healing after betrayal

 

A survivor shares 5 things she’s noticed that indicate she is healing after betrayal.

by ‘TryingToGetOver’

The betrayal of an affair comes with so much raw hurt, sadness and anger that it threatens to overwhelm you. The shock of it stunned me. What was even harder was that it didn’t seem to wear off. Sick feelings of dread lasted for months. As much as I wanted to shake the dark thoughts off, I couldn’t.

I learned, through this site and via therapy and by reading books, that grief can’t be avoided. You can delay it or pretend it isn’t there but the only way to get through it is to let it wash over you and, eventually, ebb away.

As I come up on the one-year anniversary of my ultimatum to my husband and our most dramatic crisis point, I still have pain that bubbles up from various triggers. But I have also noticed ways I am healing, so I thought that I should mark them. Maybe it can help others recognize the ways they are healing after betrayal, too.

1. It doesn’t consume me. I finally have mornings when, upon waking, his betrayal is not the first thing that pops into my head. (Maybe the second or third, but not the first!) I have new priorities.

2. I gave up stalking the AP on social media. Peeping is easy to do, and almost impossible to resist in this digital age. But 9 months in I blocked all of her accounts and email from both me and my husband. I would have been too paranoid to do it in the beginning, when I felt the need to keep a vigil to protect my family. I was especially afraid she would physically show up. Instead, she made a few dramatic posts and emails targeted at us. I guess I am glad I saw them as a confirmation of what she is like. On the other hand, I was already super aware of what she is like. Now I don’t give a damn what she’s doing or what shade she’s sending our way.

3. I feel like I better understand my husband. This is a big one. For months after the affair I had that dark feeling of “who ARE you?” I wondered if he had always been chasing other women and if I had been a blind, naive wife. But in the past year I have come to better understand his personality and how he comes across to others, many of his faults and fears, and also the ways he is trying to make himself and the world better.

How I Managed to Restore Trust in Myself

4. I trust myself. Forget about the trust you lose in a partner who breaks your heart – being cheated on makes you stop believing in yourself. Your self-esteem nosedives. I wallowed in regret for most of this last year. But I am proud to say that I trust myself now. I have faith in my instincts, and pride about who I am and what I can accomplish. I know my worth now, and I have been forced to clearly define both my values and my boundaries.

5. Work on our marriage no longer scares me. It was all terrifying in the beginning. Those of us who go through this don’t know if a partner will be honest, or do the work, or if the marriage will fall apart anyway. But eventually you are either separated, or together and working on things. The work comes to feel good-in the way that a tough Swedish massage can feel good, but on your feelings, not your muscles! We talk, in and out of therapy, and it no longer leaves me shaky, it makes me feel stronger.

I know I am doing much better with each passing month. This is not to say that I feel fully healed, or that I trust him implicitly the way I used to, or that I forgive anyone. But I do know that I love him, and really adore being with him, and that I am excited that we’re closing out this difficult year with a sense of optimism. I wish the same for all of you who are looking for it.

(Thanks so much to ‘TryingToGetOver’ for sharing her experiences with us – again.  We love to share articles from our readers.  So if you’d  like to submit an article for us to possibly post on the blog, feel free to contact us about your ideas.)
 

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Journey to Healing
Surviving and Thriving Post D-day

Healing and thriving is an active process, it is a choice, and best of all, it is in your power.  But how do you get past the anger and despair and on the path to healing?

Is there a system or “hack” that can guide you?

There is, and that’s exactly what this program is all about…

 

    31 replies to "5 Things That Point to Healing After Betrayal"

    • TryingHard

      What a great post. Thanks TryingToGetOver. LOL I love the analogy of a Swedish massage. I always told my therapist that going to her was like going to physical therapy for the heart and mind. Man I’d be sore for days later.

      When I stopped checking his phone, email, FB all his stuff is when it occured to me that I’d healed. I will also add that I don’t believe I will ever be completely healed. I see that scare pretty often and sometimes daily. And it’s certainly better than before.

    • Shifting Impressions

      I think you are right….these are all steps that point that you are moving in the right direction. In my own case it has been a much lengthier process. During the first year I was merely surviving. I agree with you completely that grief can’t be avoided. I experienced more of a one step forward and two steps back type of process.

      After five years I’m starting to accept that I will never be quite the same. Something precious was broken….something deep inside was broken. But from that brokenness….we build something new.

    • Sarah P.

      Great post!!

      I love the feedback from TryingHard and ShiftingImpresions too. They are both so wise.

      I too am glad you mentioned the grief process. As difficult as it is, it is essential to healing. If anyone wants to learn every detail of the Five Stages of Grief, books by Elizabeth Kubler Ross are great because she was the one who discovered/explored the five stages and how very necessary they are to healing. She mostly wrote about how these stages applied to the death of a loved one, but all of her ideas are directly transferable to healing from infidelity. Infidelity is the metaphorical death of the relationship you thought you had.

