Have events  in your marriage and/or affair recovery process left you thinking that you may be in an emotionally abusive relationship?

emotionally abusive relationship

By Linda

We’ve blogged n the past about emotional unavailability, but have events  in your marriage and/or affair recovery process left you thinking that you may be in an emotionally abusive relationship?

Do you ever feel that you are walking on eggshells when you are with your partner? 

Are you afraid to voice your needs, opinions or display your emotions because of possible repercussions? 

Do you feel that your partner lingers between being resentful, angry, critical, disapproving, or gives you the cold shoulder when you try to talk to them about delicate subjects? 

Do you second guess your own judgments and ideas and question what you think is right and wrong?

In essence, do you feel like you have lost yourself and in turn have become an angry and resentful person?


You may be in an emotionally abusive relationship

When most of us think about emotional abuse we think of a spouse who yells at us, puts us down and calls us terrible names.  They verbally belittle us in front of our families and friends.  While this kind of behavior is indeed considered abuse, there are many kinds of behaviors that also pound stakes in our hearts.

These behaviors may include sarcasm or little jokes about you that aren’t very funny.  There may be times when you try to voice your needs and your spouse twists things around by replying “You are crazy. Here you go again, you’re trying to ruin…., you’re imagining things…etc.  Basically, you get some sort of response that begins with YOU.

See also  The Emotional Affair Wasn't the Catalyst for Change

Other signs of an emotionally abusive relationship include your spouse’s failure to show any compassion when you are upset, constant stonewalling, being overly critical or trying to control some aspect of your life.

These kind of daily interactions often manipulate our thinking, make us feel that we are lacking in some way and that our needs are not important. Emotional abuse sets up the dynamic where the victim believes that they are to blame for everything that is wrong in the relationship and they must work harder to fix the problems.

Victims of an emotionally abusive relationship feel dejected, incompetent, inadequate, unlovable and afraid.  They believe that if they could only be a better spouse, person, parent etc., their spouses will love them and care for them.  Eventually they lose themselves and their core values and will do anything to avoid the pain.

The Last of the Four Horsemen: Stonewalling

Minimizing the Impact of the Emotionally Abusive Relationship

The Center for Relationship Abuse Awareness says that people often minimize the impact that emotional abuse has on a person’s overall well being and happiness. A person who is experiencing verbal and emotional abuse might feel the following emotions:

  • A distrust of her spontaneity
  • A loss of enthusiasm
  • An uncertainty about how she is coming across
  • A concern that something is wrong with her
  • An inclination to reviewing incidents with the hopes of determining what went wrong
  • A loss of self-confidence
  • A growing self doubt
  • An internalized “critical voice”
  • A concern that she isn’t happier and ought to be
  • An anxiety or fear of being crazy
  • A sense that time is passing and she’s missing something
  • A desire not to be the way she is- “too sensitive,” etc
  • A hesitancy to accept her perceptions
  • A reluctance to come to conclusions
  • A desire to escape or run away
  • A tendency to live in the future, e.g. “everything will be great when/after…”
  • A distrust of future relationships
See also  The Nuts and Bolts of Affair Recovery - The elements that need to be present in order to heal from an affair.

Walking on Eggshells

Consider the following passage from the book “You Don’t Have To Take It Anymore”  by Steven Stosny, Ph.D.

“Anyone can fall into walking on eggshells in a relationship.  It is actually very easy for any kind of love relationship to go wrong.  Most of us enter love relationships without an inkling of how to make them work. When it comes to love we are inadequate.  But if you do not allow yourself to feel inadequate for even a moment, your emotional energy will go to avoiding that which makes you feel inadequate, namely relationship skills. The abuser’s inability to tolerate occasional feelings of inadequacy is why they become resentful, distant, angry or abusive when you express some desire or emotional need or say anything that may be construed as criticism.  These people fail to tolerate feelings of inadequacy long enough to motivate behavior that will allow them to reconnect and reattach to love ones.  Instead, they blame their feelings of inadequacy on their loved ones.”

The Need to be Safe

Anyone who has been in an emotionally abusive relationship will agree that the greatest need in their relationship is to be safe.  They need to be reassured that they are safe to express their needs and emotions to their partner and to be loved and accepted for who they are.

Trust me, I have only touched the tip of the iceberg on the subject of the emotionally abusive relationship in this post.  If you feel that you are in a relationship that contains some type of these behaviors mentioned above, you could also be in an abusive relationship.

See also  Saving Your Marriage by Learning From the Past and Agreeing on the Future

To find out more, there are many websites that have quizzes and additional information about emotional abuse.  Two such websites with quizzes are CompassionPower.com (One of Stosny’s sites) and PsychCentral.com.  When doing a search in Google for emotionally abusive relationships you will find many sites that may be helpful. Click here for the search results.

There are also many books on this subject.  In addition to “You Don’t Have To Take It Anymore,” Stosny has also authored “Love Without Hurt: Turn Your Resentful, Angry, or Emotionally Abusive Relationship into a Compassionate, Loving One” that may be of interest as well.  You can find many more on Amazon as well.


    57 replies to "The Emotionally Abusive Relationship"

    • InTrouble

      Another element of an emotionally abusive relationship – denying sex and/or affection to one’s spouse.

    • Tired

      This one touches me. I am in an abusive relationship. I didn’t know and I feel torn apart.

      Denying or pathologizing my needs, turning them on me, stonewalling, treated unevenly (hot then cold)…you begin to lose your mind and the long list of effects scare me. It is how I felt and feel.

      I am over it.

