It seems that Doug’s emotional affair can pop into my brain even at times when everything is going great.

distraught womanBy Linda

Doug and I spent Saturday at a local blues festival where we sat in the beer garden and listened to some great live music.  Everything seemed perfect.  We were both having a fantastic time…and then it hit me.  I felt like I had been there before, experiencing the same music and good time.

Suddenly I became very sad and started to cry.  I began thinking about similar times in the past when we went out and listened to music and had great fun together.  Listening to good live music is something that we both love to do.  But this time, for some reason I began to wonder what happened to our relationship.

Why did Doug want to leave me for someone else?  Just like a thousand times before, I sat there trying to figure out why he had an emotional affair.  It was very confusing to me. I wonder if I will ever truly understand it.

On Sunday we talked about what had happened and again I began to cry because it is really so sad when I think about all the good times we used to have before Doug’s emotional affair. I told him that I can remember every date and every event from the day Doug began his affair up until the present.


However I have put everything else concerning our lives prior to his affair in the back of my mind .  It’s like I didn’t know if those times really existed or if they were just fantasies that seemed real.  I questioned whether we really ever loved each other and if we really shared anything special.

See also  Surviving an Affair: Will an Affair Destroy Your Marriage?

I remember during the time when I first found out about Doug’s emotional affair, I read that couples should practice recalling special times in their relationship everyday with each other.  Often times during an affair, the cheater rewrites the history of the relationship and both parties need to recall that history and discuss what they used to have.

I remember sending Doug an email suggesting that we try doing this, explaining what we needed to do and asking if he would like to give it a try.  I also wrote about a special memory we had experienced when we first started dating in college.

Unfortunately, at the time, Doug was heavy in the affair fog and he responded saying couples should not rewrite or relive history and that he couldn’t think of anything special about our relationship that had occurred in the last few years.

His response was very disheartening and at that time I erased most of our marriage from my memory.  I believed that everything about our marriage was negative and I didn’t want to believe in it any longer.

Then things would happen, like flashbacks and I would feel differently about our marriage.  Saturday, for example, when I felt confused while trying to decipher what was real and what was fantasy.  I questioned myself if I was crazy or did we really have a good relationship?  Did we ever really enjoy each other’s company or truly love each other?

I know this post is very confusing.  It really doesn’t make much sense as I am typing it, but I think when a person goes through a trauma like infidelity, they lose so much and they don’t know how to trust their minds, their gut and their feelings.

See also  After the Affair – Control the Affect of the Cheater’s Choices


    41 replies to "The Emotional Affair Still Confuses Me at Times"

    • Saddenned


      My thoughts exactly. The ringing thought in your mind after an emotional affair or during the time of the affair is their responses to you. For example, my husband told me he hadn’t been happy in three years and that he I wasn’t the same women he once married. I began to hang on to that disheartening response. That night he snapped out of it and decided he wanted me. The next day he told me everything and that all of the things he said was just “talk”. I often relive him saying those words to me, even when things are going well. It has only been 5 1/2 months since D-day and we have been through marriage counseling and I have been through individual counseling and have made great progress, but I still question things. I would love to meet you and Doug one day. You two should be extremely proud of yourselves. You overcame a great hurdle in life. God has a reason for it. You neither one take eachother for granted. Life is about trusting God and making the decision to stay together is what God wanted you to do, though it is not the easiest thing. Affair recovery takes a long time. Though I have more good days than bad, there is not a day that goes by that I don’t think about it. I have never experienced so much heartbreak in my life. I think God was trying to let me know that I cannot do everything on my own. That I was capable of love and all of the good and bad that comes with it.

      God be with the both of you.

    • Infidelity Rage

      ::HUGS:: I feel the same way Laura. I think that is why I was so devastated yesterday (D-Day Anniversary). It marked the end of our marriage one year ago. All of the stuff that happened during that time seems so unimportant now because it obviously wasn’t important enough to him to not have an affair. The problem is that those times WERE special to us… so I don’t know what happened either. Was I in a daze thinking that we were really in love and sharing the events of our life with love? Or were they just events? I guess they really were all just events now… and they all lost their meaning because they are all now tainted with infidelity.

      I just talked about mourning the loss of my marriage yesterday on my blog …it was a really sad day. 🙁

    • RecoveringMommy

      Linda, you are not alone. My H’s EA still confuses me. I just don’t get it! Yes, we had problems when he began the EA, but it wasn’t all bad. There were plenty of good times. For me, the “Before EA” time period is a whole lifetime ago. With learning of what my H had done, it’s like those times never even existed. My H swears he’s over any feelings he had for the OW, and I truly want to believe him. But I just have a hard time doing it. He tells me all the time how much he loves me, how “in love” he is with me, and how his world revolves around me. This confuses the hell out of me! (Sorry for the language) If this is the way he felt about me, why did he seek affection from another woman? Why did he abandon our marriage at a very critical time in our lives? How could he had more stress to your wife who is pregnant with your child and experiencing a very difficult pregnancy? I just don’t get how he’s over it! And it’s just not fair that he’s over it and I’m not! I just started reading the book “Not just friends” and I hope it sheds some light on things for me!

