Is There a Time Limit for PTSD After Infidelity?

A couple of years ago we received an email from a reader with an account of her situation dealing with PTSD after infidelity.  We had wanted to post her email back then but she felt that she wasn’t ready yet for us to do so.  Last week she wrote us again and decided it was time to share her story.

Here it is…


ptsd after infidelityIs There a Time Limit for PTSD After Infidelity?

by “mellowjello”

It’s been almost 4 years since Linda and Doug’s “D-Day”, and my husband’s and mine took place just a few months before theirs did.  Four years!  I can’t believe it!  It’s been almost four years since my soul was destroyed, since my heart was cut into a million pieces.  

After 45 years of marriage…not the best, but certainly not the worst either…the pain, both emotional and surprisingly, also physical, was indescribable.  Fortunately, my husband’s affair only lasted 3-1/2 weeks, but unfortunately for me it was with a young woman that was like a part of our family…like a daughter to me…someone I truly loved and had always nurtured and helped in anyway that I could.

My help consisted not only of emotional support and psychological help because she had emotional and psychological problems that were quite severe at times.  I also provided financial support.  I wanted my husband to love her as much as I did, even though he didn’t seem to care for her like I did, so I never told him of her problems such as bulimia, shop-lifting, compulsive activity, addictive behavior, etc.  I had such good intentions.

Then my world shattered.  I was destroyed.  I won’t go into the details of how he came back home to me, but he had an awakening and he came back to me.  I wanted and needed him to come home, but I was not the same person.  I couldn’t understand everything that was happening to me both emotionally and physically.

 He did his best to comfort me and to nurture me.  My “illness” frightened him, but all he wanted to do was to make up in some way for what he had done.  He made a commitment to me and I made one to him, because no matter what, everyone should know that it takes two people to make a marriage fail and it takes two people to make it successful.  

We clung to each other as my horrible symptoms continued.  I couldn’t keep any food down.  I was frightened to death to leave the house, thinking that everyone was looking at me and that they all knew what a fool I had been and that I couldn’t keep my husband happy in my marriage.

I had nightmares of the other woman and my husband every night for over a month.  I would wake up in a sweat, then shivering that would start inside of me and my whole body would begin to shake uncontrollably. Next I would start to sob and no matter how I tried, I couldn’t stop.  

This went on almost every night for almost a month before things started to slow down a bit.  With the support of my husband, who never left my side during all of my recovery, I made it through the craziness.  

I am a very emotional person. Getting control of my emotions has never been an easy thing for me to do. During my recovery I have seen several therapists.  They all tell me that by thinking about her I give her power, but they can’t tell me where the “on-off” switch is so I can turn off my thoughts of her.  

At first hardly an hour in the day went by without my thinking of her and what she had planned over 10 years to do to me to steal my life.  Then slowly, I thought of her less and less.  Now, after almost four years, I still get triggers, but not as often as I used to.  

One thing that is difficult, is that because we were born and raised, and spent 43 years of our marriage in the town where she lives, naturally, there are times that we have to go back there for family doings, etc., and those times are very difficult. At those times I am reminded of her, and also afraid of running into her at the store, etc., I have to face those fears and I usually need to talk about it.  

What I am learning is that my friends and family are not only tired of hearing about her, but they worry that I may still be obsessed with thoughts of her and that I might be mentally ill.  It’s very painful knowing that I have no one in the whole world to whom I can just spit out my anger about her, and my wishes that she would fail in her life and her job.  I am also a spiritual person, who feels lots of guilt over wishing bad things to happen to anyone, even if it is someone who tried to “kill” me and destroy my life.

I have searched the internet for 4 years now looking for answers to why I can’t forget about her and the pain that she deliberately caused me.  She even admitted to my husband, the first time she kissed him, that she had been in love with him for over 10 years.  Somehow, I have been able to separate my feelings for husband, whom I love with all my heart, from the other woman (OW).

Somewhere I came across the explanation of “PTSD” (post traumatic stress disorder) and it seems to describe me.  Now, admittedly, I don’t have it as badly as some soldiers who have been traumatized in combat, but I have been traumatized…terribly traumatized!  

I know I can tell people that over and over and the ones who control their thoughts and their minds can look at me and say, “Just get over it!”.  Hearing that hurts more than I can say.  Everyone is different and my psyche has been damaged…no doubt.  

Intellectually, I know what I have to do to get over this, I know what I should think, or not think, about her.  Somehow, my brain doesn’t listen to me, even though intellectually it knows what’s truly best for me.  

Someone I love dearly…a family member…said to me the other day, that I should get over it.  I tried to explain what has happened to me and how I feel.  I told her about how my marriage is stronger than ever and that my husband and I have cultivated this beautiful love and respect for each other, and she had the gall to say to me that she thought that I was trying to talk myself into believing that.  

How hurtful that statement was to me, and how sad that she thought that I was actually trying to convince myself of my marriage and love success story.

I know one thing for sure, I will never talk to her again about my private feelings.  I guess I trust too much and it is the hardest lesson to learn that there are people who just don’t understand, or care about, my inner feelings.

What I am trying to say, or ask, with all these words is…is there a time that PTSD should actually be over?  

Even if there isn’t an actual medical diagnosis of PTSD, it sure feels like that’s what has happened to me.  It scares me that I am under the gun, time wise, to be over all this pain and suffering and never respond to any triggers or stimuli again.  I don’t want to go back to therapy.  I think I know as much as the therapists.  

Intellectually I understand what I have to do…it doesn’t work emotionally…I’ve tried it, over and over!  

All I want is to have someone I can talk to about my feelings.  Not a therapist…a friend, but I think I might be hurting the friendship by talking about the OW!  I want to stop it.  I don’t want to be set off by triggers.  I don’t want to hurt.  I don’t ever want to have another dream about her.  I don’t want to be afraid that I will see her when we visit our hometown. I just don’t want to have thoughts of her interrupt my life anymore.  I want to be free of her. 

Is there a time limit for PTSD?

I don’t think so and I’m tired of people judging me!!!

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73 Responses to Is There a Time Limit for PTSD After Infidelity?

  1. livingonafence August 19, 2013 at 1:24 pm #

    The estimated timeframe to ‘get over it’ so to speak for infidelity is 2 to 5 years. If you’re more than 4 years out, it would be normal to assume you’d be either healed (or as healed as you will get) or nearly there. Sadly, it doesn’t sound like that’s the case.
    Regarding your friend/family member saying that it sounds like you’re trying to convince yourself that your marriage is doing wonderfully, don’t be too hard on her/him. The way this reads you went from explaining how hurt you are by his infidelity to saying how great the marriage is today in a very short timespan. Most people would think that those two don’t go together.

    Honestly, and I’m not judging you at all – we’ve all been there – but if at this point you’re still this freshly wounded, you may want to rethink counseling. That sounds like someone stuck, unable to move forward. If you’re still at the stage where you need to tell your story and express your grief and seek understanding, this may be the case. NOT JUDGING but most are farther along at 4 plus years. Being stuck is something that can happen.
    I’m surprised given your statements about your H and his behavior.
    Of course, this was written about one specific subject so of course it’s about that. You may very well not bring it up often anymore. It’s difficult to say when reading a story.
    Whatever the situation, I hope you find a little more peace than you have. I hope that for all of us.

  2. Gizfield August 19, 2013 at 2:44 pm #

    I’m not a psychologist or anything, but I do think along the way I have picked up a nasty little case of ptsd. When I read the original article referenced, I thought this sounds just like me, but it was still a little off. I researched and found Complex ptsd and knew immediately that was what I have. It’s not recognized by the diagnosis manual as a separate condition for whatever reason. Anyway, it seems to get worse with time, not better. This lady’s story is pretty intense on that she was close to both of her betrayers. I’ve noticed that seems to have an especially bad effect on the BS. Also, previous unrelated trauma makes things worse, as in my case.
    I will say that there is a misconception that all mental damage can be “fixed” through therapy, medication, etc. the human mind is very complex and it doesn’t always work. I am very aware of all that has happened to me, acknowledge it, can even see the rationalizations behind it (ie, that it really had nothing to do with me and everything to do with the perpetrators) but it doesn’t help. It’s ingrained on a deep level, and nothing really seems to touch it. On the plus side, I realize my husband and his scummy girlfriend didn’t actually cause this, they were just some late addition Nails in the Coffin, lol.

  3. Gizfield August 19, 2013 at 2:52 pm #

    As usual, I didn’t answer the question. No, I don’t think there is a time limit on ptsd. I haven’t seen much encouragement in success rates in treating it either, at least not using any specific method. Maybe you just have to experiment til you find something that works. I personally haven’t found that thing yet. I knew I was in deep crap when I realized I’m not happier or less happy with my husband in or out of my life. It’s just easier, not better or worse. Since it makes no real difference, I’m taking the option of giving my daughter a better , happier life.

