After the Emotional Affair: The Security I Needed

after the emotional affairI had discussed my last therapy session in a previous post and during that session the therapist and I also explored the implications of taking fault for the affair. He really helped me realize that I shouldn’t blame myself for Doug’s emotional affair, and by doing so for so long has definitely caused many problems for me. 

It has really taken a toll on my self esteem and my confidence to be a good partner.  I was having a hard time being able to look at the situation objectively.  I was focusing so much on the OP and their relationship that I really failed to look at what our relationship was like before the affair.

My therapist told me that I didn’t have to accept the betrayal, the lies, the way I was treated during his emotional affair, and that even though I believed I didn’t have a choice (because of my guilt), I indeed always have a choice to stay in the marriage or leave.

So for the first time I really began to think about what I really wanted. You know I never really put that out on the table as I constantly asked Doug why he was still here.  I gave him a choice if he wanted to stay or not, but Doug never asked me why I stayed in our marriage, or told me he would understand if I didn’t want to continue. 

I asked him if he would have been able to stay in our marriage if it were me who cheated, and he said he didn’t know.  I wonder why it is so impossible to understand that I may feel the same way.

I knew I loved Doug, but I wondered if that was enough to erase the lies and the cheating. I knew that my family was very important to me and it would devastate me to tear all of us apart. You know all of this really stinks because I had to contemplate a decision about our future based on something that Doug didn’t consult me about in the first place.

Well recently, all of these feelings came out and I told Doug that I had been struggling with these thoughts about staying in our marriage. I wasn’t sure that I could live with the memories, the lies and in many ways I fantasized that I would have a better life without him.

I had brought this up before, but Doug dismissed it at the time as me having a bad day.  But I believe this particular day he knew I was serious.  Well, he broke down and told me how that he wouldn’t be able to live without me. The last time he was that emotional was the time over two years ago that he confessed he had told Tanya he loved her.

To be honest until that point he really hadn’t expressed his feelings for me with such emotion, and I realized immediately that was something that I really needed.  Until that point I wasn’t sure of his feelings for me.  He always tells me he loves me, but to hear his words come out with such emotion and pain had an entirely different affect on me.

After this experience I have felt free and secure. I guess knowing that I do have a choice and finally realizing that I should not take the blame for his emotional affair took the weight off my shoulders.  Doug letting down his guard and really expressing how much he loved me finally gave me the security that I needed.

I feel like a different person.  I am not dragging the affair around with me anymore.  I have stopped thinking about it so much.  I have stopped many of the comparisons and have been successful blocking the memories of his emotional affair from my head.

 

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46 Responses to After the Emotional Affair: The Security I Needed

  1. Jane January 25, 2011 at 12:07 pm #

    What a great and powerful post. Thank you for sharing. I’ve learned over and over again through this process that it really is about open communication. Even though I am on the other side of the affair, I often mull things over in my mind so much and work myself into a tizzy, when I really only needed to do some serious self reflection and open communication with my husband. After all, we won’t get through this together unless we work on it together, right? I am glad you have found some peace and an answer for which you were searching.

  2. Donna January 25, 2011 at 3:59 pm #

    I am so happy that you have found the peace that you need Linda. Thank you for sharing that with us.

  3. ChangedForever January 25, 2011 at 4:04 pm #

    A powerful post & article today…and so true! I will do that when more time passes between D-day and the present (as I have much confidence in my marriage counselor who came to our rescue DAYS after D-Day.) I, too, have seen NO emotional expression of remorse nor actions from my H along these lines…and I, too may need that to ‘move forward’ past all the ‘bad thoughts’ days – ans they are still EVERY DAY. I am only a little over 3+ months past D-Day – ‘wounds are still open.’ This is good to know I can look forward to this … we are on a LONG road to recovery with MANY forecasted bumps ahead in the road (as the OW lives in our area and works WITH my H in summer months. O God, I pray for strength…every day — this helps!)

    • Yuki January 25, 2011 at 5:42 pm #

      I am also just past the three month mark since D-day. I also hurt all the time. But as Linda’s husband did, my husband shared his feelings with me the other night, and that changed my outlook considerably. I did not find out until after my husband had already broken it off, and he had been slowly withdrawing from her for a while, so he’s farther along in the process than most cheating spouses are at 3 months. But for me, it’s still very difficult to get through each day. I think about it all the time. But like you, I am hopeful now that maybe – just maybe – we’ll make it.

      • Doug January 25, 2011 at 6:35 pm #

        Yuki, I was wondering if you feel the same way I do when I read some of the comments from the betrayed men, when I read about their guilt, pain, how they wished they would have been better husbands and how much they love their beautiful wives it makes me cry. I would have done anything to see those emotions from Doug. I wonder why it is so difficult for the cheater to express these emotions. It is almost like they are afraid to feel the guilt, remorse, afraid to express their love and feelings. In the beginning I believed that it was difficult for Doug because he still had strong feelings for the OP but now I am not so sure. I just wonder if deep down they are afraid to be vulnerable and let their guard down. I wonder if they are afraid that if we become to secure and confident that we may decide to leave. It is just a thought. Someday I would like to understand why the betrayed spouse takes on the role of the guilty party while the cheater has such a difficult time understanding how devastating their actions were. Linda

        • Yuki January 25, 2011 at 8:26 pm #

          I sure do feel the same way, Linda. I have sat at my computer crying my eyes out, wondering if my husband even felt any of the love and remorse I saw in the betrayed men. And yes, I would have done anything for him to show it to me with passion and sincerity. He has said the right words before, but I never believed him. He always sounded so grave and resolute, like it was a decision he was forced to make.

          We didn’t go very deep into his reasons for being that way before, except that he was afraid I would reject him. I have to admit I told him that I didn’t believe him when he said he loved me. He is also still afraid that I will leave.

