fearThe following quote is from the book “How to Improve Your Marriage Without Talking About It” by Patricia Love, Ed.D., and Steven Stosny, Ph.D. and I thought that it was very relevant to emotional affair recovery and the situation that Doug and I shared Saturday morning.

“Marlene and Mark arrived at their chronic state of disconnection without either of them doing anything wrong.  Marlene never grasped that Mark, like most men, has a heightened sensitivity to feeling shame and inadequacy (how could she?  His impulse when he feels shame is to hide, so he can’t tell her about it.  Instead he disguises it with annoyance, impatience or even anger.)  She does not understand that each time she tries to make improvements in their relationship, the overriding message Mark hears is that he is not meeting her expectations-he’s failing her-which sends him into the pain of his own inadequacy.  While he is trying to ward off feeling like a failure, Mark is no longer sensitive to Marlene’s fear of being isolated and shut out.”

Doug and I have been very busy lately.  We both have been overwhelmed with work and our daughters’ extracurricular activities.  Therefore we have not been connecting lately the way we had been since his emotional affair and it was making me very uneasy.  The red flag was going up and I felt the need to address the situation.

I began by telling Doug that we needed to talk and asked him when would be a good time.  I was trying to ease into the conversation in order to avoid “overstimulation.”  According to the book, overstimulation occurs when a man is approached by a woman wanting to talk about the relationship.

“Talking about the relationship, which is guaranteed to remind him of his inadequacy, is the last method he would use for comfort, he would rather sleep on a bed of nails. This is why he goes into a fight-or flight response to ease his distress.”

Ironically, Doug did not choose this tactic and instead he asked me what was on my mind.   So I proceeded to tell him that I was missing something in our relationship.  I was feeling that some of my needs were not being met.   According to the authors, I was feeling fear.

I was afraid that the distance in our relationship was caused by (a) Doug reconnecting with Tanya, or (b) he isn’t in love with me anymore, or (c) he has found someone else and wants to leave.  Obviously I felt fear before Doug’s emotional affair, but after the affair it seems the intensity and reason for my fear is often over the top.

Well it didn’t take long for Doug to go right back into “shame” mode and mask his feelings by becoming frustrated.  This sent me into the terrifying emotional mode where I began crying and emotionally shut down.  We hit a major roadblock.

Basically we had repeated every communication taboo that we had worked so hard to repair.  Our conversation did the opposite of what I was trying to accomplish and that was to be more connected to Doug and feel less fear.

Luckily, we both pulled back, calmed down and began to really discuss how we were feeling.  I know Doug was frustrated and he wanted me to tell him what he needed to do to make me feel better. (Thinking that it was his fault and that he needed to fix this in order for himself to feel better.)  And as we began to discuss the situation, I realized what I needed from him – I needed to feel needed.

I know it sounds crazy, but ever since Doug’s emotional affair I have tried very hard to be his friend and his playmate, but I have lost my role of being the stable one, the go-to person, the one he calls when something is bothering him.

I feel that through this affair recovery Doug has been put in the position to be the strong one, the one who cannot show any weakness because he has to help me recover.  He feels he cannot display his vulnerability or negative feelings because then I may not think he is capable of taking care of me and fix this mess.

I want to go back to the way it used to be – an equal partnership where both of us take care of each other when we need it and where both of us share when we are afraid or unhappy.

I feel that if we had not been aware of the concept in the book of fear and shame, our conversation would not have evolved into a successful one.  We were fortunate that we were able to put aside our ineffective tactics to avoid these feelings and truly discuss what was happening in our relationship.

 

Additional Resources

“How to Improve Your Marriage Without Talking About It” by Patricia Love, Ed.D., and Steven Stosny, Ph.D.

Compassion Power – Dr. Stosny’s website.  Lots of articles and materials for improving marriage and relationships

Dr. Pat Love – Patricia Love’s blog.

 

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    51 replies to "Fear, Shame and Disconnection"

    • Kristine

      That first paragraph about Marlene and Mark is where me and my H are at. I want to talk about my needs and he shuts down and acts irritated, annoyed, angry and he just closes himself off. I take all that to mean he’s mad at me. Angry at me. Annoyed at me. Irritated with me. I end up dissolving into even more tears because all the fears I have are even higher when he does that. I want him to set aside HIS feelings for once and look into how he can meet ME where I am at. I want him to set aside his shame, guilt, whatever else is going on and figure out how he can alleviate my fear, my doubts, my worries and meet me where I am and do what I need him to build me back up, to tear down all my insecurities that his adultery brought on.

