Don’t Let the Cheater’s Story Become Your Story

couple crisisWe’ve talked a lot recently about the fantasies that are inherent before, during and after the affair.  Today I want to concentrate on how the fantasy affected the way I dealt with the information Doug gave me during his emotional affair.

Basically, I made mistakes as to how I reacted, causing our recovery from an affair to take longer and be more painful. Hopefully, you can find some commonalities and can use this information to your benefit.

We mentioned in an earlier post about the importance of clueing in to the stories that the cheating spouse tells you about their affair.  I will honestly say that while Doug was creating a story in his head prior to his emotional affair, I too had created a story to alleviate the pain I was experiencing in our marriage.

As hard as it is to admit, in my story Doug died, and I found someone who could finally be everything that I needed from a husband. You know…my Prince Charming.  He would have been everything Doug used to be before all the stress affected our lives, and he would show that he loved me everyday.

However when Doug told me that he wasn’t in love with me anymore, and there was possibly someone else, I completely forgot my story and began to believe his.  I believed all the things he said that made me seem like a terrible wife.  Some things were so trivial I couldn’t believe that he remembered them.  You have to realize though, that he had been creating this story for a long time.

I also believed that if he did find someone so perfect, I must have been wrong about my story and I must have been a terrible wife.  So basically I took all the blame for the emotional affair.

I set out to make this right and to prove to him that I could be a good wife, and to do this I learned everything I could about working on a marriage and tried to be everything to Doug that (I thought) Tanya was.

I basically ignored that he had been a cheater, a liar and he betrayed our marriage vows.  If I would have focused on that I wouldn’t have been able to be the perfect woman, because I would then have to be angry.  So for months I carried the blame of his emotional affair, while Doug continued to have his cake and eat it too. I carried his guilt and validating his story because I never understood that his story was mainly a fantasy.

Eventually, I began to read more about affairs and began to understand that his emotional affair was not my fault.  However, the blame was very difficult to let go of since I had been carrying that story around for a very long time.  As a result, it had become my story too.

In order to remove the fantasy, some very hard and long conversations needed to take place between Doug and I.  Conversations about what was happening to our marriage before the affair and admitting that we were equally at fault for the problems of our marriage – but the affair was all on Doug.

He needed to understand that my pain was justified and that trust and commitment will be a major issue for us. He needed to put in a lot of effort to gain my trust again and to be able to reassure me that this will never happen again.  He also needed to understand that it would take time for me to forgive him and that it will be something that I will never forget. 

It is something that we both have to live with even though it was his choice to have the emotional affair. We each have a heavy burden to carry, but to me it is worth it.

 

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7 Responses to Don’t Let the Cheater’s Story Become Your Story

  1. QuillsOut February 7, 2011 at 4:56 pm #

    Linda,

    Maybe today is one of the bad days, but reading this entry made me form questions from the feeling that’s been haunting me for years: How do you force the guilt out? When does is stop being something you internalize, a beating you’ve come to accept because it has been given to you daily for so long? How do you develop the strength to stand tall?

    I’ve been used and abused emotionally my whole life. I talk a good line, and can at times even keep a straight face when I lie and say that nothing’s wrong. Now I know my husband, someone I’m supposed to trust very much, will hurt me just as others have, how can I make my story my own? I don’t know if I even have a story honestly, it seems as though I have always been a party to someone else’s tale.

    Every day I see my husband’s face and the knowledge rises in my mind that there was a day he told me he wasn’t in love with me anymore, that he wanted out, but that it was because of the OW, not simply because he was unhappy. Lies are the only story I know.

  2. changedforever February 7, 2011 at 5:59 pm #

    I don’t know if this will help you but hopefully it can give u another perspective…I have worked in the casino hotel industry for almost 30 years…started as a teenager. I am familiar with patrons who lie to get comps, lie to their families when money is lost as well as employees and patrons who steal….in conclusion, I have worked around people for almoat 30 years…who are sick. I just never thought I’d ever be on the receiving end of a family member who ‘s lies hurt me and my family so deeply…and I never saw any signs. It happens and I know now that no one is protected…it CAN happen to good people….maybe to your spouse…maybe to you! Not that this excuses anyone from the horrific event of an extramarital affair of any kind , but if someone is sick, they need someone’s help….maybe yours! Think about it…how could anyone be in their right mind to cheat…?

  3. Yuki February 7, 2011 at 8:32 pm #

    I have also fallen into the trap of making my husband’s story my own. He was so convinced of his story that I believed it, too. As time passes and I spend more time studying and learning about affairs, I am beginning to see that his story is very distorted and in some ways completely wrong. We have talked some about it, and have had some fights about it, but he is also starting to see that his story is not accurate. We have not attempted yet to meld our stories into one, but I have read that this is an important step in our recovery. I don’t think we’re quite ready for that process yet.

  4. melissa February 8, 2011 at 5:59 am #

    Linda, your last paragraph hits it on the head.

    We all have those Prince Charming fantasies: mine was that I was speaking at my husband’s memorial service, I’d rehearse my speech in my head and would say wonderful things about him. Now, I know that many of the things I thought were true (how good our marriage was, how happy we were, the trust I’d put in him) are untrue and I don’t know what I would say at all and it’s quite painful to feel this way.

  5. mil February 8, 2011 at 3:52 pm #

    I am having an horrendous time trusting my H. I found out last week that he has applied for a post in the health authority, only 2 half days a month on days he doesn’t do his full time job. I am sick with worry that he will get the job (he has been shortlisted) and thereby have an opportunity to meet more women. I am imagining him having a secretary to whom he will grow close (the OW was secretary on a committee he was on and did all his paperwork etc).
    I know I can NEVER trust him again and so does he. We are on the brink of splitting up after nearly 3 years of me trying to ‘get over’ his EAs (he had another I know of about 10 years ago).
    He has SWORN and promised it will never happen again but why shouldn’t it??
    I have given him an ultimatum that if he gets offered the job that will be the end for us and he is now saying I can not control his life so we might as well get divorced.

    • Yuki February 8, 2011 at 5:58 pm #

      Mil, Haven’t heard from you in a while. It seems things have taken a turn for the worse. I’m so sorry to hear that.

      Have you used “I” statements to explain how afraid you are of his taking this job? What brought it to an ultimatum?

  6. Jackie February 13, 2011 at 9:06 pm #

    Changedforever,

    I think you are right. What makes a gambling addiction, alcohol, drugs, much different than that of an affair? The affair spouse, gets high from it, can’t stop, know they are hurting those who love them and who they had claimed to love, will do anything for their fix, including abandoning their spouse and children. There is reason they call infatuation, “love sickness”.

    The affair spouse is sick in some way, to allow him/herself to do such harm to those around them, and not see the damage they are doing. In their right minds, they would agree that they are going against everything they once believed in. Only difference is the affairs are often romanticized by the movie industry. That the affair spouse has finally found ,”True love”. That they were in a bad marriage and this was the fix.

    Marriage is something that both parties must be fully involved in, or it will faulters.

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