’t fazed by, and did not need to know, all of the gory details. What I really needed for healing was for my wife to agree to be honest with me about what little (and I mean LITTLE) details I wanted to know. Was she always honest? No, I know now that she wasn’t, and when I felt that she was not, I hurt, was angry, and was not getting closer to genuine forgiveness. But she came around (I truly believe which is about as good as you can get) and convinced me that lies were over, honesty was absolute (it helped that she felt finally that no matter how hurtful the truth might be, I was not going to freak out on her, potentially leave her, and otherwise use such truth to continue to punish/beat her up with going forward), at which point I got her to fess up to particular actions/behaviors that had been hurtful/harmful, and then put them in the past with a mutual understanding that these would not be put up with going forward.

      Good luck with your healing process and, remember, Paula’s posts are very insightful and almost always very helpful to those who are at a similar point in the healing process as her. Good night.

    • ifeelsodumb

      Peggy…hang in there!! Read the blog and post often! You will build up a network of friends that will help you and support you! Are you seeing a therapist, Dr, etc? You sound depressed, and that can really make the feelings of pain and betrayal even worse! You need to take care of YOU! Focus on what makes you happy…Best of luck to you! Please let us know how you are doing!

    • chiffchaff

      Paula – my H and I are doing very careful discussions about his affair by my thinking carefully of my questions and placing them inside envelopes. Twice a week he gets to pick one at random, that way I don’t know either which one will come out. Last nights was a positive one about the improvements we’ve made. Problem was, I don’t know if this is a man thing or not, he was all focused on the things we have done, whereas the most important changes to me have been increased small daily physical contact. He said it wasn’t a high priority to him, which then upset me. It’s made me feel down today and like the only future we have is as good friends not lovers if he doesn’t get pleasure from even daily contact (or this is how it seems to me). I suppose this is one of the ‘downs’ on the ‘ups and downs’ since Dday#2.

    • Surviving

      Peggy,

      I hope today is a better day for you, sometimes once the one year mark passes some anxiety is lifted.

      You are going through so much with your dad and the EA hopefully there is some grief counseling available for you thru community services.

      People on this site care, please give us an update and know that you are not alone.

    • Paula

      Peggy

      I TOTALLY know where you are at. It makes you so mad, I had the exact same kind of relationship with my partner, for 22 years, when I found out what he’d been doing with a friend of mine who’d I’d known for 32 years, for the previous 15 months. I am not motivated by money either, but have come to realise that I am a little spoilt, and I don’t want to be completely destitute either, which wasn’t a particularly pleasant thing to have discovered about myself!

      Dday was over 2 and a half years ago, I still have days like yours, but I have grown as well. I’m with you, it feels like it’s never going to end, and the ridiculous jealousy and rage seem so out of character. Please know that you will get better, it may take a really long time, and it is always one step forward and two back, two forward, one back, etc. Try very hard to celebrate the smallest of joys (joy, what’s that, I hear you say, I know, I struggle to feel any small happiness, also, but I TRY, and I NOTICE when I have the faintest of smiles!) We are good, loving, people, and we must not let other people’s selfish and cruel actions ruin the way we live our lives, and crush our spirits! I don’t know if our relationship will survive, to this day, but I know I will, I just want to get to a place where I FLOURISH, not just exist. Keep in touch, Peggy, I have found this is the place where I dump a lot of the negativity, to try to slough it off, and it does help. I am sending you all of my very best wishes, I agree with IFSD, do look after yourself, seek some professional help, I have many times, it hasn’t been the magic key (I knew nothing would be, it had to come from deep, deep within myself) but at least I am being pro-active, and managing to make some forward motion, at least some of the time! Take care, we all care here