      • Paula

        RecoveringMommy, tough time, but glad you generally feeling better. Triggers, such as actually seeing OW are awful. I’m glad you are reading Not Just Friends, I did, and found it wonderful, but probably of more use to the person who had/is contemplating having the affair. It is all stuff I already knew, my OH is reading it at the moment (amazing step for him) and kicking himself for either “not knowing” or “not understanding” or “not caring enough at the time” about the long-term implications of his actions. He was passing off his OW as Just A Friend. I believed him, because he’d never lied to me before, and she was our friend. My OH organised a very elaborate costume party for one of my “significant” birthdays during all of this, it was a huge effort, with people flying in from all over the country, and his affair partner (my good friend, hahaha) from overseas, just for the night, because she’s THAT good a friend. He says they “were on a break” at the time, he thought it was over, but of course, I invited her, and her entourage (how would I know not to?) and put them all up in our cottage, with luxury soaps, and linen, gourmet breakfasts and snacks, French champagne, gorgeous flowers, etc, such a lovely hostess. It was such a shock and pleasure for me that he went to so much effort, he’s not always the most demonstrative, but of course, it is all so tainted, as I know she only flew back for the night to see him, and I was so accommodating and “nice” to her and her friends (all from out of town, and all knew they were having an affair.)

        However, I do see the amazingly wonderful things that we did/created together before all of this, I know I will never experience that again with anyone. So many amazing things, the births of our children, and his delight in them, delivering our middle child (son) at home, just him and me (the midwife was on her way!) and the look of sheer joy on his face with what we had created together, with every one of them, and the wonderful “babymoons” we had afterwards. The special little dance we always had on Xmas Eve, when the kids were in bed, to a song that has always had special meaning, the delight in discovering each others bodies for the first time, the “farm picnics” we had during busy times, to relieve the stress of the day, making love in the bush after eating something delicious and sipping some fine wine, all the little things that we did for each other. Sometimes it does feel so tainted, but they really did happen, and they really did feel that good, so try not to think otherwise 🙂

        • roller coaster rider

          Paula, I can sure understand why you would be so devastated to have lost that sense of the great relationship you had all along, the beautiful memories etc. Ours has always had an edge, and my own mother’s alcoholism along with my H’s mother’s mental illness have impacted us and our marriage for decades.

    • tryingtoowife

      I am far over a year after Dday and I, still can not speak with ease about all the special times and dates we had before and during my husbands affair. It is too painful still. I feel that they were special only for me, if I did not forget them, but he was able to. So I keep them inside myself, like in a protective box, so one day I can open it and enjoy them again, but not yet, they are my precious memories. It makes me sad sometimes if someone mention a celebration, a party we organise or if a show we saw together which happened around the time of the affair and before. I question how special and valuable the special times were for him, if the next day or so he would be in the OW arms? and forgot me? So, no. Leave MY memories of things we were to each other alone, inside myself.

      But I hold on instead to the memories of my children growing up, and the way we were a good team. How he looked after me and our babies when we came home from the hospital, after I gave birth. How he was a good and fun father to our children. We had a strong bound. That, I try to remember because it is not directly linked to me and him only, this is the family and the way we conducted our lives as a team. I don’t like to talk about things we did together as a couple, because I always question the value I felt in it and what he felt. I don’t like to receive flowers any more, and I used to love to, as the day after he started his physical affair, he bought me flowers after work, (guilt). He told me, I love you through all the affair time. I don’t like this word any more. So easily used, and so empty of real meaning when you really have to show it. I still feel that our past is like a dear friend that I loved so very much, but can not bear to hear the name after it’s death. But one day we will be able to, I truly hope so.

      We are having fun now. We are trying to build new memories together. I am not supposed to discount the past; so it says my therapist, because it happened! But I am comfortable were I am now, and I don’t want to look at a time that I was blissfully happy, because I trusted or because I was blind. My husband respects my reaction to facts and know when not to push. He also would like to talk about the past and would like me to remember the things we did together. Funny because I the betrayed is the one, who can not do it, but he would like to. One day I will. Now I am OK like this. I am living in the present and enjoying it if I can. But this is the new person I became, I live just the now. The past might have been my fantasy.

    • Roller coaster rider

      I too have strong emotions when I look at pictures of things we did together while he was involved with the OP. I feel so angry about the time and energy I put into planning a wonderful birthday celebration for him, for example, and now when I see the pictures of us on that day (both alone and later, with most of our children) I feel so betrayed knowing that she was a part of his world and I didn’t even know it.

      The confusion is often so powerful and I find myself shellshocked and unable to focus. It sometimes scares me that this cataclysmic event has damaged my mind so much that I will never recover. I do believe what Saddened says, that life is about trusting God. He is the only One who can make anything good out of this *#£¥!

