Hello Everyone!

Regardless of whether you are a cheater or the hurt spouse, after the affair you are probably living in fear.

Consider the following description of fear:

“Fear is an emotional & physiological reaction we feel based on imagining events which have not even happened.”

And as was written in an earlier post on the subject:

“… fear is not who we are, it’s an emotional state we put ourselves in because of our own thoughts.”

Neale Donald Walsch, speaker, spiritual seeker, and bestselling author of the “Conversations With God” series says that “The biggest problem on the planet is fear.” He says this is so because fear affects everything we experience.

Fear is perhaps one of the most prevalent emotions that have affected you since the affair.  Fear of what the future might hold. Fear that your partner might leave you for the other person. Fear that your family will be broken apart.  Fear that your relationship will never be the same.  Fear that your spouse may never heal from the pain you caused.  Fear that you or your spouse may have another affair.  The list goes on and on.

We offered this same topic for discussion six months ago but since readers and their situations/feelings change over time, we thought it was a good time to revisit this topic.  

Therefore, we wanted to get a feel for what you are most afraid of right now.

Here are a few questions to consider…

What are your biggest fears for your family and your marriage after infidelity?

Do you feel that your fears are logical and justifiable?

How are you and your partner addressing these fears?

Have your fears about your marriage after infidelity subsided as you travel further down the path of recovery and healing, or are they still there just as strong as ever?

What has happened (or needs to happen) for those fears to go away?

Please remember to respond to one another in the comment section below.

See also  The Crazy Things You Did After the Affair

Thank you very much!

Linda & Doug

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LINESPACE

    54 replies to "Discussion – What Do You Fear Most?"

    • rachel

      I guess my biggest fear right now is if my boys and I don’t get to keep the house. It is our home. The ex did do all of the labor, but it has my touch of decorating it to be our home. They need some stability, comfort. It is so hard for them even being older.

    • Battleborn

      Rachel, I agree with your comment. I had decided a long time ago that I would give up everything if we had divorced in order for my daughter to stay in our home. Children should not be denied their stability because of the adults strife.

      The other worry that I had was that she would lose the close contact with her father. At the moment, I could care less if he ever saw her again, but in the long run that would not have been a good thing. It would be her decision when she got older whether or not she accepted his affair as the reason for her parents divorce.

      My H and I decided a while ago that we would work on our marriage in part for our daughter. Perhaps that is not a wise decision to “stay together for the children,” but honestly that was a part of it. Both of us realized that she would never have the stability we wanted for her if we divorced. I learned that from my first divorce. Since neither my H nor I were abusive we could work at the marriage in a civil manner. This would not have worked if it were abusive in any manner.

      In the long run it was a wise decision and she has forced us the look at the long term problems we have had. She has indeed been a good influence on us and we are grateful for it.

      • Rachel

        Battleborn,
        I too wanted to work on marriage for our children, the family unit. This is something that my h couldnt do. He said that he wanted the freedom to go to lunch with ex girlfriends whenever he wanted????
        our marriage therapist felt that we could get things back only if he could stop seeing the ow which I doubt could happen.
        He Sid that they are soul mates. And if he were a betting man he would bet that they would be together in the future.
        I know I would never would have been able to trust him again. He has been in touch with the tramp for 25 years. He claims that they were only phone calls. My gut feeling is that it was more.

    • Linda

      My biggest fear/anxiety is when is the OW is going to make contact again. She still works in the same town and as a matter of fact I just saw her at the gas station 10 minutes ago. I wanted to punch her, but I acted as if I didn’t see her. Doug and Linda why don’t you write about what the OW is thinking, going thru. Why she is or isn’t making contact. We create these monsters/seductresses in our minds and vilify them but they are just humans just like us. We see them as the enemy and rightfully so, they are, because, in a way, this is war. I hear the OW is afraid of me and I am glad about that. Better to be feared than loved! But is she waiting around thinking he is going to come back to her? UGH in a way I wish she would rear her ugly head so he can get angry and tell her off, get a restraining order, etc.

      • Doug

        Hi Linda. Thanks for sharing. I agree that writing about what the OW is thinking and going through would be a good topic, we would need to get some feedback from OWs in order to do so. So if there are any OPs out there, feel free to chime in.

        • Sidney

          Linda,
          Are you talking about why the OW is or isn’t making contact with the AP or the BS? I’m thinking it’s with the AP, but didn’t want to assume anything.

          I was the OW….and for me, I didn’t want to initiate contact with the man out of respect for us trying to work on our respective marriages. During the EA, we both knew what we were doing was wrong….but we didn’t care. It was almost the whole ‘what they didn’t know didn’t hurt them’ rationale. However, when his wife found out, it was like we both ‘woke up’ to the situation and decided that our focus should be on our families and not our selfishness.

          Did I want to contact him after ‘the break-up?’ Yes. Did I? No. Why? Because I needed to respect that he was going to work on his marriage. But….the sick thing was….I wanted to be there for him and support him on it (reparing his marriage). I know, I know….that doesn’t even sound sane….that I, the OW, wanted to be his support system for the process. I also really wanted to know (genuinely) how things were going for him and his wife. We really did become friends and were each other’s support system, so it was difficult for me to know he was going through a rough time and I couldn’t be there for him.

          I’m not sure, Linda, if I answered your question…..but hopefully it helped.

          • tryinghard

            Sidney
            I get that feeling about being his “friend” which by the way is what got you and him into this mess, and wanting to support him with his struggles to repair the damage. That’s a whole other discussion but my H’s OW hasn’t gotten in touch at all. She sent a card to the house, one of those mushy I miss you type cards but that’s it. It’s been a 1 1/2 years but their affair lasted almost 4 years. She lost everything, her job, car, friend, lover etc and yet she hasn’t even tried to get a hold of him. I wish I could say it was out of respect for him and me but she’s not like that. She doesn’t have a conscience and I got that from my H and some of her family members. Once he told me everything he never contacted her again. Said he didn’t want to hear anything she had to say. I just keep waiting for the other shoe to drop. Maybe she didn’t really love him at all an was using him for money which she got plenty of! I just think she would want some kind of explanation from him. I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop like is she going to send all the cards and gifts to me to see what he gave her to hurt me? She has to be furious with him.
            Thank you for answering me. It was brave of you and I admire that you have enough character to realize you needed to leave your AP alone.