          My thoughts, though, are that guilt is the top reason. If he opened himself up to expressing and showing his love for me, then he would also be laying his guilt and remorse out there, too, and it seems it was more than he could bear. So he was trying to suppress everything so he could get through each day. I may be wrong – I plan to discuss it more with him when the time is right.

          It seems it is easy for betrayed spouses to fall into the trap of believing we were at fault. Everything I read says it’s not my fault, and then proceeds to tell me how I need to figure out what was wrong with my marriage before the affair that made my husband vulnerable and try to repair it. To me, that’s a mixed message.

          I have taken the view, and I think I’ve read some things about it on this site, too, that there are two separate issues to deal with in the discovery of an affair. The first is the affair itself – coming to terms with it and whether or not you can accept it and move on. The second is the destruction of your marriage. Regardless of the shape of your marriage was in before the affair, the affair was the nuclear warhead that destroyed it all. It is now nothing more than rubble. Both parties need to work together to clear the debris, lay the foundation again and build it from scratch. We have to work with experts who will help us set the best foundation possible. Thinking of it this way helps me to keep from blaming myself for the mess. I am sometimes fairly successful at this, and sometimes I feel like there’s no way I can ever be good enough for anyone. I guess I will slowly get better at it.

          I’m so happy for the strides you are making in your journey. You give me inspiration to keep going.

          • roller coaster rider April 25, 2011 at 11:01 pm #

            I also get confused about mixed messages, and I am trying not to assume blame but it’s really hard when my H tells me that my strong personality overpower him, and when I ask him about the OW I guess she was needy. It makes me furious at the moment but earlier today, I was taking on responsibility for the affair, even though I know it wasn’t anything I did.

        • Andrew January 25, 2011 at 8:51 pm #

          Linda, and Yuki, my wife still has not come out and acknowledged or confessed to having the EA, even though she knows that it is exactly what it is, and that I have known all along. I wish my D-day would happen, so that we can begin moving forward together.
          On the topic of why the cheater won’t reveal their emotions, I believe it is a combination of things that prevents them doing so. First, there may be fear there to some degree, probably fear to display weakness, in their eyes anyways, to their spouse. Weakness in the eyes of the cheater is the worst thing to them. More often than not, our displays of emotions and feelings to the cheater are seen as unattractive, and weak, while the OP in the affair doesn’t do that. It helps to drive them to the other person. Second, I believe that they won’t show any emotions, guilt, or remorse for the simple fact that by doing so, they will have to open themselves to us again, and that is a difficult prospect to them. They began an affair by closing themselves off from us, and becoming emotionally detached. When a spouse enters into an affair, they have gotten to the point where they feel they cannot take any more, so they will take the easier way, to them anyways, of becoming emotionally, and physically detached in order to get away from the pain they are suffering from as well. To escape the reality. Prior to my wife’s EA, I suffered from severe depression that made me behave in a very similar fashion as my wife, i.e. distant, emotionally detached, there physically but not mentally, negative, lack of affection, etc, but without the EA part. In retrospect, I never realized that my wife was hurting too, but we never communicated that to each other. We didn’t have much communication then, just as we don’t now. The cycle of negativity has just continued over, but now it is reversed. My wife and I have swapped the roles in the situation. She was crying out to me, but I couldn’t see it until after the fact, just as she won’t realize it until then as well. Lastly, I think the other reason is that they may have forgotten what it was like to express their feelings and emotions to their spouse. After releasing them to another person, that process became connected with the OP, so that by doing it now for their spouse, they must learn to do it again. It must be painful for them too, even though that is exactly what needs to happen on their part for the sake of the marriage. They must learn to let those walls down and let us back into the little box they put their emotions into in order to protect them from being hurt by us. I know, it is confusing if you stop and think about it, for how could they be hurt, when we, the betrayed spouses are the ones really hurting? That is because they were hurting too, and still are, even if they do not express that to us. It took me a long time to understand and realize all of this. Only through research and observation have I been able to make ANY sense of what is going on with my wife, although I will never fully understand it.

          • Yuki January 25, 2011 at 9:56 pm #

            Makes sense, Andrew. Thank you for your insights!

  4. Yuki January 25, 2011 at 4:06 pm #

    Amazing, Linda – you are exactly where I am in healing at the moment – even to where your husband finally let down his guard. My husband did just that the other night, and again yesterday, and I am so hopeful now about our future. We still have a long ways to go, but the blinders are off and we can see the road ahead now.
    I am still unsure about whether or not I can live with the past. The tears are always right there. I’m sure there will be more bad days and sad days and mad days, but I think we’ve taken a giant step forward. And all I needed was for him to let his guard down and let me feel his sincerity and his pain.

  5. melissa January 26, 2011 at 6:12 am #

    Wonderful, Linda. Thank you.

