Progress is hard work.

hands_making_a_heart_in_the_sunset-t2Affair recovery is hard work. Here I am, nearly eight months from my D-Day. I see progress in both my emotional & psychological stability and our marriage. In many ways I feel like our marriage is better than it’s ever been. How is that fair?

One of my good [single] girlfriends told me today she realizes that she knows she needs to choose her husband wisely because he will share the responsibility for her happiness. I spoke up and said: “well, you are responsible for your own happiness. But I hear you.” She continued to say that whoever she brings into her life will have a direct impact on her well-being and happiness.

This begs the question: Am I happy?

I think I am. Most of my days are good. I smile, play with my kids, laugh with friends, kiss my husband and make love to him. But every day is tainted by his affair. I have not had a day in seven and a half months where I haven’t thought about my husband’s affair. I haven’t had a thought about the affair that wasn’t followed by sadness, doubt or despair.

wolvesI see how my husband pulled away from me during his affair. Before his affair he feared I wasn’t attracted to him anymore because our sex life had decreased. This bothered him but he never said a word to me about it. During his affair I think his AP made him believe I wasn’t attracted to him. He says she never said anything about me to him but you don’t have to say things directly to make people believe propaganda. Just her asking him for sex on a weekly basis is enough to make him think I wasn’t attracted to him. Then you add to that her sending him two or three sexual emails a day and you would be foolish to think that I was the one attracted to him because I do not send him sexual emails. I am sure it was her plan too because she knew from the beginning that was his fear. The seed was already planted all she had to do was water it. And oh, how it grew. The more he believed I wasn’t attracted to him the less he initiated sex with me. The less he initiated sex the less attractive and desirable I felt. The less attention he paid to me the more I felt emotionally disconnected. The less connected I felt to him the less I initiated sex. This also led to my unhappiness and ultimately that is what led me to discover his affair. I realized that my happiness was not within my control and that the man I was sharing my life with was not giving me what I needed. That’s what led me to the truth… or did it lead me to his lies?

When I assess my life now, I wonder if all this work is worth it.

I have to believe yes.

But there are moments where the doubt creeps in and sets your mind on fire. Pain is one of the strongest triggers in our brains and it’s the most difficult to reprogram. The pain was triggered in my brain yesterday. I had an amazing day with my husband but yet I saw a license plate on the car ride home that said OMG OMG. OMG triggered my brain to remember her countless emails that were titled that (I am guessing to build my husband’s ego that he was so amazing in bed).

Right now, my biggest question to him is why was he more worried about being the bad guy in her life than being the villain in mine? He says he didn’t walk away from her because he didn’t want to be the asshole and leave her all alone. Yet, his cheating hurt me more than his leaving her caused her pain. He knows that now but why can’t cheaters see the truth while they are in the affair? Why were my needs not important during his affair? Why were his needs unimportant? I guess all I can say is it was his impaired psychological state. He behaved like an addict, returning to his AP even though each time he went to her to get his ego stroked he walked away feeling worse about himself and even more like a failure. He kept returning for that high… . Even though he says he could see right through her paper thin compliments and attention, like a junkie he kept going back.

So there we were in the car yesterday with me directing questions at him. He always answers them but this time he answered them quietly and I could see he was hurt (not by me, by himself). He recognizes that we can have a beautiful day together but the affair always finds a way to creep back in and muddle it. I have very little sympathy and he doesn’t expect any or even mention his pain to me. I just see it on his face and in his eyes. He caused this pain by his actions and he must learn how he will survive it.

The journey of affair recovery is hard but so far, it’s been worth it.

mountain

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44 thoughts on “Progress is hard work.

  1. I can SO relate to what you said about having good days, but every day is still tainted by the affair. That is EXACTLY how I feel. Some days I am triggered more than others, but not a day goes by that I’m not reminded of the affair in some way. It might just be hearing someone on TV with the same name, or driving by a grocery store by the same name of the one she worked at…the list is endless. I am hoping some day it won’t be that way.