      We watched the movie “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” last week, and I realized if I were to erase my H from my life, I would literally need to bag up virtually my entire house and every memory for the past 40 years…what would be left? Almost nothing! Sometimes it’s very tempting, though, to just want to start over.

    • RecoveringMommy

      I’ve been sensing the “confusion” for the past several days now. To add to the confusion, I VERY UNEXPECTEDLY ran into the OW this morning. I was dropping my daughter off to her first day of school and there she was, parked directly behind me. My nerves are still reeling! She lives in a completely different school district than I do so I was very surprised. I don’t understand why she can’t stay in her town and out of mine! Why do I have to keep feeling like this? I shouldn’t have to feel like a prisoner in my home town! And to top it off, the b***h looked at me and then pulled out in front of me, causing to almost rear end her SUV’

    • Violinist8076

      RecoveringMommy: UGH, that’s terrible!!!!! I’m so sorry! I’m thankful that both of my H’s OWs live in different states. What makes it most weird for me is that they have “opposite” looks, so some people look like OW #1 and some people look like OW #2…and sometimes even *I* look like OW #1…It’s hard to get it out of my mind. Sometimes I’m afraid of running into OW #2 on the Internet because of similar interests. But I would just die if the threat of actually seeing them was real!

    • Empty and Numb

      I’m sorry to be so negative but the victims were the only ones ever fully engaged in the marriage. Longterm cheaters were never in the marriage and didn’t hold love and connection as a priority.  This is just my opinion.  Longterm cheaters are and always have been blamers and never added much value.  Again … This was my story and my opinion.  It was always the victim that needed to do more and the cheater that was never curious enough to ask how they could help or help without asking.

    • Candace

      I find myself wanting to do everything over that happened during my H’s EA. Like vacation, our anniversary, Christmas etc. I open a photo album and think about the EA instead of the good times I thought we had during that time frame. I thought it was just something I was experiencing and did not realize others struggled with it too.

    • Kris

      Totally get everything you said Linda. Disheartening to see you still have these days/moments of confusion and mind ramblings about it because you’re further into it than I am.

      I just had this weird thought last night that I’ve never had! I thought “what is it about my family tree that causes this to happen to us?” And then I bawled my eyes out thinking of my daughter going through this. My grandmother was cheated on, my mom, now me. Are we prone to being treated this way? Something in our blood that attracts a man with the same kind of character flaw?

      Logically I know that’s not what’s happening but the thought damn sure came to mind. It’s insane what this does to us. How it changes us, warps us, rewires us.

      I still don’t understand it either. I thought our marriage was as close to perfection as could be expected. I didn’t think it was PERFECT but thought it was close to it. I thought we were best friends and that we had a love like no other. I don’t get how he crossed the line, kept crossing the line even after he was found out, abandoned me and continued his adultery, said the cruel things he said, did the cruel things he did… it all still perplexes me.

    • DJ

      Yes, one of the first things my husband told me after D-day was that our marriage had never been any good. The only reason we stayed together was because of the kids. That’s not the marriage I remember.

      He even said that I was the one who was checked out of the marriage before his affair, that he didn’t think I even cared if he had an affair. I asked my children about this. Is my memory that skewed? But no, they say the one thing they can definitely say is that they knew without a doubt that I loved them and that I loved their dad.

      Interesting thing – that affair fog.

      And I, too, have great difficulty looking at photos of important events during his affair. His affair lasted six years, so there were a lot of them. Our son’s salutatory address at graduation, our daughter’s wedding, the list goes on and on. Heck, our son-in-law never even knew my husband outside of his affair period.

      I am still grieving the loss of my former life.

      • Linche


        He even said that I was the one who was checked out of the marriage before his affair, that he didn’t think I even cared if he had an affair.

        Yeah, mine said that too. What a crock! If he didn’t think you’d care, then why did he hide it at all? (I don’t know where it is but there has GOT to be a book somewhere that lists all the “scripts” of what to say when your spouse learns you’ve been having an emotional affair. These cheaters all say the same things – practically verbatim! )

        Just so you know – I’ve hung in there for almost THREE years of my DH “deciding” if he wanted to stay or go. Last week was our 25th anniversary (his EA was 12/08 – 4/09 but he still is her boss at work) and he gave me a one-carat diamond anniversary ring. I’ll never trust him completely again and will probably never feel the security I felt before this but it looks like we’re staying together…..I think.

    • Norwegian woman

      I feel the same. I have a book that I write in at our summer house and there were plenty of things that I considered to be special moments for both of us. Doing things we both enjoy like fishing trout by the lake, walks on the mountains, friends and family visiting, quiet evenings by the fire with a bottle of wine and each other…… It was there, all along. All those things that made us happy and content.
      I also see that I was there a lot on my own. That summer we rebuilt our bathroom, so he had to “work at home” while I took some friends, our children or my mother with me.
      This summer has been filled with moments that I allways thought was special for us both. And they are. But sometimes the thought comes sneaking in my head when I am enjoying myself the most in his company. Is it only me that feels the joy? Is it worth anything at all for him? He says so, but how come he could have all these wonderful times with me, and still complain about the marriage and how “empty” it was?

