dealing with infidelityThroughout the last two years we have preached the importance of working on yourself to become as strong as possible while you are faced with dealing with infidelity – to empower yourself is extremely important.

The term empowerment has different meanings in different socio-cultural and political contexts and does not translate easily into all languages.

There are a number of terms that are thrown about when discussing the term.  These terms include self-strength, control, self-power, self-reliance, own choice, life of dignity in accordance with one’s values, capable of fighting for one’s rights, independence, own decision making, being free, awakening, and capability – to mention only a few.   

For us the best everyday definition of empowerment is very simple – “Helping people to help themselves” or “Leading people to learn to lead themselves”.

During the last few weeks Doug and I have been attempting to make some changes within ourselves.  What I mean by that is we are delving into our minds and our spirits to not only bring about beneficial changes in all areas of our lives, but also to help bring about a higher level of healing after the affair.

Procrastinators by nature, we are still working on our goals and resolutions for the year.  Though we haven’t put them to paper yet, we have the ball rolling, as it were.  We are exercising more, we are meditating, we are reading self-improvement books and we are learning more about the power of the mind and being in the present.

Right now in fact, we’re both reading a book that was recommended to us called “The Presence Process” by Michael Brown.  Neither of us are far enough into it to blog about it yet, much less recommend it, but as the back cover suggests… “Personal peace is not given to us by others – it arises through our response to ourselves.”

Your mind controls your thoughts and your actions and can lead you to greater healing – or could instead lead you towards self-destructive thoughts and emotions. 

If you haven’t already, we would suggest that you try to commit to a regimen of self-exploration and self-improvement –  especially when it comes to harnessing the power of your mind.

I realize that while dealing with infidelity you may feel that the overwhelming pain you are experiencing is too much for you to bear and the last thing you want to do is work on yourself.  But I have to impress upon you that inner power and self-reliance are your main assets as you travel your own journey towards recovery and healing.

If nothing else, this whole mess can provide you with an opportunity to learn about yourself and about relationships and come out a much stronger person. 

But the choice to go down that path is up to you.

 

 

    54 replies to "Dealing with Infidelity – Working on You to Empower Yourself"

    • blueskyabove

      Excellent, Linda. I believe it is so important that we can get to the point where we see that we have been given an opportunity to change, grow and become the best we can be. Everyone of us. I’ll say again, I don’t believe in coincidences. To me, there is a reason why we have all come together on this site…total strangers, all joined together from around the globe to help each other. Below is what my H and I have learned.

      During the initial days, weeks, and months after DDay our perspective of our marriage and our life in general becomes extremely constricted.  Our focus is narrowly confined to the affair.  It is all-consuming.

      I had read several years earlier that “all attack is a cry for help”.  It made sense to me at the time and I readily believed it…until I discovered my H’s affair and the subsequent verbal and emotional abuse that followed.  At that point it became impossible for me to even remember the statement let alone believe it anymore.  It has taken a long, long time to change my perspective on his affair, see it in a different light, and come full circle back to that statement.

      We all know about the “fog”, the distorted thinking on the part of the CS, but for some reason when the CS is spewing their venom at us we take the words they say as proof that this is the truth.  Their words hurt.  Logically, we know it doesn’t make sense, but at this stage we aren’t in a very good place either and we grasp at anything that we think might give us an exclamation…even if it’s harmful to our self-esteem.

      Unfortunately our spouses have been exposed to destructive, self-serving  ideas/advice that normally they might bounce off someone else if it wasn’t so critical to keep it secret.  They can’t do this while they’re in a secret affair.  There isn’t anyone else they can talk to about what they are doing and so their AP has a lot of control over their thinking.  Their so-called ‘friend’ isn’t really interested in their well-being, but only in what they can get out of the relationship themselves.  All-in-all it’s a very UN-loving relationship they have.  I still believe that ANYONE WHO IS WILLING TO HAVE AN AFFAIR WITH A MARRIED PERSON DOES NOT HAVE THAT PERSON’S BEST INTEREST AT HEART!  I could be wrong, but from my current perspective, where I presently am, i.e., my level of consciousness, I ‘m not able to view it any other way.    I have read that “awareness merely registers what is being experienced.  There’s nothing the mind believes that isn’t erroneous at a higher level of consciousness.”

      I can now see that the anger my H used against me was a cover-up for his real feelings.   He had told himself I didn’t love him anymore.  He gave up on us.  He recognizes now that he felt powerless to get my attention.  He has said that after he became involved with her he started thinking how much easier it would be to start over with someone new.  Why?  Because he had found someone who was willing to validate his thoughts, tell him his marriage was dead, and he deserved to be happy!   Logic tells me that if he really believed, before her input, that our marriage was dead then it would be a simple matter of filing divorce papers.  (Wouldn’t that be the ‘right’ thing to do?)  If he still believed this after receiving her validation then, again, just file for a divorce.  So, why didn’t he?  According to Dr. David Lieberman all of this has to do with our ego and self-esteem.

      The ego and our self-esteem are inversely related.  As we gain self-esteem our ego diminishes.  We only gain self-esteem when we do what is right over what is easy or how it appears to others.

      When the ego reigns, our perspective narrows.  We make choices on what we think makes us LOOK good NOT on what IS good.  Our emotions cloud our thoughts and we seek instant gratification which leads to feelings of guilt.  We then punish ourselves with activities (have an affair?) disguised as pleasurable.  We seek out indulgences that will feed our empty selves and dull the pain.  We desperately want to love ourselves but instead we lose ourselves.  We look for a quick fix rather than look for lasting solution for the pain and hollowness we feel inside.  Overindulgence is not coping.  It’s avoidance.

       When reality clashes with our ability to accept it, those with low self-esteem have to make sense of their world and choices in the least painful way.  They justify their actions.  Being RIGHT becomes more important emotionally than doing the right thing.   Without the ability to maintain self-control we are unable to make better choices.  Consequently, our ego becomes inflated which automatically deflates our self-esteem.  My H’s AP did just exactly what was expected of her.  She validated everything he told her so he could be ‘right’.  She stroked his ego not knowing that ultimately this would diminish  his self-esteem and lead to him ending the affair.  

      My H had gotten himself into a real mess and didn’t know how to get out of it.  Luckily for him my discovery of the affair gave him the impetus to end it.  We can see all of this now, but in the next few days, weeks and months it wasn’t that cut and dried.  Some of this knowledge took several years to discover.  Such as:   He was ashamed, embarrassed and scared.  What if I didn’t love him.   What if I left him.  What if I truly didn’t care enough about him to help him.  He couldn’t put any of this into words at the time.  Had I remembered “all attack is a cry for help” our recovery might have gone smoother, but then he wouldn’t have learned how to express his emotions and neither of us would have broadened our perspective.

      When you can look at things differently (even a little bit) you will discover that you have more options than you might previously have thought.   I know I have a lot of growing within myself left to do simply because I have not been able to accept my H’s AP as a fellow human being who is fully entitled to the best that life has to offer…yet.  On the other hand she has made me look damn good to my H and for that I can be grateful!

