open mic discussion

It’s hard to believe that our last Open ‘Mic’ Discussion was all the way back in February. So let’s get to it again!

But first…

We were contacted a while back by Darylevuanie Johnson,  a licensed professional counselor who helps individuals recover from the impact of infidelity in his practice.

At this moment, he is a doctoral student at Northcentral University and is conducting an online survey  relative to forgiveness after infidelity. He needs at least 100 individuals to complete the survey to make the results significant.  So, he asked us for some assistance.

If you don’t mind, please take a few minutes to complete Darylevuanie’s survey:


Now on to the open discussion…

In case you didn’t know, or are new to our site, the open discussion is where you guys call the shots and discuss the topics that you want to discuss.

We know there must be some things that are going on that you can either ask questions about, share your experiences – or maybe just do a little venting.  Anyways, the floor is all yours!

Feel free to discuss anything…

  • What’s on your mind?
  • What are you struggling with?
  • Have any success stories to share? Big or small. (We especially want to hear some of these!)
  • Wanna share any lessons you’ve learned recently?
  • Got a question? Ask it.
  • Do you have any problems or situations that you’d like the community to offer their opinions on?
  • Any good books you’d like to discuss?
  • What’s your favorite movie of all time?
  • What are you and/or your spouse doing to further the healing and recovery in your relationship?
  • What’s working or not working?
  • Has your therapist given you any good advice or exercises that the rest of the readers might benefit from?
  • What has your spouse done lately that really pisses you off?
  • What has your spouse done lately to make you really happy?
  • Tell us a little about yourself.
  • Everything and anything is on the table for discussion!
See also  Open "Mic" Discussion #8

Please don’t be shy. If there is anything whatsoever on your mind, please leave a comment below.

But..before you do, don’t forget the survey:


Linda & Doug

    121 replies to "Open ‘Mic’ Discussion #31 – What’s On Your Mind?"

    • TheFirstWife

      Does anyone feel that there have been some positive changes that have been the result of your spouse’s or partner’s A?

      As an example I feel I have become more self-confident. During his A I did not crack under pressure and I made good decisions. I stood up to him and his A time and time again. I faced it. I didn’t hide from it.

      I had a “her or me” showdown very early on with my H when I had no $ to my name and was completely unprepared if he left. But I felt my pride and self respect was more important.

      I was certain he was choosing the OW too. Because that was what he kept saying to me.

      He lied and told me “of course I choose you”. At the moment I believed it but it was not the truth. He was still in love with the OW.

      I have become a saver of $. I have an emergency stash that could last two years if needed.

      I live in the moment more than I did.

      I make time for myself. I read more and joined a book club and started yoga classes a few years ago.

      Keeping it positive is also a habit I focus on every day as well.

      I learned I’m not a coward and will face any situation head-on.

      And I started a business I always wanted to have. I have never been good at “selling” but I have mastered the art of the subtle sales pitch. Mostly word of mouth advertising but I set goals each year and meet them. My confidence in myself gave me the courage to take a chance.

      I made it happen b/c I did not let my fears and self doubt hold me back.

      How about everyone else? Any positive changes you can see?

      • Shifting Impressions

        That is a really good question. I don’t imagine that anyone can go through the betrayal of infidelity without it changing them. I think I am more compassionate and understanding of what people go through. I also found a strength I didn’t realize that I had. I am proud of the way I have handled and am still handling things. My fear was that this experience would make me hard and bitter…but that isn’t the case.

        I have learned that I can’t control anyone else’s actions only my own. And I have discovered there is great power in that.

        But in all honesty….the price was way to high. I have also discovered that the betrayal of someone that you have loved for over forty years cut deeper than any other knife. I have not quite come to terms with the loss of trust. Something was shattered….and yes, I am proud of how I picked up the pieces. But I haven’t been able to to totally forgive yet…even after four and half years. I haven’t been able to let go of an underlying sorrow.

        There are also some positives in the marriage. I think my husband is more able to live in the present and get in touch with his feelings. We both work hard to treat each other with care. We work hard to not do any more damage. We are both grateful that we are still standing and that we are still together. But for me…my husband was always home. He was my safe place. Betrayal by enemies is bad but betrayal by the closest person in the world to you is simply shattering. But the positive side….we are rebuilding and we are still here.

        Another positive was the support of a few close friends. Also, my children were very supportive. In particular, my oldest son and my oldest daughter, were amazing. Seeing their strength and compassion in action has been a wonder to behold. But again…the price was so high.

        My faith also became stronger. In the throes of my grief I heard the words “Did you think I would let you go through this alone”. Not audible words but more like a whisper. And yes I believe He sent me the right people and the right books just when I needed them. And in that I include all of you. You have no idea how often your comments and the posts here simply saved me. And continue to save me….as the journey is not over yet.

        • Rose

          SI, Me too. We’ve been together for 34 years. I want so badly to go back to that place when we were young and having financial troubles or whatever and he’d say “Everything will be okay.” He was always my safe place, too. I don’t want to be my own safe place! It’s almost as if I have to grow up now and be everything for me. But he’s a child, too, with many issues he has to work out too. I always thought I was the princess. Turns out there were 3 others who took priority over me.

    • Tired

      TFW, I too have become more self confident. Perhaps it is positive, Im not sure. Was it the result of the affair? Perhaps, I suppose. I think I was just plodding along knowing things were not going right and not doing anything about it. But that was not all on me, despite what he thinks.

      I too try to live in the moment because too much of this has been about him. If I end up without him I will at least have a life.

      Im not sure where it’s going here. I heard some truths a few weeks ago from him that were a long time coming. Having some time to think over it I’m now at a cross road. The emails I read recently more or less told the story of a very childish fling. The woman writing to him sounded like a teenager, yet she was in her 30s. The ‘relationship’ that I had built up in my mind as something that would destroy my life was obviously a childish woman chasing after an even more childish man.

      So Im stuck with this man child. But what do I do? He has stayed with me. The question is, will he do it again? The last time almost destroyed me.

      • Joey

        TWF and Tired – that is awesome! I feel the same. Unfortunately, I think a lot of the time our unfaithful spouses continue the affair or break NC because they don’t respect us. They don’t think we would ever leave – we are safe and will always be there even when they are out having their “fun”

        It was hard for me to get to a point where I had confidence in myself because everything my ex did to me made me think I was a bad provider, a bad partner, a bad friend, a bad professional. Taking a step back (through the help of this blog) and not believing her and realizing that although I am not perfect, I have some great qualities and have thrived since pulling away from her nonsense. It’s that moment when the unfaithful has to realize – oh shit – my spouse is pretty awesome and I am throwing it away for someone I don’t really know?? To this day, my ex does things or drops hints that she wants to try again, but the last time I caught her, I was serious when I said “I would be fine without you.”

        It really is amazing when you come to the realization that the affair is not your fault. All relationships have issues and anyone can come up with “justifications” for an affair. Was my ex perfect – nope. was she always the most amazing partner, even before the affair? nope. Did I have an affair because of that? nope. I feel pretty good about that and that has really helped me gain back my self-respect again.

        • Shifting Impressions

          That is an amazing point of view. You are right, I am sure all of us could have come up with justifications for an affair but did we have one….absolutely not.

        • Tired

          Joey, I agree. I feel that my husband did not respect me either. He thought I would just put up with it. And he tried to get away with it. Keeping in contact with the other woman, lying to me. I don’t think they were actually doing anything but the fact that he continued to be in contact, even after I knew they had an emotional affair, shows disrespect. He says now that ‘he felt bad.’ The woman was hurt and he felt terrible that she thought he misled her.

          I can’t help but feel that MY feelings, as his his wife, should have been more important to him. Apparently my feelings are important now, but I can’t help feeling that is only because she is out of the picture. In other words, he doesn’t have a back up plan.

          I really angers me that when I was cooking him nice meals he met up with this person to tell her (for the hundredth time) that it was over.

          You are right…my husband was not perfect. He was not the most amazing partner. And I didn’t have an affair either.

          Good luck Joey. I wish I had your courage.

    • TheFirstWife

      Joey. You make some excellent points.

      No one is perfect. But if you do t verbalize or discuss things how are we to know our spouse is unhappy?

      And I believe my H was unhappy just before the A started. But believe me he was not as unhappy then as he was at DDay2 and I told him I was divorcing him.

      lol – he had no idea how much unhappier he became. Lucky we survived it and happily reconciled.

    • Hopeful

      There have been some positive changes for me and us as a couple. We are closer than ever and I feel have a transparent marriage. For me on dday it was a huge weight off my shoulders from all the gaslighting my husband had done. I really feel like I was oppressed for so many years and I started to believe it. Dday provided me with an ah ha moment that it was not me but he was the problem.

      I think it has all come at such a major cost to me. I am still the same person I always was. I am hard working, honest and trustworthy. I tend to put others before myself. I have always been introverted. Since dday though that is amplified. Before dday I did whatever I wanted to make me happy and we did a lot separately. I also did not work at all or very much so i had time to invest in myself outside of my career. Now I am working more than ever by choice which is rewarding but it is taking all my time and energy. I think the most critical reason though is I feel let down by others and lack trust. No one owes me anything but even when a friend cancels on plans a couple of times I find it defeating. I find it hard to invest and trust in others. Maybe too it has taken so much out of me to start to rebuild trust with my husband I don’t have much left.

    • Rose

      I asked my therapist what to do about triggers. When they happen, H does not understand or comprehend my anger, so I can’t verbalize. I seem to be unable to control them. She said what to do is mindfulness. You can choose where to do this, but in yoga we place one hand on the heart and one on the abdomen while breathing, controlled and even, and acknowledging “This is something that hurts.” Keep breathing until you are calm. You can place one hand on the other, grab an earlobe, whatever you want. You can visualize the ocean or mountains or whatever your happy place is. It is working really well for me.

    • Hopeful

      What helped us is I tell my husband when I think i might be triggered. Or if I do not anticipate it I tell him during or after. I find that it helps a lot. I think he needs to understand what I am feeling. Also i think he in a sense needs to go through it with me. I think it could be easy for him to avoid these times and feelings. Almost every single time I bring it up he says he either feels the same or totally understands. By having an open dialogue it helps so much. I would say it diffuses the emotional aspect of it for me.

    • TheFirstWife

      I only have one trigger that will not go away.

      Jazz music. Never a big fan but now I canno tolerate it. Once my H put it on and I asked him to turn it off.

      He got the message b/c he has not played it since. And that was well over two years ago.

      That was their “thing”. They both loved jazz. Now thanks to his A I hate it. lol l

    • Michele

      Did anyone go through physical abuse after discovering the A? My husband was having an emotional affair with someone at work. He got caught. Lots of lies, I don’t know and/or I don’t remember and story telling. He continues to treat me horribly and his behavior is still the same besides not communicating with her any longer ( that I know of ). Anyway, I yell, scream, talk calmly, try to communicate as best as possible, etc. According to him the yelling is so bad that I end up getting thrown out of a doorway, dragged, held up against a wall, etc. This is the second time I am bruised up. I have gone after him and I have punched him. I admit I should not go after him or punch his arm but my emotions are literally crazy. I have many times been the one to calm him down. I am the one doing any and all the work for us. I am the one making the effort So, yup, there are times when my emotions are over the top with rage. I am 100 pounds and he is muscular and over twice my size though. D day was the middle of March. He just wants it all to go away. He doesn’t want to take responsibility. He continues to be out late drinking and partying when traveling for work. If I say anything he yells and grits his teeth at me hovers over me with his fists and veins popping out. I am lost and at this point. I was in such a bad place a few days ago I wanted to die. I mean if I had a gun I probably would have used it. He says he doesn’t know why he continues to do the things he does but he loves me. Love? I’m not sure he understands what love is. I have tried to explain how horrible this is for me and I am on an emotional roller coaster but he doesn’t care. It’s all about him. Any help is appreciated.

      • Michele

        Rose, he doesn’t actually hit me. If I am yelling at him he will pick me up by my arms and toss me away. Or have me against the wall, etc. my bruises are from his hands on my arms or when I go flying on the floor or my chest when against the wall, my legs from being pushed into things, etc. I have hit him in the arm. But, my yelling is just too much so I guess it’s my fault for how I am acting. I just wondered if others experience any abuse. And, either way. Because I wish I could beat the crap out of him!

        • Rose

          National Domestic Violence Hotline:


          Please call them!

          • Michele

            I do have places to go. Thank you for thinking of me.

        • Shifting Impressions

          Rose is right with her advice. There is never an excuse for Physical Violence…no matter how much you yell. Please, get help. These things tend to get worse, rather than better.

          • Hopeful

            I agree, there is no excuse for any type of abuse. Over time it takes a toll. I would suggest seeking out a therapist even for just yourself. That support is so important and they can help you work through your own exact situation. They are trained to help you deal with what to do next and taking the right steps.

        • Sarah P.

          Hi Michele,

          I am just now going through this thread.

          Him becoming abusive after an affair??? This guy needs someone to teach him a lesson.

          It does not matter if you yell or if you punched his arm out of frustration due to an affair, which is a crazy situation. (I understand why you punch, but I would no longer do that.) You can yell and verbally rage all you want though. He is a big boy and can take it.

          When a guy gets physical, there is always MORE to come. I am not a yeller, but if I yelled and my husband touched me in ways that left bruises, I would BE OUT OF THERE.