      • Ifeelsodumb

        I think at some point right after DDay we are ALL in some form of an emotionally abusive relationship…the hurt, anger and gut wrenching despair is so hard to deal with for the BS and we lash out…and the CS is in “the fog” and they lash out. I think that is understandable to a certain degree….
        But it’s the weeks AFTER Dday that you have to look at.
        Is your CS STILL treating you this way weeks and months after Dday…then yes, there is a problem and you need to then make a decision to not live this way!

    • Michael

      I don’t know where to go with this.
      I think we both feel these things.

    • Michael

      I do think that abuse from her past has carried over into our relationship.

      But I’m not going to say that I haven’t contributed to some of those feeling either.

    • rachel

      I think Linda wrote this for me. Yes, yes and yes to every question. I know I am in an emotionally abusive relationship!

      • Ifeelsodumb

        Rachel..I thought of you and what you are going through as soon as I read it! You have to do what’s best for you and your children…please!

      • rachel

        Thank you Ifeelsodumb. I’m moving closer and closer to going to the lawyer. Trying to get all the paperwork in order. Does the lawyer need to know any of the details of the EA, verbal abuse. I’ve documented every hurtful, negative word that has come out of the H’s mouth.Or is this just a financial discussion?

        • Anita

          I understand your frustration. However I want to suggest
          something before you go to the lawyers.
          Before you make that final choice to divorce, take a few
          days of R&R just weigh it all out, and than make your
          choices. Sometimes we get fired up and we steam roll
          ahead with that anger and that anger leads us to do
          something that maybe if we took time down and relax
          we would have made a different choice.
          However if after you have taken some R&R, you feel the
          same, then go ahead a speak with a lawyer, they will
          tell you whats needed.
          My best advise to see a divorce lawyer is when your calm,
          and choice was made after a cool down, its never wise
          to do this in anger, so let the anger subside, and let your
          emotions cool down, before seeing the lawyer.
          You can always get a divorce, but you want to be sure
          its because your marriage is beyond repair, and there’s
          nothing left but ending it.

          • Healing Mark

            Rachel, sound advice from Anita, but understand that a visit to an attorney’s office for a free divorce consultation is not the same thing as actually filing for divorce and having your husband served. I trust that it goes without saying, but do not let your husband have even a hint that you might be seeking legal counsel for divorce proceedings. And when you meet with an attorney (or perhaps more than one unless you are very comfortable with the first one you talk to), seek guidance as to what steps he or she thinks you should take before filing to protect yourself financially and emotionally. And also those that he or she thinks you should not take even though you might want to.

            In the state where I live, and I believe in many other states, there is a “cooling off” time period following the filing of the divorce petition duing which no order of divorce can be granted. Even if the order is agreed to by both the soon to be former husband and wife. A family law attorney friend of mine has commented several time how surprised she is by the number of divorces her office begins handling only to non-suit upon a couple’s reconciliation.

            Finally, and as an example of steps you might not want to take, there is a semi-funny advertisement running on the radio in my city for the law office of a family law attorney with the last name of “Locksmith”. There is a simulated conversation between an exasperated wife and her mother where to wife states that she is done with her marriage. The mother then advises her daughter to drain the bank accounts and change the locks on the house before she does anything else. The voice over then comes on and says something to the following effect: “Guys, has this conversation ever gone on behind your back? Before your wife calls the locksmith, you need to call _________ Locksmith.”. I suppose with a name and law practice like that, the foregoing is hard to resist!

            As always, best of luck to all in their respective journeys.

            • Rachel

              My H has already been to his lawyer months ago to find out his rights. He did find out that he doesn’t have to leave until divorce day. I don’t understand why other then the kids does he need to stay. His verbal abuse just brings me down. He said that he hasn’t been happy with me for 10 years, so just leave. My guess is that the ow has changed her mind about leaving her husband.
              I will never forget the look on his face wednesday night when I took his phone. Pure guilt!
              We have a 90 cooling off period in our state. He has already agreed to pay for everything except the food bill. I’m allowed to live in my house until our youngest is 21. He just turned 16. As my therapist said, “he really wants out”!

            • Anita

              Healing Mark,
              Sad but true sometimes divorces can get ugly, however
              they do not have to.
              I can honestly say my divorce was smooth, we sold the
              house and give our children the furniture, and we both
              started over at ground zero, we let our children keep
              the things that were accumulated over time. My children
              needed these things because they were on their own
              and it was helpful to them not to buy furniture.
              What ever we brought to the marriage we kept for ourselves, and we didn’t have to fight over anything.
              Also I got to start over with new furniture and made new
              memories with my new belongings.
              Its important to remember that fighting over stuff isn’t
              about the stuff its about control, to in order to have control,
              isn’t it best to leave stufff behind, and start over new.

            • Anita

              My exhusband and I did not use lawyers, we filed ourselves
              and saved tons of money. We both chose this route because we decided our own children could use the extra’s
              verses him and I have a battle and paying for that battle.
              Niether my ex or I regret giving our children the goodies,
              and us starting over fresh. Its logical and we kept the money. So no one got to profit from our heartaches,
              only our children got to keep the goods.

            • Lynne


              Healing Mark’s advice is very sound. Looking into the various aspects of a divorce decision is a wise one—whether to ultimately file will depend on what you hear from the lawyer, and will also allow for some cooling off to occur.

              Every situation is certainly different, but where your H continues his involvement with the EA (even if only in his fantasy world), as well as making stupid ass statements about wishing he’d had a PA (or will), it is good cause for considering some strong action. To me, those CS’s who are remorseful and want to try to make it work (even at a minimal level), are those that are potentially worth additional consideration……for those CS’s that continue to inflict pain and dig the knife in deeper, I don’t see many options other then to get away from it….. meaning separation or divorce.