      I am 1 year and 8 months out of D-day 1 and almost 1 year out of D-day 2. Allthough things have been going better, I STILL feel sad and unhappy about what happened. I still get angry to the point that I want to throw something. I just want it to go away. I want to be safe and happy againg. But unfortunately, this was taken away from me…..

    • changedforever

      Tryingtoo, I really like the reference to the times before the affair as a ‘dear friend’ that no longer can have their name spoken: I am reliving the initial days of my H’s (1 yr ago,) PA, following their EA together as coworkers (she was his subordinate.) So EVERYTHING around me ‘has its senses heightened…’ Recovering, I recently had a chance encounter with the OW too…whom I never met, recognized by pictues i’d seen. She saw me too…I believe only recognizing me as I began to talk about ‘the white trash riding by me’ (we were both on our bikes on the boardwalk.) I believe God ‘gave’ me that encounter as it was so by chance I was in front of my workplace, on my day off, stopping to pick up my biking sneakers, riding to my H’s beach to take a group picture of his public safety team. I don’t think she’ll be riding past this area anymore…looked like I ‘popped her bubble.’ Obviously a coward as was ‘your’ OW…in my industry (hospitality,) I liken the OW to the most despised pest we deal with…the bed bug: No one wants them around, they afflict psychological & physical damage to the afflicted, they only come out under the ‘cloack’ of darkness, & it takes a long time to get rid of them & their residue…sound familiar?…

      • Rachel

        Wow… yeah. Bed bug!!! SOOOOOOOOOOOOOO accurate.

    • DJ

      Changedforever – LOL! The OW is like a bedbug! I love it! Several of my family members work in hotels, and yes, the likeness is undeniable! You made me laugh about the OW. Good one.

    • Paula

      Hi all. Glad to hear these stories, we’re all different, yet all share the devastation on our self-worth that this causes. Sometimes I think I am the only person who had a lovely, lovely, fulfilling relationship smashed to smithereens by someone who was supposed to be my friend – well, two people, actually! Heartened there are others here who also had a good marriage that floundered so sadly, heartened only because this is a very lonely journey otherwise, obviously I wish it hadn’t happened to anyone else. RCR, I’m sad that you have not had such a great time with your H over the years, but glad you have the opportunity to make it better, but please don’t take this the wrong way, but I am interested why you would want to try to carry on if it has been so disappointing for decades, I must admit, I think I would be making a fresh start, and admire your dedication, but am interested in your thoughts on this? DJ, that must have been a very cruel blow, the way your husband seemed to have a very different view of your marriage to your own, I do understand some of that, my OH was having a very rough time of things before our OW charged on in on her white horse (lol) that I wasn’t fully aware of, and that intrigues me, that we had different outlooks of where our relationship was at at the time. I also know, from my research and counselling, that one of the reasons I am still having such a difficult time with this is that we were, and still are, so in love, even after all this time, and all these tears, it’s so frustrating

      • roller coaster rider

        Good questions, Paula. Why would I want to carry on when it has been so disappointing for decades? One reason is that my husband’s issues stem from things he has been unable to see and deal with until now. The affair has actually given him a reason to seek counsel and therapy. His own family was SO messed up, with mental illness and incest and all under the guise of a normal, high-achieving family in the public eye. When we began dating, I was just weeks past my fifteenth birthday and he was sixteen. We were and are best friends, and despite the pain and disappointment, he is a good man with a need for self-awareness and an ability to see the past for what it was if he is ever going to have a proper view of himself. The affair was an exaggeration of what has happened so often in his life- someone in need who made him feel like he was helping. Of course that all got pretty screwed up along the way and ended up with him extremely confused, guilt-ridden and filled with self-loathing.

        Another reason to want our marriage healed is our four adult children. Divorce is something I would never choose for them, but if my H hadn’t completely broken it off with the OW and stayed far from her, if he hadn’t done the things he’s done to bring healing and restoration including seeking counsel I would walk. I still may have to make that choice even after all but there is hope if he will stay the course with therapy and not seek the easy way out as he has in the past. I am also going to start some counseling soon. Maybe I’ll have a more complete answer one of these days…

    • michael

      I have been unable to write, unable to think, without feeling my marriage is just about over. Obviously a year further along than I, hasn’t erased all that you have felt or the pain of it. That sucks. Because I don’t know what else to do. I don’t think I will ever trust my wife again. I’ve broken down to not even wearing my wedding ring. I feel that right now I’m waisting my time. And I feel like I’m wasting hers too.
      She still lies. Still doesn’t take the effort to do anything about trust. I give up.