  4. Paula August 19, 2013 at 4:39 pm #

    Wow! Reading this was mind blowing for me – and it was not me who wrote this! But it almost could have been – I also was very close to the OW in our case, also “helping” her with her issues, being SUCH a Good Samaritan – and I also cannot seem to “let it all go.” Oh, and this went on all around me for fifteen months, not three and a half weeks. Also more than four years out. The only difference I see is that I stopped talking to real life friends about all of this around eighteen months in. I made it a rule, as I realised no one understands, and no one wants to hear your pain. Fact. It just makes YOU look like a crazy person (well, I AM! Now, don’t think I was particularly special crazy before any of this – just regular, functioning crazy, lol.) I also have dredged the internet, seen several psychologists and marriage therapists, a hypnotherapist, a psychiatrist – tried medicating, etc, etc. I also still have NO peace, and I also have some small amount of obsession about the OW – although not TOO bad now, at least not consciously, mostly sub-conscious, but still a lot of thoughts about how she walked in, took a dump and skipped breezily away. I just can’t stop the nightly – STILL – nightmares of them fucking, and/or raping me, laughing like hyenas. And like Giz, my crazy is worse now than it was for the first two years, when I was actually doing pretty well considering, and WE were doing great. We love each other a whole lot, but I released him from my hell, as I felt I was dragging us both into my pit, and it’s crowded enough in here by myself! I thought I was the only one still this messed up this far out. I am normally (or was) a logical, not-too-stupid, albeit pretty emotional person. I have never experienced anything even close to this, and I haven’t lead a blessed or fairytale life, there have been other major traumas and losses, rape, multiple miscarriage, sudden death of my mother in her early fifties, that kind of thing. I coped with all of them, quite damn staunchly, if I say so myself, looking back. Why this one to topple me? And I wouldn’t wish it on anyone, not even her 😉 And I am like Giz, I am pretty unhappy with him, but truly, awfully traumatised and distraught without him. I still love him very, very deeply, and that totally blindsides me, I want not to! Great choices, and I am also trying to do the least damaging thing I can for our kids. I am very thankful he is working with me here, and has shown huge tolerance and patience. Makes it barely bearable. And I never knew this is what can happen to some people, as I thought as a logical and independent person, you just “move on.” You make choices. To be happy, and to live a better life. I make those choices constantly, minute by minute sometimes. Not better. Just goes to show what I knew! So damn frustrating.

    • Bowlus May 29, 2017 at 1:01 am #

      How are you now. Its been years since this post. I started my recovery fall if 2013.
      It’s been almost 4 years. I go feel better but still have triggers. I feel some people are more emotional vested than others. Do have deeper emotional repairs to do

    • Jane September 14, 2017 at 10:45 am #

      Hello. I’d be interested to know too. I feel like I am going mad. In November last year (27th at 12:38am to be precise) I caught my husband having a very emotional and physical affair, when his text alert went off but he was fast asleep. We had been married just three years the month before.

      Lots I could say but after he tried lying to me further claiming it had only been going on since the Summer, I knew there was more to find out…so I did some digging and lots of it. Mainly to golf clubs and to a golfing group he said he was in. Turns out they’d been f*cking each other since the months leading up to our wedding.
      Checking his emails, I found tickets they had booked in November last year for a week’s holiday to Tenerife in August of this year. They’d exchanged emails during our last holiday together in Puerto Pollenca “I just keep thinking how it would be if it were you and me here together.” And “…the holiday is over and I am on my way back to you.” Her text sent to him on 15 December at c. 11pm two days before they last met “Mmm xxx awkward xxx but who do you love xxx which?” I still hate her so much for that. And I am a Christian so I am not supposed to hate. Maybe I just hate what she did. Maybe I’m just fooling myself by saying that. I don’t know.

      On confronting him, he dropped her like a hot brick…and she, him when I got hold of her husband and daughter. My husband and this Kate Stubbins had an affair about 15 years ago when my husband was with his first wife. Clearly each dumping their young children on their respective partners while they went and scr*wed somebody else’s husband / wife.

      We’ve had counselling. Not successful. I’ve had it for about six months (feel like sending cheating, cold-hearted sl*t the bill which has amounted to over £600). My husband is desperate to see the guy I am seeing but therapist won’t see him until my sessions with him are done.

      Kicked husband out for four months. He bought a house. I bought a house. Now we’re trying to make things work so I will have to rent out the house I bought. Am taking anti-depressants. Have real up days and down ones – almost alternately. Videos run in my mind without me noticing that they’ve started up. I tell them to wait until later. Then I get angry, like I am suppressing something. I want to cry but can’t now.

      I feel VIOLATED. He said they did sometimes talk about me, and I know that would’ve been in bed after f*cking and as they lay there, holding each other, or on a walk on the beach (they went to Taunton a lot), on a country walk (they did those a lot), over a romantic dinner or nice lunch. All while I was at home emptying the bins or getting the shopping – including something nice for him from the butcher, even though I don’t like the smell as I’m vegetarian.

      He’d come home from yet another ‘golf trip’ and listen to my cr*p weekend of chores and taking my elderly Mom shopping and trying to keep our house looking nice. How much easier it would’ve been with two of us sharing. He treated me like sh*t while he was scr*wing her. I’d say to friends at work that altho’ I knew he could be selfish, his golf trips went from once or twice a year to about every four weeks as soon as we married.

      Now he can’t do enough and hardly golfs. I wish this depression and anger and feelings of violation would stop. It’s been nearly ten months since I saw those texts from the weekend. I am terrified that I will still feel this way two or three or more years from now.

      • Jane September 14, 2017 at 11:48 am #

        PS. It’s not like I never asked him for help – I did, even to putting a list on the f/freezer. Don’t just listen to me coming in struggling with the shopping – help me. Oh, he did – and then promptly dumped it on the kitchen table and sat back down in front of the tv, so I had to ask him to help me unpack.

        I said to wipe the bath and sink over sometimes because he used them too. It happened for a short while then dropped off…as expected. I gave up and got cleaners in.

        • Miranda October 7, 2017 at 10:42 am #

          Hi Jane
          Your story is so sad, and you are only ten months in. It’s very early days for you and there will be much to process still. I am 16 months on from discovering my husband’s two month affair with the woman I imagined to be a close personal friend. I am better than I was a year ago, but suffer from triggers out of the blue. for example, I am in bed feeling sorry for myself as I type this and wish I could pull myself together and enjoy the weekend. I am still with my husband and love him very much, although I simply cannot bear his company today. I am revisiting the anger at him turning my world upside down.

          Hang on in there, allow yourself your highs and lows. The recovery process is not linear. I find writing things down in whatever form I fancy helps: short story, poem, letter to the OW, etc.

          Your husband should be doting on you and surrounding you with the love and affection you deserve.

          Do you talk about things together? Screaming and shouting can get things off your chest in the short-term, but don’t really help either of you. Make space for discussion, go on walks, spend time together, have regular date nights. Remind yourself why you are still with him and take this as your strength to get you through. Good luck,

          • Jane February 15, 2018 at 11:55 am #

            Thank you so much, Miranda – I only just read this as I found it accidently again on the Internet. I shout far less now (altho’ apparently I yelled at him after some wine about three Saturdays ago but I’ve no recollection of it – found that wine doesn’t mix with 40mg Citalopram so have given it up for Lent at least!) I did write to the OW nearly a year ago. She didn’t reply, altho’ I said she didn’t have to, but I wondered if she’d received and read the letter and copies of their emails etc. I emailed her. She acknowledged she had received and read. I still have questions of course, and oddly enough I wrote to her for a second and last time yesterday, apologising but that it was part of my healing as I still had many questions and feeling of resentment and violation and gave her examples of why. It has actually made me feel better than the first letter but both have definitely helped.
            Steve can’t do enough, I have to say and is looking to book a holiday to either Tobago or Dubai and Mauritius which we’ll take in the next couple of months or so.
            That’s a good way of putting it – ‘revisiting the anger…’ – my Counsellor referred to it as ‘prodding it with a stick’ which I know but feels like it’s just there and I still have a weight within me when I fall asleep and wake up. I am praying it will pass soon now.
            Thank you again for replying – your words have helped.

            • Miranda February 15, 2018 at 2:21 pm #

              Hi Jane

              It’s so good to hear that I’ve been of some help. I know talking to others who’ve experienced the pains of infidelity, often online, can be really valuable. Sometimes, you think your friends have heard enough, or there really is no one else to talk to.

              Your husband sounds like he is remorseful and working hard at showing you he cares. I’m pleased for the both of you.
              You are still in the processing zone – experts say allow at least 18 months, so take it slowly.

              40mg of citalopram is quite strong. I chose to come off mine because I wanted to ‘feel’ again – it did give my head a bit of respite though. You must do whatever’s right for you of course.

              We can, and do overcome betrayal. I’m living proof of this and I think you are too.

              Challenges come when we least expect them don’t they?
              My latest, is my husband losing his job. Thank god it didn’t coincide with the revelation of his affair – I dread to think what would have become of our marriage.

              Best of luck, enjoy your holiday!

      • Tiffany May 12, 2018 at 9:58 am #

        Dear Jane,
        My name is Tiffany
        I just hope your doing better, I wanted to say to you I am so sorry for your emotional trauma.
        My trauma was just ended about 4 months ago. But I have Chronic Trauma, meaning it has been reoccurring.
        There is Acute trauma that is a single occurrence that threatens your emotional or physical safety.

