Even though I am 17 years out from D-Day, I still suffer from post affair triggers – and when they come, they are powerful. 

post affair triggers

By Sarah P.

Some might wonder why I am not able to help myself get over post affair triggers since I have graduate credentials in psychology as well as an army of certifications. One might think if anyone is equipped with the tools to help myself, it would be me.

Now, on a purely intellectual level, I feel I have every tool I need and more.

But, here is the problem. When someone has suffered from PTSD due to an affair, feelings brought on by PTSD live in the deepest and oldest part of our brain. This part of our brain is not capable of reasoning; it is built for one’s survival.

I like the way Web MD explains PTSD and triggers:

“When faced with danger, your body gets ready to fight, flee, or freeze. Your heart beats faster. Your senses go on high alert. Your brain stops some of its normal functions to deal with the threat. This includes your short-term memory.

With PTSD, your brain doesn’t process the trauma the right way. It doesn’t file the memory of the event as being in the past. The result: You feel stressed and frightened even when you know you’re safe.

The brain attaches details, like sights or smells, to that memory. These become triggers. They act like buttons that turn on your body’s alarm system. When one of them is pushed, your brain switches to danger mode. This may cause you to become frightened and your heart to start racing. The sights, sounds, and feelings of the trauma may come rushing back. This is called a flashback.

Anything that reminds you of what happened right before or during a trauma is a potential trigger. They’re usually tied to your senses. You may see, feel, smell, touch, or taste something that brings on your symptoms. While triggers themselves are usually harmless, they cause your body to react as if you’re in danger.”

Here is one of the most important points from the paragraph above: even if the danger is passed, your brain does not register it as a past event. If you are faced with something that reminds you of the traumatic event, a trigger, your brain experiences the stressful event in the now, as if it were actually occurring.

Because this part of the brain – where PTSD lives –  doesn’t keep track of time or logic, you can be thrown back into the event, by a trigger, and you will experience it as if it were happening now. Your body might start shaking, your pulse will speed up, and your body will mobilize all of its resources to fight the danger it feels.

You are left with a body that is full of adrenaline and cortisol and ready to fight, but there is nothing concrete to fight, such as a lion who is trying to snatch your toddler.

The oldest part of the brain is not sophisticated enough to understand the difference between a trigger and an actual event. To the oldest part of the brain, it is all the same. 

What Does Betrayal From Infidelity Have To Do With Posttraumatic Stress Syndrome?

My Recent Post Affair Trigger

I was triggered recently and severely as I listened to someone speak of the type of woman who destroyed my life years ago. The dynamic I was listening to sent me off a cliff. I started shaking uncontrollably.  Here is what is interesting: I did NOT get back into a relationship with my ex and he ended up marrying the other woman.

I am married to someone else and I have children with my husband. Yet, hearing about a woman – from a third party – which was so similar to the one who destroyed my life, sent me over the edge. It took me completely and unexpectedly off guard. I thought I was over being triggered by women like the one who destroyed my life. I was very wrong. It has taught me the hard lesson that time does not always heal. One day I will need to find a way to stop being triggered by this type of woman. Betrayal runs so deep.

When I Was Someone Else’s Trigger

Apparently, I have an evil twin who lives in Alaska. When I worked in the corporate world years ago, I was assigned to train a new hire named Joanne.* From the moment I met Joanne, she looked at me as if she despised me.

So, I tried hard to make in-roads with Joanne.  I bought her coffee, I made sure she had all the information she needed to be set up for success, and I treated her kindly. I could not break the icy exterior.

Then, one day Joanne came to my office and apologized to me. She had heard the news about how my ex had been poached and how I lost my house. My ex and I worked at the same company and so the news made its way through the entire company.

Joanne told me that she had intentionally treated me in what she called an “unchristian way.” I told her it was okay; I don’t hold grudges. But, she felt impelled to tell me WHY she treated me so badly.

When she lived in Alaska, she had married her high school sweetheart. She joined his family’s business and they had a lovely home overlooking the water in Anchorage.

Little did she know that one of the female employees at the family business was in the process of poaching Joanne’s husband and she was doing it under Joanne’s nose.

Joanne came home one day to find her husband and the other woman in bed. Her husband asked for a divorce because he preferred the other woman.

