Why Can’t I Remember Things After the Affair?

Quite frequently I find myself having an increasingly difficult time remembering details after the emotional affair.  Especially time lines, and what events occurred and when they happened. 

Now some of this might have to do with my partying lifestyle in the late 70’s and early 80’s catching up with me, or the fact that I’m approaching the big “five-O” and am losing millions of brain cells by the second, or perhaps I have middle-aged ADHD.  Who knows?  I have to think that there is more to it than that.

Now granted, I have a crappy memory to begin with, and remembering details of past events has never been one of my strong suits.  However, you would think that an event that caused as much pain and turmoil as my emotional affair did, I would remember the events like they happened yesterday.

Linda called me Friday as I was shoring up her post from that day, and while we were discussing the post, I asked her why it was that she can remember everything about my emotional affair plain as day — dates, details, what I said, what I did, etc. — and I really struggle remembering a fraction of  the events after the affair.

She proposed that perhaps it was because I’m subconsciously shutting those unpleasant events out of my brain due to the guilt that I feel for my actions. That seemed logical to me, but I wanted to know more.  So I posed a question to Jeff Murrah, who is a Marriage and Family therapist in Texas, (visit his site) and who frequently offers advice and opinions on our blog.

My question was this: “Is there a possible psychological explanation for the fact that I have a hard time really remembering details, time, events, etc. of my affair, while Linda remembers EVERYTHING?”

Jeff’s response was as follows: “The simple answer is that male and female brains are different. Despite what you may have been told at school, neuroscience has found differences. There is a section of the female brain that has an extra belt of neurons around it. This change in structure allows them to remember details more effectively than the male brain.  The structure plays an important role in the function of memory.

This research has come out of brain scan studies where researchers have been tracking the functioning of the various parts. Typically the substance abuse counselors are more aware of this research than the standard counselors. This finding raises a lot of questions among those types that want to promote that there are no significant differences between the male and female brain. The reality is that there is, and this is one of the areas it shows up in.”

I then asked Jeff : “Is there any logic to the notion that I might possibly be subconsciously ‘shutting down’ my memories of the events due to guilt or some other factor such as that?”

Jeff’s response: “Logic? The term logic is often associated with the conscious use of reason. You may be shutting down the memories due to emotional associations. If it is done intentionally, it is avoiding, if it is unintentional then your defense mechanisms are limiting your awareness and recall of the events in order to protect either you or others.

You may not be ready to handle it or your mind may have distorted things so that you do not accurately recall what happened. We often only remember portions of events rather than the whole thing. When the cheater is in their fog, their minds do not register all the details of what they are doing (for various reasons). They are in an ‘altered state of consciousness’. Since that is the case, their brains are not firing on all eight cylinders.

To put it simply. This is one of those ‘other factors’ you mentioned. The shutting down due to guilt is part of the ‘defense mechanism’ function mentioned earlier.”

I think that I found my answer from what Jeff said.  I believe that I’m unintentionally “forgetting” events of the emotional affair as a defense mechanism. I’m probably protecting myself more than anything.  I don’t want to remember the bad things — the hurt I caused Linda, and the months of agony I put her through.  I also hate for her to relive the details over and over again.

I’m sure a good portion of it might be a bit of an escape mechanism too, where I limit my awareness so I won’t have to talk about the details for the hundredth time, having to suffer through the guilt and shame all over again.

I also think that Jeff’s point about the “affair fog” has a lot to do with it.  Hell, it’s obvious my brain wasn’t firing on all cylinders during my emotional affair. I was in a fantasy world, and the only part of my brain that was working was the part that deals with those types of feelings. Now, after the affair, the details are just a blur.

I want to thank Jeff for the free therapy couch time.  This all makes sense to me.  At least I think it does.

 

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40 Responses to Why Can’t I Remember Things After the Affair?

  1. AlmostOutofIt December 13, 2010 at 7:31 am #

    I might argue there’s yet another reason as well Doug. Perhaps details are escaping you as a well for you to avoid getting pulled in by certain triggers. I know for me, various conversations pop in to my head, things we talked about or did. They’re becoming less strong, but they’re still there. All the details are still fresh in my mind so I have to fight the longing for those interactions.