    • Peggy

      Thanks to all that talked to me. I do so appreciate it. I’m getting through my day. Better then I was when I posted. I’ve made some deicisions on my life. I want to flourish, too. It’s not in my nature to be so negative, but I’ve learned that we all are capable of these emotions whether they were present before or not. I supposed because of the 1 year point I did put a lot of pressure on myself to be further along in the healing process. We all have a lot of other things to deal with other then this mess and I’d like to be able to do more then be paralized by this pain. I’ve decided to stop concentrating on him. I’ve given myself some dead lines. In this case I find it warranted. Money is a huge issue with me right now so I must find a way to make some. I know that would empower me greatly to know I had choices. He’s always been my best friend and I would miss him so much, but having said that I do know that I would be perfectly fine alone. Anyone want to buy a painting:) I won’t give that up, but I have other skills so it will find a way. Right now I have to make my Dad a priorty. He’s inh is last days on earth and I want to participate in his passing. Be there for him. But being at the age that I am even though I consider myself a young 60, I can’t allow myself to accept where I am for years. I’ve gone through so much in my life up til now. I really thought he was my gift for all the sadness I had already experienced. But it’s obvious that he’s not. If he can make the changes that I need so that I can have a chance to heal then we might be able to move forward. Otherwise, within this year, if changes aren’t done I will leave. Even though I feel I have been abused I don’t want to be the one abusing. Not getting over it would not be a good thing spiritually for him either. Yes, we all need to be pro-active. I know in the past when things got too tough I’d get outside and work at something, build something or just walk it off. This type of emotion has been a whole new experience for me and I haven’t been able to do that, but I’m going to make myself now. I love you all for your kindness.

    • Paula

      Oh, and Hopeful, I needed the full truth, including many of the details, unlike Healing Mark. I think it might be a female thing, but I just didn’t ever want to find out more filthy details later, I needed to be prepared by hearing the worst up front. Might not just be a female v male thing, might be an EA v PA thing? I also needed details so I could get my health checked out, and deal with some of the places and spaces (so I could discount many of the places/scenarios that I was imagining – my imagination is actually worse than the reality, even though that seems impossible!)

    • Surviving

      I also needed the truth, why because I didnt want there to be any secrets, I wanted everything to be exposed to strip away any illusion “them”. I wanted to know everything he told her about me and us. Every untruth. I wanted to know everytime they met,

    • Healing Mark

      Paula, I agree that there is a difference between what male BS’s and female BS’s need from their partners. This goes not just for facts about the affair, but also how much the BS contributes to the healing process. At least that’s what what I’ve read on this site seems to indicate.

      I, too, did not want to ever find out filfthy details later, so after I had found out some of those that my wife was not sharing with me (granted, she was asked to provide these b/c they were acts that should not have happened without me knowing about them, but in her mind, in order to “protect” me, she lied about them), I laid down the law with her acceptance of the same. If I asked her a question, she was to answer it 100% truthfully, regardless of how much it might hurt me or our marriage. I assured her that I was not on a witch hunt or otherwise looking for her to supply me with very damaging information. But I needed to feel that she was back being truthful with me, and feeling that way would almost always trump any hurtful info she might share. As I assured her, if she had loving feelings for the short period of time that she said she did (they lasted a bit longer than we mutually acknowledged, but at leasst the finally ended), I did not expect any truthful confessions to make me feel any less love for her. This helped greatly.

      Back to the “I don’t want to fine out more filthy details later” aspect of our healing, after catching my wife lying about details of an EA that had ended 8, 9 or 10 months before (although the post-EA relationship, which I was aware of in all repectis, was still closer than what I would have liked it to be). I told my wife, and our counsellor backed me up which thank God did not harm my wife since she could see he error or her wasys at that point ad ddn’t want to muckup as cumc as she had before.

    • Hopeful

      Paula,
      Not sure if it’s a male / female thing, or a personality thing, or what. What I know is that I need more facts — I need for the story to make sense to me before I can move on. My H had his appt with his counselor next week, and I intend to schedule a time with him to discuss the facts. And this is really a deal breaker for me. I will not tolerate dishonesty or half-truths any longer. I am prepared to move on without him.

    • Worn Out Pursuer

      I have learned that I have been the pursuer in my marriage. When I need to talk, I go to my husband and I start the dialogue. I always ask him how he is, how his day was, etc. He rarely seeks me out. He treats me as our son’s Mom rather than his wife. After our last conversation, that I started, I made a decision to no longer pursue him. I will back off and start focusing on me. For the entire year of the EA / PA he had, I was always trying to fight for him – but he was not fighting for me. I was in a battle to win my H back. It has been 7 weeks now since D-Day and I am finally ready to stop pursuing and do what makes me happy. Amazingly, my H has noticed me not giving him attention and has started to make small steps to seek me out. As I become happier and not the sad, mourning, angry roller coaster rider, I am healing me. I am tired of pursuing. It got me no where but personal grief and anxiety. Taking care of me is a new goal.