Joanne left with the clothes on her back and moved to the West Coast and started a job where I worked. Here is what I did not know until much later: the other woman who destroyed Joanne’s wife looked so much like me that it was uncanny.

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Regaining Control:
Dealing With Obsessive Thoughts, Triggers and Memories of the Affair

Arm yourself with a variety of techniques, practical strategies and  knowledge to help you to manage those intrusive thoughts, triggers and memories of your partner’s affair.

Joanne later confessed that when she saw me in the halls, she would have to run to the restroom and get through a full blown panic attack. She said sitting next to me was torture because it caused her stomach to hurt and her legs to shake.

At the time, I had no idea why Joanne was so shut down.

It was only after Joanne found out about my betrayal that I knew.

After she found out what happened to me, she realized I was just like her and had suffered the same great loss. She understood I was the good girl, even if I unfortunately looked like the woman who stole her husband.

After we became good friends, I was able to help Joanne find someone new and repair her self-esteem. I told Joanne that in all honesty, that between the two of us, she was FAR more attractive than I could ever hope to be. This was objectively true and goes with the concept of “affair-ing down.”

However, Joanne had internalized the message that the other woman must have been prettier than her since Joanne was left for the other woman. This was a false assumption on Joanne’s part, but it still caused Joanne to feel great shame and it caused Joanne to shiver and shake when she saw me in the halls.

Because I happened to look like the OW, I was unknowingly triggering her. Joanne became blind to her own beauty and blind to all the awesome qualities she had to offer a man.

Joanne said I became an essential part of her healing because I looked like the OW, but on the inside, I was just like Joanne. I had experienced the same heartbreak as Joanne, I had the same religious beliefs as Joanne, and I had unshakable integrity. Joanne and I were completely alike on the inside and had both been victims of spouse poachers and poisoned by the idea that the OW must have been prettier.

I was able to help Joanne “rewrite” the tape in her mind so that when she came across women who looked like me, she could draw on the fact that her ex-husband did not leave her due to her appearance. Her husband left her because he was a cowardly cheater, not because of something Joanne did and not because of how Joanne looked. I was overjoyed when Joanne later found her true soulmate and got married. They have been married for 16 years.

10 Things that Can Help Build Your Self-Esteem Post D-day

What’s the Post Affair Triggers Anti-dote?

Thankfully, there is an anti-dote and it involves the concept of neuroplasticity.

Let’s imagine that the human brain is like a vinyl record. As we have experiences, metaphorical grooves are cut into the record and mental maps are formed this way. Like a record, our brain metaphorically plays the same set of songs over and over again.

However, we can challenge these mental maps that we have formed by staying in the now and consciously bringing our brain into the present moment.

When we do this, it is like metaphorically sanding down a vinyl record and then cutting in new grooves so that our brain plays a different set of songs.

Neuroplasticity allows our brains to over-ride old neural networks and create new ones when we use focused intention. The key though is using focused intention while we tell our brain a new story.

Since our brains are highly adaptable, we have the opportunity to inform our brains that something new is going on. If we do this enough times, our brain will have a reality that actually reflects what is going on in the here and now.

Summary

Do not let anyone undermine you if you experience post affair triggers. Do not feel ashamed if you are triggered by the same things after chronological years have passed. Until the root of the trigger is addressed and the brain is given time to understand that it has a new reality, triggers will persist.

Finally, do not lose hope just because you experience triggers. They are a normal part of PTSD and many affairs cause PTSD in the betrayed spouse. PTSD and its accompanying triggers can be worked through when guided by a therapist who is skilled at treating PTSD related to infidelity.

If you struggle with post affair triggers and PTSD related to infidelity, do not hesitate to reach out to me and inquire about my mentoring services. I have had to face down my own triggers over the years and I know that time does not always heal. Retraining the brain and making your brain aware of its new reality is the key.

 Sources:

https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/what-are-ptsd-triggers#1

 

    15 replies to "Why Triggers Are So Hard and Why They Should Never be Minimized"

    • Sarah P.

      Hello All,
      How are you doing?

      What are your triggers?

      There is no such thing as an insignificant trigger. Our individual triggers are as different as the stars in the sky.