      • Linda

        Michael, I think the hardest part for me, as Paula just said was for so long we were so in love, and now we still feel the same way about each other it causes the emotions to flare up. I was thinking today about my episode last weekend, and I realized that I was crying more about me rather than what I had lost from our marriage. I had convinced myself over the last couple years that I was inadequate in some many areas. On Saturday while I was having a great time, being me, (the person I was before the affair) enjoying the music, dancing, etc. I felt alive again, comfortable and it took me by surprise. I started crying because I felt angry and happy all at the same time, I had lost so much due to the affair which made me angry at Doug, but I felt a weight had been lifted off my shoulders because the person I lost (me) was slowly coming back.

        I know that you are discouraged and I hope you do not measure how you are doing by the amount of time it is taking. I hope you try to think about where you were a year ago and can say that you see progress. Think about what you both have been doing that has produced positive results and try to build on that. Just like our marriages before the affair sometimes we get caught up in the same patterns which give us the same negative results. Sometimes it is better just to stop trying and working on your marriage and see where it goes. I am sorry that you feel defeated. I hope your wife will eventually realize how much you want your marriage to work and how lucky she is to have you. Linda

    • michael

      The lies have to end. Period. I found out about a speeding ticket from last Monday on sunday. I asked about it and why she decided not to tell me. The same old… “I was going to tell you”. “I didn’t want to tell you last monday because we were already arguing. I didn’t want to ad fuel to the fire” so I guess she decided to save the can of gas until it just caught of fire. She I she told me last monday that he was calling her and that’s why she kept calling him. To get him to stop. I reminded her she said he wasn’t calling her. And that she said all those blocked number were her mom. So when I begged, demanded, pleaded for her to ask her mom to stop calling on a blocked number a year ago, she decided that wasn’t necessary. So I’m still pissed. She can’t get it in her head that the problems I can’t get over are the problems she won’t do anything about. I’m fed up. I can’t squeeze orange juice from an apple, or truth from her.

      • DJ

        I’m so sorry to hear that, Michael. Wish there was something we could say or do to make it better. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

        My therapist told me yesterday that maybe it’s time for me to start looking into preparing for separation. I am seriously considering it.

    • RecoveringMommy

      For the first time last night, me and my H were able to talk about his EA without him going into his “woe is me, I feel so guilty, blah blah” mode. I just told him that I’m glad he feels guilty, and that he’s sorry, and that he knows that he messed up. But sometimes I need to disclose how I’m feeling, and I cannot do that when he turns the conversation to how he feels. So I was finally able to say the things that have been bottled up. About how the safety and security in my life were suddenly and unexpectedly ripped away, trust is gone, and it’s replaced by self doubt and fear. How everything before D-day feels like it’s just gone. And that is the one thing I think hurts me the most. Although I know it wasn’t ALL a lie it still feels that he thought so little of all the years, the fun times, the special memories, the things we’ve been through together and overcame. He was just willing to trade all that in. For what? A few months of “having a girlfriend?” Living the single life? I know I will never understand this because I would never bail on my family when times are hard.

    • melissa

      Sometimes I wish my H told me he feels guilty but he has so often taken the line of ‘I didn’t do anything, just a friend, nothing happened’ that I don’t think he’ll ever tell me how bad he feels about the situation.

      Like Roller Coaster Rider I’ve organised parties (inc for our 20th anniversary), family events and I feel awful now that I know that the OW was in the picture then, in his life. My H’s speech at our anniversary party did not sound very convincing to me, I felt something was missing – now I know.

      Interestingly, my H has this impression that our marriage during his EA was good, that we did lots of things together, that it was a happy relationship- if that was the case, why did he fall head first into an EA? Why did he talk about divorce a couple of times without ever giving me an idea of why he was even mentioning it? Yet, he was telling the OW that we weren’t communicating (according to her) and obviously complaining about our relationship (maybe he was being a copycat as she was going through a divorce and I don’t think she ever stops complaining anyway).

      Linda, thanks for an inspiring post, as always.

    • broken

      Really related to your post Linda.It will be a year for me I two weeks. I actually compare today with a year ago to see if he was talking to her,what I was doing that day etc. I look at days like mothers day,his birthday, my birthday and see if she was a part of it in some way. She was and I think about what we were doing and when he was sneaking off to call. My son plays college football and my husband left me alone in the stands every halftime…to call her.This is his last year playing and he has ruined it for me.I can look forward to of course joy in watching my son but the ever present stabbing pan and sadness he caused

      • JS

        Hi, broken. Exactly the same for me. The text records are still online between my H and his OW, and sometimes on a day when I’m not feeling very good about us, I go back and look at the texts from last year and I break my own heart all over again. Our anniversary was 2 days ago, and it was a hard day to get through, knowing that last year she was involved in it. I wonder if/when this goes away. So much that used to be really important to me (and us, I thought) has lost the meaningit had.