    • Peggy

      Worn Out Pursuer: You might as well be writing for me. I am you. And my husband, too had an EA/PA. I made the same commitment to myself just last week and he is in a tail spin. He has no idea what to do. I’ve been very straight with him and told him that he needed to seek me out from now on. That I would be concentrating on my healing and I have felt as if I was alone throughout this entire process. If he wanted me in his life he needed to pursue me from now on. Our relationship prior to his EA/PA didn’t work so I looked forward to his attention and contribution to our marriage.. I’m not trying to be a bitch to him. It’s a discipline for me, too, because it’s second nature for me to be vebal and interested in his day. But I have to change me, too.

    • csb

      Peggy & WOP… One of the results of my H EA is that I dont like what Ive become…I was always the one finding the positeive in everything, making peace nurturing our relationship. I have grown hard and cynical….building a strong shell against further betrayal and pain. Im almost 5 months since dday….I see my H getting scared as he realizes Im not the “safety cushion” I used to be. This has changed us all, for better or worse, it was the choice of the CS, not ours….these are the results of their actions.

    • Peggy

      Well, we are one of the same kind. And I have become hard and cynical, too. It breaks my heart because I was in my best place when I married H and always positive and encouraging and loving. Now I don’t even know myself anymore. I think that’s why we have had to step aside and regain ourselves despite the H. I’m definitely not H’s safety cushion anymore. I find it interesting and sad that they can get over it and think we can go back to being who we were prior to their affair. I know I won’t be able to be that person again simply because I have less faith in human nature. I’m more cautious and guarded. I had my walls built up and let them all down with my H and now they are back up again. What frustrates me is that those around me just don’t get it. I really don’t have anyone to talk to about this because they all think I should have gotten over it by now and if not why am I still with him. It’s hard to explain, isn’t it. I love the man I married, but I can’t honestly say that I love him now because he isn’t the man I married from my stand point now. He says he sorry and he didn’t commit to me in the same way that I commited to him. He understands that his actions all came from ego and he says he’s working on it, but I haven’t seen enough for me yet.

    • csb

      Peggy…Ive given up talking about it anywhere but here…I feel like I have the plague and everyone is afraid theyll catch it..plus as you said, they think I should just go back to “normal.”.a

    • Paula

      csb and Peggy, that all sounds very familiar to me. That is one of the things I have been working on about myself now. I also used to be a very glass half-full girl, bubbly and bright, always up for fun, but also always the first friends turned to when they were down, or in need, as I’ve always been a good listener (I did this for the OW!) I am not that person anymore, I have to pretend to the outside world that I am (2 and a half years is too long for “the world” to see your pain – “the world” judges you as unhinged for not “being better” by now!) I will always carry this scar with me now, but I don’t want it to drag me around anymore, I want to live a full and worthwhile life. Not sure about the advice to give to achieve this, I am just more self-contained and try to deal with my sadness and heartbreak quietly. It’s not easy, I am seeing a counsellor, again, with the hope that he may help me find some form of peace, but am digging deeper than ever inside of myself to remind myself of all I am, and all I can be.

    • csb

      Peggy, everyone expects me to “go back to normal” because thats what I aways did ….we had fights, (nothing like this though), every time I made peace and sucked it up for the greater good. I love my H but I am not in love with him and it shows…as you said this was the one person who swore to love, cherish and protect me from pain. I no longer wait for his call or for time together…I actually dread it because I know there will be an “elephant in the room” with us. We’ve been together 32 years…..who am I now? Certainly not that trusting, free spirit I was. I know I ned to recreate myself, for myself, but I truly mourne the loss of the “old me”

    • Still struggling

      Peggy…. Your post really resonates with me right now. You are exactly where I am at. It also seems as soon as I start to resurrect my faith another lie or secret that destroys it all again. Wouldn’t be any better to leave and start over because I don’t think I will ever trust another man the way I trusted him. That doubt in human nature will hover like a storm cloud. Thanks for understanding.