  6. mlb January 26, 2011 at 10:52 am #

    Andrews comment:
    “On the topic of why the cheater won’t reveal their emotions, I believe it is a combination of things that prevents them doing so. First, there may be fear there to some degree, probably fear to display weakness, in their eyes anyways, to their spouse. Weakness in the eyes of the cheater is the worst thing to them. More often than not, our displays of emotions and feelings to the cheater are seen as unattractive, and weak, while the OP in the affair doesn’t do that. It helps to drive them to the other person. Second, I believe that they won’t show any emotions, guilt, or remorse for the simple fact that by doing so, they will have to open themselves to us again, and that is a difficult prospect to them. They began an affair by closing themselves off from us, and becoming emotionally detached. When a spouse enters into an affair, they have gotten to the point where they feel they cannot take any more, so they will take the easier way, to them anyways, of becoming emotionally, and physically detached in order to get away from the pain they are suffering from as well. To escape the reality. Prior to my wife’s EA, I suffered from severe depression that made me behave in a very similar fashion as my wife, i.e. distant, emotionally detached, there physically but not mentally, negative, lack of affection, etc, but without the EA part. In retrospect, I never realized that my wife was hurting too, but we never communicated that to each other. We didn’t have much communication then, just as we don’t now. The cycle of negativity has just continued over, but now it is reversed. My wife and I have swapped the roles in the situation. She was crying out to me, but I couldn’t see it until after the fact, just as she won’t realize it until then as well. Lastly, I think the other reason is that they may have forgotten what it was like to express their feelings and emotions to their spouse. After releasing them to another person, that process became connected with the OP, so that by doing it now for their spouse, they must learn to do it again. It must be painful for them too, even though that is exactly what needs to happen on their part for the sake of the marriage. They must learn to let those walls down and let us back into the little box they put their emotions into in order to protect them from being hurt by us. I know, it is confusing if you stop and think about it, for how could they be hurt, when we, the betrayed spouses are the ones really hurting? That is because they were hurting too, and still are, even if they do not express that to us. It took me a long time to understand and realize all of this. Only through research and observation have I been able to make ANY sense of what is going on with my wife, although I will never fully understand it.”

    Andrew, you are brilliant. My marriage is a complete role reversal. I am the one who is now throwing myself out there. I’m completely open, vulnerable, emotional and my wife has turned into me. (that is not a dig). What I mean is that she has taken my walls and built them around her heart. She got tired of trying to break mine down and found somebody else who would listen and say the things she wanted to hear.

    It doesn’t matter if the OP was cheating on his own wife. It didn’t matter that what he told her was lies and disingenuous. It was what she needed to hear and feel and wasn’t getting from me.
    The myth that the OP was giving her made her feel what she needed. Her actions were so totally out of character for her.
    She grew up resenting her oldest sister for putting her in the middle of her affair when she was still a child. She supported my SIL last year when my brother was cheating. She used to say that if I ever went to a strip club she would consider that cheating. ( I’ve never been to one in my life). So what happened is so shocking to me.

    After saying all this, it still brings me back to square one.
    Great, I realize why this happened, but how do I get the love of my life back?

    Andrew, I’ve also battled depression and anxiety for all of my life. I never sought help for it until a few years ago. I buried it inside and hid it from the world, or so I thought. I didn’t even know what my anxiety was. I thought I was crazy. It exhausted me. Somehow, I managed to support my family and hold down steady employment and survive. But my existence was exhausting. I have many childhood experiences that I now know made me the way I am. I blurted it out while I was crying like a baby in front of her yesterday.

    When it comes to expressing my emotions, I’m lost. I feel like I’m damned either way. I’ve spent my whole life stuffing them down deeper and deeper. Now i can’t hold it in any longer and I cry with such deep pain that I can’t stop. I cry and try to stop, but can’t. I feel so weak and pathetic. I can’t help but think that this is not helping my cause. I’m looking like a fool when trying to somehow hold onto our marriage. Yet, a floodgate has been opened and I know until I get all of this pain out I can’t move forward.

    I don’t blame myself for the affair. But I hold myself 100% accountable for my lack of emotional availability prior to it.
    I am not a monster. I wasn’t always unavailable. But it was enough times to hurt her. I will forever hold myself in contempt for this.

    • Andrew January 26, 2011 at 4:18 pm #

      Mlb- It is ok to express your emotions. When all this started with my wife, I was totally devastated. I honestly believed that there were some things wrong in our marriage, but that they could be fixed easily, like they always had. Then when my wife told me she was no longer “in” love with me and wanted a separation, it killed me. I cried and cried, sometimes in front of her, but mostly when she was not around. It seemed like everything I saw or thought of just reminded me of her. I used to just burst out in tears in my truck driving to or from work, or even just standing in the shower, because I just couldn’t keep it in. I got to the point where I didn’t care who saw me, I had to get it out.

      See, I used to be like you and hold it all in, and try to deal with it on my own. I was like a ticking time bomb, though, because once enough had built up inside, I would blow up on whoever happened to be around, and more often than not, it was my wife. I would hurt my wife during those times, and it would make me feel like the worst person. So, I had to go get help so I didn’t do that anymore. I had to learn to release the anger and hurt, or emotions in a more constructive way, and use outlets like a hobby, or golf, etc, to relieve the stress. It helps alot.

      You should never be ashamed of having emotions and feelings. We are only human, not some robot. It takes a bigger man to cry and show emotion than to act like a tough guy and show no emotion whatsoever. You should never feel weak and pathetic. This is a very traumatic event in your life, and you are naturally going to have a lot of emotions. I was in the Army for ten years, and I went to Iraq and Afghanistan on several trips, and I saw the biggest, toughest guys I knew break down and cry. Sometimes it was for their buddies that lost their lives, sometimes it was just the stress, but mainly it was when they got a “Dear John” letter from their wives, saying they were leaving them for someone they had been having an affair with, because their husband wasn’t there. Of course he wasn’t there! He was off defending her freedom to go out to bars and clubs and incidentally meet other people! Oops, sorry, I got a little carried away there.

      The point is, that it is ok to let all your emotions out. I used to go to a private place, and just let it all go, get it all out, and I felt better. It feels good to let it out. I tried not to do it very much around my wife, because she had already closed me out emotionally, so it didn’t really matter to her at that point. Which is probably what your wife has done too. That is the only reason that crying and begging and pleading do not work, because they are not receptive to it. So, go find you a private spot, maybe in the woods, a closet, your car, wherever, and just let it go. Get it all out, anytime you feeel it coming on, just let it out. It is a natural process of our bodies that helps us deal with trauma, pain, even anxiety or fear. It is a release, and relief at the same time. Heck, I still get emotional at times and have the urge to cry, because this is such a painful, difficult time. Once we get it all out, then can we prepare for our battle ahead. You can and will make it through this. Hope I have been able to help you, friend. You have helped me, as well. Being able to share with you some of my experiences, and to let out what’s on my mind, is very therapuetic. It helps us all to know that we are not alone.