    But you are so right…progress is VERY hard work. I would agree with with you ( on most days! ) that it’s worth it. But it is exhausting. And the most painful, difficult thing I’ve ever dealt with in my entire life. May all of us betrayed spouses survive this, and end up much stronger than we ever were before! And may our spouses realize every single day for the rest of their lives how lucky they are to have us! 😉

    • yes i really hope that someday we’re really healed & forget all about it, doubt still kills me & bad memories ..also i’m so much doubting his love or he might be in love to the other woman or if she jut passes on his mind ..is it a good memory or a bad one for him!!
      GOD bless us & fill our hearts with peace

  2. Boy, this hit me like a ton of bricks….I have had an awful day today. We are only 7 weeks into this but were doing fairly well, and then WHAM, this pain filled, lonely, agonizing day hit me. When you say that 7 1/2 months in and you have many good days but there has not been one in which you did not think about the affair, I can totally see that. I fear my husband’s strength here is waning just when I need him most. He foolishly took the progress we have made in a short time as evidence of me being “over it”, so he is having trouble with this setback day. I agree with you too when you say that “he caused this pain by his actions and he must learn how he will survive it”, after all, we have to figure out how to survive his actions as well. He told me today that he would have preferred to be the betrayed spouse rather than the betrayer….I can understand that to a degree but really, I wouldn’t wish this pain on anyone….ever!

    • I often wonder how my husband would have reacted if our roles were reversed (me, the Wayward, and him as the Betrayed). I believe that it would have broken him if I cheated in a way that may not ever be able to be fixed. Who knows… because I never thought I would stay in a marriage where my husband had a year long affair. Never.
      There have been a few days that I have been so busy I haven’t thought of the affair until noon or 3 o’clock in the afternoon. But then WHAM! You realize you haven’t focused on the affair at all. My hope is that someday I will have days, then weeks and months without being triggered by the pain or sadness. I know someday I will get there and reflect back on this time as the year we rebuilt our marriage and appreciated each other more than ever….. I just hate that it was as a result of his affair.

      • Yes, I wonder the same thing, and I am not so sure he would have given me the same courtesy by staying and working through the muck of it all…I am better today than I was yesterday but I know, for at least the near future, I am facing major ups and downs, with the downs being particularly intense. Together we worked through the awful day I had yesterday and that gives me hope for the future. I hope for you, me and all the rest of us that we can eventually have some significant time that does not include the painful thoughts that invade our minds and ruin our days. Right now I am at a virtual non-stop movie with few exceptions, except for the times, when like you, I have a busy day that distracts me for a while. My husband says he is there for me for the long haul, I’m just not sure how long that will be and if he realizes what we are both in for….

    • My husband never wants to talk about it. He has said that he is sorry over and over again. My problem is that I cannot trust him or believe that he does not want her still. His affair lasted for years and now there is a child involved. He says it cannot be his but I know it is possible. I know he loves me, the problem is that I think that he may love her too. He
      still emails her often and she him. He says she will
      not leave him alone because of the child but I
      recently discovered that he texted her happy Mother’s Day before he texted me which means that he thought of her first. I still love him but am struggling with feelings that he is just with me out of a sense of obligation. Can’t stand the thought of that. Want my husband to want to be with me only. Is that possible? Hurting and struggling every day as this is in my thoughts all the time.

      • Hi Hillgirl,
        I am sure you probably already know this but your husband should NOT be in communication with his affair partner at all! Especially if he has good and clear intentions of stayin in the marriage with the goal of healing. If the child is not his – he should have no reason or feeling of obligation to reach out to her – Mothers day or any other day. How are you expected to heal? He needs to be made aware of the fact that the road to recovery is very rough and bumpy and that there is NO room for continued correspondence with his AP. I am sure you “love him” but please don’t settle.

      • I really don’t know if our marriage will ever feel rite. All of the years of lies, cheating, very ugliness he has she’d on everything. Feeling uncertain about our marriage. I can relate to every post here this is just very sad to have to deal with all of the affairs I’ve uncovered…He doesn’t understand what this has done to me. Will he ever?

      • He can only understand if he is willing to open himself up to the pain he has caused/created. He may never understand completely because being the betrayer is very different than the betrayed.