            • Recovering

              Good if she is furious with him! That will keep her away. If she had half a brain she would be embarrassed as hell and furious with herself for doing something so obviously stupid!! Clearly your husband was never going to leave you – 4 years is a long time to cheat and stay with the wife! Your husband got his excitement on the side… he used her… what more could she get from him other than more of a confirmation that he ISNT going to leave, which would be even more humiliating and hurtful to the deluded who probably convinced herself that he would one day leave, when she KNEW in the back of her mind that he never would but just didn’t want to admit it. She now HAS to admit it… hopefully she is humiliated and will stay away – is what she deserves. Don’t keep waiting for the other shoe to drop! Discuss with your husband what he would do if she did contact him. Have a plan ready, and make sure he tells you EVERYTHING if she does contact him. This will make you feel more ready for the attack, even if it never comes. Has worked for us, though I haven’t told MY husband this… if it ever does contact him (he will tell me because HE wouldn’t be doing anything wrong he says) the next phone call will be to its husband. I have kept their disgusting secret from her husband because I am not one to destroy families and spread my pain (despite my deep desire for revenge) but if it tries to weasel it’s way back in, at least I have recourse… Not letting my husband off of the hook, as he was as disgusting as her, but SHE did all of the ‘work’ in the affair… he just went along for the disgusting ego trip of a ride… luckily for me there were no love letters and only 1 time where he actually lied about where he was (the 1 hotel visit).. the rest of the time he just lied about who all he was with and WHAT he was DOING! I control the money, so he couldn’t buy her gifts and whatnot either! Man, she must have been really hard up! He didn’t even buy the condomns or pay for the hotel! SHE did! Makes him a hooker in my book, and lunches toghether were always dutch! Nice thing about debit cards and being the accountant!! LOL! What a whore it is!

            • Pippi

              Wow — you know when you read something and it just hits you upside the head as a thought you’d never considered? Recovering — that’s what just happened for me when I read your words:

              “4 years is a long time to cheat and stay with the wife! Your husband got his excitement on the side… he used her… what more could she get from him other than more of a confirmation that he ISNT going to leave”

              I just never considered that the LONGER the affair, the LONGER the confirmation that he wasn’t going to leave. Brilliant!! Love it when that happens. Just turned my way of thinking upside down for the better and it’s so true. Happy Friday indeed!

            • tryinghard

              Yes Pippi, 4 years was a long time for my H and he had several opportunities to leave me. In July 2010 I had had enough of him ignoring me and I said I wanted a divorce. I couldn’t live like that any longer. It was before I knew about the OW and guess what he straightened up for a while and I felt stupid for talking about leaving at my age (50 something:)). He could have left me easily and gone to be with his AP. He left our home in March of 2011 because of the pressure and guilt and I’m sure he was afraid he would be caught and then all hell would break loose. I didn’t find out all the details until August of 2011 when we were reconciling. She sent a card in Sept of 2011 and then nothing since. Well she did use him as a reference for a job but she did not call him personally. As I said I don’t understand how for her she could just let it drop. Maybe she was sick of it all too. Some questions just can’t be answered I guess.

          • Recovering

            What you had with this man as the OW wasn’t love, nor could you support someone with who you were, because ultimately you were in it all for yourself. Love doesn’t destroy someone’s life and family, and friends don’t do that to their real friends either. As my husband says, if his REAL friends knew what he has done that they would hate him. Yes, they would, because they would know that if he would treat the person that he promised to love and cherish forever, and went home to every day, like that, that they would more easily destroy a friendship… people go on and on about not judging one another, but as you said, you KNEW what you were doing was wrong but chose to do it anyway… that DESERVES judgement. You weren’t friends, and you certainly weren’t in love. You were both selfish sick little children… this is the REAL world, not your fantasy. Just stay away from all married men, including your AP and grow some moral character!

          • Doug

            Thanks for sharing that Sidney.

        • tryinghard

          Well Doug I don’t know how many OW read this blog but it is something that haunts me. My H and I are on the road to recovery but it is talking some time. More time than he wants because he just wants all this discussion stuff to be over and move on. But this EA lasted too long for me to be over it yet and also all the money he spent on her. UGH why is life so difficult??? 🙂

          • tryingtoowife

            Linda and tryinghard – perhaps on breaking up, your husband communicated something that showed he was really over OW and it hurt her pride? Something ticked that she also can not forgive him, therefore she is not going to contact him. In my case my husband, after the OW contact me (she said: to help him!), he texted her and among other things he said he felt nothing but hate and contempt for her (and more). She never tried to contact him again, but obviously I was still her target for a little while, and there is a restraining order in place, but that is on me! (long story, the OW is sick!). But it is OK, because she is out of our lives and she is really nothing to us! So perhaps it is really a case that they understood the little value they did had in your husbands life after all?

            • Tryinghard

              Dear trying toowife
              That’s a good point and thank you for that insight. I keep wondering if she’s laying low thinking he is going to “come to his senses” and come back to her. I know he feels contempt for her but he never did that grand gesture of teliing her that. He just never contacted her again. I’m sure she’s mad and hurt. Maybe she is smart enough to realize it was nothing for him and only worked because it was a secret and after the secret was out it was over. She’s owes him a lot of money and maybe that’s why she hasn’t caused any trouble.