    • Dar

      I feel like i could have written all of these. I can remember every single day on the calendar and where i was and texts that were sent and unanswered by my H because he was with her. It hurts as though it was yesterday. It’s only been 6 months today. I know he is truly sorry but i can’t begin to understand how he could have an EA. We have 4 kids and drive all over for them traveling for hockey, etc. All we had was eachother. I’m so confused. So his affair lasted from right before thanksgiving through right before valentine’s day. I have no idea how i’ll get through the holidays. The memories are associated with too many dates. Too many occassions that will happen again this year and every year for the rest of our lives. I feel like all of it was fake. I will forever hate the holidays when i used to love them. How do i get through it?

    • Dar

      I feel like i could have written all of these. I can remember every single day on the calendar and where i was and texts that were sent and unanswered by my H because he was with her. It hurts as though it was yesterday. It’s only been 6 months today. I know he is truly sorry but i can’t begin to understand how he could have an EA. We have 4 kids and drive all over for them traveling for hockey, etc. All we had was eachother. I’m so confused. So his affair lasted from right before thanksgiving through right before valentine’s day. I have no idea how i’ll get through the holidays. The memories are associated with too many dates. Too many occassions that will happen again this year and every year for the rest of our lives. I feel like all of it was fake. I will forever hate the holidays when i used to love them. How do i get through it?
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    • Shattered

      Well I’ve done it again. I’ve turned what could have been a perfectly nice weekend into a nightmare for my entire family. All because I can not control my emotions regarding my husband’s PA/EA that I discovered five months ago. That affair is over now but lasted 8 months, physical for the last 3, with a married co-worker. We have been married for 13 years. Since that time he’s done everything that he could possibly do to rebuild trust and our marriage. Well, at least after the two weeks following the end of the affair, during which as you guys say he was in the fog. I prefer to say that he had his head up his A**. (See I told you I was angry.:)) Anyway, it seems as if I just can’t get it together. I know that this will take time, but I feel like I am so emotional and so “all over the place”! Sometimes I have no idea why he stays around. I know it’s got to be miserable for him too. Don’t get me wrong, our marriage has grown into a relationship that I never dreamed it could be, in a good way. I finally have the emotionally available, loving and truly close marriage I always wanted. But at what cost? Are there some things that just can’t be fixed? I cant help but wonder what I’ve lost. Like so many of you say, I’ve lost myself. I used to be a confident and strong women. Now… I’m a mess . I don’t trust anyone or anything, including myself. I don’t tust my own gut, thoughts or heart. I’ve also lost what I guess was the illusion that I had a husband that would never betray me. I can’t ever get that back. That man, even if imaginary, is gone forever. God I miss him!!!!! I find myself mourning for the loss of him and the loss of myself. Will I ever have it together again? Will I ever be able to control the emotions resulting from the hurt and anger? I know at times like these I just have to hold on and ride it out. But my God, it is so hard!!!!! What about my kids? What did they do to deserve to have to be a part of this? Nothing, and i couldn’t protect them from it. As anyone who is a mother can relate to, that is a literally gut wrentching feeling! During these times, I feel like I have no one to turn to. Basicly, I think my friends and family are fatigued from heearing about my pain. They haven’t said it, but I know that they just want to move on and want for me to move on. God, I wish I could.

      • changedforever

        Shattered…don’t be so hard on yourself. I’m 10 mths past DDay of my’s EA/PA with a co worker/subordinate. Unlike your situation, his OP was single/half his age. I just said the same thing to him yesterday you mentioned in your post “…I miss the man I married.’ He’s gone, soiled along with everything else. Just came from mass where I draw my strength. Opening hymn was Amazing Grace…that just HAD to be for me. Have you tried leaning on & into your faith. It lessens the pain some. I am where you are. Just keep in touch with this site for additional strength…works for me. I wish you moments of peace (which I pray for myself.)

        • Shattered

          Changedforever… skipped church last weekend. Big mistake! Looking forwrd to going back today. I wish you the best. Thanks for the support.

      • Paula

        It’s hell, Shattered, and my heart goes out to you, I’m over two years past D-Day (15 month EA and PA, lived with my partner 24 years, 3 kids, 18, 14, 12) and still feel many of those feelings you describe, the loss of the man you thought he was is the thing I struggle with the most because you can’t ever have that back. All I can say is, it does improve, but there is still a hollow and tight feeling in my chest and throat. I still have bizarre and violent nightmares every night. We are off to new counselling at the end of the month, and I hope that can help me especially, as my OH has done, and continues to do everything he can to rectify this awful mess. I am starting to have some control over my venting, and I have made a promise to myself that I don’t talk about it with my friends anymore, as you say, they’re sick of it, and after some time, they just say, leave if you’re so unhappy, because they don’t understand the terrible mix of emotions. I haven’t mentioned this to any of them in over a year, I’m sure they think “I’m over it, healed,” yay me, I don’t know if I ever will be completely, the trust of him, you, your children, other people you know, I get it, because I’m the same. Our OW was a friend of ours, and I just don’t get that, to this day, she spent so much time with us and our kids, even me alone, weird. And she will not acknowledge my pain, which just seems to create more… You will get better, I don’t know if healed completely is possible, but it can ONLY get better, can’t it?