    • Peggy

      Have you all noticed the similarity? We all loved so deeply. All of us were happy, joyful beings with positive outlooks. And now I feel that my body has been taken over by some hideous entity from hell. I was blindsided, totally. I watched a video and the PhD. said that if you think it’s never going to happen to you, it will. It was my BAD because I didn’t prepare and do what was needed to prevent this from happening. Well, when did it become my responsibility to instill morals in my husband? He talked the right talk, but that was because he was the best liar I’ve ever known. We never fought about anything. Not because I was a door mat, because we just got along so well. I’ve learned since that some fighting is healthy, but at the time I thought it was great to share a life with someone who didn’t need to fight with me. We talked about everything under the sun every day, sometimes all day long. When I say how in the world could he have done that to me, which according to most experts is not a productive question, it’s because he never once changed during the time he was having his affair. I find that more then brilliant that he could pull that off. I totally trusted him. It never occurred to me that he would or could do this. I can’t take blame or responsibility for not seeing the signs. I wasn’t looking. I had no reason to look. He set up the deception so perfectly. I don’t believe that it was wrong to truth or love the way I did. But what my H has now is what he created. His wonderful life before his affair is over. I’ve learned how to fight now. And now I have to reinvent myself again so I can function in this world. I so understand not being able to trust another man again. I said the same words and feel the same way. Words just can’t describe the situation for me. Deceived, betrayed, all the words I read seem simplistic to me. My H had choices. He was the pursuer. He consciously went after the OW. He says he just went insane. He won’t get any arguement from me on that. He consciously, single handedly destroyed the best thing he had ever had in his life. ME. He’s remorseful now, but I’m still very damaged and have a lot of work to do to heal myself from his distruction and I do resent it very much.

    • Rachel

      It’s been 2 months since my husband had his EA. He contacted an ex gf from thirty years ago. They didn’t miss a beat,she brings out the best in him,they are sole mates.he’s still home but only says I want to try to work things out but don’t get your hopes up.he’s stopped the lunch dates and texting I guess? He said he loves me and not in love with me. Been married for 24 years. Such a shock.can’t move passed the betrayal because they have such a connection. Was put on meds to keep me calm and to stop obsessing. Well thet aren’t working.

    • Paula

      Peggy, I never thought it couldn’t happen to us, we talked about that very thing, many, many times over the years, what to do if you ever had feelings for someone else, about total honesty, etc. I thought we were on the same page. It blindsided me, because she was an ex GF he didn’t like at all, and I did actually question him about his renewed friendship with her, quite a few times, but was very re-assured every time, by his words and his body language, and the fact that he was seemingly still very in love with me, and we were still very intimate, still shared so much of each other’s minds and souls, by chatting, holding each other, etc, etc. I was completely duped by both of them. When I once started having some doubts (she used to holiday with us in our holiday home, with her pre-school son, came to all our parties, soirees, etc) I invited her down to the lake to stay, when he wasn’t coming. I thought, if their relationship is inappropriate, she won’t come to stay with just me, it’s him that is the drawcard here. She came. My fears were allayed, as she drank wine with me, sat on her behind as I waited on her and her ratbag son (he is a firecracker, whom I get, but she won’t say no to him, and mean it!) My OH is COMPLETELY remorseful, also, it was a betrayal for 15 months, where we both contracted an STI (another thing we talked a lot about in the past, ie, if the worst happens, and you end up having sex with someone else, for God’s sake – or rather for my sake! – wear a bloody condom, every time!!!) I’m not “better” either, just a little further along the journey, making some more important decisions about who I am, and how important I am, and how that will affect our children. And I’m a really great person, and I will be okay. I just want some joy back in my life sometime 🙂 I’ll get there, there is no choice! My OH was also the instigator of this affair, although she took no chasing, she dived straight on in at the first opportunity, my friendship to her meant absolutely nothing, silly me, I don’t trust my “friends” anymore either, because you can’t really tell who’s going to hurt you, I just keep everyone at arm’s length, enjoy their company, but don’t engage too closely, it’s too, too painful.

      I wish you peace, and my thoughts are with you as you spend time with your father, treasure this part of your life as you are able to say your goodbyes, all the best, Peggy

    • Peggy

      Paula, being betrayed by your H is bad enough, but by a friend is the worst. I had two situations where a friend’s significant other came on to me and each time I told my girlfriend the truth. Guess who lost out. Me. Both these women said I had come on to their man and they dropped me as their friend. So much for good friends. I’ve said it over and over again, if she had just said no or contacted me I would have believed her and I would have very much appreciated her effort. But she didn’t. I knew her very well. She had worked with my husband for four years. I’m so sorry for your pain. I am treasuring my time with my Dad. My sister came over yesterday and we both went to see him. His eyes were opened and he couldn’t stop stroking my sister’s hair. It was so touching. Moments like that I will have forever to remember when he’s gone.