    I know a lot of negative things happened because of your EA, but there had to have been some good feelings generated at some point. Forgetting them makes it much easier to move on and not get sucked back into thinking about them – which in some cases (not yours), probably could lead back to acting on them.

    BTW, I did change my moniker a bit….

    • Doug December 13, 2010 at 9:05 am #

      AlmostOutofIt, I suppose there might be some potential truth to what you say, but keep in mind that it’s been 2 years for me, and conversations, etc, really don’t pop into my head anymore. I like the new moniker, btw.

    • Doug December 13, 2010 at 11:14 am #

      Almostoutofit, what really confusing me is there are such strong feelings and it is so difficult to escape them, why fight them? Why not be with the other person? I asked Doug today, if that person was so special, and you spend almost every minute of the day thinking, texting, or talking to them, why are you here? For the betrayed spouse that is very difficult to understand. At the time of the affair you did everything to be with that person, you risked losing everything, when it came down to a decision why didn’t you choose to be with that person rather than your spouse. Doug says because I wanted to be with you, that is so hard to understand when I know at the time of the affair how much he wanted to be with Tanya. Maybe you can help me understand it. Linda

      • AlmostOutofIt December 13, 2010 at 9:42 pm #

        Linda, you asked a great question. I wish I could help you understand it. But quite frankly, I think when I was completely in the affair and when I was with the OW, I would have left everything. In fact, (luckily) the OW was the one that wasn’t quite ready. When we were together, we talked about what that might look like and how it might work. But when we weren’t together, she wasn’t as sure. Looking back, I think she might have been thinking a little more straight than I was. Actually, I think she was thinking more about the money her SO had and I didn’t and certainly wouldn’t. So things didn’t get all the way to that point.

        Now had she said yes, I suppose then reality might have set in. It was all well and nice to talk about leaving my W and starting over with her. But if it came down to me sitting down and actually leaving, maybe I couldn’t have done it. But I do know that things were not good at home, which made my desire to leave easier. Of course I am sure I contributed to it, but things were not good before the affair started.

        I think perhaps the thoughts of leaving are part of the fantasy – the starting over again, thinking this time will be different. But when it comes down to it, perhaps the part of the brain that is outside the fog stops an even more stupid decision to be made. Maybe our subconscious steps up because it knows this is all a fantasy. Plus no one wants to really hurt their spouse – if they knew they would get caught I would imagine most people wouldn’t start an affair. So to truly be with your affair partner, you’d have to tell your spouse and cause that hurt.

        Also, thinking through how to leave, what that will do to your family, finances, etc. brings a level of logic to the equation. Perhaps that also keeps the fantasy at bay.

        In Doug’s case, it sounds like he recognized he still loved you and wasn’t ready to give that up. I believe I was thinking that I was unhappy enough in the marriage that it was worth it to go through all that. Plus mine was physical as well which I am sure added another level to all this.

        Sorry this email kinda jumps all over – I wish I had an easy answer for you Linda…

        • Doug December 14, 2010 at 6:49 am #

          almostoutofit, thanks for your reply, I really appreciate your input because you appear to really think about your feelings associated with the affair. I believe after the affair many men bury their feelings and refuse to discuss them. They keep the fantasy of the relationship and the other woman alive without seeing the whole picture. Linda

          • AlmostOutofIt December 14, 2010 at 8:50 am #

            Thanks Linda – I’m trying to figure out why it was so easy for me to stray and why it felt so good during it. The first part I think I’m starting to get a good handle on. It’s not as simple as saying because I was missing sex. That was the catalyst I suppose, but there’s more to it.

            As for figuring out why it felt so good – part of my reason for thinking it through is selfish. Being sad/depressed about the affair and all the withdrawal symptoms aren’t any fun. I wanted them to go away as soon as possible and the best way it seemed was to understand them. And to do that you have to get through the fantasy part of it all. I realized the longer I kept the fantasy alive, the longer I would feel those longings and withdrawal. Plus I’m trying to figure what felt so good to try to replicate some of that in my marriage.