      I get that talking about it, that by always bringing it u it brings about the above situation for him but when I don’t bring it up, he goes on pretending that my issues aren’t there and does nothing to ever meet them! What am I to do? Also pretend? I’m afraid I’ve never been good at being something I’m not and I definitely don’t play games.

      I’m really in a fog here about how to get through to my husband. I for the life of me can’t figure out how a man who was hurting so badly and didn’t saw a word about any of it to me, did something so horrible as to get into an adulterous relationship and leave me, his family to alleviate his hurts but doesn’t do anything to help alleviate mine now that he realizes his mistakes. I can’t figure that part out, I’d think he’d hear me expressing what I need and understand how he felt when he wasn’t having his needs met and do everything in his power to help me, to assist me. Not because he owes it to me, not because he has to make up for anything but because he understands how very important it is to me and that it would become important to him.

      Today is not a good day at all. I got 3 hours of sleep and have been crying off and on since yesterday evening. I’m exhausted. Mentally and physically. Most of all, emotionally.

    • Kristine

      I just ordered this book. The title is like an oxymoron to me. Anyway – I’m assuming Linda that both you and Doug read this book together? It won’t help if only one of you read it, correct? That’s where I feel this book won’t help. it will help me, sure. I’ve devoured about 100 books since last year if not more but when only one of you are depositing changes and tools and techniques to improve, those things are only going to be very one-sided with one person reaping all the benefits while the other person goes hungry.

      • Doug

        Kristine, yes you are correct – both of you should read it. It will help your husband understand why he might be acting/feeling the way he is. It will certainly create some discussions between the two of you.

        • Kristine

          That’s going to be like pulling candy from a baby. I have emailed him articles, given him books, nothing works, he’ll start the book but won’t finish. Sometimes he responds to my emails with links to articles and say “thank you, I’ll read it” but then there’s no follow up or he won’t reply at all to the email. I certainly see no difference that’s for sure so while I’m sure the book could be helpful, I don’t think it will for us because he won’t do the work to read it completely and then talk about it.

    • Kristine

      Btw, this is a great, simple article written by a man FOR MEN about meeting a wife’s emotional needs. I emailed this to my husband on 9/12. He said “thanks babe, I’ll read it”. Haven’t heard a peep about it since nor have I seen any efforts put forth by him.

      *sigh*

      http://michaeldavis.hubpages.com/hub/Connecting-With-Your-Wife

      • ifeelsodumb

        Right there with you Kristine…I’ve tried doing the same thing…then when I ask about the book…ONE book that I’ve asked him to read…I get excuses…”well, you know I don’t like to read…I’m busy with work, I’ll get to it”, etc….I’m about to give up…really, I am! The sad thing is, we get along GREAT…if we pretend the EA never happened!! I mean, really, really great!! He has done this our whole married life…act like it didn’t happen, until it all goes away!! Well, this isn’t going away, and I told him tonight we need counseling, so after the 1st of the year, I’m going, whether he goes with me or not! I guess if he doesn’t I’ll know for sure how much he does OR doesn’t want this marriage to succeed!!

        • Kristine

          Same here – we are like two peas in a pod if I don’t bring it up which coincidentally was the tone of our marriage before. We get along perfectly. We have everything in common (except for one HUGE issue I’m just now discovering – COMMUNICATION!!!)

          My husband never complained about anything I did or didn’t do once. EVER. I’m serious. I used to joke that if my husband was anymore laid back he’d be lying down. I was the one who had occasional issues (always the same two issues, his mother and his lack of assistance in helping me with some of the things our kids were dealing with). He applied those things I needed from him then the same way he’s applying the things I need from him now which is to do NOTHING. I don’t get it. It’s real basic and simple to me.

          Me:Hi, I need this from you because of this.
          Him: OK

          AND THEN YOU DO IT!

          How do you go from saying OK and then do nothing? Repeatedly! Will you think I don’t notice? Will you think I’ll stop asking and if I do stop asking don’t you think I’m going to have some bitterness and resentment?

          I’m just floored and getting a headache trying to figure it out. My husband is intelligent, handsome, funny, he makes things happen at work, he is THE go-to guy, forecasting issues that might lie ahead and attacking them before they even show up. How can you be that way at work and then at home SHUT DOWN? I could see if he didn’t know if I was someone not being open enough or descriptive enough but trust me, using words and painting a colorful picture of what I want to say has never been my downside. HE KNOWS.

          Sheesh.