              We are in this world for such a brief amount of time, and not knowing how long that really is, why subject ones self to this. I haven’t been through the same things as you Rachel, but I have do have the confidence in knowing what I will allow in my life, and what I will not. I love my H, but not so much that I would ever sacrifice my own well being.

    • ClearEyes

      This is such a good post for me today – I just haven’t been able to decide what to do about it.
      My H is an alcoholic – currently in recovery for 3 months, but the on again, off again excessive drinking cycle has been going on for a while – he’s not been sober for longer than 6 months for over 5 years.
      That’s one issue involving the emotional abuse – nothing physical, just unkind, sometimes hateful and angry words. Most of which he doesn’t remember.
      The other issue is his need for validation, acceptance, respect, etc…personally and professionally. That’s where the EA came in. EA was with a co-worker with whom he worked on a daily basis.
      As far as I know, they never met outside the office, and no sex but he did admit to a couple of make-out sessions in the office. OW is married, too.
      D-day was a little over a year ago. He said at the time that he was in love with her, and she with him, but neither had any intent to leave their families – this was just meant to be “extra”. They were soul mates, but acknowledged that they would never be really together.
      After d-day, it took 5 months for them to have no contact – she left the company – still works in the same building – but it’s an 18 story building – 1000’s of people. They don’t bump into each other much.
      Now he says it was a game, a fantasy. It wasn’t really love. He says now that she manipulated him and played the damsel in distress and he just fell for it.
      There has been a whole lot of crap to wade through over the years, but in just the last year and a half both of our son’s have gotten married, our daughter had a new baby, D-day of the EA and all the drama that went with that, and then I found out I had thyroid cancer – surgically removed 6 months ago.
      Now that we’re this far down the road (we’ve been married almost 30 years) and looking back on the way he has treated me and disrespected our marriage the last year and a half……I’m not sure I still want in.
      He’s trying to change….for now. He’s putting much effort in to not drinking and changing the way he thinks, trying to stay positive. Says he wants nothing more than to be with me.
      I’m happy for him — I want him to be healthy and happy. I wish him well.
      And I do care about him – even love him, in a way – the way that he is the father of our children, we have 30 years of history, and the way that we are all the family that we have (our parents have passed and there are no brothers or sisters….no other family other than our kids)
      But I don’t feel the love for him that I used to. Not the way a wife should love her husband.
      The drinking and the affair and the ensuing emotional abuse took that from me and stomped on it. I don’t hate him, but I don’t love him either.
      We’re not mean to each other – he’s actually being nice, but it doesn’t always feel real. We’ve been on this train before and I don’t trust him and I don’t have much resilience left.
      It’s gone.
      It’s not that I don’t forgive him – I think I do, but it feels too late. I don’t know if I can learn to really love with him again. Is that even possible?
      I feel stuck. I can’t afford to leave. Can’t afford this house if I ask him to leave. Haven’t yet been able to find a job – but I’m still looking. Can’t afford my own health insurance (due to the cancer) – and can’t afford to be without it.
      Ugh…..sounds pathetic, doesn’t it? Sorry.
      I guess I just needed to vent – perhaps I just need to give it more time. See if he stays sober and continues to stay away from this OW and she from him.
      On another note: A couple of days ago there was a discussion about whether the CS should apologize to the AP’s spouse. (I think not)
      But….It made me wonder about forgiveness……and if it would help me heal if I were to be able to forgive H’s former OW. And if I do, should I let her know that I forgive her?
      Or does that just end up being self-serving and an invitation to stir stuff up again…?
      Thanks for listening…….

      • Anita

        Yes forgive this other woman, for yourself. However
        there is no need to contact her..
        Forgiveness is for you, it releases the poison that you carry
        within yourself. Some people could care less if their
        forgiven or not. However its important for you to forgive
        and put it in the past, so it no longer has any control over
        you. There’s a old saying ” Those that anger you control
        you”. So forgive her and let her go.
        I can identify with your feelings of changed love for your
        husband, however I do not have the answer you need,
        when this happened to me, within months we divorced,
        so I will never know if that kind of love returns or if its
        something that is accepted within a marriage. Other
        BS’s will need to answer that question.
        However forgiveness, is for anyone who’s ever hurt you,
        and you no longer want that anger to have control over
        My best to you always!

      • Rachel

        Clear eyes, I totally understand where u are coming from. My husband doesn’t have the drinking issue but that whole EA is so similar. My H hooked up with his exgirlfriend from 30 years ago. They are in love. They are soul mates too (haha). And I understand the whole love them part. My feelings have changed so much. My sons friend is here for the weekend and my H wants to sleep in my bed and not the guest bedroom but I reassured him that my sons friend and parents know that he is a cheater and he’ll understand that we don’t
        sleep in the same room.
        Just take care of yourself. That’s really important. My therapist has been telling me that for months and finally I get it!!!