            To quickly comment on your other post – your comment near the end is what helped push me in the right direction awhile back. That you were a bit like my W and how your sex life with Doug is so much better now. I still have doubts that our sex life will turn around to where I’d like it to be but I’m hopeful.

            Totally agree on your other comments – hadn’t thought about it quite like that. I knew the emotional part was very much a fantasy, hadn’t come to the conclusion that the physical part was as well. But your points are well-taken – hotel sex does always seem to be better, even with your spouse. I guess because it does represent a sort of escape from the every day. So combining that with all the other aspects of the fantasy would certainly lead to great sex. Thanks for that viewpoint…

  2. maryanna1962 December 13, 2010 at 11:22 am #

    I like the new moniker too ” almost out of it “. Doug I totally agree that women remember way more of the little details than our male counterparts. I finally got a chance to listen to the webinar this morning (kids at school, hubby at work etc)., and I too like Linda can remember exactly what I was doing 2 Christmasses ago (Xmas ’08) and I also knew that my H was not “himself” so as to speak, Xmas ’09 he was also carrying the same guilt cos DDay for me was Feb ’10. The EA or whatever it was was well and truly over by DDay. I guess he’ll enjoy Xmas & the New Year this year cos he won’t be carrying over his “guilty” secret into another year. I just hope that I don’t suffer any “triggers” over the holiday period cos our daughter is going to be home for 2 weeks.

  3. stupidandtrusting December 13, 2010 at 11:32 am #

    Linda,
    I hope you will understand when I remind you that it wasn’t Tanya he wanted to be with, it was the feelings, the fantasy, the romanticism, the idealism – it was nothing real at all. You have helped me remember this many times, so I hope you don’t mind that I remind you of the same and hope that I am not out of line.

    This weekend, as we shopped and did our usual holiday things, I definitely crashed emotionally and held that in rather than destroy what was really quite nice if not for the triggers. I remembered what you have told us over and over – don’t compete with the fantasy.

    Almostoutofit, I feel like you are still on the fence a bit. Perhaps the loveliest gift at all for your wife would be to have you wholly in your marriage. I know you have seen the pain of the many BS’s you have encountered here, try to envision your wife feeling the way that we have all felt…..

    • Doug December 13, 2010 at 11:57 am #

      stupidandtrusting, thanks, having a bad day, and on days like this I have a difficult time talking myself out of the pain, triggers, and the fantasy. Sometimes I just wonder why how one woman could be so special even when I know it was all about the situation. I just wonder if the betraying spouse ever lets go of the fantasy and really understands what their life would be like if they chose the other person. Linda

  4. tryingtoowife December 13, 2010 at 12:02 pm #

    Linda. That’s the question I asked my husband and I can not understand either.
    If it was so good that you could not resist the OW to the point of risking losing me and the children, everything, why didn’t you just live us and enjoyed it! I, and the family was not enough for him at the time, so, why not just enjoy his new ‘joy’ found with OW? He says that he knew, that he would never be able to live without us! He always loved me, us. He just compartmentalized the two lives and they did not cohabit at the same time in his mind. He did not know he would be found out and he already had ended the affair. When he did realize the real meaning of what he had done, he panicked, until then, it was like someone else’s life, not his. Well, nice. Now I am the one that have the freedom to decide if I can live the rest of my life with someone so selfish. Is a question I am asking myself as I type. He often, actually too often can’t remember details, dates or meanings either. He says that he hates too much that man he became to even think about him. I remember everything. As soon as I found out, lots of things made sense to me. And worth of all. I can not forget anything! But then, I have not shame or guilt to deal with.