      • Recovering

        Quite honestly, I only want to know what the OW is going through if she is completely MISERABLE because otherwise…. she is an AWFUL person, and quite frankly, my husband, though we are still together and trying to work on things, was an awful person too. He has had to face what he has done, so it is easier to not hate him most of the time now. I fear what I have become, and that I will never be ME again. I never in a million years thought that I could hurt someone else, but if I ran into it on the street… I don’t know that I could stop myself from hurting it. It has it’s own husband and children, who luckily for them never found out about the cheating, but in that it has never had to pay for what it has done… it has never FACED the lies and the distruction and the disgust of who it really is deep down. I fear that I will never be over this… that the disgust will keep feeding the hate and that I will never be past this… It has been a year and a half, and I really thought I would be further than this by now. I love my husband, yet I am still on the roller coaster of whether he loves me REALLY and if he did how could he CHOSE to be so DISGUSTING and how could he CHOSE to be with someone who was so obviously DISGUSTING. I fear these feelings will never go away and that I will always harbor hate…. that was not me before all of this mess, yet now…. I just want to figure out how to let go…

        • tryinghard

          Recovering
          It has been a year and half for me too and I know what you are going through. The last thing I want to be is bitter. I like how you refer to the OW as it, I call her the cockroach 🙂 But do you think that by us dehumanizing them we are making it worse on ourselves. Yes I understand your hate and that you don’t know what you would do if you ran into her. I’ll bet you wouldn’t do anything. It’s a fantasy for us to think how fun it would be to confront her or even punch her. I saw the OW yesterday and I just acted like I didn’t see her. I can’t believe you didn’t let her husband know what a pig she was. That takes a lot of strength on your part. I would have called him immediately! Yes she needs to suffer and I hope she is but I doubt it. She had her cake and ate it too and now she’s probably moving on to another victim. You take care of yourself and don’t lower yourself to be bitter. Nothing is worth that.

          • Recovering

            Tryinghard,

            Thank you for your kind words. Honestly, I would probably just throw up if I saw it!! LOL! I saw someone who looked like it, and I just couldn’t think straight, started shaking, and lost it on my husband! Before coming to his senses, he freaked out with a “here we go again” kind of comment, to which I threw in HIS face that I have NEVER had this kind of moment before in the year and a half, and that it was HIS fault in the first place… then he straightened up and was supportive. As for dehumanizing, I have NO sympathy for the OW, and what they did was not a HUMAN ‘mistake’ to me. It was a selfish, ego driven act. To be human is to be able to think about things and make rational decisions – to use our brains to make right decisions. We call those in prison for murder monsters, and to me they are no different than the OW and my husband (at least who he was during the cheating). They basically killed who I was, and my feelings about myself, my marriage, and about people in general. I didn’t allow them to do this to me. They did it without my knowledge. I scare myself with some of the thoughts and the rage that I have now. It isn’t who I used to be, and I think that, and the fact that MY HUSBAND could be so…. cockroachy!!! EWWWW!!! It’s just easier to take all the hate and put it on the OW because it makes it easier to NOT put the hate on my husband. I WANT my marriage… I LOVE my husband… I don’t want to unleash my rage on him anymore because I want this to work with HIM. I hate those people that say “well SHE didn’t make that committment to you, so you need to blame your husband”. Well, I DO blame my husband, but I blame IT too because it takes 2! If she had any morality and hadn’t started flirting with him, blah blah blah!! It takes 2. Rightly it would have been someone else (though not really – his opportunity came at work, and there are hardly any women there)… SOMEONE just needed to have some friggin respect for MARRIAGE as well as for themselves!!

            It bothers me that she would be moving on to another victim, and I think that, and it’s family hurting like I am, are the only reasons I haven’t told it’s husband! This is hell I wouldn’t wish on anyone… so am I a bad person because I DIDN’T tell, knowing full well it will probably do this again to someone else? I feel responsibility for that, which angers me as well!! I have so much rage that the fantasy of hurting it at least gives me somewhere to focus it… I really want to let all the rage go… Any ideas?

            • tryinghard

              Recovering
              Please don’t think I am judging you or saying that she deserves ANY kind of respect because no she doesn’t and yes she is all that and more. I know why we dehumanize because we can’t stand putting all the onus on our Hs right? I can’t stand the thought that he was so stupid to fall for such low hanging fruit. Yes the OW put herself on a silver platter and offered herself up to my H. He saw an opportunity and went for it and yes it is disgusting. We do have to let go and it is easier said than done. I too hate it when people say we should be angry at our spouse because he is the one that betrayed us, but we are women and we know how we, as decent human beings would act, should someone make a pass at us. We expect more from our “sisters” right? For me dehumanizing her makes it worse for me and I have to fight against it. I get satisfaction knowing she is all by herself and everything she lost. Everyone in our town knows what my H did and with whom. The resounding motif was shock and that he went from a Mercedes to a Pinto! She is not educated, not attractive, she is a foul mouthed ignorant low class person. She was a bar tender and newpaper delivery person. WHHHAATTT did he see in her. Oh yeah she stroked his ego and told him he was the smartest man she ever knew. Well yeah from her background. I think she needs to raise the bar!!! She was a pro at manipulating him, which he admits to. I just want her to make contact so he can tell her off. It will make him see her in an even more bad light than he already does. I think she is playing her cards by staying silent. Waiting. How does she end a 4 year affair without ever talking to him again. I keep looking for the red flags that he has talked to her but I don’t see any and certainly he swears on everything holy to him that he hasn’t. It will be the end if he does talk to her and doesn’t tell me and I find out. That will be the straw. I too love my H but that damn dangling shoes is making me stupid 🙂