      • anaffairtoremember January 27, 2011 at 11:00 pm #

        I have to say, it helps me a lot to read this. My husband was the one that had the emotional affair, but just hearing that men react the same way as I am makes me feel more normal. I used to hold it all in too, and the shower was my release. I cried as much as the water washing over me, but it makes me feel good to hear you say that it is a natural and normal way of dealing with the pain. My husband was in the military too and I really think that his getting out of the military and entering civilian life was the start of him emotionally cutting me off. It took a long time to find a job and while I thought I was being supportive, I think he felt like a failure and I do think that’s really when this whole thing started, long before the other woman came into the picture. I wish he could have opened up to me and that I could have been what he needed, but we both put up walls. Thanks for sharing your story, I really got a lot out of it. Its good to know that a tough Army guy realizes the importance of showing his emotions. I never showed mine either, I didn’t want to be seen as weak, but now I don’t care what anyone thinks of me.

        • Andrew January 28, 2011 at 9:13 pm #

          Anaffairtoremember, I can totally relate to what your H went through. Getting out of the Army was a traumatic event for me, and that was what caused my severe depression. I had an extremely hard time adjusting to civilian life again. Going into the military is a culture shock, but I think getting out is even more of a shock, if you have spent more than 5 years in the military. The Army lifestyle was all I knew for 10 years, and so it was a big change for me. I was there physically, but not mentally, and it created loneliness and hurt in my wife. I didn’t have an EA, because I was still looking for my wife to fulfill my needs, and I couldn’t see what was really going on in her. So, as a result of my actions, she of course, sought to have her needs fulfilled elsewhere, because in my state of mind then, I couldn’t. So, you are right, both her and I put up walls, and entered into a cycle of negativity, that just kept spiraling downward. Glad I could help, hoping for restoration in your marriage as well!

  7. EGBH January 26, 2011 at 10:00 pm #

    To both Andrew and Mlb. You both have helped me also with the EA my wife had. It has not even been a full month yet, and I am still at a very sad place in my life dealing with this. But something that I pointed out in an email is a little different. I have read most of the posts by Doug and Linda and they both have been great! they have truly helped me. However, I have also read all of the comments that people have wrote. I can say mostly they are the W’s and they are dealing with the EA that their H’s had. Without a doubt, they have having alot of the same feelings that I am having and even more. But, what I am missing and having a hard time with is, that I feel much more pain, (in my mind) because my wife did this to me. MY WIFE, who not in a million years would do something like this, we used to talk a lot about other couples and where something like this happened to them. We were certain, (that is what I thought anyway) that this would never happen to us. But it did, it happened to me, and now I am living in this nightmare as I often call it. I have had non stop feelings of compairson with the other male. My W does not even want to discuss the feelings she had for him with me, now. I am trying not to think that way, but those thoughts have a hard time leaving my mind. I know the W’s out there reading this may think I am F’-in, crazy, they are also feeling the same exact way. But for the lack of better words, it has been very, very, tough for me to deal with the fact that another Male came into my marriage and was able to take my wife, her love, her attention, her kisses, everything from me, and there was not one thing that I could do about it. NOT A THING! Now, that I have found out about the EA, I am left picking it up and trying to understand something that was never suppose to happen to me in the first place. WTF!!! am I to do now!!

  8. Anairda January 27, 2011 at 3:14 am #

    Linda, In finding your website about EAs, I found it to be chuck full of good advice and information. However, one thing has bothered me about it, and I’ve just realized what it is; it has been almost what a couple of years since Doug’s affair, and your posts continue to be accusing of Doug, you are such a victim! And, this recent post just made me realize that you have tormented this man with your selfishness and insecurities. Your husband agreed to write this blog with you, and even that wasn’t enough for you. He exposed his affair to the public and that wasn’t enough for you. How much more are you going to indulge in your own victimization? I’m not condoning Doug here, believe me. I’ve been where you are, but there comes a time when you commit to trust again, and go on with your life.

    • Linda January 27, 2011 at 9:47 am #

      Anairda, Thanks for visiting our site. I respect your opinion however, I don’t feel the need to defend my personality or emotions to you. However, there is one thing you said that I would like to comment about, your belief that it has been over two years and I am still being selfish and insecure. I want to let you know that the most dangerous misconceptions in affair recovery is putting a time limit on the pain, forgiveness and the ability to move on.

      I have learned that it takes two people who are fully engaged in the affair recovery to successfully move on. It takes both partners to truly look at themselves, be knowledgeable about affairs, be equally willing to put forth an enormous amount of effort, and be transparent and honest before they can completely understand and trust one another again.

      Often times this is not the case after the affair. One partner is ready to move on without really exploring how they got there in the first place, and the other partner wants complete understanding. It may have been over two years for us but it has been a process that we both needed to experience. You are right, I am not where I “should” be right now. However, Doug wasn’t where he should have been either. I finally feel we that we are on the same page and I am definitely feeling secure and confident in our relationship. We feel that we have accomplished something that many people would have given up on a long time ago. So for us two years is not a very long time at all. Linda

      • blueskyabove January 27, 2011 at 6:25 pm #

        Kudos to you, Linda. Once again, you amaze me. Frankly, I’m not sure I could have been civil to Anairda, but then that’s probably why you have such a successful site, whereas I wouldn’t even attempt to tackle it. You are a classy lady, Linda and IMO you are exactly where you should be right now.