    • Attraversiamo

      Attraversiamo or “Crossing Over” (thanks, Elizabeth Gilbert). That’s what I’ve been trying to do since January 1, 2011 — the day of the Big Reveal. The day I found out my husband was having a two-year affair with a former co-worker. Since that day, we’ve been working very hard to fix what to many is unfixable. With the help of an outside counselor, coupled with my need to do as much research as possible and our ability to communicate openly (and now honestly), we’ve made great strides. But I still have moments. Sometimes those moments are so painful that I occasionally wonder if it’s possible to truly forgive and move on.

      I believe my husband is doing everything he can to build up the trust we lost on New Year’s Day. He is loving, caring and he willingly goes thru each moment with me — listening to me, understanding my hurt and pain, and reassuring me of his love and commitment to me, our relationship and our children. In the world of cheaters, I feel pretty lucky. How about that! I’ve known many who have to listen to the unfaithful partner place blame, be argumentative, unsupportive and unwilling to seek outside help, etc. That has not been my experience — not once.

      I can relate to you, Linda, on just about every level (I haven’t yet read all your blog posts). For me, the triggers strike out of nowhere and are sometimes really hard to bear. We get thru them and our relationship is so much stronger than it ever was. Honestly, I never thought I could have a marriage this strong or that Matt could be this type of husband to me. So why did it take an affair to get here?

      It’s a question I often ask myself. I suppose I’ll never really know the answer. He said he felt disconnected from me (we were). He said he created a distorted view of me, in which he saw only my flaws. He thought I wasn’t a good person. All the things I suppose you tell yourself so that you can justify a sexual relationship outside your marriage.

      I think what struck me most, though, is that for the past 7 months I was afraid to ask him what he and the OW (Desiree) had in common. In the e-mails I had found (and read) they spoke often about their similarities, although neither was ever specific. I had become convinced that she was a female version of him, and that all of his interests and likes were also hers.

      The other day after reading your and Doug’s posts, I got the courage to ask him, “What did you and Desiree have in common?” He said he in retrospect he couldn’t think of any. “Well, did she like to ski?”, I asked. “No, she didn’t ski,” he replied. And this went on and on with all the things I know he likes (books, hiking, canoeing, fishing, etc.). Assuming he was being honest, there wasn’t one thing.

      It seems the only thing they had in common was a shared character flaw, which allowed them both to step outside their marriages in what represents to me the greatest act of insecurity, selfishness and immaturity. And they were able to justify one another’s actions by creating monsters out of the partners to whom they were committed.

      He did say (as he said in the past) that he was with her because she wasn’t me. This really reduced her in my mind. She was nothing. She was somone he had become attracted to who was willing to go to bed with a man claiming to be unhappy with his wife (although not too unhappy to leave). On some level, she is the one I pity most, as I do her daughters who will no doubt grow up to suffer from the same insecurity as their mom.

      We are creating new memories now — enjoying one another more than we ever have at any point in our relationship. I remind myself of Thomas Hardy’s line, “And yet to every bad there is a worse.” There ARE worse things in life than an affair. Knowing this makes those moments easier to bear. I also strongly believe that there is good in every bad moment. And a lot of good has come from that horrible day. I know that had the affair ended without me ever knowing, Matt would have recommitted himself to our family for sure, but never fully to me. As the years past, maybe there would have been another affair or two. Who knows. We probably would have remained disconnected only to divorce when our children were grown, as so many couples do. Maybe all of this pain has saved our future together. I believe it has. And it is that belief that ultimately gets me through each and every moment.

      • RecoveringMommy

        Thank you so much for your words of encouragement! They were really needed after this weekend. My H’s OW was a friend of ours, well at least I thought. She lives in the next town over and is also in a different school district than we are. Her daughter started kindergarten this year and when I got to the school Monday to drop my daughter off, low and behold, there she is dropping her daughter off too. I was completely taken by surprise as she is illegally sending her child here. Turns out she is using the address of a mutual (completely oblivious) friend. I’ve done good avoiding her over the last year and a half but now it’s inevitable that I’ll see her at every school function for the forseeable future. Saturday our daughters attended the day long cheer camp at the local highschool. Although I’ve seen her several times since D-day, this was the first time our husbands have seen each other. Talk about the nervousness leading into this, by both me and my H. We did run into them but no fireworks thank God! But in all this is realize this will no longer be a chance encounter for me. This is my reality now. And it also says to me that she really is such a selfish person. She’s illegally enrolled her daughter in a school where we are forced to see each other. What little respect she has for her H and her family?!? And it makes no sense to me that my H spent months thinking this was his soulmate and that I was the mean, crazy, ungrateful wife.

    • D

      I feel these feelings all of the time, Linda. It’s a defense mechanism. Whenever I feel happy and hopeful I tend to remind myself to be careful; remember what she can do to you. Once you get burned you can’t help but be wary of the fire.