  5. Broken2 August 19, 2013 at 4:48 pm #

    Why do we always have to put a number on things? I think wherever you are in the healing process is right where you should be. Don’t be so hard on yourself. You have been through a major life altering event and although I am not a professional I honestly believe a little bit of the affair will always be a part of who we are. How can it not be? Those of us in the 2 or more years of dealing with this shit club can all say that we still on occasion have triggers about the strangest things, we still ask why, we still mourn, we still hurt but we have learned to understand and at best live with it. I know how you feel…I have been with my hubby for 40 years as well, 3 years past dday and I still have days I struggle….you know what…it’s ok. As long as you and your hubby are working it out and he is there for you and understands then just go with it. You can’t change the past, you can only learn to live for the now and do the best you can. I agree we do give the OW ALOT of power when we think about them but so far no one has figured out a way to turn off that switch…. Some things are better kept from friends and family members. I know it’s hard and I know what it feels like to be alone in your pain but unless you have someone in your life that has been through it as well…no one really understands. It’s an exclusive club we belong to. Anyways however long it takes…you will get there. There is no time limit on your feelings. Be good to yourself…you deserve it!

    • Recovering August 22, 2013 at 2:41 pm #

      I also know that I will never be the “same”, and I miss the old me… the one who was sunshiny and didn’t hate the world… but I was wearing rose colored glasses and believed that people were inherently good… they aren’t. THAT will never change in my heart again… no matter how much time goes by… I am at over 2 years, and I would’ve thought that the nightmares and the freakouts and the paranoia would be gone by now too, but the thing is, when you lose all control of what you thought your life was, and you realize you don’t really have THAT much control over anything but yourself… THAT is what is killing me… and I think THAT is why it takes so long for us to ‘get over’ this stuff. We believed we KNEW what was real. I was married for 14 years to a man I believed thought marriage was sacred… to a man I thought I KNEW could never do something so sick… and yet he did… and I KNEW I would never stay, and yet her I am, still with the same cheating husband… I think it is this lack of control that we feel that prolongs things. The author, like myself, needs to learn to accept that we cannot control others, and learn to control herself. This isn’t easy – Lord knows I haven’t mastered it yet on any level… but I think that is what PTSD really comes down to. I FREAKED OUT over a minor scene in a tv show the other night, and it’s been over 2 years since my D-Day… I don’t even feel in control of myself, but in reality, I CAN control me… I just need to figure out how… and so does the author. THAT will give her some peace. She also has to accept that life will NEVER be the same… there will probably be triggers for the rest of her life… but she doesn’t have to let them control her!

  6. Disappointed August 19, 2013 at 9:07 pm #

    I don’t think I will ever be the same. everything reminds me, I can’t escape it. I drive by the exits he takes to meet her, we have common friends, the type of car she drives, anyone who remotely resembles her, they met in walgreens parking lots and forest preserves, he bought her favorite chocolate bar, he bought her a sports team tshirt, took her to a local landmark, our favorite hotel, bought her a tmobile phone etc. triggers everywhere.and every movie or tv show has an affair in it. I go for surgery and 3 of the staff have her first name?! The hotel chains they used… it goes on and on. no one can understand that hasn’t been thru it. I have been emotionally abused for over 15 years. he has plans to be with the ow but is pretending NC. this will take years to get over no matter what.

    • Recovering August 22, 2013 at 2:46 pm #

      La Quinta… and now Quality Inn logo looks almost identical, so triggers me too… and when I drive by a total skank hotel, I just want to send her a pic of it and tell her that that place is much more fitting… like the back of her car was, next to the baby seat… dumb whore… and I travel for work, so I have a meltdown almost every time I have to go out of town and stay in a whoretel… you are right… will take years to be able to handle… have never had Tai food and now may never because they used to go (which he said he was going with the guys to like I was dumb – was one of the things that made me suspicious, along with the Subway receipts that included a veggie sub… men eat meat… really? I never did buy his lame explaination there… ).. But on the same token, I almost want to torture myself by going to the damn Tai place just so it wont seem so ‘special’… same with the whoretel… I know it would probably almost kill me, but for those places not to bother me anymore, to desensitize me to them… am wondering if it wouldn’t almost be worth it!!

    • Jo September 1, 2017 at 3:28 pm #

      Yes! This is me. I feel like I see her e eryegrte and I’m on my guard all the time. It’s like living in an edge of a knife.

    • Jane September 20, 2017 at 10:53 am #

      This is EXACTLY how I am. Motorway turns offs for Taunton (their main sh*gging place), Bristol where he first met her for dinner, I found out. Bristol Airport where they were going to fly from for their week’s holiday to Tenerife (5 – 12 August this year m- 2017).

      I see lots of women who I think look like her. Hotel chain of Travel Lodges was where they mostly used. The name Kate. There are lots of them. The mistress in Dr Foster is a Kate. Top ten names for women who are most likely to cheat is apparently Katie. I know that’s ‘dodgy’ but I see stuff like this all over.

      Dates dog me so much. The date / time I caught them, 5 August again when he first had a three night holiday away with her two months to the date before our wedding. The date I picked up our new cat while they were on their annual four night away trip for the year. The date I confronted him. I am sure these all of this stuff will never leave me. And I am sure that if I had just walked, they would be easier to deal with.

      What I can’t help feeling resentful about is that he and she will not have these things haunting them. They’ll just be glad it’s over and they’re still in their marriages. So f*cking unfair.

  7. JennyN August 20, 2013 at 1:32 am #

    One of the things I had to realize was that PTSD could be caused by situations not as extreme as war.

    I had it in my head that I had NOT experienced something like that, so I felt guilty that I might live with PTSD (I did not have this as a result of the affair). Luckily I had enough support on board when the affair happened that the PTSD did not get triggered at that time.

    There is SO much new evidence and treatment options out there that are finding can be helpful for PTSD. In some cases just knowing it existed helped to normalize the experience for me. Peter Levine has a great book called Waking the Tiger on this that helped.

    Also there is somatic therapy and a type of physical release called tension releasing exercises that has been shown to have GREAT help with PTSD.

    Finally there is no time limit on PTSD….that is actually the definition of it. When you take a hard situation and there is not a time stamp on the picture of it….so any situation you live in/through feels like it might bring you back to that time of trauma. That is part of why they think somatic therapy might help….PTSD is unresolved trauma and that it is not just your mind involved in it, but your body too that experiences it. When we just focus on the mind we are missing out on the other experiences it creates in its wake (heart rate changes, sweating, sleep/wake cycles) etc.

    This is such a big deal that studies are under way from the NIH on looking at treatment options for this (Stars and Strips the newspaper for the branches of the military just had a great article on it).

    Somatic experience is one type of therapy shown to help. I did a type called Hakomi which has honestly saved my life.

    Best of luck to all of you struggling with this. It is not easy, but it can get better. You just have to believe you are worth it.

  8. Gizfield August 20, 2013 at 7:43 am #

    JennyN, what a GREAT POST. Thanks for sharing. Like you, I thought ptsd was related to mostly physical threat and was surprised to find there was other cases, like prolonged emotional trauma. I have read a couple of books on it, but not Taming the Tiger. I’ll make that next. You are absolutely correct about the physical component of this. It’s NOT all in your head. I had extreme anxiety attacks from my husbands infidelity. Still have sleep problems at times, racing heart, memory issues, etc. I wonder if being triggered by the adultery itself, maybe it was more the actual general crappy way he acted that reminded me of my first, abusive husband. other than hurting me physically, he acted in the same creepy abusive way. You are crazy, you are paranoid, no one will want you, blah, blah, blah. Talking about all this has done no good on the symptoms, including

  9. Gizfield August 20, 2013 at 7:49 am #

    Continued…including talking to a therapist. I just got bored of it after a few weeks. I saw a trauma therapy office across town one day. Think I’ll try to set up an appointment. I think I read somewhere that ptsd is “a normal reaction to abnormal events” and that it is the only “mental illness” that arises from outside the person rather than internally.

  10. JennyN August 21, 2013 at 6:06 am #

    I just finished a type of training around therapy (I am not a therapist).

    They had two whole sections on “normal” reactions to trauma.

    It was an amazing, eye opening experience….to realize that so much in my life was normal….just overlaid with trauma. Also trust me when I say this….I did NOT have a lot of “big T” trauma , meaning I had not had challenging things done to me.

    When I was operating from that “normal” reactions to trauma my whole life was in upheaval….adding an affair in would have sent me over the top. Luckily I had the opportunity to work with that trauma first….then the affair came, and not that it was not challenging…it was, but I did not have a trauma reaction on top to deal with.

    They are finding biological reasons in our brains for how PTSD happens. Stress hormones cause the amgydala (sp?) to short circuit and in that moment a time stamp is not created for the stress. This is not something we have control over, but we do have the right to get help, support and ultimately be happy. There are many therapist that specialize in trauma, methods etc. We are each worth getting those needs met.

  11. Gizfield August 21, 2013 at 7:34 am #

    Again, Jennyn, very interesting. I downloaded some samples of books on ptsd and there Was one one theory about how animals, maybe a deer, for example,, experience trauma but dont have an emotional stamp on it, so that it gets released, but humans do and they get it stuck in their body.

  12. JennyN August 21, 2013 at 8:28 am #

    That is what the tension releasing exercises are supposed to help with (animals shake it off is the theory).

    I took a class on that later in my healing and found it helpful, but I think I had worked through the worst of it already (so I don’t know first hand).