          Here is my definition of physical abuse: touching another person in anger when you are angry. (Or just touching someone in anger.) No pushing, no picking up and throwing. These things are not allowed. Many physical abusers tell their victims that it is not physical abuse unless he punches a person’s faces, slap’s person, hits a person etc. And the worst thing is, this abuser is intentionally abusing in different ways so that he can say it is technically not abuse. That is EVIL. He is touching you to intimidate you and to punish you for not being okay with his affair.

          He doesn’t like you yelling so he picks you up and throws you? He is twice your size and throws you? They say people need to pick on people their own size. Seriously– he is twice your size — he is picking up you, a 100-pound lady, and throwing you. Someone four times his size needs to pick him up and throw him.

          All he needs to do is walk away.

          If a guy did that to me, I would be outta there. One day you will get your jaw broken. Leave before that happens.

          NEWS FLASH: Michele, you cannot do anything to make another person abuse you. It is NOT YOUR FAULT.

          I have never touched anyone in anger my entire life. I have never spanked my children or raised a hand to them in anger. My rule is, if I am angry, I do not touch. I take a deep breath, walk away, cry, or call a friend. But, I do not touch a person when angry.

          When someone yells at me, I either listen calmly (grey rock) or walk away. It make my choice on how I respond to others.

          No one can make me do anything since I have choices. Your H has choices and I believe he also probably has a personality disorder.

          You are being physically abused and there is no ambiguity to it. You deserve better.

          Your husband is acting like a terrible human being. He is not worth dying over.

          In fact, if he had an EA and wants everything his way and gets physical because you don’t let him have his cake and eat it to, you need to go.

          If he goes with the other woman– good for him. Now she will be just another person and he will throw her against the wall. He will blame her for the break-up of his marriage.

          He is being a controlling abusive person so that he can get everything to bend to his will and he gets his way all the time.

          You cannot have a long-term marriage with this person. Please consider divorcing. He is both emotionally and physically abusive and he always will be. Let the coworker have him. Then she gets to be his victim and she is getting what she deserves for stepping into someone’s marriage.

          Let these two losers have each other and see who hurts the other first.

          But, you need to get OUT. I don’t know you, but I am begging you to leave. I know where these stories end and it is my duty to speak frankly. So, please, please leave. You cannot have a happy marriage with this guy.

          Also, I know when you do leave, he will cry. He might stalk you. Send roses. Say he is sorry. But it is not because he is sorry. It is because his “property” aka “his object” (that is you) is not cooperating with him and she is leaving. He cannot stand not having control of his property. He will be upset because he can no longer keep two women spinning. He uses people. Men like this are sick and it will not get better. Please get out before children come along. These things get worse and you will have a miserable life. I have seen this story play out again and again. There is no fixing, only leaving.

          Hugs to you, Michele,


      • Tired

        i experienced this too. I sent pictures of the bruises to my friend in case I would need them in the future. He kept throwing me against the wall. I’m only 45kg, he’s 75.

        • Shifting Impressions

          I am so sorry your husband physically abused you as well as having an affair. Did he stop after the affair was over?

          That’s a lot for you to deal with.

          • Tired

            He did it during the time when he had just come home and she was still trying to get at him. I didn’t know that at the time although I suspected it. It was every time I was picking up on something that suggested he was still lying. He has never done it before, or since and I would definitely go to the police if he did.

            • Shifting Impressions

              What stopped you going to the police back then?

    • DKP

      I want to thank everyone on here for there stories and comments it’s all really helpful, a question I have for all of you is how long did your ws carry on with the op for after dday if they did? My husband is going on 5 months still says he loves me doesn’t want to leave but is confused and doesn’t know what he wants etc….. any thoughts or advise??

      • Tired

        Well mine lied and came back home. He told me it was over. I knew it wasn’t. Continued to be in contact with the other woman for another 2 months behind my back, all the while lying and saying he wasn’t. She was pursuing him. Then he did tell her firmly but even after that it was another couple of months before she finally stopped contacting him! And I’ve only found this out now, 2 years after what I thought was the end of it! I am going to divorce him.

        It sounds like your husband is cake-eating. If he is saying he doesn’t know what he wants (what, you or the other woman? how dare he!), leave him. He will soon realise what he wants.

        Don’t put up with this.

        When people tell you who they are, believe them.

      • Shifting Impressions

        Mine ended contact immediately after d-day. That was my line in the sand. If he would have had to “figure it out”, I would have asked him to pack his bags. There is no way I was going to do the “pick me dance”. But then our kids are raised and we would have been able to handle splitting up financially.

    • Rose

      DKP, if he hasn’t gone NC with her, you need to tell him to get out. He’s having his cake and eating it too. If you don’t give him your line in the sand, he’ll keep doing what he’s doing.

    • Rose

      Michele, who is doing the hitting? You need to get out and get yourself somewhere safe if he is hitting you.

    • Rose

      Michele, it is NOT your fault and is still physical abuse. Do you have somewhere to go?

    • TheFirstWife

      DKP. I was in your position 5 years ago. We had DDay 1. For a few weeks he was still talking to her and she was his priority. Not his wife (me) of 25 years but the OW.

      We had a show-down instigated by me. It was “her or me”. He chose me. But he lied. A few days later he was back to wanting a D to be with the OW.

      He refused MC or any counseling. I continued with my own counselor (who kept my sanity intact).

      He then ends the A. We appear to be moving forward and are R. Things are looking up.

      Then a few months later he wants a D. It’s not good. He no longer loves me!

      That night made no sense. He was completely out of his mind- acting out of character. I then found out the A never ended but went underground and I had no clue.

      That was DDay 2. And I finallly had enough. I had my plan B in place just in case. Well at DDay2 I ran out of patience. I no longer cared about him and was just at the limit of “I don’t give a sh$t anymore”.

      So I said three things. Very calm and rational. No yelling. “I am divorcing you. Kids and I are staying in the house until they are done with school. I’m sorry I can no longer do this with you”.

      And I left the room.

      Then I told him he had to leave the house.

      His A was over at that moment. There was no further contact.

      It took him years to undo the damage but we have reconciled.

      Looking back I did the “pick me” routine far too long. Too many months of being Supportive and Understanding. His mid life crisis A almost caused our D.

      The reality was I was NOT his priority for 6-9 months. The OW was. My H snapped out of it at the last possible second.

      Read up on the 180 U Turn. Google it. It will give you a list of things to help YOU!

      I did the 180 at DDay2. Five years later I no longer do his laundry or errands. I have redefined our M and it works for me! I decided I’m not his errand girl or laundry girl. I’m his wife. Not his mother.

      And in my opinion he’s old enough to take care of himself. And if he doesn’t like it – he knows where the door is.

      But I can tell you my H now knows he was given his last chance and is grateful for the fact We have R. He had worked hard to make amends.

      DDay2 was the bucket of cold water he needed.

      Suggestions: your H needs to stop ???? all contact with the OW. If he refuses – you need to get out from the infidelity black cloud. AND the 180 will help you.

      The 180 stops you from acting like his wife, making mistakes in trying to “win” him back and sets boundaries for you.

      If he chooses to cheat and continue to cheat – you no longer are his wife. You set a boundary with him. It is not life as usual. He no longer is your priority – YOU are your priority. What makes his A work is that his home lufe or M is the same. You are there to keep the house clean and cook and manage everything for him.

      But once YOU are not there for him and things change – like you not cookingvfir him OR doing chores etc. – his life is upended. And cheaters don’t count on change in the M.

      Best of luck and keep posting here.

      • GoDogGo

        My husband had a physical affair with a co-worker. In hindsight I can see that he was going through a stressful time. He had just received a promotion to managing a very large and vital corporate location. We had, on short notice, had to sell our house and move 800 miles and buy a new house in one of the country’s most expensive markets. He ended up with a 90 minute commute and on call 24/7.
        We’d been married 7 years by then. I was left to sell the old house, shovel snow and then quit a job I loved, join him in the location and house shop alone, oversea the move.
        And I was pregnant 6 months pregnant. (I’d already miscarried twice before).
        All this time I thought we were struggling through together. For our future.
        That was 33 yrs ago. We’re still together. He never came clean on it so I just waited until we got transferred 15 months later to end it.
        We have 2 grown kids, together 40 yrs. Retired. Life is good. I live on the beach.
        But I still resent how he chose the most stressful time in MY life to feel stressed out, ignored by me, a major lack of sex due to distance and pregnancy to turn his back on my misery and indulge in fun and fantasy with someone else. I often wonder what he told her about me, about us.
        There’s some little piece of me that cannot allow myself to be completely vulnerable with my husband since then. He has my trust however. Affairs are always destructive.

        • Shifting Impressions

          I agree with you….they are always destructive, I am so sorry you had to go through this, Were you ever able to talk to you husband about the pain he caused you? Did he ever admit to any of it??

          • GoDogGo

            Husband now acts as if he barely remembers her name when I mention it. Once he had the clueless (or Alzheimers) and “Best employee I ever had”. (She worked for him). At this point, I just think he behaved like a selfish ass back then. Typical man. Whining about how ‘woe is me’ life is so stressful, my wife just gave birth and isn’t paying enough attention to me. Men are the weaker sex.

    • Michele

      This is open “Mic” so, why not… Why does the BS stay? What drives us to stay through all the continued misery the CS throws at us? I know I am early in this so this is where my thoughts are. I was made aware in December and then knew in January. He continued on regardless. I forced the issue in middle March and he ended it, the emotional affair. But when she came in his life last October his behavior toward me has become consistently worse. Is that my sign to run? I have found reading about others is helpful but obviously every situation is different even with the same betrayal, lies, gas lighting, denial, avoidance, etc. I have stopped doing and living like a couple with him and it doesn’t seem to matter. We do not have any children. Because I can understand how different it must be for those that do have children. I can’t imagine what the BS endures and the strength it must take to deal with this when there are children in the home. I’m asking myself is it better for me to move on or stay? Either path is a difficult one. Do I try to repair, recover and rebuild with the man I married or do I repair, recover and rebuild just my life?… Either way I know I am repairing and rebuilding my life if he is in the picture or not. It would be nice if there was a manual I could turn to page 260 and read the answer specific to me, lol!

      • Hopeful

        Michele, I am over three years past dday and overall we all have our own stories but many similarities. My husband had ended both his 10 year affairs 15 months before dday. So my situation was different since there was not much contact if any. For me I was in shock but after that all wore off I spent a lot of time thinking and reflecting on what I wanted. I wanted to make the best decision for me. I do have kids and they did factor into my decision for sure. Also part of who I am contributed and I made a promise to remain true to who I am and not change because of what my husband did. I decided early on I was going to give 100% to working through it not really knowing what that meant at the time.

        Early on was so painful and hard. We set boundaries very early on. Overall anything related to women was easy since he was relieved to have it out in the open and hated himself so much. I think it had helped him since he ended it so much earlier on his own. But changing the way he lived his life was a big adjustment. He still claims that it was easy and never work. He did think about it a lot and is happier than ever. Saying all of this I think it has been harder on him. He has to live with the guilt and in the end let himself down the most. I should say my husband is in the mental health field so he was well aware of the damage he was causing himself, me, our marriage and our family.

        Early on we picked one time every week to talk about the recovery. This was critical so the rest of the time we spent together without always talking about the affairs. Honestly I think that was good for both of us. I did not want to talk about it all the time either. I did journal every day sometimes just writing words, questions or thoughts down. Every week before we would meet I would look back at the week and it helped me see what kept standing out. It helped me be more concise when we talked. Otherwise I tended to go off on tangents. I was also less emotional. This in turn helped him to be less defensive and more empathic. This worked really well for us.

        In general even over three years later we still deal with this. At this point I am not worried about other women. I would say I feel as if he always pushed the boundaries and did not feel rules applied to him. He has changed so much but there are hints of that still. I mean I think that is who he is for many reasons.

        He knows this is his second chance and he takes it very seriously. I stay because his actions match his words. I will never say it is perfect or easy. But we have an open and transparent marriage. He says since dday every thing he has said, typed, looked at whatever he would have done if I was standing next to him. He said that feels so good. One thing I underestimated was I thought this recovery would be easy for him since he was the one that made these dumb decisions. Well I think the opposite. It all weighs on him daily. And he has the burden of watching the pain he was 100% responsible for with me.

        • Michele

          Hopeful, thank you for Sharing. My husband has not been helpful and I don’t know how to keep my emotions in check any longer. His actions do not match his words and he is quite resistant and denies, argues, etc. I have a few good days but that is it. I am in the mental health field also and talk about feeling like I have lost my mind! I struggle so much seeing how he behaves and having a deeper understanding. Earlier in this I was better but at every opportunity he continued to disrespect me so badly I have become a nut. I realize I am fearful of letting go of the anger and appearing vulnerable again which will result in more of the same. Do you mind me asking how early on you set limited time to talk about the A? I have been writing and I do find that helpful. Hard to follow my own advise though. I have been searching for a therapist. My choices are not available for new clients but we can try another and always keep trying if the fit isn’t right. I find I do much better when he is out of site. We have both left for periods of times and maybe being separate is best, idk.

          • Sarah P.

            Hi Michele,

            I am sorry, but I need to chime in again.

            Colleague to colleague: you are in the mental health field and still questioning yourself. That is the most enormous red flag of them all. You are an expert in this these and doubting whether you should leave. You know all about cluster B personality disorders. I am going to peg your husband as a narcissist with intermittent explosive disorder. As we both know, there is no help for these folks.

            You also know that when a man starts abusing you, the odds are against you. You need to leave before he seriously hurts you. You know the domestic violence statistics.

            You are in the field and yet you are doubting yourself when you know better than anyone that you need to go. This is NOT ambiguous. Your need to leave and do it forever.