            • Recovering

              Tryinghard,
              I totally understand how you can wonder how she can just disappear after 4 years… maybe with EVERYONE knowing about the affair and judging her, maybe she has been finally shamed into staying away. Maybe she has finally gotten it through her skull that it is OVER! Maybe since they all know, the magic is fading for her as well, despite her financial need for your husband. Hopefully she is just too embarrassed! I kind of wondered how my husband could just walk away after 2 years with his whore, but I realized that for him it was easy, and that with the secret being out, at least to me, any further contact with it would make his life MUCH less bareable than just a pissed off pshyco wife. I could have really destroyed him and his reputation, as well as his relationship with all of his family and friends. Part of me wanted to squash him like a bug, the the irony to that is that when the inital dust settled, I would’ve been hurting myself more than anything because I honestly and truly love my husband! Destroying him would’ve hurt me too because I want us to work, and I didn’t want to kill the love he did still have for me (though at times I admit I didn’t care if that was what happened – my psycho crazy stage right after discovery). I love him. I didn’t really want to hurt him, I just wanted it all to go away, which I know it wont… Still we are living the ‘secret’. Very few people know. I haven’t seen some of my dearest friends since the discovery because I am a terrible liar, and staying away is easier than having to pretend everything is fine. I am almost jealous that for you everyone knows because then you don’t have to pretend!!! I am dreading the day his family comes to see us (they live out of state) because I was sooooo close to his mom, and now… I can barely even talk to the woman on the phone! How am I going to be when she is actually right in front of me? That fear isn’t one I am wanting to face!

              Look at us… we are letting FEAR run our lives!! I guess sometimes I make myself so mad because I am letting this fear come between my husband and I, when he is trying so hard to prove his love and devotion to only me… in the back of my mind I am always wondering when he will get bored again… what will I have to give up THIS time to make sure he has the attention he needs so I’m not having to worry about him cheating again… the fear IS making ME stupid too!!! Damn cheaters!!!!! :+)

    • Struggling

      I’m the OW and I feel ashamed, disgusted and foolish. There are reasons I’d want to make contact at this point. It’s been almost 2 years since D-day. 1) To tell him to stop asking mutual friends how I’m doing and what I’m doing. These mutual friends don’t know about the EA/PA we had. 2) After I was confronted by his wife who told me that he said I pursued him and begged him to leave her which was a lie. 3) To tell him that I was a fool to not see that I was vulnerable and feeling lost at the time. 4) To tell him that he was a mistake.
      I did run into him briefly over the summer at the grocery store, as we passed he told me how nice I looked. I just kept on walking, didn’t look back.

      • Recovering

        Struggling,

        PLEASE don’t contact the OM! I am soooo glad that you are staying away, and I am glad that you have realized it was all a bad idea. Hopefully this will keep you from repeating past mistakes. He lied to his wife, and he lied to you. The whole affair was lies. I know as the BS that sometimes it eats me up not knowing what he said to it about me… but really.. it was all a fake fantasy where the cheaters egos are being fed and the two of you just wanted to look the best to each other. Does it REALLY matter now what lies were told when the whole thing was a lie? No, and as a BS or the OW, we need to move past this. Your relationship with your AP was never supposed to be real so it wasn’t… Learn that you are better now, stronger now, and that obviously HE still has the issues that YOU don’t! You don’t need that in your life anymore! I know that I come across in other postings as a cheater-hater, and I guess if I was being completely honest, I kind of am. BUT to me, since it seems from your posting, that you are facing what you have done (and people like me on here make that hard to do), you have the power to NOT be that person anymore. That man obviously used you, just as you used him, though possibly in a different way. He sounds like a person you don’t need in ANY part of your life, so PLEASE don’t even dignify him with a “Get lost!”. Stay strong!!

        • Struggling

          Recovering,

          I have no intention of contacting him. I had the opportunity at the grocery store to speak to him, I choose not to. I have learned from the mistake and hopefully some day I can forgive myself for hurting his wife.

      • tryinghard

        Struggling
        Thank you for answering. It was brave of you. I’m happy to hear you realized you made a bad choice for yourself that involved your AP, and his family. But his family didn’t have a vote, right? maybe he is interpreting your willingness to have the affair as “throwing yourself at him”. Maybe you made yourself too available and that’s how he told his wife. Men aren’t good with words. I don’t know just guessing. I will tell you if my husband saw the OW in the grocery store and he told her she looked nice, that would be IT. I don’t agree with Struggling, I think you should tell him that he was a mistake. Trust me he is telling his wife YOU were a big mistake, to leave you alone, and that you lied to him too.

        I have found that my H lied to the OW more than he lied to me. He had to make himself look good to her so she could stroke his ego. You know that’s what the draw is, you girls make them feel like Mr. Wonderful which I don’t get because HE’S A CHEATER

        I don’t think my H’s AP has a conscience. She owes us lots of money and I think that is why she hasn’t contacted us or maybe she’s thinks she’s waiting it out. I’m sure she would love to tell me anything and everything from her point of view because I have done things to make her pay! Nothing horrible or illegal. Matter of fact she was doing illegal things and I reported her and now she is paying for it. I have investigated her and found she has been arrested for disorderly conduct, she has been bankrupt twice, forclosed twice, sued by credit cards for not paying her bills, two divorces(one when she was seeing my H) on and on. When he broke it off with her he never contacted her again. Did your affair partner just stop seeing you with no last word? Didn’t he make you believe he loved you?

        • Struggling

          Tryinghard,

          When his wife discovered our affair he told me via e-mail that he couldn’t have contact for awhile, he asked me to be patient, that they were going to counseling and he didn’t know what the outcome would be. He also said that he knew I understood what he had to do.

          He told me he loved me months after I ended the physical affair and about a month after I started dating someone.

          • Recovering

            Struggling,
            Regardless of what he SAYS, he wouldn’t still be with his wife if he loved YOU and wanted to be with YOU. I am not trying to be mean, but that is the truth. In black and white. Excuses or no excuses, it is the truth. He is already going through hell with his wife (I know, I am a BS), and it would be SOOOO much easier for him to leave and run to you, yet he hasn’t. LET HIM GO from your heart. He is clearly a liar, and a cheater, and has not yet learned to be a good man if he is still stringing you on and toying with your emotions. He would do the same to you if you did end up together. You know this in your head, now accept it in your heart and move on. NEVER have contact with that man again, if only to be the kind person to his wife that you should have been from the beginning. The wife will always believe the husband more than she would EVER believe you, after all, you took part in the attempted destruction of her marriage, and she loves her husband, so HAS to try to find some way to be able to live with him again. You will always get the heavier end of the affair burden if she stays with him because she HAS to have someone to take her anger out on since she is trying to work on her marriage. It is a fact. Take the higher ground and stop hurting her by not letting HIM have a chance to even lie to you! You CAN be a better person, but it is a daily choice, just as it is for my cheating husband.