      In  Summary:  Our ability to maintain self-control helps us make better choices.  When our self-esteem increases our ego decreases.  A smaller ego means greater perspective.  Greater perspective makes it easier to maintain self-control.    Every component depends upon the previous one to exist.  This works the same way whether we are working with positive or negative energy.  We progress or regress incrementally.

      Ultimately, I believe that is what is most beneficial about this site…the opportunity to broaden your perspective so that you can see more clearly.  It’s really hard to do alone.  I believe this is where Doug and Linda want to continue to take you.

      • Doug

        Wonderful comment Bluesky. I’m thinking about putting this up at some point as a post (if you don’t mind that is). I think that it’s something most everyone can learn from and gain encouragement from. Both Linda and I are working at taking our self-development to a new level and not necessarily just for the purposes of healing from an affair. We purchased the Empowerment Pac yesterday and the amount of self-growth material that is included is staggering and will keep us busy for quite some time. I’m truly looking forward to delving into it!

      • Janice

        Bluesky, that was so eloquently said. I can’t tell you how inspiring and on point what you wrote was. I’m six months after discovery and have dealt with so much guilt from my husband. I’ve even dealt with so much unsubstantiated blame against me, for things that he was 100% responsible for. We are working and going back and forth between working on the marriage and divorce. We love each other and want the marriage but the communication lines are all muddied, and mostly because the husband does not know how to open up in a mature and vulnerable manner; hence the affair. He went into overdrive blaming me for all sorts of things that were just not true. Did we have a perfect marriage, no. Have I made mistakes, yes. Have I acknowledged my mistakes and owned them fully yes. Am I working on my personal issues and putting them on the table yes. When you have a husband who is still sheltering a lot of guilt and shame, it makes it really hard to do the type of deep emotional work that needs to be done. I might share this with him, but he cringes so often when I share what I deep as helpful articles. I think every article that speaks truth, aggravates his shame, and there for he is unable to receive the information. He is in a place where he can briefly and abruptly accept some wrong doing, but wants to immediately run. Your article helped me to remember and better understand some things. Yes, I was aware of many things, but when you are devastated with an affair, many or your senses are affected, and you are then operating out of a desperate place where logic does not live. Again thank you for being willing to open up and share your inner most truths with us. It was very helpful, and empowering. It’s unfortunate that the faithful spouse has to exhibit more strength and courage than ever before when faced with these affairs. You think that the spouse who had the affair would take on more in terms of healing and repairing, but it’s just the opposite. If strong spouses were not involved more marriages would crumble. I’m going to try to change my mindset at this point and try to remember my vows of for better or worse. I am going to imagine if my husband had cancer, how I would be right by his side fighting, and try to show this type of compassion for the wrongs of his affair. Hopefully, I can hang in here until there is major emotional growth and less shame and guilt on his part. Maybe I will even get some sincere empathy and compassion from him.

        • Heather

          Hey Janice, I totally agree with you . I am 15 months from DD ( first of many since the exposure of more details came not willingly but by my gut telling me and discovering more and more deceit, lies and betrayal) . It’s very hard to continue with recovery when you as the betrayed are doing almost all of the hard work, reading, self help etc. My H too wants only to skim the surface of this wonderful AR site that has so much support and guidance if you are willing to really delve in. He too doesn’t really want to allow himself to be vulnerable to me. In 15 months he has not shed even a single tear for me yet he can get choked up watching a moving program on tv? I find this kind of emotional response very difficult to understand and feel that either he is in so much pain he is blocking it or he simply doesn’t feel sad enough either for his pain and shame or the devastation he has caused me! We are still trying to work through it but I have to almost constantly keep at him to read anything. He avoids talk about emotions at every level and wants only to look forward, make new happy memories and forget what happened. I do too, but I simply can’t just wipe over 2 years of betrayal from my life! All our trips away during that time with what I thought were happy times with lots of lovely photos of us together and now I know that all the time he was also emailing her, sending her view of the day pics from our holiday together! I can’t quite delete all the lovely pics but now can’t bare to
          look at them either without feeling intense pain of betrayal! So many emotions are tied up within infidelity that you are for the most part overwhelmed by emotions and almost feel like your mind has been possessed ! You think and do irrational things, behave in ways you would never imagine you would and feel pretty helpless at times. But keep working on you. I have found yoga and meditation and breathing techniques very helpful to overcome difficult times. It’s all about time and just can’t be rushed. Just as with weight loss, there is no quick fix solution, it has to be slowly for it to really be effective and quick solutions never work, only the long lasting ones do. I wish you well with your recovery !

    • jewel

      Bluesky,
      You are absolutely right. The more you ‘fight’ your ego and work to nurture your self esteem, the stronger you become. The truly best thing about it is that your capacity for REAL, selfless love grows exponentially as well. I am learning that it is this love, not the blind(ing) ‘please don’t leave me, i’m nothing without you, you complete me’ kind of love is nothing short of toxic. I implore everyone on this site to work through the pain to find your inner strength and self love. Your entire world WILL improve.

    • Anita

      My healing came from my faith, also reading and studying the
      Bible. When I was at my weakest point, is when I got my
      strenght from God. I had to surrender my own will in order
      to follow God’s will for my life. Everyday I have to choose
      to put on the whole armor of God. Ephesians 6 : 10-20.
      After my divorce, I made a choice to surrender my life to
      the Lord. Even though I grew up with my faith, I wasn’t
      serious about it, until the storm hit my life, it was the best
      thing that ever happened to me, because it forced me to
      grow in my faith. It has changed my life for the better, because now I live my life for God, I wish I had done this
      years ago. Yes I fall and still do stupid things, but God is
      so forgiving. I try to each day put God first, I wouldn’t
      have it any other way, I have learned where blessings
      comes from.

    • Elizabeth

      Well after weeks of positive thoughts,pushing aside negitive,i woke up this morning feeling somewhat deflated and worthless and ever so alone and all because my battlefield of a brain has hit a landmine,so what did i do, log onto this site again and i would like to thank everyone for somewhat being Bomb controll.Again thankyou !

      • Doug

        Elizabeth, Certainly there will be days like today. Linda has them every now and then as well. Sometimes you can only push so much aside before it becomes too much to bear and then you need to have some sort of release. Stay strong!

    • B

      That point is dead on. ANYONE, and I mean ANYONE who chooses to have an affair with a married individual has no concern whatsoever for their well-being. It is safe, it is a scenario where the OP gets the best of the CS and then gets to send them home. They never or rarely see the tired, naggy, frustrated behavior. It is the best possible situation. Affairs aren’t designed to last. If they were, people wouldn’t have them, they simply leave their spouses. As we all work on ourselves, we will readily discover that the actual affair isn’t the hardest part. It is getting the cheater to own up to their mistake and figure out what is wrong with them internally that they allowed this to happen. It is and always will be a long, hard road to travel down on the way to recovery. People who prey on married indivudals are looking for flings and never even consider the damage they leave in their wake. We have to get stronger, we have to work on us, do that first and the rest will fall into place, whatever “the rest” may be. It is easy one day and painful the next. That is what makes this so hard. For me personally, I know that I love my wife and will continue to give everything I have until I wake up one morning and realize I have nothing left to give. Yes, she means that much to me. I just hope she realizes that being honest and working together is the only way to go. I hope she realizes before it is too late. But in the end, I guess we all hope for that don’t we?