            I am very sorry about everything. Please let me know if you want to communicate over email. I have a Master’s in Psychology and training in affairs, abuse, and trauma bonds.


    • Rose

      For me, I stay mostly because of finances. We are heavily in debt (his fault) with no foreseeable way out until we sell the house. Its a 70s model that we are fixing up room by room. Without remodeling, we won’t sell it for enough. There is not an extra penny for a second residence. We both had lawsuits pending, both of which fell through. There were a couple of years of serious emotional abuse but it has mostly stopped. I have nowhere to go but if he started physical abuse, I’d be at a shelter. That would be the breaking point. I didn’t even realize emotional abuse was happening but now I’m “woke.” I have called him on it and am not afraid to again if need be. He has had 3 EAs; the first, I was too young to even know what it was. The 2nd, a few years ago, lasted 1 year and 9 months after he had promised me he’d cut it off. He went underground and used a work phone and email for contact. The last one was 6 months after that.. With his first cousin. I just pretty much have no feeling left at all, just numb inside. People have many reasons why they stay.

      • Michele

        Rose, I am sorry for all you have been through and are still going through. I know what it feels like to be numb on the inside and it’s a tough spot to get out of. I have been there in the past for other reasons. I hope the day comes when you will feel better on the inside.

    • Michele

      I know Sarah. I saw his struggles pre A. This has thrown me on an emotional roller coaster I have never experienced and I have not handled it well regardless of my MH knowledge. I am torn with the man he is, at times, and then deeper issues. Is he a man hurt with baggage? Idk. I am hoping to go to a therapist with specific knowledge such as yours. I know I might be ending this but I am the type of person that needs to be content with my decisions and I am confident a therapist will help. I need the therapist just as much right now. Speaking of intermittent explosive disorder… on certain days now I could fit in that category. I am not minimizing the seriousness of everything. I have family, friends and support. But, it is helpful to read and write with others that are at different stages of this process.

      • Sarah P.

        Hi Michele,

        You and your H are different. The fact that you know you might qualify for IED requires insight. IED is an axis 2. If you have insight that you struggle with IED means you do not have it.

        You are on the axis 4– that is you are reacting to (hopefully temporary) psycho-social pressures. Axis 2 and Axis 4 are a world away.

        What is happening is that your husband is having an affair, is gas-lighting you, and refuses to hear your needs. He refuses to hear you to the point that you end up yelling. You are being manipulated and played and reacting to it. You are being baited and reacting. (Axis 4)

        Also it does not matter if he is a hurt man with baggage since he is hurting you. I know a lot of hurt men with baggage and they do not raise their hand to a woman let alone throw her when she speaks. The fact that you are thinking about him and his origins is also what an Axis 4 would do– not an Axis 2. Axis 2’s look only at their needs and the origins of someone else’s behavior never crosses their mind. And when Axis 2’s act out, they will tell their victim that their victim CAUSED them to act out. In an Axis-2’s mind, they are the center of the world and when they do something to victimize another they will growl that their victim “made them do it.” Total crazy-making and gas-lighting.

        You cannot make him throw you. He chooses to do that because he does want want to “hear you” and since you are yelling, he must hear you. But since he doesn’t want to hear you or hear what you have to say about his affair– he is an Axis 2.

        You are a frustrated axis-4 reacting to emotional and physical abuse.

        Your husband’s affair is an outgrowth of the issue that he is an axis-2. My next article, which will be publish on Tuesday, gives a glimpse into what it is like to be married to an Axis-2. It also shows that axis 2’s never change, they only get older.

        Also, I know what you mean about being content with your decisions. Getting a divorce is a big decision. But, please know this: you did not cause his affair and you cannot make him throw you or hurt you. That is his choice.

        The fact that you have insight that you may not be handling this well is yet another thing that shows me your are an Axis-4. But I will tell you this: when people are married to abusive cheaters and the abusive cheater is entitled and becomes abusive– many victims will fight back. It doesn’t matter how you are handling it because the burden it still on him. You are merely reacting ti an unmanageable situation. Most betrayed spouses are in such a state of shock that they do things they never thought they were capable of. And I give betrayed spouses a pass when they are reacting to the utter shock and betrayal. Yes, we all control our choices, but when someone has been leveled by an affair– when they are the victim– they will have a period of time when they do things they never thought possible. And I give them a pass for doing things they thought themselves incapable of such as slapping a wayward spouse, punching the arm of a wayward spouse, yelling at the top of their lungs at a wayward spouse. Finding out about infidelity causes a quasi-psychotic break in some and it’s NOT because they are mentally ill. It is because they are reacting to an unfathomable and unthinkable situation which is causing them unspeakable pain. Betrayed spouses will go through a period of time when they act out of character.

        Michele, this guy is not worth ending your life over. Let me know if you want my email address. We can email and I can find out your specific location and look for someone with the right credentials in your area who can help.

        But I have found this– depending on when someone went to school, they may be giving out-dated advice. Also, while I specialize in infidelity, but I also specialize in the secondary things that people experience such as axis-2 personalities, trauma bonds, and childhood trauma.


    • theresa

      For the WS among us:

      How many times have you been rebuffed by a potential AP?

      • theresa

        Have you ever been “broken up with” by your AP?

    • Michele

      Hi Sarah, I understand and agree. I am aware of how I am reacting. And, I am aware of his behavior pre A and post A. I appreciate any recommendation you can offer for therapy. Shall I post my email address here?

    • Sarah P.

      Hi Michele,

      Go ahead and email me directly at:

      [email protected]

      We can talk about where you live and I have a few others questions that we can discuss offline. I have some people in mind, but need to know more.

      We can sort this out easily together. In the meantime, please stay safe.


    • Rose

      Hi, I read this amazing story on Quora today. The discussion was “Who is the most promiscuous person you know?” I just think it’s amazingly written and relevant to some of us. Hope you enjoy it

      I don’t know what he was like. Nobody else did, either. He was an unreliable narrator, and most of what he told me about himself was a lie. Not all of it, though.

      I knew him for ten years, but I don’t guess I’ll ever see him again. So at long last I’ll tell his story. It’s a story of greatness, or maybe illusion. It’s about a cursed man struggling against his fate. You could say it’s about a kind of beauty – a flame that lit the damned.

      Maybe not, though. Maybe it’s a common tale of villainy and deceit. It could be a tribute. Could be an excoriation. Could be a lot of things.

      During the years I knew him, KD was, himself, a lot of things.

      We were colleagues. In our eight-person medical group, he was the director and I was the newest hire, just out of residency.

      At the hospital, he was a star. Among the hundreds of doctors and countless other employees who roamed the halls, he was maybe the most known and one of the best liked. He was good-looking in an average, slightly rumpled way. He was a near-brilliant doctor, and that was widely acknowledged, but it’s not the reason people loved him.

      He was very confident, very funny, zinging one-liners in all directions. When he spoke at a noisy meeting or told a story in a crowded room, other voices would drop away. When he walked into the nurses’ station with his lopsided grin, the nurses would light up with a kind of electrified eagerness. He resembled an overgrown frat boy – gregarious to the point of obnoxiousness and beyond. In fact, he had been his fraternity’s president in college. When he mentioned this in passing at some point, I thought, well of course you were.

      Other men all liked him in a back-slapping, admiring way. He was Kentucky-bred, and in his free time he did what lots of men around here do: fishing trips, hunting trips, heading down to the cabin, taking the boat out on the lake. Sometimes he went fishing and hunting with other doctors, and sometimes with other friends or with his brothers – who he loved, and who he claimed were far smarter and more successful than he was. He also played darts like a champ. He drank bourbon when he wasn’t drinking beer. He was a man’s man. A regular guy. The idealized form of the regular guy, in fact, if that isn’t an oxymoron.

      His jokes crossed lines of good taste, but he got away with it because he was KD. He was quick and witty, good at twisting innocent comments into double entendres about sex. Sex was a big topic with him. One day, introducing me to a gynecologist friend in the doctors’ lounge, he turned back to the man and said, “You know, I could never do what you guys do. It’s like working at a bakery when you’re diabetic and can’t eat the merchandise. All day long, ‘look at that pie that I better not taste’. I wouldn’t last ten minutes.” His boyish laugh rang out. Everyone in earshot laughed along with him. People didn’t get offended. The whole world was a joke to him, and he made everyone see the humor in things.

      But it was among women that he shone the brightest. And of course a hospital is chock-full of women. When KD entered the nursing station, all the women smoothed their hair and turned a little bit in his direction – like a whole garden of flowers all angling toward the sun. “Hey, Christie!” he’d call, or Kelli or Amira or Steph, and whoever it was, they’d be at his elbow in an instant smiling with pleasure. He’d be talking about some patient with pneumonia or agitated delirium, and he’d be saying very smart things – but alongside the professional talk there was also a schoolboy charm, there was his flashing ragged grin, his joke, her laughter, his hand grazing her shoulder. Wow, you look great today. He passed out compliments and attention like party favors. He knew everyone’s name. He liked everyone. And everyone loved him.

      Except me.

      I couldn’t stand him.

      I looked at him and saw what I used to see in plenty of frat boys: a king who enjoyed having fawning admirers. Who told jokes to make sure everyone clapped for him. I saw also how the nurses fell in line to adore him. He flirted with them for fun, but they liked him back for real. And he encouraged that. He couldn’t get enough of female admiration. Meanwhile he was married – to a beautiful ex-nurse, of course – but he wanted to be fluttered over and adored at every moment and by every woman. And all the silly women obliged – like concubines, I thought, primping and fluttering at the approach of the sultan.

      Gradually I realized that maybe he did more than just flirt. There were rumors about affairs. One day his beautiful blond wife came to the hospital in a white rage – her stiletto heels striking flames against the floor with every stride, the way I heard it – demanding to see him, demanding to know who was the slut who’d been calling their home. This became the talk of the hospital, of course. And all the nurses took KD’s side when they told the story. Wow, what a jealous bitch that woman is. So controlling, so nuts. Poor KD!

      That’s what made me angrier than anything. Plenty of the nurses had been through bad marriages and cheating boyfriends. But they had no criticism for KD. They had no problem pouring their scorn on another woman, a woman just like them, who probably had good reason to be furious. And down in my black and bitter heart I was thinking that if there were any justice in this world, he would get his comeuppance someday.

      And then it happened. I came in one day to the news that he was gone. Fired. No warning, no goodbyes.

      Apparently, he’d been under investigation by the state medical board for months. He had kept it all a secret. There had been a woman, a former patient, who had recently stepped forward to make claims about something he’d done to her years before. (They’d been having an ongoing affair since then. She had reported him only after the affair had finally turned ugly – a hell-hath-no-fury outcome that he must have dreaded all along.). The Board website spelled out the woman’s allegations and KD’s eventual confession in tabloid detail, as well as their judgment: license revoked.

      He sent out a final email to all of us in the group. I read it a dozen times, because it tore at me. I am ashamed beyond words, it said. I deserve everything that’s happened to me. It ended with, I have never worked with finer people than you.

      This sounded nothing like KD.

      In the wake of his downfall, rumors were confirmed. He became the topic of open conversation; in fact he was pretty much all anyone talked about for weeks. It transpired that he’d had affairs with multiple women around the hospital. Many of his paramours were desperately in love with him. He had also had countless one-time flings with women. “Remember LaShonda who used to work nights on 5A?” one of the older nurses told me. “He took her into the Med Room one night. Bent her over the sink, did her right there, standing up. Black girls, white girls, even the ones you could catch a disease from just looking at. He did everyone.”

      His wife threw him out. He was said to be a broken man, living with his parents, on the edge of suicide. I thought of him a lot, and the dark drama of his story gripped me strangely. I sent him a couple emails but he never answered.

      I ran into him at the grocery store one day and was shocked by his haggard appearance. We made awkward small talk. He was buying nothing but a huge bag of cat food. “Hey, that’s not for you, is it?” I blurted out – one of those jokes that sounds edgily funny in your head and completely unforgivable out loud. Oh god, did I actually just say that? He smiled weakly, as if I hadn’t just been a complete asshole, or as if he had no right to expect better. He explained that he was picking it up for his mother.

      That was the last time I saw him. The rumor later went around that he was now working at a home improvement store – someone had seen him there, restocking the shelves. I thought about him a lot. I am ashamed beyond words. And then some time passed, and I stopped thinking about him at all.

      Chapter Two

      And then, shockingly and out of the blue, he reappeared among us. Two years had passed. He had been reinstated by the Board. He had approached our current medical director to ask if we would take him back. I thought that was crazy. His name would damage our reputation, I maintained, and he might not fit in or be much accepted at the hospital now that he was drenched in scandal. We put the question to a vote. As it turned out, the only person who voted no was me.

      He came back to us under a conditional license. The state medical board had imposed strict and humiliating terms. He was not allowed to be alone with female patients, which meant he had to hire a chaperone who would go into patients’ rooms with him. Also mandated were ongoing therapy sessions and attendance at twelve-step meetings. And of course, if there was any questionable behavior, the Board would not be forgiving.

      I was sort of fascinated to meet the new man. I am ashamed beyond words, he had written. I thought of him with that bag of cat food and three-day stubble. I thought of him stocking shelves in aisle fifteen. I thought of how he must have pleaded before the Board for a second chance, while they rubbed his nose in what he’d done. How he had to sit in a circle with other men and say “I’m KD and I have a sex addiction.” And now, finally, he’d be walking back into our hospital facing everyone who knew of his disgrace. Like Jean Valjean, I thought, paroled but forced to show the damning yellow ticket-of-leave wherever he went.