          /rant over

          (but will be continued at a later date I’m sure…)

          PS we have a counseling session Friday – our second one, I had to find a new counselor because our first one has rescheduled our second appt TWICE now and I can’t keep being put off, esp not by my own counselor, I have enough of that with my husband! LOL

          WE WILL GET THROUGH THIS! I’m not giving up. I have been to hell and my husband IS going to get it and I am going to get what I need if I have to kill him to get it lmao

    • Alecia

      My husband and I just went through this ourselves! You put into words exactly how our interaction made me feel! “Our conversation did the opposite of what I was trying to accomplish and that was to be more connected to Doug and feel less fear.” We too were able to work through our communication issues and discuss what we needed to in a more productive way. I haven’t heard of this book before now…might need to get a copy.

    • melissa

      Very timely – I’ve just received the book, which I ordered following a recommendation on this site.

      Kristine, you’re not alone. Whenever I’ve tried to talk to my H about his EA and its aftermath, he’s shut down and become either suicidal or threatened violence, like he closed himself into a world of his own that no-one and nothing can get him out of. And of course, this behaviour gets him ‘off the hook’ as it’s so scary. Let’s hope the book helps me find a way to communicate better with him. As to whether he’ll read it, yeah, right… maybe but unlikely.

      • Kristine

        Melissa you’re right, it gets them off the hook. My husband is a pro at walking off with his jaws clenched. It took everything I had not to throw the pot I was cooking with at the back of his head. I was beside myself last night with feeling so emotionally empty now today I’m slowly warming up to my usual self of being PISSED OFF. What a big ass baby. OPEN YOUR FUCKING MOUTH AND TALK! That’s what I want to say. Nice doesn’t work, patience doesn’t work, cursing him out won’t work either probably. I mean really, I don’t get why this is so hard. I can’t stand people who don’t own up to their shit and do the hard work to repair things! It’s called BEING RESPONSIBLE. Sheesh.

        (can you tell I’m beyond irritated?)

      • Kristine

        Oh and Melissa, my H has also told me “I have felt like committing suicide at times when I think about what I’ve done.” Which when I think about it, fits perfectly with his mode of dealing with things — he runs away and suicide (which I don’t believe he’d ever really do) is just that, running away. He’s a runner, I’m a stand firm and stand my ground girl. Complete opposites in this area and that is such a turn off for me.

        (yep still ranting)

    • mil

      Doug and Linda, it has upset me that you two are seeming to have a relapse. Linda especially, you haven’t said anything quite like this before, that you are thinking he might be back with Tanya or have someone else. I’m not doing anywhere near as well as you after all this time and we are still on very shakey ground. The thought of never being able to stop worrying about the betrayal happening again scares me to death. At the back of your mind you obviously think Doug might do it again. What sort of future are we going to have living in this fear? Do you believe a leopard can change its spots or in your heart are you expecting he might do it again? Do you 100% trust him? I’m still checking all phone and email records even though he fooled me last time by getting the secret pay as you go but he is so creditable with his assurances that you’d swear he will never do it again. If I had my time over, as soon as I found out about her I would have got a private investigator to get definate proof of the depth of their relationship …..oh, and I so wish I’d informed her H, that’s my biggest regret !!

      • Kristine

        Hi MIL, I didn’t read it as a relapse. More like a momentary feelings of fear that just needed to be massaged away. I doubt Linda is living in fear on a regular basis but I can see when she feels distant from Doug that the momentary panic/fear sets in that goes away quickly by reconnecting with Doug. I’m only 14m out from our reconciliation and I have that as well. It’s not a daily struggle but when those moments come up (and I’m sure it’s more often than Linda since I’m not as far out as she is) they go away quickly with reassurances.

        Then again I could be wrong 😉

        • Doug

          Kristine, you are correct it was definitely just a momentary relapse. We have been very busy and in some ways have fallen into the same routine that we displayed several years ago. I just wanted to realign the situation and discuss what was happening. This has been our agreement so that something like that will never happen again. We are conscious to the subtle changes that take place within our relationship now and we didn’t want it to get out of hand. Linda

          • Kristine

            That’s good to know you’re aware and will openly discuss and address it. Linda how long did it take for Doug to come around and talk about everything openly and do what you needed to assist you in your healing such as giving you everything he gave to the EA? I know everyone is different but I’m just curious. I feel like my H will never do what needs to be done 🙁