    • Dol

      For me, I think I’m only starting now on the deeper aspects I need to empower myself, after 11 weeks. Because it’s so hard to know which way is up for the first car-crash period after D-day, one option is to use physical exercise at the start.

      It really helped me. I threw myself immediately into running. Small runs to start with, but I’m up to 5km runs now. It helps in so many ways: physical fitness just simply helps with your self-esteem, with feeling like a human being. The exercise time itself helps ground you in your body and, crudely, can just distract from the awful emotions with the pain of the exercise! It’s a much more preferable pain.

      Running has also, without fail, helped both me and my partner when we’ve been struggling. The chemicals released help to rebalance the mind massively – it’s shocking how much it helps. We can finish a run (going in opposite directions to go at our own pace and get space!) and afterwards everything seems manageable again. So, good for both partners, but definitely good for empowering the BS.

      That extra physical well-being is then a good starting point for beginning the baby steps of further work on yourself. As I say, I’m really only just starting to even think about that after nearly 3 months.

      Wouldn’t have to be running, and if you’ve got kids, is it possible for your OH to look after them while you go and do something? People like different things. Some find running boooring (music on headphones helps!) and prefer something like spinning classes, which are sociable too. Cycling also good. But preferably something that will push you enough, be aerobic enough for 10-20-30 minutes, to get that rebalancing stuff happening. It’s amazing how much even 10 minutes can help.

      Hmm, turns out I’m a bit of an evangelist for exercise. My old PE teacher would be shocked! For me, I think, I have found it very difficult to even think about other forms of self-help and empowerment when it’s been so hard. Exercise has been one, simple thing that’s helped massively.

      • Doug

        Dol, Thanks for chiming in. Often many folks only equate exercise to physical fitness and don’t realize the massive positive effects that it has on our minds as well. In fact, it was exercise that initially motivated us to start additional self-growth practices. Gee, should we be expecting you to create your own exercise video in the future? 😉

    • ifeelsodumb

      Elizabeth, Me and Holding On who also posts on here, call it “The Pit’s” everything is going along great, then you wake up feeling horrible…it might take a few hours or a day or two to get out of it…and I hate it!! Do something special for yourself…maybe like Dol said, some form of exercise…I joined a 24/7 gym and it really does help me when I get in “the pits”!

      @ Dol….I hear ya!! I just ran a 10 minute mile last night, my best ever!! I was walking on cloud nine all night 😀
      When I started at the gym in Oct. I ran a 16 min mile!! So yea, I feel proud of myself!!! And it REALLY helps build my self esteem, which took a beating after I found out about the EA…

    • Dol

      I feel like this kind of message needs some more unpacking, some more nuance: “Personal peace is not given to us by others – it arises through our response to ourselves.” It’s an issue that came up a while back in this thread: even the most perfectly well-balanced people cannot – should not – be completely self-contained in a relationship. The trust involved is all about having given something of your heart to another person. That’s why the betrayal hurts so much; that’s where the attachment injury comes from. One interpretation of saying “personal peace is all about our own response to ourselves” is to blame oneself for not being strong enough.

      I’m pretty sure Doug and Linda don’t think that, but I thought it worth discussing here. It *is* a matter of balance: yes, it’s important to work on oneself, to rebuild the shattered self-esteem caused by the affair. But you cannot rebuild trust by turning yourself into an island, and you cannot learn self-trust by blaming yourself for not managing to filter the world’s hurts in a more ‘spiritually advanced’ way.

      Overemphasising the fact that we ‘define our own reality’ massively simplifies what’s actually happening, and the role that re-building oneself must take, I think. Apologies if I’m over-reacting, it’s just an approach that immediately worries me when it’s put so starkly. I don’t believe that a solid grounding for one’s self comes from denying that reality impinges on you – in fact, quite the opposite. It comes from learning to understand your place in reality, and ways you can choose to consciously change that, or choose to flow with it. The one thing we can’t be is an immovable rock. No idea if any of that made sense, apols for waffling…

      • Janice

        Dol, you made perfect since. Points very well taken. I think the point of overemphasizing that we define ourselves is designed to support the fact that we can define ourselves and we can move the needle for ourselves. I think it’s more of “here’s what we can do” support, even though again, I agree with you wholeheartedly.

    • jewel

      Can I get some feedback? My H told me of his EA 6 months ago. Two days ago, I found out they have still been communicating ‘off and on’. I very calmly told him, I couldn’t do this anymore, he promised to never have contact again. that is fine. but after a sleepless night, I decided that for me to ask for his honesty and more importantly, for me to live a life of honesty (to myself) and integrity, I needed to tell him that i had a drunken one night stand 18 years ago. I am now feeling like because of my dishonesty for all these years I have somehow tainted our relationship and brought this all on myself. Can I just get some feedback? I feel pretty shitty right now. I’ve done so much to empower myself but this has knocked me down more than one knotch.

    • ifeelsodumb

      Jewel….DO NOT tell him!! Don’t bring up something that is so far in the past!! It will do NO good….your burden will then transfer to your H…and he will be left feeling “pretty shitty”!! Just work on the here and now!!

    • Holding On

      Dol,

      I agree. I have often thought during my recovery (6 months) that I will just focus on ME and heal by myself. But in a marriage relationship, that is just not logical. I can do many things by myself, but it does come back to building trust together and ultimately, some things do need to have a partnership to be successful. I can’t possibly do everything on my own. But I also can’t expect him to take on all of this either. It is a bit confusing to find the right balance of backing off and doing some self-work but also turning to our spouses.

      This is something I am trying to figure out after my last “discussion” or “yelling/fighting match” whatever you want to call it. I just want to stop trying with him, but I know I can’t do it all on my own and I need him to do somethings.

      I might have totally jumped on your comment with something that doesn’t really relate…I hope it fit somehow. Maybe I just picked some parts that resonated with my crazed brain! LOL

      • Janice

        Holding On, I can relate. I have that exact struggle with my husband, who thinks I should do my healing work. I do a lot of work, but need him to be engaged to put safety, trust, and security back in my heart; which all were snatched like a thief in the night by the way. I never asked for any of this, and so now I have to bend and dig for levels of strength, courage, patience, acceptance etc. like never before. Why isn’t the person who caused all of this doing more? Why do they get a pass on taking the initiative and aggressively helping in the healing of the trauma they caused? I can’t imagine inflicting this much pain on my spouse and me not bending over backwards and making it my life’s mission to help him heal!

        • Heather

          Janice it’s the fog. It’s the reality of their fantasy world that they have to slowly ween themselves off from like an addict it’s not instant . They suffer withdrawal while you suffer the shock and disbelief, the trauma and pain that their betrayal had brought, they are effectively waking up just bit by bit from their fantasy world of gratification, self indulgence, and total disregard for anyone but themselves ! It’s so unfair that the betrayer is the one who does little to nothing to put right the wrongs, but as time goes on, he may improve and small gestures of recovery from him will begin to come and even if pushed it will be worth it! Sadly this seems very much to be the fate of the betrayed, that they must be the instigator of pretty much all of the AR work. Keep going and tell yourself as I do that if he didn’t want to recover he would have gone by now because no doubt he is seeing your ugly side, tantrums, triggers, rage, tears, mood swings but still wants you and just as my H still endures those times with me, he may not be all singing and dancing in his help to heal me, he is accepting it’s not going to be an easy road to travel but he still wants to travel that road with me! That says a lot about what choice he consistently chooses… so if you’re H is also doing the same then hold on to that and keep pushing forward with the reading, learning and positivity 👍

          • Shifting Impressions

            Heather
            I believe there is a lot of truth and wisdom in your comment.