      I thought about these things. And about a week after his return, I called him up, and asked if he’d have lunch with me. He hesitated a bit, and said yes.

      We got burgers at a local joint. I didn’t know what we were going to talk about. But he went straight to the elephant in the room. He had a new understanding of himself, he said. He’d been figuring things out in therapy. It amazed me, the depths that lurked inside the man I’d despised as a hollow lothario.

      “I’m not really a sex addict,” he told me. “I’m a relationship addict. I’ve been depressed all my life, going back to high school – always knew I was no good. I was the loser of the family. My big brothers, they were the smart ones. But I could get women to like me, and that’s the one thing that ever made me feel okay about myself. I’d flirt, and they’d laugh and flirt back. And we’d get together – and for just an instant I’d be like ‘Okay, now I’m all right for a little while.’.

      “But I’m done with all that.” He gave a brittle chuckle and looked away out the window. “Celibacy is my thing these days. Women, they’re like Kryptonite; I keep my distance. Now I just go to work, I go home, I go to my therapist. I help out at Clay’s football practice and drive my daughters around. That’s about it. I’m just a dad, mostly, and all I want is to be a good father to the kids.”

      We ended up talking about other stuff, too. We both had stories about falling out of boats into freezing rivers that had come close to drowning us – him on a fishing trip in Idaho, me flipping a single scull on the frigid Scioto. He asked me about myself, and he was a great listener – different from most guys. He kept his eyes fixed on me whenever I spoke. He had been so open earlier that I felt like I could tell him anything. As we were walking out to our cars I said, “You know, I used to think you were kind of an ass.”

      “Yeah, I could tell,” he grinned. “But I liked that about you. A woman with spirit.”

      I thought of him after that lunch. It was his openness and his woundedness that hooked me. It was also the lure of his strange and complete transformation: the arrogant hero brought low, seeking atonement. This reminded me of some noble myth I couldn’t put my finger on: Achilles after he got Patroclus whacked, or Samson in defeat. Hercules doing penance by serving Queen Omphale, who had him sit at her feet and hold her knitting to learn humility.

      At work, KD was now a quiet man – uncertain, or chastened by his downfall. He would turn to his chaperone meekly, asking her “Ready?” before entering the next patient’s room. (I wondered how the patients – octogenarians, mostly – would react if they were told the real reason she was present. And this is Anna. She’s here to make sure I don’t seduce you.). He was still pleasant and friendly to everyone. But he no longer held court at the nursing station or in the doctors’ lounge. He listened a lot and talked little.

      I thought of him. A woman with spirit, he had called me.

      It’s possible I changed my jogging route around that time. My new route took me down his street and past his house. It’s also possible that around that time, I started checking the work schedule to see when KD and I would have shifts together. Maybe I chose my clothes more carefully on those days. Maybe I even wore makeup and put on my best earrings. Those things may have happened. But if they did, I assure you they were purely coincidental.

      And maybe when I came around a corner and saw him, in that gray t-shirt under that white coat, my heart beat too fast, and I was overly happy and young-feeling – sort of like an idiot schoolgirl. But I kept that to myself.

      As weeks went by, he became more relaxed at work – more chatty and jokey like the old KD. I had assumed he’d get a cold shoulder from a lot of people, or that some colleagues would drop sly references to his past just for the enjoyment of making him do a little extra penance. But it wasn’t like that. A few doctors welcomed him back with wary politeness, but most were warm and some showed outright boisterous affection. “KD! Missed you, man. Welcome back! You been hunting yet this season?”

      His old rakish grin returned and so did a bit of his old flirtiness. One day I heard him teasing Anna about her job. “Keep an eye on me in Room 253. She’s pretty cute when she remembers her dentures – and you know what a sexual predator I am.” Anna laughed, and everyone at the nurses’ station sighed with relief. His crime could now be dismissed as a bygone faux pas. He was just KD again, everyone’s lovable rogue. Poor KD, who had suffered and paid for his sins.

      One night, a month or so after his return, I entered the doctors’ lounge for a coffee. It was late and the room lights were low, the place dim despite the glow of the computers. KD was at one of those computers. No one else was there. We talked a little medicine. It felt relaxed and informal – maybe because of the low lighting, how dark the sky was beyond the windows, and the way the lounge at that hour cradled a pocket of peace and quiet that made it stand apart from the clamor of the hospital. “So how are things lately?” I asked. “You still celibate these days?”

      “As a monk.” And then, cocking his head, he added, “But, you know, I think about you sometimes.”

      Just like that.

      I rolled my eyes. “Uh huh. Sometimes. Like when?”

      “Like now.” There was a half-smile, bashful. “So. What do you think? You wanna make out a little?”

      I stood transfixed. I am not very confident with men – and while I was pretty sure he was saying what I wanted him to be saying, it was possible he actually meant something else – something ironic or self-deprecating. Something more like his drawl to Anna that day: You know what a sexual predator I am. He might be making fun of himself. Or worse, of me.

      “Let’s do it,” he said. Eager now, almost breathless, like a kid proposing a venture we both knew our parents wouldn’t approve of. “Let’s make out.” It seemed like such a funny way to put it, like we were fifteen. And then he crossed the room to me.

      And so, you know. Things happened.

      After that, I understood the hold he used to have on all those other women. Now that I’d been drawn into his magnetic field, I felt it too. It wasn’t that the sex was some kind of ethereal mind-blowing experience. It was just him. The way he made me feel like a desired woman in the arms of someone who loved me.

      Chapter Three

      I wasn’t an idiot. He was a man who played games with women. He had once been famous for the games he played. And I – I was an average type. His wife had been beautiful. I supposed his various conquests had been mostly beautiful. I was all right in looks, and excellent in brains – and I wasn’t dumb enough to think he actually liked me in a way that mattered.

      But the knowing of this didn’t stop my heart from pounding whenever he turned his come-hither charms in my direction. The heart is paced by the sino-atrial node, innervated by the vagus nerve and informed by a blushing tide of hormones. Sixty-five million years of mammalian evolution, and now all it took was a whispered word or the sight of a crooked smile to throw my whole system into chaos.

      The only way I can explain it is, he was not like the rest of us. He wasn’t ordinary. I had met thousands of people in my life, dated a hundred guys before him. Even cared about a few of them. Even been married for ten years. And all those guys had their own virtues and quirks, but they were still men of flesh and blood. Not him. He was made of stuff that shimmered. He was larger than life with a gift for making everyone happy, putting a sparkle on ordinary things. And when he looked at me, when he touched me – me, of all people! – I was like Cinderella at the ball. He made me feel like I was the one with the shimmer that had drawn him. He made me brim over with that young-crush excitement I hadn’t felt since my acned years. I had completely forgotten how exciting life used to be, but now my crusted layers had moulted off, and in my delicate new skin, all my tender nerve endings sang at the thought of him.

      Of course, since I was not an idiot, I didn’t let him know I felt these things. I kept up a careful front. We eschewed romance, using our call room for trysts, and never dating or even calling each other outside of work. He showed his affection in public, in front of anyone – complimenting me, and resting his hand on my back when we ate together in the lounge, and lighting up happily when we passed in the halls, like the sight of me delighted him.. But wasn’t that how he’d treated plenty of women before me? I played cold everywhere outside the call room. I refused to even acknowledge the shimmering hand on my back, and refused to take his compliments. He’d say, wow, that’s some dress. You look really great today. And I’d say brusquely, I look great every day.

      Meanwhile I’d be concealing the malfunction in my sino-atrial node.

      He texted me at two or three a.m. sometimes. I loved that. But it wasn’t to say, “I miss you.” It was just banter. He was a witty texter. He had a knack for bending every conversation around to the subject of his penis. The dick that launched a thousand sexts, I replied, trying to sound amused and unimpressed.

      The whole time, I could see the danger I was in. I hadn’t yet heard any rumors that he was involved with anyone else, but it seemed painfully obvious (emphasis on the painfully) that, now that his vow of celibacy was broken, he was likely to go back to old habits. Soon he might be creeping around other call rooms and sexting other women on the nights he wasn’t creeping and sexting with me. And here I was, besotted like any fool, with just the thinnest veneer of self-respect keeping me from showing it.

      Something else was bothering me. I didn’t like the way he had changed – or rather, reverted to type. There was no longer any sign of that broken and humbled hero I had been drawn to. Quite unlike Hercules – who had sought atonement at the feet of Queen Omphale for three full years – KD was pretty much back to his old brash ways after just three months. Once again, he was confident and adored by all and basking on center stage. The dark raw pain he had shown me that day over burgers – that supposedly had afflicted him since his teens – had healed up instantly in the glow of his returned popularity.

      What he’d said that day had stirred me. He had shown me the cleft between his public persona and his secret anguish. He had made me suspect – dimly – that I too had a welded-on iron mask of sorts that covered wounds and fears. I was not so different from him. And I wanted to change like he had changed – to figure myself out and escape the mask, and start living fearlessly with my true self (whatever that was) unhidden. I had hoped he could show me how.

      But obviously, the real KD was this one: the witty happy fraternity boy who everybody loved. Now that his life was back on track, there was no shred of angst or anguish in him.

      I realized also that his hair-shirt performance had only been what all politicians and televangelists do when caught pants-down with their secretaries. I have sinned! I struggle with the devil within me! I’m an addict! I had a painful childhood! He’d told himself a sad-sack fiction about having inner demons, and that let him sidestep all genuine remorse.

      And now he had come back from his lurid scandal, something no normal doctor could have survived, and had slickly become once more the golden boy getting handed a free pass.

      I had always hated that golden-boy shit.

      (But maybe, looking back, I was just playing ‘sour grapes.’ Because if I had gotten proof that he really cared about me – if he had proven it in a way that overcame my self-protective skepticism – I would have hurled my heart down at his feet.).

      Chapter Four

      So I’m the one who ended it. Maybe I was smart. Maybe I was just too chickenshit to take even the smallest risk. It killed me to do it, because I knew I was slamming his door in my own face. It killed me, but only on the inside where he couldn’t see.

      I had always played it cool and unimpressed in the face of his open affection, but now I froze him out completely. He must have wondered why I suddenly refused to meet him in the call room. But even though he looked crestfallen, I knew he wasn’t going to ask what had changed, and I wasn’t going to explain. I had always been sure I was the smitten one and he was the cold manipulator – but at the last moment, as I brought my happiness crashing down on my own head, I wondered if I was wrong. It occurred to me that an outside observer judging our relationship – observing his persistent compliments and smiles in the face of my chilly disdain – might see things exactly the opposite.

      I ended it, and was stuck with my decision.

      But I still checked the schedule for his name. I still angled to run into him in the halls, and catch his eye, and say something witty in the hope he’d say something sexy. So nothing had changed. I was still pining and crazy about him. Only now, I didn’t have him. Because I had wrecked everything. Because I was an idiot. It always came back to that.

      Around the same time, I got a better job offer at the competing hospital, so I took it, which meant KD and I didn’t see each other anymore. But he still texted me sometimes in the night. And I was still thrilled like a schoolgirl every time he did. It was his usual sexy banter (Hard shift at the hosp last night. But you remember how very hard it gets) and I would volley back in kind.

      There was a difference from before, though. In my texts I would match his flirty tone, but he didn’t stick with flirtation. He kept upping the ante. His follow-up texts would push into wish I were fucking u territory. If I tolerated that, he would try for more. Can I send u a pic of it? The X-rated lines were strangely impersonal, like he’d suddenly forgotten who I was. I’d brush him off in some light way (lol thx but already seen it) and wonder: was he going to text another woman now and try the same words on her? I wondered if maybe he did this every night, if maybe he had a list of phone numbers that he went through in rotation. Maybe he texted me not because I was me, but because my name had come around again to the top of the list.

      A friend of mine – a nurse at another hospital – told me something odd. She was active on and had just had a date with a new guy. It was KD. They had figured out they both knew me. “And he acted like – like you guys had been involved, but you’d broken his heart. He was like, ‘Oh, yeah, Angeli. She was awesome. But she dropped me hard. She was just too good for a guy like me.’ ”

      I snorted. My pride kicked in, and I lifted my chin. “He’s playing games, doing some sad-puppy-dog act to get you interested. We weren’t involved, not the way you’re thinking. He didn’t care that I dropped him, and I most certainly didn’t break his heart.” I wasn’t about to admit how much I wanted his lies to be true.

      I was mystified, though, by what she’d told me. What was KD doing on ? He was the last guy in the world to need a dating service. He had so many admirers at the hospital.

      I still missed him. It had been magic and I had chosen the mundane and safe instead. Why had I done that? And sometimes I still went running in his neighborhood, and wished he would look out his window at the right moment and see me, and remember how I’d been amazing and too good for him. But of course he was probably not home. He helped coach his son’s football team, and he had his friends and his fishing trips and his golden-as-ever life. And he was dating. He was probably involved with someone new by now. probably someone as beautiful as his ex-wife. And he would eventually marry her, and keep right on flirting with people.

      But actually, that didn’t happen.

      What happened is that, about a week after one of his late-night texts (hey r u there?) – which I had slept through – I got a call at around ten in the morning from a nurse friend at my old hospital.

      “Listen, I thought you should know. Something is going on over here. KD didn’t come to work today, And you know, we thought that wasn’t like him. So after a while, people got worried, and finally someone went over to his house to check on him. He’s dead, Ange. Shot himself in the head.”