      Wanted to mention something else. Almost all of us react to being betrayed by taking it very personally. The first thoughts that often occur on D-Day are “what do they have that I do not?” Of course, not everyone feels that way but for the ones who do, they take it personally.

      I have been doing a lot of research again on this. Almost all adulterous men admit that the OW was inferior to the wife. The affair often came down to ego gratification and opportunity. This is not always the case since there are no absolutes. But the literature shows almost all OW are inferior to wives in the opinion of the adulterous husband. I have often asked myself why they bother having an affair if they are scraping from the bottom of the barrel and are aware of it to some extent. The thing I have come up with is that men can truly compartmentalize affairs easily. But, the bigger reason I have come up with is that if the OW is inferior to the wife in some way, the wayward husband won’t be tempted to get a divorce. In fact most men don’t want one.

      This is from literature. Most men don’t want a divorce and are happy to indulge in the ego building that occurs when someone else desires them. Since they can conpartmentalize sex, they often have no problem leading a double life. They want to remain married but also want to experience the ego gratification they get from an affair. They metaphorically want to eat all the goodies at the “bake sale” but don’t want to pay for them. (A version of having one’s cake and eating it too.) Of course, there are always exceptions. It truly has nothing to do with the wife.

      I am not trying to be sexist when I speak of men. Women are very hard to pin down when it comes to infidelity. Each woman appears to have her own reason. The studies have found consistency in the behavior of men, but not in women. That’s why I mention men.

      Finally my heart breaks for betrayed husbands since men process being betrayed in a different way. (Also from literature). There is one man I know of whose wife had an affair almost 50 years ago. He later had an affair but justified his affair and still cannot forget hers. A caveat: this is not a story from anyone on the site or anyone who emails me. This is someone in my real life circle of folks and is not affiliated with this website in any way. Just wanted to make that clear.

      Sarah

      • tryingtogetover

        My husband is totally honest about how he compartmentalized, and also how it eventually all broke down and sent him into despair. I find it very, very hard to stop asking, “so why did you keep seeing her when it was making you miserable?” and he says he felt emotionally hijacked and desperate to end everything with everyone feeling happy. Of course, that was never going to happen. Anyway, I think your insights about the process many men go through is spot-on. I know my husband never for a minute wanted to leave me. But I know he loved all the attention he got from her. `

    • Nearly Normal

      Hi, everyone.

      I just felt like saying a little word to those who are not healing very well. It can be frustrating to be stuck in pain and not reach those milestones of healing up above, or you get through three but you may never get through two. I’m stuck on # 5 – I am engaged in the relationship, but it is still very painful after all these years.

      Keep trying, keep believing it can get better.

    • Hopeful

      Great post! I agree with all of these. I have figured out this will be a lifelong process and will be part of my/our story. I often thought about should I leave early on but that will not change what I have been through. It will not make it go away. For me the first year was about dealing with the trauma/grief on the most basic level. At about that 12-15 month mark I started to move forward. That was when it all hit my husband what he did. We have worked really hard on ourselves and our relationship. I find that it all ebbs and flows and I still cycle through these and other facets of this even over 3 1/2 years past dday.

      Sarah I love your comment. I find what you say to be correct in my case. My husband said they never talked about me, never talked about a future, these ow never pushed or asked for anything from him like trips or wanting to know about more commitment. Not sure what they were getting out of sneaking around for so long. There were no gifts nothing. He said he never wanted to leave me or get a divorce. It was his little time to escape what he felt was a too stressful life and act juvenile and immature. The only thing is after the first time it backfired. He said he felt horrible right away but he felt like he went down a black hole. Like he was almost tainted and could not go back/undo what he did. That is where I am at this point. I hate he did this to me/us/our family but I am most saddened that he did it to himself. That really has been my biggest takeaway. He betrayed himself first.

      • TryingToGetOver

        Wow, Hopeful, your comment could have been written by me! Our story is so similar, but I’m just at the 12-month mark now. It’s sad to know the pain goes on but also just good to know what to expect. I would say that yes, in our case he is also extremely sad. He’s cried out of regret for what he did more in this past week than he did all of the last year. He’s apologized to me nearly every day. I told him, honestly, that I don’t forgive him but I hope I do someday. I mean both parts of that; I’d be lying if I said “I forgive” now but I do hope that feeling comes. Has it come for you? Do you think forgiveness is a feeling, or is it a decision that you can make?