    • Doug December 13, 2010 at 4:38 pm #

      tryingtoowife, I would do anything just to erase the memories from my brain. I also know that I am the one controlling those thoughts and that I need to be stronger and more disciplined and push them away. Some days it doesn’t take much effort but other days it consumes me and I succumb to the thoughts and get angry with myself for not having the ability to let it go. I have said to Doug over and over again it just sucks. I really don’t know any other way to put it. Linda

  5. stupidandtrusting December 13, 2010 at 2:45 pm #

    I believe we will always have these questions and that they will always cause us moments of pain. He has said much of the above – he can’t believe he did it, he never once entertained the idea of leaving, it never occurred to him to build a life with her at all. He just wanted the daily dose of feel good bullshit. He even says I was amazing throughout (I knew nothing other than that he was depressed) so loving and supportive of his process. He said he didn’t even actually like or respect her. So confusing since he sent her gifts and texts all the time but he explains that was to maintain the attention and she would withhold until he sent something or said something that made her respond. He remembers so very little and the counselor believes him. He is so terrified of the holidays this year and all of the potential triggers. I had a meltdown (previously mentioned) and he has been calling all day to check on me and offer his words of love. Sometimes though, nothing works. I just feel devastated for being so blind.
    Since he can’t buy me anything from so many stores it will be interesting to see what he comes up with.

  6. Karen December 13, 2010 at 5:10 pm #

    I agree with all here that I wish we could just wipe all of it away as we work on restoring, reinventing or whatever they call it our marriages. I too had a horrible day yesterday. Woke up thinking about the EA and just never shook it all day. Tried all the “techniques,” hated the way it made me feel, was snarky with my H and had a terrible day. I actually feel better coming here and finding out I’m not alone . . . okay, not all the way better but a bit better. I wish all the cheaters like Almost Out Of It would come to this site and see the pain they cause by their selfish actions, and that is why I try not to be too harsh with AOUI, even though he’s decided not to be honest with his W and even though he’s not completely given up his selfish attitude of “having his cake and eating it too” as he tries to come out of the fog completely.

    • AlmostOutofIt December 13, 2010 at 10:02 pm #

      StupidandTrusting – Interesting that you should say that. I wonder what I say made you infer that. I wouldn’t really say I’m on the fence, but you’re not far off. More in a second…

      Karen – nothing like a little tough love. Thanks for not being too harsh with me. I love reading your comments. Never rude, but certainly tough and to the point. You’re right, I’m not going to tell my W. But I am trying not to “have my cake and eat it too”. I’ve come to realize I’m pretty much out of the fog and can see things much clearer. I’ve even found myself annoyed with the OW for some of the things she did, while I barely cared at the time. I would say I am pretty much over the emotional part of the affair – by that I mean the aspects of the affair that are more related to an EA.

      Truthfully what I am struggling now is getting over the physical part. I think my A was probably more intense because I had the physical aspect as well. That wasn’t happening at home and with the OW it was amazing. So that was one more connection we had that made it seem like we should be together.

      The good thing is that is not as easy to fall back into. It’s not as easy as a call or text. I have to be in the same city for one. So while that’s taking longer to get over, I can’t really do anything about falling back into that, even if I wanted to.

      Things aren’t where I want them to be at home, but they’re getting better. I am trying to be “wholly in the marriage”. Seems like each day the affair seems farther and farther away.

      I don’t think I’ve ever been as introspective as I have since I started reading this site… Don’t give up on me Karen – I’m getting there and “almost out of it” 🙂

      • Doug December 14, 2010 at 7:05 am #

        Almostoutofit, I really would like to say a few words about the physical part and I am only speculating because I was not there.

        If I were a woman involved in a secret affair I imagine the sex would be amazing also, not because of the person I was with but because of the situation. Many woman need a lot to completely let themselves go and really get into sex. I know this is sad but in many situations it is true.

        For one you are in a hotel room versus being in your home with children next door. Children in the house takes our inhibitions away. Our minds are in two different places.

        Second, I would be with a man who only saw me as a sexy woman, not a mother, housekeeper, etc. and I am sure this man told me many times how sexy and beautiful I was and how he couldn’t wait to be with me. I know that you told your wife these things but it is different hearing it from someone else.

        Also in affair you can be anyone you want, you may be a timid lover with your husband and with in the affair your don’t really give a crap what you do. I know that all men would love to have a June Cleaver at home and a Jenna Jameson in the bedroom but that is very difficult for us to do. We have a hard time wearing different hats during the day.