          • Paula

            Doug and Linda, you guys have been dealing with this a similar amount of time to me, a little longer, but not much, and you’ve seen from my recent posts that I am STILL (OMG when will this nightmare end!) struggling, more so now, than ever, I have got worse with time, not better, that just seems so bizarre. I hear what mil is saying. I think the awful truth is, that we have this forever now, there is more doubt than there ever was, and therefore small things turn into big things very quickly. I still can’t understand how someone doesn’t know what is appropriate, we had a very, very trusting relationship, probably too trusting, that’s the way I am or that’s the way I was! I don’t think I can operate under the new regime, I absolutely hate the doubt, the mistrust, the feeling of being not enough, the utter coring of my heart and the stomach cramps and throat tightness that I live with every day now. It’s aged me, and I wonder when there is going to be some respite. I don’t think I fully understood, at the beginning, that this was going to affect me in such a physical way. I would never have put my poor OH through what he has stood up to since this mess was discovered, he’s been unbelievably patient and tries to be reassuring, and he doesn’t deserve this, even with what he did. Have you ever seen any research/stats, etc about what happens to people when every genuine effort is made, but they still can’t recover, and I’m not even talking about the relationship, I just can’t recover, fullstop. I just want to know why I can’t, what is wrong with me, I want to be okay, I walk around pretending I am, I love him, I understand the pressure he was under when this happened, he wishes it had never happened, why can’t I heal? Hopefully I can find some answers when talking to the therapist we are about to go broke to see – that’s a joke, but he is damned expensive! I haven’t lost my sense of humour, but I have lost my quality of life

      • Doug

        mil, when I see subtle changes in his behavior instead of contributing it to being tired, stressed, overworked sometimes I think the worst. It is just the nature of the beast after suffering something so devastating. It is more of a trigger than a matter of trust. I relate Doug being withdrawn to the time he was involved in the affair and was withdrawn. The difference now is we communicate this to each other, we talk about how much we miss spending time together and how tired we both feel. We don’t let it turn into blame and resentment. Linda

        • Kristine

          That’s helpful to hear that, Linda. I thought it was me. When my H is on his phone sometimes laughing and smiling I will think “uh oh what’s that about?” not all the time but sometimes. I thought I was being paranoid but it’s a trigger from when he was in his adultery.

    • Dee

      My H’s EA was five years ago and I thought we were coming through it. Those years have been the toughest years of my life and there were times when I thought I was going mad.
      During a conversation the other day about this website actually, I asked him what his perception of what had happened 5 years ago was, thinking he would say that he’d learned a lot, that he couldn’t believe how selfish he’d been and that he must have been mad to have done what he’d done…….You know what he said? ‘I sometimes wonder what would have happened if she’d (the AP) been a different woman and fought harder to get me?’!!!!!!
      Ifelt like he had punched me in the stomache…..When I asked him what he meant by that later, he denied ever saying that (he has done this before) and now I am right back where I was 5 years ago. I have no idea why he came back, except that we have 2 children and one of them was very young at the time and he adores her. I don’t know what to do now…I feel like I am in purgatory…not able to move forward or move on…

      • Kristine

        Dee, I would have felt the same way. If my spouse didn’t express such extreme remorse and regret and say things like, “I don’t know what I was thinking. I was stupid. I wish I could take it all back and it would have never happened” I would be a basket case. It would send me reeling back too because it’s so very important to know our spouses see their errors, that they don’t think back to that time with fondness or wonder about life with the person that colluded with them to cause such devastation.

        *hugs* I pray you find your way out of those feelings real soon!

        • Dee

          Thank you Kristine. It helps to know that I’m not mad and that other people would feel the same way. My H’s EA did not develop into a PA (as far as I know) and only lasted for a short while – however, this also means that he didn’t get to the stage where she became anything other than a ‘fantasy’ – She was nearly 20 years younger than me, a co-worker, attractive, bright, sexy etc…all the things I was struggling with at the time about myself. They never got to the stage where her shortcomings became apparent and so I feel as though I’m living with this ‘Ideal’ woman I cannot hope to compete with. I have done so much work on myself over the 5 years since it happened – and thought we had got to a point where we could talk honestly but respectfully about that time….and now this feels as though all my hard work has been a waste of time and that I will never heal from this….I’m running out of ideas now..and becoming disheartened.

          • melissa

            Dee, keep hanging on to all the good things that you have done, the strength you have gained. This may be a blip (albeit a huge blow to you). In his answer to you – which might have been honest – your H exposed his own inadequacy, not yours. He is still insecure about himself, still wonders what would be, whether he coul be desirable to someone else and that’s his problem to solve, not yours. I would not take it too personally, maybe it’s an admission of his own perceived failure. I don’t have a quick fix solution but please don’t lose sight of how far you’ve got and how much stronger you are.

            • Dee

              Thanks Melissa, I’ll try hard not to. I look at him sometimes and I think I know him better than he knows himself. Sometimes I see the ‘boy’ who has been indulged all his life by his parents and takes no responsibility for anything he does or says…and at other times, I see the ‘Man’ he could be..who recognises the pain and hurt he has caused and is very loving.

              The problem is, it sometimes feels such hard work and a lot of emotional energy to gain access to that ‘man’ that I become exhausted from it all and ‘shut down’ to protect myself. However I know when I do that, I’m not participating in my life!