        • Anita

          As I told ClearEyes, I can identify with the changed feelings,
          I also went through that prior to my own divorce. So I
          completly understand where you are coming from.
          If a couple is able to save their marriage, that is always
          something I hope for, however I can understand after going
          through my own divorce there are times when a marriage
          is beyond repair

    • B

      An update for everyone who may have been thinking of me. As you know my wife has been involved in a “friendship” EA since September of 2010. Around July of 2011, I was assured it was over and that there was NOTHING there. I was assured it was never physical, assured it just got carried away but I was the love of her life. I disappeared from the site for quite a while to work on my marriage and was actually pretty happy. No snooping, no checking up on her, intimacy returned, and we were doing fun things. Life was good. Then in January of 2012 I returned to the site to report that I had accidentally intercepted an email from her to him and a return email. One that when I saw it, she literally passed out in the dining room. We fought, I left for a few hours, she assured me it was a stupid mistake, so I believed her and we moved forward. She got a new job with a different sales company which meant new phone #, new email. Things again seemed great. Last week she was in Chicago for a conference and oops, she texted him and deleted the texts. One of which was at 1:24 am. She also texted his cousin, one of her doctors, and a guy she cotraveled with a few weeks back and deleted ALL of them. Said she was trying to avoid an argument. By being dishonest? That is an interesting concept.
      Of course, I questioned her, she exploded and said I was trying to control her again. Huh? Said it meant nothing, said I was insecure, but completely missed the point that I was upset over more lies and deception. It was lost on her. So last night, a friend of hers was in town. She wanted to go out, I said fine. She left at 5:00, got back at 10:30 (drunk). At 11:00 while she was passed out and her phone went off. So you know I looked. It went like this:

      She sent an email that said “Are you coming to _______?” referring to the place she was.

      He said “I’m not mad at anybody, just tired and took it easy tonight. Long day at work. Thanks”

      His response didn’t match her email, which means there was another one sent by her but she deleted it. She texted him by accident in Chicago because she was drunk. She emails him, deletes it, then empties her trash. After 18 months of lies and trying to be the good husband and take care of her, pretending this would all go away, I have reached my breaking point and I am not scared to walk away. Today I am preparing for a divorce and I am so scared of not seeing my 4 beautiful children everyday but I can no longer live in fear and distrust. Thank you to all of you for your support. I should have known this would never end any other way.

      • Doug

        Damn B., that’s a distressing update to say the least. At this point it’s painfully obvious that you gotta do what you gotta do. I’m sorry that things turned out this way for you. I’m not a lawyer so am wondering whether her indiscretions will allow you to have full custody of your children.

        • Healing Mark

          Doubtful that what has been described by B will be enough for the judge to award full custody of children. But a good family lawyer in B’s jurisdiction will know better than I.

          For what it’s worth, when a spouse apparently gets caught up in an EA, as opposed to a PA, is “caught” and thereafter ends the harmful relationship and begins working on doing what is necessary to not only get past the affair, but to also become the partner that the BS wants to be, and will be, married to, at least the BS can be somewhat assured that the CS has made mistakes, is learning from them, and values the marriage and marital partner more than the AP and the feelings that flow from the affair. However, after an EA has been discovered and the CS has no doubt been made aware of all of the pain and suffering that it has caused the BS, the fact that the CS continues to behave in EA ways shows significant disrespect to the BS and is incontrovertable evidence that the CS has not learned from thier past mistakes and simply does not value the marriage enough for it to reasonably continue. Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me!

      • Anita

        You did your best and gave your best, however there comes a time when you have to lookout for your own best
        interest. Yeah, I know the feeling Fool me once , shame
        on you, fool me twice, shame on me! Been there done
        However, now you need to take care of yourself and
        take the time needed to heal from all this.
        Someone I also know had a wife who cheated on him and
        wouldn’t let go of her affair partner, after the divorce she
        married the affair partner, HOWEVER, the former husband
        eventually got full custody of the children as still has full
        custody. So do not let yourself lose hope in that department.
        I know it seems unfair right now and your hurting, but
        God, has a way of turning things for our own good. It
        may take awhile but it will happen….
        My life has changed in so many good ways, and I’m
        free from living a in marriage that was hurtful to me.
        Also living a new life that allows me to proceed once
        my annulment has been granted.
        So my best to you and your children.

        • Anita

          I forgot to mention that man who divorced his wife, later
          met and remarried himself to a wonderful woman who
          lost her husband in death. God brought these 2 together,
          so not only does he have a faithful new spouse, he also
          has his own children their raising together. That,s
          what I call the awsome work of God, turning something
          for our own good.

      • roller coaster rider

        B, I am so sorry to hear about what’s going on because I know how painful it must be. I remember back at the end of summer, when I was ready to leave this site in order to fully pursue my marriage. There was just one problem with that, though, and it kept really bugging me that some of the stories from others about a second D-Day were just a little too close to home. That, combined with the behavior and words of my H, left me feeling very insecure despite the strides I thought we’d made after the nearly six months we’d been working on things following my initial discovery of his infidelity. Lo and behold, my gut was right…even down to the day they re-established their PA.

        Now, it’s over five months later. I moved out on D-Day 2, and I filed for divorce within a few weeks. The divorce is almost final. Now get this. My emotionally abusive husband of 35 years figured out (after months of therapy and a house empty of wife but full of memories) that he didn’t have to stay that way. The roller coaster ride has been nauseating at times, but I know I’m better now, too. I will not be in a marriage that’s not a partnership, nor one in which I’m not respected. The OW has tried to re-engage him on multiple occasions, and I’m not there to stand in anyone’s way. He doesn’t want her now, and sees that she truly is a nutcase (which is being very kind, indeed).

        B, you are an amazing man and your children need you desperately. So does your wife, although it will probably take losing you for her to get it. The story isn’t over, and I for one will be cheering you on as you move forward. But I just wanted to tell you I am sorry for the pain and pray it passes.

        • Anita

          I am happy to see things have gotten better between you
          and your husband.
          It takes a special person to be able to ride out the ups and
          down’s when your spouse is an affair.
          My best to you!

