Hello Everyone!

When you first learned that your spouse cheated on you, no doubt there was a whirlwind of negative thoughts that hit you all at once. You may feel numb at first. Then the questions and self-blame start to creep in: “How could this happen? Is this my life? Why would this person I love do this to me, to our family, to our marriage? If only I hadn’t been so busy with work, she might not have strayed. I must not be good enough for him anymore.”

After the affair, negative thoughts invade your mind, threatening to sweep away your ability to cope with daily life, to feel balanced, to focus on saving your marriage. These negative thoughts are extremely difficult to get rid of.

With this in mind, we’d like to hear about how you are coping with your negative thoughts …How long have you suffered with these negative thoughts? What have you tried to help you through this period of crisis, when your thoughts don’t feel like your own? Have you experienced success in changing and or eliminating these negative thoughts?

Please respond to each other in the comment section.

Have a great day!

Doug & Linda

    42 replies to "Discussion: How Do You Cope With The Negative Thoughts?"

    • mlb

      What are positive thoughts? 🙂 I don’t know if I’d know one if it hit me between the eyes.

      • Doug

        MLB, I understand what you mean. So how are you coping with the negative ones?

      • hurtwife

        EXACTLY!

    • Sarahbear

      It’s a year and 4 months out from my husband’s EA and I still suffer from negative thoughts. Granted they’re far less frequent than they were when I discovered what was happening, but with social networking and such I come across her comments on blogs and forums I read. There are times I think she purposefully mentions things from the EA because she knows I am part of those communities. Most of the time it’s not an issue, but there are times it really gets to me. I usually send my husband a text or call him and let him know about the thoughts I’m having and he takes a few moments away from work to talk to me. We just sort of take a moment to reconnect and focus on the progress we’ve made this past year. It was hard in the beginning but it gets easier with time. It’s like a habit, you just have to practice thinking good thoughts.

    • Yuki

      For the first 2 months, I did not cope with the negative thoughts very well at all. I could not handle my full work load at work – luckily, a large part of my job is project management, and I was able to slide by and delegate a lot of stuff out. My daughter tells me that I was a zombie. I basically shut down. I didn’t eat, I didn’t sleep, I didn’t even watch TV. I did nothing but obsess over finding every detail about the affair, rewriting the last six years in my head, and looking for information about relationships and affairs. In the last three weeks, I have become stronger. I still cannot handle TV or news and anything that shows people’s problems. I cannot listen to the radio, except for Christian radio, because of the triggers of love songs. I cannot read novels because they invariably have relationship problems. I am consumed by the affair and by learning about affairs in general.
      But I am stronger! This site has been a wonderful place to vent, to share, and to learn from others like me. I pore over everyone’s posts and comments and re-read many of them. I still succomb to negative thoughts often during the day, but I manage to get my mind off them by keeping busy. My daughter is expecting our first grandchild any time now, and I threw her a shower last weekend. It was hard and I often wondered why I had committed to this in my state of mind, but I was determined that she would have a great day, and I did it. And it kept my mind occupied. I have also found a book by Beth Moore called “Praying God’s Word.” It has had a profound impact on me. When negative thoughts come, I take out the book, and say the prayers out loud. It really soothes my soul. I can’t say it has made me feel happiness, but it brings me out of my hole of despair.

      • unknown

        Hi Yuki, i can relate what you felt coz I’ve been there and is still in the process of healing and moving on. Mine was at first a mix emotion and then poured out all my pains, hurts, brokeness, my feeling of being betrayed, being neglected, unrespected and everything to our Almighty God.Then asking wisdom on how to deal this to him that at the same time I can bring him back to the Lord.True by the grace of God I successfully lead him back back to the Lor with repentance in his heart. After I lead him back to the Lord, it was my great problem on how will i be heald from all these thing called pain and brokenness. How will I move on by trusting God alone?I cannot boast of myself to be super woman not to feel all these natural reactions and the effect of this in my personality. True there came times I separated myself from my family for awhile , to find myself in the presence of God. I did’nt eat, i did’nt go out anywhere but just stayed inside a solitary place where my God and I can talk each other. And I was able to cry out loud to our Father in heaven and poured out all my hurts and my pains and asked Him to hold me coz I’m drowning. True enough our God is faithful and just.He make a way for it and put things under His control. We are now in the process of reconstructing and healings. Not easy but by the mercy and grace of God we are able to move on. He use my lifetime partner to help me in my healing so I can move on and I allow God to move for him that he can go back to the Lord with all humility with His first broken relationship with the Lord after he betrayed God and me. Secondly, he was able to move in the will of God to mend our broken relationship. Now we are under the mercy and grace of God to move on, though Im not yet totally heal.The first and only weapon I use for all of these is God, your complete trust in Him. I have these in my mind and heart, if God is with me who can be against me.? Greater is He who is in me than he who is in the world. Surely I am assured of His greatness and power.Thank to God for all of His interventions!m To HIM be glory! .Thanks

    • mlb

      Doug, Honestly, I don’t know what I’m doing right now. I go from one extreme to the other. One day I’m filled with rage, the next I’m just sad and depressed, occasionally my boys make me laugh and forget about what happened.

      Yuki, you sound so much like me. I also obsessed and pored over everything that I found. I promised my wife not to do it, but inevitably I return. I piece together dates and times and get myself all worked up over and over again. I don’t know why I keep returning and torturing myself, but have been unable to stop. Recently, my wife and I have been making some very difficult strides. If I could just keep my damn emotions in check and speak without my voice raising I could probably get more positive results.