        • Hopeful

          I have so much I could write to you Tryingtogetover. You are doing well already for 12 months. I was shocked when I started to feel better at 12 months and it started to hit him. He had broken up with both ow 15 months before dday on his own. So I guess I thought he had gone through whatever he would have. But he was so focused on taking care of me the first 12 months he did not process it all. He knew he did not want to live that life anymore but also shameful he did what he did to the person he loves most in the world. Around 15 months got hard for me again and it was mainly since life seemed to settle back into a rhythm and felt like pre dday. And honestly my expectations were elevated. The way we were post dday up to 15 months was not cutting it. He transformed himself but at this point it became more about what kind of marriage I wanted. I did not want to be ok with whatever as long as there was no cheating, flirting ,etc.

          As far as forgiveness goes I think for me it was 100% a decision. If I was to base it on feelings I would never forgive him. That wave still comes over me now. I have forgiven him but will never forget. We talk about it often and it is not always me bringing it up. He is more connected, affectionate, loving and caring than ever before. For him it was this major wake up call. For me sometimes I struggle with that. I got to a point after watching his words match his actions that I could see he was doing the right thing. He helped me and I helped him work through the pain. Through all of this work together I totally forgive him. As I said I am at the point I feel most sorry for him. I know he still lives in fear our kids, family or friends will find out. But he lives his life every day with transparency and authenticity.

          This is a long and hard road. I have spent a lot of time quietly thinking about what I want and need. I am glad I have stayed. I am not sure I would have without our kids as part of the equation. We are closer than ever before.

          For me the only piece missing is I cannot say I am happy. I struggle the most with finding happiness. I do when I am with my kids and that is about it. My husband says that is his biggest wish for me. I just find it hard to be happy and find joy. Not sure if it is all the reminders or what was stolen/lost. We will see if that ever comes. I do have happy moments but that is the biggest struggle for me personally at this point.

    • Soul mate

      Hi Hopeful, I have a question for you and TrytoGetOver;

      When was it for you both that you came to accept what your WS told you about thier experience and the AP was the truth?

      It’s been 14 months since my DDay and of course my H lied about what occurred between the two of them and slowly came out with a more believable account, however, since he lied in the beginning, I’m finding it very hard to accept that he did not have sex with her. And as he said “he couldn’t because he loved me”.

      He is adamant that he did not, that he never said he loved her, no presents, cards, no talk of a future together and he told her he loved me and would never leave. Why would a 40 year old single woman continue to pursue a man who promised nothing and gave practically nothing to her? And told her on more than one occasion he loved his wife and would never leave her?

      He also told me he tried to end it more than once but because she was a coworker who was a part of his team he tried to maintain a working friendship only for her to start the flirting, naked pics and sexting up again.

      He finally told me there was kissing on 4 occasions when she gave him a ride to the VRE when the metro was late, however on 4th and last try he stopped her and told her he would take the bus if she had a problem with it. He also told me on the 2 other occasions he also stopped the esculation before it became more by telling her that what they were doing was wrong and that he loved me.

      He also told me she offered to arrange a hotel room of which he laughed at her and declined.

      He said he finally got to a point where he wanted me to know because he felt that would be the only way to end it. (?)
      That he knew I would be the one to make it happen. He just doesn’t know why he didn’t just come out and tell me, instead of me finding out and why he kept getting dragged back in.

      He adamantly from day 1 professed his love for me and stated he never wanted to leave. He now refers to what he did as sick an disgusting and he believes himself to be a “Loser”. I have seen his remorse as he cries, gets on his knees and says how sorry he is. He has never once blamed me and takes full responsibility.

      But I’m a bit stuck on moving on because of the lies and wanted to know how you both came to terms with it. Thanks

      • Hopeful

        Soul Mate, I can understand where you are coming from. For me it took a while to believe my husband. The trickle truth was real. On dday he told me part of what went on. He minimized the timeline and amount of contact. He basically was trying to save face for himself, protect me and was not sure it would work out so why admit to it all/tell me more than I needed to know. That is his take at least. At five months past dday things were not adding up on the “timeline” of what he told me on dday. I just knew in my gut things were off. I was relentless with questions and just got the same lines over and over. Well I finally wrote him a letter laying it on the line since talking with him was going no where. The key line that hit him was “I would rather be slapped with the truth than kissed with a lie”. I think the letter was really well written but that line really made him open up. He confirmed what I thought that things went on much longer than he originally said. Also he has broken up with both ow 15 months before dday all on his own. None of this made sense. It came out that these affairs went on for ten years sporadically. He did break everything off on his end. One ow he only saw maybe 4 times total I cannot remember now. The other one was more frequent but he did not admit to this initially on dday. I was able to print out our cell records and I saw a pattern of calls that night he broke up with her. The odd thing was on every time I saw him call her it was nights he was out. He would call me first and if I did not answer he would call her. Anyways tons more to the story but it was worse than dday honestly. It was good to have it all in the open but I got really sick after this. I also struggled a lot at this point. It took me a good 4-5 months to process all this new information after he gas lighted me for those first five months.