      In the wake of his death, secrets revealed themselves. He had again been sleeping with countless women in the hospital. Several were in love with him and believed he loved them back. One recent paramour was a married woman who eventually had confessed to her husband. The husband had been stalking KD. The man had friends in law enforcement, and these friends had paid an unofficial visit to KD’s home – to instruct him a little, man-to-man. And a week before his death, he had gone out to the hospital parking lot late one evening, and found his car with all its tires slashed.

      His parents had been keeping his guns locked up in their house for a while. He had asked them to, because he didn’t trust himself with them. But after the tire-slashing, he asked his father to give him a gun back for protection.

      I guess the gun started talking to him. Quietly, maybe, like an old friend. It must have seen him stumbling home exhausted from all those bedrooms and call-rooms and motel rooms. And it must have said with empathy, Oh come on now, KD. Don’t you know the next move? And I imagine KD and the gun spent some time conversing, just the two of them, with the kids asleep down the hall. And it was only a few days before they reached agreement.

      Some time later, I was talking with one of his best friends. They had known each other since college. “He told me way back when, back in school, that he thought he’d be dead before he was forty. That he’d have killed himself by then. It’s just how he was, he said – there was something black in his mind that he could never rise free of.”

      At the funeral, I sobbed through the whole service. I couldn’t seem to help it. You wouldn’t believe how many people were there. Everyone loved KD.

      A woman doctor from our old medical group called me. We were all like survivors of a natural disaster during those first weeks, trying to make sense of things.

      She hadn’t slept with him, she revealed, but he had tried and tried for it, flirting and teasing her, working to charm her. She was married. “I have never cheated on my husband,” she said. “But, my god, I wanted to. Every day, I wanted to. Not sleeping with KD was the hardest thing I’ve ever done.”

      That struck me as the kind of tribute he would have loved.

      Except that when I thought it over, I thought the opposite. That if he could hear her, he would put the gun back under his chin and keep pulling the trigger, bang! bang! bang! – smashing away every last piece of his face.

      He’s been dead a few years now. Recently I had lunch with one of the old crowd – our former practice manager. She had been with the group since KD started it, had known him longer than anyone. She was twenty-five years older than him, a plain and kind and solid woman; the maternal type.

      We talked about other things at first, of course. But the conversation drifted to him. Probably he was the unspoken reason we had stayed in touch through the years: we both needed someone else who would keep talking about him. We were like dogs nosing at his corpse and then running in circles, then going back to him, trying to figure out what had gone wrong.

      I hadn’t known it when he was alive, but she and KD had been close. He used her as a confessor . He’d tell her some of his secrets, things he felt bad about or things he’d done that were coming around to haunt him. She would shake her head and scold him, dotingly. “He was like a son to me,” she said. “He’d tell me stories of the messes he was getting himself into, and I’d try to talk some sense into him. But that was KD. He made you love him even while he made you want to kill him. He couldn’t change.”

      “He did, though,” I reminded her. “He did change. After he lost his license, when he was so devastated. He worked really hard to be a different man.” I go to work, I go home, I see my therapist, I just want to be a good father. “When he first came back to the hospital he was still in his celibate phase, and trying so hard. But he just couldn’t keep himself from going back to the quick fix. The hospital did it to him, maybe. Old patterns.”

      This seemed the saddest thing to me – that he had been a changed man. He had remade himself from the ground up with the hope of doing right by everyone. But despite his saintly fervency and noble intentions, he had failed. Had destroyed homes and families, used and betrayed every woman he got near, destroyed his wife, left his kids a final memory of Dad with his head blown off, screwed over his colleagues, screwed with his patients. We were ordinary people, the rest of us – people cut from plain white paper, living in paper homes and a paper hospital. And here was KD, cursed to live among us with his hands of fire, like a disturbed younger brother to King Midas. He lit up everyone close to him so we were edged in his flame, and it was wonderful and beautiful – but in the end, he just couldn’t help burning down every damn thing he touched.

      The old practice manager smiled. She’s nearing eighty. KD would be 52 or so if he were alive.

      She said, “You know, he used to come to the office and talk to me. Even during those years when he didn’t have a license, he’d drop in and put his head down in his hands and tell me stories. And Angeli, I don’t know what kind of stories he was telling you – because he sure had lots of different ones for different occasions – but he had women going the whole time. There was never any ‘celibate phase’.”

      That was KD.

      To me he was a flaming passion that still burns hot in memory. And to him I guess I was just Girl #649. So you can see why I feel like an idiot.

      When I think about what we each gave the other and what we each got, it makes me sad. I got him, and he was strange and magical and tormented and his illusions made me happy, and I’m glad to feel still scorched and mystified by him all these years later. Me, I’ve lived an ordinary life. If it weren’t for him, I’d have never seen the possibility of what an un-ordinary one could be.

      That’s what I got from him. But what he got from me was one more accessible and forgettable naked body that didn’t change anything, and edged him one fraction closer to despair.

      KD, man.

      He was the most promiscuous man I’ve ever known.

      I’m pretty sure I loved him.


    • Doug

      Hey everyone! Often songs can be uplifting and a great source for inspiration and encouragement. What are some songs that you have found to be especially so?

      • Michele

        What a great question Doug. Music is therapy for me. I love the Bee Gees (I get teased plenty). More recently though… There was a new song ‘cake by the ocean’ by DNCE that always brings a smile to my face because I love cake and I love the ocean. And, for me, it just sounds like an upbeat and fun song.

        • Doug

          The Bee Gees??! LOL, boy that takes me back to Saturday Night Fever and the disco 70’s!

      • Tired

        Grease Lightening!

        Why this car is automatic
        It’s systematic
        It’s hydromatic
        Why it’s grease lightning (grease lightning)
        We’ll get some overhead lifters and some four barrel quads
        Oh yeah
        (Keep talking whoa keep talking)
        A fuel injection cutoff and chrome plated rods oh yeah
        (I’ll get the money I’ll kill to get the money)
        With a four speed on the floor they’ll be waiting at the door
        You know that ain’t no shit we’ll be getting lots of tit
        In Grease Lightning
        Go, go, go, go, go, go, go, go, go, go
        Go grease lightning you’re burning up the quarter mile
        (Grease lightning go grease lightning)
        Go grease lightning you’re coasting through the heat lap trial
        (Grease lightning go grease lightning)
        You are supreme the chicks’ll cream for grease lightning
        Go, go,…

        I didn’t think John Travolta was so good looking then, but he has matured with age.

    • TheFirstWife

      There is a song that just came out by Joran and the (______) – I can remember the full name of the group.

      It is called Pray For You. Funny video.

      It is not religious.

      But I like the snarky tone to the song. I don’t want to give it away but the video is funny and I like the message. I listen to it every day. Makes me laugh.

      And I’m down for some Saturday Nite Fever. Went to all the discos back then – NYC was happenin’!!!

    • Sarah P.

      I love music. I just found that song TFW mentioned. Really hilarious if you are a Christian who feels guilty for wishing ill on those who harm you. Seems God gave us a loophole.

    • Sarah P.

      Here is a laugh out loud song. I showed this to my kids and they thought it was a SNL skit. The song is hilarious but the fact that it was not written as a joke makes it hysterical. My kids could not comprehend that the song was written as a way to seriously appeal to young Catholics who were not attending church back in the 70’s.

    • Sarah P.

      If you listen to that song I posted, pay special attention to the line where the guy said he once tried to run and hide from Jesus but Jesus came and found him and touched him deep inside.

      How appropriate considering all the scandals with Priests and choir boys. Hey I did not write the song and you can’t make this stuff up. That’s really what the song says.

    • Watergirl

      My husband has been having a EA or at least I believe it hasn’t gotten physical yet. He says he doesn’t know what he wants and I am planning to leave for a period of time to figure out what I want. He initially told me he wanted to work on our marriage but i noticed he was completely distant and I was the one making all the effort which is the basis for my decision to leave. My question is should I confront the woman. I have been able to find out who she is and know that she is also married however her husband lives away a few months out of the year?

    • Asil

      Be OK by Ingrid Michaelson played over and over again got me through so many bad days!!!

    • Rose

      Watergirl, I wouldn’t confront her but I WOULD inform her husband.

      • Shifting Impressions

        I think one needs to tread lightly when it comes to informing a spouse. You have no way of knowing what this might unleash. There is always the possibility of the husband being abusive and coming after your husband etc. You don’t know what you are inviting into your life.

        Just my opinion, of course

    • Watergirl

      The thought behind confronting the OW is I have no idea if she even knows we are married. He has lied about so much I’m not sure if he would’ve shared that information.

      • Shifting Impressions

        Well, she is married and cheating on her husband….I doubt she would even care if he is married.

    • TheFirstWife

      Hold on please. It is possible the EA could be one sided. It happened to me at a job. He may have had feelings for me – I was engaged at the time and never had feelings for him. Ever.

      We laughed and joked. Idle office chatter. It was nothing! But I suspect his M was going south (long beforeme. I was not flirty or sexual or anything like that with my boss. Nothing happened I would not have wanted my (now) H to see.

      It was all on him and i don’t know what he told his wife.

      I’m just saying make sure she is invested in the EA in the same way. If she is – I would tell her H or BF first and foremost.

    • Watergirl

      I had a hunch something was off and remembered that our cell phone bill showed usage including the numbers he was calling. Most of the calls he makes to her with a few being returned by her. He had initially told me they were friends who reconnecte vis LinkedIn. She’s married although her husband lives away a portion of the year because of work based on what he said. I told him it needed to stop. He left then came back the next day saying he wanted to do whatever needed to save our marriage that she’s not his type and vice versa. He talked about the things he needed to do and work on and we talked about the things we needed to do together. He told me when he left he told her that they could no longer continue to talk. He even offered to call her in front of me which I had initially requested. I told him it wasn’t necessary. Things were just ok the following week. I was trying to make an effort while feeling totally insecure and uneasy inside. This past Thursday we were going to travel to see his family. I had gone out to run errands and he seemed off when I got back which drove me to check the cell records again. He had called her while I was gone. I told him I wasn’t going, he asked why and I told him. He still wanted me to go (not quite sure why). I asked him about what he had told me about her the week before. He said some of it was true and some wasn’t and that he didn’t know what he wanted. I told him I was t going to wait. I didn’t go and I left by the time he returned home. When I told him I wouldn’t be home, that I needed time before we talk. He’s continued intact with her this whole time. This only started maybe a month ago from what I can tell. He’s also the key nd of person who is about a mage so I’m not certain if he would present himself as married. Who knows though. To throw 14 years away over a month is just so hard to understand. I’ve stood by him through so many difficult times. Struggling with anger and hurt. Thanks for hearing me out and guidance.

    • Rose

      Since it was JUST in the news…what do you guys think about Bill Clinton not apologizing to Monica Lewinsky? If I were Hillary and knew he had apologized to her and all his women…uh…let’s just say he’d be out on his a$$. I know, she was an intern, he was her boss, and all that…but she was an adult in a consensual relationship from what I remember. I guess this is based on my personal experience b/c my H apologized to one woman from a 2-year EA because he “couldn’t save her” and another because I wrote her a nastygram.

    • TheFirstWife

      Watergirl. I’m so sorry for you. I was the W with a H in an EA and at 25 years of M (a good M) he was going to D me. Kick me to the curb so to speak.

      I heard the ILYBNILWY- I love you but not in love with you speech.

      He was “confused”

      But the OW was completely his focus. Not me. I was the roadblock to him getting what he wanted. The OW

      Read up on the 180 UTurn. Google it. It can help you to at least not be a doormat and set your boundaries with him.

      It stops you from doing the pick me dance. It makes you look pathetic and the CS gets turned off by the BS being clingy. Unfortunately.

      His A ended at DDay2 when I told him I was going to D him. It was the bucket of cold water that he needed to snap him out if it.

      Best of luck to you. Keep posting here – we want to support you.

    • Watergirl

      TFW and anyone else
      This site which I’ve read everything on a couple of times now has been extremely helpful and I appreciate the support.

      I have read the 180 u turn however I left. I told him I wasn’t going to wait while he figured things out. The only contact has been via text when he has needed information. I’m on the fence about what I want but feel he may think it’s over. He’s continued contact with her. Do I continue on my own for a while and wait to see if he reaches out or ask him her or me so I can know what my future might hold? Im trying to stay in control Part of me really wants to confront the OW to see if she even knew he was married. If not that could be an end to this EA or P.A. If she does know than I have my answer. So confused.

    • TheFirstWife

      Watergirl. Tough situation to be in.

      Usually when the spouse leaves the CS “wakes up”. However if in the Affair Fog that will not work. Had I left the first 5 months of his A – he would have been happy b/c then it was over but he “technically” did not end it. I did.

      Your leaving may give him “in his mind” the idea the A is ok because you are “separated”.

      Do you have a counselor? Someone who can guide you through the next steps?

      A consultation with an attorney may give you some ideas as well so at least you know your rights.

      Telling the OW may help also if she has no idea he’s M. But then again she may not care. The OW knew my H was married from day one. Did not stop her but when she threatened to end it b/c he was M and she did not want to be the OW – he decided to dump me instead of the OW.

      We did reconcile. Not sure how we did that!!

    • Watergirl

      The thing I don’t understand is why he wouldn’t have the balls to end it himself. If I go home I’m not sure what’s going to happen and I suppose I left to remove myself from all the memories and to not let him be free from responsibilities as we have two dogs.
      My reason for wanting to reach out to the OW is two fold, either she doesn’t know he’s married and if she does I’ll let her spouse know as none wants to be in the dark.
      I am seeing a therapist tomorrow and have a meeting with an attorney next week.