      It’s over a year now. The affair is an embarrassment to her. She’s rescinded much of the “fog-talk” she threw at me. There has been little to no contact with the OM (their work sometimes overlaps) and when she does see him the emotions are uncomfortable rather than rekindled. She tells me she couldn’t imagine a life without me. She’s trying as best she can. Yet, I find I am protective. It’s almost as if I will not allow myself to get complacent around her. When one talks of trust, it’s not that I’m afraid she will do it again or that she’s lying because she fears divorce or loneliness, it’s that I can’t let my guard down because I simply don’t ever want to feel that level of pain again. I won’t ever feel it again.

      In order to salvage my mind and body, my self, I’ve had to release the past – All of it. I couldn’t move forward and still cling to what we shared. It all seemed meaningless anyway. My wife tells me we have 20 years together, we can’t just throw that away. My response is that we’ve always had 20 years. Why is it important now when it wasn’t enough to dissuade her in the first place? It has helped to focus not on the past or the future but solely on now. It helps in the bad days and the good days. And it gives me courage that my indifference may change and we can cultivate a greater relationship, or it won’t and I can move on with a healthy perspective of love and life.

      We’ll see, I suppose.

    • Broken

      Please dont be so hard on yourself. EVERYTHING you are feeling and doing …it hurts like hell but you will get through it. Somedays it feels like you can’t but I have been exactly where you are right now and you will get past this point. It will be 1 year for me Aug 25 and there are still so many days I just plain hurt but they have become less and less. It seems we has betrayed spouses follow a pattern of sort. Initially it hurts so bad that I tink we become numb just to deal with the pain, then we try so hard to understand and make it better, we went through like a honeymoon period, the the anger stage. You have a right to know everything, you have a right to ask questions. I came to the point where I needed to back off my husband. Sometimes I can’t. Then came forgiveness and acceptance. It’s never going to go away and we will never get back what was there before the affair but you can have a new relationship. Be good to yourself. Give yourself time to grieve…

      • Shattered

        Thank you so much Broken. You are so right! I’ve better this weekend and hope that I’ll begin to have more good days than bad. Cyber hug to you. I really needed to hear that. 🙂

    • A. Edwards

      I have been trying to understand how you, Linda, have been so supportive in the face of such a half-caring partner. There’s no way I would’ve gone back to him or continued trying. He deserved to lose you. And to keep lying to himself about his excuses for why he IS (not was, people don’t change, especially when they can still say hurtful things to you like this AFTER being caught being a terrible partner. That’s emotional abuse, to find some ways to make you feel like you were lacking. I have been following this program for months now trying to get my own emotional state right after finding out about my partner’s emotional affairs over the 10 years we’ve been together. All I am getting from these stories is that Linda did all of the REAL work to repair the relationship. You have every right to question whether this man is really it for you. I hope one day you find a man that can focus on his relationship with you, instead of the childish man you married that made YOU put in the work to repair what he messed up. Willfully messed up. And still, even now in reading Doug’s takes on what work needs to go into the relationship, I still sense a man incapable of coming to terms with the absolute lack of character one must have to abuse a partner with unfaithfulness.

    • Vivian

      I burned our marriage license in front of him and I threw all our wedding photos out broke every frame too. I don’t mind that I did so. I don’t think he cared then nor does he now. I no longer wear my rings , he wears his , it kinda means nothing because he wore it the whole to time, she fought him over our ring on his finger and he let her.
      The off thing is there wasn’t anything wrong with us at home , he had everything, and we were happy and as he puts it something just got into him and he wanted to do him, he got greedy and decided he wanted to have her and a double life so he did. He said he got stuck on himself. That’s what he claims about the whole 3 year affair. It was crazy. It went undiscovered until he gave me an STI from her she got from having multiple sexual partners. He didn’t care what he did to me but went into full jealous rages with her because he then knew he wasn’t the only one in her pants but he stole from his job to buy everything snd pay all her bills for her. He bought her 3 cars and they had themselves a little home and he paid for it all by stealing. And they had a bitter and hateful relationship, but he was addicted to it and her. Sick stuff. She was on meth and he bought her meth and weed for her too. It was stupid. He bought pills for her too. He bought expensive shoes , clothes and gifts for her too. He bought her a ring and had his named tattooed on her ass ! No lie! They had so deep dark religion between them too. Wicked stuff. Wicked music too. Some serious dark stuff! Dark magic and evil things. Curses and hexes and spells…. It was crazy.
      Yet we were in church and supposed to be serving Jesus Christ and living right.
      This man has destroyed our entire lives!! He said because he wanted to because he could because he got stuck on himself… He is still mean and hateful, he chose to become hateful to me after me discovering because of the STI.
      That is the real truth.
      He isn’t kind but is hateful.
      He isn’t the person I once knew, by choice…. His own choice.

      So he choose it because he wanted to because he could, not because anything was lacking here. He just wanted to.
      What does a good God fearing woman do with that ?

      Plan , work, save money, and plan to get out and get away from him for good! That’s what I believe is best , ending him being in my life period.

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