life after infidelity - worriedFor the last couple of weeks I’ve been quite pre-occupied with work.  There’s just too much stuff going on with too few hours in the day to get it done. I’ve been working long hours while seemingly not getting a tremendous amount accomplished.  Some nights while sleeping there have been visions of work invading my brain and I found myself awakening in the middle of the night unable to fall back to sleep.

Consequently, I’ve been tired and a little cranky at times.  When I get like that I don’t have very much tolerance at all for things – especially stupid or inconsiderate people.  I don’t like myself very much when I get like that, so thank goodness it doesn’t happen very often.

For instance, the other day I was grocery shopping on a Saturday afternoon (which was my first mistake) and found myself in a sea of Starbucks slurping, cell phone talking, kids are screaming, slow cart pushing… morons.  These people were blocking the aisles and really impeding my mad dash through the store.  Quite frankly they were frustrating the hell out of me.  I could seriously feel my blood pressure rising to the point to where I felt like I was going to explode.

Thankfully, I made it through without killing anyone and I’m happy to say that I’m not writing this from a jail cell.

However…what I did not notice was that my recent disposition has created some uneasiness in Linda.  You see, it seems that I’m acting similarly to the way I did 5 years ago prior to, and during my emotional affair.

So the other morning as we lay in bed just before getting up, Linda says to me:  “Is there anything you need to tell me?”

At first I was somewhat taken aback and asked her what she meant?  She went on to tell me that I was acting a little “short” with her and the girls (and others).  She also pointed out that I got up one morning around 4AM and went right to work, hammering away on the computer.  Basically I was behaving in ways that reminded her of a very bad time in our lives. 

Needless to say, I felt awful.  I knew I was being less than pleasant of late, but didn’t realize the extent that I was.  Naturally, this was yet another lesson learned on my part – one I should have already known.

The Lesson…

Even if it’s been 2 years, 5 years or 10 years since your affair, your actions and words can quickly whisk your partner back in time to potentially a very bad place – a place that brings back bad memories, triggers, questions, worry and doubt. Fear and insecurity can rush over them in a heartbeat.  There’s a sudden impulse to check phone bills and monitor computer usage once again.  There’s a thought that “If he does that again, I’ll kill him!”

Completely understandable reactions.

Being a realist however, I know that throughout life and relationships, shit happens and you’re not always going to be at your best 100% of the time. 

Your relationship might slip into a rut for various reasons.  You might be pre-menopausal and act like a bitch now and then.  Stress may get to you and cause you to be a grouch to everyone you come in contact with.  The list goes on.

The point is that you have to be aware of these things when they pop up, take a step back to analyze what’s causing you to act the way you are, come up with a plan to manage or correct things and then implement the plan.

In my case, I was somewhat aware of the fact that I was acting like a bitch, but Linda brought it home for me by mentioning it.  And that brings up the point that you and your spouse need to have the understanding that if similar episodes occur in your relationship and it starts to become a common thing, one of the spouses (the nice one) needs to communicate their displeasure with the situation – without fear of being yelled at, stonewalled or gaslighted.  Then you work through the issues at hand.

This is one of the major things that Linda and I have corrected in our relationship since my affair.  We do not avoid confrontation and we communicate much more effectively with respect to our needs, concerns, desires, etc.  Life after infidelity for us is much more honest, open and proactive.

Now in our situation, Linda’s concerns were quickly dispelled through a brief conversation, and that can be attributed to the fact that we are far removed from the affair and we have made the necessary changes in our relationship to address such issues.

I realize that not all of you are in the same position though, and unfortunately I don’t think there is any magic pill that can make such scenarios more manageable, especially if the affair just recently occurred.

I still think that awareness and communication are the keys though.  You have to be able to realize when your words or actions are wreaking havoc (or your spouse needs to inform you).  Then as a couple you need to talk through it in a safe environment, come to an understanding of the effects of your actions, have some empathy for your spouse’s feelings and then work to do better the next time.

I know this sort of scenario happens a lot, so how do you handle it when it crops up in your relationship?  How does it affect you and how does your spouse react?  Please tell us in the comment section below.

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    11 replies to "Is There Anything You Need to Tell Me?"

    • Paula

      Mmmm. Well. I was always an effective communicator. He agrees. He wasn’t. He wouldn’t bring things up if he was disturbed, etc. And I didn’t fully pick up on that because he gave me “just enough” to believe he was fully sharing. That is hard. How do you improve your own personal communication skills if you felt like you already were good at honesty, kindness and openness? And boy, I sure am not perfect. But this is area that my boy and counsellors have told me I am quite effective at. Yes. Not perfect. Yes there may have been some sarcasm occasionally. But not often. I am far more mindful of slipping into bad habits with regards to communication now than perhaps I was in the past.