    • Hurt&Incensed

      Jewel, I totally agree with IFSD. I dont think this is the right time. There will be a stage in your recovery process, further down the line when you start rebuilding the relationship you want to have, for both of you to share more openly. On another note, I have to say, it makes my blood run cold when I hear you say there has been further contact between your H and the OW and that has prompted me to comment for only the second time ever (d day will be 12 months on 3rd March)! I am really urging you to get your husband to call this person on speaker phone right now, in your presence and tell her he never wants any contact with her again, he loves you and getting involved with her was the biggest regret/mistake of his life. He needs to tell her that you know and are present with him and he wants to be with you! No frills, blunt and to the point, rude if necessary. If he refuses… you will at least know that there is likely to be more than he is saying. I really do not want to add further stress and I accept that my situation may be very different from yours but the fact that my husband lied, reassured and placated me and then carried on his affair (when we reached a similar situation you are describing), brought me more pain than the affair! He could see the pain and serious distress just the knowledge of the EA caused me, was so apologetic, swore and promised on our children’s lives that it was never physical and he would never contact her again and so when the contact continued it was so hugely devastating when I later got caught out again. Particularly as by that time both my H and the OW knew I had been tricked into ‘backing off’ and he really showed her that it didn’t matter whether or not I knew! It was so humiliating, painful and the same as him having a second affair. I made my H call the OW on open phone to end the short term, inappropriate ‘friendship’ only to hear her ask him if this was how he intended to end their 12 month affair!! Please ignore me if I am way off the mark but if someone hadn’t advised me to do this when I did, I think my marriage would have been irreparable when I finally found out. I wish you the very best.

      • Janice

        Dear Hurt & Incensed, I am so sorry this happened to you and that you have to go through such a major trauma in your life. I think we faithful spouses need to work over-time on rebuilding our self esteem and figuring out why we fear leaving these unfaithful spouses. We need to get secure in who we are and stand strong. We need to be accepting of the truth and strong enough to either live with it or move on. Sometimes our spouses problems are too deep and we may kill ourselves in the process of trying to help them or trying to hand in there. We have to put us first. I’m six and a half month after discovery and so tired of all the work that I must do. God bless you. I don’t know you but I love you as a fellow traumatized spouse. This too shall pass. Try to pray every day so that God can give you inner peace. If your husband is not in therapy, you may really have a problem on your hand. He needs to be in intensive therapy.

    • Elizabeth

      Jewel dont tell him,He might use it as a excuse for his own selfish behavior and belittle you more,work on the now.

      Exercise yeh i used to it was something my CS and myself done together before during and after his EA,i will take it back up again at some point,but i am using the energy to heal and steady my young children.I am reading alot at the moment when i have time,not self healing books but History.Today is a good day and i am strong.

    • melissa

      Great post, Blueskies – thank you.

    • Notoverit

      Blueskies, your post really resonated with me. I have been struggling with why I won’t let got of the hurt, pain and ANGER. After reading what you said, I realized my ego was directly related to how I was with my H before the EA. “Happily” married, successful and never argued. I lost myself. It hurt my ego that he would do this to me. I guess I had no self-esteem, could not see my own worth. All I could think about was “How could he do this to me?” Well, he didn’t do this to me; he did it to himself for whatever needs or failings he possessed. The OW gave him something that bolstered his ego. After reading your post I finally understood that I need to make myself feel good about myself. His problems and reasons for conducting this EA are his problems which he has to work out (so far he doesn’t want to face the person he was – says he doesn’t know who that was). I have to regain my self-respect and let go of the ego. Thanks. I hope I made some sense with this. Your statements made me actually think and that, lately, is a real breakthrough!

      As for the balance issue, well, if I am unable to get passed the anger, I am of no utter use in the relationship. My H is working on trying to help me but if I keep picking at the wound, there will be no further progress. I can’t do balance (helping him) when I can’t help myself first. I think when I get to a point where I am semi-stable (LOL) I can help him and he can help me. For right now, I just have to declare a truce, work on myself and hope eventually we will make it.

      • Janice

        Dear Notoverit, thank you! You help me understand Blueskies post even better, and you made some great valid points. Your post gave me a breakthrough. I will get back into my individual therapy and stop bitching about my husband’s affair and deal with my own personal issues. We are working on the marriage but maybe I need a divorce. I will start to dig deep because Maybe I won’t be able to get over the affair, and maybe I have lost respect for my husband, and maybe I need to stand up and empower myself. I do have the option of not being married to a person who stooped so low, and doesn’t know how to get up. I could go on and on with the maybe’s but the fact is I have been ignoring these maybe’s. For some reason, I have feared divorce and instead chose to stay in this hell of affair recovery. I think often enough freeing ourselves from this affair recovery hell is not discovered or put on the table. What is holding us back? Many of us are miserable everyday and our spouses are still half way in fogs, and full of denial, dysfunction, guilt, blame, frozenness, lack of empathy, lack of compassion for us the hurt spouses and so on. I’m going truly put my energy on myself and stop acting like a devastated clinging spouse who needs my husband to breath lol. Well, I haven’t actually been nearly that bad, but I think my point is well taken. Thanks for sharing! These posts really help us Doug and Linda.

    • Dol

      Holding on: that makes complete sense, yes. It’s something that came up in our last counselling session: both my needs and my partners are real and, at the moment, they’re often pulling in different directions. There are no easy answers, but part of it is to recognise that we do both have to consider the impact we have on each other, and what we can do to help, if anything. Remembering that the goal is to save the relationship – the relationship itself has needs.

      Like almost everthing in life, it’s about working on balance – and there’s no static equilibrium point, it’s a constant process of careful listening…

      • janice

        Well said Dol! This is exactly where my husband and I am. He has a need to forget the affair and put it all behind him. He is still full of guilt and shame and the last thing he wants to hear is what all he did. His affair was extremely illicit and he did a lot of really bad things in his affair, and the thought of hearing about it kills him. I, on the other hand need healing. I need to feel safe and secure again. I fully trusted my husband. I thought I was married to a trusting, loyal man with morals and ethics. That dream has been snatched from me, and replaced with a very bad reality. There were so many hurtful things said and so many lies to make his AP appear better than she is said to my face. I need total healing, and feel I will get that by my husband acknowledging all the wrong done to me and validating my feelings, and communicating to me fully on what was going on in his brain, what he has learned today. I need truths about all the crazy lies and stories he told. I want to be made to feel I am safe from lies and that he is a trustworthy man, and loyal. I know this comes with time, but it starts with words. I get little I’m sorry, and I love you, but that doesn’t begin to heal me. I need full blown explanations so I can process and move on. Husband is too full of guilt and shame to address these needs. His everything still seems to be of a selfish nature and all about protecting himself from the truth and his vulnerabilities. I would love to see me be put first instead of him protecting him.