      I also avoid much on the radio when we are in the car together. I seem to listen to CCM all the time while we are in the car together. If I hear any song that makes me think of the affair I either get emotional or angry. (I probably win the award for the Christian with the foulest mouth in the world) Thank God that he forgives.

      I also have been reading and ordering relationship books and researching online. I know that my wife probably can’t understand the obsession. To her it probably appears that I am vindictive and just can’t let it pass. I honestly don’t mean to be that way. I am just desperate for understanding. I want the love of my life back. She is a wonderful mother and has always been a supportive wife to me. She just made a mistake. Intellectually I understand that, but emotionally I can’t process it.

      Coming to this site gives me hope. I truly appreciate all of the posts and help offered. It truly is a comfort to me.

      • Doug

        Mlb, everything you are doing and feeling is normal. I spent months looking over the phone records trying to piece together everything that happened. I sat with a calendar and marked dates that I knew we were together and he was on the phone with her, or times when he was not home and try to figure out what he was doing. I tried to piece together everyday of the affair. It became an obsession with me and the more I did it the worst I felt but I couldn’t stop, I wanted to understand and at the time I felt that was the only way. Eventually you have to stop because it is so unproductive. You can not allow the affair to take over your life, it effected every part of me and in the end I lost myself. I believe that we do these things to try to gain some control of the situation, however we will never be able to control the affair only how we deal with the aftermath. Think about what is best for you, how you want to feel and try to move in that direction. Do things that bring you joy and happiness, spend time with your children, exercise, etc. I was told to focus on times when I wasn’t thinking about the affair, which was difficult because I felt that I thought about it every minute of the day. Think about what you are engaged in during those times and try to do those activities more often. Train yourself to not think and obsess about the affair. It is hard and takes a lot of effort but you will be happier in the long run. Linda

    • Katrina

      It’s been two months from D-day and I was unprepared for the emotional roller coaster ride that I’ve been on….the landscape changes daily. This past week I’ve had intense dreams every night, as well as feeling totally hopeless. I let my H go to our marriage counseling appointment by himself because I have nothing to contribute at this point.

      I’m realizing how utterly powerless I am over his choices, over his past wounding and how that contributes to his choices….he has been reading and journaling (usually my forte) and told me yesterday that he has “a deep disrespect for women”. I’m tired of being the one that is paying the price for his abusive childhood. His mother is a verbally abusive man hating narcissist who modeled infidelity…we cut off contact with her five years ago after she began taking her aggression out on our daughters (I have tolerated abuse, but nobody is allowed to hurt my children!)….but she is still “here”. I feel like I have been punished for a crime I didn’t even commit. I’ve been a loving, patient, and caring wife for the last twenty years…not perfect, but have done nothing to deserve the hurt and betrayal (not just the affair, but in other areas too.)

      Does it get better? I don’t even feel like trying.

    • BreeAnn

      hi all…. and thanks for your commrnts. I know it’s not easy to open up to strangers; at least we are all going through he same horrible things. When I found out about my boyfriend’s EA I didn’t let him know I knew for over a year (I read his email and thought I was the betrayer!!!) so, when I confronted him and made him choose between me or her, he close me. For 2 years we didn’t talk about his EA because, well, she was out of our lives. But… I never fully dealt with it like I should have. And, there were so many triggers that kept setting me back. Fast forward to now… Well, we broke up 5 months ago and he reconnected with her. We’re trying now to get back together and he insists that I accept her as his ‘very special friend’ and forget about the past because, well, the past is the past. Whereas I think he has a character flaw and can’t put ME first!! What’s hard on me on this site is that we aren’t married…. So, it was a lot easier for him to walk away!! But, I never had kids and have fallen in love with his girls and am just devasted that he chose her over me!! Our lives together really hadn’t started; and the EP has won…..my self-esteem is shot!! And, many people tell me I’m such a great catch… I’m successful, own my own home, am financially secure, still relatively young, have 3 big friendly dimples and hlOnde hair!!
      Anyway, I like all of you for supporting me during this horrific time!! God bless all of you!!!

    • Rushan

      It’s now nearly 2 years since D-day and I still have negative thoughts every now and then. I can’t let go, I think I need help from someone but my hubby thinks I am Okay and other people tell me how strong a woman I am and I can get through anything but I feel as if something is going to explode inside me. I just keep on praying and writing everything that I feel down. Maybe that will help me. this sight helps me a lot because I can see I am not the only one with all these thougts. thank you

      • Doug

        Rushan, I was feeling the same way so I I decided to go to a therapist. It has really helped to talk to someone else about my feelings. I really didn’t have the opportunity to do much of that during our recovery, I did have a friend that I talked to but I realized I needed an objective party. I have only been to two sessions but it has helped and he has given me ideas on coping with the constant thoughts and insecurities. He said I really doing great after “only” two years so that made me feel much better. Linda

    • Sarahbear

      Yuki and mlb, I was the same way at first. I could not stop hunting for information about her and scanning what I could for evidence of their relationship. I think it’s fortunate that I destroyed his computer with a hammer or I might have found even more stuff. I don’t know why I needed to know everything, but I did. He kept the things from me that he thought would hurt the most until I told him that I couldn’t get past it unless he was completely, 100% honest about it all. We needed to face the reality of just how bad it had gotten and how close he’d come to going through with all the things they had discussed.