      • Laura

        I have so many triggers. H met with AP at coffee shop 8 blocks from our house, so many days I have to drive by it daily. Also, they had sex in her gold van at a park about a mile from our house for 8 years . Occasionally they would just chat inside coffee shop but mostly in van at park, take walk jump in the back. He had met up with his old high school girlfriend after his best friend passed in 2010,then coffee and the lies, deception starte. During the 8 years my mom passed and he was so not present and not emotionaly available. Then is dad passed , my dad, then is mom and our son 🙁 All within a 5 year period it was horrific. No support from him. I have phone messages of him calling her about the things he was to do . It’s so sickening, they did have a small break 2015-2016 but right after our son passed he was seeing her again 🙁 so disgusting! Until 2018 he finally broke it off and I found out a year later by 4 anonymous letter sent to the house. Which probably were sent by her . He’s so done with her and Affair as he broke it off 2 years ago now but I just found out 10 months ago and to 8 years of betrayal is way TOO much for me. I did see. Email from her back into 2012 s sad Nd he said he wouldn’t talk to her and so I didn’t question it. Then probably 2015 saw a phone with no name in his phone , who’s this I don’t know you can delete it. Then Randomly one day and asked if you had ever kissed another person or another person and kiss you! NO
        So many lies…. been in counseling for 10 months but he’s been trickling about truth. Just found out they had sex in our house!!! Shower and sex at our lake cabin….
        He has lots of childhood trauma he’s been working on . I’m just so tired
        I need help, stay or go

        • Sarah P.

          Laura,

          How did your son die? This is one of the most terrible things I have heard! How old was your son? How did he die? Then your husband goes off and still has an affair?

          Big hugs to you!
          Sarah

          • LB

            Sarah,
            Our son was 27 years old and passed away at home in his sleep . No answers. Husband commented he needed a friend. H has lots of childhood family issues unresolved, but is in therapy now ,making huge changes although he just recently disclosed more big issues with the AP setting me back a lot. We had a good marriage for 25 then along comes his high school girlfriend and she knew how to fill up his ego and manipulate. I don’t understand how these cheaters don’t realize their destroying their family and marriage when they do this. Never thought he’d get caught even though he met in pubic at a coffee shop and then sex in her van fir 8 years ….I confronted her at her house and she said I’m sorry my marriage bad so you screw with ours!!!! She said I just thought we were friends, gag!!!!

            • Sarah P.

              Hi LB,
              To have your son pass away in his sleep with no answers is the worst thing I have heard. Here are the two biggest stressors on a marriage:

              1) The death of a child

              2) An affair.

              I know this sounds strange, but the research indicates that death of a child causes a bigger rift between a couple than an affair. Don’t shoot the messenger. I am just citing research.

              So you had the two worst things that can happen to a marriage happen in your marriage.

              I am so sorry. My heart goes out to you.

              Hugs,
              Sarah

      • Fractured heart, wounded beat

        I am nearly 15 months out from DDay1 and this week will mark the one year mark since DDay3, after which my husband left and nearly immediately moved in with the OW. (This year will also be our 20th anniversary.) He returned after just over two months and we have been working TOGETHER to rebuild our marriage since that time. To his credit, he is being totally supportive, loving, repentant, and transparent. This experience has led him to a strong belief in God after being agnostic for most of his life. We both believe this was a spiritual battle, definitely with supernatural influence, and he believes this was to wake him up and change his path. He says any feelings he thought he had immediately evaporated once he woke up and ended it, breaking whatever hold she’d had (seriously, demonology, witchcraft, some crystal/ tarot card shrine with my husband’s picture, etc.). He says he’s happier now than at any other point in his life and we have a marriage much closer to what I’d always wanted than ever before.

        However, the triggers are plentiful and exhausting. I read all their text messages leading up to DDay1. I’ve done a side by side comparison of our texts next to theirs. All the deceit is staggering. All the betrayal of our life together (special songs, the way he acted toward the OW, our flirty exchanges at the SAME TIME, sexting while with me, sending pics, THE LONGING, sending photos with me cut out, the violation of all I held sacred, etc.) and our family (sending photos from the delivery room, sexting while with our kids, how he deserted us all, etc.) are overwhelming! He’s staggered by it as well and feels HORRIBLE. He doesn’t understand it and really has no viable memories at this point (“just flashes too fast to grab”). He tries to help me but he can’t come up with anything from that time. (I believe that but it’s taken so long for me to. ) He says that the thought of cheating was never in his mind before this and now is disgusted by the OW (physically ill), not understanding how he ever could’ve felt attraction to her.