        I wonder if your lover was the same with her partner, or if not blamed it on him or their relationship. I just want you to know that there are many reasons your sex was amazing and many of them were due to the affair situation. I also want you to know that if your marriage improves you can also have amazing sex with your wife. Linda

        • michael December 14, 2010 at 9:52 am #

          Question:
          Directed to the women here, not just Linda.

          Why can’t you be that sexy girlfriend in the bedroom and the June Cleaver by day?

          Sex brings good feelings. Its like a workout with big release of stress. Sex in the morning and during the day stress is second thought after thinking about how wonderful you feel and thinking about, WOW that was fun.

          Or, after a very stressful day why not come home and enjoy someone who is just focused on making the stress disappear in one good “O”.

          When your boss is harping and customers are complaining. You get to go home and forget about it while someone is just there to make you smile.

          Is it because he is less of a priority in your mind. Because you know that he will still be there. So I have other things to think about. I have reports, I have the kids projects to finish. He will understand. I’m too tired today maybe tomorrow. We woke up late so sorry we don’t have time.

          One of the things that make affair sex (or emotional connection) is the feeling that you are a priority to someone. And they are to you. Why does that get lost in marriage. Because the feeling that, oh we’re married so he will still be there and understand.

          Until the day he says I was tired of being last in line of priorities so I found someone who put me on top of their list. That’s what he did for my wife (I believe). And that’s what she did for him. But out of the affair and back to real life why do I still not feel that I am a priority???????

          • AlmostOutofIt December 14, 2010 at 10:08 am #

            Wow Michael – what an awesome post. I couldn’t have articulated any better. That’s exactly what I’ve often questioned. Why in the world would sex get pushed to the background? Would seem like the more stressful life is, the more you’d want the escape of being with your spouse.You summed up the priority part in the same way I was thinking. That was why in a different post I wondered aloud how to create that “shock” to make my W wake up without having to go through telling her about the affair.

            It always seems like sex is an afterthought and not something that’s a priority or something to look forward to. I wouldn’t have thought every little thing would get in the way…

            Wish I could help on your last comment. Perhaps like I was trying to figure out how to “shock” my wife, you need to do the same to your W. Not with an affair, but with not putting up with being a priority.

            I realized I don’t have much insight into the situations where a spouse knows about the affair. This might sound judgmental (which is somewhat ironic coming from someone cheating), but I think it’s shows an even higher level of disrespect to continue an affair in the face of your betrayed spouse. It’s one thing to recognize you made a mistake and make moves to correct it. Seems like its a whole other thing to continue it and knowingly put your spouse through all that hurt. Just MHO…

          • michael December 14, 2010 at 11:53 am #

            Almostoutofit,
            At this point telling her will validate any reason she has for not showing you affection. It did that for me.
            If it’s over let it die, leave it there and make sure it doesn’t come back. At least until you finalize how life will be with your wife.
            I don’t know why it should even take a SHOCK and AWE moment to wake anyone up.
            If you voice you’re feelings in a loving way and show them you care and they still don’t get it, its time to put facts down and talk about them. Not demands not selfish statements but facts.
            “I need more affection, emotional connection, and I need more us. I’m not happy and want to share this with you. Maybe we are not with who we should be. But when I feel incomplete, I have less love to give you. And that surly will not make you feel happy. So maybe we should decide if we are with who we should be with. Maybe we should explore if we even like each other anymore”
            Maybe that’s a shock of sorts but I bet she wouldn’t be surprised. She has been feeling it. She probably knows some what and why she isn’t or can’t be that for you. But if you understand and want help and are willing to ask for help, why can’t she?
            Just my humble opinion. And a question I struggle with.