      I think the complete honesty about it, no matter how badly it hurt to hear the things they did, rebuilt my trust in him. Once I knew there was nothing else lingering in the shadows, I could begin to move forward with healing. I still find myself occasionally doing things that are negative, like seeing a photo taken during that time period and wondering about it. It takes a long time. This is one of those wounds that only time can heal. I just wanted to pipe up and say that it’s normal to want to know everything with some people and it’s normal to want to ignore it with others. I felt like I was a crazy stalker for half a year.

    • Kathy

      When I first found out about the EA I was consumed with negative thoughts. Like Linda said, I felt I was thinking about the affair every minute of the day. Even my son said “mom, I don’t mean to be mean, but you’re repeating yourself” because that’s all I could think or talk about. And like so many of you, every day brings different emotional challenges.
      When I start having negative thoughts, and that’s pretty frequent, I remind myself that I’m doing things that will make my life better, even if H is not in the picture at some point. I remind myself that I am losing weight, and I’m going to apply for a job today so that if it should ever happen that I must stand on my own two feet, I’ll be able to.

      I realize that I not only let my H down by not taking care of myself, but I really let myself down. I forgot to care about myself because for 27 years my focus was on H and our children.
      This may sound silly, but sometimes I do self-talk, and I speak to myself as a mother to a child, because I don’t have my mom around anymore to talk to. I try to tell myself the things I would say to my own daughter if she were in my situation. Sometimes it helps. Sometimes not.

      One thing I’m unsure of right now is why I’m not wanting to know everything about his EA. It’s almost like if I just ignore it, then it never happened, although of course I know it did. I wonder if I’m in some kind of denial, or if it’s healthy that I don’t think I want to know all the details?

      • anaffairtoremember

        I think I’m taking your same approach as Kathy in doing things to improve myself – just in case he’s not around one day. I sometimes think that maybe unconsciously I think it will hurt less if I am in a better place with my self esteem if one day he leaves, but in reality I know it will hurt if he leaves and hurt if he stays, so for me that is the saddest part of all this – there is no winning situation the hurt will always be a part of my life now. I like what RF said about the quiet tears of sadness of the loss of something precious. It’s not fair that was taken from us and today I’m just really sad about it all over again. I did think my marriage was precious because it was something sacred between just us and even though life complicated things, it was ours, however unperfect it may have been. A person I don’t even know took a part of that from me with the help of the one person that vowed to love me for life. I do think that it is hard to phrase things so that my husband doesn’t constantly think I’m bashing him, but the other part of me says he deserves whatever bashing he gets – yet I know that that will just push him farther away. One thing I have realized in reading the posts is how much sadness all of this causes and it breaks my heart. I don’t think I could have done this to someone. I really feel like I’m playing the victim today, but the past few days have been really bad. It’s almost like I take one step forward and two steps back. I appreciate everyone’s suggestions on dealing with the negativity. I thought I knew how to deal with it, but I’m just having one of THOSE days and need to re-read some of my posts from one of my GOOD days I guess.

    • RF

      My therapist told me not to use phrases such as: I can’t go through this it is impossible!!! But instead use: – I feel that I can’t cope with this today, but tomorrow it might be different.
      Or instead of, YOU destroyed my life, how could you do that?!
      When talking to my husband, instead I should say: – It feels that my life has changed so much with your actions, and it is very difficult to cope with it, I wish I could understand why you did it.
      Apparently if you self talk with softer words it might make easier for the brain to cope as well, and when talking to my husband he wouldn’t feel my direct rage and shut down with accusatory tones. I must say that in the first months after the D Day I could not master it at all, and I did not want to. He should have got my rage; he deserved it, because he had to know how broke I felt for his actions alone. He had to realize the damage of his selfishness! Now, 8 months on, there are days that I am able to self- talk in this way, and it can be helpful. It does not mean in any way that the pain diminishes but it gives my aching heart time and hope of healing bit by bit! Thinking constantly: -Today it feels impossible, who knows what tomorrow might bring me. I should be stronger! Day in, day out!
      But am stronger as the time goes by, but I still hurt as the beginning of finding out, and I cry almost everyday, but they are quiet tears of sadness of loss of something precious, not sadness and anger that ate my heart. I also started to do so many things for myself. I tried to take the focus away from the affair. I have lost enough, so I have a lot to bring in to fill up the hole it left. Self-talk: “It did not leave a hole, it gave me the chance to have a good look at my own life, to try and find new things, new opportunities, looking after my dreams that were awaiting to be taken care of.” I still obsess for information about how and what happened, but I try to keep it under control as it happened and cannot be changed, but it hurts like hell the things that I know. This is still very much the beginning I know

    • anaffairtoremember

      Just when I think I’m getting pretty good at getting over it, I have one of those days when it feels like day one. Sometimes I think it’s God’s way of testing me, to see how I deal with it. It’s definitely hard, but it is a conscious choice that we have to make to not let it consume us. Yesterday was a BAD day for me. I let myself feel the anger and sadness briefly, then I wrote a letter to the OW (who is by the way is completely out of our lives because she has passed away – but you can read all about that in my story in the forum). The point is, sometimes when those feelings take over, you feel like you are going to explode and you have to do something to release it. I wrote a letter telling her exactly what I think of her. My husband just wants it all to go away, but I know it never will. There will always be times I think about it and I cannot forget the choices he made. That’s the worst part of all for me. I always thought of him as a man of character and integrity and she has taken that from me too. I sometimes feel like I don’t know who he is and if he did it once, he might do it again. All this negativity does affect our relationship, so like most of you I read all I can to help me get through this. Maybe it is a test of our strength and character and maybe it’s just a shitty thing that happened, but we have to make the choice to not let negative thoughts consume us. I’ve been re-reading the books “The Secret” and “The Power” and I do believe that our thoughts do have great power over us. And I do believe that the other person will eventually get out of life what they put into it – lies, deception and betrayal can sometimes come back in ways you never saw coming. I don’t want to live looking over my shoulder and I don’t think the other woman is worth wasting my precious time dwelling over. She was homewrecker, plain and simple. She cared more about this fantasy she was creating that her own family and that to me is very sad. I can at least sleep at night knowing I am doing everything I can to protect my children from the devastating effects of an emotional affair.