    • E

      Great post and comments I think I’ve gained something from each of them and will have to refer back to this one again from time to time. Jewel, I agree – do not tell. I do not think it would help, only add to the already overwhelming situation you are dealing with. Try if you can to put it out of your own mind so that you can focus on the present.

    • chiffchaff

      Hi, these posts are so timely for me today. In short, my H had an EA that I discovered Aug 2011 while on holiday. He truly thought he would never ever been found out and until Christmas this year he saw my pain, felt like he was helping me but he was still in contact (I see from other posts just how common this is) and unable to break it off with the OW. I left him, gave him an ultimatum and since New Year we’re investigating how to recover our marriage, deal with trust issues and get better together. It is SO hard. Mostly, since New Year I have gained strength and self esteem that I know was seriously lacking before the affair and in some way contributed to problems in our marriage. However, my H is today saying he’s very down, having unconstructive thoughts and feels hopeless and a failure. Does anyone know, or can advise, how I can help him without him believing that it’s just evidence of my lack of self-esteem? I really want him to gain his own strength and not do something stupid again. I feel very strongly that his pain right now is a good thing, not in a schadenfreude way, but before Christmas he didn’t seem tortured at all or reflective, he just seemed selfish. Any advice?

    • chiffchaff

      I should add that I’ve suggested that my H get individual counselling through his work just to offload all the crap he’s carrying around, but he doesn’t seem keen. He does seem to have broken all contact with the OW (she didn’t seem that bothered in response, it was all about her) this time and I can appreciate this is hard for him. He frequently expresses how he doesn’t seem to comfort me and doesn’t know why he doesn’t. Some of the posts above resonate with me, that he was angry and scared throughout his EA but the OW bolstered his ego so much he lost his self-esteem and now, without her, he has nothing left.

    • Holding On

      Notoverit,

      Your response to Blueskies resonated with me. It made a lot of sense. I think you had a breakthrough moment for me! THIS is what I needed to be told right now. I am struggling in the same way. I need to back off and let my husband’s issues be his issues and worry about letting my issues be mine.

      I think I have been so worried about my husband not understanding me and my pain and hurt and not “being there” for me. Also I have been trying to “teach” him all that he needs to learn and process through this. I am so scared about who he is if he could make these choices. I think I’ve been shoving the “lessons” at him so he will learn and change. I’ve been trying to fix me and fix him. But I can’t do that. This is something he needs to do himself…and really my way has been angry and damaging. It just doesn’t work.

      I can’t “fix” him and ultimately it will be me “fixing” myself in all this. I need to understand my pain, anger, hurt, etc. and of course I want and need him with me during this, but I can take responsibility for me, my actions, my feelings, and my thoughts. I can be the driver for my bus…and I’ll back off and let him drive his bus.

      Wheww, that is a pretty freeing concept to let go and just worry about me. I’ve really taken on both roles of learning for myself and trying to learn for my spouse. It is a bit exhausting, because then once I figured out stuff for him, I had to make him know all that I processed for “him.” Crazy! I think it is just the fear of never wanting to do this ever again and wanting to make sure he really gets it – the damage, change to be made, the past, all of it. NOT MY JOB!

      Yes, there is a balance, but I can see how I’ve been trying to balance his side WAY too much and wanting him over balancing my side in “just the right way.” Wow!

      “For right now, I just have to declare a truce, work on myself and hope eventually we will make it.”

      Thanks, Notoverit. If I can focus my heart and mind in this path, I think I will finally overcome a lot of hurdles I’ve put in my path. I hope I can let go of this “control” I feel I need to have.

      Dol – I do forget the main goal of “saving the relationship” quite a bit. I am doing damaging stuff. I am forgetting we are a team and working together to make it. I find myself often trying to argue my point, my feelings, my thoughts, when we are a TEAM. Thanks!

      • Janice

        OMG Notoverit! I could have written that. The fear in us that they don’t delve in and get a full understanding of what they did (the magnitude of pain caused) and if they don’t know the level of pain they caused, they can’t begin to work on what drove them to such destructive behavior, and hence, will cheat on us again! Thank you for writing your post. I too am struggling to focus on me and let my husband focus on him. I think one reason we are doing this is because we don’t see them doing the work. We see them trying to sweep this under the rug. I think we know in our hearts if they don’t fix this problem within themselves that our marriages are doomed. I know I will never have marital peace when such devastating actions have not been dealt with properly. I am looking to feel safe and secure in my marriage. I fully understand no marriage is perfect and that marriages go through up and downs, but stepping out having a full fledge illicit affair, I was not ready for. What type of person does that and how does that person deal with why they committed such egregious actions against themselves, their spouses, and their marriage. Thanks again, I will start today, focusing more on me.

    • chiffchaff

      HoldingOn – I agree with your view and Notoverit’s, I can’t change my H, or do it for him, or figure out stuff for him, that’s his job. I’ve figured out my stuff, my failings and things to be addressed. He needs to do that for himself and if he goes through pain doing that, then so be it, I did too. The pain, and feeling it, was important in healing.
      Thanks. This blog really is good (and as you’d expect, I sent the link to the H but he’s dismissed it as being focused on the BS not his ‘unique’ circumstances).

    • csb

      These postings arrived at just the right time for me. I am taking “baby steps” with making my CS be responsible for himself (only 3 mnths since DDay). He just called me telling me his Dr. told him his blood pressure is up. He went into the lengthy discussion he had with the Dr. about the stress he’s under. I could hear in his voice he wanted me to do the usual “poor you, I’m so worried”….he wasn’t prepared for my response of “oh well, I guess we know why that is”. It proved to me I am stronger than I thought I was and I am starting to focus on my needs and feelings…I have to admit, it was VERY liberating!!

    • ifeelsodumb

      Holding On….You said” I hope I can let go of this “control” I feel I need to have.”
      After D-Day I was the same way…wanting my H to read the same books I was reading, articles on the web, talk to me when I wanted to talk, etc…I think we are like that because after we find out about the EA….we feel so OUT of control, like we have been thrown into the pain and turmoil, and no one asked us if it was OK…So by trying to control our H’s and to a lesser degree our marriages…we feel we’ve gained a bit of control over the situation. At least that’s my take on it… : /

    • Healing Mark

      Chiffchaff, sounds like your husband is depressed. As you are no doubt aware, this is a serious condition that should be addressed. How he choses to do this is up to him with your support and perhaps some guidance.

      I acknowledge the existence of, but have never understood it, a reluctance by some people, and often males, to seek counselling for personal or relationship problems. I, too, was reluctant, but not resistant, yet found both our joint and my individual sessions to be helpful. My wife feels the same way about our joint and her individual sessions, even though she did not always enjoy those portions where we delved into her EA. I must add that we were fortunate to have a very good counsellor who came highly recommended from a couple who I would have never have pegged as having had marital problems or having had to deal with the wife’s EA a few years earlier (go figure, this woman is one of my wife’s best friends, if not her best friend).