    • Natalia

      What are your biggest fears for your family and your marriage after infidelity?

      My biggest fear for my family was the pain it would cause my children since they have no idea what has happened between their father and me. As to my marriage, it made me sad to think that it would be over. I truly meant it when I said my vows and that it would last until either one of us passed away. Another fear I have is that he will forget and hurt me again. He’s said that will never happen because he never wants to see me cry that way again.

      How are you and your partner addressing these fears?

      We have discussed it and decided that the kids will never know. Actually, no one knows but us. Neither one of us wants the marriage to end and we’re working hard to save it. He’s very remorseful about what he did and how he hurt me and it makes me think he’ll keep his word and never get involved with any other woman again and that he knows how to safeguard the boundaries of our marriage.

      Do you feel that your fears are logical and justifiable?

      I feel my fears are logical and justifiable because I saw the emails he wrote and what he said to the other women. I also saw the phone records and I know who he called and how long those phone calls lasted.

      Have your fears about your marriage after infidelity subsided as you travel further down the path of recovery and healing, or are they still there just as strong as ever?

      I feel they have subsided and sometimes I feel they’re almost gone. Sometimes they come back, especially if there’s a trigger or if one of the other women email him because of work. I don’t care if they contact him as long as it’s work related, what scares me is what he can do with those emails. I’ve seen what he’s capable of. I’ve seen how he’s opened that door without thinking twice and how they’ve walked right in. As long as he keeps it at a professional level, I’m fine.

      What has happened (or needs to happen) for those fears to go away?

      He just needs to keep his promise to me. However should he break it and I find out, it’s over. I will leave. It’s that simple. I will love him forever, but I will not live through that again. I refuse to be taken for a fool twice.

    • tryinghard

      Natalie
      I can tell you your fears are real and justifiable. You need to be vigilant and talk with your husband. YES it can happen again. We already know they are capable. Never forget that. Look for the red flags. I don’t care if it’s 10 years from now. Believe your gut. I didn’t because I trusted him. You H has probably learned his lesson this time, but when stresses or a crisis or he’s feeling like you are ignoring him(even if you aren’t) they sometimes revert. Unless he’s doing some deep therapy, and they seldom do, there’s always that little character flaw in them. Like I said you know he is capable and that doesn’t change, it’s his history and the best predictor for the future is the past, right? If your H doesn’t need to speak to them for business he shouldn’t. There is NO way of knowing it’s strictly professional. Good for you keeping it from the children. It would only make things worse if they know. Keep making him talk even if he doesn’t want to. If you can make him read books about healing from an affair. No you shouldn’t take it again. Matter of fact you shouldn’t take any BS he dishes out. I know I don’t take any more crap. I used to be a doormat, “Anything you want dear’. HA no more because all my love and all my trust go me nothing but heartache. My H is on his toes and he should be and I deserve the best.
      I hope I haven’t been to harsh but you sound young and I just don’t want you to be swept away by his promises and charm. Be careful and always pay attention to your gut.

      • Natalia

        Tryinghard, thanks for thinking I’m young. LOL! I’m actually 54 and we celebrated our 29th wedding anniversary this week. And no, you weren’t too harsh nor will he blind me again with false promises or lies. All the things you said are the exact things I’ve said to others in this blog. I also was very trusting, never suspicious and always blaming myself for his bad moods. I never liked the way the way he interacted with those women and I innocently thought it was “part of his job”! . Now I know I should have paid attention to my gut feeling. It wasn’t until Dday (2 years and 8 months ago) that I realized what a fool I had been. He friended an ex-gf on facebook and made the mistake to tell me like it was no big deal. That day everything changed. I was in shock and it took me 2 days to set my mind straight and not let my emotions get the best of me. Once I felt in control I confronted him. I demanded he give me all the passwords to all his email accounts and what I found was enough to make me want to either strangle him or throw up! Then I realized the FB ex-gf was the tip of the iceberg. I immediately started “investigating” him all over the internet. I found so much on my own that I could open a detective agency if I wanted!! Then I read all the books on emotional affairs and narcissistic personality I could find and when I was done with every single one of them I passed them on to him and he’s read every single one also. We’ve talked about this whole mess for hours and I’ve made sure nothing has been left untouched. Not once has he said that I should get over it, he knows better than that. Not once has he refused to answer any of my questions. He’s said he feels embarrassed but he’s cooperated 100%. I have to give him credit for behaving like a real man with me. Of course, I’ve had moments when I felt so stupid for trusting blindly and giving him so much and getting crap in return. Well those days are gone. We’re working together to make this marriage better than before. I feel I’ll never be so trusting again but I know that at some point I have to trust him again. It’s hard to live always in constant alert. That’s why I’ve set very strong boundaries he knows he needs to respect otherwise I’m out. Next time I will not demand explanations, I will just walk away. He knows I’m perfectly capable of doing this. He’s shown me he’s committed to me and I appreciate it. I also tell him I’m proud of his accomplishments. He also knows that if he ever feels like he’s not getting the attention from me he needs to speak up and ask for it. I can’t read his mind. It’s been a long and hard road but it has made me stronger.

        • tryinghard

          Yes Natalia it is that we feel so stupid for blindly trusting even though we had red flags. We didn’t trust our gut. So now, for me at least, I look for the red flags maybe even where there aren’t any. I am hyper vigilant. I parse words when we are talking to see if I can tell if he has talked to her. The thing is I don’t think he would talk to her to try to see her again, he has seen her for what she is especially since a I did a through background check on her, but to make sure she doesn’t contact me. I don’t believe this has happened. It’s been a year an a half since DDAY and the fears are subsiding and the trust is getting there. But I have a GPS on him!