  3. I found your blog last week- my D day was 17 Nov. Every single word you have written I agree with. I am recently 40 and also have 3 amazing children. I cannot believe this has happened to me either. My husband has also read your blog as he saw how much I was devouring it – it has spoken to us both. I’ve been reticent about posting due to anonymity but this post (as most of them!) are as if I’ve written them myself.
    Thank you for your words – I’m reading them in the UK and they are helping me – just to know my thoughts and feelings are the same as others helps, also that the things my husband said are what your husband says – makes me believe them that little bit more (I did believe but it is good to have corroboration..!)

    • Thank you…. it means so much to know that I am not alone in what I am thinking, feeling and doing. I, too, find some peace of mind when I hear another wayward husband who echoes the words from my husband. And it is good to have crroboration on what our husband’s tell us because their mindset is so foreign to us. It’s hard to believe that the man that has treated me so well, loved me and been my support in life could lie and cheat on me for a year. If it wasn’t for blogs and the internet I wouldn’t find as much strength as I have within me now.

      • My d day was in June 2010. I still think about the affair most days and still have up and down days. In fact I went on anti depressants for a year to get through. My three children keep me going. Recovery is slow mainly because the affair has bought other issues to the forefront. Such as alcohol intake, codependacy issues with his mother and lying. After d day he said he ended the affair but I found out much later it went on for another 9 months! Keep strong girls.

      • I think keeping up with my busy schedule has kept me going and surviving. At one point, I considered taking a leave of absence from my job but I realized that having someplace to be every day was good and having a place to distract my mind was even better. Just keeping up with my kids schedules is a part-time job so that has been good too…. just being forced to sit at a soccer game and talk to other adults is good. And it’s good to be around people who don’t know what’s going on because conversations are easy and light. Thank goodness for our kids, right?

      • You are much stronger than you realize. Hang in there my spouse (the betrayer) said something to me at the very beginning of our crisis. He said “you will heal but once you feel better and learn to live wtth what has happened. I still gotta heal and forgive myself” He’s absolutely right – but my response Is “too bad Daddy-O”. ya should have thoguht about this Long & Hard before crossing over the line – there were at least a thousand choices you could have made but you cholse to color outside the lines so now face your truth “like a man.” Again you will get through this. Trust me.

  4. Hiya, Im around 8 months too, and although I know the pain you have been through, I am so happy for you to be able to post about having a good day. I however.. have just found out shes still hanging around!

    Although, i do seem to have a strange sense of stability about it. I dont know where it comes from. But Im sure glad its there!
    Im really relating to your comment about him being the bad guy for her, but the villain to you!

    • Thanks–Are you okay with finding out she’s still hanging around because it’s giving you strength or an answer you were looking for? I am glad you feel stable despite this news. Sometimes it feels like it’s really the “gift” that keeps on giving. Each phase of healing brings a new feeling and emotion.

      • im not really sure, i think its more a sense of acceptance, that i cant do anything about what he does. were separated at the moment, he swore black and blue there would be no contact but that was a lie. i guess ive just finally realised. he is not my friend. but the separation has taught me, im ok, im still alive, no one has died… so its not the end. hopefully. he does say he wants to come home and is working towards that. but its frustrating having to wait. i just want to feel like WE are getting somewhere. i have a ‘secret deadline plan’ where if im not getting what i want, im out. and im getting more and more ok with it by the minute. wishing you guys the best tho! i still hope one day we will catch up with ya!

      • Have you read the book “My Husband’s Affair was the Best Thing that Ever Happened to Me” ? I finally bought the book for my Kindle and read the entire thing this weekend. If you haven’t read it—you may relate to her story.

        You will get where you need to be. I promise.

      • Yeah! I bought it ages ago, started reading it, but I only just finished it last week. The thing that stood out for me, im pretty sure it was from that book, was ‘sometimes you have to let go of a relationship completely to get it back’… Thats where im trying to get to. Some days im there, some days im not, but the days i am, the possibilities of everything ELSE i could do just seem more and more thrilling. Its alot to let go of, what you thought you had, the past, the future… But I woke up the other morning and thought HEY! youre NOT DEAD!