        • Paula

          B, my goodness, you have done everything you could, and my hat is doffed to you, sir! Forwards now, it must be so hard, I guess we just “wish” that if the CS wanted to carry on with their AP they would just say so, and we would divorce, and not put ourselves through all the EXTRA pain of trying to forgive, re-connect and grow together. However, another way of looking at it is that you did absolutely everything in your power, and learnt an awful lot about yourself, and relationships along the way, not that you would wish this method of learning on anyone! I wish you all the best, the best, fairest and kindest of divorces, and happiness co-parenting, Bless you, I guess your journey begins again, I send you all my support to continue to be the strongest and best you you can be.

          RCR so glad to hear of your contentment, and that your H seems to have had a very enlightening awakening, good luck to you both 🙂

      • Anita

        I also should mention to let yourself cool down before
        seeing a lawyer, Read my above post to Rachel.

      • Rachel

        B, so sorry that this has happened to you. I agree with your final decision. Shouldn’t be the only one working on the marriage. I feel that these situations will be a learning experience for all of us. We will grow and become stronger people. You will see your beautiful children because you will put up a damn good fight to. Best of luck to you and take care of yourself.

      • Tryinghard

        Don’t know if you are still checking in on this site. I’ve just read your post and am wondering how your life has progressed. I hope you are well and happy

    • B


      Not looking for full custody. Looking for my sanity and my peace of mind. I’ll never speak ill of her to the children and I’ll do EVERYTHING in my power to make sure this is as easy as possible for them. As much as I hate to do it, I can’t go on like this.

      • Doug

        I understand completely and that’s what’s most important. A “good” divorce can make all the difference in the well being of all involved.

        • Anita

          Your right a good divorce is important and is important
          for the children to see that their best interests are being
          looked out for. I didn’t have to tell my children anything
          they already knew, their father did not hide his affair.
          However I told them he was still their Dad, an that
          even though our marriage didn’t work out, they were to
          treat him with respect.
          I was blessed that custody was never an issue, due to my
          children being older.
          However I know this can be heartbreaking for those with
          younger children. But children have to be the highest
          priority, when divorce happens.

      • tryingtorecover

        B- I went through a similar situation where my husband had an EA with the same woman off and on – for almost a decade. I suspected the EA for months though he denied it and hid it well, using a secret email and text app. My gut kept knowing at me with his odd behavioral changes…. I finally just lied and said I hired a private investigator and was meeting with her that week, she was going to tell me “everything”….he finally broke!

        It wasn’t until I contacted the OW that I learned this OA went on for years. He admitted it after I disclosed I contacted the OW. After all these secrets I was still willing to try and work it out with marriage counseling. After about 8 months to no avail… I filed for divorce though. What led me to this decision was the totality of it all. It wasn’t just the affair, lies, secrets – it was how it was mishandled on his part in the aftermath. He was unwilling to share bank, email and phone accounts. He said that he wasn’t willing to live with my probing….Sadly, it was still about HIM! I realized that after all my trauma he was still focused on himself rather than how he can help us heal. That was the real turning point.

        So, I hear what people say to take time to cool off, however I think that we can also make poor judgments when we take time and just reflect at good times rather than the reality of the situation. No one will feel great about a divorce… it’s a loss, it’s sad, but sometimes it’s necessary when the other person isn’t willing to out in 100 percent, is mentally ill, narcissistic, or we are no longer compatible.

        I decided to get a divorce and it will be finalized in a few months. I am sad for my three children and for the future I desired with my husband. I am also hopeful. This is my one and only life and I refuse to live the rest of it worrying if my partner is being honest and faithful. If my husband had an EA once than I could see there was hope for rehabilitation and growth. The fact that he would go back to her throughout history shows a pattern that he will continue to cheat and lie.

        I’d rather be alone than live with anxiety and wonder if my life partner can be trusted. Sadly, my dog is more loyal and I only have 12 years with her. Why would I choose to live the rest of my life with a human with less loyalty, caring and love for me??? Silly comparison, but it’s real!

        I applaud you, B for trying because at the end of the day you can say you tried your best. Lastly, agreed with the children. I share custody and I believe that they need both parents!!

        Best wishes!!!

    • Michael

      After reading the post about being emotionally unavailable and googleing it, I think that it is that that I am facing more than anything.
      Its fits our relationship beginings and our marriage 11 years later and her lashing out when we bought our house.

    • ChangedForever

      It was not til i read this article that i realized this is EXACTLY the type of relationship i was in when H’s EA that turned into his PA happened. It was during the almost 5 years he was rationalizing his inappropriate behavior with all the other women (that i didnt know about,) that this abuse was festering. And i really was at the receiving end of it…i really thought i was inferior yet tried so hard, but, after a while i seemed to have grown a hard, protective ‘shell’ around myself, which helped me get thru my home & my work days and not feel that inferior within my work environment…just at home. I grew to resent my H for treating me like this…thru what became his midlife crisis (going thru his weight loss/ weight training couple of years & all the ‘withdrawl’ sysmptoms he went thru with that. ) i didnt know he felt ‘entitled’ to pursue all the hidden female relationships while the children were going thru their older, needy stages (3 kids ranging from their ages 11-20 during those 5 years he was on his slippery slope.) i just thought this was a really difficult phase of our family’s lives…little did i know what underscored the ‘difficult’ … I really did think it was me. But it was not. Now i know. Now it is clear what i was going thru. No wonder i was Initially ‘blamed’ for the affair. It had been so easy to blame me for all the years leading up to that point (or should i say ‘downward,’ into the pit at the end of the slippery slope…)
      Amazing to read all of your comments for those who are either at or so close to where i am in the recovery stages of this journey. I am coming up on 18 mths already (and its like being on a treadmill with no ‘OFF’ switch…just have to keep running and running, gotta keep it going (and at times, single-handedly too.) Good to know so many of you are always ‘here’ to turn to…always there when i need you. I am never ‘alone.’ thanks for that.