          • Recovering

            I did trust my gut, just didn’t want to believe the truth. For over a year I was snooping around looking for proof because I was suspicious. I even asked him flat out, to which he got mad – really? Why would that piss him off if it werent true. Even told one of my very good friends that I suspected it, so 6 months later when I was SOOO upset at work and wouldn’t talk about it, she flat out asked ME if he cheated. Of course I am not a good liar and my response was to burst into tears! Of course I didn’t expect it to REALLY happen – that blind trust… so was completely shocked when he told me how long it had been going on. I remember that night so vividly (though he barely remembers..). I asked him, like an idiot, if he was going to stop seeing her… He said he didn’t know… then he gave me the cheater speech of “I love you but I’m not in love with you” (which doesn’t even make sense) and insisted that he wasn’t in love with her either, but that it wasn’t like that, that they were “just friends”, that she “listened” to him! Of course she did, she hadn’t heard his same stories a million times over 14 years already!! Yes, he is funny!! She LOVED that! Well, SO DID I!! But he was never around to make me laugh! She got him 8 hours a day, and then he spent another 4 at college, and then he would come home and go straight to bed (unless he was out drinking with “the guys” before he would screw her in her car behind the bar). He was never home, and that WASNT MY FAULT, but I was a grownup and knew that he would graduate and things would calm down. He was a child and I didn’t pay enough attention… yes, there were red flags, but he wasn’t even around enough to even see most of them and their ‘relationship’ was so cheap that it didn’t even leave many clues. I guess I got lucky in that she quickly proved to him the type of person she really was when I found out about them. He just hopes to never see it again. He says it wouldn’t bother him in a desire way or that he would be missing something, but in an embarrassment and shameful way that he ever had anything to do with it! After the fallout, people at work who didn’t even know about the 2 of them would talk about what a terrible person she was… Where the heck were they before? He probably just didn’t listen because he had his head up her butt!! What a dumb whore! I can honestly say I cannot and will not be friends with someone who I know has cheated. If they’ll hurt the one they swore to love and protect, what will they do to me? I guess that is my biggest problem with staying married to my husband. I was deeply in love with him before confirmation of the cheating, and I love him still, but now I am married to the type of person that I wouldn’t even be FRIENDS with! I struggle with that one every day….

          • Natalia

            Tryinghard, I understand your need to be hyper vigilant. I’ve been there too. It kinda stopped being so prevalent on the 2nd year anniversary. For some reason I felt I could relax a bit. I think it’s because whenever I see or even suspect a red flag I bring it up immediately. I speak up about my suspicions and anything that bothers me (something I never did before). It’s wonderful to feel free to talk about anything with him. He actually likes it that I express my inner feelings of doubts because it gives him a chance to get closer to me, “to share,” like he says. He’s also changed very much in that he tells me when he’s feeling down or when his job gets to him. I always listen carefully and try to give him words of encouragement. Like I said before, it’s been a long and hard road to get to where we are now, however I know I will never be the same. This saddens me somewhat but I understand that I needed to change and so did he to obtain a better marraige, I just wish it had been different. You were right when you said I might never know if those women only contact him at a professional level. I read your post to my husband and he agreed with you, but he also said that after all we’ve been through and the thought of losing me is enough to make sure he never crosses those boundaries again. I’ve known him for 31 years and I told him that my intentions were to help him modify the way he interacts with other women to avoid crossing boundaries and that I never wanted to control him. I said this because I don’t need a puppet for a husband, I want the man I married. The man I fell in love with, who was funny, witty, sweet and caring. Too bad he somehow got lost and took all this away from me and gave it to several women. In a way I’m glad none of them got his exclusive attention which made it easier for me to “reel” him back. He’s a good man and proves it everyday.

            • tryinghard

              Natalia
              Your story and mine sound very similar. We are both in the same age (fab 50’s:)). We talk a lot too. My H shows me everyday he loves me. We talk about everything like never before. His actions help to push those doubts out of my paranoid head. I believe my H when he says if the OW contacts him he will let her know that he NEVER wants to hear from her and will turn her over to me to hear my wrath. I can be pretty cruel with words to people who threaten me and mine. I think he wishes sometimes she would contact him so we don’t both have to still fell that other shoe dangling over our head and he can let me rip her too. We have to be careful of lawsuits. I know he did the best he know how to end it with her and rebuild our relationship. He’s been so kind and caring. He’s better about talking about the affair but he certainly doesn’t like it. Afterwards we are always closer so there is a reward in the difficult talking we do. I hope this time next year all this is nothing but a bad memory but you are right it changes everything forever and sometimes I grieve my old self too. But maybe it’s better she’s gone because the new me is AWESOME!!! You sound awesome too. I hope we hear from more OW because it helps me to humanize them and not make them a bigger boogie monster than they are. They really are just poor pathetic women who settle for less than what they deserve. Our H’s used them for purely selfish reasons which had nothing to do with their feelings. How could they have possibly cared for their feelings anymore than they cared for ours. My H bough cheap WalMart 10k gold plated earring for the OW for Valentines day while I got diamonds. She only got the crumbs.
              I can tell you’re a good woman and wife. These forums where we talk is good because the stories are pretty much the same. Keeps me from feeling like I am the only woman in the world who’s been treated badly.

    • Virginia

      …biggest fears for your family and your marriage…?
      It will happen again. My MIL strongly encouraged and facilitated my H ‘s EA. She builds relationships with people my H’s age then labels them as pseudo daughters only to involve my H in their lives. I’ve seen her do it to my bro. in law, too. She has a psychiatric issue which has done a number on my H. The entire family enables her because she threatens suicide or makes her self ill, needing hospitalization. My MIL & FIL will not tell us her diagnosis. I could go on forever with “crazy lady” stories but the short of it is she uses my H as an object to validate her existense. This only preys on my H’s abadonment issues of being adopted along with having the queen of crazy as his adopted mother. Plus she and the OW still have contact.