    • ifeelsodumb

      @ Rachel…from what I understand, the line “I love you…but NOT in love with you” is really quite common!! That’s the “affair fog” talking, so don’t listen to it!! If he was REALLY in love with the OW…nothing and no one could make him stay!! Read this blog, they discuss this very thing!!
      @Doug…can you get the reply button to work…please? 😀

      • Doug

        IFSD, I emailed the folks that developed the plugin for the reply button and got no response. When there was a software update, for some reason the reply stopped working. I’m trying to find an alternative. Thanks!

    • Rachel

      Well after a great night with my h today is a different story. He said that he doesn’t have an emotional connection with me. Some days he wants to stay and some days he wants to leave because he feels that there is someone out there that he can have more of an emotional connection with then me. So he is confused and I’m getting sick of being jerked around. He looked up his ex after 30 years. She dumped him, picked the other guy. Now during their lunches she said to him”we should have stayed together” and he said “yes we should have. This tells me that my 24 ur marriage was just a lie. He’s been missing her and when things were going bad between us is when he looked her up. Went to visit her then he took her out to 4 lunches that only lasted for 1 hour. Said they had a connection just like 30 years ago. They picked up right where they left off, they had fun, she discussed how miserable she is being married to the wrong guy. Touched his hands during the lunch and kissed him on the lips good bye one time when the lunch was over. Did he really need to tell me all of this??? Well it sounds to me that she is the one he wants to be with. I feel I can’t compete with this women. The 24 years he has just resented the fact that I’m not her. Constantly critizing, nagging, I never could do anything right in his eyes.
      Would love some opinions and advise. This blog is better than my 40.00 therapy sessions!

    • Notoverit

      Okay, sounds to me like it’s time for the NO CONTACT rule. As Linda has said and countless others on this site, it is time for your H to either quit contact or else. The “or else” is your decision. It could be in the form of get out and go after your heart’s desire – I am moving on with my life. Or it could be do whatever but as for me I am taking care of myself. The backing off is a good idea. You work on yourself, ignore him and be cordial. That does not include hearing about his dilemma that he chose the wrong woman. Be there but do not facilitate his indecisiveness. To me, and I could be very wrong, when he told you about his lunch dates, he was just being cruel. Tell him to tell it to his counselor or, if he doesn’t have one, get thee hence to one immediately – I am not interested in your problems. And these are HIS problems. You work on yourself, make yourself happy and make yourself strong. Sorry but he seems to want you to do this for him and it’s his dilemma. I think if you beg, plead and act submissive you will lose period. I am not advocating acting mean to him, just saying that you have to take care of yourself and ignore his problems. Just my take on it for whatever it’s worth.

    • Rachel

      Notoverit- he saysnthat he has stopped contacting her . I do have a hard time believing him because he has told me since June that he didn’t have anyone else. He was just “catching up” with an old friend.
      My counselor tells me every week that I need to take care of myself. I don’t know how to when I am consumed with this EA

    • Surviving

      Rachel,
      If this person is the love of his life why isn’t he with her?

      It sounds like he is just looking at the fantasy of how life would be with her and not reality… Kids, bills, laundry, inlaws… Life

      It’s time for you to just focus on yourself and possibly cut him loose.

    • Hopeful

      Notoverit,
      “Work on yourself, ignore him, and be cordial” — I like that. But what I am struggling with is how long I stay with him while we’re being “cordial” to each other. “Cordial” is not a marriage. I just don’t know when it’s time to quit.

    • chiffchaff

      Hopeful – I have the same problem. How long will I be in this ‘limbo’ with my H? How much time should you give someone who seems to have stopped wanting to work on our marriage despite initially being keen a few weeks ago?

    • Lynne

      Rachel-

      It sounds like your H is in an immature, it’s all about me and my needs stage of life. Did he ever tell you in the last 24 years that it didn’t feel an emotional connection to you, or is this a more recent development (in the fog)? Its also an incredibly immature response on his part to say that things weren’t going well between the two of you so he looked her up—hmmm, that was his only option for dealing with it?