        But, a simple word or thought brings it all back. Completely innocent thoughts that are tangentially related to some aspect. So many songs that disgust me now (who knew how many were applicable?!?) and places I cannot even think about going to. I’m exhausted by it. It’s so draining to constantly fight them. There’s usually a physiological reaction (chest tightening, pain, breathing changes, etc.) that feels eerily similar to that DDay “rip out your guts” feeling we all know.

        In so many ways, we’re doing well. We’re happier together than possibly ever before. He isn’t selfish and self-absorbed anymore. He’s positive. He’s thoughtful.

        But, I’m so mentally and emotionally exhausted by all the remaining trauma and damage that will not go away. It is better in some ways but it’s also always in the wings if anything triggers it.

        I wish cheaters really understood the extent of the damage, the persistence of the trauma for the only innocent parties in these disasters.

        Oh, and the OW thinks she’s the victim in this. I don’t anticipate my hatred will diminish anytime soon.

        • Sarah P.

          FracturedHeart,
          You brought up a topic I have wanted to write about for quite some time.

          https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.theatlantic.com/amp/article/605518/

          You talked about a witchcraft alter that the OW was using. While many people write off witchcraft as a silly, fictional, and harmless topic, I don’t feel that way. It is a spiritual battle. We live in the so-called “free will zone” where each individual must choose if they will bring emotional harm to others or emotional healing. Now, I am not going to enter a diatribe about Christianity. I am talking about good versus evil. An agnostic person can still choose to live a live full of integrity. A Buddhist can choose to follow the path of selflessness and live by a code where they do no harm. Buddhists don’t believe in the same God as Judeo Christianity, yet they have a code of honor. Heck, atheists can have a code of honor.

          Witchcraft and it’s growth has been filtering into psychology studies since its on the rise in epic proportions. What’s worse is the Church of Satan now has the same rights as Christian churches in my state. Correction: they have more rights in my state than churches and Jewish temples. I have noticed that many people use witchcraft for what I would call evil purposes. You are not the only wife who has been the target of someone who was using witchcraft to target their family. In 2017, me and my children were a target of such a person who was using witchcraft to harm us. This is not hearsay. I gathered the evidence. She was also a Satanist. I stick very close to the One God of Israel, the same God Christians and Jews worship, even though I do not associate myself with any formal religious organization. I am too broad-minded to get into the human politics that happen at churches or Jewish temples. One might ask what happened to the woman who targeted my family. She died at her own hand. It was not a suicide. She was messing with forces she did NOT understand and she had no idea that I am a spiritual warrior on behalf of God. I flooded her with compassion, hoping she would wake up. She had her own husband and children. I prayed she would realize she had all she needed in her life, because she did. Her own husband adored her. But, she was dead set on getting mine. She was casting spells for the death of me and my kids. I do not fight evil with evil. I prayed for her soul’s deliverance. She still didn’t wake up. Her focus on death was so encompassing that she got a fast-growing cancer and she died. She was buried with her pentagrams. I still send a prayer for her soul.

          I know some of you might balk about this encounter. I have wanted to talk about it for a long time, but I have held back.

          The bottom line is, anytime we focus on thoughts that are targeted to bring the demise of innocent human beings, we step out of the light and into the darkness.

          We live in a culture where people want what they want. We live in a culture where middle aged people act like spoiled toddlers. If they can’t get what they want, some people are willing to go to absolute extremes to steal what belongs to another. The appeal of witchcraft is this: you wave a wand, say a spell, and hope that your base ego needs are met. You don’t step outside yourself and ask why you would want to hurt innocents. Witchcraft provides a so-called quick fix for those who are extremely selfish and entitled. Instead of doing psychological work to have healthy relationships or doing hard work to make money, they rely on spells as quick fixes. Now I will say that not everyone who is into witchcraft is evil. I am saying that is an outlet for some people who want what is not theirs and they won’t leave it along. I have nothing against wiccans who are into nature and plants. I do not hate these people. All I ask is that they don’t use this method to harm others. Spiritual warfare is real, whether people want to acknowledge it or not. I say it’s better to live life with the intention of bringing light, love, and unselfishness to the table.