  13. Mandy August 21, 2013 at 2:04 pm #

    I have learned that PTSD is not uncommon among those who have been betrayed by a spouse. The intense shock, sometimes a series of shocks (as in my case) does it. You said you just want to talk to a friend, not a therapist. But there are realistic limits to what you can expect from even the most patient and understanding friend. The right kind of therapist or PTSD support group can really help you learn how to get the betrayal and the OW out of your thoughts, and to not be triggered (or at least not so much).

  14. Teresa August 21, 2013 at 11:35 pm #

    I, too, had PTSD from my husband’s affair. My d-day was the monday before Thanksgiving. For 6 weeks, I barely ate (lost 20 pounds) and shook like a leaf. I thought I was just cold (it was November-December). My therapist told me that I wasn’t cold, I was suffering from PTSD. He taught me an acupressure technique to let go of the negative, emotional charge. It seemed silly but actually worked.. It’s called Tapas Acupressure Technique. You can get free info about it online. Google: TAT.
    Good luck.

  15. Gizfield August 22, 2013 at 3:01 pm #

    I thought I was the only one who called them Whoretels, lol. I managed to “take back” the entire state of Florida so I guess anything is possible. I do think the more head on you can be with these “triggers” the easier it gets.

    • Exercise grace August 22, 2013 at 11:46 pm #

      Please please please tell me how you took this back. I am struggling to reclaim territory.

  16. Patricia August 24, 2013 at 3:30 pm #

    I thought I was the only one feeling this way. Never thought it will be so hard. Sometimes I think about giving up and leaving my husband although he is with me right now, he doesn’t want to talk about his affair and stays quiet when those triggers come and I start making questions. Its like he wants to erase everything and keep on as if anything happened. I know he feels bad about what he did, I just don’t know if I will ever overcome this experience.

    • chely5150 July 31, 2017 at 10:06 pm #

      I believe the reason that I have struggled
      with my c-ptsd for pretty much the entire time since d-day. It’s always with me, but doesnt always trigger me. I too have a spouse that would prefer that we never speak of “his” mistake again. While in many ways he has worked to improve our marriage (focus on us and the future) he does very little to demonstrate any empathy that he understands what this has done to me or how i feel. I was afraid that he was going to walk out that door and never come back. He had said he wanted a divorce and i told him fine with me, but to be,assured he would pay dearly for his poor choices. She was a former co-worker of his, may years prior we went to a bbq at her house(she is married and we both have two sons the same age). She was always nice and we shared a couple of similiar interests, I never saw her again, but occassionally my husband would mention he had spoke with her about work type stuff and i never took it as anything more. I dont know if he (on d-day), changed his mind about divorce, saw how much he would have to payme if we divorced, or she wouldn’t leave her husband for mine. Or no reason except I am good supply, for my covert narcissistic husband. After years of slow covert emotional abuse and an attempt to divorce several years prior, I had decided that I was going to improve things by being positive and nice (it was working , i thought, things had improved, family members even commented good to see us getting along better to accidently found something that lead to my d-day. It was the worst day of my entire life. The wailing that came from my body the next half hour or so was like nothing I had ever heard come from the deepest part of my shattered soul. Not only was I covertly abused by the nicest abuser you ever met, i now was dealt betrayl and infidelity in my marriage to him, but I realized i didnt really know the man i was married to but I had already fallen back in love with him.
      Everything that I read beginning that day indicated that he would most likely leave me, i discovered the length and frequency of their contacts ( still dont know for sure but the phone calls began close to 10 years ago, im sure ill never know how long or the entire truth EVER. When he decided that he wasnt leaving, I thanked my lucky stars, so many others wrote about how their husbands just basically left everything (including kids) behind and never looked back, so i thought i would be the bigger person and make the choice to forgive him and the affair, as long as it was in the past. I could do this I was the better person, who would show him grace and forgive him. Look forward, be nice and it will all be fine. And despite outwardly appearances that it was now in the past, I began to be triggered by LOTS of things. It did not help that he has the perfect job -come and go as please, take unscheduled emergency days off whenever wanted, i was unable to contact him sometimes due to being in a mfg facility and it was 2 hours away from our home, but the absolute worst is the technology that each of us carry that could supply endless, pornography, hook-ups, anonomus sex partners ready to fuck at any given moment, andvthe ability to HIDE all of it from me easily. When the triggers started, he showed no sympathy for my pain, it was like he only felt sorry for himself being caught and swears to this day that they never met in person, i dont believe that for a minute. I am postive you think just leave the schmuck, but i just couldnt leave him, i still loved him, i was/ am bonded to him, by the slow methodical way covert emotional abuse works. I tried to not trigger, stopped watching tv, listening to music, going outside, never spoke with anyone without crying uncontrollably (and I had told no one, so iwas all alone with my pain for the first 3 months) AND i had forgiven him. I knew it was more for me than for him that I forgave, so I tried but the triggers wouldnt stop. So I would pretend it was all good and act like we had put it behind us. But reality was that I was still deeply hurt, obsessed with her and realized my husband was most likely a lower level narcissistic sex addict that may have been unfaithful our entire marriage. And the worst is the things that seem to just pop up, even when not looking that indicates he is still in contact with her, though i simply cannot prove beyond a shadow of a doubt this is true. So I trigger in silence still to this day. We do lots of things, together, plan for our future, retirement only a couple of years away, we go on vacation, have purchased new cars, have a lovely home, have great sex. I went back to work, have become much more independant, less dependant, lost the 50lbs that a lot of betrayeds speak happen without even trying and look better than ever. So why does it still affect me so much that I have NO peace of mind in my left in my life?
      I believe for me it is i chose to forgive him too soon, too easily, i never got to release that pain and anger, the part where the primal screaming, howling abused woman lived. I am no longer the same person, i have happy times in my life, love my job and a few close friends. Love my husband and dysfunctional family very much, but I don’t trust anymore. Even those i love and I realize that I possibly will never have peace of mind or feel safe, again.
      And the obsession wont stop either, her, him, the lies, the pain. While i’ve learned to manage/hide it is always there. Just leave him -you are screaming at me. But i cannot bring myself to do it, even thoughI know i should. So my answer to those still in the early days of discovery is don’t forgive to easily/soon. You have to work through the pain and anger WITH your spouse if there is any hope of moving beyond infidelity and remain married. See a counselor (hard to find good ones) if you can find the right one for you.
      I dont exactly know what my future holds. Covert emotional abuse is so subtle and hard to describe, years of the chinese water torture, drip, drip, drip, it wears you down and boosts you back up. After 4 years and new rings and privately renewd vows on our favorite beach at dusk, all the wonderful ways in which we have tried to make it all go away, still dont take away the feeling that he will walk in the door on day and dicard me like they say all narcissists do. His Dad never left his Mom and im sure this abuse is handed from one generation to the next. I am frightened for my adult sons and the relationships they will have.

      I apologize to everyone for the length of this but I had a need to speak up and warn those in early days of discovery. I read somewhere once , that if you stay with a man after infidelity you are choosing the man that he is -who he really is on that day of discovery because that is who he REALLY is. In my case a lying, decietful narcissistic cheater, who though very capable of lighting a candle prefers the darkness.

      • Shifting Impressions August 1, 2017 at 1:19 am #

        Chely5150 Thank you so much for sharing your story….I am so sorry you are still in so much pain. I agree that it’s not a good idea to forgive to soon for all the same reasons that you give.

        I read a book that was really helpful to me. IT TAKES ONE TO TANGO by Winifred M Reilly. We really can’t control what our spouses do but we are in control of our own response. Something really shifted in me after reading this book. It has actually benefited me in all my relationships.

        Perhaps you did forgive to soon….but that’s in the past. There must be some way to deal with what is going on between the two of you today. Perhaps personal counseling for you would help.

  17. forcryin'outloud August 26, 2013 at 3:45 pm #

    I don’t want to get windy her because I could wax on about this forever and I lack the acronyms at the end of my name. According to my psychologist there is not a time limit on PTSD and if you have suffered with it in a previous trauma, even if it went undiagnosed, another trauma can help it rear it’s ugly head again.

    Also, I want to say I don’t believe you “get over it” I think you just learn to deal with the fall out better as time goes forward. Of course therapy, reading and dealing with the aspects of the issues is necessary in moving forward.

  18. CBB August 27, 2013 at 3:39 pm #

    I to have and probably still am suffering from PTSD but just knowing what it was made a huge difference (look up the neurologist explanation) We were doing quite well ather 1,5Y but I only needed cross a car like her’s, hear her name (we have a friend with the same name!) And I would flip. My h thought I was going crazy (and so did I) and almost gave up. I tried to explain it but it’s a bit difficult to grasp. But now I know i’m not crazy; its just my defence mechanism I let the emotions flow, I go back to DDay, and when it all calmes dawn I try thinking of something nice (I have a picture of my kids on my phone

  19. CBB August 27, 2013 at 3:58 pm #

    I try to grasp their love and remind myself of how important they are. I must say (2,5y down the rd) I don’t start crying when I see the same kind of car or here her name. It still reminds me but with milder emotions. Go after them confront those feelings and try to find a comforting thought to ease the pain (My therapist started EMDR-therapy , didn’t need long to grasp the idea, it took a while but it helped). There will probably always be triggers but try to find a way to diminish the intensity of the emotion. I don’t think any trigger has gone after 2,5Y but only a few still make me flip , completely relive or have nightmares. I’m convinced only professionals or someone who has lived it can understand and help. Good luck and don’t give up!