          • maryanna1962 December 15, 2010 at 4:34 am #

            Michael & Almostoutofit, in an ideal world everything would be perfect but when you get married and kids come along, one has to juggle between job, school/football/etc/etc., runs and runing a household unless of course one is lucky enough to have an au pair/nanny/housekeeper and you know what it always seems to be Mom who has to fit in all the running & racing. So I’m not totally surprised come bed time, with lunches made for the next day along with one hundred other things in place that W is tired and sex would be the last thing on her mind. Put the shoe on the other foot and if you had to do all those extras in your day would you be ready for a sizzler in the bedroom ? You could of course help out and share the chores and then the energy might be there for the bedroom sizzler. I totally agree with you that there is nothing better than making passionate love with your H/W to relieve the stresses of the day but there is more to marriage than just sex. Not having sex every night with your W/H is not an excuse to have an affair ? Of course you want to be a priority in your H/W’s life, we all do but you have to check your cycle and keep your lines of communication open with your H/W. You could plan date nights, go for a walk in the evening even if you do have a toddler in a stroller, walking is great to boost the energy for the bedroom later ! Just my thoughts for what they’re worth !

          • karen December 15, 2010 at 6:34 pm #

            Why can’t you be that sexy girlfriend in the bedroom and the June Cleaver by day?
            Michael and AOOI: For the same reason you can’t be Bill Gates in the day and Ryan Reynolds at night in the bedroom . . . LOL!! Maryanna1962 was brilliant in her reply, and now that I do feel “loved” by my H, our sex life is greatly improved, and I thoroughly enjoy it. Almost as much as you H’s . . .
            If your wives have not felt loved for many years, despite your feelings that you’ve shown it in all “menspeak” ways, it will take time for her to believe you have changed to show the love that women need. Once you figure that out, look out!!!

            • Doug December 15, 2010 at 6:49 pm #

              Karen, I agree with you 100%. It was liberating to realize that I wasn’t really frigid I just wasn’t getting everything I needed to feel loved. Now I initiate sex more than Doug does, definitely have become more adventurous and enjoy every minute. I also know that I wasn’t giving Doug everything he needed to feel loved because I was using “woman ways” I was trying to be his mother rather than his wife, lover and friend. Linda

              • karen December 15, 2010 at 7:15 pm #

                Ditto, Linda!!! And kudos to our H’s for figuring out how to show the love we needed . . . at least most of the time.

              • AlmostOutofIt December 16, 2010 at 9:42 am #

                Linda, your continued comments along those lines are what has given me some hope about fixing that part of our relationship. The change in your attitude toward sex is encouraging. Thanks!

                Also, thanks for those comments about sex with the OW. I hadn’t thought about it that way. I had come around to the fact that the emotional part of the affair was a fantasy, but not so much the physical part. But your post opening my eyes a bit to see that even that part was a fantasy.

                And thanks for the follow-on posts from other women – I am seeing more clearly how and why my W wasn’t into sex as much. Hearing other woman feel the same way my W apparently does be able to turn it around with their spouse is making me much more optimistic about the same happening here….

          • Michael December 17, 2010 at 10:28 am #

            I wanted to say, that it didnt GIVE ME A REASON TO CHEAT. It gave MY WIFE a reason to cheat. Her Frigid Response to me in bed gave MY WIFE a reason to cheat.
            It gave me a reason to just say, Well shes just going to fall asleep at 8 like allways, ill stay up and find something to do until I can sleep. Before you know it im the one that is Neglecting her. And…. OH BOY here is my boyfriend from18 years ago wanting to show me attention. So now I can stay up texting till midnight for him. Because I Want To…
            It has never been the things she does that get in the way of passion. She simply doesnt feel it for me.

  7. Jeffrey Murrah December 13, 2010 at 6:45 pm #

    Karen,

    It would be nice to wipe it all away. It would do the cheaters a lot of good to hear the consequences of their choices. When they do not recall things about the affair, they are also not considering the consequences of all their actions either. That wall that blocks them from pain, also blocks out awareness of other items as well.