      • exercisegrace

        I think as women we are naturally better communicators. I could discuss things at length, and because he often just seemed to agree, I assumed that he DID. I think sometimes he really didn’t, he just didn’t think it was worth the hassle to explain his point of view. Therapy has definitely helped with that. It has has also forced him to see that processing our emotions, and understanding our feelings about things is necessary so they don’t build up inside and explode in a terrible direction.

    • Strengthrequired

      I know my h has been working hard at trying to communicate better and he has. I don’t have a problem communicating. I have times when I worry he is stepping back into the way he acted just prior to his ea and during his ea. During his ea was the worse by far, and I will be damned if I go through thai shit again.
      So I do mention things if my h snaps at me for no apparent reason, I let him know. I let him know that I don’t want to go backwards I want to move forward. If I see that he is still stressed and depressed (which is often due to business). I worry that he is going to get vulnerable again and lose all lack of judgement.
      I wait with baited breathe for all the stress to be lifted for him, so I don’t feel that way.
      My h stays away due to work every week, I am used to this now, I’m not so anxious anymore, and I feel like I am trusting him more and he has earned it.
      One thing I can’t get my head around is the way he is too busy with work to call for longer than 5 mins most of the time. I know he has to get work done, that’s why I don’t bother him, because really I want my husband home every night like it used to be, but I can’t get rid of the thought of how he could call cousin b”it”ch several times a day, each time he was in the car, for hour long conversations most of the time.
      I guess I feel like I’m not worth that effort, yet the effort he put into her almost destroyed our business. So I definately don’t want that, I also feel if we do have conversations past 20 minutes it gets hard to find something else to say, it gets boring if we have already spoken about work, children etc.
      So maybe I’m shit at interesting him, I’m not interesting enough, and he found her very interesting and could hang off her every word and couldn’t wait for the next conversation. That is how I struggle.
      I think it would just feel nice to feel that important to him, eve though I can’t expect him to drop everything for me, like she expected. I guess that’s the difference between a wife and a mistress.

      • exercisegrace

        SR, this is something I struggle with as well. We own our own business, and his affair nearly ruined it. He involved her heavily and the financial fall-out has been stunning. It is yet another area of resentment that you and I have, that few others do. Most affairs seem to be fairly self-contained. If there is money spent it is on small things like gifts, or a stolen weekend away. While the aftermath of all affairs are awful, most do not decimate the marital finances (unless there is divorce). So we will feel the impact of his choices not just emotionally but also financially, for years to come.

        I can also relate to the time spent as well. I have simply come to the conclusion that OF COURSE they could spend hours talking. They didn’t really KNOW each other that well. Despite the family connection between your husband and “it”, they really didn’t. My husband and I have been together for thirty years. We know everything there is to know about each other, and we have heard every story. We have had three decades to do so. In an affair, they are re-telling their glory days, funniest jokes, best stories, and so on. Very time consuming. They are simply basking in the glow of a new ear, a fresh audience. That’s all. I don’t see it as an indication of “depth” in the relationship. The cheating spouse is just seeking attention and adoration.

        We ARE interesting and valuable. We are the chosen ones. We have the ring, the name, the kids, the relationship and the man. She was just a pretender to the throne. We need to throw those scumbags into our mental dungeon!

        • Strengthrequired

          Eg, we are still feeling the fallout with our finances, it’s like we are a sinking ship trying to stay afloat. He works harder and harder, we sacrifice more and more, and we are lucky to move forward a step then we seem to move back two. Ohh how I can’t wait for things to get better financially. I would just like to have my h and the kids their father back again. I wonder when we no longer feel like we are sinking.
          He is sooo tired, yet he still keeps going and trying to save everything.
          I just wish it would all start working out for him, I honestly believe we have suffered enough from this ea. I would love to see us get on top of everything again and look back and be able to say, she tried to ruin us and almost did, but she didn’t get her way, yet at the moment everyday is a constant reminder of her and what she set out to do.
          I really hope that the day we are back on steady ground, that my h looks back with hatred for his cousin b”it”ch, because honestly how would he not be able to see what she is really like when his head is no longer stressed. I’m tired of stressed and depressed, I want us happy again….
          How is your business going EG, has it improved or still like ours?

          • exercisegrace

            I wish there was something to say. There just isn’t, is there? We get thrown into a great big crappy mess. We sound like we are in the same boat. The financial mess seems never-ending. For a year and a half he swore nothing ever happened in his car, just holding hands while he drove. *gag* And while I knew she had ridden in it a LOT, I forced myself to be “ok” about keeping it. It finally came out that they had sex in his car once. I went into meltdown mode, discussed my feelings with him and jointly with our counselor. I tried to put it behind us, but in the end the car had to go. Now we have a payment again. One we don’t need. Is this MY fault? I go back and forth between feeling like it’s just more consequences of his bad choices, and feeling like at this point I am the one choosing to make things worse. I struggle with feeling like I should have just “dealt”. After all, they had sex in our house
            for a year, and we simply cannot sell the house at this point. I guess the car was one thing I could control. I don’t know.