      …feel fears are logical?
      Heck yea! After a few weeks of therapy consistently being about my MIL’s effects on my H and our relationship I began wishing this was a “normal” affair problem. His mother scares the crap out of me!!! Our Phd therapist suggested from our description she may have borderline personality disorder. (She did footnote that she could not diagnosis her without observation).

      …you and partner addressing fears?
      Talk with each other more than ever…and I have learned to bite my tongue. For over a year post d-day I would make frequent snarky comments when I would get triggered, now I take a step back in my mind, take a breath and think will my comment help me. Because at this point it ‘s about healing me and us not about the OW or my MIL.

      …fears subsided over time?
      Certain fears no longer exist such as “is she better than me, what did I do to deserve this, attractiveness, intelligence and such. Now I worry if i will ever feel whole again or like myself again. This whole ordeal stole a piece of me my soul and I’m still confused about that. Confused with my H who cried just a week ago saying I don’t understand how much he loves me…it’s hard to understand when he stuck a knife in my heart with lies and poor choices. Confused with my MIL who could participate in attempting to destroy her son’s family with NO remorse or apology.

      …happened/needs to happen to remove fears?
      After 2-1/2 years I wish I knew. It’s definitely a day by day journey. Trust has been the hardest part for me and self forgiveness has been the hardest part for my H. He still carries shame, guilt and self hatred everyday. He has changed tremendously for the better but sometimes it’s hard for me to understand how he could do this to me and our family and how am I ever going to not think about it every freaking day!!!

      • tryinghard

        oh boy are we a sisterhood. I too have a crazy MIL but she did not facilitate the EA. Matter of fact she was scared shitless when I filed for divorce because she knew it would affect her income. My MIL has a narcisistic personality disorder and I think my H has those traits too. Not so much the crazy acting out but certainly the big ego.
        We talk a lot too and yes he has a lot of remorse. But I thought we talked a lot before. I speak snark too 🙂 and have learned to curb it. Some questions just can’t be answered. Like what were you thinking!!!??? If he was so “unhappy” why didn’t he just leave? Why didn’t he say something? Really it was just easier to lie and live a lie every freaking day? I just don’t understand it.
        My biggest fear is that they have talked since he said he wasn’t and didn’t want to talk to her.
        My H carries shame and guilt too and I’m glad for that. He’s the one that did the damage. It’s HIS cross to bear.
        I call the daily thoughts the 800lb elephant. He just wants it all to go away and day by day it does. I’m only into recovery a year this past August but I still have a way to go. UGH

        • Virginia

          My husband wants it all to go away too. He calls it the biggest failure of his life. His favorite blow off is “would you want to talk about the worst thing you have ever done.” We’ll, dumbass I wouldn’t have done what you did so I don’t know. I would have left or at least separated. Give me a chance with some dignity.

    • Gizfield

      My biggest fear is that my husband IS really the creepy, insensitive, self centered twat that contact with his girlfriend seems to expose in him. Ughhhh. If a “friendship” makes you act like that, you really DON’T need any friends, lol.

    • Rachel

      Doug,
      What is your opinion od an “I hate you letter” to my soon to be ex. H? Perhaps hate is too strong of a word. I hate what he has done and become. I still do love him and miss him and think of what could have been ( go figure).
      My reason for this letter is for me and healing. Kind of final words. With a p.s. Don’t be late with my alimony check!!!
      Would love an opinion from others so feel free to chime in.

      • Doug

        Rachel, If you think that it would be good for your healing then I’m all for it. Like you said though, maybe don’t word in such a way where you actually say you “hate” him, but that you “hate” what he’s done to you and your family. I’d certainly let him know what the effects on you and your family have been as a result of all this (if you haven’t already).

    • Rachel

      Funny you should mention that. My youngest son said to his father after being miss lead with his father saying that he was going to buy him a new car and now has changed his mind. H saidmhe was going to buy my son the new car because I said he needed a new car. Lol I can not stop laughing about this comment. He NEVER listened to any of my suggestions. Why start now.
      My youngest continued saying to his father just forget about the car it’s all about your happiness and the only reason you are moving 30 minutes away is so me and my brother won’t see the whores coming and going from your house. Ouch!
      I said nothing. And his father said ” I thought you were good with the divorce” ????????
      I don’t get him? Don’t recognize him at all! I wish I could diagnose him with bipolar or some mental illness to help me understand him.
      Thank you, Doug !

    • Dave

      This is easy. I fear growing bitter.

      I would like my marriage to survive, but whether it does or doesn’t, I don’t want to live the rest of my life bitter and angry. Now I just need to figure out how to make that happen. I’m not one who lets anything go. It is not in my nature to forgive and I can’t forget, but I’m trying to learn.

      • Tryinghard

        Dave
        I know how you feel. When I was younger I couldn’t understand older women who looked like they had everything but were so ornery and mean. Now I think I know where that meanness came from. They had been made bitter by these kinds of life events. I fear this too because I am mad and resentful and suspicious and mistrusting et al. I try to remember what I am grateful for. And I tell myself to be nice but as with everything else it’s hard. This is one thing we do have control over right?

        • Dave

          That is what my therapist says. You can’t control all of the events in your life and most of the time you can’t control how you feel about them, but you can control how you react to them. He says that reacting is modeling. If you allow yourself to react with negativity and embrace and dwell on the darker emotions, that will be your model and then you will become bitter.

          I try to keep that in mind, but sometimes it is like telling a person to stop thinking about pink penguins. Once that idea is in your head, it is hard to NOT think about it.

          • tryinghard

            Oh boy wouldn’t it be cool if we could control the events. I would have made sure last weeks Power Ball’s results would have been different!!