        As far as the ow who knows. Both the ow were single. One was kind of a one night stand but he saw her four times over ten years. That fizzled out. The other one she pursued him for 3-4 years before it started. She would track him and find out where he was. She begged him for his phone number for all those years. He cannot remember what year the affair even started only that it was the fall. Of course I do not understand that but as he told me it was the last thing he wanted to remember and/or celebrate. The night it did happen she got dropped off at the bar he was at with no ride, cabs are really rare where we live and just happened to need a ride home. And from there it all happened. Same situations here. He never paid for anything except maybe drinks or an appetizer, never went on dates, no travel, not gifts nothing. I have no idea why these women wanted to be in secret relationships with him. My husband said he hid it from everyone and would be mortified if anyone found out. He said he did not talk about his life much but never complained or bashed me or the kids to the ow ever. He said when he broke up with the one ow he told her it was to be fair to her so she could have a real relationship. He claims he just wanted her to go away and the continued texting for a while. All I can figure out is anyone who would have an affair of any form is so disturbed and messed up nothing they do is logical. It just does not compute in my mind.

    • TryingToGetOver

      Soul Mate, I’ll start with your main Q: I learned to trust my gut. I know now that it doesn’t fail me. My husband lied about the physical part for a long time but I KNEW in my soul he was lying and when he eventually wore out of that and told me the truth, I could tell he was finally honest. I am betting you can tell your husband is being truthful, but you’re worried because he lied in the past…you have to make the decision to trust your gut. Certainly the details he’s providing sound like truth, like the exact number of times he crossed a line by kissing. When they’re lying, they are SO shady with the details and avoid answering specifics.
      Other thing: Liars can’t keep their stories straight. I made my husband repeat certain stories several times, in front of me and our therapist, and his consistency helped me trust that he was being truthful. Also, the truth is usually pathetic in these cases, like your husband feeling like a loser, so there’s that. In the lies, the cheating partner makes themselves out to be some justified hero, but in the truth, they admit to the stupidity of it all.
      And then there are the usual things-can he look you in the eye when telling details? My husband couldn’t look at me while lying, but can when he’s being truthful. I’ll never point that out to him though lol He doesn’t know how easy he is to read.
      I do tell my husband that I no longer feel like I can trust him. He promises to prove himself by being truthful from here on out, and I thank him for that.
      As for why the OW keeps at it, I have thought long and hard about that in my case. Our OW was a bored, lonely housewife and pursing my husband, even with no material rewards (as in your case, no gifts and no promise of togetherness), gave her much excitement. She lived for his texts, no doubt reading them while she waited to pick up her daughter or sat around bored in the evenings. Your OW was single, so that’s a little more of a puzzle. Maybe she was just really stoked to find a guy who seemed nice and who she didn’t have to pursue via Tinder! And maybe it was all ego-stoking for her even if it was an obvious deadend.
      It sounds like your husband is being sincere. Hugs to you for learning to come to terms with things and trying to believe and trust. It’s a daily work in progress but I am glad your husband is taking responsibility and apologizing.

    • Shifting Impressions

      For me part of the healing is in the acceptance that I will never really understand. I spent so much time trying to make sense of it all. I have come to realize I will never have the full picture or full understanding. As for the motivation of the OW…..I will never really know. What the two of them told each other and told themselves to somehow make their actions acceptable…I will never know or understand.

      Accepting that has been really hard….conflict resolution is in my nature. The questions circled round and round in my brain for several years. And yes after five years, the questions still nag at me now and again.

      For the first three years I feared healing would never come. The tears were almost a daily occurrence. There were days I thought I couldn’t breath. There was rage and pain. But what lingered the longest was a deep deep sadness. I still struggle with some of that sadness today.

      During those early days, my husband struggled with some health issues…..I had zero compassion or sympathy. I actually thought he deserved it and thought it would be easier if he was dead. I seriously questioned, if I would ever see the good side, of this man, that I had been married to for forty years again. If I am honest with myself….I WANTED TO MAKE HIM PAY!!!! That was the depth of my pain!!!

      I didn’t make him pay….I decided I would rather take the high road. I did not want to stoop to his level. But Oh how I wanted to.

      It hit me this morning….five years later…I no longer want to make him pay. I care if he is not well or how he is feeling. I see the goodness in him again. I see how he has tried to make it up to me. I see that he knows how he broke something so very precious.

      So maybe I have healed more than I ever thought was possible. It has come with many ups and downs. It has come very very slowly….one day at a time.

    • TryingHard

      Hi SI
      And I have kinda decided this is what forgiveness is. Not wanting to punish them any longer. I don’t want to punish my h either. But I have to say every time he experiences betrayal on level I’m glad he’s experiencing the pain to see what it’s like. I never wished anything bad on him because what ever happens to him happens to me so when the Karma bus hits him it hits me too.