              I used to be so self-confident and secure about who I was and now I feel as though what’s the point? Life’s a bitch and then you die’!

              If it wasn’t for this website and all the reading I’ve done, my self-esteem would have been on the floor by now, so thank you to all of you for your humour, insight, understanding and empathy…As you can see, some of us still need it, a LONG time after the event.

    • InTrouble

      Paula – “Have you ever seen any research/stats, etc about what happens to people when every genuine effort is made, but they still can’t recover, and I’m not even talking about the relationship, I just can’t recover, fullstop. I just want to know why I can’t, what is wrong with me, I want to be okay, I walk around pretending I am, I love him, I understand the pressure he was under when this happened, he wishes it had never happened, why can’t I heal?”

      That is so sad. Don’t you have friends who are happily divorced? I do. Many simply could not be married to the person they loved, but they started their lives over, often with great hardship, and came out the other end much happier, confident, and more alive for the first time in years. Life is so damn short. Don’t forget to really live it.

      • Paula

        InTrouble, yep, plenty of divorced friends/family, and I have done the separation thing, and I know I’m okay, but dreadfully sad without my love. All of the people I know who are divorced were in bad marriages that never really worked for them. Ours was good, and it did work, wonderfully well. My OH said last night to me that he has always loved only me, and that this whole mess happened when I was preoccupied with BIG career stress, and he felt neglected and forgotten, and he knows how juvenile he was, and he’s so incredibly sorry. I know he’d had enough, he just wanted to break out into some fun, I get it, I know exactly how he feels! I just want to be able to forgive him fully. I feel like I live with two people, the man I know and trust and love, very, very deeply, and this other thing, this being that hurt me so terribly, who flaunted his lover in our house, holiday home, celebrations phoned and texted her in fromt of me, and integrated into our lives in general, I think he wanted me to catch him, but I never did, because I was so stupid, and thought he had a nice new (old) friend. He was craving attention, he just got the wrong sort, lol!

      • Broken

        I think we all have some of those feelings.I really struggled with Perhaps leaving so I wouldn’t have to continue to live with the affair. There is a loss with an affair…big time. No matter what you do that will never go away. I think we all must make the decision of exactly what we want to go forward with in our lives. I sometimes think….is this as good as it gets? In my world my marriage was better before the affair believe it or not. My husband willingly gave away the sanctity and purity of our marriage….I grieve for that and I think everyone must think if they started over again with someone new they would have that back. You have to decide what you want to live with…..staying together isn’t for everyone. Its a personnal choice. Somedays I ask myself what would my life be without him? Good luck.

    • InTrouble

      Doug — I suppose you’ve addressed this somewhere, but I always wonder: Does Tanya know about this blog? Did you warn her about it? Is she okay with it? Thanks.

      • Doug

        Hi In Trouble, I have no idea if she knows about it or not, but I doubt it. I never warned her about it and have no idea if she would be OK with it or not. Just curious…why do you ask?

    • InTrouble

      Well, it just seems like she is being “outed” big time, and I think she probably deserves to be aware of it. Even given her standing of disgraced (and believe me, I know what that means) she is still a human being with certain rights and (presumably) some expectation of privacy. Don’t you feel you owe her that?

      • Doug

        I’m not sure I know what you mean by being “outed.” Tanya is not her real name so I don’t think that there is much chance of her privacy being infringed upon.

    • InTrouble

      Not to belabor the point, but aren’t your coworkers able to identify her? Or your friend or family? Sorry, it’s really none of my business.

      • Doug

        That’s Ok. I don’t mind. I haven’t worked in the office nor do I see any of my past co-workers at all anymore. Not for going on 3 years. Nobody – family, friends, co-workers, ex-co workers even know about this blog.

    • SadSuzie

      Does anyone have a counselor that tells them that the past is the past just forget about it and all you need to worry about is the future and plan the future? It sounds impossible to me to not work through some of this stuff. Although I’m sure all the CS would love to hear that…We seen this counselor years ago but not for infidelities.

      • Kristine

        No and if I did, I’d run in the opposite direction.

    • DJ

      My husband and I tried a counselor who said that. She had me read a prepared statement of forgiveness during our second session. I looked at it and said I wasn’t ready for it, but she told me to just read it anyway. At the next appointment, I said something about the affair, and she raised her finger at me and said, “Didn’t we read the forgiveness statement last time?” I nodded. She said, “Once we have forgiven someone, we do not bring it up anymore. We move forward.” And she went on to a series of exercises aimed at bringing feelings of peace.

      I refused to go back. But that statement has made the past year so much more difficult because he always comes back to that, and we are also at that place where he gets angry and shuts down when there is any mention of my being sad or needing help or of affairs or anything of the sort.