  20. Peggy October 17, 2013 at 5:40 pm #

    Well, you just described me, how I feel, my family’s reactions to me, my spirituality that conflicts with my need for revenge. My PTSD.
    I had just come back from a trip to China when H decided to have his fantasy fulfilled with his co-worker. I didn’t know at the time, of course, and I was seriously suffering from PTSD from the very tranmatic trip to China. I knew something was wrong and made every effort to be present for him, watch baseball with him, make love to him. He had always been my focus so none of what I was doing was any different than before, but I felt a separation between us that had never been there before. A year later, after she dumped him for another man she had also been seeing, he told me he had fallen in love with her and I saw and felt the pain of his rejection from her at the same split second that my mind went numb from the shock.
    What I struggle with is dealing with uncaring family members, his passive/agressive behavior and it’s been three years now and finally he has realized that he needs to participate in OUR recovery. I’m broken beyond understanding. I wonder now if I can ever recover because it’s been so hard to be alone with my pain.
    Like you I don’t want a therapist to tell me I have to own 50% of the blame when I know for a fact I couldn’t have been a more loving, attentive and caring wife than I was before this horror.
    Having never in my life experienced jealously, that has been a hard one. Nothing like feeling 15 at 62. It’s ugly and horrid and I am getting better at dealing with it, but could have spent the rest of my life not having felt it.
    Three years is a long time to be alone with such immense pain and agony in my heart and soul.
    I’m sorry for your pain. I hear all the time, why can’t you just get over it? When you have made the deep commitment to another person and find out that he didn’t it’s just more than I’ve been able to bear. I’ve read over 100 books. I have a library of articles and audios that would make a couples therapist jealous. I can’t find myself in most of it. Some times it really is true that it’s really not a shared problem with the marriage. He can’t find anything that I did wrong in our marriage either, but that doesn’t take the pain away from his ability to create a story about me that made me into the evil one to give him permission to want someone else.
    He’s now very sorry, regretful and starting to look into his passive/aggressive ways of dealing with me, but the damage is done. Now I know it will take me to heal myself before I’m able to be me again.

    • Shutdown January 11, 2017 at 8:59 pm #

      Peggy it’s been over 15 years for me. We’ve been married 43 years. I’m 61 and he was my first love at 13. I’ve never been the same and I refer to myself “the old me” & “me now” even though I went through massive abuse prior to this wh. The was not his first but it was with an employee our kids age so I felt so old and defeated. Not one day goes by that I don’t think of it. Suicide hits my brain like a slamming door but I have realized
      nobody is worth it. But everyday I have nightmares and really awful ones that are very real. They don’t just include his infidelity but I feel like I’m torturing myself because everything he ever did to me is still an everyday nightmare! My health is bad, I’ve gained weight and I just feel so bad! If I knew where to go to a PTSD group I’d go in a minute but everyone knows who we are here and I’m so embarrassed! I never go out. Remember I’m going on over 15 years of this madness! My grandchildren are all i keep sane for. I do love him but I’m still so angry. The sad part is that NOW I’m 61 and he’s nice to me! He killed me years ago or at least my spirit! I know I need help!

  21. Shellster66 December 2, 2013 at 1:04 am #

    Wow, Peggy, I have been exactly where you are. I’m 62 and dealing with PTSD from H’s affair. It’s been almost 3 years but I still struggle. I old appreciate any words of reassurance that things will get better.

    • Peggy December 2, 2013 at 12:30 pm #

      Hi Shellster66, I wish I had good news on this front. Is it our age that is hindering recovery from this? I was just turning 59 when he was having his affair with a 49 year old. There are so many triggers and they are getting better. I just recently found out that the OW was having sex with two other men at the same time she was having her “innocent fun” with my H. Slut comes to mind. She walked away without even a confrontation from me. No closure. I lost my home, the respect I had gained from family members, (that’s a long story, but really not relevant to this issue), my work which was as an artist because he used it to excuse his affair, and you know all the rest. Identity, self worth. I feel as if it’s age related in a lot of ways. When we are younger we know we have a future and can start again. At 62 we should have been enjoying getting older with our husbands and sharing this transition together. Now I’m feeling ugly and old because I was replaced by a younger model. At 62 I shouldn’t have had to worry that much about how I look. I should be just enjoying the passage of time, giving wisdom to my grandchildren and being there as an example of how great it could be to get older. I can’t imagine wanting to be with another man. Starting over. Learning someone else. I know that’s what kept me in this relationship. I’ve lived alone and loved it, but I’m not so sure I’d love it now. The panic attacks are hell. In my case, it only took him 3 years to get his head out of his A–. I know it would have been much better for me if he had done what he needed to do sooner. I still have to talk myself into getting in the car and going anywhere I need to. Losing 25lbs makes me look better in clothes, but not so pretty naked:) These are things that younger women don’t have to think about. I can say that I have finally been able to begin to paint again. I lost everything I had worked for in my art world because of his affair. It’s like a CEO quitting his job and disappearing for 3 years and then coming back and saying, here I am and everyone wondering who he is. Not an easy feat to accomplish at 62. I tell myself everyday that I’m okay. I put one foot in front of the other and smile at everyone I can. When my grandchildren and great grandchildren come by I love them with vengeance. But when I’m alone I so miss my home. I had hundreds of birds I fed every day and a pet duck that was injured (he couldn’t fly and way born in my backyard I had to take him to the pond in the neighborhood because I couldn’t bring him to my rental) . I miss the tree I had that I saw every morning when I woke up. Material things, yes, but they made me so happy and I lost them all because of the affair. All the friends I thought I had have gone. Who wants to be around someone that cries every day. No one can relate. I don’t cry every day now. I am trying very hard to find what it is I was supposed to learn from all of this. Possibly to not love as deeply. Put myself first? That’s an odd one. I have always thought of others needs before my own. I think that comes from being a Mother. I write a lot. I have never kept a journal until the DD. I’m in it 1100+ entries.

      I can say for sure that when he woke up I could feel it and it did make a difference. I have been very resentful because of the time that it took him to get there, but that’s an exercise I’m working on to rid myself, be in the moment and try like hell to enjoy it. I’ve asked him to make me paint and not allow me to hide because I know that’s what I need.

      Has your H come around and found remorse yet? Is it real because you know in yourself the truth. My H told me he was remorseful for all these years, but when he finally was, I felt that. You need to truth your gut. It’s gotten you this far in life and they can take everything else away, but that has to be trusted by you for sure. It really messed with my mind when he would say what he thought I wanted to hear all I knew it was him faking it. My gut told me even though I tried so hard to believe him. But when he truly felt remorse I felt the difference.

      Make yourself do what doesn’t feel good that you know is what ordinary people do. Force yourself. It’s the only way out of this hell. Get up every morning and make yourself feel beautiful. Whatever that takes, know that you are and that there are many other men out there that would see that. I only say this because I know how hard it is to do. I know I’ve aged 10 years at least in the last 3 and at our age we really can’t afford that:) I’ve even done the laughing thing and it does work. Make yourself laugh when you are alone. Force a smile on your face when you are alone. It’s habits that can rewire your brain because our brain has been rewired now to feel sadness and unhappiness that we didn’t have before. Be around younger people as often as you can. They will feel your love. The love you want to feel for your husband. The energy of that is still inside. I have begun to actually give small amounts of money to those that stand beside the street. It makes me feel good. I don’t care what they use it for. It makes me feel good to give. Do whatever you need to do to remember feeling happy. It doesn’t matter if today you can’t leave the house. Try again tomorrow. Whatever your symptoms are just keep working at reversing them one day at a time. Let me know how you’re doing. Sharing definitely helps. And sharing with someone of the same age makes that difference. I understand you. I feel your pain and I’m here to listen.

      • Shutdown January 11, 2017 at 9:43 pm #

        Omg Peggy! Such a great post. You really made me feel like you felt how I feel.