      My wife had a lot of defense mechanisims that she utilized to keep her from feeling too bad/guilty about her EA and the damage and pain it had and was causing. Through education and counselling, we were able to strip away the damaging ones, yet the guilt and remorse remained and she too started to feel very badly for what she had done. She finally informed me, expressly not as an ultimatim and with no set deadline date, that she could not remain happily married to me or anyone else for that matter if she could not be genuinely forgiven for her “mistakes”. I got that, and fortunately was just about to the point in my healing process where I could genuinely forgive her. It was not a long time, but not a short time, after we had this discussion that I was able to tell, and convince, her that I had genuinely forgiven her and that I was ready to move on with our lives, not forgetting what had happened, but not allowing it to be something I was remembering so often!

      Only you know, perhaps, the types of things that might resonate with your husband in terms of getting him to forgive himself for his affair. I pointed out to my wife that I, too, had made mistakes in our marriage that hurt her, and that what was much more important than the EA itself was her now being able to recognize how harmful another one might be. What was also more important was how we dealt with our recovery and whether we might be able to come out of it with a marriage that was even stronger than it was before the EA. She worried that we might not ever recover, especially toward the beginning of the process when I was angrier, overly obsessing about things related to her EA, and very distrustful with respect to her. I told her that I felt that recovery was not only possible, but instead was likely as long as we both fully committed to our marriage and did the things that each of us needed to get to genuine forgiveness and to get past the EA and its damage. It never ceases to amaze me that, while I am not happy at all that it took an EA to get to this, our marriage actually improved following our recovery from the EA, but then again, I have read that a properly welded metal structure is actually stronger than the original intact piece of metal!

      Good luck and God Bless.

    • Paula

      chiffchaff, how fantastic, you’re doing really well (especially for your relatively short timeline here!) Great insight into it all, I think the separation process makes BSs “grow up” a little, and they are more forced into healing themselves, there is little time for the self-pity party, I know separation had that effect on me! I wish I could help you help your CS, but it sounds like you have been as supportive as you can be. If he’s not man enough to get his own help (shrink, etc) then you can’t really help him, he isn’t helping himself, and, as my children would say, has gone “all floppy!” He may find in the future that the “fog” lifts, and he will have to move forward, rather than focussing on his “poor me” mentality. As you rightly point out, he’s not at all “unique” – just another weak, and selfish cheater, there’s plenty more like him about, lol, just read here! I hope he gets well, and that you can both move forward to a much better place, you seem to be doing pretty well, considering, well done you, so far, clap, clap!

      blueskyabove, the most mature and resonating post here for a long while, there are not the words to thank you enough.

    • chiffchaff

      Thanks Paula & Mark for your great comments. I agree that the discovery day led to instant self-assessment and growing up for me that has gone on now unabated since last August. I feel stronger, like I could survive most things. I feel like my old, confident self (but it is fragile). Paula, I love the phrase ‘gone all floppy’ because my H really has, he’s been spineless and is having to grow one or find his old one.

      He is reluctant to get help of his own but the biggest movement was when he bought himself the ILYB… book. That was a great sign to me that he was looking for some sort of help for our marriage and not just for himself. I’ve done all the self-help books there are. I have to bite my lip most days because I want to work through it quickly with him, but I have to let him do the work as he gets more out of it, and then I do, if he’s the one suggesting we talk about subjects.

      It’s most interesting to see his ‘old EA view’ of me disappear during these sessions as we work through an exercise and he seems to realise that alot of the judgements he made about me and our marriage were nonsense, or completely overblown, just to make his EA seem more justified & special. One revelation was that he accepted that he had felt it necessary to turn his SA into an EA in order to feel better about how it started (it started in a hotel when they picked each other up at a conference). The OW had wanted it to be a exciting long-distance sex thing (we’re in UK, OW is in San Fran) which seemed to offend his morals that he effectively gave her an ultimatum that if she didn’t make it more than sex he was off. So, of course, she did. That seemed to be a turning point for him recently. He seems to be shocked at himself that it wasn’t as loving as he had thought but far more sexual. D-day for me also coincided with a discovery of his serious pornography habit, something else I wasn’t aware of. I can’t help but think that they’re related. That’s probably for another thread.
      We had such a good discussion last night, brief but targetted, that now means I feel able to wear my wedding ring again. I now feel strong enough to commit to working on our marriage as I’ve realised how important it is to work on me.
      Thanks to everyone on here.

    • chiffchaff

      Mark – did you discover what those defence mechanisms were that you mentioned, how were they manifested? {‘My wife had a lot of defense mechanisims that she utilized to keep her from feeling too bad/guilty about her EA and the damage and pain it had and was causing.’}.
      My H has said frequently that he didn’t feel guilty at the time, didn’t think about consequences of his actions or that it would cause anyone any pain because he ‘knew’ he wouldn’t be caught. Surely nobody could rely entirely on ‘not being caught’ for ignoring the likely consequences and pain of their actions?

    • ifeelsodumb

      Glad you asked that, chiffchaff…I was wondering about that myself…My H STILL has defense mechanisms…1 yr past DDay…and to be honest, it’s getting to be quite old for me! And chiffchaff…ditto EVERYTHING you said…My H said the EXACT same thing! I mean the EXACT same thing! Is there a CS manual lying around somewhere?? Geez!!!

    • Healing Mark

      I’ll get back to you on defense mechanisims. My wife did not initially feel guilty, and was not worried about consequences, b/c she did not think she was doing anything wrong. The guilt came after I confronted her about the third or fourth time about my suspicions that she was having an affair with her EA partner (at the time I had no evidence of her actions/lies/deceptions other than that she could explain away and I not only had not yet visited sites like this, I didn’t even know what an EA was), and after her best friend told my wife about that friend’s EA, the damage it caused, and opined that what my wife was developing with our “friend” was probably an EA. She then thought about the consequences, and for awhile continued her destructive behavior in part, b/c she did not want the “benefits” she felt she was getting from her (in her mind) appropriate “friendship” to end, and in part b/c she thought she was being careful such that I would never find out about the true depth of her feelings for the other man. Ultimately, so I am told by both my wife and the OM, they realized that they had gotten too close, and that their relationship at that level could cause them to lose their partners and harm their children and reputations. There was one incident where the OM temporily lost his cell phone at his home with damning texts not yet erased on it, and their confidence of not being caught decreased substantially. So they each approached their spouses about seeking marriage counselling, recommitted to their marriages, and ramped down the intensity and frequency of their interactions. Things improved, but my wife’s stubborness to not completely cutoff all contact and carelously leaving incontrovertable evidence of the prior existence of the EA on an unattended cell phone after a particularly heated fight w/ me led to my discovery of the EA and sent the two of us into terrible places for almost 10 months.