    • Liz Lemler

      Long time reader, first time commenter.

      Quick back story — At the end of July my bf of over 6.5 years mistakenly sent me a text when he was out of town saying something along the lines of “I’ll send you a pic soon because you totally blew my mind earlier” — he was cheating on me (PA-style) with some skanky girl from his work for a few weeks (sometimes I feel fortunate it was such a short time). It was within a week he snapped out of it and was ready to recommit to our relationship. Despite that, I asked him to move out anyway. I knew immediately that I needed to be on my own and know that I could make it alone so I wasn’t choosing him out of fear.

      I immediately sought counseling. We got into couples counseling right away, but it was the individual counseling that helped me with the negative thoughts the most. I’m fortunate (or unfortunate, depending on the day) to be a graduate student (finishing up my PhD this spring!!) with access to free counseling services. I’m very much in my head all the time, HUGE ruminator. And because of that, I’m the type of person that needs someone to wrangle me back into reality. I catastrophize about the future, and I need someone to bring me back to the present. Fortunately, I was constantly busy at the very beginning (the first 4th months since dday) and my mind was constantly occupied with research and teaching and job applications. That helped IMMENSELY. That said, I still had a hard time thinking about her, and my counselor had given me a great analogy that was really helpful. Whenever I thought about them together, I needed to bring myself back to being present in the moment and “record over those old tapes”. Sometimes I would think of that specifically. Other times, I would think of literally wiping a slate clean. And other times I would redirect my thoughts to that of my cats — who are so adorable and loyal.

      We’re past 5 months now, and he’s moved back in and we’re doing great, but once winter break rolled around, I had trouble again. I was so relieved for break and I had felt I had a great semester — I worked so hard both with school and my relationship that I deserved some real time off. Unfortunately, all that time off gave me A LOT of time to think. All of the work I had done fell apart. I became obsessed with “figuring her out”. What were her motives? Was she still pining for him? I had blocked and unblocked her facebook profile so many times by now, I lost track. Seeing her nasty large-gummed smile made me want to puke, but I needed to know more. All I did during the whole break was read blogs — this one and so many others. I would read those by “OW” and I would become ENRAGED that they were heartbroken after being rejected. I felt I had undone everything I worked so hard for. I knew I had done it to myself, and that just made me feel worse. But I couldn’t stop. I was starting to feel crazy again. I was also filled with questions about what they did together sexually. Things I knew I didn’t need to know, nor did I really want to know, and therefore never talked about, but they were there ALL THE TIME. I started fantasizing about talking to his co-workers about her so I could “learn more about her” — because I felt it terribly unfair that I knew NOTHING about the person that played a large role in destroying my relationship.

      On top of that — my parents know everything because my mother was staying with me when I got that fateful text. Not surprisingly they think I deserve better and should be trying to repair this relationship. I’ve spoken to my mother a bit, and she seems to be coming around, but my dad is a different story. He likes to talk — lecture, really — and not listen. My bf had written a letter to my parents apologizing to them and my dad refused to read it for months. Well now, early on Christmas morning, my dad decided it was time to talk — time for HIM to talk. I understood his feelings and concerns. Admittedly, given my recent re-obsession, some of it got in a little. I started doubting my choices again. Not wanting to “live with this forever.”

      I was exhausted from school and dealing with this situation from the past five months that I had given up. So once school started again, I immediately made an appt with my counselor. She gave me some much needed tough love. Told me to stop focusing on ‘her’ so much (duh) — I was giving her too much power. She reminded me that this girl was not thinking about me. That statement alone really clicked for me. All the questions I was having needed to stop, but not talking about them, repressing them, was not working for me. So instead of letting them fester, my counselor told me to tell my boyfriend I was having questions about her, but that I wouldn’t ask them, and will make an effort to push it out of my mind. That has been immensely helpful. But the biggest thing — the piece of wisdom from my counselor that really set me free was this (and Linda has touched on it before): I’m lying to myself when I say I need more information to understand this situation better. It has nothing to do with understanding — I’m trying to get control over it, and I need to realize that WILL NEVER HAPPEN. Hearing that was like taking a great weight off my shoulders. I think I knew it implicitly, but it helped to have someone say it to me and force me to think about it. So now, every time something pops in my head — I think about that. And it really helps.

      My curiosities have been coupled with fear. I’ve refused to visit his place of work (a large retail warehouse). I’ve refused to go to restaurants/bars they would frequent. I was afraid of seeing her. I would keep my profile picture on facebook as something other than myself. But I recently came to realize that I’m pissed off about being afraid. I’m tired of hiding. I want her to see me. I want to be real to her. I don’t want to confront her — I just want to exist. So now my profile pick is of me and my bf. And tomorrow, my bf and I are going into his place of work during her shift to go shopping so she can see me. I need to do it now because apparently she’s moving (I’m sooo relieved). Because I know that waiting allows me to fantasize, and plan, and worry, I’m getting it over with tomorrow. So I’m taking another step towards taking my life back and putting myself in front of her. I’m hoping that will stifle some of my questions as well.