      We are only now looking to find another couple’s therapist. I have been writing to an online therapist for the past 10 months and he has helped me tremendously in my personal pain, but I am still very leery of seeing anyone with my husband. Our children have convinced me to try again.

    • CompletelyLost

      My H had an EA just over a month ago. Our counselor said it couldn’t have been and actual EA because it didn’t go on long enough. Does how long really matter? He lied to me, met with her, called her and texted her while I sat there just across the room. Is this my fault because I was too involved in my schooling to see the distance forming between us.
      He says he doesn’t understand why I am hurt so bad. Why I can’t move ahead, why it is consuming my life. He cannot give me a reason why he did it or even show me that he is remorseful for what has happened.
      I am angry that I haven’t just walked away. Why can’t I just walk away?

    • mil

      Paula you sound identical to me! I am getting WORSE as time goes on too. I think it is the fact that at first we are hopeful of finding out the truth to know the beast we are dealing with but as time’s gone on my H closes up and throws a temper when I start to mention it. This makes me imagine some great love affair which he insists it wasn’t but him closing up leaves me no option but to fill in the blanks with my version and chew over and over the texts etc.
      I also think that as we come out of the mourning period reality hits harder and in my case I beat myself up over what I could have done to discover them sooner, it was all there waiting to be found out but I NEVER looked at his phone or emails before all this and when I discovered his secret phone I should have bided my time to catch him red handed instead of alerting him so he could delete all evidence of his ‘innocent’ texts.
      The more time goes on the more things I think about to annoy and upset me and I’ve had 3 D-days with the same OW because I naively thought the first discovery would wake him up. That sooooo annoys me, I could have got a private investigator to find the real truth and as I said, I torture myself thinking of her marriage going on as normal with no pay back for HER. I still want to ring her H and tell him what his wife is really like and should have done it immediately as I’m sure she would have been too frightened to carry on with him in the know. All this eating away at me daily is making me worse not better just as you said.
      Dee, I am saddened to hear of your setback which again proves that we will never fully heal from these nightmares. It is a very sobering thought and I have seriously considered suicide if there weren’t so many people who would be upset (my H included). In the darkest days I’ve just wanted to drive the car off the road and end it all or be told I only have months to live. That seemed preferable to the life sentence of the EA. Thankfully that deep, deep despair seems to be easing gradually but the other feelings of sickness and fear and constant quest for what really happened not just what he chooses to reveal won’t go away.

      • Paula

        mil, we’ll get better, it’s just a matter of finding the right path, and that may well be, for me, on my own, and that’s okay, incredibly sad, but okay.

        As an aside, my darling boy said to me, after she told me, he couldn’t believe I wasn’t being more of a detective, either. He made sure he topped the car up to the same level with petrol, after driving to see her, parked in the same spot on our driveway, was paranoid I would check the milage, phone records, pick up his phone, although he and she were very careful not to say anything too personal via text. She did once, and weirdly, I picked the phone up, had never done so before, or up until I found out about the affair, and I did question it, but he was an amazingly proficient liar, and talked his way out of it at the time. She then played by his rules of never doing that again. I never checked phone records until after I knew. He made her park her car in a farm shed, so anyone calling in wouldn’t see her visiting, he was terrified his father, or one of our wonderful neighbours, would drive in while she was at our house, on our farm, etc. I, too, was so trusting, I never checked these things. I even let him take her away overnight to our lake house – but there were four children with them, small house, I was joining them in the morning, how dumb am I? This is the only person I have ever trusted in my life, why did I do that? Who knows. In my case, I no longer think of it as a great love affair, he has told me too much about her way of making things not so much fun! Also, I’ve known this girl for 33 years, and she isn’t fun, she is very uptight, materialistic (I’m now convinced she thought she’d nab him because she thought he was rich!) and has some serious personality flaws, I’m not threatened by her, I know I’m a hundred times the woman she will ever be, he can have her if he wants, and he knows it, lol, but I just want to be happy with me, I’m a pretty damn great person, and an awesome friend and mother. I just want to believe in me again. I know I will 🙂

    • Broken

      Doug…please give me some advise. Its been 13 months since dday. Things are much better but I still need to talk about the affair but not very often. I still though get sad and think about things and I want to talk about how I feel, My husband will ask whats wrong and if I say honestly anything about the affair or that I am sad……anything but how happy I am he gets mad at me. Why ask? Why does he act this way?