    • chiffchaff

      Mark – my H’s EA started as a sexual affair with a complete stranger that became the OW. I’m not sure how I would cope at all in your situation where it built up with people so close. The OW is thousands of miles away and no-one here knew her at all.
      I only discovered that my H was still in touch when he broke down and told me 2 days before Christmas. I think that the pain he was inflicting on me by his continuing distance from me due to not breaking it off finally got through to him. I was in such a bad place over the holidays.
      Cell phones really do exacerbate this sort of thing, especially smart phones, BBM (+ other v secret connection methods), mobile email access. Everythign becomes so much easier to keep secret and access whenever they want. I know we can’t go back to days of the horse but goodness me, cell phones should be criminalised for anything other than making emergency calls!
      On a related point – when I first discovered H’s affair it was when he left his cell on the restaurant table and it went off with a name I’d never heard of. Later that day I drowned his phone. He recently agreed to sell that phone as I have such an emotional reaction to it and he was offered a decent amount for it, but when they received it he got a fifth of what it was worth due to ‘water damaged battery’ – there is some justice out there.

    • Paula

      chiffchaff, and HM, defense meachanism come in many guises, after dday, the main one the CS uses is usually aviodance, try not to talk about it as much as possible. My OH was pretty good about it, thinking it would abate, but it didn’t really, and then he felt worse and worse, probably a little trapped by the cyclical nature of things, and the intense grief. chiifchaff, my OH had an EA and SA that was with a friend of mine, who spent a lot of time with us, she brought her small son on hloiday with us, etc, and the closeness of the thing, 15 months of sex, that I had absolutely no idea about made me feel VERY stupid. However, they were fantastic at hiding it. All texts were deleted as received/sent, cars were topped up to the same level with petrol, parked in the same spot on the driveway, cleaning fo the house after she had visited was meticulous, in 15 months I only ever found one long dark hair, in our holiday home bathroom, I’m a fiery redhead, any texts received in my presence were shared with me, they had a rule that they had to be very careful about the content, just in case. All that said, my OH says he felt overwhelming guilt every single time he had sex with her, not so much the text contact – which is hardly surprising, because most of that was “just friends” chat, he swears never sexting, he felt he couldn’t risk it. If she ever sent anything a little inappropriate, he would cut her off for a while! She is an unimaginative bitch anyway, couldn’t send something truly sexy if her life depended on it, lol! chiffchaff, I hope your H is able to face up to and get the appropriate help for his porn addiction, this is a very tough thing, and I totally agree, it must be linked to his affair, and it adds a whole new layer of complexity, but is not unsolvable, I’m sure 🙂 Interesting he felt the need to turn a one night stand into something deeper, trying to make him feel that he wasn’t addicted to just sex, I think?

    • Healing Mark

      Chiffchaff. Defense mechanisims. Let start with those prior to D-day. Denial was a big one. They were “just friends” and just happened to be in contact more than other husbands of mutual children friends b/c his wife suffered from siezures and could not drive and could not be counted on to remember important dates/events. She would share with me those interactions that would appear appropriate and keep to herself/hide those that she felt (justifiably) might cause me to delve further into the increasing closeness they were developing. What she didn’t plan for so well was that things that she thought I wouldn’t even question she shared with me (for example, buying him presents for kind things that he had done for our girls and buying him a christmas present instead of just sending his family a Holiday card), which caused me to look a bit further into just how much time she was spending with him talking and texting. Several times I confronted her about my suspicions that she might be having an affair with our “friend”, initially (she confirmed this with our counsellor) in an almost “I can’t imagine that you would ever do this, but are you and B having an affair?” manner, but later in more accusatory ways. She, of course, vehemently denied it, almost too strongly so as to make me a bit suspicious about her response (thou doust protest too much!), and in each instance rationalized her response as being a truthful one since she and her EA partner had not even kissed, much less had sex.

      A bit off topic but let me vent. One night she took our youngest to b-ball practice and texted me the same. I happened to be talking to one of the dads of my daughter’s team who was at practice and he mentioned that my wife was not at practice (I was going to have him pass on a message to my wife from my older daughter). I called my “friend” on his cell phone and he didn’t answer. I called him at home and his wife told me that he had run up to Home Depot. I resisted the urge to call my wife and instead waited for her to come home. I also called the dad I was talking to and asked him if my wife ever came to and watched the b-ball practice, and he let me know that my wife walked up after practice had ended and the girls were walking to parking lot. When I asked my wife how she thought the girls looked at practice, and whether our daughter looked like she had improved her dribbling skills, she lied about being at practice. When confronted about the lie, she got angry and accused me of being “controlling” (another HUGE defense mechanisim) and tricking her (really? and another defense mechanisim) into lying. She finally admitted to sitting in the parking lot ALONE. Later, when she left her phone unattended (thank God I no longer am obsessed with looking at call log, emails and texts on her phone!!!), I found a text that proved that she had spent her time in the car drinking with her EA partner. When I confronted her with this, again more fighting and accusing me of being controlling and of violating her right to privacy and the right to live her own life, with the justification for the lying being that to tell the truth would have just cause me to be angry with her and to think that there was more to her friendship with our “friend” than there really was when, after all, they were “just friends” (this statement makes me sick to my stomach even to this day).

      Another defensive mechanisim, which I found odd at the time but not so much now, is that she would accuse me of having an affair, even though there was no evidence remotely pointing in that direction. She would also tell me of other female friends who she said had confided in her that they found me attractive and later complain to me that I seemed too flirty with them when we later went out with them. This would confuse me, b/c I would not be able to put my finger on anything that I might have done that might even be considered slightly flirty.

      Not so much a defensive mechanisim, but to get more quality time with her EA partner, she adopted a much different waking/sleeping cycle than me. I was always much more of a morning person than her, and would often go to bed earlier than her other than on Friday and Saturday nights. Her EA partner’s nickname was “Night Owl” since he would be up very late at night, so my wife started going to bed later and later and napping during the day. She and the EA partner even had a “code email” that she failed to delete many times for when I had fallen asleep and he was free to call her and freer to text and/or email without fear of my picking up her phone or looking on her computer and seeing them. This rarely happened, but one night I woke up about 2:00 a.m. and thought it strange that my wife had not yet come to bed. I’ll never forget the look of terror in her eyes when I walked up to her on the computer. For the longest time she denied that there was anything weird with her re-booting her computer just as I was about within sight of whatever she had on her screen at the time.

      The final and most destructive mechanisim were the actions she undertook to make me, in her eyes, something worthy of being cheated on so that she would not feel so guilty about what she was doing. Picking fights mostly, since nobody appears very attractive when they are fighting with you. It seemed to me that I could do nothing right. Things that for 19 years had never caused a problem/reaction with her were suddenly harshly punishable offenses. If I said up, she said down was the only proper way. If I later said down, it would not be surprising for her to do a 180 and criticize me for not saying up. I’m speaking hypothetically here, of course. And, not surprisingly but really inappropriately, she would then share with the EA partner the terrible things I did or said to her (even constructive criticism was attacked during this time as, again, I was trying to “control” her) and then relish his soothing words. He believed in her, thought she was a great person, appreciated her many fine qualities, and suddenly I did none of these! She would accuse me of no longer loving her, of hating her, of wanting to get a divorce, and of having affairs. I really just about lost my mind!

      Sorry for long post, but perhaps some of the foregoing may be helpful to you or others.