      I used to take any discomfort he had pretty seriously. I always believed that’s what good spouses do. Rejoice together and support each other during our struggles. I still do somewhat but I’ve stopped being the fixer, the sick nurse, the therapist. I will listen but I’ve learned to not give too much of myself away in the process of being supportive. Seems to work for us. Or me at least 🙂

      • Shifting Impressions

        Hi TH

        My husband doesn’t deal all that well with betrayal …..and yes there is the temptation to ask him how he likes it.

        I hear you about the Karma Bus….but right after d-day I didn’t care.

        Like you, I have taken a step back….not always a bad thing. Learning that I can’t make anyone do anything has been good for me.

    • TryingToGetOver

      So thankful for this thread! Twice when we have had really terrible, deep discussions/revelations in the past year, my husband has literally broken out with shingles (once took us to the emergency rooms, both times required antiviral prescriptions). I feel terrible for him but there is a little secret place inside my head that’s like, “good, I’m glad this really got to him.” It’s not that I want him to suffer, it’s just that I want him to feel things as deeply as I feel them and something physical is at least proof.
      Anyway, I have so many thoughts about the OW that I may write a separate blog about that. I have two very close friends who have been (maybe still are) in that role and they have given me much insight. Only one of them knows my own situation. You would think that would be then SO painful for me, but she actually calmed me down post Dday the best. She was like, “You don’t even realize that no other woman can ever compete with the history that you and your husband have. You’re the mother of his children. You’re his family. When you’re the other woman, you can never be any of that.” And she was right, and that was a source of strength in the awful pain. Anyway, maybe I will write what I know of the OW POV because that is something we all seem to need to talk about! Stay tuned, Doug! lol

      • Shifting Impressions

        TryingToGetOver
        Yes…I understand that feeling of wanting them to feel deeply!

        Yes, another post giving some insight would be good. I have no idea why someone would have a relationship with someone that is married. Hearing your two friends stories would be interesting.

    • TryingHard

      Hi SI
      Yes stepping back and detaching has really really helped me. I know in this day and time society talks a lot with regards to “mansplaining”. And yes it’s laughable in as women can stick their fingers out and say ‘yeah that’s what you do’ but I know women are guilty of “womansplaining”. I know my h has a hard time with emotions. Actually no not a hard time. He knows two. Two emotions, happy and mad. Yep that’s it happy or mad. So I spent time explaining I wasn’t mad I was sad, hurt, introspective you name it at the time and most times I got that deer in the headlight stare like ‘what the hell is she saying’. Try as I did he still didn’t get it. So I’ve stopped. I’ve stopped womansplaining. I wasn’t put on this earth to explain my emotions or feelings to someone who doesn’t get it either because he simply can’t or won’t. And I’ve certainly stopped explaining how his infidelity has affected and changed me. He can see the changes. If he’s scratching his head and wondering what’s going on he can ask me. And sometimes he does. Important thing is I am becoming more and more aware of MY boundaries and feelings about myself and him and our relationship. And no matter what happens I KNOW now that I will be ok.

      This has been a huge growth lesson for me. I sure didn’t think at 50 + I needed any more personal growth lessons but his infidelity told me otherwise right? I’m pretty sure you understand what I’m saying. And not only has my personal growth affected my marital relationship it’s affected all my relationships. This stuff doesn’t only change one with their interactions with their spouse. It changes who we are as people, as sisters, brothers, employees, employers, friends etc. I’m hoping it’s for the better but who really knows. But it is what it is.

      • Shifting Impressions

        TH
        I do understand….I guess there are lessons to be learned until we die. I too am forever changed and I’m hoping it’s for the better as well. I will always miss the girl that trusted so completely. Although the lessons from the last five years nearly killed me…they do have value.

        The detachment lesson is a great example and absolutely it is what it is!!

      • Blindsided

        Hi Trying Hard – you made an important point, “It changes who we are as people …” I know that I am a very different employer (so distracted, unorganized in giving directions, getting my work done), a sister (I have pulled away because I don’t want her to see my pain – if she ever found out about H’s EA I fear what she would do to him), a mother to my grown children, one who is married the other in a long-term relationship (I find myself wanting to give them little life lessons that I never knew about before about how to survive tough times in a marriage). I am hoping that at some point, I will find the good in all of this, the growth, the maturing (didn’t think I needed more maturity at 59 years of age 😉 I do know that we are so much more vulnerable with one another now, and that is a good thing. We have seen the worst in one another, and there is nothing left to ‘hide’. I also had a laugh over your H’s two words – my H has three words: good, dumb and stupid, ie, “She made me feel good” “[the EA] was dumb, it was stupid”. I should also add that when I ask what were you thinking?! What were you feeling?! The response: “I don’t know”

    • TryingHard

      Blindsided—. Lol. Yes the I don’t know with the blank stare as if we were speaking Martian 👽

      I hope different me is better too. Most days i have my doubts. But i really can’t change back now.