            Great therapist info. I think if we go down Bitter Road we are hurting ourselves and well other people have been really good at doing that so why do we choose to do it to ourselves. I don’t want to be bitter I want to be good and irresistible. Bitter people are VERY resistible right? Also this thought helps, ok what happened was awful but if this is the WORST thing that happens to me, I have had a pretty wonderful life.

            I don’t know about you but I am going to think about PINK PENGUINS now 🙂

            • Dave

              LOL, told you! Well, if you have to obsessively think about something, I guess it is better to think about pink penguins than to think about less happy stuff.

    • Exercise grace

      This is an easy one for me too. I am going to echo Dave here. My biggest fear right now is myself. I don’t want to live the rest of my life with this anger, resentment and hurt. I am afraid that perhaps I will never get over it, and that will mean I am no better than he was. I fear that the love I had for him prior to the affair will never return, along with the trust and intimacy that goes along with that. I am afraid of keeping barriers up because I spent a large amount of time fearful that he was leaving me. While he is truly remorseful and doing the things I have asked him to do, I am fearful that it will never be enough. I am fearful of trapping us both in a marriage where he can’t feel like the man he used to be and I can’t see him that way.

      How do we fix that? We are both in individual counseling and we do marriage counseling. We are trying to communicate better. It is hard for him to talk openly about emotions, but he is making progress. That’s all I can ask for.

    • Surviving

      A year ago or so my biggest fears were she would contact him and the EA would start back up.
      Now it’s that the person I have become is the complete opposite of the once “nice” trusting person.
      Two weekends ago without any thought I had fun, I smiled and laughed, took one on my sons and his friends go carting, went out with friends to a tiki bar and just had fun.
      It didn’t hit me until Sunday night, that was a glimpse of the old me. Not once did I obsess about my H and what he was doing.
      I like the old me, but that nice trusting person who cared about everyone around me got her heart smashed and stomped on, my protective shell keeps me sane.
      I fear my old self will one day be totally gone and this mean hard person is all that is left…..
      I sometimes hate who I’ve become and wonder why is my husband with me? But then I know when he looks at me he knows this was all his doing, he had the innocent fun happy person and he destroyed it.

    • mychel

      Fear of being hurt again. Fear of more disappointment. Fear of blaming myself for his EA. This is the third one (that I know of) that he has involved himself with. I know there are probably more just don’t know who they are. He is a therapist, counselor of many couples and for 12 years I managed the practice he was a part of. He knew better, he is trained on what not to do in relationships and yet he has an addiction. I confronted the OW online and asked her to back off. I was surprised at how she defended herself. My husband says he is sorry for the hurt he caused me. How horrible he described me to her. How he lied so much about me to her to justify his behavior. He knows better as a therapist. Even more depressing is these EA he has had are with former patients. He wants to work things out but he can’t allow me to have access to his laptop, phone or ipad. He takes them with him everywhere he goes, always has but especially now. I stumbled across his chats on FB by accident. Opened up his laptop to use it while my son was using mine. He didn’t shut it down so when the screen popped up there was the conversation. He said he would make arrangements to get counseling but that was 2 weeks ago. Like the last time this happened he is trying to be the therapist and the husband in the relationship. He knows what he did was wrong and said he has never crossed the line to physical contact but I don’t believe he will ever change. Once the “honeymoon” phase is over and the real work needs to begin, I fear it will just revert back to before where he stays angry at me, blames my son for our problems while ignoring his addictions to porn, dating sites and EA with former patients. I never thought I would face this again. My first husband was always cheating on me physically. This time the pain is still real and I doubt myself every day. I think I need to talk to someone, but when I told him I was making an appointment he balked. I know why…it’s because he knows all the other therapists in our area and now they will know his “secrets”. Yesterday I was watching the cartoon Rudolf and started to cry because he used to tell her he wanted to go on the “island of misfit toys” with her. To read the chats where he said he needed her, missed her and how important she was to him was hard to see. He told me just last night that he feels that we should have the private life on our computers, that we should be able to be ourselves online and have that time to escape without fear of wondering if I will snoop on his computer. He also admitted he has been looking back over at other conversations with women to see if he was “crossing the line” because he never saw it as that before my reaction to his conversations. He is trying hard to make amends but some things are on his terms and if I ask for the terms to change he gets defensive. I made the comment that maybe I should try and do what he did, have an EA myself and just live by the motto “good for the goose is good for the gander”. He didn’t like that idea. I’m lost on what to do.

      • tryinghard

        Mychel

        OMG two words for you: GET OUT NOW. OK three. You poor woman. He is not trying hard if he has stipulations. He is an addict just like a heroin or alcohol. You can’t make it better only he can. You fears are valid because you know he will.

        Hope I’m not harsh but some people are lost causes. I hope you get help to get the courage to leave the creep bastard!

    • KelBelly

      Mychel, I was married to a chronic cheater and I can tell you that no matter how much he loved me, he never was able to quit. The only thing I can tell you is to put your foot down and stand your your ground. Let him know what you need from him and if he is not willing to do so then you have your answer on what you need to do. Remember that this is his problem and if he truly is addicted to these kind of behaviors then there is nothing you can do unless he wants help himself. If you feel you need help, then you go get it and don’t worry about what he thinks. He is trying to control the situation and maybe knowing his little secret is out will help him to get the help he needs.
      You need someone who can help you work through all this and give you some advice.

      • tryinghard

        I’m telling you the fact that everyone in our town knows has really helped my husband face his demons. People all thought he was a wonderful person and were shocked he did this especially with the woman with whom he chose to do this with. Nobody in our social circle. A pathetic wretch. AKA low hanging fruit. That was part of the problem was his over inflated ego about who he really was. Now he can’t hide behind his name or persona that he made up for all to believe.

        Go get help. Take care of yourself. Her certainly didn’t care about hurting or humiliating you did he? Do you need him for financial support? Why are you hanging in there should be the question? I know it’s one I ask myself every day. You are not alone. Empower yourself.

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