    • TheFirstWife

      Watergirl. Google Affair Fog. It explains so much. The CS – well they “believe” they love the AP or OW. My H sure did.

      Looking back now he realizes how far from reality the A really was. But at the time he was convinced he was in love and she was wonderful.

      A few months later and he did end it – and started realizing what a huge mistake he made.

      But during the A fog – well its like an addiction in some ways. The OW makes him feel good. She says all the “right” things. It is a fantasy- he’s living in Fantasyland as I call it. It’s not reality and not sustainable that’s for certain.

      I think you are doing the right thing.

      You cannot control him but only your reaction to him. I could not leave at the time of his A b/c of children and no money. It’s hard to watch your H pining away for someone else – glad you don’t have to witness that. It is awful.

      Therapist and attorney. Two good moves.

      How long has the A been going on? About a month or so?

      I also think the A is fueled by the challenge of it all. You know the old saying “you always want what you can’t have”.

    • Watergirl

      Yes I was reading all oF that last night before I saw your reply. Interesting enough my H is a somewhat recovered alcoholic. I say somewhat because he has a couple weeks a year where he’ll go away and drink and won’t communicate with me. He did this a few weeks ago while staying at our beach house. No contact with me but he was speaking with the Ow. He’s 54 and lost his job back in March. He started a new one this past Monday and during the time before he was hired/started he was struggling with how to fill his day. We’re both professionals who tend to work 9-10 hour days. This all started during that period and from what can tell just a month ago.
      I know I can’t stay away forever so don’t know if I go back do the 180, go back and ask if we’re going to try and make this work and if not tell him to leave so I can move on. Still contemplating reaching out to the OW and her husband.

    • Watergirl

      The other thought about going back is because I think your right in he technically wants to be the one that was left so he’s not the bad guy. I can make him be the bad guy then if he really wants the OW bad enough.

    • Watergirl

      Confronting the other woman and her husband with you via email not face-to-face. I have cell phone records and I can provide a husband

    • TheFirstWife

      Total mid life crisis A.

      My H had same thing. Job stunk (according to him). Low pay (according to him). Bored. Turning 50. Career path stalled (according to him).

      Boom!!! Affair!

      Explains so much that contributed to the their warped thought process.

      It’s loke self medicating but instead of drugs or alcohol is an OW or A.


    • Tired

      Hi Watergirl. Think carefully about leaving because I think the first wife is right when she said if he thinks you are ‘separated’ he might be able to justify his affair. When I started getting suspicious about my husband’s ‘friendship’ I told him that I thought we should separate. I was suspicious enough to hire a PI then. Two days later the affair became physical…and caught on video by the PI. But I have always wondered that if I had not said those words whether it would have happened. I think probably it would have happened anyway, but you never know. Anyway, I threw him out that day and changed all the locks.

      My husband too was unhappy with his job. It seems to be a big thing for men. If their career is not going well they feel less of a man and of course a woman showing them attention is flattering. It IS self medicating.

      It is hard to give advice to you because I still don’t know if I did the right thing. Had I not thrown him out the moment I found out about the physical stuff from the PI things might have been different. Because Im left wondering what went on in that time he was away from home. I definitely know it gave her an opening to try to dig her claws in deeper and that has hurt our marriage a lot. They had more time to develop the ‘friendship.’ However, had I not thrown him out I think he would have still carried it on, as he carried on the contact for a couple of months after he did return anyway. But alas, I am human and I wasn’t going to put up with him doing that and he had no right to expect me to either. At the end of the today, we can’t control them. They do need to come to this realisation on their own.

      DO let your husband know that you will not tolerate the continuation of this ‘friendship’ no matter if you stay or go.

      Do be careful about telling the woman’s husband. What if he goes after your husband?

    • Watergirl

      I already left once I found he was continuing to contact her. At the suggestion of my therapist I spoke with him in person yesterday. I asked him if he wanted to try to make our marriage work. He told me he was uncertain what he wanted. He indicated that she is married and has not asked anything of him. Not sure if that was an assurance or what to make of it. He started a new job Monday for which he seems overwhelmed with. He’s worked from home for the past 10 years so the commute is a big change. Hes not certain the job is the right fit and talked about being uncertain it’s what he wants to do for his last decade of working. He’s been on anti-anxiety/depression meds for years and just doesn’t seem in a good place overall. I told him which he recognizes that she isn’t going to fix him or help him that he needs to talk to a professional since he doesn’t feel he has family or really friends for that matter to talk to either. I told him that I needed to take care of me and that is what I’m going to do although I’m not ready to give up yet but that’s not indefinite. Might be opposite of the 180 stuff but felt I needed to say where I was. He seems to want to be by himself to figure this out. I know that he has not seen her. He is the one based on the cell phone records the one that continues to reach out to her. I’m considering a couple of things. Going back next weekend as it is my home and if he doesn’t want to be in the same house as me than telling him he can leave. If I do that though I have no freedom as I’m gone 9 hours and have two fur kids so debating which scenario is best for me. I’m staying with a close single girlfriend who went through this 4 years ago. To some extent I want to reach out to her to tell her I want to make this work but realize that’s a risk. I’ve backed off at this point contacting her husband.

    • Watergirl

      Oh and when I asked him I he loved me he said he couldn’t answer right now. Talk about a major punch to the gut!

    • Rose

      Bag his stuff up, put it on the lawn and change the locks. Don’t do the “pick me” or give him a choice. Get some daycare for the doggies. He made his choice when he couldn’t answer if he loved you.

    • Rose

      Oh and my H has had 3 EAs…every time when he was depressed or stressed or out of work. Definitely gave him the ego boost he needed when they all showered him with attention!

    • TheFirstWife

      Watergirl. I wish I had an answer for you or some advice.

      I can only tell you my H was hell bent on D. I got the ILYBNILWY- I love you but not in love with you speech too many times. He wasn’t “sure” what he wanted.

      I would say then go and leave me and be with her. And then he would back down. Try for a few days and the start the “I want a D” discussion all over again.

      I was tired of being a yo-yo in my M.

      I don’t know how long you should hang in there. “He wants to be alone to figure this out” is usually code for “I want to have the freedom to have an A”.

      I think you should start to get your plan B together just in case. IMO

    • Watergirl

      Are you still with your husband?

    • Tired

      Watergirl, he is cake eating. He can’t answer that he loves you right now? He is ‘uncertain.’ That’s probably because he wants an excuse to carry on the affair. Once he has had his fun he can then come back and say he suddenly realised how much you meant to him. That’s how I feel with my husband. And it is unacceptable to expect a spouse to put up with this shit. But by the time he ‘comes to his senses’ (read: when has had his fun and decides he’ll go back now) the damage is done. 2 years later I am still tormented about what happened in that time period my husband was not at home. I have had to do a lot of snooping to find out the truth because he wouldn’t tell me anything. Even though I discovered it was not as bad as I thought, it has still done immeasurable damage to the relationship and Im not sure if it’s now viable. The trust I used to have in him is gone.

      But then I see your point of view as well, because I was not willing to put up with him having an affair under my nose either and that’s why I threw him out on his ear. So perhaps you are doing the right thing, since you can’t control him anyway.

      Who knows? I don’t know how cheaters can do this to someone they supposedly love. They are obviously too dumb to think there will be any consequence to their stupid and illogical actions. And then they come back and expect us to just forget about it. Not happening any time soon!

    • Watergirl

      Well he told me today he wants a divorce. No other explanation other than He says it’s not a midlife crisis, that he hasn’t been happy for sometime and has already essentially moved on. I assume with her. His willing to leave me everything. It’s for the best likely given he has a lot of issues but hurts nonetheless given how much I’ve stood by him and him giving me nothing more than that. I think the hardest part will be figuring out who I am now not having his companionship after 14 years. I was his person at lest I thought and he was mine.

      • Rose

        I’m so sorry. Yes, I’m still with H. It’s very complicated.

      • Tired

        I’m sorry to hear that Watergirl. I hope he comes to his senses. What your husband said is pretty much what my husband said to me. “I haven’t been happy for years.” The difference between my situation and yours was that I had only just caught him, he was not already in the thick of an affair. I don’t know what to say to you because I didn’t know what to do when my husband appeared to have abandoned me for the other woman either. So here is what NOT to do:

        – don’t contact him. if you are tempted to send a text or call him, write your rant on a word document but don’t send it. Just vent.

        – don’t contact the other woman EVER- I made this mistake and she used it to manipulate both of us.

        – don’t look at the social media of either of them. It will just make you crazy. If he comes back, do not do this either because the other woman will make a social media campaign to try to woo him back. I realised way too late that she was still instigating the fights between us long after she was out of our lives.

        – do not do anything else that will give the other woman ammunition against you

        Big hugs Watergirl xxx

    • TheFirstWife

      Watergirl. I am so sorry for you.

      Plan b is now required.

      Counselor for you.
      Support team of family and friends
      Financial advisor if needed
      Straighten out the life insurance policies if need be

      So sorry for you. You deserve better

    • Satori

      Hey Watergirl,

      So sorry to hear what you are going through. It’s a nightmare. I’m ten months out but you are in the thick of it.

      My relationship / marriage was 15 years and STBXCH had the PA/EA with a woman from another country. So it’s been PA/EA and recently he visited her again (after one year of a phone relationship) so PA again.

      D-Day#1: STBXCH said I could have “everything” as soon as the A was discovered and I was immediately like well let’s get down to business then!

      D-Days2–lost count: Cut to the pointy end of the business side two months later and suddenly he wants more. A LOT more. OWhore getting greedy over there in Skankville. It has been going up in huge chunks steadily now over ten months (what he says he wants).

      Update: His demands for $$$ climbed skyhigh last week. He added money onto his claim and I added lawyers to match. I’m white knuckling it for big meetings next week that can hopefully bring this Mexican standoff to an end.

      So my point is this: The FirstWife and TryingHard counseled me on here plenty in the early days when my life was being shredded by his craziness and they gave me great advice that regardless if you get back together you will need a postnuptial agreement. The advice was SPOT ON.

      I counsel you the same: get an agreement / settlement as fast as you can now. If he is willing to give you “everything”, do it now while he still feels guilty and in the affair fog because that won’t last once the entitlement kicks in (again) and when the OWhore starts getting aspirational (they all do, imho it’s a kickback for being second choice, so they have to Go Bigger than the original wife).

      Even if you do get back together, you will have the comfort of knowing that if he starts up this nonsense again, you can walk with no financial worries.

      A caveat: when I told my crying, weeping, guilty STBXCH that my Number 1 condition for reconciling was that he go NC with OWhore, he said he would, however my Number 2 condition was that he sign everything over to my name and then, if he stayed faithful, there would be no issues.

      But he baulked at Number 2. There were 4 other conditions. They included rehab, individual counseling, marriage counseling and serious courting from scratch.

      The takeaway? I used the concept of a Postnuptial agreement to flush out STBXCH’s actual intentions to find out how real his stated desire to get back together was and to test his resolve and truly see if he was out of the fog yet (notwithstanding his “I still adore you”). It was a risky strategy but I believe it saved me more heartbreak of false reconciliation.Turns out STBXCH might love money more than anyone including OWhore. LOL.

      Because if it wasn’t for the money side, i.e. if I had said there were no consequences, we would be reconciled by now. For better or probably a lot worse — certainly for me in the long term as he more than likely would have started up the EA/PA with his “friend” again.

      Hope this helps
      S x

    • TheFirstWife

      Thank you Satori. I had hoped he would see his mistakes. Sorry he never did.

      I was most concerned b/c of your business. It’s bad enough to see your M implode in a short time but you cannot lose your income either.

      It’s easy for those of us with the experience of an A and CS to see the CS and the manipulation that occurs.

      I’m glad we helped you. Sorry it did not have a positive outcome – but at least you were somewhat prepared.

      Happiness to you and your future.

      • Satori

        Thank you TFW, it is mindbending to be at this point. So many twists and turns!

        Yes, it has been extra-challenging due to the shared business, but in other ways, it also may turn out to be my savior. Just because I was professional and kept everything squeaky clean and tried to always put the business first and do the right thing by both of us (very hard at times to wear both hats) but I always played a straight bat and I was always fair and even when he was being ruthless and brutal, I always took the high road regardless.

        Thanks to your advice and the advice I got here I can hold my head up that I tried my best to be compassionate and be supportive even when it clearly wasn’t in my own interests.
        I still love my STBXCH. I always will but now am only focused on healing.

        I still enjoy reading here a bit and try to “pay it forward” for others if my experience can help a bit, but as I’m not yet out of it my experience is limited I guess.

        I actually think it only just started to kick in consequences-wise for my STBXCH just recently and that has changed things a bit. But I found my shock debilitating and until you find your way to a resource such as this, and get the wise owl guidance like you and TryingHard, Puzzled and Sarah P. gave me on here, well, you’re really also in a fog albeit a very different one to WS’s.

        Hugs to you.

        — S x

    • Watergirl

      Thanks for the support and encouragement. Yes cam Home over the weekend because I figured best for me and if he doesn’t want our marriage he can be inconvenienced and leave. Not sure if he is staying with her although I know he was with her this past weekend. No one else knows about this not even his best friend but then again I’m not surprised. He told me this morning he wants to give me an explanation. I’m just not sure if that is going to make my healing worse. While I should be happy there is less tension and worry in my life he was still my partner and part of me feels lost and misses him. I even feel a little sad for him however if he is still in the fog which I have to believe he is as it’s been not even two months am I gotta my to get anything worthwhile from him or is it going to cause me further pain??