    • Soul mate

      Thank you so much TrytoGetOver and Hopeful for your replies. I’m not yet sure of whether my ambivalence of accepting my husband’s confessions as truth has to do with my lack of trust in my gut or the fact that he has lied so much about the EA.

      I remember the first time I asked him if he had sexual contact with that Thing and his response was a pure look of disgust while he blurted “I wouldn’t f### that fat ass even if I was single!”

      He has repeatedly assured me that when she wanted to he turned her down. That he refuses to tell me something that is absolutely untrue. That she told him she loved him and that she thought he was her soul mate and he told her that that was silly and unrealistic as he loved his wife.

      I simply cannot understand why a single woman would continously persue a man who told her such things. If what he is telling me is true, she must be a desparately used piece of work!

      My husband said that he enjoyed her attention and flirting which led to sexting while I was sleeping and he was drunk, which got out of hand. Of course he didn’t think he was cheating because actual sex was never involved. He said he regreted it almost from the start but because they worked together he couldn’t get rid of her without fear of repercussion because she refused to leave him alone. She thought everyone was out to get her at work so he pretty much was her only friend. He told me that he would tell her it had to stop and a week would go by and she’d start calling him with work questions and then the lingering around his desk would start again and then here we go again. He said he only felt relief at work on days she was not there.

      Well he’s not there anymore because of her I’m sure although they never gave him a reason for letting him go.

      Then when she knew it was done because he told her again, she sent me an anonymous letter to my job! My Dday!
      An opened letter delivered by a coworker. How very mortifying!

      Why all of this for a guy she just sexted and worked with and knew he was married?

      That’s what keeps me in this mind hell.

      Peace!

      • TryingToGetOver

        That is such a terrible D-day story, I can’t imagine, SM! That alone probably has you feeling PTSD. But it sounds like she’s being vindictive possible because he wouldn’t sleep with her. I mean, she’s clearly bitter and angry or she would not have sent that letter.

    • Soul mate

      Hi TryingtoGetOver,

      It was the most humiliating experience of my life. Everyday I had to come to work and sit at my desk and the experience would traumatize me, then I’d run to the bathroom and vomit. That went on for weeks. I really can’t beleive I still have my job.

      Of course when my h called her and talked to her about the letter, she acted surprised and said who would know to send me that letter? Then she said “It wasn’t me”. Even though my h never asked her if it was.

      Bingo!

      1. The letter stated my h “was in a relationship” the length of time and warned me about him finding work in that area in the future. The precise length of time.

      2. My H told her he had no reason to ever see her again the last time they were together but they did continue to text and talk because my husband wanted to find out why he was let go from his job. And she was his only contact. And I beleive he had his suspicions. They were coworkers.

      3. The date the letter was post marked, I checked my h cel phone records and her texts and call activity that day was out of control. Almost constant so I can just imagine why she was frantic. My H says he can’t remember that day.

      4. The letter was mailed 2 blocks from thier office in an federal government envelope. Basically she used materials from thier office. Oh, did I also tell you how stupid she is?

      So, that being said, if the letter was sent by anyone else, I’m sure they would have said they were having an affair not “in a relationship”. And why would she automatically deny sending it to my h when that never even crossed his mind. And why the frantic texts and calls that very day?

      At that time it had almost been a month that they had not been together at work or anywhere else. I believe she might have believed that because she still communicated with my husband remotely after he was removed from his job, she still had a chance with him and when she realized that my h was trying to create distance and slowly get her out of his life, she got desparate, and sent me that letter thinking I would throw him out. And then poor baby would go running to her.

      My husband also believes that’s the case. He said she was an idiot, because she knew what would happen if he found out that it was her. He said she knew from the beginning he would never leave me. At least that’s his story

      Peace

    • TryingHard

      Soulmate–That is some great detective work. I am so impressed with how you put those puzzle pieces together to come up with logical conclusions. Good going.

      I truly believe if your h were dumb enough to still be in contact with her you would know. You’ve got good skills.

    • Longroadhome

      I need some help. It has been 3 months since I was told of an emotional affair that I knew was happening for a couple of months(July, Aug.) Turns out the affair hit its peak in April and h said it was just a friendship after he told her things could go no further. She sent him a message stating she was telling her husband “everything”. She sent him a text later saying she would always be rooting for “team (our last name)”. That was the end of the contact. I thought we were making progress. H and I talked today and he said he still has questions, Basically about if the friendship was real or if she just used him. I say, “what does it matter? He cannot have a friendship with this woman and remain married to me. I feel like he isn’t getting over a “loss of a friend” but instead, he’s mourning a romantic relationship. He misses their conversations and “having someone to talk to”. I thought I was someone to talk to. I’m sick to my stomach. I’m angry and I have not been angry up to this point. I have forgiven him but I think he’s longing to be contacted by her and given confirmation that it was real for her, too. Her husband took over her social media and cell phone when she told him about the EA so it was cold-turkey, no closire for my husband. I have 2 kids still at home. She is 14 years my junior. I have been married for over 30 years. I don’t know where to go from here. H and I are not speaking. Again.