  5. New here but this post really speaks to me so I figured I’d write! I think it’s hard for them to comprehend the depth of the pain and sadness we feel. I have had many conversations with my husband about it. He often asks me “don’t you think things are getting better?”. Yes I do, but it’s hard to find the energy to keep fighting when even happy times are experienced with that ever-present anguish. I’m only a few months farther in than you (5-19-12) but I have been noticing lately that I’m able to pull out of the obsessive cycle more quickly so I can be present and enjoy my life to some extent. I hope that your burden becomes lighter too. I dream that some day we can all be free of these stupid triggers!

    • Thanks for writing to me. You are almost at the one year mark? How does that feel? I too feel like I am phased out of the obsessive cycle/roller coaster of emotions. But I still find myself being drawn to a thought when I’d rather be in a moment. Also, like you wrote–my husband sees and feels we are doing better but that also seems to mean we don’t talk about things as much. Which in some ways is good but I still need reassurance that he is recovering from what he did… I don’t want one speck of dust swept under a carpet.

      • You hit the nail on the head. When we are doing better he seems to take that as a sign that we’ve cleared a major hurdle so that any setback to him (which for me are a constant) feels like we are back at square 1. He seems to have a hard time accepting that there will be ups and downs, progress and setbacks. I understand what you mean when you say that yes, you too enjoy a break from talking about it too but that you still need reassurance from him….I’m not sure but I suspect any betrayed spouse will always need that reassurance. We want to get better and we want them to be able to look at us without guilt, shame and sadness but you don’t want them to ever forget what they did and what it did to you…

      • As the betrayed we may begin to see that we weren’t offering our husband’s the attention and adoration that the male species needs. That is never an excuse–but I understand that how much my husband needs to know how I feel–and it needs to be physical sometimes. But what the Waywards need to understand is how much reassurance is required for the betrayed spouse. Our need to feel safe and secure is so important through all of this. We need to hear them tell us what they have learned about what they did or themselves. And it would be nice every once and a while to have them start a conversation.

    • I am only 7 weeks in (3-22-13) and am still in the obsessive cycle you speak of…it’s nice to know that 1-it is normal and others have gone through it and 2-that you can eventually pull out of it quicker…right now for me, the tendency is to wallow and it’s like lifting a 1000 pound weight to get out from under it sometimes…

      • The one year mark so far is…disappointing. One year seems like such a big deal, it’s such a long time that you think “I should be over this”. The triggers are still there, the doubt, fear and pain but I think its such a slow gradual process you don’t realize the change. Looking back at my posts in the beginning is the only way I recognize how much better I/we are. In the beginning I could hardly function, even something like loading the dishwasher seemed to be impossible. It will get better…slowly.

      • I was wondering if when I get to the one year (or better yet, the two year mark) if I will feel the change. I guess it’s probably like raising your children. You are with them everyday so they don’t seem to change from day to day or even month to month. But then one day you see a photo of them a year or two ago and realize how much has changed. Hopefully this process is just like Motherhood… it gets better and better over time.

  6. I am wondering how you or any of the others here handled the first time they had company to their home after finding out about the infidelity. We have family coming for the weekend to celebrate Mother’s Day. We are doing well….today….but we all know how the smallest thing can change that. We have not told anyone as we are trying to preserve our marriage and I know that if people knew it would complicate things further and make our reconciliation even more difficult. So, any suggestions on getting through the next 2 days? I sometimes find myself sinking into a pit of anger or sadness and I cannot do that with other people in the house. I was tempted to cancel but I figured this is one of many “firsts” we/I will have to get through. Probably should have posted this under your “Stuff that makes me mad” section because this really does make me mad! Thanks for any advice…

    • Just be ready to take some time to yourself. Your husband can handle the family. The only way to get through this is to work through your emotions, you can’t do that with an audience. If you are triggered and it starts to feel overwhelming excuse yourself and go journal or something to help you get it out, calm down, then rejoin the group. My family has been very judgemental of ME in all of this, not hubby and they know everything. I ended up hiding in a bedroom and crying for part of Christmas eve. Thinking of you.