          As for the OW, she is a despicable person. Her pathetic shrine did not succeed in breaking up your family. Oh poor her. (Sarcasm) She’s a victim because she did not succeed in breaking up a family. These people are DISGUSTING. Just like toddlers… throwing a tantrum and feeling the victim because the kid across the street has a better toy and they can’t have it.

          Onto the pain that us betrayed wives feel. Wayward spouses will never understand because they were living life in a metaphorical “amusement park” during the affair. The thrill! The excitement! The roller coasters! How fun!

          Meanwhile betrayed wife and kids are locked of the metaphorical amusement park living each tiring day after another.

          The only way that I know to cause a wayward spouse pain is to find a lover and videotape yourself having sex with your lover. Then show it to your wayward spouse. Boy will they feel the pain. Believe me.

          HOWEVER

          I do NOT recommend this. It will put you down on a very low level and you should never roll in the mud with the pigs.

          The idea is to stay above the pigs. Still you have to feel the pain that cannot be taken back. Your anger if justified. Hope that OW has someone dump water on her so that she can melt like the wicked witch of the west! Oh and make sure the water comes from Flint, Michigan. I have a feeling it will be more effective.

          Hugs,
          Sarah

          • Fractured heart, wounded beat

            Sarah,

            Thank you for sharing your story and for your words of understanding. I know it seems weird to discuss the spiritual battle aspect of this situation and many people react with the “oh yeah, sure, whatever you have to tell yourself to feel better about what he did…” But, there were many unexplainable aspects of this. Additionally, I had an entire battalion of prayer warriors that made all the difference in the resolution. They persisted even when I was giving up.

            Being in midst of these “anniversary” dates this week has been difficult. As much as I know this is “just another day”, these experiences are in the forefront more so lately. I know, many will say don’t give it power. I know this sounds ridiculous, but to me, it feels like these experiences were so traumatic, so wounding that not giving them their due seems minimizing. This experience changed me in so many ways that having a “so that happened” reaction seems more minimal than my reality deserves. Perhaps that’s just me…

            I do try to keep my husband today somewhat separate from the man he was, the man who did this to me (although I’d be remiss if I didn’t say it wasn’t entirely him… he was something different) but I am still working through all the hurt and anger from that time. I don’t want it to ruin the present but I also cannot just put it in a box in its current form.

            As much as I don’t want to dwell or ruminate, I don’t feel ready to be done with this. There’s still too much to come to terms with about this devastating time. Things are different and better in my marriage, for sure, but the price for that change is still being paid… and I’m still angry that I had to be the one to pay for the bulk of it.

            Thank you for your understanding reply. It is much appreciated!

    • ThisStinks

      He once told me a story, “Did you know that there are people that do ….” From stalking her Facebook I had seen that she did that. Still kills me to this day. Everytime he starts up anything with, “People told me this…or do you know that people do that…” I question…”Who are these people”
      Cars like hers
      The color purple
      Songs that come on the radio (have to turn it off or change station) Both songs she had sung and songs he listened to while going through is depression of “losing her”
      Everytime he’s on his phone
      Everytime he’s late coming home
      Everytime he goes anywhere without me and/or the kids
      I am here, as he says “to fulfill our obligation to the kids”. I don’t want to live my life like this. I don’t want my emotions/life to be dictated by no trust of what he’s doing and who’s he’s with.
      From the beginning from him, she was only a work “friend”. I watched him dress different, shower more, spend 20 minutes getting ready when he’d spent about 5 minutes the entirety of our 26 years together. Texting personal stuff with her outside of work. Asking her to join him in work functions and other outside work things. Asked him to stop. Nope! He’s doing nothing wrong and I’m being insecure and crazy!
      Refused to talk to me about anything. Screaming, yelling, throwing things….horrible things said to me while he was drunk….can’t get any of that out of my head.
      Was the 26 years prior all a lie? He was good to me. Now it’s more important to protect this woman who admitted to sleeping with another man at their same company for 2 years. PIG! Did she sleep with him in her husbands bed? Or was it the other guys wife’s bed? PIG!!! And she told me, ” I confided in your husband about my marriage issues.” HOW IS THAT OK????!!!!!
      So many things…I can’t be #2! No longer his choice but someone he’s “trying to do the right thing with”…..settling for….nope! I never asked to be that person and I won’t be that person. I’d rather be #1 to myself…alone.
      I refuse to live a life where I’m constantly questioning if he’s telling me the truth. I never signed up to have that life.
      I’m so sad to lose my marriage. Been greiving it for the past 4 years. Not sure it can ever come back. Lost a lot!
      For 26 years, at least I thought, that it was us….together…partnership. When things blew up…he went to her side. Protected her vs. me. I thought WE were the team. That’s been broken. My life was OUR life for 26 years. When he took away my voice in that life by telling me he was on her side….that stole a HUGE part of me. He took something that belonged to me and told me I no longer owned that. She did! He can’t give that back to me now. Ha…he hasn’t even tried.
      It’s hard to explain….but there is a HUGE void in every part of me. He took something away from me and gave it to her….she still owns it.
      I know my power is in finding ME. Who I am.
      I would never degrade myself so low that I’d go to another woman’s husband for attention. How easy is that!!!!
      I wasn’t completely happy in my marriage either for years…I never went crying to another man at work about how horrible my marriage is….”confiding in another MARRIED man about my marriage issues”.
      I wasn’t perfect….but I was a good wife. I was LOYAL!
      I still look her up and torture myself with the “what is better about her than me” questions. I’m not sure why???