      • Shifting Impressions

        Longroadhome
        As all the others have said, I am so sorry you are going through this. I find it interesting that you say you have not been angry up until this point. You also say you have forgiven him. Perhaps you were to quick to do that. Perhaps you felt you had to give him your forgiveness….before you had a chance to really process his betrayal.

        There is such a thing as forgiving to soon. After thirty years the betrayal would be huge. Ask me how I know….my d-day came a few weeks before our fortieth wedding anniversary.
        Allow yourself to grieve…..to really feel the anger, the pain and the loss of trust etc.

        The recovery from infidelity is a roller coaster ride of ups and downs. Perhaps your husband needs to know what his betrayal has done to you. His “mourning” of the affair partner pales in comparison to the mourning you are going through.

        I hope you get some help just for you. Give yourself permission to grieve. Take care of you.

    • Sarah P.

      Hello Longroadhome,

      That is a tough situation to be in. It’s a terrible situation, but especially when you have been married 30 years. (Most of the readers and commenters here have been married a long time as well and have much hard-earned wisdom to offer.)

      But here is what I want to know. What do you want for yourself and what kind of relationship do you want with your husband?

      It would be very difficult for me to have my husband mooning over some emotional affair partner and wondering if it was real.

      I do have an answer for him:

      Love CANNOT be real if love means betraying and profoundly hurting others. It’s not love, it’s selfishness, self-centeredness, and weakness.

      So no, his younger, married “friend” (lol) did not love him. My suspicion is that she was bored and looking to pass the time, looking for ego feed, or possibly even assessing your financial situation. (Does he have a credit card with a 200k spending limit?) Probably not, but these are things that go through the minds of married people willing to seek out affairs.

      ALSO… a huge, red flag. Her husband took over ALL of her social media and locked it down? That’s drastic and it tells me that she has probably had many male “friends” (wink, wink) ever since she had been married. Of course the husband taking things over social media is controlling, but I sense the husband experienced the straw that hit the camel’s back.
      So, no, it was NOT real. It was an illusion just like every affair.

      I would like for you to consider what you would like to do with your life and your marriage. Where there is infidelity, there is often financial infidelity. If I were you I would look through all the bank accounts and figure out what your financial situation looks like.

      Also, since many cheaters don’t give the whole story, please get a full STD panel. It may have been an emotional affair, but I believe in checking every avenue so that you can have answers. As regular readers know, my cheating ex gave me cervical cancer and this was verified by my doctor since I was getting yearly exams and was always clean- and had only one partner for an extended period of time. Cervical cancer is a sexually transmitted disease and it’s “the gift you will never forget.”

      Right now, I would like to look at what you want. You are a valuable person. You have tremendous value for sticking it out for 30 years and for being willing to forgive someone who wonders if the OW has feelings for him.

      He should be wondering if you have feelings for him. Also, if he wants to stay married to you, I would advise that he starts living in the here and now with his wonderful wife (you).

      What can we do to help? ❤️

    • Tryingtogetover

      Longroadhome, sending you strength. Sarah’s advice to decide what you want is spot-on. If you want this marriage, maybe it is time to hire a therapist who can referee while he talks and point out where his faulty thinking is but who also lets him feel “heard” so he finds whatever closure he is looking for. I find our therapy sessions to be somewhat painful in the moment but then afterward I feel SO much better, like a room has been aired out. Going would show to him that you want to make things work and that you know he still has, as you say, questions, so maybe he would appreciate it. At the very least it is the mature route, much better than him trying to get back in touch with that girl!
      A PS don’t you have a fantasy that her husband will pack up and move across the country with her? Or overseas?! That is my little fantasy at the moment for my husband’s Ex AP and her husband!

    • TryingHard

      Longroadhome–Agree with the advice to get a therapist. Reconciliation after infidelity is nearly impossible without a person such as a therapist to help negotiate and validate each person in the relationship.

      Also remember not all therapists are the same. Make sure you find someone that has dealt with infidelity.

      From a personal perspective when going to these counseling sessions please make sure you don’t give away the farm!!! In other words YOU set the parameters around what YOUR boundaries are and what information YOU need if your marriage is to go forward after the devastation of infidelity. So many betrayed go into therapy and say YES to everything, even the cheaters refusal to be honest and forthright with what happened. Don’t do that. You will regret it. Neither your’s nor anyone else’s marriage is worth saving no matter the cost.