  22. CLV December 2, 2013 at 9:46 am #

    I believe I began to experience the anxiety that caused of my PTSD since way before I even saw more solid signs of betrayal. At least two years before I began to notice texts and phone calls that he denied having, he had gone for a motorcycle ride and returned well after midnight, smelling of what seemed to me to be the odor of sex. Earlier that summer, we had attended a graduation party in Michigan where we met a woman who lives in our area and owns a motorcycle. A year later, we were in again in Michigan and Mary needed a ride either to the airport of elsewhere because her husband had left without her the day before. My husband was supposedly going shopping, and was leaving just as Mary was getting a ride from our friend. My father-in-law seemed positively giddy that my husband was leaving at the same time as Mary, and even lied and told my mother-in-law that he was giving a ride to an elderly friend so she could visit her daughter. No one told me that ahead of time ! Later that summer, when my husband began to exhibit all the signs of a troubled person….anger, starting arguments over nothing, emotional separation from me, long hours online and switching to another screen when I entered the room…. I feared he really was having an affair. In February, we vacationed with the family who had hosted Mary in August. Our friend told me that Mary would not be invited to their next daughter’s graduation party. When I asked why, she said because Mary had tried to have an affair with a married man that I knew. We were interrupted and I did not get the chance to ask who the man was. When they were leaving, she asked me if I had met Mary. I told her I didn’t think so, thinking it was a different friend she was speaking about. At that point, she told me my husband knew her and that she liked sailing and motorcycles. I believe she was trying to help me, but at that point I just didn’t see a direct connection to my husband. A couple of weeks later, when I began to see his guilt rising, I asked her who this woman was. She denied ever telling me anything, even though her husband and daughter were in the room! We are now estranged from this family because I cannot stand to be around them, knowing they have ALL chosen to hide something from me. I finally had a panic attack in April that sent me to the hospital for observation. Even then, my husband did not tell me anything! Every day was filled with dread at what would happen next. One morning, he was having one of his nightly violent, thrashing dreams of guilt. I lay there wide awake, wondering what he would say in his sleep. You guessed it – he cried out the name MARY, sounding like he was crying. When he woke, I asked him who this Mary was and he said he didn’t know anyone by that name. He has a cousin, an aunt, and two or three friends by that name, but his first answer was that he didn’t know anyone named Mary! The pain was starting to kill me. I lost 20 pounds and could barely function. I started to look for anything that would give me clues as to who Mary is and what he was doing with her and where. I found his cell phone password, went to his account online where I found a phone number that was repeated numerous times over nine months. I should have called her right away, but panicked and texted him at work. He drove home. We cried and held each other while I screamed at him. He said my discovery made him finally feel relief, but the trauma is not over for me. It’s been 1-1/2 years. He swears THIS woman – NOT named Mary but. Kristine – was just a friend. So I wonder daily why, if Kristine was only a friend, did he hide his relationship with her. I believe he had an affair with Mary and told Kristine about it. Kristine is a very caring, religious woman and I think he turned to her to help him to get over his guilt from his affair with Mary. How do I get him to talk to me and tell me the truth? I went to two sessions of therapy alone where the therapist told me our marriage is doomed if he does not participate. He refuses, saying we will get stronger by just loving each other and plan for our future together. I am terrified there will only be this future….one of me having flashbacks and spending the rest of my life wondering who Mary is, what they did together, what she meant to him, where they had sex, how often they had sex, and how often he thinks of her now. He has far fewer dreams now, but each time they wake me up, I listen for him to say Mary again. No one should have to live like this.

  23. MelMel February 20, 2015 at 10:45 pm #

    I’m at an airport so this will brief. I have an official PTSD diagnosis from my husband’s EA. I am going to start EMDR soon. If you are a spiritual or religious person you may find some hope and encouragement in a book called Transcending Post Infidelity Stress Disorder by Dennis Ortman. For a ton of information on PTSD, it’s effects on the brain, various treatment modalities, and a lot of hope I highly recommend changeyouchoose.com. I am 23 months out from DDay and still shake, sob, have disordered eating, pretty much all of the classic symptoms of PTSD. I wish all of us the best in our search for help and healing. So many smart people here. A lot of hard won wisdom. Thanks for sharing.

    • Daisy March 27, 2017 at 10:22 pm #

      Had it gotten better? I’m 2 years and 8 months since D Day and am not functioning well. It makes me ashamed because he was sorry and has done good things since. I just can’t help but feel like it’s the kids keeping me with him. 🙁

  24. Peggy February 21, 2015 at 6:10 pm #

    Well, my H that I said got it continues to say awful things to me and 4 weeks ago I had a heart attack. I guess my body had had enough stress after 5 years, one him having the affair and 4 finding out what it’s like to be married to a passive/aggressive nightmare. I have a lot of information about PTSD, too. http://www.yourlifeaftertrauma.com is a good place to start. Watch the YouTube videos she’s done. Linda and Doug post her work on occasion. There’s no excuse for anyone who won’t tell the truth about what they have done to you and expect you to be okay. I also know it’s close to impossible to get anyone to change if they don’t choose it themselves.

    I’m still going through it and it’s been 4 years since D-Day. If I had the means to leave I would already have done it. The heart attack was a huge wake up call for me. Being victimized and just being a victim are two different things.

  25. Teresa April 4, 2017 at 7:05 am #

    I can’t tell you how this site has helped me. I thought I was going nuts. I thought I was alone but I’m not . Reading through all your comments has made me feel that I’m not alone and I’m normal. That’s all I really wanted. To know I’m not crazy. Thank you

  26. Recovering still June 16, 2017 at 8:05 pm #

    Everyone is different but it takes yrs to get over the affair and the OW. My best friend and husband had an affair 4 yrs ago and I still struggle with my own self worth. I don’t thunk of her much at all and don’t have the PTSD like some have written about but I still have pain from the wound. Hang in there everyone. Be good to yourself and if you need more therapy so be it. Don’t suffer alone.

  27. HonorGentle July 28, 2017 at 2:43 pm #

    I’m 3 years into recovery from my wife’s affair.
    I can say this about my recovery, it’s not going as quick as I want it to but then again, what’s the rush; she carried the guy in her heart for 20+ years.

    I have learned that the same neuro-pathways for happiness are for sadness. They can not co-exist. I literally switch my thinking when I start to feel bad. I stop thinking about the affair and the parties involved to a memory about the sound and joy of lots kids swimming and laughing in a swimming pool during the summer.

    It took a lot of practice but it’s paying off. I have less angry moments and less times of sadness.

    ***Your thoughts create your emotions. If you want to change your emotions, change what you’re thinking. It really works.

  28. Carol July 30, 2017 at 7:15 pm #

    Don’t even know if this thread is still open, but it should be due to the large percentage of PTSD like symptoms after infidelity (over 75% of us I read), the horrible damage and suffering it causes, and the fact that it is so misunderstood! My story in a nutshell? 40 + years of marriage – finding out in the last 7 of numerous liasons, including a 10 year affair. By all accounts I shouldn’t even be alive- lol. Here’s the interesting thing tho- I had a brain scan – the psychologist said- wow- have you had a head injury? I said- nothing physical – does psychological trauma count? He said absolutely! Apparently, I now have way too many “delta” waves, meaning parts of my brain have just shut down to protect me. PTSD is a real, physical illness, so don’t listen to uninformed people – listen to your gut. I was helped by neurofeedback, but mostly by my H finally “getting it” and making huge amends to help me feel safe again with him. A new movement is underway to change post infidelity treatment from “marriage counseling” to a more trauma based model. Amen! We are all pioneers blazing a new trail- let’s keep telling our stories!

    • Shifting Impressions July 31, 2017 at 11:30 am #

      Carol….I’m so sorry you had to go through that. My d-day was two weeks prior to my fortieth anniversary…..so I get that part.

      Thanks for sharing that info….that is really interesting.

  29. Carol July 31, 2017 at 11:31 pm #

    I think a lot of us rush to forgive too easily- we think it’s the high road and our therapists/ clergy encourage us and we are raised to be “nice”, sacrificing, mature, etc. while in reality we have given up our souls. When I finally learned to be assertive, state my needs, and be willing to walk away (impossible, you say, after 35+ years of marriage) but I finally got up the courage to consult a lawyer and look for apartments, and state my boundaries; ie, if you don’t respect me enough to tell me everything I need to know, really get my pain, become 100% transparent, and humble yourself to make serious amends, i will sadly have to leave to save my own soul. That’s when he finally started to get it. I just couldn’t live with an inauthentic relationship anymore. Its taken 7 years of relentless boundary making, but we’ve finally reached a light at the end of the tunnel. Triggers? Still. But much less, and now I can expect instant empathy when I do. I think my amygdala is finally quieting down. The book Worthy of Her Trust was the life saver book at the end of our journey. I highly recommend it. I am sending out hugs and well wishes to all!

    • Shifting Impressions August 1, 2017 at 1:48 am #

      Carol
      I absolutely agree with everything you say….what’s the point of a relationship that’s not authentic.

      I will check out that book for sure.

  30. The other woman October 21, 2017 at 2:17 pm #

    According to this, I am stuck. I definitely think I have PTSD, the memories of the clues leading up to discovery are distorted as to time and place. I can’t remeber which things happened first and I can’t remember the date/yr it all happened. As best as I can recall it was about 10 years ago and I still have a breakdown every 3-4 months over it. Part of it is my husband won’t admit he was wrong* to hide his friendship with my sister, my sister who I used to speak to several times a week, until their affair started and then I never heard from her. I saw the phone bills of them calling each other, the calls coincided with him leaving the room when ever she called…..all the lies, deceit….how many times did I say to my husband I hadn’t heard from my sister in weeks and he just shrugged, when he had talked to her 2 or 3 times that week…..

  31. Shifting Impressions October 21, 2017 at 9:24 pm #

    The other woman
    I am so sorry you had to endure the betrayal of two people….your husband and your sister. Were you able to get help for yourself??

    • The other woman October 22, 2017 at 11:01 am #

      I’ve tried, isn’t helping. I feel like my life is ruined. They just moved on as if nothing happened and forgot about it but I can’t. I will never trust anyone again. One therapist told me if was my fault for not setting boundaries in my marriage, guess some people need things spelled out. there’s a lot more to the story that I didn’t include, the huddles whispering until I entered the room, my husband disappearing for hours and not telling me where he was…I feel so stupid for trusting them. To this day, my husband won’t tell me what they talked about or why they hid this “friendship” from me, he would rather keep their secrets than ease my mind. I’m so sad and hurt, I don’t see any way out of the despair……

  32. Shifting Impressions October 22, 2017 at 11:14 pm #

    The other woman
    You weren’t the one not setting boundaries…..your husband and sister were guilty of that.