      • Doug

        Broken, I can only guess that he is tired of talking about it and just wants to move on – whether out of shame, guilt or perhaps other reasons. He needs to somehow get past the anger and/or frustration and let you express what you need to express. I realize I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know, but if he understood and accepted the fact that you need it in order to heal (faster) then perhaps he would be more open to talking about it. When you say he doesn’t want to talk about how you feel, do you mean with respect to the affair, or issues regarding your relationship? Maybe you can try to set some ground rules for talking about things that he can agree with – such as only talking about it for so long or scheduling a time to talk about it, etc.

        • Broken

          Almost 100% of the time if I am sad it is regards to the affair, He will ask whats wrong but if I say anything about the affair it will change him into a mean person and he twists it all around until somehow its now something I did. For example we are suppose to have full disclosure. Last night we were out talking to a friend and he slipped and said he had gone to this new bar that I had asked him numerous times had he been too and it was always no. Then when I became withdrawn he asked me whats wrong. I told him and not only did said he told me (he never did) he eventually twisted it all around so that I was now somehow the bad person for not believing that he told me. He ignored me, sad he was mad at me cuz I was calling him a liar and he couldn’t do it anymore. I dont care about him going there I care about the sneaking around and not telling me things. So from now on I will have to act happy at all times otherwise it will end up like this. I am now back once again to somehow being the bad guy. How do I get him to just talk to me…I dont want anything else just to talk and work things out. He was so good about it for so long.

          • Doug

            Broken, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked that question. It’s a real problem. It’s a tough thing to answer because every relationship is so different and there can be no one answer based on that and the difference in the personalities involved. All I can do is tell you what worked in our case. Based on your comment, it appears that you are not getting nasty with him, but he is just flying off the hook for little or no reason. Part of that could be a defense mechanism where he is trying to deflect his guilt back on you so that he can escape criticism (pain). I used to do the same thing. Try to approach him some time and say that you need to get something off your chest and that you don’t want him to say a word and that you will be through in less than 2 minutes. Then very calmly tell him what you need from him in the way of communication and transparency. Tell him all you want is to work things out but you need his help to do so. And that you NEED him to do this for you so that you can heal and get past this. Then shut up and walk away. Let him stew on it a bit. Hopefully, he will approach you at some point later and say that he’s willing to do what he needs to do to works things out – including opening up. You might also want to read (or re-read) this post: http://www.emotionalaffair.org/8-communication-don%e2%80%99ts-after-the-affair/

          • Melvin

            Get this book: How to Help Your Spouse Heal From Your Affair: a compact manual for the unfaithful by Linda J. MacDonald. It’s short, to the point and helps the CS understand their role in this mess. Got mine from Amazon.com.

            Read it cover to cover, then ask H to read it. It really put things into perspective for my DW, who was the CS. It also helped me communicate what I needed from her without having to beat the dead horse. You may even care to highlight some of the sections that are really important to you before having H read it. I recommend the manual highly.

            Best to you on your road (a long one for sure) to recovery.

    • SadSuzie

      My life is exactly like everyone else here…..I think we could almost interchange our names and we would all have the same story. My husband was willing to talk about the affairs I knew about, but really only would expand upon what I already knew and even then the story had a different twist. First it was alot of defiance, telling me about how wonderful she was and how beautiful. How he had never felt that way before. How do you compete with that? As the months went by, the story was changing. Now there were flaws about this lady….the least of which she was an alcoholic and gambler..they met at an AA meeting. I started to hear about how selfish she was, unemotionally available etc. He started telling me about the flaws in her body (I have major body issues and she was had a much better body than me and was more attractive and 13 years younger than him(he looks much younger than he is). He tells me whatever he was thinking it was all fantasy (someone I’m sure told him that to say, because I don’t believe he believes that) and that what we have is real. I feel like he is telling me all this stuff because he saw how much bragging about how wonderful she was hurt me and made me feel compeitive with her….how much it continuted to damage my self esteem. It’s like being between a rock and a hard place for him and me…..I want the truth but I’m afraid of it too. It’s been two years, but does he still think about her (he says never except when I bring her up which is pretty often still) and wonder if he will ever feel like he did when he was with her….the feeling like he’s never felt before. Does he set the standard by her? Is he always comparing my body to hers, imaging her body? Is he just doing the time with me out of shame and guilt, knowing that he is missing the opportunity to find the love of his life even if it wasn’t her.