    • ChangedForever

      Forgot to check the ‘notify me of addl comments’ checkbox…didnt want to miss any future commenting on this informative post!

    • melissa

      Very good post. Same as ChangedForever, I remember – with hindsight – how scared I was during my H’s EA over five or so years and after D-day. I still find it very hard to voice my needs/feelings and even hearder to discuss the EA when I have doubts and fears,as I am afraid of the consequences and the emotional abuse coming back to the fore.

      This said, my H has made great strides (even though I have no idea of how his thought process has worked towards how he is today – our therapist said it could take 2 years or more and she was spot on). Little things, ringing me twice a day when he’s working abroad, xxx in emails, thinking of me (he bought me a couple of beautiful bracelets when he was last abroad, something that hadn’t happened in the whole 5 years he was involved with the OW, unless I gave him a list, which is not the same, really and BTW, I think she used to get the gifts!).

      I’ll cut and paste the article in my diary, just in case I need reminding of what an emotional relationship is and what I can do about it.

    • chiffchaff

      I asked my H to leave home yesterday. I’m posting on this thread as I think his actions are emotionally abusive.
      He has told me that he has had affairs before during our marriage, not full blown EA/PA’s but it sounds like the first one almost was a PA if he could have physically ‘performed’. He told me that he flirts with women, he wants them to flirt with them, he can’t stop it. This is why he told me earlier in the week that he would not be faithful to me in the future, because he has ‘form’ and cannot change.
      He has pushed me to the very edge this time and I have not been scared to go over because no-one should have to take this sort of abuse from someone who tells them that he loves them.
      I am so sad, so angry, but so determined. I wanted us to work, but I couldn’t do it forever on my own. I cannot live with someone who doesn’t respect me and has, for the majority of our marriage it now seems, not respected me enough to be faithful and takes any opportunity when it arises. he has told me he has been obsessed with women he works with even when unreciprocated. But the worst is that he doesn’t want to do anything about his problem with how he sees women, as objects for his pleasure, and doesn’t want to change. Because of that I cannot be with him anymore as my efforts will fall on stony ground everytime.
      This time he has hurt me beyond anything I have ever experienced before so I have to see him for the abusive, emotionally incompetent child that he is and leave him be.

      • Ifeelsodumb

        chiffchaff…I’m so sorry! But it’s like I told Rachel….this isn’t about YOU…this is about your H! There is nothing you can do for him…he has to decide he doesn’t like what he has become, and HE has to make the needed changes.
        From what you have written, it sounds like your H likes who he is…so sad!!
        Please keep posting, let everyone here help you as you are on this difficult path! ((HUGS))

        • chiffchaff

          Thanks. I’m so sad because we had a really lovely weekend again, with some hiccups, but a lovely weekend all the same. It’s a real shame. A crying shame.

          I’m running a real hatred of the OW and the CS right now and not doing well at dealing with it at all. He’s not ‘my’ CS, he’s ‘a’ CS now. I won’t own that.

          • Paula

            chiffchaff, for what it’s worth, I agree and totally back you here, everyone can make changes IF THEY WANT TO! I’m not saying it’s easy, but I am saying he is making a (bloody stupid!!!) choice in saying he can’t be faithful. Of course he CAN, he just doesn’t want it enough, and YOU ARE WAAAAY better than that, you deserve love and respect. Much love from this community xx

    • rachel

      Ifeelsodumb-Help! My H has repeatedly been saying that he wants to work on us. I’M SO CONFUSED!!! I don’t feel that I can until I hire a private detective to see if he is still communicating with her. He says he isn’t but how can I believe him? He’s lied to me about this one. I keep reliving the hateful/mean words that he’s said to me and I keep hearing that oh I said that in June, Oh I said that in Nov. Well why did he say them if now he’s taking them back or saying they came out the wrong was. He wants me back Why??? He said he hasn’t been happy with me for 15 years.
      Is it because he saw me moving on? I booked a trip for my boys and I. Is he just worried what other people will think that he’s not going? Is it because he doesn’t have a place to move to? Is it because he’s going to leave a beautiful house and $$? Or is it because his soul mate, love like no other ex girlfriend the OW has decided to stay with her husband and the plan is now over? I’m not doing good, I feel like I’m having a nervous breakdown!!!