      Also get to a place where you can let him know you will be just fine without him. He can have the OW but he cannot have you as long as he still wants the OW or even mourns for her. That “mourning” stage is sooo destructive and can last a long time and even grow as the cheater builds that person up in his mind. Let him know he is an adult and free to do as he pleases however YOU will not be there to witness it.

      So set your boundaries for yourself and let him know you will accept no less than what you are demanding and you will NOT change your mind. LOL I know my h thought he just had to get past my anger and I would forgive and forget. He was wrong. I’ve learned to stick by and stand firm on my boundaries. At first during reconciliation I just wanted the pain over and I was at that place I’m talking about. Thank God I came to my senses and said OH HELL NO to myself.

      Good luck to you. My heart breaks you are going through this

    • Sarah P.

      Longroadhome,

      TryingHard, ShiftingImpressions, and TryingtoGetOver have great things to say.

      I wanted to comment on TryingHard’s idea of getting an infidelity therapist and keeping boundaries that facilitate healing for you.

      Don’t be willing to metaphorically sell your soul just to reconcile because it will destroy you. I have found in these situations the unfaithful needs a strong spouse to set hard boundaries. Will they complain? Of course! What child wants to get their hand slapped after putting their hand in the cookie jar? They wanted that cookie! (Note: I don’t touch anyone in anger and have never spanked my kids.

      Shifting talked about forgiving too soon. True forgiveness does take time.

      Longroadhome, what kind of family did you grow up in? Were you taught just to float along and drift at the whims of people who had power? (Parents etc). Did anyone teach you that you have rights to be treated respectfully? Or were you taught to defer to keep the peace?

      By the way, NO JUDGMENT here. You remind me of a life long friend who was very emotionally beat-down and at 60 it still hasn’t occurred to her she can stand up for herself. I got her through a loooong divorce. And she has learned to stand up to her ex. (Yes I have permission to mention her). She is one of my dearest friends. But the damage done in childhood was severe because the abuse was horrendous. Now that she is out of her marriage, she reminds me of caged lioness whose cage was opened so that she could go run free in the jungle. She doesn’t know her inherent personal power – the lioness is the Queen of the Jungle— but she has never known life outside the cage and hesitates. In real life sometimes many wild animals who are rescued from zoos and set free have a hard time leaving the cage. It’s all they have ever known.

      Now this metaphor can apply to all betrayed spouses right after D-Day. A betrayed spouse can file for divorce the day he or she finds out about an affair. They have all the power they need, especially if they hire the meanest lawyer in town who knows how to fight on behalf of the betrayed. But most people are so stunned they forget they have choices. Whatever a wayward spouse does, a betrayed has a choice on whether or not they take such treatment. And many betrayeds will ask, “How can I throw away so many years?” The question they could ask as a substitute is, “How could the wayward throw away so many years?” The “throwing away the years” has already been done by the wayward spouse.

      A caveat: if a wayward is remorseful, apologetic and wants to work on a marriage that is different.

      But if someone is mooning over what was in essence a flirtation on the part of the other woman, that would be a hard pill to swallow. I found a very darkly humorous cartoon online that I am going to use in my next post. I think all betrayeds will laugh. Don’t worry, it’s rated G, but the idea is one every betrayed spouse understands intuitively and can relate to.

      Longroadhome, don’t forget you have rights. Did you know that both Hawaii and the Caribbean is beautiful in the winter? What’s stopping you from buying one of those extremely inexpensive Groupon vacations and getting on a plane with your kids. Just the you and your kids. It’s a nice way to show you that you have choices and that your husband may lose two women, not just one.

      Please know that NONE of my advice should be taken as gospel. These are simply things to think about for the purpose of showing you that you have options and choices.

      Many Blessings,
      Sarah

    • Longroadhome

      Thank you all for your kind words. I am grateful. I am blessed. Husband and I have been able to communicate very well considering the pain we are both in. I know my husband’s heart. He has been deeply sorry for the pain he caused me, I knew it the moment he told me, I saw it on his face. He has answered my questions as openly as possible and as time has gone on, he continues to share, sometimes without my asking. We have painful conversations, miscommunications and misunderstandings but, we are moving forward. My forgiveness was more for me than for him. I needed to forgive so I could move on. Some days are harder than others but, I feel that giving forgiveness is what has helped us both make great strides in repairing our relationship. Trust is being rebuilt little by little and day by day. I’m focusing on making changes in my life to be a better support of him, not tearing him down and not holding on to old pain and mistakes, some from over a decade ago.(not infidelity). He is declaring his appreciation for what I do and giving attention and time to me. I know we have a long way to go but, I think we are, once again, becoming the people we used to be. We are more united where, for years, we had been living a separate existence under the same roof. We’ve made our marriage and each other a priority. It’s not perfect but it is so much better and I truly feel that as long as we don’t fall back into old patterns and take each other for granted, we can move past this. Thank you again for taking time to extend a hand and lift me up. May each of you find peace in this new year!

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