      • Tired

        Watergirl. Anyone woman would feel the same in this situation. I don’t think any of us can answer this question. I think the best thing to do in these situations is to find out what he actually wants. You need to ask him what he wants.

    • Watergirl

      He wants her and it’s only been 2 months if that. He’s got to still be in the fog, right? If so is any of his explanation going to be true??

    • TheFirstWife

      Watergirl. Unfortunately he has no “explanation”.

      What can he say? I cheated! Most Cheaters don’t admit it however.

      At two months my H was in the fog and broke No Contact and lied to me he wanted the M and then said “no I want a D”.

      And he blamed me for the A.

      So when your H faces you and you know he is lying and rewriting the M (don’t be surprised to hear he’s not happy and hasn’t been happy blah blah blah) – what will you do?

      When he gives you a bunch of excuses – what are your options?

      My H was in the fog for 12 months. It is awful. I couldn’t do anything right. He was mean on purpose b/c I was the enemy. I was standing in the way (in his mind) if his true love.

      Actually I told him numerous go ahead and be with her – just man up and admit it.

      Please be prepared for some things you may hear. A good response or plan of action could be helpful.

      When the lying begins I suggest (calmly) saying “I know you are lying. I’m sorry you don’t have enough respect for me to be truthful”. And leave the room.

      Walk away. Lying is a dead end IMO

    • Satori

      Hi Watergirl,

      I’m no expert but it sounds to me like he is entering the phase of enjoying two women who both want him.

      The problem as I experienced this phase is that it is not an equal playing field — you have an investment and therefore a lot to lose whereas the OW has nothing to lose. She can roll the dice and see if it turns out in her favor, and it’s no loss to her if he stays with you as she has next to nothing invested. You are the one taking the biggest risk in playing along (prevents / delays healing) etc. And you also have to pick up the pieces if he chooses to stay in your relationship. That’s a lot of downside on both counts.

      Looking at my own situation (in this exact phase) with some hindsight, if I had gone 100% NC and made a lot more consequences up front, things may have been drastically different in saving my marriage. For me it did not work as my H was deep in fantasy fog and I was in shock so I unwittingly gave him intermittent reinforcement which only emboldened my H and made it much worse for me. The only time I ever got my “old H” back and, it should be noted, his attention, was when I imposed real and hard consequences.

      I also did not know I was dealing with a sociopath (OWhore). These types do not give up easily. They are in it for what they cannot get anywhere else: the high of getting someone to leave their marriage for them. So you need to know what kind of person the OW is before you decide to wait it out. This can be hard to establish but there are red flags if you know what to look for. If you go 100% no contact, then in many ways you force them to change and their formerly thrilling secret relationship becomes normalised and has more chance to be boring.

      You, on the other hand, if you go NC, become mysterious. You are now in control. This helps to level the playing field. A bit of shock and awe is one way to penetrate the fog. But in the end for me, like TheFirstWife, the lying was the real deal breaker so it became something else. It became a question of: is this good enough for me?

    • Watergirl

      I believe he is living with her at the moment as I came back to our house and told him he could leave especially since he is not contributing to our bills. He told me he wants a divorce and it’s not negotiable. I am meeting with my attorney to put together a separation agreement this week. At this time while I have questions about how we ended up here I’m not sure if it will be more helpful or hurtful so I’m delaying that conversation. He has issues he’s not dealing with and they will continue to follow him. I believe he will likely regret this at some point and while it’s hurtful that he is just disregarding our friendship/partnership of 14 years I will eventually be better off. At least that’s what you keep telling myself.
      The OW is a very successful business woman. Can’t imagine if she knows the truth she’d jump into a serious living relationship but perhaps I’m naive.

    • Satori

      Hi Watergirl,

      I was in a similar situation as you — 15 year marriage. I’m almost one year down the track after D-Day 1 and nothing concrete to show for it except heartbreak. Do you have a year in you? I can only say the hoping and waiting game comes at a very steep cost emotionally, physically, financially, mentally and spiritually.

      If I had my time over I would immediately and without hesitation go hardball with lawyers. That’s what finally broke through the affair fog in my case. Now my H is always crying, regretful, but mostly self pity.

      Re your partner: conversations can be had once you have a settlement. If you do have any conversations, you’ll probably get the usual blame shifting, excuses crap. I wouldn’t hold out for anything from him. You were invested but he evidently was not, his issues aside.

      As for OW? OW knows exactly what she is doing. They always do.

      Your partner may indeed come to regret it, but that is not your concern. He has told you he wants a D then go full steam ahead and let him “repent at leisure”. You have all the information you require to make your decision to protect your future — you.

      I am so sorry you are going through this. It’s the worst but you will survive it and as you say it may be the best thing for you in the long term. I had to come to this conclusion too. However, knowing what I know now, I would go full no contact and do all the talking through lawyers.

      Wishing you all the best.

      • Tired

        Agree with Satori, Watergirl. I never thought of this much, but when my husband was being stupid and wavering I went to a lawyer, and I told my husband I had been. I then started taking steps to buy his share of the house. That was a turning point. Terrible it took that to make him see sense, and I still wonder if he stayed with me for financial considerations rather than love.

    • TheFirstWife

      Watergirl. Satori is spot on.

      I too regret being. He XW and life bing and supportive during the six months I knew of the A.

      The two times my H said he wanted a D is agreed. What else could I do? But then he would change his mind. He made a mistake. He was confused.

      However the last time he wanted a D I had enough. I called the OW (yes I did) and spoke for three minutes. I did not yell or rage or threaten her. I needed answers and she provided the one thing I did not know – and that was the A had been ongoing while I thought we were reconciling.

      I then told him I was divorcing him. He no longer had any control or ability to make any decisions concerning me. I was staying in the house with children and he was paying for it. And he had to leave.

      That was the entire conversation. 25 years of M ended in 3 sentences thanks to his A.

      Fortunately he realized I was no longer a doormat and from that second on he has made amends. We did Reconcile. 5 years now from DDay.

      But he had to prove he was ????% committed to it. And he did. And had for the last 5 years. I see the difference.

      I will say that your H is in the A fog. Most of them are when they announce D and leaving the home. It’s wheat I call Fantasyland. It’s not real. It doesn’t exist.

      I played my hand with every intention of D him. I was not bluffing in any way. I had my plan B and I was executing.

      Here is an example: I told him he had to leave. Two weeks before Christmas and he had to go. He refused. He begged and pleaded – I would not back down. I made a call and told him in two days you are going to say with so-and-so until you find a place.

      He saw a side of me he never thought existed.

      I sent a strong message. Don’t screw with me!! He got it!

    • Satori

      Yes TFW…Exactly!! They KNOW when you are serious. And they know when you are desperate too. Because they know us so well, which is how they were able to play us so well.

      Like you, the second things got real for my H — and by that I mean I was totally NC and hardball only communicating through lawyers — in this way I finally broke through the Fantasyland as you call it. So true. LOL. They are such fools.

      The difficulty for me was that my STBXCH was not transparent about wanting D until recently. He would say we were not separated, or he refused to discuss terms or he would not engage or give me info, he was not sure what he wanted… etc etc ad infinitum. It was a nightmare.

      Just games as he tried to see how he could keep his fantasy going a bit longer and really, in hindsight all it was on his part was the desire (above anything else) to avoid consequences.

      So from my own direct experience I say impose the hard consequences fast and heavy. Let the chips fall and you will see what they are made of and what their real intentions towards the relationship is.

      For better or for worse.

    • TheFirstWife

      Satori. Unfortunately we only learn after the fact what the right approach is and what works.

      From all I have read being nice, loving and supportive during an A is not the answer.

      I tried the loving wife approach b/c I ASSUMED if we got back together it would be important that he did not resent me or was not carrying around hatred for me.


      After 6 months of a continued A (after he swore it ended) I no longer cared!! It was execution mode and I still wasn’t mean or nasty but I no longer cared. I had to save myself.

      I did the “her or me” showdown six months prior. But he was still in the A fog so he did not care about the consequences. I actually think he was waiting for me to end it so he did not have to. So he could tell himself “he did not end it I did”. Like he had no role in any of it.

      Ha! Delusional – he just became delusional.

      It’s just hard to get BS who are new to this nightmare that you need to play hardball from day one. I too thought I could reason and discuss with my CH!

      That joke was on me.

    • Satori

      Hey TheFirstWife. What you say is so very true and your story shows how being nice and supportive ends up hurting the BS more than helping save the M. And it does NOT wake the WS up in any way. The WS is delusional. Preach it sister!

      My instincts in the aftermath of the abandonment — 2 weeks before D-Day#1 were the same as yours. I too was the supportive, understanding, lovely and ever reliable wife. It’s understandable that the BS is treading gently, especially while you don’t have all the facts or the WS is trickling the truth. In hindsight I was doing that also as a result of his gaslighting of me. I still did not know about his PA now EA.

      I felt so guilty that he had left *smh* and was telling me it was all my fault. Never even suspecting an A. ????????????

      The only “strong” thing I did in the early days was change the locks / keypads access etc and my STBXCH was incensed that I did that. Noting that the only reason he knew I had was that he came back very sneakily trying to get stuff from our house. #epicfail

      But as you say, you cannot reason with someone who is gaslighting both you and themselves. They cannot hear logic or reason. I was so fear driven at that point that even if someone had said, “hey there is a better way to deal with this”, I am not sure I would have had the strength. I was so paralysed by the fear and traumatised by the shock of the discovery.

      I found the more you reason with them (and, importantly, the more kind and reasonable you are!!!), the more I believe it pushes them into the other corner with OW and kind of gives them even more reasons to gaslight and project and blameshift so it creates this horrific affair / denial / blame spiral that seems to get worse and worse over time.

      I WISH WISH WISH I had gone hardball straight away. May have had a different year since then!

      Saying nothing would have been even stronger right from DDay 1. Shutting down all avenues of communication and NC immediately would shock the daylights out of most if not all WS.
      No begging for R. No tears. No explanations sought nor any opportunities for forgiveness or R offered by BS. It seems to me the WS needs the triangulation to feed off and get the confidence to leave or to continue in the A. And the secrecy has given them an artificial power that they thrive off. Shutting off one corner of the triangle forces them to exclusively feed off the other one. And it weakens the WS/OW’s position. Because the BS has all the historical power (more in reality than the OW as she is already the wife whereas OW is a “wife in waiting” so to speak) and the WS does not really want any consequences yet.

      The problem in the early days is that the fact of the A mind-tricks the BS into thinking they have no power.

      So from where I sit after a year of this horror show, anything that restores power and control to the BS needs to be implemented ASAP the A is discovered. The more swiftly this is done, the better the chance of real consequences being felt by the WS and the better the chance of real R. The only chance to implement the “shock and awe” campaign is to throw an immediate and brutally meaningful ice bucket on the fantasy that the wife will hang around begging to be the wife in the future while they audition a new one. FTS. Destabilise them by silence and taking control in every way possible and by any means. One way: massive action.

      Once I went complete NC and started imposing DAILY consequences, legal letters etc I finally got the traction and the respect I had not had for 11 months.

      Now my STBXCH says of the relationship — and visiting OWhore in her country of origin after a year of a phone relationship — that “it was a mistake” and that it was “a complete disaster”. So some capacity within the pre-frontal cortex has returned, but I believe only due to Actual Reality rather than Virtual Reality, lawyers bills etc and those pesky consequences. Not because of what he did to me or how I was impacted. He still doesn’t get that. He.Doesn’t.Care! It hurts so much. And regardless, by now the damage / fallout is so great, painfully and very sadly, there is no turning back for me.

      What a year it has been…

      • Shifting Impressions

        Your statement “In the early days the fact of the A tricks the BS into thinking they have no power” is so true. Upon discovering the A we are in a position of far greater power then we realize. Unfortunately one is usually far to devasted after d-day, to tap into that power.

        • Satori

          You’re right ShiftingImps, being devastated does that I agree.
          Tapping into the power is the way.
          But I also do wonder what might have happened if instead of speaking about the consequences I had simply gone full tilt into dealing them out. Might have been more effective than treading water so to speak!

    • TheFirstWife

      Satori. I did confront early on. Her or me.

      He chose me. But lied. He really wanted her. And I could see it. He was not shy about broadcasting it.

      So I know I did all I could with my limited knowledge and funds. I had no $ and I was not counting on him to pay fir anything. I see just resentful the Ex gets when having to pay alimony or child support.

      So o had to play the game for 90 days to get some cash behind me. By DDay2 I had just enough. I had to think about my kids too.

      So I could not have done too much differently. Unfortunately.

      • Satori

        You played a good hand TFW.

        I think it sounds like you did the best you could with the info you had.
        It is so hard to know the best strategy in those early days especially if they are underground with the A and the info is limited. In my case I had very little to go on and OW was in another country complicating / obscuring the truth of things.
        The “she is just a friend” excuse is so much more plausible if they are in another time zone. But fantasy really works best in this sort of a void.

        It seems in almost all cases the deck truly is stacked in favor of the cheater. It sucks.

    • Tired

      Hi Everyone. But I played hardball from day 1. I went no contact, changed the locks. But I seem to have ended up in the same situation as everyone else, regardless. He still carried on the contact.

      He still played me, being in contact with the other woman for a couple of months after coming home. They were not seeing each other in person, that I know. It was torture. After that I went off overseas for a couple of weeks. I did not want to go, but I had planned and paid for it while he was off being a fool and I thought I needed to appear strong and as though I didn’t care. But I also told myself that I couldn’t control him. If he wanted to cheat he would. He DID see her while I was away, and that was my biggest fear, but he actually used that time to tell her that it was over. And I felt the change in him the moment I came back. Before that time I felt that he was not still having an affair, but I knew that he was still in touch with her. After I came back I knew it was completely finished.