      So now I know … when I’m exhausted and my resources are running low, I’m going to have a hard time exerting self-control over my thoughts, so I’ll need to guard against that.

      • Doug

        Liz, what a great comment, as you know I suffer from all the same obsessions and thoughts. The other day when I was really having a hard time, I thought about just giving up, leaving and thankfully Doug brought me back to reality and told me how much I would be missed. A few hours later I started thinking how stupid I was to allow a person like the OP to take away everything that I hold so dear. Leaving would mean that the affair won, and I have to stop allowing her to take away my life and my happiness. I really have to let the obsession go. I also agree that having someone to talk to has helped immensely, he is giving me ideas on how to gain control over my mind and how to focus on living in the present. Thanks for your comment and good advice. Linda

    • April

      A few people who I know pretty close had much worse problems than myself. My niece’s friend died at the age 32 and her 5 years old son is left with no parents or relatives who can possibly race them. And the other friend of mine gave a birth to a baby with a horrible heart condition that required her infant to have 3 operations.
      After all of that I think that my H’s EA is the small potatoes.

    • April

      Sorry, I ment to write “raise him” what was I thinking about

    • Mel

      I understand going from one extreme to another, being furious, hurt, depressed, to trying anything to get him to love me again. I wondered what I did to make him turn away from me and why did he, we were marriad, didn’t he honor our vows. When I needed him the most, due to medical problems, he turned to another woman. Then one day I read the awakening, by Virginia Marie Swift. I believe the emotional affair had it on their site. It explains how its time to wake up and realize, It was nothing I did, I did nothing wrong, he strayed, he was the one that was weak, he screwed up, he should have been stronger. It basically says, The Lord grant me serinity, to accept the things I cannot change,( my cheating spouse), Courage to change the things I can,(ME) and wisdom to know the difference. (I do). The hardest part is getting yourself there. I now look forward to the future and how I am going to get there. I have a grandson that needs me and I am working on bettering myself. I can’t do anything to change him, he has to do that. We still live together and we get along pretty good, I am going to school online, trying to lose weight and trying to let his actions bother me. Believe me it is still an everyday battle. Some people can stay and take advantage of some of the benifits, good insurance, good money, going to school, he is very good with our grandson. I also take precautions in the bedroom, I am not dead!! Some of you can’t stay regardless and if it comes to that then you should move on. There are many options out there, you have to chose no body can chose for you. But I am not one to give advice, I have spent the last year in counseling, to help me to cope with a cheating spouse and to help me be a better person to myself and better parent to my grandson. I pray daily, he always listens without interupting me and loves me unconditionally.

      • Doug

        Mel, I also want to thank you for your comment because what you said is so important. In order to gain control over the affair we need to stop taking the blame and to look at it for what it really was, a betrayal. We also need to understand that we have choices , not all control belongs to the cheating spouse. Linda

        • Kathy

          Linda, I am really struggling with the blame thing. As I wrote in one of my posts, I feel like it was my actions, or lack of them, that pushed him in the direction of an EA; I feel like if I’d been there for him as he needed me to be, this would not have happened. Now that the EA is over, I feel like I’m the one doing all the “work” to make things right again. I’m doing everything I can to improve the things I did wrong before, and not just for him but also for myself, so that I can be the best person I can be. But how do I get past blaming myself ? And although I feel betrayed, I’m having a hard time seeing what he did as a betrayal. I almost feel as though I got what I deserved.

    • Yuki

      I’m glad to read your post, Mel. It is beneficial to be able to vent to others who are going through the same thing, but it is also really good to hear the positive things people are doing to reshape their lives.

    • QuillsOut

      Long time reader, first time commenting.

      My husband began his EA about this time last year (around my birthday, how fun) and continued it until NC was established at the end of August. They had plans for running away together, combining their families (she has 3 kids, we have 1) and being happy forever after. They sent sappy e-mails and texts, met in secret, exchanged gifts…the whole nine yards.

      It was at this time that I discovered he had been “checked out” of our marriage for almost 2 years before he ever began his affair. He had been responding to craigslist ads, signing up for pornographic and adult dating websites, and though he says he did not, I have no idea to this day if he ever met up with anyone. Though honestly I don’t think I’d believe him no matter what he said, as he has become a consummate liar to the point it is second nature to him.

      Fast forward to New Year’s Eve, when he signed up for a swingers website and posted us AS A COUPLE looking for someone to do swinging/swapping with. He had discussed this with me and I said I was utterly uncomfortable with the idea because of my fears regarding his infidelities of the not so distant past. He created a new e-mail account and did not tell me, and used it to sign up for this website and communicate with a couple via instant messenger. I only knew of the account because I found the confirmation e-mail to link it to his primary account which I have regular access to. He’s abysmal about covering his tracks, and I guess this is a good thing, because otherwise I would still be in the dark.

      As recently as last week he was pleasuring himself on the webcamera attached to his laptop while the wife of the other couple was pleasuring herself, her husband, etc. He kept the video feed of himself and gave it to me, saying he had made me a special video because he was going to be gone for a week for work and wanted me to have a reminder of him. Fool that I am, I thought this was a nice gesture, for him to think of me.

      Since we attended a marriage retreat/seminar series in May of last year I have been following the advice of the author Gary Chapman and his love languages book as well as a few other by him. I have been following his daily devotional series since August. I have been looking up and buying books on infidelity as well as communication and how to talk so that my husband will hopefully listen and not shut down. I feel as though I have been pouring every last drop of my soul into an effort to rebuild our marriage on a new foundation, but the concrete keeps cracking and I can feel my life unraveling at the edges.