      • Ifeelsodumb

        Simply ask him to unlock his phone and hand it to you…also give you access to his cell phone records and email account, and you want to go to couples counseling…based on his reaction, you WILL know how to proceed.
        It has been said on this blog over and over again, start taking care of yourself, show your CS that you’re not sitting around waiting for them to get their act together, etc…
        Maybe, since you are attempting to do this, your H feels threatened, he starts telling you what you want to hear….hoping he can reign you back in….and then when you are “where he wants you” he backs off again and starts having his pity party…it’s what my H did…he didn’t have a pity party, he didn’t want the OW, just the attention, he never wanted to leave the marriage, never professed love for the OW etc…but he’d make me all kinds of promises, and as soon as I “settled” down, he would go right back to acting like the EA never happened, not wanting to talk about it, etc.
        It’s just a thought, only you can know for sure if this is what he’s doing!
        And DO NOT believe that junk about him not being happy with you or your marriage…that’s a load of you know what!
        Have you read the posting on here about how the CS rewrites the history of the marriage? That’s what your H is doing…mine did it also!
        And it IS hurtful what they say when trying to justify their behavior…my H told lies upon lies about me and our marriage and he didn’t just tell it to the OW he also included two of his family members…it was sooo incredibly hurtful!
        But again, that’s just them trying to make themselves not look like “the bad guy”!
        If your H wants to make your marriage work, then he needs to show you…not just tell you!! As I told my H enough times…”Actions speak louder than words”!!!!
        Rachel, you will know by his actions if he means what he says!! Just watch and wait!!
        My H promised time after time after time, for 3 mos straight, that he would start doing HIS part to help me heal, that he’d open up to me more, talk about the EA, etc….It wasn’t until I had a complete meltdown in January, when I told him I’d had enough, that I wasn’t doing this anymore, before he FINALLY started to get with it!
        By that time, it was no longer about the EA…it was about the one year that I had been working on our marriage, pretty much by myself!
        My H had been doing *some* things…but it was what HE wanted, not what I NEEDED!!
        So anyway, wait him out, watch and see what happens…that’s all I can tell you! But for goodness sake..DO NOT become a doormat for him! And breathe!!! Take a DEEP breath and tell yourself that no matter what…you deserve to be happy and treated with love AND respect! ((HUGS )) to you, Rachel!

        • rachel

          Ifeelsodumb, I wrote a long reply back to your comment this morning and I guess it didn’t sent. I’m so out of it lately. Can’t even blame the prozac because I’ve been off of that since 2 weeks now. I thought that was causing me the rage and anger towards my H but I still have it. Even though he says he wants to work on us and go to couples counseling. I just don’t have any feeling. Not towards him or anything. I feel like i did in the beginning. Not so much anxiety, just unbelief that he could have done this to our family.
          I can’t get passed the hurtful words that now he has taken back?? What do I do give him my list and ask him which ones he really meant?
          And if we do start to work on things how do I even begin to trust him again. If she is his soul mate isn’t he missing her?
          Won’t he be tempted to see her because she makes him happy not me. Just feel like so much pressure will be on me if we do try and I just don’t feel like I have the energy.

          • Healing Mark

            Rachel. Our “stories” are amazingly similar in so many respects (perhaps Prozac might have helped but it appears with you not so much). But not on the same timeline given our respective D-days (I’m a little over 15 months after my D-day). Let me be an example that there is hope for you, as my wife and I are so much happier in our marriage today EA notwithstanding. Sure, had the EA not happened, and instead my wife and I had put our heads together to identify ways in which we were acting toward each other that were not beneficial to our happiness together, and then corrected them as we have now done, our “journey” would have been less painful. That said, I suspected correctly that she had developed a harmful relationship with her AP and my now ex-friend, so had it not started and ended I believe that our marriage would have eventually failed, and had I not discovered it and ended my suspicions, I don’t know that I would have gotten to a level of trust with my wife that I need in order to remain happily married to her. Odd to me, really, but it is what it is.

            Hurtful words are difficult to overcome, I know all too well. I don’t off the top of my head have any magic words or actions to give you to get over what has been said to you. All I can say is that a number of factors, including my wife’s EA while it was going on and after I discovered its existence, resulted in my wife and I saying many, many hurtful things to one and the other, not to mention the many hurtful things that were done at time by each of us. Really a very ugly time in our lives. But we got past them and have corrected that which could be corrected and are doing quite well right now as husband/wife, father/mother, and close friend/close friend. So hang in there and don’t feel pressure (take deep breaths) and don’t worry about not having enough energy to do that which you eventually choose to do in order to hopefully become a happily married couple (which, as you know, does not mean everything is coming up roses all of the time!).

            There was a time that if I answered the question honestly, I would have said that I did not believe that I would ever be able to trust my wife enough to remain married to her. But I do now. I, too, worried about my wife missing her “soul mate” (and she did but does less and less) and worried about her being tempted to contact her AP (she was tempted a lot but is now less and less tempted). There were many times that I was afraid that all of what we had gone through was going to be too much to recover from, and was depressed about the situation I feared we were going to put our children in. I’m not at all afraid anymore. And, while I wish it did not take my wife developing an EA for us to get to where we are today, I suppose that my wife may be right when she states with conviction that “things happen for a reason” and I have to reluctantly admit that some good things have come out of her craziness for a period of time (and my craziness while suspecting that something was amiss and then after my suspicions were confirmed).

            Final bit of advice. Don’t obsess over the hurtful things said. Just get to a place where you truly believe that they were said in the heat of the moment, or at times when your husband was no doubt confused about where he was in his life and your marriage. Instead, try to pin him down as being fully committed to the recovery process, to re-establishing a happy marriage, and to being the type of person that you want to be married to. And make sure that the same is true for you because if you are not committed, I can’t imagine things working out.

            Good luck as always.

            • rachel

              Thank you Healing Mark for your feedback. Boy, sounds like you and your wife have come a long way. My H and I really never had a great marriage from the start. He was constantly onl my for one thing or another. Once I corrected something there were more to follow.
              I always felt like he wasn’t happy with me. I could never please him. I feel now that it was because he never got over his first love, soul mate, the OW.
              Apparently they had a great 1 year romance. This is his first true love. But, she chose someone else because she said that my H and her romance scared her because it was so perfect.Now she regrets picking the other guy, her husband. And my H agreed with her.
              I’m so afraid to work together on us because what if the OW comes back and says that she is ready to leave her H for mine. He will go, I’m sure. His face lights up when he talks about her. They had such an emotional connection. Something that he doesn’t have with me. He told me so. She makes him happy, a love like no other. He hasn’t been happy with me for 15 years.
              So I’m not sure if he’s just buying time, waiting for her to change her mind and leave her husband.
              I don’t think that he could be 100% committed to me.