    • chiffchaff

      Paula – certainly I’ve wondered if that’s what he was doing after his 2 night stand with her in the hotel. The texts I’ve seen were definitely sexting & what surprised me was the language the H used to her, very explicit when he’s never been like that before. Then again, only yesterday I discovered her emails to him where she would send photos on her thighs, which is just grim!
      H doesn’t cope well at all with the ups and downs of all he has created. He really panics when I have a down day but what I’ve found is that I accept down days for what they are & concentrate on doing stuff that makes me feel better. Usually that’s taking the dog out into the field for a long refreshing walk no matter what the weather. I always used to like walking but these days I love it.

      I don’t know if anyone else has this problem but I know I have to be very careful talking about positive outcomes of his affair. he says they make him feel justified, so I am measured in discussing how I really feel about my renewed strength and renewed interests.

    • Healing Mark

      Chiffchaff. Of course, CS’s should rarely, if ever, feel “justified” to have had an affair, no matter how strong the marriage becomes following a healing process. Rather than have the affair, and breach the trust of someone you were supposed to love and cherish during your marriage, if there are problems with the relationship that need fixed, don’t cheat but instead work on identifying and fixing the problems.

      My wife has not exactly said ever that she now feels justified to have had her EA, but she has said on occasion that she is sorry that she hurt me so, and almost ended our marriage as a result of her EA, but is not sorry that she had the EA as it not only allowed her to learn a lot about herself (not all good, she admits), but allowed us to get to a place where we are now more happily married together than before the EA took place. This initially drove me a bit crazy, as I really wanted her to horribly regret having had her EA, and we would inevitably argue about whether she should feel this way. Finally, I recognized that there is no point in arguing about whether a person should feel one way or another about something. They either feel the way they are describing, or they do not. Since we are past the point where I have genuinely forgiven her and we have each moved past the EA and repaired as much as possible all of the damage that it caused to our marriage and family, we really just talk about the EA anymore. We can even sometimes joke about the time she lost her mind and as a result caused me to lose my mind until each of us were able to regain our senses and begin acting like we need to act to one and the other to remain happily married.

      I will say that it helped me greatly to periodically get confirmation from her, just so that there was no misunderstanding and to verify that nothing had changed in this regard, that she unequivocably believed that the EA was “wrong” and that she would do everything within her power to prevent herself from ever even getting to the beginning stages with another person. We do joke, however, that if she feels as though she is getting to the beginning stages of an EA with another woman, she must, before nipping it in the bud, give a threesome a chance!

      One other odd defensive mechanisim my wife has utilized is that she has made it clear to me that if I want to have an EA or PA, that’s ok with her as long as I use protection in the even of a PA and in either instance make sure that she knows nothing about it and make sure that it does not negatively impact our relationship (SURE! LIKE THIS IS EVEN POSSIBLE!). She offers this with a clear understanding that she has no right to do the same, and that if she crosses any of the relationship boundaries we now more clearly agree are in place, our marriage will almost certainly end and the basis for such an ending will not be swept under the rug. I chalk the foregoing up to just another crazy thing my wonderful wife sometimes comes up. She keeps things interesting, and until the EA, almost all was good.

    • Paula

      HM, I noticed you said your wife had metioned you were “allowed” to have an affair now, once before. This is really just a way of her trying to even the score, reduce her guilt and remorse. As you have rightly said, you are not keen! One of the problems with this (despite the obvious) is that she has given you permission, that is not in anyway the same as what she did, she did this, even though she knew you wouldn’t be happy, she was “not allowed” but did it anyway. It doesn’t sound like you had an open marriage before, having your own affair would undoubtedly do more harm than good, and I am sure you already know that, lol. Just as an aside, what was your response about the drinking in the car with OM? Not to seem like a wowser, I like a drink as much as the next person, but she was bringing your kids home from sports practice???

      BTW apologies for the appalling spelling on the last post, phone screens are so small, and it’s a pain to proof-read….!

    • chiffchaff

      Mark – thanks for your comments (and the venting, I also find it good to vent and have masses of venting documents on the computer) about defence mechanisms. My H has also suggested, since D-day, that I should go and have my own ‘discretion’ and then we’d be ‘even’. I don’t think he’d go near saying that now but I’ve told him that since New Year I have realised that such an action might make me temporarily feel better but worse in the long run. That seems to register with him because it demonstrates the lack of thought he involved in what he did, he just got as far as the ‘it makes me feel better’ and denied the likely consequences.
      I feel like my H is showing more signs these days of being the comapssionate, considerate and kind man that he was before all of this. So much so I considered wearing my wedding ring again. I did for a few hours then took it off, I didn’t want to give the impression that it was all magically better, because it isn’t.
      Sometimes the analogy to dog training is alarming. I need to reward him when he does the right things, thinks in the right ways, and let him know, immediately, not later (so build up resentment like in the old days), when he’s done something crap. woof. good boy…
      sorry. In a good mood today as my father is visiting. Family and friends have never been so important as they are now.

    • Alone

      As a cheater, I too have told my H to go out and have a one night stand or something. So we would be even. Somehow, in my brain this would make ME feel better.

    • Healing Mark

      Paula. Yes, I was not happy. I asked her if she did not see that her new bff was helping her make a bad choice, and warned her that she should be careful and not let him help her make any more bad decisions that she might regret for the rest of her life. This was before I knew anything for sure, but I was fairly certain at the time that her friendship was causing damage to our relationship.

    • chiffchaff

      Alone – thanks for your comment. It einforces my belief that again, my H’s opinion and suggestion is nothing but another attempt to make him feel better. It’s a continuation of the selfishness because who, in their right mind, would advise someone to do that in response to something they themselves had done?
      That’s been a huge hurdle for me, the sheer selfishness of my H (and obviosuly, of other cheaters). Thanks for posting Alone, really.

    • Rach

      I’ve been feeling hopeless almost even suicidal, I don’t want this feeling. Just found about my wife’s affair, we are taking space, however that means she is with them.. it may be the end, but she does not want divorce. I’m trying to not beg, plead, be pathetic… I know I’m better than this. I enjoy reading other people’s stories. She did drop a bunch of things off right before her trip, this confusion is the worst. I need to be tough, I decided to stop drinking totally, and am taking trade classes. She talks about how she is the worst person and is in a mid life crisis.. why tell me these things? I guess it’s easy to be around an affair partner who isn’t judging you, probably because then they’d judge themselves.

    • Helene de Troi

      Thank you to Linda and Doug for providing this forum. Together we are always stronger.

      Without the web, I don’t think I could have coped these past three plus years. Imagine being on the most terrifying extreme roller coaster on Earth, alone at night or with others in the day. That is the comparison I am drawn to. To help us illuminate our way from the labrynthic darkness into a meaningful and peaceful now.

      From time to time, I read the infidelity blogs and sites, not nearly as often as I used to, but to me, it is good to continue to touch back. Every time that I read others experiences, there is always some comment or story which lifts one more scale from fearful and tired veiled eyes.

      Today I made alot of rice to feed my doves. Had over twenty this morning. My dog came near them and at once, they lifted from the lawn. I was sitting on a patio upstairs and could feel the wind beaten by their wings and hear the sound of their lilac gray wings in unison.

      Today, I can feel this awesome joy again.

      Most days I am OK, and even happy now quite a bit.

      Stronger together.

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