      I feel like such a loony, but I don’t want to leave my husband. When I met him he was a good man in my eyes, made me feel as though he could be my helpmate in life and together we could build a happy family and life together…

      Last night I told him I was done taking these emotional beatings, these blows to my sanity and my self-esteem. If he did not cease and desist (I wrote him an explicit list as though it were a contract) everything at once and never do it again, I was filing for a divorce. I had been having thoughts of how this conversation would go since D-Day, worried I would never find the steel in my backbone to stand up to him and say these words, but I did, and afterwards though I was crying my heart out, I felt a certain sense of peace, as though the largest roadblock on my healing journey so far had been blown away, freeing me to do what I must to ensure my happiness and survival, whether with him or without.

      We have a 4 year old son who will be 5 soon… how on earth would I ever explain this to him? Would I even want to?

      Back to the topic of this post… Negative thoughts are my only thoughts of late. I cannot entertain positive ones, at least not about our relationship, because of the pain that comes when my hopes are dashed once more against the rocks of his selfishness. I follow your blog almost religiously, and it is a source of comfort for me, and some of Linda’s posts seem as though she is speaking for me as well. As for how I cope… I’ll be honest, I was given a prescription for Xanax and I take it only as prescribed, but those little slivers of relief throughout the day are the only way I am getting by. Previously I had coped with alcohol, but have been sober for almost 3 months now.

      My name comes from my love of hedgehogs, as I have one for a pet. The hedgehog curls into a ball when threatened, straightening its quills so they are still and their sharp tips are a deterrent to a predator. That is how I see myself now, with my Quills Out.

    • jenny

      One of the things that has really helped me recently was telling my whole story to a friend that I haven’t seen in 20 years. We had reconnected a couple of years ago on facebook. She sent a sent out a letter at Christmas that was filled with her usual humor and warmth and she also used that time to tell people that she and her husband were getting a divorce. I have never met her husband or family, but it made me sad to hear this news. I wrote her back and included that my husband and I had our own trials this year. It has gone from there we have been e-mailing back and forth a few times a week.

      It has been so nice because when I sit down to write to her it is my time to process all of the thoughts that are going through my head and talk about them with someone who cares about me, but doesn’t see me day in and day out asking me how I’m doing. I don’t have to worry she will think less of my husband because she only met him a couple of times many years ago. She lives hundreds of miles away. She is a person who’s opinion I respect. She has become my sounding board and confidant. Now I don’t feel the need to rehash things with my husband a thousand times. When I do talk to him about what’s on my mind I’ve noticed that I’m much less confrontational and our discussions are way more productive.

      • Doug

        jenny, you read my mind this morning, I was also thinking how important it would have been early in my recovery to talk to someone who could have been objective and supportive. It is difficult to include friends because they do know both parties and it puts them in a hard position. As a betrayed spouse we are on our own to figure out all of these feelings and I have realized that it was something I should not have attempted on my own, I should have found a good therapist or someone who was removed from the situation to talk with. Linda

    • BreeAnn

      QuillsOut…… Bravo for having the courage to speak up here! May the folks here offer you sound advice and support. I think they have because you shared with us your story, and that’s huge! Be strong and know that we’re supporting you!!

    • R

      Liz Lemler, I am so glad to hear I am not the only one that blocks and unblocks the OW’s Facebook Profile. The OW went to church with us (we no longer go there) but she is sickeningly sweet on her FB page. You would think she was the strongest, most loyal Christian there was! (puke!) It has been almost 4 years since D-day, and I had decided the more I saw her fake little smile on FB, the more immuned I would become to it. I felt it helped me to see her pictures because she was where she belonged – with her own husband and children. As a matter of fact, I felt like I had become strong enough to go back and visit the old church because we still have family that goes there. My husband had to work one Sunday, so I went by myself. She managed to stay in my line of vision at all times. Once, when I was talking to someone else, I looked up and she was within just a very few feet of me. I was amazed! Most everyone that goes to that church knows what happened between her and my husband, so why she would want to hang around me is beyond me. Any normal person would have steered clear of me, but she is obviously not normal. Believe me, she knows how I feel about her – we had a good, long talk after D-day. Just know that there are some people that are very messed up, and you will never be able to figure them out no matter how hard you try, but you are right in understanding that we shouldn’t be trying to hide from the OP, they should be trying to hide from us. We haven’t done anything wrong, they have. As a matter of fact I put a special little favorite quote on my FB profile just for her so that she can read it whenever she stalks me on FB, which I’m pretty sure she does.

    • Katrina

      Quills out…hugs to you. You have lived through some very painful stuff. I’m dashing out the door, but have two thoughts I wanted to share. First of all, have you been tested for STDs? Second, your H’s behavior sounds like it goes beyond having affairs into the realm of sexual addiction. I was married to a sex addict, and it’s a very painful and isolating place to be. I found the books by Patrick Carnes to be very helpful in understanding this compulsion and how it affects the spouse. My heart goes out to you. Take care of yourself.

      • QuillsOut

        Katrina, Yes, I’ve been tested, once after each major incident, and once during the time I didn’t know he was “fooling around”. I always opt for the STD screenings during my annual feminine exams.

        You’ve made me want to go look more into the possibility of sexual addiction, or a relationship addiction at least. I would be hesitant to outright say sexual b/c my husband is not a sexual man, if either of us is the craver of physical love in our relationship it is me, but the last few years have shown me that he has a very powerful urge to “escape” his life, however he can manage it. All of his actions prior to this new year have been relationship-based, this is the first one to be sexual, though when I confronted him about the acts on camera I mentioned how he was escalating, and he agreed.