      • Anairda January 29, 2011 at 3:52 pm #

        Such righteous indignation; the expert on all things about EAs. It seems to me more that you have nothing better to do than to think about yourself, how you feel all the time because Doug did you wrong over 2 years ago! The truth is that only someone with nothing better to do has the luxury of dwelling on this forever. Let’s not forget that you are making a tidy profit exploiting and elongating all about EAs. The truth is that it is a process, there are stages, and only one has the power to say enough! That isn’t what you are sharing with everyone else. All the best to you and your continued selfishess. May you finally realize that there is a life out there you are missing by choosing to get stuck in yourself.

        • Doug January 29, 2011 at 4:58 pm #

          Anairda, OK, I’m going to defend Linda a bit here. I’m not sure why you have such problem with Linda, but you don’t know what you’re talking about. There certainly was no indignation in her response to you, so get over yourself. Her response to you was neither defensive nor antagonistic.

          Also, Linda has plenty more than enough to do than to think about herself. Looking at your history on this site through our stat program, it appears that you have been on this blog about 3 times, and have read less than 5 posts all together. Obviously you have not read enough on this site to know that she is a full-time teacher, and is involved in every way with our kids and their activities, which by the way, involves something most every night. She does not have much down time to be dwelling on this crap.

          That being said, she has probably done more reading, research and self-analysis about affairs than the average person going through this, so she may not be a PhD or anything, but she knows her stuff, and I’m very proud of the contributions she has made in order to help others.

          What she says comes from her heart and from her emotions. The pain of my emotional affair has touched her to the core and it has taken a significant amount of time to get over it. Everybody is different in how long it takes. Perhaps you would like to share your wisdom since obviously you have it figured out.

        • Doug January 29, 2011 at 6:05 pm #

          Anairda, My only question is if you have committed to trust and have moved on with your life why did you take the time to visit our site? Linda

          • Anairda January 30, 2011 at 12:24 pm #

            Fair question. I found your blog when I was looking for information about EAs. I read the first few posts, and I admit they were helpful if only to confirm that I wasn’t going mad. I referred to your blog every so often with the hope of seeing progress. After a while, it seemed to me that I was reading the same thing over and over again. It became mind-mumbing. I guess, I had hoped to find out if you had progressed, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. There is a certain pattern going on that I won’t explore any longer.

            Let me address Doug’s comments above. I will offer an apology to both. Not everyone deals with challenges in the same way. It’s a good thing Linda found herself a therapist, constantly ruminating isn’t healthy.

            Good luck to both of you.

            Anairda

            • Doug January 30, 2011 at 3:42 pm #

              Anairda, I interpret that you believe I have some issues that are preventing me from moving on but if you look at where Doug and I were 20 months ago we have made great strides. You seem to be signaling out my issues but it is impossible to heal a marriage without both parties putting equal effort into the recovery. You really need to look at both sides of the story.
              In addition,most experts believe it takes 2-4 years under good conditions to feel normal again. Honestly I don’t know anyone personally who has successfully moved beyond an affair and saved their marriage, unfortunately I know many who have not. I am trudging through this with blind faith hoping that we will have the marriage we have always wanted. I have said that I am not an expert I am just trying to help people through this hell by being as honest and caring that I can. I am sorry that my story is not as positive and successful as you expected but to me it is the reality of the situation and from many of the people who visit our site it is their reality also. I applaud that you were able to move past this and as I have said before we would love for you to share your success story with us.

        • Karen January 30, 2011 at 3:46 pm #

          Anairda:
          From your posts, I can only conclude that you failed at reinventing or restoring your marriage after an affair or other incident and may be very bitter about it, which is completely understandable. Your statements about Linda are ignorant enough to deserve no response. The “profit” comment was laughable and exemplified your ignorance about this site.
          So many of us on this site are so greatly benefitting from Doug and Linda’s journey, and I know my experience thus far 7 months post-D-day has mirrored Linda’s in many ways. She has helped me to avoid some mistakes and to walk through the inevitable tough times that must occur to reinvent a marriage after an affair. I’ve read many other books and visited tons of sites, and this site helps me the most and does reinforce what I read on all the other sites.

          Throwing out accusations without any evidence and very limited history on this site will get you nowhwere, Anairda. Don’t you have better things to do?

        • Holdingon May 29, 2016 at 5:51 pm #

          It’s funny that I’m at 11/2 years after dday and I can’t get my wife to say shit, I think that people that have never lived it should just shut the f**k up.

  9. tryingtoowife January 27, 2011 at 7:51 am #

    Anairda
    I cannot believe I am reading this comment, in this amazing and extremely helpful site, to the ones that have been through the painfully process of betrayal or even to the ones that betrayed their partners. Are you real? Are you connected to the reality of this situation? I wonder. Not being able to have a say on the choices of our partners to having an affair, plays a great part in this painful process. Analysing and questioning, it is not victimising oneself, but trying to come to terms with what happened (if ever possible) and move on to next process, hopefully leading to trust again. I am glad that you have gone to next stage, without having to feel this one, perhaps you can share with us. But I am sure that Linda with her gained wisdom is able to reply to it even better, as the question is directed at her, I understand that.

  10. mlb January 27, 2011 at 9:30 am #

    EGBH,
    Welcome to the world of utter pain. That’s a good question, WTH do we do now? Well, here’s what I’ve done since Sept 30.

    After I discovered texts and call that numbered in the thousands from the minute I left for work until midnight every single day I went nuts. I put a keyboard tracker on the computers at home. I went out into the garage and destroyed a pool table with a sledgehammer. I was completely paranoid that every friend and family member that she talked to had knowledge in the affair. I believed that they were covering for her and making me look like the fool I am.

    I was sick with worry and walked around on constant alert waiting for the next shoe to drop. I can’t sleep, I wake up 10 times a night gasping for breath from having anxiety attacks in my sleep. I hide away from my kids and cry where they can’t see me. I can’t stand to hear songs on the radio when I’m with her because all I can think of is which one reminds her of him.