      • Unfortunately he will be working for the first few hours of their visit and we are not even sure about his work schedule tomorrow. So, this could end up with me having to deal with this on my own for the majority of the visit. Based on what you said about your own family I am glad we made the mutual decision not to tell many people. I am sorry for you that you are not getting more support from them…if you are like me, it’s like being in the ICU….you need constant care and support! It’s nice to know that the people here understand the feelings we have….thanks for your support!

      • Hi Private 123… I am so sorry I took the weekend off from my blog. The weekend I found out about the affair I had family visiting me for the weekend. Luckily, they were just using my house as a hotel because they had an event going on near my home. Honestly, I don’t know how I made it through without anyone knowing because I was miserable, not eating, crying my eyes out, I took OTC sleeping pills to cope… it was a mess. But I can say that during the holidays I was surprising fine being around guests, parties and family. I felt like everything was a distraction–I couldn’t sit around dwelling on my pain. I had to be functional. There are always times when you have thoughts in the back of your head when speaking with family or friends that don’t know about the affair… you think–“oh, what’s been going on? My whole world fell apart!” But then you say, “Not much. Same old thing running around with the kids. You?”
        My husband has been extremely supportive during those times…. squeezing my hand, whispering sweet thoughts in my ear, making me feel special and loved. I hope your weekend was better than you hoped.

  7. Thanks and yes, in many ways it was….like you, having company kept me distracted and kept me from dwelling on my marriage. I couldn’t wait for them to leave though because my husband & I have very few days together right now because of work schedules and I always feel better when we’ve had some good, solid time together…even when the time spent is tear filled. We talk so much now and are making progress…even with some emotional set backs we are progressing. He has also been very supportive which is a major help. And, please don’t be sorry for taking the weekend off for your self. We all need a break from this, I can totally understand that. Thanks for your support!

    • I am glad things went well and I can relate to everything you just wrote. I feel the same way about spending time together… it’s more valuable now than ever. I need to be alone with my husband and I feel best when we’ve had our intimate convesations too. Saturday my husband and I spent the entire day together and it was wonderful. I wish there were more days like that….

  8. I have had a really hard time lately. Both of us had a emotional affair. He works off and I have been looking for a job for 6 months. We’re talking daily, but I feel so alone and guilty and a disappointment. I got maniac when I saw the phone bill. I am maniac depressive as it is. He got a separate checking account and phone bill. I feel like I am loosing it! Any suggestions?

    • Hi Kim,
      If he hasn’t ended all contact with his affair partner then it will be hard for you to not live in this mania. You need security and that begins with him letting go of the other woman completely. I guess, I would start by finding out what he wants from your marriage. Unemployment is more damaging to a man’s ego than they will admit. My husband felt like he was a failure–even if that was never a thought in my mind. A man often gauges his success by his career and the size of his bank account. Try to emotionally connect to your husband again… coffee dates, dinner, drinks. Whatever it takes to figure out what you each need.

      • He is not communicating with her any more as far as I know. I don’t know what to believe. She lives very far from where he is working. He works construction and is 7 hours away from me. I mail him encouragement cards, send uplifting scriptures, loving text. He has turned both of his kids against me, there grown. I don’t know what to do…..??????

      • The one thing I have learned through this experience is that the only person I can control is myself. As much as I can trust the people around me with my life, they still may make decisions that have a negative impact on me. So I’ve picked myself up and recognized the things about myself that are good, that I should nurture and that is my focus. If I love myself then my husband will love me too. My strength has to come from me first. Start pursuing your hobbies or interests–take a class, read a book, go on an adventure. Become the best you possible and things will happen.

  9. I just discovered your blog….it’s as if I could have written it. I look forward to reading your posts and the posts of others. I am just about three months from D-day. Some days are good some days are bad. It is truly a roller coaster. I find that there are certain triggers that bring back all of the emotions again. Then new questions come up – did he ever love our kids? did he abandon us by engagin in this activity? I pray for clarify and that time will heal. Thank you for sharing your story.