  8. maryanna1962 December 14, 2010 at 4:10 am #

    Jeffrey I think its selfishness on the part of the cheater to not want to remember the details of the affair what do you or others readers think ? Like their selfishness in the first part in having the affair and not considering the consequences, they (as in the cheater) had a choice. Linda, I’m hoping that time will heal, I’m sure hoping that the triggers will lessen for all of us but the harm has been done and no matter how good things are, I think the scar is always going to be there. Sometime I want to “shake” my H at times for the hurt he has caused to me, to himself and to our family, he knows that cos I usually spit out what I have to say ! Have a great day

  9. Rushan December 14, 2010 at 8:08 am #

    maryaqnna1963 you are lucky you can spit out what you have to say. i can’t say a thing he doesn’t want to talk about it and also doesn’t want to listen to me talking about it. So all the time i am keeping quiet and it is building up inside me I do not know when it is going to burst out like vulcano. A few weeks ago we were at a place where the ow also was and we had to be friendly and socially nice with her. I than saw how he greeted her, how tenderly he speaks with her, and it hurt me a lot. Now I am not certain that he still doesn’t love her. He says he loves me, but I don’t know if I can believe him after that encounter. I think about it all day, I think I need help to come over this thing and according to him everything is ok and in th epast.

    • maryanna1962 December 15, 2010 at 4:21 am #

      Rushan, I know how hard it was for you to come face to face with the OW and with your H beside you and yes I would question why he was nice to her, alarm bells would also ring for me. I would probably have spit in her face ! LOL You have to get him to the stage where you both can sit down and talk about this in a calm manner cos if you don’t you are going to continue to boil and you will erupt. It sounds to me like he’s got issues of his own and unfinished business. Maybe both of you could start reading some of those books Linda & Doug have recommended and it may help him to open up and start talking. He sounds like a guy whose going through the withdrawal stage ? Good Luck for the holiday season.

  10. melissa December 14, 2010 at 9:38 am #

    Rushan, same for me. I can’t say a word because my H refuses to talk about it and there are days when it just eats me up.

    Maybe it is your husband’s guilt – and his fear of losing face in front of other people – that make him appear kind to the OW. My H never says a bad word about his EAP, her name cannot even be mentioned in our house, everything has to be brushed ‘under the carpet’. I think your H is the same and his guilt, combined with refusing to contemplate how much hurt he’s caused, are the reasons why he wants to convince himself and you that everything’s OK and in the past, it’s a defence mechanism, just like Doug’s lost memories.

    • ruth December 14, 2010 at 11:45 am #

      I alos cant talk about it and he dont want to hear about it anymore. Told me “its in the past and I cant change the past” I cant seem to move forward becasue of this. I wish he would just let me ask all my questions and get this over with, I know I would be dealing with this so much better. I bleed in silence.

  11. michael December 14, 2010 at 11:57 am #

    I just want to add that even if Doug struggles with the answers. At least there is the together effort to understand and work though the questions. Thank you guys again.

  12. Rushan December 15, 2010 at 1:25 am #

    Melissa thanks for the words. Maybe it is his guilt but how can I be sure. Isn’t he still in love with her. I think he let her go because of his children, they said they will leave him if he leaves me. And he loves them very much. When can you ever be sure? I do not know. How much longer will it take?

  13. melissa December 15, 2010 at 7:40 am #

    I don’t think we’ll ever be sure and only our H’s actions will show us, little by little, how much they care. If they manage to realise that we, imperfect human beings that we are, are actually worth twenty million fantasies and that those fantasies will never materialise,then we’re on the home straight. Take care.

    Also, Maryanna1962, I totally agree with you. Life takes over and it takes an effort from BOTH parties (and guys, it means your helping with the chores a lot more and setting up date nights, being a bit more romantic) to ensure physical relationships do not peter out.

  14. Kristine July 17, 2011 at 8:29 pm #

    my husband and i just had a hard conversation yesterday and i was asking him some questions and he says some of the same things as you, Doug. He says that the further he gets away from that time, the more he puts it behind him. He says it brings him pain to think back to that time so it’s easy to forget the details. He said it’s not details he ponders over so they’re not fresh any longer (D-day was March 2010. We separated May 2010, reconciled July 2010 so it’s been a year now)

  15. Crushed July 8, 2015 at 9:35 pm #

    Just wondering if anyone here has an update? Have you moved on with your marriages or divorce?