      • Sarah P.

        ThisStinks,

        Did your husband have sex with the OW????

        Oh I TOTALLY know what you are talking about. The vague comments that a cheater will mention because he had a conversation with the other woman.

        So I am going to tell everyone an X-rated story about me and my cheating ex. For new readers, I did not know my ex was cheating. If I did know he was cheating. I would have left. But, I did not know he was cheating. It started with “some people really like Asian films” and so we watched boring Asian films. Some girls are really good at rock climbing. (I was a rock climber) “Some girls are really great at tennis. I need to practice my swing.” Umm okay. Then it turned X-rated. He said, “Did you know some girls really like to be roughed up in bed?” Umm okay. And he said, “You know what turns some girls on? An extra big penis because they want to feel like they are being ripped open.” And…? The point is….? Also… Childbirth can also rip you open. I wonder how she – the other woman – felt when she had his kids. Yes they got married and had kids after he realized I would NOT be drawn into some sick pick my dance. What the two of them did to me was unforgivable and when she started to show her true colors, he sent his squad of flying monkeys to try to draw me into a love triangle. I refused it because he did things that cannot be taken back. (Like beating me). Nope! No way anyone should reconcile after they have been beaten to a pulp. I didn’t come back to him and she tightened the trap and they eventually got married. He has a public Facebook profile and puts up pictures of himself shirtless and sitting on the bed. He gained a lot of weight. (I don’t really care about weight. I am just making an observation and I have no idea why he is showing off his man boobs). Employers look at people’s Facebook pages all the time. Men do not have to be thin to be attractive. I am just noting what a strange individual my ex has become. He was a beanpole when were together and I was thinner too.

        In case you are wondering about his size downstairs, my ex was average. Sorry he just was. But, it’s true that size does NOT matter. It’s all about skills. Plus, sexual chemistry happens in the head and then makes its way to the body. 90% of sex lives in the mind. But, it’s apparent that the OW in my case knew how to suck and stroke his…. mind. From what I gathered she told him he had the biggest dick in the world. But, the truth was he didn’t have the biggest dick in the world, his personality WAS the biggest dick in the world. So, yes, a huge dick was certainly involved and that enormous dick was his narcissistic personality, not the entity that had a studio apartment in his boxer shorts. It wasn’t big enough to require anything more than a studio apartment. This was a studio apartment dick, not a McMansion dick. But, the OW convinced him he had a McMansion in his pants. She loved to stroke his… ego. And he swallowed her compliments whole. From what I gather she told him she would die if she couldn’t spend the rest of her life with this dick. And off they went into the sunset leaving me to suffer enormous collateral damage. They are both dicks, if you ask me.

        So, yes I am aware of the “did you know some girls like (fill in the blank).” Until I was betrayed, these comments did NOT hit my radar.