            I know he hates her more than anyone on earth. I know he profoundly regrets what he did. I know I get to live MY life as the good wife who stayed by him, and she will always wear the label of “biggest mistake I ever made”. Sucks to be her!

            • Strengthrequired

              Honestly EG, how can anyone hold a good label after having sex in another woman’s bed and with her husband, then in the car too. Now I’m nit sure about you but to me that is low and disgraceful behavior. So I don’t see how any man can look at that and be proud of having slept with someone like that. So yes it would suck to be her.
              I was so happy when my h got rid of his car, and yes we ended up with payments too. Yet my sanity was raised having gotten rid of it, because I know just how much she was in the car driving around with him too. It makes me gag too. I remember once before the ea she wanted us to keep taking her out, she would sit in the back seat laying her legs on the back seat. I sat there thinking wtf, who sits like that in a car,mits not like she is a child, she is a grown woman. She even smoked inside my house in front of my children and guests, I wanted my h to say something to her, because you know his cousin, but he didn’t, acted shocked like he didn’t know. We both aren’t smokers either. It showed me just how much disrespect she had for us by doing those things, before he got involved with her.
              I never trusted this woman, yet I had to act like I did, for my h it was his cousin after all. So I welcomed her into our home. Yet my h said to me, why didn’t you say anything? I told him because she was your cousin, and it’s not like you would have listened anyway. His reply, your right the way he was, he wouldn’t have listened.
              I still have my house, we tried to sell it but the people backed out, yet turned out better that we didn’t sell. We are now looking at selling the one we moved into. My h would like us to move back to our old home one day, but I can’t bring myself to, it isn’t the same anymore. Yet it isn’t just the home, it’s the whole place, he was always taking her places, so everywhere seems tainted to me. Talk about having your world turned upside down.
              We both seem to be facing the similar with finances etc, I honestly wish things would start improving, it’s scary how one person can cause so much havoc in our lives, and practically destroy everything because she wants what we have.

    • exercisegrace

      I hate the fact there will always be triggers. Things that make me fearful, things that remind me of his behavior and actions “pre” and early affair. But I struggle to look at the plus side of the equation. I try hard to see this as a sort of emotional security system we now have installed to protect our marriage.

      Our therapist says that I have always done the emotional heavy lifting in our relationship and now he is learning to do that for himself. He has never been big on recognizing, let alone discussing feelings and emotions. Now he knows that is critical for our relationship.

      We have also learned to communicate in a better way, making sure the other person doesn’t just hear, but understands what we are trying to say. We try to make no assumptions, and often ask each other to clarify thoughts or statements.

      He knows I am working hard to forgive his mistake and repair the extensive damage his choices have wrought in our lives and in our family. He also knows that I will never, ever tolerate that happening again. With all of the above in place, there is no reason for him (or me, for that matter) to look outside of the relationship. We have gone to great lengths to “bomb proof” our lives and if he ever detonates one again, I will have no problem walking.

      • Strengthrequired

        Funny huh? How our husbands weren’t so good at discussing their feelings and emotions until the ow came along. My h tells me how he doesn’t remember much at all, alot is just a blur to him during his ea, especially the very beginning. I guess it shows how depressed he really was. It wasn’t until his head started to clear that he started to remember things from then on. Gee wouldn’t that be nice to be able to forget the worse time in our life.
        I just thought of something. I hope I don’t end up with alzeimers or dementia when I’m older, this time of my life hopefully by then have moved passed, I would really hate to relive it in my mind, ohh and I really hope he doesn’t end up with those terrible diseases either, because I would hate for him to relive it and start calling me the ow name.
        Now why did I have to think of that….. Completely off track.
        Your right EG with everything learned from this, there shouldn’t be any reason for this to happen again. The pain suffered from both is just too great to even want to let it happen again.

    • Gizfield

      I totally agree, Exercise Grace. If there is one thing I dislike it is excessive talking. I call those people Windbags, my husband calls them Broadcasters. our lives are filled with them. My brother, his late father, co workers, high school friends. They are always looking for a “fresh ear” as you put it. I hear one now, lol, while I’m at lunch. They tell ALL, about themselves, about their friends, people on tv, just like diarrhea of the mouth. My brother and his friend came to my house to pick up furniture I had given the friend. They almost never got it done cause they were so busy talking about OLD MOVIES. What??? I just really can’t tolerate people who talk to much. I imagine in most “affairs” one partner is a windbag/broadcaster who had run out of folks to tell all their fascinating bullshit to.

      • Strengthrequired

        Giz, my h has never been much of a talker, so if your h is anything like mine in that department, it was all the ow passing wind and he probably fell asleep listening to the dribble, maybe that’s why they could call again to show interest when they missed most of the conversation, and it was ok to hear it again and again over and over, just to keep the ow happy, that he is such a wonderful listener. That reminds me, my h told me she thought he was a good listener….. Lol, That’s because he couldn’t get a word in, because he was asleep.

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