    • SadSuzie

      During one of our “honest” moments (about 4 years ago), although it may have been triggered more by his guilt or anger, he told me he had received oral sex from 2 different woman about 10 years ago, although he doesn’t even remember exactly when or how long ago. After I started questioning him about it, he started denying that it actually happened. He told me he didn’t know why he had said it but maybe it was to hurt me etc. etc. I didn’t really buy it but once again, our counselor and he told me his AA sponsor said sometimes guys will make up things and say them out of anger to hurt someone….Well, it worked. I didn’t believe him though, and I continued literally to badger him about it everytime we had a trust discussion (for about 2 years). It was an elephant in the room and you couldn’t miss it. I finally sat him down and said, we both know you did this, so what’s the purpose of having this discussion over and over, why don’t you just admit it and get it over with so this isn’t another issue we need to deal with. Well, he finally admitted it. I think I had processed it as truth for so long that I wasn’t shocked. I was still hurt and am processing that he would keep this secret for so long………which just makes me believe he has lots more secrets that I haven’t found out about and he sure as heck won’t reveal those since it took me 2 years to drag this out of him and he had already admitted it once!! and then denied it!! Trust couldn’t be any lower especially since everything he’s ever done…which is alot has only been revealed through disclosure to me by someone else……..NEVER him telling me. Then it’s like pulling teeth to get him to talk about what I had found out. Is this just Cover your a…s? Or fear of consequences? Or shame and guilt? He wrote down in a journal before this last disclosure, that ” telling her everything would be of no benefit except to give her something more to throw in my face”. Obviously we are in serious trouble. I guess our search for the truth is the belief that if our spouses could be TOTALLY honest with us about the past, that somehow it would ensure that they would be honest going forward……but the fear is that if they can’t be honest with us about the past…then what’s the chances that if something were to happen in the present or future that they would be honest with us. Scary and Sad…..Fear overwhelms on a daily basis. I don’t know how we are all surviving. Doug and Linda seem to be the only ones really moving on….and really the only husband that seems to have decided to be honest.

    • SadSuzie

      Doug, how difficult was it to talk to Linda about your feelings for Tanya? What was the “one” thing that drew you to Tanya? When you first reconciled with Linda and you still had feelings for Tanya, did you minimize those feelings in your discussions with Linda because you knew the disclosure would be so hurtful even if you weren’t fully engaged with Linda yet? After you make your choice for Linda and your feelings were still strong towards Tanya…..was it eventually just being away from Tanya made your feelings diminish or did you truly realize that the feelings you had were just lust and ego and not real?

      • Doug

        Sad Suzie, Yes it was difficult to talk about my feelings for Tanya with Linda because I know that it had to hurt her like hell. If I had to say one thing that drew me to Tanya I guess it would have been her personality that she displayed at the onset. I eventually found out that this was not her true self though and was just a facade that she presented to others. I don’t think that I minimized anything after the cat was out of the bag. It was not a wonderful time in our marriage to say the least since I had to discuss these feelings with Linda and she had to go through the pain of hearing it. Certainly ending all contact with Tanya hastened the diminishing of any feelings for her, and through gaining knowledge about affair dynamics ( through books, the Affair Recovery Group, etc) I came to realize that it was all just fantasy, selfishness and ego stroking.

    • Kristine

      I started reading this book last night. I’m more than halfway through now and I have to say, hate to say this book is really like no other. All the beliefs I had of my husband are now I see, WRONG. If he’ll reas this one book and apply it w/ me we can travel down Progress Road by miles.

    • jianni

      I’ve started to post many times, and then for one reason or another have not. This time I felt compelled to say how much many of our stories and the ways we feel are alike. I could relate to Kristine, Ifeelso dumb, Melissa, and Broken in all the ways they feel. My H is so sorry, but yet he will not read books, talk with me (unless I bring it up), etc., etc. I really do like the book mentioned–How to Improve Your Marriage Without Talking About It. It has given me some new insights which I think are “right on.” I’m only about one-third the way through it, and it is one book which I am hopeful I MIGHT get H to read.
      I am 10 mos out from D-Day, still have bad days and bad moments in each day. But it is better. OW has moved across the country with her husband and family. I am really quite sure there has been no contact, as I did get a chance to talk to her over the phone and told her if she EVER tried to contact my H again (after he emailed her IT WAS OVER because I had discovered his loving email to her) I would be telling her husband. Wehave changed our home phone and his cell phone, and I do check the phone logs.
      I have lost 15 lbs (was not that overweight anyway), and I call it the S.H.A.P.E diet: “Spouse Has Affair Physical/Emotional.
      I do feel my H is trying – in his way – but I do wish he would ask me how I am doing. Oh, well! I am taking each day one day at a time and keeping track of the good things he does for me. That helps when I re-read those things.

    • Denise

      Doug…I could use some advise. I need to express my feelings about the affair because I feel awful. Things are much better but affair surviving is so hard and I can’t seem to get everything thats happened out of my head. My husband gets so angry when I bring it up again so how am I suppose to deal with all these emotions??

      • Doug

        Denise, Are you the BS or cheater?

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