    I started going to meetings for ACOA’s (adult children of alcoholics) so I could “fix myself” so she could love me again.
    Then I stopped because I didn’t feel she was making any effort.
    I’ve read half a dozen books on relationships and victims of abuse and alcoholism etc. and have more that I haven’t started.
    I’ve ordered a DVD set on restoring marital relationships.

    I exercised on the treadmill every day…and then quit because I was too depressed and unmotivated to try again.

    I used her words and beliefs against her. I have copies of emails where she condemns my brother for his affair. Where she condemns the brother of her friend for his affair. This was just within the last two years. “She would never do this to me or our family”. That is why I had this false sense of security. I never believed that she could do this.

    I’ve done everything wrong. I pushed for details of the affair.
    I reacted angrily and defensively. While trying to draw her closer to me I pushed her further away. She says I’ve intimidated her and made her fearful of me. I can see her point and accept her feelings. However, I can’t believe that she can’t see why I am acting the way I am.

    I’ve searched the internet and found blogs like these. This blog has been a lifesaver to me. I have talked to nobody about this.
    I couldn’t even call my little sisters to wish them a happy birthday monday for fear that I would start crying on the phone.

    So, Andrew, EGbh, we are brothers here. I wish we weren’t under these circumstances. I lost my father and grandparents within 6 months of each other 5 years ago. My dad died with so many unanswered apologies and regrets between us. Even while he sat alone with me weeks before his death, neither of us could say to each other what we were feeling. As much as that kills me, it can’t come close to what I am feeling now.

    • Holdingon May 29, 2016 at 6:00 pm #

      Again I know this post is old, but my wife tried to pull the same crap, I don’t know about you but I’ve never laid a hand on any woman in anger, she knows I’m not violent under any circumstances unless it involves someone trying to do any of my family physical harm. But let me ask her about the A, she will do one of two things, either get angry, or tell me she’s afraid of me. It’s all gaslighting, period. I’m to the point that she will either answer me or she can just stay mad, I ready to be off of this ride, hell, I didn’t even buy a ticket.

  11. mlb January 27, 2011 at 9:34 am #

    Anairda,
    I’m sorry for the pain you went through. However, you are way off base with your words to Linda. The purpose of this blog is to help us see the reality of the situation. Linda and Doug are far ahead of most of us in their recovery. Do you want Linda to just lie and not have valid feelings? Her honesty is what gives us all hope that this can be overcome. It is not easy. But it is possible to become stronger and have a deeper kind of love going forward.

    • Holdingon May 29, 2016 at 6:02 pm #

      She’s a troll, stop giving it attention.

  12. melissa January 27, 2011 at 10:05 am #

    Thanks, Linda – I think you’ve got it spot on.

  13. EGBH January 27, 2011 at 11:27 am #

    “Anairda,
    I’m sorry for the pain you went through. However, you are way off base with your words to Linda. The purpose of this blog is to help us see the reality of the situation. Linda and Doug are far ahead of most of us in their recovery. Do you want Linda to just lie and not have valid feelings? Her honesty is what gives us all hope that this can be overcome. It is not easy. But it is possible to become stronger and have a deeper kind of love going forward”

    DITTO, I agree with mlb. I can’t thank Linda and Doug enough for all of there help!

  14. Andrew January 27, 2011 at 6:05 pm #

    Mlb, and EGBH, we are brothers in this, and you are already heading in the right direction by reaching out for help, and researching! As for what to do next, well, you are going to have to do some things that are very different from what you are thinking you need to do. The hardest and most important thing to do, is to get over yourself, and stop being the victim here. I had a very hard time doing this, because it totally goes against my natural instincts, and everything I thought I should be doing in order to get my wife’s attention.

    Throughout this time of my wife’s EA over the past 10 months, she has been giving my clues and telling me what I needed to do in order to get her to be more receptive to saving our marriage, but because I was only focusing on how much pain I was in, and what she was doing, and how could she do this, etc, I wasn’t paying attention to these clues. It took me about six months to realize that not only did I need to pay attention to what she was saying, but also what she wasn’t saying. Confusing, right? For sure, but these things were definitely not what I wanted to do at the time. She would say things like, “Be happy”, or “Go out and do something, like get a hobby, or go to the movies, or whatever.” I would always reply sarcastically, “Oh yeah, be happy that the woman I love wants to leave me”, or something similar. I didn’t feel like doing anything but wallow in my own misery, and feel worthless and like a nobody. Well, obviously that didn’t work. I realized that what she was trying to tell me, was that I needed to be that happy, funny, self-sufficient, and confident person that she fell in love with to begin with. Over the years I had become this unhappy, negative, and needy person that became very unattractive to her. Her telling me that she wasn’t “in love” with me, or that she was unhappy, or that it’s too late, are all just excuses, not the real reasons for her feelings. She missed that person I was when we first started dating, and was in the the first years of our marriage. Well, by being even more needy, mad, angry, critical, and complaining about what she was doing to me, I only pushed her further away, and made it easy for her to choose someone else. The OP dosen’t act like that, so of course he is more attractive to her.

    I began to change my attitude, and behavior, but I wasn’t doing it wholeheartedly, because I still hadn’t gotten over myself. She in turn had a hard time putting any faith or belief into my changes, because I would change for a few days or so, then I would fall back into the same old habits. Understandable, considering that I had never had to do anything like this before, so I didn’t know how to do it. I can also see where she is coming from, because I wouldn’t have even wanted to be with the person I was then either. I can understand why she wanted to get away. Now, in order to communicate to her that I am the same person she still loves, even though her love and feelings for me are gaurded in a box right now, I have to be consistent everyday, and act like I am that person even though I don’t always feel like it. Most of the time it seems like my efforts are in vain, and have no effect on her, but then she will do something small that lets me know that she is at least thinking about me. I have to take small victories, for it is a process, that must be made one small step at a time. This is a battle that cannot be taken on all at once, just as the events that led up to this point didn’t occur all in one day. It took time for it to happen, so naturally it will take time to get back to how it used to be. I know, it is pretty messed up that we have to prove ourselves all over again to our spouses. It is necessary though, as they have lost sight of who we really are, just as they have lost sight of themselves. They aren’t really themselves either. They are caught up in a fairy tale that this EA brings them.