    • Hi Gemini,
      The first three months is the roughest part of the roller coaster because you can’t see where you are going. The emotions can be overwhelming and confusing. Take time for yourself every day. I don’t know your story but I hope your husband is answering your questions. It’s hard to separate your pain from knowing about the affair from your memory of that time in your life. You can answer your own questions too. I have to remind myself sometimes that we pressed the reset button. Our marriage now is not about who we were before the affair or during it–it’s about who we are now. And we are so much stronger and happier.

  10. Hi, today is exactly 12 weeks since my husband’s confession so I can really relate to you, Gemini and how you are feeling. I have to say that I have been very fortunate in that my husband has been extremely supportive, comforting and transparent about any and all details I have asked for about his infidelity. And yet, I still have pain….earlier today I sort of found myself daydreaming, well not really because what I was thinking so intently was….I can’t believe this happened….it’s like I want to pinch myself and find out it was all a bad dream or some terrible joke….I’m on Candid Camera, anything but that it really did happen…..but no, this is a truth I will have to live with for the rest of my life. And yet, like thiswillnotdefineus said, we hit the reset button, our marriage is about what we are now and, we too are much stronger and happier, I just hate it had to come to us this way…the point is, there is hope. And better days do come more and more often. I cry very little now….now it’s more like I go into a fog of sad thoughts….the lows are less frequent and when they do present, I can pull myself up from them or if my husband is with me and sees my mood change he does what he can to help me through it. I give alot of the credit for our current success to a good marriage counselor, some personal coaches, a most excellent best girlfriend and a husband who continues to show his remorse and love…I hope your pain fades and you find the clarity you are looking for and to thiswillnotdefineus, I have to say that I think you are wonderful and you write the most beautiful things here…you give me hope!

    • Very Nice Private 123…..
      You sound awesome. 12 weeks after learning about my husand’s indiscretion I was still a wreck – no where near as put together as you sound! Keep up the good work. Lexy

  11. Approx 2 Years ago, My partner had an affair with his work colleague… It Started when him and i had a rough patch in our relationship but not that rough that one should cheat! I knew he was cheating and even though i saw bits of proof (and the female intuitive gut feeling) i did not want to believe what i knew… Long Story short, they continued this affair with talk of moving in together… he did not leave me (even when he thought i did not know)… They had a baby together (something i wanted but am unlucky and cannot)… He hid both from me (even though i knew) until the baby was a few months and i bluffed him… He reckons that he stayed in contact with her during and after her pregnancy because she was blackmailing him with telling me… But in his messages to her he was telling her that he wants her and that one day soon he will leave me… Some of the messages were even so rude and nasty about me… Now that she knows i know, he reckons that he has nothing to do with her or that she does not contact him, but after all i know about the lies, the affair, the baby and the things he said about me i can not and do not think i will ever trust him… We have had some days where i think that i can get over it but then all i do is look at him and i see the photo she sent my phone of their baby and it all is as fresh as day 1… Why i am with him after all he has done i will never know, as i know if this was my friend i would be telling her she deserves better than that… But i love him more than anything and i also am a believer of no ones perfect and he just dealt with things wrong… But am i fooling myself because i just can not be intimate with him without crying or wanting to or feeling sick… In some ways we are stronger than ever before but in other ways i feel like we are just walking down a dead end…

    Any Advice?

    • Hi Tracy,
      I just read through your story and I am amazed that you knew what was going on but did not do anything. How long did you know before it all came out? I can’t answer why you are with him. Intimacy can be very difficult after an affair. Becoming vulnerable when the trust has not yet been rebuilt is an emotional roller coaster. I am not sure the entire timeline of what you wrote or how long you have known the truth. If you want to continue working on your relationship and rebuilding then you should keep communicating. Tell him how you feel, be honest, tell him what you need and don’t shelter your emotions. I realized that I was protecting my true needs from my husband before because I was afraid he would let me down. But how could he know what I wanted or needed if I didn’t tell him? Sometimes exposing those innermost secrets are difficut but I realize how important it is now.
      You don’t have to know what the future holds now–just try to figure out what you want and take small steps forward every day.

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