        Also I wanted to tell you that there is nothing better about the other woman in your case. She was a coworker who was willing to suck and stroke his ego. She was there to siphon off his energy. It takes a special kind of person to target a married man. Now, I understand some people just naturally connect and there is no reason as to why. In 2007, my current marriage was going through a terrible patch. My husband slept on a separate floor. There was a coworker that I clicked with from day one. The work just flowed easily between us. We made an awesome team at work and got many positive things done at work. We worked in a company that fed children world wide and got clean water to people in third world countries. My male coworker and I tackled enormous projects in weeks that usually took months. We got more wells done and food delivered that year than anyone else. I came up with a process that streamlined everything and I won an award given by the CEO to one person each year. So here is the paradox. Me and my male coworker only talked about work. We didn’t call each other. We didn’t text each other. We didn’t email each other unless it was a project planning email. All interactions were rated G. Everyone in the office noticed the connection that flowed between the two of us. Now, they would tease him about him having a crush on me. But, no one teased me about having a crush on him. I refused to go there. Here is the part that sucks. Had he and I been single there would be no question we would have had a romantic relationship. But, I wouldn’t go there. The day he confessed his feelings to me was the day I called a recruiter and found a new job. He was MARRIED. I pictured his poor wife sitting at home. I was disgusted because his marriage was ok and he had a great marriage. I did not tell him about mine.

        And I had a new job within a week. I did not tell him how I felt. That is, inside my mind I had a crush on him too. However, when he confessed his feelings for me, I did NOT take the bait. I refused to take the bait on any level. And my marriage was at a point that was so LOW that if I didn’t have integrity, I would not have held up. Cheating is a choice. And I made sure that I got out of there and never addressed what he told me about his feelings for me. To this day he doesn’t know I had feelings for him at the time. I was married. He was married. I was at an unbelievably low point and I still did not have an affair with him.

        So the other woman didn’t have anything on you. Even if there was a connection, she could have walked away. She could have said NO. She could have found another job.

        Now while it’s true she stole something from you, like time, she doesn’t have the power to steal all of the good experiences you had with your husband and family. She could have been anyone really.

        Many affairs occur by happenstance. Everyone has to make a choice as to whether or not to have an affair.

        Also, any time my marriage is in a down turn, my husband is the first to know. If I can’t tell it to him personally, then I don’t share it with others. So my husband knows when I feel things are not going well. He knows when I am lonely. I tell him how he can meet my needs. I an extremely open with him about my desires and when things are in a slump. I ask how we can resolve things. I tell him when I am deeply lonely.

        I think this is one of the things about infidelity. People who are unfaithful might be afraid to confront their spouse about their needs, tell them how they feel, and then tell their spouse how to fix it. I have always been overly vocal with my husband about my needs. I have told him when things are wrong. I have shared my deep loneliness. So, he always knows where he stands. If I can’t say it to him, I don’t say it to others.

        How do you think your marriage will turn out? I know it’s soooooo frustrating and heartbreaking.

        Sarah

        • Another One

          “If I can’t say it to him, I don’t say it to others.” This is such a BIG thing.

          My H’s OW first drew him in by complaining about her husband then kept him interested by constantly comparing my H to her own husband and telling H how much better he was in every way. Even after they were busted and the affair ended H keep talking badly about the poor man. I got sick of it one day and had to tell H that, in truth, he knew nothing about her marriage and at least her husband hadn’t cheated on her so he was better than H at least in that one (huge) way. Thankfully that stopped all the snide comments.