    Another thing that I had to do is to stop obsessing about the OP, and the affair. Once I stopped caring and worrying about what they have going on, it was very liberating. It keeps me from trying to compete with the OP, and helps me to maintain my dignity and self-respect. Not only that, but worrying only takes away my energy and time that could be spent on helping myself, and ultimately my marriage. I know that whatever they have is not real, not like the love her and I had, and still do, even though it seems as if it isn’t there anymore. She is in fantasy land, and will remain there, as long as I keep showing her how much more the OP is appealing to her. I have to gain her trust and confidence all over agin, just as she will have to do that from me, once she comes out of her affair fog. It is a very difficult situation, but it is not impossible, as long as I have even one ounce of hope.

    So, stay strong, and don’t give up. Take this time to focus on your own well-being. Stop pursuing and pressuring them, and they will come to you. It’s funny, and I just now had this thought as I wrote this, but when I found my wife over 10 years ago, I wasn’t even looking for someone or a relationship. I had been in a serious realtionship that ended badly about a year prior, and so I decided that I was going to not date or have a realtionship with anyone for at least a year, in order to get myself straight. I knew that I couldn’t be complete with someone if I wasn’t complete myself. Sounds odd, but when you are not looking, you will find. I now realize that is exactly what I need to do once again. I have to fix myself first, in order to fix my marriage.

  15. mlb January 27, 2011 at 7:29 pm #

    Andrew,
    I agree with everything you’ve said. I’ve come to that realization myself. It’s such a vicious game played on the mind.
    It seems like I need to do the opposite of what my heart feels. I feel like I need to prove to her, show her the depth of my love for her. My commitment to our 22 year marriage and four beautiful boys. After I break down in front of her I feel weak, pathetic, ashamed.

    I have been trying to show her with my actions, and I enjoy doing more for her. I’m sure she just feels that this is a show until she relents and I will go back to the old me. This will not happen. I love her so much and want to keep our family together.

    I’m so desperate because she’s completely shut her self off toward me and any attempt to save this marriage. I don’t have time to write more now, but I’ll come back to this.

    Thank you for your thoughtful post.

    • Andrew January 27, 2011 at 8:21 pm #

      Mlb, glad to be of help. I reached alot of my conclusions from all the info contained in this site, and several books out there. It took a long time for me to get to where I can see the solutions instead of just focusing on the problems. It is a challenge, for sure, because you can’t see the results of your efforts right away. It can be very frustrating, and make you think it isn’t working. That’s why you have to look for the small things. Like her sending you a text or calling out of the blue to thank you for something you may have done for her recently. It is small, but a victory, nonetheless!

      My wife checked out a long time ago and hasn’t made any efforts either, but I’ll take whatever I can get right now, and just keep doing what I’m doing. The fruits of my labor will be revealed eventually. I can’t see them yet, but I know they are coming. If they don’t, and she leaves anyways, oh well, at least I will know that I did everything I could, and that it truly is her loss, not mine. I know I can make it without her. I don’t need her to be happy. Do I want her? Of course I do! That’s why I must not give up, and keep taking care of myself! Good luck to you!

      • Yuki January 28, 2011 at 3:06 pm #

        Andrew,
        This post was just what I needed today. It’s been a rough couple of days with my husband. Thank you.

        • Andrew January 28, 2011 at 8:55 pm #

          Yuki, you are welcome, glad I can help someone else. Everyone on here has helped me in some way with the many comments and insights as well. I know it is rough some days, and hard to stay motivated to keep trying, but we know that it is all worth it! Stay strong, and remind yourself that you do have some power and say in this. Your feelings are valid, and you are somebody!! Success is achieved through positive thoughts and actions! Keep your head up!

  16. Jenn January 30, 2011 at 9:35 am #

    Linda, I want to offer you some gratitude, especially after the harsh comments from Anairda above. You show that this is a difficult process, so those of us who are going through can feel like we are ‘normal’ in our emotions and feelings, and that there are times that the memories will flood our minds out of the blue–but we can rest in the fact that we are normal and human. You have shown how strength and perseverance can bring those suffering from the effects of an EA can find the light to leave the valley of pain. You’ve given those of us who have read your blog for awhile now an understanding of how to show patience and compassion to our wandering spouses, but also the reality that there are things we can work on, too. Thank you for putting your life out there for all of us to learn from, and hopefully gain education and information on what to do to better our relationships after the shattering discovery of an affair. You are doing a good thing, and this was the only site I foubd when I began my search last year that addressed both sides of an EA, and had both parties committed to being better together, and that gave me hope! Thank you~

  17. Jenn January 30, 2011 at 12:07 pm #

    UGH–it’s obvious the caffeine hadn’t kicked in yet when I wrote the above post, but the sentiment is there ; ).

    I’ve had a rough weekend dealing with emotions, and it really helps to come back and read what everyone is writing. The way I look at this is, if you take three steps forward, then two steps back, the movement is still forward…….I do wish my husband was able to give me exactly what I needed exactly when I needed it. He still looks as my expressing my needs now as somehow telling him he’s a horrible human being. He internalizes everything as a negative, and until he’s able to change that, it’s going to be really hard for me. For example, if I tell him that I need to be able to trust that he will be there for me and offer reassurance and support when I’m having a hard time, he takes it as he ‘never does anything right, or that I don’t appreciate the ways he has changed.’ I’m just wanting my needs to be heard, and I feel like I’m getting lost sometimes. He’s so focused on working on himself that I don’t think he realizes that I’m here with real needs, especially after everything that’s happened. Is it just part of the cycle?
    Any thoughts on this?