    Please don’t give up on getting help for yourself. We can’t control what others do but we can control how we respond. Of course, you are sad and hurt. But I entreat you, not to give up. Never forget….you are worth it.

  33. Deborah November 2, 2017 at 7:36 pm #

    I feel the pain of so many women who have posted on here. My husband had an affair and 18 years later I am still living with the pain when he and that bit*h have got on with theirs lives. We did not sleep with each for several years before and after this happened each time i tried my husband pushed me away and each time this would hurt me a little bit more. I knew he had feelings for someone else but was told these were in my head and nothing was going on but I just knew. He asked me to move out of our home and that he did not love me anymore which I did after 2 days we saw each other and he told me he did love me and asked me to move back home part of me now wishes that I didn’t and we had had just split up. After returning home he slept with that bit*h for the first time 6 weeks later whilst still pushing me away. They then slept together 2 months later when I found out. Even on that day I still wanted him to sleep with me which he didn’t. I would say we slept together maybe twice a year for about 7 years. Why I did not leave him in this time I will never know. The bit*hs mum even told me all this and them sleeping together was my fault. This is something I have lived with and belived all this time. I breakdown over this maybe 2 – 3 times a year. My husband will not talk about it. I feel like they both just laughed about this behind my back. We now sleep together but i dont start it. I don’t have any feelings for myself I want to hurt myself badly I don’t look after myself as I feel I’m not worth it. I don’t spend much money on clothes I have put weight on. I dont like myself most of the time. I have now got to the point that I don’t know what feelings I have for my husband. I have been told this week that I havd ptsd and it has been suggested that I have emdr. I am going to give this a try as I don’t want to live with pain anymore. I am always tired as I don’t sleep probably anymore. I want to start living my life again. I have lost touch with all my friends as I don’t trust anyone I won’t let anyone get close to me as I don’t trust anyone all I do is just push people away from me so they end up disliking me. Hopefully with treatment the pain will ease

  34. Al December 22, 2017 at 10:59 am #

    3 years out. I still have triggers. I have anxiety attacks. I still wake up in the middle of the night with them…still have mind movies….over time I’ve lost all feeling inside me. I don’t ever have feelings for my kids. I’m a freaking empty shell. But I smile and live a normal life. But inside I’m shattered and screwed up. My wife blamed it all on me. Her childhood sexual abuse issues wrecked our marriage. She never sought help. And then the affairs….well that’s my fault to….she took all her problems and turned it into my fault to justify her actions. Now she says she is sorry. I’ll never give her or any woman 100 % of me ever again.

    • Carol December 22, 2017 at 11:47 am #

      Al: Don’t give up hope- it took almost 8 years to heal from learning my H had been having a 10 year affair and affairs b4 that our whole marriage (35+ years!). Speaking from the heart, authentically, and not trying to shove it under the rug is what ultimately saved us. It’s different for each couple. Now I’m facing open heart surgery and it was a real wake up call for both of us – remember life is short – never take each other for granted. How would your wife feel if she lost you?
      They all have to come to the moment of clarity where they realize what they’ve done and will do anything to help you heal. If she’s not there yet, keep the issue on the table (gently- there are many resources out there to help guide you) and don’t settle for less. I’m rooting for you!

    • Untold December 22, 2017 at 1:22 pm #

      Hang in there Al. I know how you feel – also a male 3+ years after last DDAY. it still sucks, I grieve daily and work to power past it. I used to be so highly motivated, ambitious. Much of that is gone, some from just being older (mid 50’s), but some from having the rug pulled out after 25 years of a good marriage. Wife in denial still, inadequate remorse/repentance, and unable to own her stuff and how deplorable her behavior was. Maybe some day I’ll feel different, but right now I can’t say it was worth staying and fighting to keep my marriage and family together. But we can continue to seek and find our own rewards and life satisfaction despite them.

  35. Ouch April 5, 2018 at 12:26 am #

    I was married for 10 years with the wife having an ’emotional’ affair after 3 years of marriage. We worked through that and I accepted the behaviours that she felt had contributed to her wanting an affair, and I thought we were relatively happy after that.

    But then at the 9 year mark she began another affair with my 18 year old cousin, someone who I had known since birth and helped out with fixing cars and camping trips. This was emotional AND physical, they would sleep together when I was away on work trips or organise me to look after the kids whilst she stayed at his rental house. We had a tight budget at that point and she would spend the money we allocated for groceries on expensive lingerie for him. She denies that she cheated on me because in her view each time they slept together she had “decided that we were over” and so it wasn’t cheating. Despite the fact that it occurred whilst we were married, in our marital home and marital bed, with us continuing our own intimacy after her sleeping with him. And it was more than once. She will STILL not admit that she cheated on me.

    She left me two years ago, after a year or so of confusing and difficult interactions, and what made her leaving worse at the time was that I didn’t know she had been sleeping with him and he was one of my main ‘supporters’ after our separation. I now think it was because of his guilt. I gave everything I had to work towards a reconciliation after she left, for her sake and the sake of the children and I only found out about his affair with her a year ago. I had to take two weeks off work to just cry. Now family events like Christmas and stuff are horrible, because he is always there and it reminds me of it all the time.

    She had another affair shortly after she left me, with a Christian pastor who was married and had three kids of his own. He was counselling me and her for a ‘reconciliation’, whilst pursuing his own affair with her, telling her that he loved her and would leave his wife for her. When I found out about his affair with my wife I didn’t know WHO to trust, if a wife, cousin and pastor can do this to me then there felt like no hope at all. She divorced me, against my wishes, and we had to do all of the asset splits, sell the family home etc. I had to move to another town in a cheaper home. She has had MANY partners since she left me and the children have been introduced to several of them. They are very confused as to what love is.

    I still have to interact with my ex-wife each week on behalf of our two children, whom we co-parent. People are sympathetic to a point and then they tell me that I have to get over it. I want to get over it but it’s so hard to!!

    How long will it take for me to heal? Has anyone been through something like that and is further down the track and can give me some advice? I am relatively happy as a single father but I can’t stop the shakes or nausea at even the THOUGHT of another relationship. To put myself in a position where I can be hurt again seems like lunacy.

    • Miranda April 5, 2018 at 7:46 pm #

      Ouch!

      This is messed up, or rather what your ex-wife did to you was messed-up, and severely too. You poor, poor man.

      You have been victim to a series of appalling events and the common theme was your wife as perpetrator – thank goodness you are now divorced – though quite why you didn’t divorce HER on the grounds of adultery isn’t made clear. No matter, you are unshackled.

      Your question “does PTSD have a time limit?” is relative and depends on how long it takes for you as an individual to recover (some of us are more fragile) and, how much effort you are willing to put into this. Eating well, exercising, seeing friends, spending time with your kids are all important measures you need to take towards your getting through this in one piece. You need to be kind to yourself, allow the sadness, the anger, the tears to surface but regain hold of what is also important and that is your entitlement to a happier life now. Step by step you will lead yourself out of this and I am guessing that after a year you will have gained some perspective, 2 years down the line, much more…until one day, you’ll suddenly realise that your trauma will have dissipated. That doesn’t mean that you will lose the sadness, but that comes with living. Happiness luckily, comes along at intervals too.

      It’s worth mentioning that triggers can lie dormant and often, when you think you are over it, BAM! it’s back. But your recovery period will be less and less each time until one day, it does not own you, you own it and you can choose to be affected or not.

      Your kids are getting love and support from you which will help them through this confusing experience. They will see their mother for what she is when they are old enough to understand. They must form their own opinion of her. Just be a good dad and don’t bad mouth their mum even if she is not acting as she should.

      I’m no expert so this advice, though well-meaning is not conclusive – though I have suffered betrayal and PTSD is a real part of this – I am offering you the advice that I would have liked to have received.

      Best of luck

      The worst is over. You have your life back, and great kids. Keep going and go easy.

    • Tiffany May 13, 2018 at 9:54 am #

      Dear Ouch,
      You have such emotional trauma and I am so sorry for what you’ve been through and still going through.
      The difference for you is you have Chronic Trauma. Chronic Trauma is when you have gone through a physical or emotional threat and it is reoccurring. It didn’t happen just once, it happened over and over again.
      Acute Trauma is when it only happens once.