        • ThisStinks

          No clue how my marriage will turn out. I belive in God and I believe He still does miracles. So I have hope in Him.
          Through it all my husband yelled and screamed, threw thing around, etc. All to shut me up when I’d talk about it/ask questions. Understand it’s a tactic to get me to shut up and it worked. However, at this point I believe he thinks I’m eventually going to forget the horrible things he’s said to me and the way that he ran to her side to comfort her when I was totally falling apart over the whole thing.
          I don’t think I’ll ever know the extent of what they’ve done. Apparently she told everyone at work about the 2 year affair that she had with some guy that worked at the same company. Went into work crying about it to everyone. When I talked to her she said, “I confided in your husband about my marriage issues.” Couldn’t answer any of my questions because she said, “I have my own marriage issues that I’m dealing with right now.” I’m not sure why I thought she’d ever tell me the truth. I guess I’ve always felt that women stuck together on things like this…understood each other. Nope! Not when you’re dealing with a lying, cheating whore!
          I guess I don’t think so…but found certain things odd….things that don’t add up.
          He had just recovered from a bad disease that he has……depression took over for a long time…caused a lot of issues in our marriage….she comes along and tells him how great he is daily….”You put staples in the stapler? I could just hug you!” I have worked in the corporate world for about 30 years…I have NEVER heard a woman talk like that to another man at work! I have never talked to another man or woman like that at work! Every work outing she needed to car pool with someone….my husband is naturally a very nice and giving person…always has been…of course he’s the guy who’ll drive…even though EVERY other person in the company drove themselves…she told my husband all of her sob stories…how her grandpa is so dear to her and he’s getting ready to die….how her husband buys her presents trying to get close to her and that it makes her sick….she even told me that she talked to my husband about “getting their” kids together. MY KIDS!!!!! I told my husband that she is lucky that she didn’t engage MY KIDS….that would have been a whole different level for me….
          So many stories that don’t add up…he’s here….claims that he hasn’t seen or talked to her in 4 years…I have no clue…I KNOW that he changed his email password…I KNOW that he told me about 4 years ago, “I like to keep this email account really clean so I delete most of the stuff in it.” Not sure why he told me that….he is helping more around the house…we get along…it’s not a horrible environment for my kids….but it’s not a loving one either…no affection what so ever….room mates, raising kids together…I believe he thinks that I’ll eventually forget about and things will go back to how they were….I believe that I’m almost finished greiving my marriage and once I get to the end of that, there will be no going back for me.
          I don’t trust him. (He has a relationship with another woman that I knew nothing about until I found a text on his phone, “You’re amazing! I’m so blessed to have you in my life!” That was the start of it….he refused to let her go! But let me go through the hell of totally falling apart all alone.)
          I’m not safe with him. (When trying to be vulnerable with him vs. showing the anger…I told him, “I’m afraid that we’re losing our marriage.” His response, “Oh Poor You! What about her! Don’t you think that she’s afraid that her husband is going to find out about her affair?” Rewriting history, “When were we good? 26 years ago?” first I had ever heard that! From the man that told me, “You could never be ugly” when I was 9 month pregnant with a 10 lb baby *not pretty…during this time with her…”You don’t look bad for having 2 big babies”….told me “she’s someone that I rated as someone I’d sleep with”….after I went to talk with her and he was really upset, “Really, really really….I wish I had someone to F to make up for all this BS I’m having to deal with over having a female friend”.
          The tough part….it’s been 4 years…I believe it was an EA….he’s more himself not….he’s gone through the grief of losing her….limerance, etc…. he acts like he’s been the victim….”It’s like you had a dream and I’m having to suffer the consequences”…. he sees it as he didn’t sleep with her so he did nothing wrong.
          She came into something that was mine….he allowed it….and when I said I don’t like it and it needs to stop…he said no….
          That’s not ok with me.

    • Tired

      My husband doesn’t understand. He just keeps saying I’m not cheating on you, I’m not deleting text and I’m not looking at porn.. what more can I do.. but I look at his phone and see his screen time and it doesn’t match up with actual phone calls or text.. he still has ability to contact affair person… says they never did anything and it was completely friendship.. he worked with her kinda still does.. recently had to go work for about a month in the Same building with her and said but I won’t see her I don’t see the problem! I me does he think I am stupid! I am a wreck… it’s been 4 years and I just saw where he changed his phone not to wake up when touched which is weird.. sooo confused

      • Sarah P.

        Tired,
        I would be so tired of analyzing things as well. You need to talk to him about his phone. Unless he has a reason for it to be locked, it should not be. My husband did something similar recently. He leaves his phone on but it’s in a mode where it won’t wake up or display any texts. It’s on but anything that would come in, even phone calls, are re-routed to VM. It really bothers me. So I would ask your husband why.

    • Another One

      Seven months out from Dday some of my triggers have disappeared, but some I suspect will stick around for a long, long time.

      The biggest triggers, that I suspect will remain for a long time if not forever, include specific songs, a movie, and a musician. Both H and the skank are singers so there’s a few songs they sang together that I suspect I’ll never be able to listen to again in my life without a bad reaction. There’s one place I still refuse to visit and a couple of others that are getting better.

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