      So as to what to do now–you are right, you can’t compete with her, but why should you? Either your H is willing to be completely open and transparent (phone, phone bills, email) with you that there is absolutely no contact, or he’s not. If he’s not willing to do this, then he does not pass go and collect $200. In other words, you get to decide how to move toward healing with him.

      Its important that you take a stand on how you expect to be treated and where the line is that he can’t cross. Don’t accept his blaming as a way for him to take the heat off of himself. I agree with being cordial and calm…..if he starts in on those comments again, I would politely get up and leave the room, but only after telling him that you won’t listen to him waxing on about the attributes of the other woman, so you are going to go do “X” (laundry, read a book, call a friend). Once he gets the idea that you are not going to listen to this nonsense, and that you’re taking a strong position on how you expect to be treated, it seems unlikely he’ll continue it.

      Set boundaries. Be strong. Know that his EA is about his poor coping mechanisms and that he always had other choices about how to communicate his frustrations to you. Have you considered couples counseling?

    • Notoverit

      Hopeful,
      Well, I really have no time to tell you. I used to say to myself, 31 years of marriage, maybe I should give it a bit longer. Really, the point with me was waiting to see if there was a sliver of hope that he was trying to do something. I began to see it a little at the time – a note “I love you” or “I’m sorry for this mess” or he would actually give me a hug and tell me. Small things but it meant something. I waited nearly a year for him to finally get the picture. He’s still trying and that gives me hope. I understand that a “cordial marriage” isn’t that great but we are working on it and the intimacy is coming back. Hope that helps a little.

    • Rachel

      Lynne-
      Yes my h did fell an emotional connection with me but lost it over the last ten years. Says he only stayed for the kids who are 20 and 16. My therapist said that we can’t do couples counseling because my H hasn’t said that he wants to work it out with me. He’s undecided whether to staynwith me or go to the g.f. Who by the way married.

    • scott

      Our D day was about three weeks ago. This is not the first EA she has had. this time I had been highly suspisious for months about her”freind” that she started hanging out with about year ago. He was taking her flying in his small plane. He flys for Delta and started bringing gifts from around the world for my daughters. Then he started showing up to my daughters sports games. They chatted constantly on Facebook and she always closed it when I came in the room. He friended me on facebook and wanted to hang out with me. When he first showed up he was married, a couple months later he was divorcing. My wife kept saying hes just a friend, he’s lonely and his kids are grown and gone, and he is just looking for friendship. She kept telling me how nice he was and how much I would like him. Hell I even invited him to my parents house for thanksgiving because he was going to be alone! Three months ago my W said we sould seperate, she rented an old apartment that her “friend” was helping her fix up. My suspisions had finally got the best of me and I installed spyware on the computer. I was not prepared for what I saw… the “I love you’s”,” my lips burn to kiss you”, “we will be happy after both our divorces”…ect.ect… He even took on 13,000 of her credit card debt she got into from gambling! On D Day I told her to leave, and that I would file divirce papers the next day. I didn’t, I couldn’t throw 24 years away and I still love her. She says she has cut all contact with the OM and wants us to work. The last three weeks I have bought books and read dozens of websites. I try to get her involved, but she says she is to far gone emotionaly to give 100% to our relationship. She comes home to see the kids, have dinner, do her laundry, have sleep overs, and a few late night “encounters” (at my place and hers). Finally today I told her no more acting like we are still together. no more coming and going as you please, doing laundry, having dinner, no more late night encounters. If you cant at least try to work on us then I am done pretending to be a family. Maybe I have made a big mistake but only time will tell?? I plan to file for divorce next week I just cant take the lies anymore.. Good luck to you all I hope it works for you as I wish it had for us.

    • nw

      Hi, I found out about my husband’s emotional affair nearly just over a fortnight ago and I have turned into a doormat in order to keep things going. He has toned it right down but he refuses to relinquish contact. I am just trying to make it through each day until I can see some way forward.

      • Lynne

        So sorry to hear this NW. Has your H told you why he won’t discontinue his EA contact? Does he not feel that it’s an EA?

        More importantly, how do you feel about his continued contact? Only you can decide what you are willing to accept in your marriage, but can you live with this knowing that he doesn’t plan to stop? To me, this seems utterly disrespectful.