  16. Butterball July 25, 2017 at 5:29 am #

    I know this is an old post but it came up at the bottom of the most recent one. I’ve done a lot of reading on medical research about emotion and memory and there are different points in the whole memory process where things can go haywire. I believe that in the middle of the affair fog, the memories simply aren’t being recorded in the brain in the first place. It’s not that you forgot what happened, you never recorded it in the first place to retrieve it later on.

    I’ve seen my husband say and do the most awful things and then a few hours later it was as if it never happened. There even was a whole incident where he made a huge scene and a week later he had ZERO recall of it, not a bit of it. It was actually quite a funny incident and I told him about it, and he laughed as if I was telling him a story about someone else entirely.

  17. Melissa January 3, 2018 at 5:21 pm #

    OK, so I just found a video of my husband having sex with another woman in our bed. Granted, the video is 4 years old at this point, but he claims that he does not remember this event taking place. He claims that he has no idea who the woman is, you never see her face. I am very angry and hurt, but he asked that I give him an opportunity to see someone to help him understand why he doesn’t remember doing this awful thing. Should I believe then, that he is simply blocking it out because he doesn’t want to face the awful thing that he has done? That being said, How do I believe that it will not happen again?

    • Shifting Impressions January 4, 2018 at 8:50 pm #

      Melissa
      I’m with Rachel on this. I would need a lie detector test to believe that story. The fact the the video is four years is irrelevant. And I’m sure it wasn’t a one time thing….and why would he keep a video like that anyway.

      Lots of unanswered questions, that’s for sure….I would get some professional help on this for yourself as well.

  18. Rachel January 4, 2018 at 6:37 pm #

    Melissa, I’m sorry but I wouldn’t believe him. Sounds like he’s just covering his ass. 😬

  19. Ironsides October 19, 2018 at 1:08 pm #

    But then the gender differences of biology go right out the window when the same “forgetting of details” is seen in an unfaithful wife. I believe there is so little known about the particulars of generalized female behavior in affairs, much to the detriment of the recovery community. I converse regularly with other betrayed men, and with alarming frequency our experiences have been incredibly similar.

    Just as all people who are victims of infidelity, the betrayer seems to run the “play book” we’ve all come to know all to well. But the interesting part, which frustrates us as men, is the ways that women differ from the playbook. ESPECIALLY in recovery when they want to be in the marriage, but their actions are so lagging behind the stated intentions. “I’ll do whatever it takes”, stated over and over, but then refusing to read books on infidelity, or to regularly bring up recovery topics and tasks. Generally them being the initiator. It seems that these things are far more common in a female unfaithful, and we men (at least in my sample group) seem to see the same deviations from the “norm”.

    But there is so little out there in resources that seem to address this. And the dearth of material that is on target for helping a female unfaithful get it is particularly troublesome. We’ve often thought of writing a book together called “The Betrayed Man”, which goes into detail about the unique ways that men experience betrayal. Another book called “The Unfaithful Woman” would also be very helpful especially in cases when it’s not been a terrible marriage, and the wife isn’t a sex addict. Those two things seem to get plenty of coverage where the wife in an addict and you can more or less expect it to happen at some point it its not being worked on, or the cases where there REALLY seems to be a “poor me” mentaility in play. You see it non stop in film, the poor misunderstood ignored lonely wife finding excitement outside the marriage.

    I don’t believe my wife is an addict, and neither do our therapists. When it comes to the marriage, the disconnection was all on her side. She pulled away. She stopped investing in the marriage. I gave her my attention, my time, supported her hobbies and desires. But that wasn’t enough for her. My boundaries in keeping our marriage intimate and connected were fine. She had neither the boundaries nor the ability to respect mine when she wanted something else. Why does it seem to be so incredibly common for the unfaithful wife to be treated with extreme care and coddling in order to get her to invest back into the marriage.

    Why does the “fly straight or GTFO” message seem to work with men but not women? We need a LOT more research out there to support the men who have been decimated by their partner’s selfishness and entitlement.

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