      I have been through so much with the man I love, of six years. I moved in with him August 2012- he was not divorced totally. I never pushed him to leave as he seemed unsure of what he wanted. I would hear him tell his wife he loved her.
      He had another woman other than me, (I didn’t know) he was living with. He was a fireman and would work weird 12 hour shifts or say he took extra overtime.
      Well long story short we lived on his best friends property. I found out he was seeing his best friends wife. Well it gets worse, they lived two football fields away from us. His best friend and his wife, along with my boyfriend and the other woman, were involved in orgies together.they would have these two football fields away at their house. He would hide his truck at the small grocery store where my children and I would do our grocery shopping, and the owners and some employees were involved in the orgies. Also where I got my car fixed. I was so humiliated to find out that I was the only one who didn’t know. Up to 70 people surrounding me and my children knew about it. I felt so sick, I couldn’t leave because we had a business together that was my sole income. I had to suck it up for my kids.
      He made me get her coffee one day when she appeared in the yard. Before I knew about her. And apparently their were rules about the orgies that you weren’t supposed to meet up outside the group. As soon as I got a full confession from him I called her husband and he was furious, I could actually hear him screaming at her from between properties 😊
      I am a monogamous person, I never saw it coming. I grew up southern baptist. I don’t believe in church anymore, I know God is with me, but this was the event that turned my religion inside out. There were other things that happen to get me to this point as well with church.
      I am currently digging my way up out of this hell. And it’s mot easy because I too have chronic trauma.
      Just love yourself and think about this, empower yourself in knowing you can walk away if you want.
      I am currently shedding 20 lbs from my emotional eating, and enjoying my kids who are older now.
      He pleads with me to stay, but I am very mean to him at times.
      I dont want to treat him this way, it’s not right. He tries so hard to make it up to me.
      I am not very receptive and as I continue into my third round of therapy, I am looking to overcome this and stay with him, because I do love him.
      But I will not stay with him and treat him poorly if I can’t get over this.
      It means it’s over if I can’t get over the past.

  36. Carol April 5, 2018 at 2:51 pm #

    She obviously has serious emotional issues.
    I don’t have a crystal ball, but since I know there are many, many women out there who don’t have serious emotional issues and are wired for fidelity, if you keep your heart open, in time you will be in a happy, stable relationship. I’ve seen it over and over. Wishing you all the best.

  37. Ouch April 6, 2018 at 5:16 am #

    Thanks Carol and Miranda,

    I appreciate your kind thoughts. I am doing quite well all things considering, the kids and I have a lot of good family time together and looking after them has kept me grounded for the most part.

    Miranda,

    That’s what I’m finding, that I think I’m doing well and them BAM, something will trip it. The main thing I feel when it is triggered is fear.

    Also, I didn’t divorce her for many reasons. I made my marriage vows and would never, ever break them, no matter the reason. I wanted the kids to have a stable family and would almost give my life to give that to them. She would turn to me for help and comfort each time that an affair was exposed and that would give me hope that she might be sorry finally. Because I just really struggled to believe the reality of what was happening, it just felt surreal that someone could make vows to love until death parted us and then do that to me. And because I truly believed that it was my fault that she did it all. She told me many times all of the reasons why I wasn’t enough for her and that she didn’t want my love or support, she told me often that I would never find someone who would put up with me or love me and I didn’t see any reason to disbelieve that, if I couldn’t be enough for her then why would I be enough for anyone? It makes sense to me.

    • Miranda April 6, 2018 at 8:22 am #

      Ouch

      She did a lot of damage didn’t she? Some might say she is a born manipulator.

      When people say cruel things to others, they are often projecting their weaknesses onto someone else. This is a form of denial, or a reluctance to accept that they have ongoing personal issues.

      It sounds as if your ex-wife has a lot of problems and was relieving herself of the burden by shovelling them on to you and saying, no this is how you behave, not me.

      You are, and were never responsible for the decisions she made, nor were the accusations she flung at you ever true.
      By using her energies to hurt you, your ex-wife was able to exonerate herself thus making her infidelities acceptable to herself.

      Only they never were of course and she had to repeat the cycle again and again to avoid feeling shame.

      Time to set yourself free Ouch. That part of your life is over, you are no longer subject to her abuse.

      Move on, take time to heal, be aware that the Bam! moments will appear occasionally. Notice them happening, don’t react, and wait for them to pass like a storm cloud.

      It is hard for you because you still have to communicate with the mother of your children, do this calmly and methodically, do not indulge her. She is an element of your past life, so just because your kids are part of her world, does not mean you have to be.

      Love yourself and you will get there.

      One thing I did was to write a series of letters telling the OW how I felt. The letters were often sad, or angry. I never sent them, just burnt them…but I always felt like I ‘d gotten some of the poison out.

  38. Ouch April 6, 2018 at 6:58 pm #

    Miranda,

    Thing is that I DO still have to be a part of her world. I don’t have a choice because of the kids. For example, she doesn’t have a job and lives off government parenting payments and the spousal support that I have to pay her because we had children together.

    Earlier this year we organised that I could have the kids an extra night each week, bringing my weekly time with them to 3 nights a week. This effected her payments and so she rang asking to change it back but I was really enjoying the extra time with them so I said that I would prefer not. After crying about it she then threatened to take me to court and take the kids off me permanently, she has said in the past that “even if she was a jobless alcoholic she would still be given the kids because the mum always gets them”, and unfortunately in the culture that we live in I have seen this to be true quite often so I don’t want to risk that. I agreed to have them less so that she could get more money (at my expense). My whole stomach contracts in fear whenever I have to interact with her. I think I could heal much easier if I did not have to talk with her again.

    I like the idea of writing letters out to express how I feel. I’ll do that.

  39. Miranda April 7, 2018 at 8:27 am #

    Yes, try the letter writing as a way of expressing the emotions you withhold when you communicate directly with her. Do you run, or have a physical outlet? If not, think of an activity that fits into your routine. A strong mind and body will benefit you in countless ways.

    Plant some vegetables, or salads, with the kids perhaps – get pleasure from watching something grow – a good contrast from the negative issues in your life.

    One day, when the kids are older, you will be set free from her entirely.

    Good bye, and good luck.

  40. Carol April 7, 2018 at 9:10 am #

    Yep, life will eventually move on, you will have learned many lessons and they will be woven into the colorful tapestry that is your unique life story. Don’t mean to wax so philosophical, but I was obsessed with my H’s infidelities and bad behavior for 8 years until I was hit with another challenge – a life threatening heart problem. Now, 3 weeks post open heart surgery, I am putting things in perspective and so’s my H. He’s been the best caregiver ever. My health problem was like a huge bitch slap reminding both of us how fragile and precious life is. If you keep that wonderful integrity and stay kind, I can almost guarantee you will reach a place of peace and gratitude for your one beautiful messy life- all of it:-)
    Carol

  41. Ouch April 7, 2018 at 5:50 pm #

    Thanks Miranda and Carol,

    I’ll keep moving forward. I do go to the gym and I restore old furniture for fun, I get a lot of satisfaction from these activities as a positive outlet.

    Goodbye and thank you for the words of encouragement.

  42. Miranda April 7, 2018 at 7:12 pm #

    Carol

    That is a refreshing truthful way of putting it. I love the ‘huge bitch slap’ metaphor. Life can deliver a good right hook when we least expect. I’m learning, like you, that a blow to the stomach can be quickly followed by a kick on the shin. We need to stay in shape!

    Hope you continue gaining strength and maintain your healthy perspective on this beautiful, messy life.

    Miranda

  43. Miranda April 7, 2018 at 7:14 pm #

    Ouch

    You sound like such a nice guy, and you seem to be doing all the right things. I really hope it all works out for you.

    With love and warm wishes for the future

    Miranda

  44. Kathy May 13, 2018 at 4:11 am #

    When I started reading this the tears came immediately.. it’s been almost 1 Year and I love him so much he’s the love of my life my soul mate we’ve been together since I was 14 years but at times the pain is so raw and unbearable that I almost want my heart to stop beating just to get a break from the pain.. I forgive him but I don’t know how to get past the pain, heartache, gut wrenching destroyed feeling.. someone help me/us get started with recovery

  45. Al June 5, 2018 at 1:05 pm #

    We’ll its getting worse. 31/2 years out. Depression and anxiety attacks. Mind movies. Break downs. Went to marriage counseling for 11/2 years. Wife went off and on for a year. I get electric shocks at night went I lay down. I got an appointment with a mental health professional. Maybe that will help. We never had very good communication and this affair isn’t talked about. Mostly cause she says she can’t remember. Mmmm. She is on Prozac now for her depression issues. I tried Effexor but that made me suicidal and I quit it. I’m quite a mess. She has the ability stemming from her CSA issues to compartmentalize her problems and shove them into the back of her head and forget it ever happened. That worked for her until it resurfaced during perimenopause. So that coping mechanism didn’t work. But she’s trying it with this issue. Can’t understand why it just won’t disappear. But it’s time I sought better help. And if a happy life means she’s not in it then so be it. I put up with her secrets and lying for 30 years. All her coping mechanisms did was make me feel like something was wrong with me. 30 years I felt like a loser because of her hidden problems. When she would freeze up during intimacy it made me feel like I was the problem. I feel sorry about her childhood. But I’m also angry that her “handling “ of it damaged me also. I didn’t deserve that. I didn’t ask for this. And 31/2 years later I’m a freakin mess.

  46. Miranda June 5, 2018 at 2:59 pm #

    And if a happy life means she’s not in it then so be it.
    Maybe you have answered your own question here Al.
    3 1\2 years is a long time to still be experiencing major anxiety. You shouldn’t be a ‘freakin mess’ anymore.
    What do you do to fulfill your own life outside of the relationship? Your happiness should stem from the stuff you do as an individual, a relationship is for sharing that happiness not crushing it. Xxx

  47. KB June 17, 2018 at 8:24 pm #

    I totally understand where you are coming from. I am going on a year now.. I just want it to end and people keep telling me I won’t let it. They have no idea what I am dealing with inside…

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