    • Doug January 30, 2011 at 2:06 pm #

      Jenn, I understand what you are saying, we want to express our needs but often times it makes our spouses feel defeated and defensive. I guess its all in the way we communicate it to them, I don’t want to downplay what I need but I don’t want Doug to feel bad that he isn’t giving it to me. I believe that it has a lot to do with building trust in the relationship. You have to feel comfortable enough to express your needs, and the spouse how to accept what you are saying without taking it personally. I believe that it is part of the cycle, when you are recovering from an affair you tend to analyze every interaction or behavior. You begin to over think everything you do and everything your spouse doesn’t do. You don’t want it to go back to the way it was before so you try to do everything perfectly. In the beginning I felt the need to express everything, I didn’t want to harbor any resentment or anger. Now as time has progressed we have learned to express when we are upset in a variety of ways, sometimes we just joke about it and talk about how silly it was, or I really clue in when Doug says something, I have learned to decipher his messages and figure out what he needs and Doug has learned to do the same. You know before the affair we were voicing our needs in many different ways but we were both too busy to really listen and understand. I advice is to give it time you are both trying to figure everything out, he feels a lot of guilt and really wants to do things right but he may not be sure how to do that. Try to put yourself in his shoes and try to give him what you think he needs, ( which may be different from what he received from the affair) because he may feel hopeless that he will never be able to make things right. Praise the small gestures and this may give him the confidence and security to tackle the big things. It will come I promise. Linda

  18. melissa January 31, 2011 at 3:42 am #

    Hi Jenn

    You are not alone. My H also goes into the ‘I can’t do anything right’ whenever I express emotions about his EA (as rarely as I can as it creates a huge amount of tension). I don’t know whether he is consciously working on himself as he will not talk about what’s happened or the steps he is taking to make our relationship stronger and better. However, it could be that he is totally unable to express himself with words (strange as he is a writer!).

    Linda is right, praising little things goes a long way and I have tried to get into the habit of saying thank you for my H’s help (whether it’s washing up or making a cup of coffee) and he does seem to find this very important.

    Linda is also right that we look for clues and try and decipher our H’s verbal and non-verbal communications and sometimes come up with something totally wrong. I’m forever on the lookout for clues that he is still lying and I get very suspicious, which cannot be easy for him but I also know that if I say it out right ‘I’m feeling insecure and untrusting’, it brings out the most almighty negative reaction from him so it’s difficult to find a way through expressing feelings and needs and keeping the balance ‘for the greater good’.

  19. nony January 31, 2011 at 5:53 am #

    Since this just happened nearly a week ago where I discovered everything, I have been on a roller-coaster of emotion. This site has been an amazing support that I turn to again and again to see different articles, trying to sort out my feelings, what I want, how to react, etc.

    While I have more or less forgiven him and we seem to be starting on the right foot, I am still shaky with anger and resentment, even though I would like more than anything to find a way through this. I want so much to believe that he was living in a fantasy, that he was seeking a way out from our (financially) grim reality at the moment, living in a one-bedroom with our two-year old. It has taken a toll to be sure, but for some reason, the added weight of this new development has made me wonder for the first time, if I want to stay in the marriage.

    I cannot imagine separating my child from her father, but will I ever be able to trust him again, believe that he loves me, our family enough to never again betray us? I am at a loss and feel like I am truly about to lose everything that ever mattered to me and become an orphan with a child, no money, no home, starting from zero.

    Both of my parents are deceased and I have a half-sister and step-sister, neither of them better off than I am, each of them with their own children and problems. I seriously have no where to turn and don’t know if I am staying because of that or because I believe we can make it through this devastating loss of trust.

    So many lies. My heart if full of pain and yet I am beyond tears.

    Any advice would be welcome! I could use some kind of encouragement. Thank you all for sharing your experiences!

  20. ChangedForever January 31, 2011 at 11:29 am #

    To Nony…I am only 3+ months ahead of you but it has helped me to ‘write’ things out – what I mean by ‘things’ are my emotions. Write from the heart – whether it is a poem or a feeling, your thoughts or even a note to your husband. Let it out. I can tell you it does not ‘lessen’ the pain you are experiencing, but this may just help you to deal with it (all the pain and emotion you are experiencing) and eventually…accept the fact that you cannot change what happened – you just have to learn to live with the fact that it did happen. Help yourself as much as you can right now – my marriage counselor has been a God-send! He tells me to just say out loud “STOP,” when the bad thoughts come…whether I say STOP out loud or just in my mind – it seems to work. Then, I have to ‘go’ to a ‘neutral’ place – whether physically (I go out to the boardwalk usually,) or mentally going to a neutral place (think of a past ‘relaxing’ feeling you had that you can ‘return’ to – OR LOOK FOR ONE NOW – YOU NEED A NEUTRAL PLACE. A neutral place is where you can go to get ‘distracted.’) From the ‘neutral’ place I can then find a ‘good place,’ which, for me, is where I can ‘return’ FROM the bad thoughts (this just means I’m not thinking of them anymore – for the moment.) Be ready to do this often – but it really helps to know how to deal with these thoughts.
    I hope this helps you….

    • nony January 31, 2011 at 12:16 pm #

      Thanks a million. I do have a ‘place’, but it is within me. I am writing (trying anyhow) to write a book for the first time in my life and have been working on this over the past year. I am trying to redirect the negative energy into my work (it’s useful to the subject as it happens – it’s not about cheating…but it helps). All these posts and discussion help. I am glad to have found this group.

      Three months laters, have you started to trust again?

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