      One thing I regret…when I threw his clothes into a suitcase and onto the front porch: I wanted to put some dog pooh on them. A family member convinced me not to. I should have!

    • TheFirstWife

      Tired. Please know you did what was needed given the situation.

      The 180 and No Contact is no guarantee of the A ending. Sometimes it does end the A.

      But those strategies are for:

      Not having to live with infidelity being thrown in your face

      Of not being a doormat in your M

      Of asserting yourself to show you deserve RESPECT

      That he is free to make his own choices and live or suffer with the consequences

      That you will not tolerate being a third wheel or person in your home

      And lastly to pave the path towards acceptance of the A or situation should that be the outcome and the CS chooses to D.

      I kept telling my H he was free to go. He just would not go. I regret not forcing him out the first 6 months. There were no guarantees he would have ended it. He could have decided since I threw him out he was free to carry in the A. I don’t know the outcome. All I know is when DDay 2 came and I did tell him to leave – he had already ended the A (by a few hours) and wanted the M.

      But I made him prove himself. Because I heard all that before. This time I wanted to make sure he was committed. No more being a yo yo in my M.

    • Tired

      True, TFW. Well that is why I did those things I suppose. I was not going to put up with his behaviour. I remember thinking at the time: he might choose her, but if he does, I don’t want him anyway. It was a terrible feeling, but I certainly couldn’t live the way it was. I knew that. No matter how painful the ending would be. No one can live in limbo.

      I am glad I threw him out. I am not sure I made the right move in allowing him back so soon. He seems to have taken advantage of it to continue the contact. TFW, you are saying your husband could have carried on in the affair if you threw him out. I did that, I threw him out, and I’m not 100% sure what happened in that time. I never will be. That is hard to live with.

      Yet he came back and carried on the contact behind my back. And your husband carried on behind your back while he was still at home. I guess what it really comes down to is that they were not going to end it until THEY realised the stupidity and consequences of their behaviour. So we have two different approaches, but the same outcome in the end. They had to see the damage and problems they were causing themselves.

      I still wish I did the dog poo thing!

    • TheFirstWife

      I think they end the A but it is for their own selfish reasons. Not because they suddenly realize anything – like the pain or trauma the BS suffered or suffers.

      It is due to the fact they just no longer want the AP or the A. They are tired of him or her.

      I asked my H why he ended the A. I got a bunch of answers about he realized he really loved me blah blah blah. He made a terrible mistake blah blah blah.

      I don’t have the answers but I just wonder what was the real reason he ended the A. He ended it right before I found out they were or had been seeing each other.

      Our children even told me he left the pub they were eating at to talk with her that night. He told our kids it was a work call. (I was not there)

      I just will always wonder what really went on. But I don’t expect the answer.

      Just glad it worked out.

      • Tired

        TFW, I think the reason my husband ended it was that he did want me and he realised he couldn’t live with being a cheat, but then he allowed her to continue contacting him because he thought it would be easier than her going all psycho on him. I believe he only ended the contact entirely when he realised it was too stressful on him to try to hide it from me. So you are right, they do it for selfish reasons. And yes, he was tired of it all, and it was not helping our reconciliation either because I had a sixth sense there was still something.

        This night in the pub…was this the final no contact you are talking about? How did the children know it was her?

    • Rose

      TFW…how do you do it from day to day? Like the wondering about what really went on. I WANT to know. I have asked hundreds of times and still don’t have the story. And what I find is that my anger simmers and turns into sarcasm almost every day. I’m tired of feeling like this. How do you go on with him from day to day?

      • Sarah P


        I hope you don’t mind if I interject because I have a question. And anyone else who wants to answer this question, PLEASE DO.

        The only right answer to the question I want to ask is whatever answer comes come the very depths of your soul, even if the answer makes you feel shamed, or angry, or foolish or any other negative emotion.

        The question is: what keeps you in your marriage? Aside from shared assets/history with a spouse. What really and truly keeps you there? Is it fear of the future? Is it fear of failure? Is it shame? Is it something else entirely?

        Why am I asking?

        I am putting together a 30-day program with Doug and Linda. If I can get to the very bottom of why people stay in their marriages, that will help me understand the beliefs that keep people stuck. If I can understand those, hopefully I can help others get un-stuck. Getting un-stuck does NOT mean leaving a marriage. It simply means getting un-stuck so someone can get more peace and progress. I will not judge the answer. I just need to know where the roadblocks are.

        So it would be great if anyone wants to chime in.

        Thank you,

        • Tired

          Hi Sarah. I can answer for me. I stay in the marriage because my husband is a good person. He has always been there for me. He has always been such a selfless giver, so kind to my family as well. I don’t think I would ever find anyone who is as good to me as he is.

          I believe he really didn’t see it coming and got himself caught up in an impossible situation. He never believed he would cheat yet somehow he ended up crossing boundaries little by little until before he knew it he ended up kissing her. And he was also very depressed about his work situation and career and was more vulnerable. He then didn’t know what to do. He had started this thing and the next thing his whole life exploded. On the one hand he had an enraged wife kicking him out and trying to buy his house, on the other he had an upset work colleague that was crying and begging and he felt bad about doing that to her. He felt he misled her. Maybe he did, but that was her fault too in my opinion. She should have known better than to get involved with a married man. I don’t think he would do it again because now he has seen what a mess he got himself into.

          And then there is the fact that the affair really didn’t get off the ground. It didn’t have time to get serious.

          My problem mainly is about the lies. Like Rose, I asked hundreds of times and still didn’t know what went on. I had to find out by playing detective, which only made things worse for both of us. It made me angry too because I didn’t like being the snoop. It made me feel bad about myself. It would have been much easier if he confessed everything early on, because what I was thinking was much worse than what actually happened. I will probably never know the whole truth, but like TFW said I don’t think any more detail matters.

          But deep down I always had this feeling that when he said she didn’t mean anything and it was over, that it really was over, and not what it looked like. It just took two years of snooping to prove it. So that’s why I have stayed.

          I think if I left now it would be because of the lies, not because of what happened. But I think I too am getting to the stage that I’m accepting it more. The recent discoveries made me angry and were a bit of a setback, but as time has gone on I have felt much better about things.

          I don’t think they had sex, but if they did it must have occurred in the first couple of weeks when he was not at home. Once he came back I can be pretty sure it couldn’t have happened. So really that question can be put to rest because to my mind sneaking around lying to your partner is just as bad, so if it went further in those 2 or 3 weeks it doesn’t make much of a difference.

          But then my husband has definitely ended the affair. Had it still been going on I don’t think I would have lasted this long. It would have been unacceptable to me and I would not have been able to tolerate the emotional torment.

          • Sarah P

            Hi Tired,

            I totally agree with everything you say. With my ex, the worst part of it (besides getting cervical cancer) was that he lied about everything. Thirty people saw OW was living in my house. Over 30 people met her at gatherings and heard her callous response about how it would be easier for me to ‘leave the earth’ so that they could have my house already. But him? Oh goodness. There was NO other woman. He swore on the Bible many times. Then he gas-lit me constantly. Then he attacked me so that I would be too afraid to stay at my own house. Those are all terrible acts. But, gas-lighting is so dangerous to a person’s emotional wellbeing because it can very legitimately drive them nuts over a period of time. I was constantly reality-checking and believed the eye witnesses and saw a great therapist. But the lying was terrible…the altering of my reality was terrible. Gas-lighting is done intentionally and its purpose is to emotionally destroy a victim so that the perpetrator can have whatever selfish thing they want. It is a VERY sinister act.

            In the end, I believe that constant gas-lighting and intentionally messing with a person’s sense of self, sense of reality, and sense of safety is pretty darn sinister. Truly.

            Relationships can heal and your husband suffers from nice guy syndrome. Does he come from a family where the sisters or mom taught him to bow to their wishes or else? Because a lot of nice guys grew up with moms whom they always had to please. And it makes them great targets for spouse poachers.


    • TheFirstWife

      Rose. That was not easy to face.

      What really happened?

      I was able to figure out about 90% of stuff that occurred.

      But the rest of it was eating me up inside b/c I felt I did not have all the facts – or details. Those missing details were going to drive me crazy.

      And then (with much help from my counselor) I realized those missing details were not important b/c they were just details. I knew he had an A. I knew he told me he wanted a D to be with OW. I know HE started the A (based in emails the OW sent me) even though he let me believe it was her. I knew he was still cheating while I thought we were reconciling.

      They both swear there was no sex. Ha!! I know he kissed her and it doesn’t really matter. The fact he wanted a D because the OW did not want to be the OW is enough to know that she came first and he was willing to dump me – to keep her happy.

      The rest is unimportant. Sex or no sex – I believe there was some sexual interaction. I could be wrong. But I will believe what I believe. I have no proof.

      At year 2 of R I was still struggling. I had to basically ask a million questions and piece things together myself.

      And I decided enough was enough. I wasn’t doing this any more. I decided to heal myself and move past it.

      I decided he was a coward and it was not worth my time dwelling on something that will never be resolved.

      I realized it was my happiness and sanity that came first. So I decided to move On and now I just don’t care.

      At 5 years from DDay I am happy. Not because of him and the A but despite all of it. My life is what I make if it and I decided his As and his poor decisions can not ruin my life.

      Some part of “I no longer give a you know what” took over and reached maximum capacity and I just put me first.

      I hope this helps. I realized I can spend my life trying to get blood from a stone OR focus my energy in something more productive. I chose me.

      And it completely works. His A was never my fault. But my responsibility was to me – to heal myself and move past it.

    • Rose

      TFW, I totally get that and am working on it with my counselor. I do a lot more for me now than I ever did. But in February when I was DONE with his Facebook flirting, I sent him a long email of observations and questions. He said it “overwhelmed” him so we’ve had no further discussion, and it eats at me. My counselor said just to move on…that he’s never going to answer me and I can’t change him. But the thing is…he pretends it’s all good and its not. He has had 4 back surgeries and has severe arthritis. He is constantly in pain. And…I find myself not really caring anymore. That’s rough I know but he hurt me so badly, gaslit and lied, that I feel it’s almost karma. I think what we do comes back around to us. This is not the man I thought I knew when I married and had a family with him. And I just don’t like the way I’ve been treated, and I’m just waking up to that. So it’s hard to smile and pretend everything is wonderful when I don’t want to be around him. His mom comes home from the nursing home next week so thankfully he’ll be out of the house 4 days a week again. He lives for being needed by women so he’s been sad and bored since mommy has been away. Sorry…in a mood today!

    • Tired

      Hi Rose. I hope you are not angry at me. I wrote a comment a few months ago about why you would put up with an EA and not a PA and I think it ended in you having an altercation with someone else. I did not intend to instigate that. In fact, it was quite the opposite, because I felt that the emotional affair was just as bad. I didn’t think waiting for a physical affair to happen would help you. And I thought accepting it might lead to that. Perhaps I did not explain myself well.

      My problem with your husband is that he seems to think the emotional affair is ok. This is the problem I had with my husband. He thought it was ‘nothing.’ And one thing led to another, and almost into a physical affair. I don’t want yours to get to this point.

      Rose, you have been putting up with this for ages. When is he going to stop? I’m glad you seem to be getting to the point where you are putting your foot down. I’m glad you don’t like the way you have been treated, I don’t either. I don’t want any woman to have to put up with this. I’m also glad you are getting to the point that you will do something about it. All of us have to varying degrees put up with a man who tries to cake eat. If you don’t do something, only you will suffer.

      I think you need to demand he stops this silly childish behaviour. He is not a teenager. He needs to see real consequences.

    • Rose

      Thanks Tired. We’re good. I know you meant it as support. The thing is, as my counselor says, at this point he’s not going to change. The only thing I can change is my reaction. I am working on plan B but in the meantime I have to play the game.

    • Rose

      Sort of off subject is one thing I’m doing for myself…learning to kayak. H hates the water and sun and is jealous I’m doing it without him. So if anyone in the Pacific NW wants to go, hit me up!!

      • Tired

        I’m not in the pacific NW, but if I were there I would join you! Great you are learning to kayak! We have had a few tourist introductions to same, but we are interested in buying our own. My husband is lazy, so he wants one with a motor. Hehehe. I personally think we are strong enough to do the work!

    • TheFirstWife

      Rose if I lived in the NW I would love to join you.

      I am glad to see you are making progress. And I remember the bit of altercation and you wrote you were leaving EAJ. I was very bothered by it and did try to show my support for you. Unfortunately I received a less than welcomed response back from another contributor but I just ignored it.

      I was happy to see your return though. ????

      I think I can understand your situation b/c I lived it. 4 long years was his first EA. Complete denial. Called me crazy and I was making things up. He would walk out of the room and refuse to talk to me.

      It all changed when I did the 180 – I refused to speak to him for 3 days. I was fed up!! It didn’t have a name then – there were no blogs or support for people dealing with EAs b/c it was not recognized as an A.

      I think the more you detach and involve yourself in your own activities the more clearly you will see things.

      So if you kayak and he doesn’t join you – will it propel him further to his EAs? Possibly but then he is stuck at home living in front of a computer screen while you are enjoying and living life.

      And you will care less and less and less as you move forward. The only thing you will miss is the guy you were once married to. Unless he changes – that guy is already gone. No longer your H.

      So sorry for you but glad things are looking up for you.

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