        A few days ago he wanted to sit down and talk, a first for him as I usually have to pry anything out of him with an emotional crowbar. He admitted that he thinks he has an addiction to the internet and the kinds of contact he can find there. He said it had a powerful draw for him because it enabled him to be whomever he wanted to be and get away from the problems in his life. This is big for him, so I sat, listened, and encouraged without inserting my opinion.

        He has scheduled an appointment for this coming week to begin personal counseling, so we’ll see if he keeps it. We were attending couples therapy but did not continue after a few sessions. I blamed horrid scheduling (He is in the military and the schedule changes daily) but it turns out he also did not feel comfortable with the therapist, so that could have been why he did not help me to go back and may have neglected to mention said appointment’s at work so they could be kept by us.

        I have hope, though I don’t know if I should.

    • jenny

      Linda, I really wish I would have done this sooner. It is funny because I was reading this book on the power of our subconscious and it basically says that praying is tapping into your subconscious which is all knowing and where God lives in you. I’m not sure if I’m completely on board with the book, but it is fascinating and definitely gives you much to think about. Anyway, I had prayed for a better ways of dealing with all of my emotions and thoughts and the very next day came my friends e-mail. I knew after reading it who I needed to confide in. Our communication has been exactly what I needed.

    • MD

      This is a helpful website bc when you do find out that your spouse is a “cheater” you feel all alone. It was interesting to actually read other peoples experiences to let me know I’m not the only person going through the hurt and the pain. After reading all the emails and texts I would think “Where was I during all this time? Was I this oblivious to the fact that he was actually cheating on me? Of course i traced back all the dates and thought of where I was and what I was doing at the time, when he had thoughts of another woman. But actually he had two women. I was just the last to know. So this is why I say when it came out like an atomic bomb, it did. A whole lot of horrible news at once. I am still on the rollercoaster of up days and down days, sometimes still numb, with my heart aching. I NEVER even thought about cheating on him because I honor those vows we took before God too much. But now, I even wish I had NEVER even met him. An affair hurts far worse when it’s someone you know, and I did personally know one of the women. This is why I look at him this way.I look at my two babies and this is what makes me smile because nothing else does. At what point does the emotional rollercoaster level off because at one point I’m okay, the next down in the pits again.

    • mlb

      MD, I don’t know when the emotional roller coaster ends. I’m still riding it. I do know, however, I’ve gotten nowhere and perhaps made things worse with my obsession about the details. I need to just back off and try to breathe. No matter what I do or say, I’ll never fully understand why. I understand that we had problems and I take full responsibility for my emotional detachment prior to this affair. But I still can not reconcile how this could have happened. I know in my heart that I love my wife as much as ever. I know in my heart that I want to grow old with her and have an intact family that my sons will be able to come home to and bring their children to their grandparents. I wish there was a switch that I could just turn off to erase my thoughts of what was said and done between them. I just pray that if we can just start becoming closer again and show each other that we are committed to our marriage the memories will fade away. My wife is a good person who made a mistake. The a..hole that she was with was giving her all the emotional compassion that she was lacking from me. Even though, it was false compassion, (how can somebody who is cheating on his own wife be genuine in an affair) it was something she needed and was lacking from me. I know that I’ve been emotionally distant. She resented me for that. Throughout at least the last decade, she has withheld intimacy which I resented. We’ve been like rats on a wheel, going back and forth. It’s like the chicken and the egg. I’m emotionally distant because I feel her rejection to intimacy, she withholds intimacy because she feels I’m emotionally distant.

      All I know in my heart right now, is that I love my wife and miss her so much. I long to hold her hand and see her love for me in her eyes. I want to laugh again with her. I want her to be happy to see me. I just don’t know how to get back there. I’m either too forceful, or I back completely away. I’m lost.

    • Yuki

      mlb – me, too. How I wish I could have that warm and loving relationship with my husband again. But I am afraid of allowing myself to really go for that. I am afraid he won’t respect me. It would mean that I have allowed him to do the most selfish, disrespectful thing possible, and let him get away with it. So then what’s to stop him from disrespecting me again, and having another affair, or picking up the old one again? And if that’s the case, I guess my choice is either leave and be lonely, or stay and not be lonely, but have no self-esteem. Anyway, that’s how it feels right now.

      • Doug

        yuki, I think that is a problem most of us face, if we just move on and let it go we believe have compromised our values and our expectations. I guess that is what forgiveness is all about and also looking at our spouses and believing that they truly understand how much they have hurt us and have made personal changes to make our marriages better. Prior to the affair I believed that I was a person who would never accept a betrayal. Years ago I gave up a friendship because my best friend had an affair with a married man and broke up his family. I never thought I would have to make this decision, and at times it wears on me. I guess you have to understand that you have no control over your husband’s actions but you can control the outcome, you always have a choice rather to end the marriage now or if it happens again. Linda

        • Yuki

          Yes, it is true that I think I have compromised my values… and I am now feeling just soooo sad about that- overwhelmingly sad and full of tears. Sad that my husband was not able to live up to our family’s standards, sad that my perfect family has been broken, sad that I have a spouse who had the romance of his life with someone else and has now chosen to settle for me, sad that my love for him is tainted with hurt, sad that I can no longer be innocently trusting of anyone, sad that I must always be on guard against my own mind because of something beyond my control, but completely in his control… I can go on and on.