    • nw

      Lynne, things have moved on since then. My husband has committed to working towards fixing our relationship. He says he loves me and I believe him, he clearly has an emotional link to the OW and ceasing contact entirely is hurtful but I believe that he is not having actual contact at present aside from what is necessary because they sometimes work together.

      He has said that he wants to focus on our family but he won’t promise not to contact her again or even to tell me if he feels the pull, if he contacts her of if she contacts him. His reasoning is that such an assurance is worthless because he has promised before and then been secretive in contact anyway. So, he feels I won’t be reassured by any promise he makes – so it’s academic. I’ve told him I feel unable to relax and start working on our relationship since I have this to worry about but he appears to see no threat. I think this woman is a huge threat to my marriage and family but he feels that he has passed a test in some sense by still being here. For me, the possibility that he MAY be in contact with her any time that I am not there is an all consuming one, I think he’s not, but the possibility is all it takes.

      He tells me that an awful lot of their contact before I found out was about how they really shouldn’t be doing this as if that will make me feel better. He seems unable to understand me when I tell him he makes it worse.

      He doesn’t appear to recognise the concept of an emotional affair at all. He feels he probably shouldn’t have had the xmas party fumble he did which kicked it off, but clearly feels this was prompted by my emotional coldness in our marriage. Apart from that, he seems to feel the secret lunch dates, all-night skyping etc are fine really. He regrets the hurt caused to me but not the actual relationship. Writing it down makes it look like he is really playing me, but i think he is trying to be honest and explain his feelings. The trouble is that I couldn’t care less about the OW and wish she would disappear from the surface of the earth. He loves her on some level and doesn’t want her to be hurt, he can’t grasp that the best way to avoid hurt is for contact to be cut off.

      We are in relationship counselling but i feel like I am doing all the work.

      • Lynne

        nw-

        I am so sorry to hear this. While he may be trying with you, the most important question is whether you can live with this in the short or long term. At least he is being honest that he may have contact with the OW (rather than more lies), but are you okay knowing that this is your new reality?

        For me, I would expect that all contact be cut off (except what is absolutely necessary and professional at work), otherwise, the marriage would be over. I am a big believer in taking a stand on how I expect to be treated~that doesn’t mean that people need to embrace it, it just means they won’t be a close part of my life~whether they be my family, friends or spouse. I think you have to be clear on your own boundaries and what’s important to you…..what you are willing to accept into your life…..and be clear and stand firm on them. This is about self-respect.

        My own H did cut off contact with the OW, but if he hadn’t willingly done this for OUR benefit, I would not be here now. This is not to say that it wouldn’t have hurt like hell to leave him, but to me, love is about mutual respect and consideration. Love is not about having your cake and an affair partner, too!

    • nw

      Thanks Lynne, I figure that may end up being my position but I have to be sure. I have six children all still here at home and some of them would not be able to remember their dad living at home if I said that it was over right now. I don’t think I would be prepared to do anything at all for the sake of keeping the family together, or that it would even be best, but I am not going to start bandying around threats if I don’t mean them. He has been out all day today and I have found myself obsessing about whether or not he is in contact with her this minute…or maybe the next minute. Long term I can’t be worrying about that. In my own mind I am prepared to wait a while to talk this through further but I know I’m not prepared to put up with it long term. My husband detects no real threat, he knows I am sensible, very strong and that I love him and translates this into an assumption that I will put the family first regardless.

      Regarding cutting off contact for our mutual benefit I think he has a problem with this. Basically he is a naturally stubborn character and feels that if he cuts off contact due to an ultimatum issued by me this would lead to resentment on his part that would kill our relationship off anyway. I think the opposite is also the case – I face a similar ultimatum and will suffer similar resentment. He doesn’t see it that way so we have a stand-off.

      I’d like to thank you two so much for this blog, it has been, by far, the most helpful thing I’ve come across on the internet and i think it’s maintaining my sanity at the moment.

    • Losing Hope

      I havent posted a comment on here since (i think) September 2011. Tomorrow it will be 1 year for me that I found out about my H EA..