            • rachel

              After a discussion about the emotional connection that he has with the ow I said you have never felt connected to me like you do to her. His reply ” I um think I did”?
              Why always the “think”?
              This is why I don’t feel that he can be 100% committed to me!

            • Suzie Suffers

              A love like no other! My H (soon to be ex, he’s actually divorcing me telling me that I wasn’t getting over his Mulitple affairs after his 30 year addiction to alcohol and drugs…he’s been sober 5 years and had even more EAs/and a EA/PA 3 years ago). He told me that he had never felt like that before as he did with the last woman….well, guess what that lasted 3 months…she was a newcomer in AA, still drinking, gambling addict and smoker living at home with her parents (she was 47) after her 3 divorces! He felt like an arrow had gone thru his heart and he had never felt that way before!! Well, it ended with her dumping HIM twice!! She wanted to get him to cosign a loan for 5000 and he wanted sex. He got the sex…she didn’t get the co-sign and that was the beginning of the demise of the relationship. So don’t take to heart what they are saying….just like a drug addict, they love their drug even though it’s destroying their life.

    • InTrouble

      Chiffchaff — Good luck to you. You’ve made a really tough decision, but one that sounds solid. Look forward, there are better days for you ahead.

      • chiffchaff

        Thanks – there are good times ahead without my H that’s definitely true. Facing your worst fears and dealing with them, though very hard at the time, is rewarding in the long run.

        I find it so anger inducing though that if he was unhappy with our marriage so long ago, enough to have affairs, he should have said because then I could have found someone else to love (and potentially to try to have children with) who wanted me and only me, without all of this extra pain.

        • Suzie Suffers

          That seems to be the common thread…blame the wife for how unhappy they have been FOR SO LONG…this is an excuse. Their guilt and shame requires them to blame someone and you are IT!! The person they really need to blame is themselves and the emptiness in their own character that rationalized their terrible and deceitful behavior. No matter what we did or did not do, it was their irresponsible and poor character traits that moved them towards always trying to build their poor self esteem and ego.

    • Fist Timer

      WOW.. I actually have told my husband that he IS abusing me.. And EVERYTHING in this post is EXACTLY what he is/has done to me.. The thing is, WHY. Before the affair he wasnt like this, yes we had our quarrels as any married couple nothing out of the spectrum. But looking back I realize when he became involved with ow thats when the EA begin, after D-day obtw many D-days.. the EA got worse. I have told him many many many times that its like I am walking on egg shells afraid anything that goes wrong, and I mean anything the smallest of small problems he blows up… its been 5 months since the last D-day and after going thru so much hell, for a year and a half every singel time he said he wasnt seeing her, he was. Up until 5 months ago, as far as I know no contact. But Yet I question this because well its happened before. Its feels diffrent this time, like he doesnt Protect his phone, he home ALOT, even comes home after work. all good things, but why the change in personality, why be so negative? If he is wanting to be with me, then why has his personality changed so much? Never would he had been like this before his affair, but after, well its kinda got me lost. Like now I am asking myself I puy 21 years into our marriage our life together and then one person, an homewrecker can cause him to change so drastically toward me, the one he claims to be his only love the one he claims to care so much about, well he has always told ME that he doesnt love her.. BUT according to there text, he told her as she told him they LOVE eachother. So I get to thinking why am I trying, why am i even bothering this isnt how he used to treat me, there is no way I would had married him if he had treated me like this, so why am I staying in the marriage? Do I love him YES, but to what point do I say enough, if this is who he is now, I dont like it. I dont like the person he is today… I am in love with who he was before the affair, because if he was like this when we meet and dated I would had ran away fast, not married him.. He seems to be trying but the point is, why th big chang in his personality.. toward me????

    • chiffchaff

      Doug or Linda – are there any articles dealing with how to manage the waves of anger following a decision to separate? I’m currently going from extreme anger and a conviction to get divorced to feeling very sad about giving up on our marriage.

    • chiffchaff

      thanks. I feel like I’ve been charging up from a cyclone to hurricane status over the past few days but today the storm has broken and all the wind has gone from my sails.

    • Andrea

      I’m glad I came to this site. I just realised that I was in an Emotionally Abusive Relationship for a very long time. I think that recognizing it is a very good step.

    • aida

      hi. i wanted to ask you guys something. in other pages i tell about forgiveness and releasing blame.

      I would like to take a minute here to ask : WHAT IS MARRIAGE and why am i so adverse to this relationship with my spouse.

      okay , so maybe adverse is not the word. why is it that I am able to take the ‘sh..t’ from my boss at work but i get riled up when hubby says it. do i really not respect him or is it just something in the air.

      i’m angry about the affair(s) and I am angry that I can’t say anything or else he will hold it against me and tell me how i make him feel unwanted and how he wanted to go where he was wanted. you apparently could not go against him or be different from what he wanted – AT THE RISK OF BEING BLAMED.

      that’s hard for someone who is like me. but apparently there’re women out there who are more than willing to throw me aside / hit me with a steamroller / kill me with a snobbish hummph and a toss of their heads…..
      honestly i don’t know how much they know about me but seriously it’s a wonder why both of them (the ones that i have contacted at least) seemed so utterly snobbish to me… no shame, no embarassment, just plain snobbishness.

      i’m not perfect, but i don’t know if living with a lying, cheating husband who criticises and bullies me psychologically is a good idea.

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