          I am better in that I can enjoy activities again and have an hour or two here and there where I do not think about his affair. Joining an exercise class with my husband was one the great things I did for myself after D-day. It’s something new for me, great for the mind and body, and I’ve made new friends, too. But the sadness hits me without any provocation, sometimes at inopportune times,and it’s difficult to control.

          My husband has noticed that I seem better and can laugh and enjoy the company of friends and family. He and I have started to try to work things out. He goes to exercise with me and we’ve started cooking new recipes together again – something we have not done in years. I have also stopped asking questions about his affair. But instead of improving the situation, all this has made it worse. While we enjoy our recreational time together, and he surely feels relieved not to have to talk about the affair all the time, he now feels that I should be completely over it. He told me last night that the grieving process should be over by now. He noticed that I was depressed in the evening, and it made him angry. I don’t know what to do next.

    • mlb

      While we enjoy our recreational time together, and he surely feels relieved not to have to talk about the affair all the time, he now feels that I should be completely over it. He told me last night that the grieving process should be over by now. He noticed that I was depressed in the evening, and it made him angry. I don’t know what to do next.

      I understand, Yuki. I’ve spent the last week completely backing off my aggressive outrage and frustration. I’ve tried to let her breathe and take the fear away that she says she has of me. In my heart, I feel like this is just a way to sweep everything under the rug and conveniently forgetting about it. She said she is afraid of me because of my reactions to the questions I ask her. I’ve never, ever hit her or threatened to even touch her that way. But she says I am intimidating when I react the way I do.

      When I found out about the affair, I broke a picture I had given her just weeks before. It was a picture of us that I gave her for our anniversary. I broke our family name wall hanging, I broke a glass, etc. None was directed at her. I would never hurt her.
      She said I reacted totally irrationally and had gone off the deep end.

      I totally took offense to that. I feel I reacted the way any normal person would react when confronted with the reality that the person they loved and trusted the most had betrayed them. When you are made to be a fool and you realize that every day you spent together you were being deceived and lied to every second of the day, you will explode as I did. There is no way to even articulate the pain, shame, embarrassment and humiliation that you feel. It’s like they intentionally were trying to make fools of us.

      This is why it is so difficult to move forward. I’ve succesfully navigated an entire week without stepping into the emotional landmines that I kept throwing myself on. It has been difficult because I still do not see any reciprocal love. I initiate all touch. I am the first to say I love you. So everything I get from her is a reaction to me. It hurts so bad. I long for the day when she will see me and feel the same things I still feel for her.

      Yuki, after all my rambling I forgot what I was even responding to you about. I’m sorry for turning this into my pain. It’s just that when I start typing, everything just starts pouring out.

      • Yuki

        mlb – I totally understand. It’s easy to get caught up in emotion when we are writing. I have no one to regularly talk to about this, and this site is really a godsend.

        I feel the same that it’s so difficult to move forward when your spouse has made a fool of you, and that is exactly how I take it, too. I often think I am compromising my pride, my self-esteem, and my values by staying. I have a friend, however, who has been divorced three times and has now determined to live single for the rest of her life. She told me that divorce in my situation would be only for payback. And she said the pain and humiliation do not go away by leaving. It takes just as long to recover, and then you’re left lonely and alone. So she said it would be best to try to recover together, and to give it a good long time before deciding to call it quits. I’m going to take her advice. But I’m still so sad. I feel like I could cry forever.

        • mlb

          Yuki- I am committed to making this work. But what do you do when in your heart you don’t believe your spouse feels the same way? I’m at work losing my mind again today. Looking at the clock to when I can get home…. and I don’t know why I want to go home. Every time I reach out to her, hold her hand, kiss her, I don’t feel anything back. It is absolutely killing me inside.

          I am so with you on my pride and self-esteem. I am as low as a person can get right now.

          I know what you mean about crying. I’ve let it out a few times…but mostly I’ve developed a slow leak. I’ll hear a song, or think about what I think is lost forever and my damn eyes will start watering anywhere. At work, in my car…it’s embarrassing.

          btw, my name is Mark. I don’t know why I used my intitials. I really don’t care who sees this anymore.

          • Yuki

            Mark – Yes, I don’t care, either. In fact, my husband knows I write on this site. I don’t know if he has ever taken a look, but I actually wish he would. Then he would see what affairs do to people, and that I’m not just a melodramatic nut case.

            My husband does show emotion to me. He responds when I hug him, and he does also initiate affection and intimacy – often. But I have felt that he was staying out of obligation. I have felt that he does love me – but merely as a family member, not as his true love. So it seemed he was acting out of a desire to have a smooth, contented marriage – and not out of a desire to have a passionate, caring relationship with me.

            It is interesting to note that my husband is in a different place in the process than your wife. My husband’s affair lasted for six years, and for the last two, he was slowly withdrawing from her. That’s what he says anyway, and I can see it in the emails. Breaking if off was the last thing for him in letting it all go… so he says, anyway. They were trying to be “just friends.” Then he did actually start trying to make it up to me, even though I did not know about it yet. He bought me a new house, a new car, and took me on a fabulous trip. My kids and I were astounded at this royal treatment. Then I found out about his affair while we were on the trip because they were still writing to each other as “friends” and I found an email. It all came out after that, and he says he now has stopped all contact.

            So maybe your wife will come around and be able to respond to you emotionally. It took my husband six years, but he was doing it all on his own – no one was helping him or working with him. Let’s both hope and pray that they come to love us again with the passion and depth that we crave.

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