      I never thought we would have made it this long. Ive spent the past 3days reading and catching up on all the posts and comments. I have to say…I learned something new about myself and what direction I need to go in…BUT…

      I cant seem to get my H to open up completely. I think he just doesnt want to talk about and he expects me to “just get over it” (seems to be a common complaint on here) Like it will all just “go away” on its own…I feel that if he keeps thinking this way and doesnt open up more that we will start slipping down that slippery slope of lies and witholding our true feelings.

      So…my problem is…how do I get him to tell me how he feels..? Every time we’ve had disscussions on his EA I do not get angry or yell…I just listen (even though it is very difficult to not get emotional)

      There is so much that has happend between us. (obviously 🙂
      I was finally getting to place where I was starting to work on myself and then last night happend.

      Past-3months after DDay he wrote me the sweetest letter about where he saw his life throughout the next years..all of it based around us. Well, a month later he deleted it from his messages. This hurt me deeply because that letter meant so much to me. But I struggled along in the recovery process..as I knew from this site that he was in the fog.
      Present-I just discovered that he deleted all of our messages again. Every message he has is still there(some from as far back as 5months from dday) from other “friends”. I asked him “why he did this? What did I do to make him feel the need to delete our messages?”

      I thought we has been getting better. Ive been doing everything I can to be BETTER. He said he doesnt remember doing it. And, maybe he did it accidentally. Then some other Bullshit about his phone telling him he had to much data..

      I know he is not being honest and I told him that. I told him to just give it to me straight, I dont need lies, I’d rather him tell me that he was mad at me one day and deleted them than to hear “i dont know, or I dont remember”

      help

    • nw

      Lynne, I’d like to thank you for your response to my plight, it made me stand up for myself and everything has changed.

      I discovered things in their relationship were far less over than I thought and had a dreadful long dark night of the soul involving me leaving the house at 2 am and hurling the car around country lanes with abandon before patching it up in a very ricketty way with OH.

      Two days later, however, I realised that my own mental health was in danger and did the only thing I felt able to. I emailed OH and asked him to leave. I also emailed OW explaining in a very straightforward way the effect of their relationship and the fact that my husband was available if she wanted to take him. It turns out that my email arrived with her within an hour of her own husband walking out. This was not high-risk strategy on my part; it was a genuine letting go of OH if he was unable to commit.

      The resultant conversation when he returned was rocky and sad, but we came to the conclusion that OW and OH must completely end all contact with each other (as I had been saying all along). They exchanged a couple of messages to say goodbye which I saw and which I found hurtful but which were a necessary part of the letting-go. And then my OH sat down and told me absolutely everything about their relationship. Without the secrecy I discovered that a lot, but not all, of it was not as bad as I had feared. And with that, she is out of our lives. He has said it’s over before but I know now that it really is.

      We have talked long and hard about what led to this, and we will continue relationship counselling, but for the first time in ages I feel positive about the future. So, thanks Lynne for your wise words which have helped us into a place where we are starting a new journey into the unknown together.

    • nw

      Well, guess what…I was wrong. The first time they actually had to meet each other face to face at work it all kicked off again. Things have blown up hugely and now we observe a shaky peace with very limited contact on their part but no promises. We are trying to work on our relationship but I see her as there, ready to step in at any time. He doesn’t see it that way and who knows who is right. I have to work on me and us and wait for him to see the folly of his ways or else man up and decide that it’s over. I still love him and he still loves me, of that I have no doubt. we resolved that we would come out of this happy, together or apart, and that’s the only promise we made. I wish we could have been so open and honest in the past several years!

    • Angela

      I’ve been working my way through this entire site backwards from most recent posts to oldest. This one is a real gem and I wish I’d found it when I first started coming to EAJ.

      I know a great deal of my pain at this point (3+ years from D-day) is more about being a doormat than being betrayed. However, I did find this to be a pattern in my past – the moment a serious boyfriend or husband did something that ignited a spark of insecurity in me, I would become more needy and I’d find myself doing things that made me feel bad about myself in trying to get them to love me again.

      I’m not sure it means we suffer from a low self-concept, but maybe that it speaks to the overwhelming power of fears stirred up by betrayal. To our most base instincts, marriage represents survival and perpetuation, even if we are financially independent, and I believe betrayal in marriage strikes our instincts as a life threatening situation. In that case, I believe our instincts are directing us to do anything that needs doing to survive so pride and self-respect wouldn’t be considered.

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